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Bitterness and mistrust still surface, but many residents of Poznan warily welcomed the presence of former enemy troops this week as a step toward a better future.

War games outside Poznan brought together NATO allies and former Warsaw Pact nations for the first time. They also put Polish troops and soldiers from united Germany shoulder-to-shoulder for the first time after centuries of enmity.The military exercises at the Biedrusko military training ground are the first under Partnership for Peace, a program conceived by the United States to prepare some former East bloc nations for eventual membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

But as politicians hail a new era in diplomatic relations and soldiers develop friendships over beer after a long day in the field, some civilians are finding it a bit tougher.

It will take time before those who suffered through the Nazi occupation come to grips with the idea of Poles and Germans as com-rades.

"They already had a chance to train together - in 1939; that should be enough," said Jan Wyskupajtis, 57, referring to the year the Nazis occupied Poland. "We have never been friends and we will never be."

Wyskupajtis was forced by Russians to leave his birthplace in Lithuania, which before the war belonged to Poland. He believes Poles should strive to be neutral rather than try to enter NATO.

"We should try to have friends everywhere and to live in peace with everybody," he said.

After some thought, he added bitterly: "Our history ranges back more than 50 years ago. And history likes to repeat itself."

After Prussia seized northern and western Poland in the 18th century, Poles struggled for nearly 150 years against German dominion.

In 1918, after World War I, Poland became independent, but its freedom was short-lived.Twenty-one years later, the Nazis steamrolled into Poland and remained an occupying power until 1944.