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GoetheInstitute

19/04/2005

From the Feuilletons is a weekly overview of what's been happening in the German-language cultural pages and appears every Friday at 3 pm. CET.. Here a key to the German newspapers.

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 19.04.2005

Laura Weissmüller examines the allure of Berlin for young "work nomads" from Scandinavia in particular. In comparison to other capital cities, rents in Berlin are cheap. Work and jobs come from abroad. But this could eventually become a problem for the city: "The huge competition for the few jobs that the established agencies share between them demand patience and long-term thinking for people when they become less inclined to travel and want to settle down. 'On the one hand, the fact that money is tight can spark possibilities and initiatives, on the other hand it can be depressing. The economy does not accept creative results'", complains Norwegian graphic designer Anders Hofgaard.

In an essay titled "Es herrenmenschelt" (the members of the master race are back) Julia Encke analyses with a mixture of amusement and concern the "invocation of the conservative" by young German authors. In the case of Alexander von Schönburg, (brother of Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis) Christian Kracht (son of a Swiss banker), Ulf Poschardt or Bachmann-award winner Uwe Tellkamp, she sees "the rebirth of the dandy out of economic crisis", attempts at distinction in the face of the hated petit bourgeois masses, and plain resentment. "So, the snooty little upstart is back. His sheet anchor: the cravat. It's amusing that in times of crisis, the older German youth put stiff collars and reaction before sense as a matter of principle. But the boys, who dream of establishing a new order and storming the rotting republic of mediocrity from the right surely don't want to hatch a neo-conservative revolution. Why don't you just relax boys!"


Die Welt, 19.04.2005

Anti-European nationalists in Turkey are gathering their strength for a last fight, reports author Zafer Senocak. And they could even win, for the liberal forces in the country suffer from poor organisation. People like Orhan Pamuk, the writer who dared mention the Armenian genocide by name, have long been lone fighters. "Turkey is lacking an intellectual elite that can act as a counterbalance to demagogic agitation. There is nothing comparable to the intellectual resistance that developed under communist rule in Eastern Europe. There are some solitary voices of criticism, but they have no noticeable impact. If Turkey really wants to be European, an intellectual elite that can make itself heard will have to develop. But many authors also seem to be infected by the nationalist bug."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 19.04.2005


Regina Mönch addresses a topic that despite the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II has only been discussed marginally: Europe's divided memory. "It is not a question of a comparing or equating one side with the other. The problem is that we do not know enough about one another. But this 'we' is not really correct, for only the Western, at least the German (including the East German) public knows decidedly too little about events in Eastern Europe after the 'Iron Curtain' went down. The high price of peace, which brought the countries of Eastern Europe under the influence of a barbaric dictatorship so that the devastated West could rise again in freedom and democracy, is by no means perceived in the same way in Eastern and Western Europe."
Click here for the English version of Adam Krzeminski's essay "As many wars as nations".



Berliner Zeitung, 19.04.2005


Tanja Dückers reports on an unprecedented congress of "war children" – 60 to 75 year-olds – in Frankfurt. One aim of the congress, organised among other groups by the Frankfurt Sigmund Freud Institute, was "to separate suffering felt by war children vis-à-vis their parents from the question of the historical guilt of the nation," and counter the 1960s attitude of seeing one's own mother not as a family member, but as a "war culprit". While acknowledging the importance of this for the "Hitler Youth" generation, Dückers wonders if it does not also play into the hands of the extreme right NPD party, which seeks to equate sufferings of the Germans and those of their World War II victims with the motto "all victims are the same". Indeed, "a fog of unworldliness hung over the congress. A generation exchanged views about experiences 60 years ago and more, hardly mentioning right-wing tendencies today. It made no connection at all between biggest catastrophe of the 20th century and current problems of European reconciliation. The election results in Saxony and Brandenburg, the growing number of anti-Semitic attacks and the precarious lives of many foreigners in "national liberated zones" (self-proclaimed zones of right-wing control in Eastern Germany) were not discussed at all."


die tageszeitung, 18. 04. 2005

Brigitte Werneburg visited the inaugural exhibition at Hamburg's new Haus der Photographie "Martin Munkacsi: Think while you shoot". She describes it as a "photographic accomplishment of international consequence", which "shines with 300 large glossy vintage prints" by Martin Munkacsi (1896-1963). Once the world's best-paid photographer, Munkacsi mysteriously sunk into oblivion even before he died. In the course of his career he worked for numerous Hungarian and German publications before rising to fame in the US. In his day, his name was an entertainment industry trademark but he was "a photographer's photographer" too. A photo he took in Liberia for the "Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung" in 1930 prompted Henri Cartier Bresson to say: "This photograph was the spark that started the firework burning for me. […] Suddenly I understood that photography is capable of touching eternity – through the moment. His is the only photography that influenced me." Richard Avedon also sung his praises, calling him the "first photographer". Munkacsi, writes Werneburg, "was above all a superb sports photographer", but he also "brought the sort of freshness and modernity to fashion photography which caused a sensation at the time".

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