To the Editor:
In your February issue, you published a letter by Andrzej Nowak which, without mentioning my name, undoubtedly alludes to my article, “In the Shadow of the Past,” which appeared in the Polish journal Tygodnik Powszechny. In his letter, Mr. Nowak claims that my article rejects “the very idea of denazification in postwar Germany.” . . . This is a false and misleading interpretation which is harmful to the respected and worthy journal in which it appears.
I would like to explain that my article aimed at the whole complex process of denazification in postwar Germany. The article explicitly pointed out that the effects of denazification were far different from what the triumphant superpowers intended. Denazification requires, among other things, conscious participation on the part of the whole society in the process of reeducation and above all a unanimous condemnation of the past. In citing the example of East Germany, I was attempting to point out that one cannot escape from historical reality. What my article meant to say, despite Mr. Nowak’s obvious misinterpretation, is that denazification cannot be an act of administering punishment. On the contrary, it is a long-drawn-out process which consists of acknowledging the wrongs that have been done and drawing conclusions from certain historical experiences. These are prerequisites for building a stable German democracy within a reunited Germany.
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