The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism

The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism

Tina Rosenberg

Language: English

Pages: 464

ISBN: 0679744991

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Pulitzer Prize-winning look at the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe





















anti-Roundtablism. (Bielecki is Jewish himself.) The radicals had no illusions about Jaruzelski, but they had always been suspect of the Social Democratic tendencies of the KOR intellectuals, and Michnik’s new fraternization has confirmed their suspicions. It was anti-Semitism only in the sense that most Polish anti-Semitism is an expression of the need to find conspiracies to blame for Poland’s troubles. Poland has only a few hundred Jews, so anti-Semites must invent them. One hears that

the right of assembly.” On June 4, 1989, Poland had semifree elections, and three months later the first non-Communist prime minister in the East Bloc since the 1940s formed his government. On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. But Czechoslovakia remained mummified. On November 17, the official youth organization received a permit to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the murder of a Czech student by the Nazis. Now, here was the kind of demonstration the authorities liked. But the

historical figure. In some countries, these views now enjoy the imprimatur of the state. Lithuania has released from prison and rehabilitated Nazi mass murderers—simply because the court that condemned them was a Communist court. Everything the Communists touched is now seen as tainted—even the resistance movements of World War II. Other eastern Europeans’ memories of communism are just as malleable. As life becomes more uncertain and insecure, much of the reflexive anticommunism has given way

these laws. But Communists are not the present danger—Communist thinking is. These measures draw support from a bizarrely diverse group—some who were heroes under communism, some villains, most in between. That old Communists now back repressive anti-Communist laws seems contradictory, but is not: fundamentalists tend to be fundamentalists under any system. The head of the far-right Republican Party, forty-one-year-old Miroslav Sladek, worked in the censor’s office under communism; he has made

Gomulka had the energy of youth and a belief that communism in Poland had to be done the Polish way. Poles idolized him. Not so the Soviets. Six days after Gomulka’s Politburo visit, a Soviet delegation headed by Khrushchev turned up unannounced, uninvited, and decidedly unwanted at the Warsaw airport. Khrushchev literally shook his fist at the Poles hastily assembled on the runway to greet him. Red Army troops were already moving toward Warsaw. The Soviets and the Poles argued all night with

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