From the Feuilletons


Polityka 31.08.2007

Germany is once more the subject of fierce debate in the current election campaign in Poland. One Polish politician has described the German resistance movement during World War II as wimpy. Former German President Richard von Weizsäcker responds in an interview with Polish journalist Adam Krzeminski, published in German in the Polish magazine Polityka: "Such a derogatory remark about the German resistance is of course hardly founded. But at the same time, I can't expect Poles to have a real appreciation of the extremely difficult, tragic and ultimately unsuccessful efforts on the part of the different German resistance groups. In the movement of the 20th of July, 1944 (the attack on Hitler's life - ed.), the most important aim wasn't at all getting rid of Hitler, or bringing and end to the criminal war and obtaining the best conditions for Germany. The plotters knew the Allies were insisting on unconditional surrender. No, the most important thing was to show the world there was another Germany. We shouldn't forget that, after the attack, more people died on all the fronts, in the concentration camps and under the bombs than since the beginning of the war."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 31.08.2007

Writer Richard Wagner sees Eastern and Central Europe undergoing a long transformation process before a successful end is reached. He fears that the legacy of communism will be felt subtly for a long time yet. "Communists worked with half-truths. They didn't invent history, they manipulated it. Most of the war crimes trials of the post-war era didn't even uphold constitutional standards. In fact, these trials should be re-opened. But that's practically impossible, which means that revisionists will continue to find the justification they need. Communist propaganda destroyed the ethical value of history. Re-gaining that is absolutely necessary for a balanced view of history. How much time this will take is made clear by the endless discussion of collaboration in the Netherlands, despite the democratic situation there." (Read our feature "A writer in the Cold War" by Wagner here)

Frankfurter Rundschau 31.08.2007

In an epic and masterfully conducted interview, Andre Müller asks writer Peter Handke about - what else? - Serbia and Milosevic. "He was voted out of office. That he was extradited remains an eternal disgrace for Serbia," he says. To Müller's interjection that the Serbian writer Biljana Srbljanovic says that he, Handke, has no idea that Milosevic had members of the opposition murdered on the street, he answers. "That's simply not true. There was a totally free press in Yugoslavia. And there was the West's economic embargo, which gave rise to mafia-like structures. These little mafia groups fought each other. How can that be connected to Milosevic? ... It's shameless to claim that. This girl was asked by Spiegel, which backed the war, to keep a journal during the Nato war against Yugoslavia. As the bombs were falling, she wrote that things were totally safe, just a bit of glass shattering here and there. In truth, over a thousand Serbs died in this war. This woman is a whore to the West. That's what I call it." (Two features by Müller here, a further interview with Handke here)

Frankfurter Rundschau 31.08.2007

The Austrian writer Franzobel admits to taking manic interest in the sales of his books through Amazon. "My latest novel 'Liebesgeschichte' (love story), for example, was at 480th place for a short while. But then within just a few days it had plummeted to the 20,000th spot, and is now steady at 14,000. That's extremely frustrating when you think that Robert Menasse's new book is at 100, and Arno Geiger at 2,000. Fine, by the same token I've got Peter Henisch and Margit Schreiner, both at around 100,000, well under control. And even Gerhard Roth and Josef Winkler are trailing me, while oddly Thomas Glavinic, who caricatures the literature business in his new book, is swinging around like a pendulum."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 31.08.2007

Jordan Mejias was invited to chat with genome decoder Craig Venter and colleagues, as they painted pictures of a brave new world on a nice farm in Connecticut. "Venter considers the manipulation of human genes to be not only possible, but desirable. Of course he intends to disappoint the prisoner who asks him to design an attractive cell-mate just as he does the odious ruler who wishes for a mentally-undeveloped working class. But, Venter asks, who could have anything against people with genetically boosted intelligence? Or against new genomes that are discovering as yet unknown sources of bio energy? Nobody on Eastover Farm has any qualms about the eugenic revival. Things that would cause massive controversy in a group of Germans are wafting around here freely, under the maple trees that bend gently in the wind."

Die Tageszeitung 31.08.2007

Cristina Nord reports good-naturedly from the second day of the Venice Film Festival, where Takeshi Kitano's non-competition review of cinema "Glory to the Filmmaker!" more than tickled her fancy. "The film is a spirited tour through the history of film, and through Kitano's own work. One unbeatable scene, for example, is the shoot-out in a parking garage in which the bullets become visible through slow-motion, fly at Kitano like in 'Matrix', then smash into the wall behind him before bouncing back and once more racing at Kitano. When one of them hits the back of his head he stumbles and says: 'Ouch!'"

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Gerhard Matzig waves his finger at German architects for their lack of concern about the environment. "First: architects have no idea about residential architecture. Secondly: they understand nothing about the technical component, which is the most important in ecological building. Both of these preconceptions are true. German architects, living in a nation that is leading in environmental technologies, are simply missing the boat on the most radical challenge that their profession has ever been faced with. It's not to be believed." - let's talk european