GHDI logo
German History in Documents and Images
return to system

Kneeling before the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial (December 7, 1970)
In an attempt to rebuild West Germany's relationship with the countries of the Eastern Bloc, Chancellor Willy Brandt pursued paths of rapprochement and reconciliation that were still regarded as impossible by his predecessors in office. During a state visit to Poland in December 1970, Brandt spontaneously knelt before a memorial to the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. This now iconic image circulated widely within the international press. In West Germany, Brandt was criticized for his gesture by segments of the FDP, the parliamentary opposition, and the press. Photo by Hanns Hubmann.