In an effort 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 during previous administrations. 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.

Kneeling before the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial (December 7, 1970)

  • Konrad Adenauer


Source: State visit by Chancellor Willy Brandt and Foreign Minister Walter Scheel to Poland (December 6–8, 1970), December 7, 1970. Photo: Hanns Hubmann.
bpk-Bildagentur, image number 30008359. For rights inquiries, please contact Art Resource at requests@artres.com (North America) or bpk-Bildagentur at kontakt@bpk-bildagentur.de (for all other countries).

© bpk / Hanns Hubmann