From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

Der Standard 28.08.2009

Why have the Austrians remained so conspicuously silent about the September 1?, Adam Krzeminski and Martin Pollack ask in this Austrian paper. "The war, which started on 1 September 1939, with the German invasion of Poland, was also an Austrian war. It was not only fought in far-off lands, in German-occupied territories, in the depths of Russia, but also on the so-called Heimatfront - where concentration camp prisoners were forced to work before the very eyes of indifferent locals."

Die Tageszeitung 29.08.2009

Brigitte Werneberg talks to the German artist Thomas Demand, whose retrospective opens in the Neuenationalgalerie in Berlin on 18 September. One of the catalogue texts is written by the writer Botho Strauß. Werneberg asks whether it was appropriate to opt for such a conservative writer? Demand's answer is unequivocal: "Do you really still foster such dichotomies? First and foremost he is a brilliant writer! That's why I asked him to contribute. And who's to say that he and I have to see eye to eye politically? The exhibition doesn't deal with this sort of thing. It's not some election rally, and in view of the subtlety of his thinking, such qualifications strike me as one dimensional. But even visitors who still believe in the relevance of such categories can cope with a little complimentarity. There's nothing to lose by reading around a bit."

Die Welt 31.08.2009

The Polish film director Andrzej Wajda looks back, in an interview, at 1 September 1939 - at the flight from the Germans, the lies told after the end of the War, and the illusions which the Polish had about their army, which was still oriented towards hand-to-hand combat. "As we fled, we came across the motorised German infantry. It was an endless column of every military technology imaginable. We'd never even dreamed of such things. I didn't anything like it again until 'Star Wars'."

Other papers 01.09.2009

In the new Cargo magazine, the Nobel literary prize laureate Elfriede Jelinek spends four pages explaining why the woman is defeated in Lars von Trier's "Antichrist". "Woman, the being who is closer to nature, who has been fought bloodily as the very embodiment of the uncanny, and is still fought as such, has no control over the arbitrary, which is central to power (her use of violence against the man, the whetstone she drives through his leg, the whetstone which sharpens all tools, the millstone which human beings are for one another, weights around each other's necks, is paradoxically a 'civilised violence' because it allows abstraction and Freudian interpretation. The man's strangling of the woman, however, is animal violence, self-defence (destroy what destroys you, as the only way to get rid of a millstone around your neck), so you might say this is closer to nature, simpler, more direct, because the man doesn't even need to sublimate in his exercise of violence. Violence is he, he is violence."

Frankfurter Rundschau 02.09.2009

In a long conversation with Li Pengyi, a leading Communist Party official and head of the state-run Commercial Press, Arno Widmann and Bernhard Bartsch attempt to find out what the term socialist market economy means. "Central government," Li Pengyi explains, "wants all publishing houses to be be free enterprises, bar four: the People's Press, the politics and Marxism publishers; the Publishing House for Tibetan Studies; the Publisher for Ethnic Minorities and finally, the Publishing House for the Blind. These four publishers need the support of the government. All the others will become free-market enterprises." Free-market ideally means "a market in the hands of the state".

Süddeutsche Zeitung 02.09.2009

Thirty years after Tito's death Slavenka Drakulic visits the Brijuni islands where the dictator had his summer residence. On the first floor of the villa is a very hagiographic photo exhibition, so she was more tickled by the second exhibition "on the ground floor - which is about his animals. For a while it was the done thing for state visitors to present Tito with wild, exotic animals as gifts. Most of them were unable to acclimatise and soon died. They were then stuffed and exhibited. Upstairs you can see photos of Tito playing with a baby orang-utan, and downstairs, view the taxidermied remains of this unfortunate animal."

Jungle World 04.09.2009

Bernd Beier talks to Karl Rössel, the curator of the Berlin exhibition, "The Third World in the Second World War", which has been the subject of heated debate since being banned from the Werkstatt der Kulturen because it documents the collaboration of the Muftis of Jerusalem with the Nazis. Rössel focuses on victims of war that have received little recognition to date, but he also says: "For the sake of historical probity, we should not pretend that the world was full of anti-facists, freedom fighters and victims, when there were collaborators right across the globe, as well as avowed fascists. The SS had willing recruits even in Third World countries, the Wehrmacht had an Arab legion and an Indian one too, and there were countless politicians from various continents who were in exile in Nazi Germany. - let's talk european