Reconciliation Action Manual
When enemies become friends, we witness magic moments of humanity, rare great star events in mankind. They prove, that peace is possible. After many bitter years of violence and evil. In our Action Manual Reconciliation, we show you how this worked. We interviewed global Champions of Reconciliation. Among them Archbishop Alfons Nossol from Upper Silesia, the great reconciler of Poles and Germans. The Dalai Lama, who views the Chinese occupiers of his homeland Tibet with compassion. Deepak Chopra, with his spiritual thinking of ‘peace is the way’. A Palestinian from Jenin who donated the organs of his son, who was shot by the Israeli army, to three children of the enemy so that they could survive.

When enemies become friends, we witness magic moments of humanity, rare great star events in mankind. They prove, that peace is possible. After many bitter years of violence and evil. In our Action Manual Reconciliation, we show you how this worked.

We interviewed global Champions of Reconciliation. Among them Archbishop Alfons Nossol from Upper Silesia, the great reconciler of Poles and Germans. The Dalai Lama, who views the Chinese occupiers of his homeland Tibet with compassion. Deepak Chopra, with his spiritual thinking of ‘peace is the way’. A Palestinian from Jenin who donated the organs of his son, who was shot by the Israeli army, to three children of the enemy so that they could survive. Or a Jewish woman from Haifa whose husband, a peace activist, was murdered by a Hamas terrorist and she visited his family in Jenin. We visited the family of general Giáp in Hanoi and talked about reconciliation with America.

We checked historical stories of reconciliation between the long-time arch-enemies Germany, France and Poland as well. Moreover, we studied reconciliation between the black and white population in South Africa, during a visit to Soweto and the Mandela House. We visited the impressive National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. and investigated options for a Great National Reconciliation within many torn countries, like the USA.

 

Reconciliation is achievable. It starts with courage and a master plan. And it continues for decades surmounting many hurdles on the golden path of reconciliation with the goal of making you and others happier.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1. Challenges

2. Facts & Numbers

3. Best Practices

1 - CHALLENGES

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2 - FACTS & NUMBERS

1,950
just five years after the Second World War, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman presented the innovative plan of removing all German and French coal and steel industries, essential for weapon production, from national control and transferred to a first European authority.
1,990
the cessation of the former German territories in the east to Poland and the Soviet Union in 1945 was recognized under international law with the Two-Plus-Four Treaty and finally sealed with the German-Polish Border Treaty. German-Polish reconciliation within the EU began and Germany reunited.
1,994
May 9, 1994 Nelson Mandela was elected as the first colored president of the Republic of South Africa and propagated a grand reconciliation of the black majority and the white minority after decades of apartheid and oppression.

What does reconciliation mean?

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3 - BEST PRACTICES

Germany’s reconciliation miracle with France, UK, Poland, the U.S., Israel and the Jews

If you want to study a country that did everything wrong: look at Germany from 1918 to 1945.

If you want to learn more about a country that did everything right: look at Germany from 1945 until today.

From 1918 to 1990 Germany lost two world wars and was ruled by two dictatorships, the Nazis and the socialist GDR. A historical disaster for the German people, and as well its neighbors in France, the United Kingdom, Poland, Russia and other states as well as the Jewish population.

No country in Europe was so entirely devastated after the Second World War 8 May 1945 as Germany. The darkest hour. Ground zero. All cities completely destroyed by bombing raids with 6.1 million Germans dead, including 1.1 million civilians. Divided into three parts, with the loss of the eastern territories to Poland and the USSR, 12 million were expelled and fled to West Germany. The GDR with 18 million as a socialist vassal state of the USSR and new dictatorship. With 300,000 political prisoners and 1,900 refugees dead at the Berlin wall and the brutal 1300-kilometer-long iron curtain to the West, until reunification in 1990.  Free West-Berlin was threatened frequently, like during the Berlin Blockade 1948. Well-equipped, nuclear-armed Soviet forces in the GDR.

Germany morally bankrupted by the Holocaust, after six million Jews were killed by Nazi terror.

Suspiciously watched by the long-time arch-enemies France and United Kingdom, the opponents in two lost world wars.

Hour zero marked the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949 in Bonn. From then on, the country emerged from the ruins to become a new prosperous and tolerant society in the West, respected again and surrounded by friends and partners.

How did this success come about?

Reconciliation played five important roles:

  1. Reconciling capitalism and socialism by establishing the innovative balanced ‘Social Market Economy’.
  2. Reconciliation with the former enemies in the West: Mainly France, the United Kingdom and the United States.
  3. Reconciliation with the East: Poland and even Russia.
  4. Reconciliation with the Jewish community and Israel.
  5. Reconciliation with soldiers and functionaries of the socialist GDR, the adversary until October 3, 1990, the day of national reunification.

All these components of reconciliation laid the foundation for Germany´s admission as a respected member of the family of nations after total defeat.

Reconciliation paved the way to a new peace order and prosperous European nations as well as the miracle of the German reunification.

Reconciling capitalism and socialism by establishing the  Social Market Economy.

At first, there was a controversy over the direction of economic policy. The SPD preferred classical socialism, but the new CDU chose economic freedom, supported by the liberal FDP.

Introducing a stable currency, the D mark, served as the basis of the Währungsreform in 1948. This measure provided citizens with purchasing power.

The first Federal Minister of Economics, Ludwig Erhard, the second Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, developed something completely new in 1949: The Social Market Economy.

At the CDU party conference in 1948 he emphasized: “Not the free market economy of the laissez-faire plundering of a bygone era …, but the socially responsible market economy that once again brings the individual to the fore, that places a high value on the person and that provides a fair return for work carried out, this is the modern version of the market economy.”

Erhard’s fresh ideas: “Attaining social stability by improved distribution of opportunities in a free competitive economy. Price stability, external economic equilibrium, a high level of employment and solid finances”. With the core objective of avoiding hyperinflation and mass unemployment, as in the Weimar Republic, which pushed disillusioned voters to the Nazi party and ultimately led to the end of democracy in 1933.

Erhard's credo: Prosperity for All.

“But it must first be earned before one can think of distributing it”, he said. The essentials were an “increase in productivity, thus economic growth and low unemployment”. He also demanded “social policy without false incentives enabling broader sections of the working population to generate prosperity. Growth allows fair wages and thus prosperity for all”.

It worked very well: The Federal Republic of Germany experienced its Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle) in the 1960s as a result of a courageous Mission Future with heart and mind. Democracy could flourish.

Reconciliation with the former adversaries in the West, France, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The second major construction site was foreign policy.

Real reconciliation with the former adversaries plus reunification.

What were the building blocks of Germany´s reunification?

What was the driving force behind shaping relations with the other countries in the West and East, and with the United States as the occupying power?

The wise first chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, focused on a completely new German foreign policy:

Rejecting the idea of a neutral Germany in the center of Europe, as the Left favored, but instead supporting unification of a free Europe. The first stage of this process was the establishment of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957. Later additional steps in the integration process led to a stronger European Union (EU). This process also included   reconciliation with the former arch enemies France and the UK as well as establishing a transatlantic friendship with the United States of America.

This policy rested on a strong Western power-base. In 1955, Germany, having set up the Bundeswehr with 500,000 soldiers, joined NATO.  In 1967, the Alliance´s raison d’etre found its expression in the two pillars of the Harmel Report:   Credible deterrence and détente.

All this was revolutionary.

And it worked very well.

From this position of strength of the Free World, Adenauer wanted to achieve reunification. He rejected neutrality, a position sharply criticized by the opposition party SPD in particular. Adenauer’s new strategy, unification by European integration, paid off on October 3, 1990, under Chancellor Helmut Kohl. It marked the day of reunification and integration ending the socialist GDR´s regime. After the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 8, 1989, the U.S. in particular supported this course, while France and Great Britain remained hesitant.

Germany had proven itself as a peaceful and respected partner in Europe.

Reconciliation with Russia and Poland

24 million Russians, including 10 million soldiers, lost their lives during the Nazi Wehrmacht attack from 1941 to 1945. Russia had been destroyed by the Nazis with a scorched earth strategy reaching as far as Moscow. The victor Josef Stalin annexed large parts of eastern Poland and half of German East Prussia in 1945. He occupied the center of Germany and established a socialist dictatorship in East Berlin. His troops were now on German soil. A very difficult starting point for reconciliation.

The controversial Entspannungspolitik, a dialogue (détente) focused on the relaxation of tensions, had started early with Konrad Adenauer’s visit to Moscow in 1955.

Chancellor Willy Brandt's policy of détente created additional trust in the central and eastern European countries in the 1960ies and 1970ies.

Over four decades Bonn negotiated with the Kremlin and East Germany economic cooperation, human relief and visits from the GDR, diplomatic relations, and arms control. These talks paved the way for more trust and ultimately led to reunification.

Mikhail Gorbachev tenure at the head of the rotten USSR from 1985 to 1991 offered a unique opportunity for the peaceful reunification of Germany and simultaneous independence of the Eastern European countries.

A great moment for mankind, a peaceful revolution in all Eastern Europe.

The relationship with Poland was also very strained.

The Nazis had treated the Poles as sub-humans and labor slaves. The territories of Silesia, Pomerania and East Prussia, which had been German for three centuries, were transferred to Poland "for administration" at the Potsdam Conference in 1945, but effectively annexed. More than 12 million Germans were expelled, 600.000 perished in the process. A national tragedy.

Four historical events were significant for the reconciliation of Germans and Poles:

First, in their "Charter of German Expellees” declaration of August 5, 1950, in Stuttgart, the representatives of 12 million refugees renounced violence in their efforts to take back their former homeland from the Poles.

"We expellees renounce revenge and retaliation. This decision is serious and sacred to us in remembrance of the infinite suffering that the last decade in particular has brought upon humanity."

"To create a united Europe [...] in which the peoples can live without fear or constraint. [...] We will participate in the reconstruction of Germany and Europe through hard, tireless work."

"The peoples must recognize that the fate of the German expellees, like that of all refugees, is a world problem whose solution demands the highest moral responsibility and commitment to tremendous achievement. We call on peoples and people of good will to join hands in order to find a way out of guilt, misfortune, suffering, poverty and misery into a better future for us all."

Read the Charter of the German Expellees from 1950 here.

Second, on November 18, 1965, the Polish bishops of the Catholic Church – among them Karol Wojtyła, the Archbishop of Kraków (later  Pope John Paul II) –  send a pastoral letter to their German counterparts. They invited them to celebrate the 1000 Year Anniversary of Christianization. In this unique Letter of Christian Reconciliation the Polish bishops declared:

“In this most Christian and at the same time very human spirit, we extend our hands to you in the benches of the Council that is drawing to a close, granting forgiveness and asking for forgiveness. And when you, German bishops and Council Fathers, fraternally grasp our outstretched hands, only then will we be able to celebrate our millennium in Poland with a clear conscience in a completely Christian manner. We cordially invite you to Poland.”

“And despite all this, despite this almost hopelessly burdened situation with the past, it is precisely from this situation, dear brothers, that we call out to you: Let us try to forget! No polemics, no further cold war, but the beginning of a dialog, as it is sought everywhere today by the Council and by Pope Paul Vl.”

Read the pastoral letter from the Polish bishops to their German counterparts from November 18, 1965 and the reply from the German bishops dated December 5, 1965, here.

Third, Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt knelt at the memorial to the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, December 7, 1970, where 56,000 Jews were murdered by the Nazis in 1943.

This historic gesture, after laying a wreath, become the symbol of German recognition of guilt, atonement and regret for the crimes of the Nazis in Poland and hope for reconciliation in the future.

Fourth, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Poland's first non-communist prime minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki, celebrated a reconciliation mass in Gut Kreisau on November 12, 1989. Archbishop Alfons Nossol conducted the sermon.

The Holy Mass ended with the usual sign of reconciliation and both statemen embraced each other. Nossol told Mission Future this anecdote: The still socialist dominated Polish government asked the archbishop in advance to cancel this important element of reconciliation of the mass. He told them: “I will give you the telephone number of the Vatican. There you may ask there for an dispense from our Catholic liturgy.”

Wind of Change 1989 and 1990

The new second phase of reconciliation with Poland followed Brandt´s Ostpolitik with the Wind of Change initiated by Kohl in November 1989 and 1990. Topped by the membership of Poland in NATO (1999) and in the EU (2004) as a new partner for peace in Europe.

In 1990, ceding of the large former German territories in the east to Poland and the Soviet Union was recognized by the German parliament in Bonn under international law, codified by the Two-Plus-Four Treaty and sealed with the German-Polish Border Treaty. These treaties stoked bitterness among the 12 million refugees from these former German lands in the east. But they served German interests by paving the way to unification and reconciliation between both countries shaping a better future together.

Poland had to recover from the bitter past as well.

Many people forget that Poland was a victim of Nazi totalitarism and race ideology from 1939 to 1945 and followed by socialist totalitarism from 1945 to 1989. Poland had to fight for freedom and dignity twice.

The Catholic Church as well as millions of strong believers were the driving force behind this struggle.

In 1990, Poland needed to achieve domestic reconciliation with the brutal Communist party as well as with the German minority numbering 400,000 individuals, and with Germany as a strong neighbor in the West.

Mission Future met the archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, in his episcopal. He had worked for Karol Józef Wojtyła, later Pope John Paul II, since 1966. When Wojtyła was elected Pope, he persuaded Dziwisz to accompany him to Rome where he stood loyally at John Paul’s side as his private secretary and archbishop until the pope’s death in April 2005. In the same year, Dziwisz followed in Wojtyła’s footsteps when he was appointed bishop of their beloved city of Krakow. During our visit, Dziwisz told us,

“John Paul II lived in God, and with God. He searched for God in his daily life, made people around him happier, and talked to everyone, especially young people. It was not just his great personality, but also his living in God which made him so strong and influential.”

During our conversation about tolerance, we asked Cardinal Dziwisz about Pope John Paul II’s position concerning Muslims. He told us about the pope’s visit to Damascus, where Islamic scholars kindly welcomed him as “Our Grand Mufti” in the Great Mosque. The pope stated that the future depends on the possibility of engaging in constructive dialogue with Islam and discovering common values. Instead of focusing on struggle, it is more important to avidly search for common roots. For Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Dziwisz explained, humanity was a community without any kind of discrimination. Differences should lead to a strengthening of our human family, so the pope believed, because everyone must understand and respect the value of human diversity.

Read more about Pope John Paul II and his fight against Nazis and Communists here.

These were the results of a courageous new best practice policy of the various German governments from 1949 to 1990, a fresh “Mission Future Germany”, using a combination of Realpolitik and reconciliation.

 

Reconciliation with the Jewish community and Israel

In 1951, the Federal Republic of Germany started a reconciliation and Wiedergutmachungs-Politik with Israel and the former Jewish citizens. Almost a “mission impossible” after what had happened during the Nazi dictatorship with six million Jews killed in concentration camps.

How did this difficult mission succeed?

Early reparations paid to survivors and the State of Israel were important as a start.

Just six years after the end of World War II and the Holocaust and only two years after the Federal Republic of Germany was established in Bonn, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer started this delicate reconciliation process with an historic speech in the Bundestag on September 27, 1951. It was labeled “Government Statement on the Attitude of the Federal Republic of Germany towards the Jews.”.  He declared:

“Recently, the attitude of the Federal Republic of Germany towards the Jews has been the subject of various public debates around the world. Doubts have been raised here and there as to whether the new state is guided by principles in this important matter that take into account the terrible crimes of a bygone era and place the relationship between the Jews and the German people on a new and healthy footing. The attitude of the Federal Republic of Germany towards its Jewish citizens is clearly defined by the Basic Law. Article 3 of the Basic Law stipulates that all people are equal before the law and that no one may be disadvantaged or favored because of their gender, their origin, their race, their language, their homeland and origin, their faith, their religious or political views. Furthermore, Article 1 of the Basic Law states: "Human dignity is inviolable. It is the duty of all state authorities to respect and protect it.”

The German people are therefore committed to inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every human community, of peace and of justice in the world. These legal norms are directly applicable law and oblige every German citizen - and in particular every civil servant - to reject any form of racial discrimination. In the same spirit, the Federal Government also signed the Convention on Human Rights drafted by the Council of Europe and  committed itself to implementing the legal ideas set out therein.

However, these norms can only become effective if the attitude from which they were born becomes the common property of the entire nation. This is therefore primarily a problem of education. The Federal Government considers it necessary for the churches and the educational administrations of the Länder to do everything in their power to ensure that the spirit of human and religious tolerance is not only formally recognized by the German people, but especially among German youth and that it manifests itself in mental attitudes and practical actions. This is an essential task of the authorities called upon to educate, which, of course, needs to be supplemented by the example of adults.

In order to ensure that this educational work is not disrupted and that inner peace in the Federal Republic is preserved, the Federal Government has decided to combat groups still engaging in anti-Semitic incitement through relentless criminal prosecution. Proposals to amend the Criminal Code have been submitted to the Bundestag, on the basis of which, among other things, racially inciting propaganda would be punishable by severe penalties. The Federal Government will apply these provisions with the utmost determination as soon as they come into force.

The Federal Government and the vast majority of the German people are aware of the immeasurable suffering inflicted on the Jews in Germany and in the occupied territories during the Nazi era. The overwhelming majority of the German people abhorred the crimes committed against the Jews and did not participate in them. During the period of National Socialism, there were many among the German people who, at their own peril for religious reasons, out of remorse, out of shame at the desecration of the German name, were willing to help their Jewish fellow citizens. However, unspeakable crimes have been committed in the name of the German people, which require moral and material reparation, both with regard to the individual damage suffered by Jews and to Jewish property, for which there are no longer any individual beneficiaries today. The first steps have been taken in this area. However, much remains to be done. The Federal Government will ensure that the restitution legislation is concluded soon and that it is implemented fairly. Part of the identifiable Jewish property has been restituted; further restitution will follow.

With regard to the extent of restitution - a very significant problem in view of the enormous destruction of Jewish assets by National Socialism - account must be taken of the limits imposed on Germany's ability to pay by the bitter necessity of providing for the countless victims of the war and caring for the refugees and displaced persons. The Federal Government is prepared to work together with representatives of Judaism and the State of Israel, which has taken in so many homeless Jewish refugees, to find a solution to the problem of material reparations in order to ease the path to the spiritual cleansing of infinite suffering. It is deeply imbued with the conviction that the spirit of true humanity must once again come to life and bear fruit. The Federal Government regards serving this spirit with all its strength as the noblest duty of the German people.”

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany was established in 1951. Together with the State of Israel negotiations started in March 1952 with the government of the Federal Republic of Germany. Two Luxembourg agreements were signed. Israel received DM 3 billion in goods and services. DM 450 million were paid to the Claims Conference and more compensation to individuals with separate legislation. The Federal Compensation Act (BEG) of 1956 provided payments to those persons as compensation for physical injury and damage to health, restrictions on personal freedom, harm to economic and professional growth, and damage to personal property. Many Holocaust survivors received a monthly pension. The Federal Restitution Law (BRüG) of 1957 provided more compensation payments of USD $ 2.255 billion until 2011.

Germany also identified more than 16,000 Nazi-looted objects and returned them to the Holocaust survivors and their heirs.

The German government paid approximately over USD 86.8 billion in restitution and compensation to Holocaust victims and their heirs.

A large part of the compensation for Israel consisted of secret arms deliveries for various wars.

Shortly before Christmas in 1957, Shimon Peres met Minister of Defense Franz Josef Strauß at his home in Rott am Inn in Bavaria. Since the supply of weapons abroad required a debate and decision of the Bundestag and Chancellor Adenauer and Minister Strauss feared that official deliveries of weapons to Israel could lead to recognition of the GDR by Egypt, Syria and other Arab states, the two only agreed on an informal secret cooperation. This was also in the interest of Israel, where survivors had protested against any cooperation with Germany. Bonn agreed to supply new weapons worth DM 300 million to Israel and additional support for the next seven years. The secret deliveries were organized by the newly founded Federal Intelligence Service (BND). The training of Israeli soldiers took place discreetly in Bundeswehr barracks, for example in Rendsburg, which also provided weapons from the depots.

The secret remained secret until 1964. A year later, Israel and the Federal Republic of Germany established diplomatic relations. In a new official treaty, the countries agreed on the scope of the final arms deliveries.

Germany delivered 40 battle tanks, 500 trucks and 500 trailers, 34 military aircraft, 24 helicopters, 1,600 anti-tank missiles, equipment for two anti-aircraft battalions and ammunition. The Ministry of Defense covered the acquisition costs of DM 200 million.

In May 1960, several German-made Noratlas transport aircraft were flown to the French Air Force base in Lahr as Luftwaffe planes, repainted with the Star of David in Marseille and transferred to Israel.

In 1962, Israel received 24 brand new Sikorsky S-58 helicopters, which arrived in a ship. Their destination port was Hamburg, but they were diverted to Haifa on the high seas. This increased the number of Israeli helicopters from eight to 32 and the military strike force for the airlift of 15 soldiers each by several times. Their deployment in the 1967 Six-Day War demonstrated the value of these weapons.

To support the development of the Israeli arms industry, Germany ordered weapons for DM 250 million. It included 10,000 simple Uzi submachine guns for the Bundeswehr, which had been developed by the Uzi Gal who had fled Weimar to escape the Nazis.

The intense military cooperation continues to this day:

In 1991, Chancellor Helmut Kohl delivered three state-of-the-art German Dolphin-U-Boote(submarines) from HDW in Kiel to Israel free of charge. Israel currently operates six German submarines nuclear armed cruise missiles, which now deter totalitarian Iran. In 2017, Israel purchased three new submarines for € 1.5 billion, which will be operational in 2027, with € 540 million paid by the German government. In 2022, Israel ordered another three submarines of the new "Dakar" class from Germany for € 3 billion, of which Berlin paid € 540 million. They will be operational in 2030. In doing so, Germany secures Israel's second-strike capability and covered over € 1.5 billion of the costs. ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Kiel is currently building four corvettes as well.

On September 19, 2023, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant agreed the largest arms deal in Israel's history.   Beginning in 2025, Germany will be deploying the American Israeli missile defense system Arrow 3 for four billion euros. It can intercept incoming  missiles at altitudes of over 100 kilometers.

In 2008, German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared in the Israeli parliament:

"The historical responsibility of Germany is part of my country's reason of state. This means that Israel's security is never negotiable for me as German Chancellor.”

In addition to financial reparations and important military aid, a culture of reconciliation between the Federal Republic of Germany, the Jews and Israel was established over decades with thousands of symbols, meetings and discussions.

There were school exchanges, town twinning, sports competitions and regular visits by delegations from Germany to Israel. For example, the legendary soccer match in Israel between Borussia Mönchengladbach and the Israeli national team on February 28, 1970, was an emotional first bridge-stone to a new relationship.

Thousands of books, articles and films have dealt with the bitter past.

The Holocaust became a subject at schools.

The former concentration camps were turned into memorials and more than 100 new synagogues were built, after the Nazis had destroyed them during Kristallnacht November 9, 1938.

Since 2005 the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Denkmal der Ermordeten Juden Europas) in the center of Berlin, close to the Brandenburger Gate and Reichstag, has left a deep impression among visitors.

 


Germany is the global best practice of transforming a nation of sinners into a nation of peace and reconciliation with former enemies France, United Kingdom, Poland, the United States of America and the Jewish community- this gives us hope for the conflicts of today.


 

 

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4 - GOLDEN GLOBAL CHAMPIONS

Germany after 1945 ★★★

Against all odds the Federal Republic of Germany founded in 1949 become a Champion of Reconciliation. Inside with the Social Market Economy. Outside reconciling with the former arch-enemies France UK Poland and even the dominating victors USA and Russia. The Charter of 12 million German Expellees denounced violence in 195. The EU became and innovative as common bond for peace. NATO the bridge for the trans-Atlantic partnership with Washington DC. As well reconciliation with the Jewish population and Israel after the Holocaust.

 

Nelson Mandela and South Africa ★★★

No bloodshed but reconciliation of black and white after 1990. An innovative Truth and Reconciliation Commission copied in 40 nations.

 

Vietnam and the United States ★★★

After the bitter war a road to understanding and cooperation was built and promoted by former POW and U.S. Senator John McCain. Mutual interests initiated a new détente.

City Council of Brno ★★

The “Declaration of Atonement and Shared Future” by the city council of the Czech city of Brno (Brünn) in 2015 looks back to the mistreatment of the expelled German citizen in 1945 and for a better future.

 

Israel and the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco ★★

In 2020, Israel, the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco signed the important Abraham Accords starting diplomatic, economic and cultural relations and reconciliation.

 

Pope Francis and Grand Iman Ahmed e-Tayeb ★★

On February 4, 2019, Pope Francis and Grand Iman Ahmed e-Tayeb signed a historical Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together in Abu Dhabi in the UAE. A milestone of inter-religious dialogue and reconciliation of Islam and Christianity.

They inspired the leadership of the United Arab Emirates to build an Abrahamic Family House with a mosque a church and a synagogue in the capital which opened March 2023.

 

Champions of Reconciliation in Palestine and Israel ★★

Ismail Khatib, Yael Armanet Chernobroda, Wajeeh Y. Nusseibeh, Robi Damelin or Zeev Rotstein and many more grassroot movements like parentscircle.org, are promoting respect, humanity and reconciliation. More needed after October 7 2023 and the Gaza war than ever.

 

The Dalai Lama ★★

The Holiness The Dalai Lama promoted love for humanity all his life and reconciliation in a happy way and always with a smile.

The USA after the Civil War ★

A tragedy that still has repercussions today. A deep-rooted trauma in the soul of Americans. Freedom and reconciliation with the former slaves via Abraham Lincoln even brought Barack Obama into the White House. But there is still unfinished business with regard to deep polarization in the country. America is too much divided again. Into Extremes. Into Progressives and Conservatives.

 

Community of Sant’Egidio ★

The Community of Sant’Egidio, based in Rome and acting in the spirit of the Vatican, mediated peace in Mozambique in 1992 and global reconciliation in many projects.

 

Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies ★

For ten years the Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies (JCRS), located in the center of united Germany, has been conducting academic studies focusing on the roots of hate and options for reconciliation.

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5 - ACTION PLAN

What to do?
1. Never ever give up the hope for reconciliation. Miracles happen – be an optimist.

It may look like a mission impossible.

Be an optimist. Be positive and look back into history.

Miracles of reconciliation have happened several times before.

Here are just three examples, resembling Hollywood movies with happy ends:

For centuries, Germany and France were so-called ‘archenemies’. They fought no less than three wars against each other in just 74 years (1871; 1914-18; 1940-45). The first was won by the German Empire. France won the last two. Who would have dared to think of a Franco-German reconciliation, or even friendship, after 1945? And yet it was forged. By courageous politicians with heart and mind.

After Germany's total defeat in the Second World War, when it lost the large eastern territories that had been German for centuries (Silesia, Pomerania, East Prussia) to Poland and the USSR, with the brutal expulsion of 12 million Germans, who would never have thought that this situation could be resolved peacefully with forgiveness and a common future in the European Union and NATO?

Who would have thought that soldiers who fought against each other in the Second World War could one day become partners in NATO?

One example is General Johannes Steinhoff (mentor of Mission Future founder Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann). Steinhoff was a Luftwaffe flying ace with 136 kills. He was awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. A hero in Nazi Germany. When the Bundeswehr was founded in 1955, he joined this new democratic army in the NATO alliance. Became Inspector (Chief of Staff) of the Air Force and in 1971 NATO's highest-ranking soldier as Chairman of the Military Committee. His American deputy was Lieutenant General Edward Rowny (Dr. Hoffmann's mentor too), who had fought against Steinhoff and the Germans in World War II. Now he was his subordinate. They became good friends.

Ed Rowny was best friend of Dr. Fritz Kraemer. Kraemer had to leave Germany (‘with two PhDs and one monocle’, Gen John William Vessey Jr., Chairman JCS) in 1939 because of his Jewish family roots. He was drafted into the US Army in 1944, where he met the 19-year-old Henry Kissinger, a Jew from Fürth who had fled to New York with his parents. Older Kraemer became his iron mentor. Both fought in the 84th U.S. Infantry Division against Nazi Germany in the Battle of the Bulge and liberated a concentration camp near Hanover. Kissinger had lost 12 relatives in the Holocaust. Dr. Kraemer's father Dr. Georg Kraemer died in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Nevertheless, neither of them was bitter. Kraemer became the mentor of Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann from 1978 to 2003 and founded the World Security Network with him.

We met Henry Kissinger several times, the last time on his 100th birthday party in his former hometown of Fürth in Bavaria, talking about Mission Future AI (picture). Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who had served as a first lieutenant in the Luftwaffe, became Kissinger's best German friend.

Both ex-Germans and new-Americans reconciled with their old homeland. They differentiated between evil Nazis and seduced Germans. They campaigned for the protection of Berlin during the blockades, integration into NATO and reunification.

 

The silent dissolution of the National People's Army (NVA) of the socialist GDR and the integration of young NVA officers into the army of the enemy in 1990 seems almost like a tragicomedy.

Until then, they had faced each other heavily armed as enemies, ready at any time to close in on Germans as Germans. The then Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, General Klaus Naumann, told Mission Future this unique story of the reconciliation of two German armies:

In 1990 the GDR parliament (Volkskammer) decided to join the Federal Republic of Germany. On August 23, 1990, the Ministry of Disarmament and Defence issued an order to demilitarize combat vehicles, ships and aircraft of the NVA forces. On October 3, 1990, reunification of Germany was achieved in accordance with Article 23 of the Grundgesetz.

No humiliation. No howls of triumph. Instead, a respectful approach with the former enemies of the NVA in thousands of meetings and in bitter decisions.

Never had such a large enemy army been disbanded so peacefully and parts of it integrated into its own armed forces. This respectful manner has contributed to reconciliation in a divided Germany.

With the demobilization of the NVA, the sites, facilities and equipment were handed over to the Bundeswehr, which carried out the liquidation. The only unit taken over from the NVA was the tiny Technology Base for Camouflage and Deception.

11,000 of the 36,000 strong officer cadre of the NVA applied to join the Bundeswehr, with 3,200 transferred.

What particularly impressed the now Bundeswehr Colonel Ralph Malzahn: "People were never divided into two categories, according to whether they came from East or West." Everyone was given the same opportunity, but the same was also demanded of everyone. "You felt that you were taken seriously and accepted as a comrade."

280 NVA officers began preliminary training at the Luftwaffe Officer School on September 9, 1990, to prepare them for their new duties as officers in the Bundeswehr. The Luftwaffe used 24 East German MIG-29 jets until 2003.

On October 2, 1992, former members of the NVA were appointed as professional soldiers in the Bundeswehr for the first time.

Today three of the former Warsaw Pact enemies are NATO generals in a democratic united Germany.

 


These three examples show impressively that reconciliation between former enemies is also possible today.

Even for Russians and Ukrainians or Palestinians and Israelis.

Nothing is impossible.

You must want, start and implement it creatively and effectively.


 

2. Moral Statesmen

Historical and political responsibility requires true statesmen to initiate reconciliation. Like the exemplary Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle or Helmut Kohl and Nelson Mandela.

Reconciliation can only succeed if politicians preach and exemplify it from above.

Most politicians know how to start a war, but where are the peacemakers?

The aim of true statemen is to make the people happy- see our Action Manual Happiness for details.

3. Golden Champions are the catalysts

Reconciliation needs spiritual leaders, inspirers, icebreakers, courageous people, the champions of reconciliation with heart and mind. And inspired pioneers, thousands of committed participants, a tsunami of reconciliation.

Needed is the courage for reconciliation.

Just start writing down ideas for reconciliation. Read the past. Inspire your MPs, religious leaders, friends and journalists. Have the courage of your convictions.

In our Action Manual, we introduce you to these Golden Champions of Reconciliation from all parts of the world. Learn from them, follow them.

4. Symbols of reconciliation

Reconciliation needs symbols, getting the people’s attention and catching memories and hope. They release our emotions, needed to clear the souls.

Start with small gestures locally yourself. Set a candle of reconciliation in front of your doorsteps.

Well know is Nelson Mandela, when at the Rugby World Cup Final in 1995 the new president wore the dress of the pure white national Springbok rugby team, who won. A first celebration of white and black citizens in South Africa.

German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French President Charles de Gaulle celebrated a reconciliation mess for peace in Reims Cathedral July 8, 1962. Famous became a photo when both embraced each other. Both statesmen promised to promote the reconciliation in a united Europe of peace and freedom.

French president François Mitterrand and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl commemorate the Battle of Verdun in 1984, remembering the victims of both sides in the First World War and holding hands in reconciliation. (picture).

 

Helmut Kohl celebrated a reconciliation mess of the Germans and the Polish at Gut Kreisau November 12, 1989, with Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Poland's first non-communist prime minister. Archbishop Alfons Nossol preached. Both statemen embrace each other with the usual Catholic sign of reconciliation. For the first time 3,000 people of the discriminated German minority in Upper Silesia in Poland showed up in the public. Mission Future founder Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann had initiated that idea with an invitation of Chancellor Kohl by Alfons Nossol in his ZDF heute-journal interview in September, which Kohl watched and liked, and was involved as editor of ZDF TV to show this historical moment life on German television.

We visited the impressive National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. It is a reminder of the bitter times of slavery, the exploitation and disenfranchisement of black people as labor machines. In the middle of a Christian world and an America striving for freedom. What a disgrace. The museum shows the rocky road to emancipation and liberation and the successes of colored icebreakers. A worthy tribute to the victims and the liberators.

 

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Denkmal der Ermordeten Juden Europas) in the center of Berlin, close to the Brandenburger Gate and Reichstag, impresses with 2,711 grey concrete slabs in a grid pattern of 200,000 sq ft since 2005. You can walk through this German Holocaust Memorial and get an impression of the monstrous number of six million murdered Jews. Killed because of the racial mania of a totalitarian dictatorship in which ideology judged people and disenfranchises all opponents and disposes of them as so-called "pests of the people". An ideology of planned genocide, the warning of which is still relevant today.

The memorial shows that reconciliation must always begin with honoring the victims of the past and acknowledging guilt. In other words, with atonement and dignity. This is the base.

5. Symbols of successful reconciliation

In addition to the fighters for reconciliation, a growing number of symbols of successful reconciliation are needed.

In other words, personalities who symbolize the new good and successful reconciliation and better coexistence.

In the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC the two political ice-breakers General Colin Powell, the first African American U.S. National Security Advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff und Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, the first female African American Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, followed by U.S. President Barack Obama, are shown at the end of the exhibition. These personalities proof: Yes, reconciliation and fair integration can be done.

6. Tolerance is the base

In our world of diversity with 7.8 billion different people, we have to accept and appreciate that people are very different.

This is God’s DNA of diversity and his will.

We all share the same DNA, being black or white, Americans or Africans.

Tolerance for other people is needed in our world of diversity.

Let us not focus on our differences but look what we have in common and unites us as human beings globally.

Install a Minister for Tolerance and Reconciliation and a National Tolerance and Reconciliation Agenda.

See all details and our proposals in our Mission Future Action Manual Tolerance.

7. Always remember – never forget

The past with disappointments and horror cannot be undone.

It will be bitter forever and never forgotten.

But you decided to look for a better future as new partner of peace.

We must honor the victims of the time of shadows.

It is our obligation.

Set a symbol yourself- maybe just a flower remembering the victims.

8. Justice and reparations

Reconciliation needs justice, reparation, work on trauma, security building and a long-term and consistent confrontation of the violent past and the guilt of the perpetrators, including their punishment.

Connect with the specialists.

9. Spiritual and religious views

Reconciliation needs heart & mind.

It must include the 3-dimentional human being with all its fears and hopes and roots.

Reconciliation must include the spiritual as well the religious aspects of the local people involved.

It must touch our deepest emotions and set free a positive spirit.

Overcoming the negativity of hate.

A U-turn inside us.

A seldom hour of the stars of humanity.

With passion and human love.

One of those highly emotional moments in our personal life where you have to fight back tears and can hardly speak because it touches you deep down in your soul.

An alliance with the religious and spiritual leaders from both sides is therefore very helpful.

10. The Psychology of Reconciliation

The psychology of reconciliation goes deep into the innermost part of the human being. Into his heart. His soul. His psyche.

"Peace is the Way", Deepak Chopra has been preaching for many years. Mission Future Founders Dr. Hubertus and Yvonne Hoffmann honored him with the Tolerance Award in New York in December 2023 (photo). Inner peace comes before outer peace. Forgiveness is needed. Get rid of hate and become happy.

The Dalai Lama told us: “If you want to change the world, begin by changing yourself.”

11. Meetings of victims and aggressors

On the personal level, victims and perpetrators should meet eye to eye. Best for several hours and more often. Maybe involving the public and media to learn and document. To remember from both sides. Listening to both stories, understanding, searching for common ground and values, maybe even apologizing and forgiving and reaching the new level of understanding and cooperation.

Read more!

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6 - TOP SOURCES & PARTNERS

Here is our Mission Future List of excellent global partners for you to learn from and connect, to solve the problem quick, creatively, effective and with humanity:

Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies (JCRS)

Since July 2013, the Jena Center for Reconciliation Studies (JCRS) is based within the Faculty of Theology at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena in the center of a united Germany.

France and Germany

60th Anniversary of the Élysée Treaty

Poland and Germany

30 years after the German-Polish reconciliation mass

South Africa

The official Truth and Reconciliation Commission Website

South Africa

Truth Commission, U.S. Institute of Peace

About Nelson Mandela

Related Action Manuals