DW-WORLD.DE readers this week comment on a controversial decision to award (and later revoke) a prestigious German prize to Austrian writer and Milosevic supporter Peter Handke as well as the pope's vist to Poland.
Benedict wore Poland's national colors
The followi n g comme n ts reflect the views of our readers. Not all reader comme n ts have bee n published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for le n gth a n d appropriate n ess of co n te n t.
The pope i n Auschwitz
At the very outset of his visit, Pope Benedict managed to make millions of hearts beat in unison. He managed to take away the pain of losing Pope John Paul II. He truly represents the best qualities of German people and he will be able to heal millions of old wounds. We are all so happy to welcome him on Polish land and we wish him loads of health and energy. Long live the pope! -- Nick Lipski, Warsaw , Pola n d
As a German-American Catholic, I am very proud that a German has been elected pope. I feel that in some mysterious way this is God's effort to finally heal the wounds created by WWII. -- Terry Stremel
We love our new pope same as John Paul II. I hope that German people will finally leave stereotypes about Poles and vice versa. We need peace and reconciliation. -- bartizzle, Pola n d
The pope's nationality does not matter, but can afford a sharper focus to certain topics. Case in point -- a German pope in Auschwitz praying for the dead at the hands of the German Nazis and calling for peace and reconciliation amongst nations, especially the three peoples most entangled in the events of the last world war with its evil, inhuman, pagan and racist ideology. His prayer is soothing and full of love to the victims so hopefully it will heal the wounds that stand in the way of normal relationship between nations. -- Jerzy
Pope Benedict XVI at Auschwitz death camp
God knows what is best for all of us. Pope Benedict will be guided by the Holy Spirit and has done a wonderful job. We need to pray for him. -- tlaperch
The opportunity for a German pope who was in the Wehrmacht and Hitler Youth was to lash out at the dangers of blind faith in authority. He asked where was God, but it is a rhetorical question that can be answered by saying, "not with the Jews." One can also interpret the question as meaning why did God abandon the entire human race and in that sense it is a valid question. But that is not the question to be asked at Auschwitz. The Germans still had their belief in Jesus during World War II. They still could go to church. The question that should be asked is why the church was silent about the deportation and murder of six million Jews. The pope could not ask that question because the answer is that the Catholic Church stood by silently while the third Reich committed genocide against the Jews. The Catholic Church chose, like the rest of the Germans, to align with Hitler, rather than to resist and face certain death. -- heal n gha n z
Hei n e Prize for Peter Ha n dke
I absolutely think that the politicians must respect the decision of the jury of the Heinrich Heine Prize. The politicians should have nothing to do with this award. They should be there to respect and support the work of writers and other artists and learn from it! I think that what is happening currently in France and Germany regarding Peter Handke's work is extremely shameful and I hope it will stop and that Peter Handke will receive formal apologies. I also hope that he will be allowed a proper chance to explain his views and why it is important for artists to seek the truth outside of the mainstream. -- A n djelija Djuric
I agree it is not the place of elected politicians (also monarchs) to judge literary prizes. However it is equally wrong for the elected officials to provide funds from the public purse for the prizes. Both the award committee and the funding committee should be private. -- Jim Devi n , O n tario , Ca n ada
Revoke? Absolutely Not! What happened to democracy and freedom of speech and thought? If Germany fights for democracy, then do as you preach. -- Rich Berke n buch
I think that it is great that a person can express themselves on a controversial issue, or hold an unpopular opinion. About the whole NATO war against Serbia there is a lot that could be said that was wrong as well. On the other hand, I am aware that some Serbians are quite anti-German, and I am not surprised that -- even among left-wing interests in Germany -- having any sympathies with Serbia and especially Milosevic is not popular. In general I think that Europeans should stop blowing each other apart. -- P.Rosli n