Versöhnung „per Post”. Kurt Reuters Wirken zwischen Deutschen und Polen

Reconciliation “sent by post”. Kurt Reuter’s action between Germany and Poland

Treść artykułu: Pobierz | Czytaj

Strona: 217 - 224

Publikacja w numerze: 38 (2018) nr 2

Autor: Anna Reinhardt


Exactly after the end of World War II Germans and Poles were deeply separated due to guilt, blame, enmity and hatred. The massive destruction of the war in Poland had brought forth hate and suspicion against anything related to Germany. Meanwhile both – the
expulsion and the shift of borders – also fueled a hostile atmosphere towards Poland in Germany. The so called “Border of Peace and Friendship” at the Oder-Neisse line, proclaimed by the Treaty of Gorlitz in 1950, failed in terms of rapprochement and restoration of trust, as it did not allow any unrestricted mutual social interaction between both nations. There were a few people, however, who tried to overcome the rivalry between Germany and Poland. The present article focuses on the catholic priest Kurt Reuter (1908–1965) who was born in Berlin. Despite the given situation, he started some initiatives of reconciliation between Germans and Poles after the Second World War. He studied Theology in Breslau and Poznań, where he grew fluent in Polish, started off with pastoral care for Polish seasonal workers right after his ordination as a priest and took care of foreign prisoners of war in the diocese of Berlin till 1945. After receiving his first pastorate in Eberswalde he began his ministry of reconciliation with his Polish neighbors. Soon, Reuter was in contact with a majority of the Polish episcopate, many priests, and professors of theology and seminary deans, to whom he wrote letters. His heritage of over 1000 polish letters emphasizes his strong
connections to this country. One of his main means for reconciliation was the shipment of books. Within five years he had sent hundreds of books across the border, which resulted in a parcel every second or third day. It is questionable, though, whether his acts of reconciliation still had an impact, even after his early death in 1965. Were his books in Poland still in use? Did they serve their liturgical, catechetical and theological purpose? Did his initiatives lay the ground for further academic, Christian, sympathetic interaction?