The collective memories and troubled history shared by Germany and Poland fundamentally structure the relations between these two countries. These memories are condensed into relatively stable and stereotypical national collective identities, which form the prisms through which Germany's Eastern neighbour has widely been perceived. This article addresses the question of how these negative perceptions have been reproduced throughout the 20th century. From a German perspective Poland continues to represent the threatening image of the East European 'Other', thus providing key elements to a post-War West German collective identity and political interests. While at first sight the promise of Poland's integration into the European Union seems to undermine the rationale of this narrative, its impact is likely to have a more ambivalent effect. In German public discourse there is an important gap between the rational debate on the benefits and risks involved in EU-Enlargement on the one hand, and the general perceptions of Poland as a genuine threat to German society on the other hand. Fears of crime, immigration and economic deprivation provide a fertile ground for re-invigorating old narratives. While EU-integration may help overcome the conflicts rooted in collective memory, it could also result in the political scapegoating of Poland for the highly controversial political course of the EU.