Monday, December 07, 2020

Willy Brandt straightens out the ribbons before kneeling in Warsaw, 7 December 1970

On 7 December 1970, German Chancellor Willy Brandt was in Warsaw to sign the Treaty of Warsaw, in which Germany officially recognized the Oder-Neisse Line of 1945 as the German-Polish border. But the date is remembered more for what happened before the signing: Brandt went to the memorial for the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and, without a word, knelt at the foot of the material. Even before this humble gesture, though, this video reveals a moving detail: after the wreath was laid down, Brandt reached down and straightened out the two ribbons. It's a small thing compared to the kneeling, but the care and respect it demonstrates prepares the humility that follows. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 7 December)


English version of the video here.

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