West Germany: Of Hope & Heimatsrecht

To Germans, the word Heimat (homeland) has a deep sentimental significance. From political exiles such as Poet Heinrich Heine in 1831 (Ich hatte einst ein schones Vaterland) to modern-day emigres in the Americas whose eyes fill with tears at the memory of some sooty mill town in the Ruhrgebiet, Heimat is that distant place you came from—and forever recall over beers and tears. Last week all of West Germany was aroused over the Heimat issue as political reality clashed head-on with sentiment.

At the heart of the matter are the "lost territories" east...

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