From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

On the fifth anniversary of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Topography of Terror museum, on the site of the former SS headquarters, has just opened its new Documentation Center.

Die Welt

Paul Jandl talks to György Konrad about Hungary's swing to the right, and also about the Holocaust memorial. "When I visited the memorial in Berlin I noticed that from the outside it is very much of this world, with tourists sitting about on the stones. But when you walk inside, you are enveloped by the solemn mood. There is no more chatting, there is only to room to walk through the stelae alone. I spent several hours in this memorial. There are endless ways to traverse it and yet it is always the same. There is no way to correct it. It feels indestructible."

Spiegel Online 06.05.2010

Henryk Broder is deliberately provocative in his assessment of the Holocaust memorial. "It centralises remembrance and draws a ten-tonne line under the memory. It serves collective exoneration rather than individual conscience examination. Because it has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the present day Federal Republic. It makes creates no links between yesterday and today; it celebrates the Holocaust as a one-off event without even hinting at the danger that it could happen again – elsewhere and under different conditions."

Frankfurter Rundschau 04.05.2010

The historian Michael Wildt, who worked on the conception of the exhibition in the Topography of Terror, explains in an interview his expectations for the Documentation Center. "I think it is important that Nazi society as a whole is presented, not just the institutions of terror, but the variety of ways in which all levels of society participated in the crimes. The way the average man in the street also profited from the plundering of Jewish fortunes, right down to the feelings of power which even menial workers had when ordering about the forced labourers under them."

Die Welt

Sven Felix Kellerhoff praises the Topography of Terror exhibition as unpretentious and informative. "What has been added is a chapter on the "people's community". The foundation, whose principle task is to document the SS apparatus of repression, has taken up an important development in recent research. Historians are increasingly emphasising that after the brutal seizure of power by the Nazis in 1933/34, the Third Reich was held together not by terror but by Hitler's popularity and the new sense of community – albeit at the cost of the so-called 'enemies of the people' such as Jews, Marxists and other opponents of Hitler who were brutally excluded."

Other stories:

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 03.05.2010

In the Franfurter Allgemeine Sonntags Zeitung, Eleonore Büning reports on a miracle. He is a 23-year-old pianist named Igor Levit. She met him in China, where he was playing Liszt's transcendental etudes on a piano that was completely out of tune. The audience was brought to its knees and wept: "What happened? The cacophony of wrong notes suddenly played no role any more. Above it or behind it an abstract room had opened in which Levit unravelled the musical poetry which resides in every one of these character pieces. How often have these marvellous and mysterious etudes only been tackled, rather than read or even interpreted!"

Listen to Levit here:

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
7.05. 2010

The public broadcaster ZDF has cancelled a planned talkshow with Kurt Westergaard, the cartoonist behind the Mohammed cartoons on the grounds that it was not suitable material for the entertainment slot of the popular talkmaster Markus Lanz. In the FAZ, Michael Hanfeld cannot accept this excuse: "It strikes me as odd, especially because his predecessor Johannes B. Kerner and indeed Lanz himself have always been allowed to interpret the line between entertainment and information very freely, on all number of occasions. And since when is the threat to press freedom not an issue for a public TV talk show?" ZDF later claimed that whole idea for the interview came from Westergaard's manager and that it was rejected by a standard editorial decision. This is not true, according to Henryk Broder at Spiegel Online, who shows that the initiative came from ZDF and was later withdrawn. - let's talk european