The Polish-German Cultural Heritage Relationship in 1990-2019 – Main Controversies and Areas of Progress

Karolina Wierczyńska


This contribution refers comprehensively to the issues surrounding the legal and practical aspects of the Polish-German relationship in the area of cultural heritage between 1990-2019, taking into account the Second World War trauma which still shapes such mutual relations. The main research problems focused on the contexts of Poland’s and Germany’s policies towards the problems related to cultural heritage. Interestingly, mutual cooperation in many instances takes place regardless of the official political line of a given State and engages non-state institutional subjects on many levels. The point is that Polish-German relations in the area of cultural heritage proceed regardless of the Polish and German official political narratives and claims in the context of the cultural heritage lost and/or not returned during and after the Second World War. Paradoxically, the wider perspective shows that Polish-German relationships in the area of cultural heritage refer currently not only to lost goods but to broader cooperation in many aspects of cultural heritage, such as the preservation of cultural goods, regional cooperation, etc., which is conducted and developed by non-governmental organizations, societies, and foundations (including ordinary people). They seem to have a leading role in the reconciliation processes of the two States.

Słowa kluczowe: cultural heritage, Poland, Germany, reconciliation, restitution

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