Bridges on Sundays comes to you from a place today that brings the Bridge as my symbol of connection between cultures to quite a literal level.
This photo was taken out of the train on Oderbrücke that connects Frankfurt / Oder in Germany with Świecko (Słubice) in Poland. The river Oder has only marked a border since 1945. Before, both sides of the river were German. After World War II Germany lost its Eastern territories, namely Silesia and Eastern Prussia, to Poland, while Poland lost large parts of Galicia, the Wilna and Nowogrodek areas to the Soviet Union. This map might make it clearer. In 1949 the Odra became the official border between the newly founded German Democratic Republic and the Polish People’s Republic. The Federal Republic of Germany didn‘t recognize this border officially until 1970 when Willy Brandt was chancellor. He had brought on a political course of rapproachment with the East. It was perceived as scandalous back then. Federal Germans felt that Brandt was giving up on land that was actually theirs to re-obtain one day. Thankfully those times are largely behind us, and hardly any German wants these territories back, but resentments die hard, and there is still mistrust between Poles and Germans when it comes to this, especially in older generations.
I only visited Frankfurt and Słubice for the first time last May and walked across a different bridge then that is open for cars and pedestrians. I remember feeling elated. There was no border control. There were no fences or gates or barriers. There was, simply spoken, just free access between the two countries. I thought “Schengen”, thought “European Union”, but this meant so much more than politics. It meant bridging the gap between two countries and removing all obstacles for people to come together and work through the hardships that history has burdened them with.
If you have read My Mission statement, you know why I love bridges. To me they are the most universal symbol of connection, of bringing people together and overcoming anything that may seperate us. I want to present to you pictures of bridges that I really love in places that I really love on my blog every Sunday. If you have a picture of a bridge that you would like to share with my readers as a guest post, feel free to contact me!