On 7 December 1970, Prime Minister Willy Brandt's official visit schedule included a few minutes in front of the Warsaw Jewish Memorial. There, he laid wreaths for the victims of the uprising. After straightening the silk knot on the wreath, Brandt stepped back and suddenly fell to his knees. The move was not planned in advance, and it requires no verbal explanation. Brandt is said to have said afterwards, "I did it because the language had lost its expressiveness."
The picture of the German Chancellor kneeling to apologize has spread all over the world, and it has also triggered different reactions in Germany. Many criticized and blamed, but more respected. Hans-Dietrich Genscher, then Germany's interior minister, recalled: "I was deeply moved by this move. Brandt made it clear to everyone with remove background from image all his personality. I have great respect and admiration for him.” The communist rulers of Poland did not expect Brandt's actions, and they were excited but also uneasy. After all, in the context of Polish propaganda, the image of Germany is still an "enemy" or an "aggressor". A penitent German chancellor is too out of character to fit that image.
Perhaps it is for this reason that Brandt's act of kneeling to apologize did not attract strong attention in Poland at first, because except for a few high-level people, almost no one knew about this move in the public. Polish textbooks did not include this photo until 1989. However, the reason for Brandt's visit to Poland was not to kneel down and apologize. First recognition of German-Polish borders Forty years ago, Brandt visited Poland not seeking forgiveness, but as a partner, hoping to normalize relations between the two countries. Dialogue with Poland plays a pivotal role in the process of "transformation through engagement". The precondition for Brandt's approval was the recognition of the new border between the Oder and Ness drawn by the Allied forces after the war, which the post-war Federal Republic of Germany had not officially recognized until then.