Joint German-Polish Textbook Commission
The commission is one of the most successful projects in the context of ‘classical’ bilateral textbook work undertaken by the Georg Eckert Institute. When founded in 1972 on the initiative of the German and Polish UNESCO Commission, the main goal of its members was to explore possible factual misrepresentations, prejudices and stereotypes in the history and geography textbooks of both countries, and to intervene in order to ensure that the representation of the conflictive history of relations between the two countries was objective. The fact that the commission’s work began at the time of the Cold War means that it was constantly overshadowed by political conditions in which each of the two sides found itself. In the early years, both sides therefore had to adopt a pragmatic approach when, for example, dealing with textbook representations of the expulsion of Germans in the wake of the Second World War. It was therefore of utmost importance that members of the commission were consistently able to discuss such delicate matters on an equal footing.
In the meantime, Poland and Germany no longer belong to different blocs, but are completely ‘normal’ neighbours in Europe. The work of the commission therefore no longer deals primarily with problems pertaining to the past relations between the two countries, but rather enquires into the means by which history and geography can contribute towards overcoming challenges which both countries will have to face in the future.
The most recent project run by the joint German-Polish Textbook Commission reflects the ongoing development of its area of activity. In January 2008, the foreign ministers of Poland and Germany requested the commission to devise an outline of a Polish-German history textbook which could be used in the lessons given in the state schools of both countries. The GEI, represented by its director Professor Simone Lässig, is in charge of coordinating the project. In both Poland and Germany, publishers have agreed to publish the textbook. And recommendations concerning the content and form of the textbook, which were put together by German and Polish academics, were published in the books series ‘Eckert. Expertise’ in May 2012, just in time for the fortieth anniversary of the foundation of the commission.
Last Change: 29.04.2013