Linda Kennedy: Germany's naked ambition has led to an unwanted invasion
GERMANS march into Poland. It's an old headline but it's causing concern again. Back then, the problem was naked aggression. Now it's naked sunbathers. Tension is rising on the German-Polish border.
The problem started in a beach resort. For years, Germans holidaying on the Baltic Sea island of Usedom have gone naked.
Germany, a nation which still seems to operate rationing where citizens find mirrors particularly hard to get, has a high number of people who like to go naked. Fine, if you do it within the privacy of your own borders. Not so fine if you're invading a neighbour's territory.
This summer, border controls ended between Poland and Germany. Germans call naked sunbathing free body culture (Freikrperkultur or FKK). The FKK beach in Usedom lies close to the border, and some FKK fanatics in flip-flops have strolled onto the Polish beach. You know how Poles feel about Germans crossing into their territory. This is dj vu with a twist. And the twist dangles.
This is no small problem, you see. Usedom is so popular for German naturism it was selected as a destination for the first ever nudist charter flight. (That, presumably, would have been a trip where passengers did not receive boarding passes, not only because they'd nowhere to tuck them, but this system would happily allow Germans to rush on board and put a towel on their seats, which one hopes they would do anyway in the interests of hygiene. The flight was later cancelled, because of 'moral concerns', rather than fears of a nasty incident with a seatbelt snapping shut.
The rest of Europe looks on nervously. Might Gordon Brown declare war on Germany, to distract attention from his woes, create a war economy, look big and important, and at last win support from English voters who would adore anyone giving them the chance to kick the Germans' backsides? All the better if they're naked.
I hope the past doesn't repeat itself. It was one thing to defend the Poles against German helmets in 1939. But at least back then the helmets were steel, rather than the slang flesh variety. Get over it, I say to the Poles, referring to their outrage. Don't get over it, I say to the naturists, referring to the border. Poland is no place for a German to go commando. If nothing else, history has taught us that.
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