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The Warsaw Voice » Other » April 8, 2009
Germany in Poland
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Historic Anniversaries
April 8, 2009   
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2009 is a year of anniversaries that mark events of special importance in terms of Polish-German relations. This year will see the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, the painful aftermath of which to this day affects relations between the two countries.

On Aug. 1, Poland will commemorate the 65th anniversary of the start of the Warsaw Uprising, a heroic struggle by soldiers of the Polish Underground State and Warsaw residents against the Nazi occupants.

In 1989, changes took place which reshaped both the political landscape in Europe and Polish-German relations. The Round Table Talks of 20 years ago not only were a major step on the road to democratic changes in Poland, they also marked the beginning of political transformations and a domino effect across Central and Eastern Europe. The fall of the Berlin wall in November that year paved the way for the reunification of Germany.

Finally, five years ago Poland joined the European Union, a decisive moment for European integration and a milestone for relations between Poland and Germany.

This year, Polish and German people are joining forces to hold a multitude of events that will recount the breakthrough events of 1989 and the start of World War II 70 years ago. Almost 50 dates have been set for various events at which partner institutions in Germany and Poland will encourage dialogue about the two countries' shared past.

The events range from grand theater productions and panel discussions with those who were witnesses to those historic happenings, to conferences featuring Polish and German politicians. There will also be a series of contemporary documentaries and concerts by young musicians. These will include an August concert in Cracow by 12 internationally famous cellists from the Berlin Philharmonic.

For comprehensive information about this year's events, see the German embassy website at:
German foundations operating in Poland have played an immense part in preparing these events.

Goethe Institute
The Goethe Institute is a German cultural institution that operates worldwide. The institute promotes the study of the German language abroad and encourages international cultural exchanges and relations. It works to raise the country's international profile by providing information about cultural, social and political life in Germany.

Through its branches, Goethe-Zentrum establishments, cultural associations, German reading rooms, and exam centers, the Goethe Institute carries out the cultural and educational priorities of German foreign policy.

The Goethe Institute is an autonomous and politically independent institution. Its objectives in Poland are to facilitate access to German culture, promote the German language, and intensify contacts between Polish and German cultural and educational institutions as well as individual artists and intellectuals.

There are two Goethe Institutes in Poland, in Warsaw and Cracow.

Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation
Every year, the foundation supports more than 600 projects carried out by partners in Poland and Germany in areas such as education, science, culture, and the media as well as partnership programs in cities and communities. Every year, the foundation provides 4-5 million euros to finance various associations, public and private organizations, and educational and cultural establishments.

This year, the foundation is focusing on:
- various kinds of institutional partnerships;
- projects that aid Polish language studies in Germany and German language studies in Poland and expand the two nations' knowledge of each other;
- media projects and programs that provide the public in Poland and Germany with accurate information about the other country. www.fwpn.org.pl

Polish and German Youth Office
The German-Polish Youth Office was established under a Polish-German agreement of June 17, 1991 and a bilateral treaty on neighborly relations. The office organizes and finances meetings of young people from the two countries, and it also works to build an understanding between young Poles and Germans, encouraging them to work together. Ever since the office opened its doors in 1993, around 1.8 million young have taken in programs it co-financed.


Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Poland
The Konrad Adenauer Foundation is a German political foundation that promotes political education for peace, freedom and justice. It is funded by the federal government. The foundation's Polish office opened Nov. 10, 1989 in recognition of Poland's struggle for freedom and democracy, which helped overthrow communism and eliminate divisions in Europe. In Poland, the foundation works to develop relations between Poland and Germany, and it also supports European unity, civil society, and dialogue between political parties. It encourages debate on politics, social responsibility, and historical remembrance. These issues are the subject of numerous conferences, public debates, seminars and programs organized together with partners in Poland. The foundation also publishes many papers and analyses, awards scholarships and supports projects that promote political education in Poland. www.kas.pl

Friedrich Ebert Foundation
The Friedrich Ebert Foundation, with headquarters in Berlin and Bonn, has around 600 staff and offices in more than 90 countries. The foundation's Warsaw office opened in 1990 to foster partner-like relations and cooperation between Poland and Germany.

The foundation aims to support social dialogue and civil society, and to strengthen democracy, pluralism and European integration. It also works to stimulate economic and social growth.

Social democracy, founded on human and civic rights, strengthens such rights. It also extends and consolidates political democracy by fostering social justice, democratization, social security, lasting development and international solidarity. Social democracy empowers all citizens to benefit, without restrictions, from political and fundamental human rights and the right to participate in public life so they can contribute to the growth of their countries. Social democracy aims to secure equal opportunities in life. www.feswar.org.pl

Heinrich Böll Stiftung
Heinrich Böll Stiftung is a foundation that promotes dialogue and an exchange of views about vital social and political issues among academics, businesspeople, politicians and civil societies in Europe and around the world. In its work, the foundation is guided by the principles of nonviolence, "gender democracy" and ecology. It also encourages sustainable development of the environment and supports intercultural dialogue.

The objective of Heinrich Böll Stiftung in Central and Eastern Europe-covering Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Belarus-is to support European integration and bring "old" and "new" EU member states closer to one another and their neighbors on fundamental issues of European policy. European identity and common European values are the subject and point of reference for all of the foundation's regional projects.

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