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GoetheInstitute

01/03/2005

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.

Die Tageszeitung, 01.03.2005

Is the name of Rudi Dutschke, the charismatic head of the German student protests in the 1960s, synonymous for violence? The Tageszeitung (known to Germans as 'taz'), still the favourite paper of the 68ers, begins a series on the state of the movement almost 40 years on. The first article, by sociologist and former activist of the "extra-parliamentary opposition" Klaus Meschkat, examines a recent publication by the Hamburg Institute for Social Research in which Wolfgang Kraushaar calls Dutschke a "potential terrorist". For Meschkat, this statement discredts Kraushaar as a historian of the movement. The problem today, in Meschkat's view, is that "the crimes of terrorist groups serve the current regime in Washington as a pretence to continue the tradition of full-scale military intervention established during the Vietnam War. If millions of peaceful demonstrators across Europe cannot stop a war that contravenes international law, shouldn't we take a sympathetic view of the attempts of Rudi Dutschke and his friends to stop the US war machine?"


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 01.03.2005

On May 10 the Monument for the Murdered Jews of Europe will be inaugurated. Three other monuments to the victims of the Nazi era exist in Berlin: the German Resistance Memorial and Topography of Terror on the former site of the Nazi headquarters in central Berlin, and the House of the Wannsee Conference, where the "Final Solution" was reached in 1942. Until now, these three monuments have been financed and maintained by the Berlin municipality. Christina Weiss, Federal Commissioner for Cultural and Media Affairs, now plans to group them together in federal foundation. Historian Götz Aly agrees with the plan. "The memorial landscape in Berlin leaves all the crucial questions unanswered. Terror, the persecution of the Jews and the resistance movement are all grouped haphazardly together. Contradictions that appear in individual biographies are masked over or filed away. Of course, a general like Erich Hoeppner is depicted in the German Resistance Memorial as a martyr of the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler. But it should also be mentioned that he missed no opportunity to order the murder of 'Bolshevik Jews' in the occupied Soviet territories. The Berlin memorial sites blend out the larger historical picture in a cowardly way. They avoid everything that is not crystal clear, and thus serve to de-contextualise the history." This leads "to an 'culture of hors d'oeuvres' that encourages people to turn any and every issue into an ideological club sandwich."

The SZ also features an article by Thierry Chervel, co-founder of Perlentaucher, on the new English language website signandsight.com. In this opening manifesto, Chervel makes a plea for widespread use of English as a European lingua franca. Click here to read the text.


Frankfurter Rundschau, 01.03.2005

Alexander Kluy reminisces about "one of the cleverest, wittiest, most brilliant and eccentric authors that England has produced in the last 125 years", Lytton Strachey. "In things practical, he was magnificently impractical. He was homosexual, albeit a little bisexual around the edges, and best friends with Virginia Woolf (he retracted a marriage proposal he made to her by return of post). And he had a voice that began in a bass and ended in a furious squeak at the end, or sometimes in the middle of his flowing sentences."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 01.03.2005

The paper features the lovely first paragraph of a new story by Elsa Morante (unfortunately not online). "I was a kid, 13 years old, at high school. Of all my rather undistinguished classmates, one was stunning. He was too defiant and too lazy to be the top of the class; but everyone knew that if he'd tried, he would have been. None of us shared his clear and auspicious intelligence. In fact I was the top of the class: I was a poetic creature and when I thought of him, I called him involuntarily archangel..." Morante's stories are to be published soon by Wagenbach publishers.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 01.03.2005

According to Michael Althen, the Oscar ceremony may have been a victory for Methusala, but it wasn't a conspiracy against the younger generation. Althen quotes Clint Eastwood: "There are a bunch of young people running around here, but the financiers were told: 'Don't forget the older generation!' The seniors here are always ready to give their best shot." Althen has high praise for Eastwood. "The award, while not necessary, does confirm what should be clear to all: that Clint Eastwood is one of the greatest directors of American cinema and now belongs with other greats - Wilder, Lean and Spielberg - who won the award for best director more than once." (here a list of all Oscar prize-winners)

Eleonore Büning went to Kent Nagano and Peter Mussbach's production of "Salome" in the Dresden Semperoper which opened the Richard Strauss festival. "The singers in the Dresden 'Salome' premiere - Herlitzius, Titus and Schmidt - have vocal chords on a Wagnerian scale. They actually sing better than in Bayreuth. Alan Titus' Jachanaan is man in his peak years who wears a romper suit and hangs out on the steps of a swimming pool – better than being stuck in a well. Titus delivers Jochanaan's prophecies over a chorus of droning trombones with Wotan-like severity, then is caught in the spell of the daughter of the house - seductive if a bit juvenile in her pink petticoats - who throws herself in his arms. This is love at first sight."

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