George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New
Bishops Offer Analysis of World War II
German and Polish Prelates Call for Peace
BONN, Germany, AUG. 26, 2009 (Zenit.org).- In a joint communiqué
on the occasion of World War II's 70th anniversary, German and Polish
bishops underlined the need for young people to justly analyze the
The message, signed by the presidents of the German and Polish bishops'
conferences, respectively, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch and Archbishop
Jozef Michalik, was published Tuesday.
It called on "the new generations to acquire and preserve a just
evaluation" of the war.
"Despite the difficulties," the bishops pointed out, "not only do we
have need of an honest evaluation of the atrocities of the past, but
also of giving up the stereotypes that make a correct understanding of
that time more problematic, and can undermine confidence."
In September 1939, the German Armed Forces invaded Poland, igniting
World War II.
Now, the bishops of both countries came together to underline the
necessity of protecting peace and the "education of men free from
Their message warned, "Some tendencies in society or in politics reveal
the temptation of a propagandist use of inflicted wounds to revive the
resentments fueled by a factious interpretation of history."
"Because if this," it continued, "the Church intends to pronounce
herself against the elimination of the historical truth by calling for
intense dialogue, always linked to the capacity to listen to the other
The bishops recognized that "some wounds have yet to be healed" and
referred to "the millions of victims persecuted and sacrificed because
of racist ideology, ancestry or faith," among them Jews, gypsies, the
mentally handicapped and the elite of the nations of Central and
In their statement, the prelates jointly condemned "the war crimes" and
the deportations in the war and post-war eras. They recalled the
negative consequences of the war in both of their countries, such as
subjection to communist regimes.
"In Eastern Europe, the war had the objective of destroying and
enslaving whole peoples," the bishops stated.
They continued, "Poland's governing elite, among them intellectuals,
academics and members of the clergy, was affected by a policy of
extermination that sought to subject a whole nation."
The document appealed for good faith, forgiveness and the recognition
of one's own fault.
It also called for more prayer for peace, greater cooperation between
the religious institutions of Germany and Poland, unified promotion of
the family and protection of life, and a joint endeavor in the
evangelization of the world, especially the greater part of Africa.
The statement pointed out that "only in a climate of forgiveness and
reconciliation can a culture of peace be developed that serves the
"Peace is built day by day and can only flourish if we are prepared to
recognize our responsibility," it stated.
The bishops affirmed that "the gift of peace must be lived in one's own
heart so that it can be spread to families and the different forms of
social organization, and finally encompass the whole community of
Finally, the message highlighted the "historic step constituted by
European integration," urging its readers "not to let the opportunity
of building peace, offered by the unification of the peoples of Europe,
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