Witness to intellectual suicide

Tuesday 3 May, 2011

TeaserPicOn what would have been Romanian philosopher E.M. Cioran's 100th birthday, Suhrkamp has published a volume of his essays from the 1930s, "Über Deutschland". Effervescing with enthusiasm for Hitler and fascist ideas, they cast a dark shadow over his later writing. Fritz Raddatz wishes he'd never had to read such abominations and bids a former companion a bitter farewell. Photo: E.M. Cioran © Surhrkamp Verlag
read more

Mass murderers of conviction

Monday 18 April, 2011

TeaserPicThe trial of SS officer Adolf Eichmann began fifty years ago. Research continues to show that many of the perpetrators were not just bureaucrats and cretins but educated men who acted out of intellectual conviction - Eichmann, contrary to what Hannah Arendt said, included. An interview with Holocaust historian Ulrich Herbert by Stefan Reinecke and Christian Semler. (Photo: Adolf Eichmann during his trial in Jerusalem)
read more

Chalk and the abyss

Wednesday May 19, 2010

As rector of the Albert Ludwig University in the winter of 1933/34, Martin Heidegger gave a seminar which was said to contain decisive evidence of the total identification of his teachings with the principles of Hitlerism. Now, thanks to his son Hermann Heidegger, the secret transcripts of this seminar "On the Essence and Concepts of Nature, History and the State" have been published for the first time. By Alexander Kissler
read more

Beyond the war hero

Tuesday 17 February, 2009

TeaserPicBernard-Henri Levy looks at some of the problems posed by the film "Valkyrie" which are too complex and delicate to be resolved within Hollywood logic. First on the list: the Scientology question.
read more

Unmasking the July 20 plot

Friday 13 February, 2009

To deny Stauffenberg and the other conspirators any moral and cultural relevance is blinkered and consitutes intellectual bigotry. Even if their ideas seem politically anachronistic today, these men showed the sort of noblesse and strength of character of which today’s politicians and other bureaucratic elites can only dream. Karl Heinz Bohrer responds to the thesis of British historian Richard J. Evans.
read more

Why did Stauffenberg plant the bomb?

Tuesday 10 February, 2009

TeaserPicWas it because Hitler was losing the war? Was it to put an end to the mass murder of the Jews. Or was it to save Germany's honour? Whatever his motives, he was no role model for future generations, says British historian Richard Evans. (Photo: Deutsches Historisches Museum)
read more

Evil dead

Wednesday 13 March, 2008

An SS man reflects on mass murder - and there's a pigeon hole for every vile deed. Novelist Georg Klein on the Holocaust and the enlightened harmony of trivial realism in Jonathan Littell's novel "The Kindly Ones".

read more

Rationalising the irrational

Wednesday 13 March, 2008

The 400-page German translation of Jonathan Littell's corpse-littered SS novel, "The Kindly Ones," has put the German-language feuilletons into a critical frenzy, despite the general consensus that the book is bad. We have compiled a selection of the accusations hurled.
read more

Double life is the drug

Wednesday 16 January, 2008

Kurt von Hammerstein was head of the Reichswehr, a grand seigneur, and an implacable opponent of National Socialism. In his new book "Hammerstein oder Der Eigensinn" (Hammerstein or idiosycrasy), Hans Magnus Enzensberger engages in dialogues with the dead to deliver a literary and lunatic precipitate of German history.
By Ina Hartwig
read more

Under the sign of half truth

Monday 10 September, 2007

The dawn of a new era in Central Eastern Europe means confronting the legacy of communism and fascism. While there is no lack of advice and admonition from Western Europe, or coarse dressing-downs from Moscow, these nations must be given the time they need to unravel their complicated history. Romanian-German writer Richard Wagner guides us through some of the thorniest issues. (Photo © Lothar Deus)

read more

The fine art of whitewashing

Tuesday 17 April, 2007

Baden-Württemberg's premier Günther Oettinger made a few off comments in his speech at the funeral of his predecessor Hans Filbinger last week. Namely that Filbinger, who had worked as a judge for the National Socialist regime, had opposed the Nazis. Having been rapped on the knuckles by Angela Merkel, Oettinger recanted, as little as possible. Then he granted himself an apology. Arno Widmann is not impressed.
read more

Historicising the historians

Monday 8 January, 2006

Historian Norbert Frei invited specialists of the National Socialist era to Jena for a kind of family reunion. At debate was the history of the historians of National Socialism and the question of when, and if, the notion of objectivity begins to apply. By Stefan Reinecke
read more

The Years of Extermination

Monday 23 October, 2006

Some people will think: "Not another book on the Holocaust!" But historian Saul Friedländer depicts the "Years of Extermination" with tremendous power and drama. His narrative style is much like that of a film director, elegantly combining individual stories with world events. By Dan Diner
read more

Proud to be different

Monday 16 October, 2006

Historian Joachim Fest's memoirs of his youth, "Ich Nicht," document an elitism that seeks to distance itself from petty-bourgeois National Socialism, and form a counterpoint to the prevailing culture of memory in the Federal Republic of Germany. Although the historical establishment tended to view Fest askance, his recollections document a genuinely cultivated German bourgeoisie. By Jens Bisky
read more

The staged confession

Tuesday, 15 August, 2006

Having claimed for sixty years that he was no more than a conscripted flak helper in World War Two, Günter Grass now admits that he actually served with the Waffen SS. He also explains that his first exposure to "real racism" came after the war, in an American prisoner of war camp, where the black soldiers were treated as second class citizens. Roman Bucheli finds the Nobel Prize laureate's recent revelations a little hard to swallow.
read more