Historian Naimark offers perspective on proposed memorial to expelled Germans

In a Jan. 21 article published in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, SIIS senior fellow and historian Norman M. Naimark offered his perspective on the emotions and issues raised by a foundation that seeks to create a research center and museum in Berlin dedicated to studying forced population transfers in 20th-century Europe. Such forced transfers included the expulsion of 15 million ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe. Sentiment against a memorial to German victims is particularly high in Poland and the Czech Republic, where, Naimark noted, the treatment of Germans at the fall of the Third Reich showed all the signs of being an ethnic cleansing that was in part a reaction to Nazi atrocities. Naimark, the Robert and Florence McDonnel Professor of Eastern European Studies, suggested that the expulsion of the Germans deserves further study, and that more public discussion is needed before deciding whether to build the center and museum.