?From the great beyond into the present? ? an interview with Jo Lendle

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GoetheInstitute

26/10/2005

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.

The Berliner Zeitung takeover

The Berliner Verlag (which publishes the Berliner Zeitung) has been sold to a British American investment consortium, much to the horror of the German press which fears that Germany's journalistic standards will be sacrificed to the Anglo-Saxon capitalist money-making machine. In an official statement, chairman David Montgomery, a former Mirror Group Chief Executive, attempted to assuage these fears by promising to "abide by the highest standards of journalistic quality, publishing integrity and good management." Chief editor of the Berliner Zeitung Uwe Vorkötter announces in a commentary that the new owners should be made to keep their "far-reaching promises". In an interview, Montgomery reassures Ralph Kotsch and Bettina Vestring that there will be long-term investment in the Berliner Zeitung. "We are not out to make a quick buck. What we are aiming for is a merger of several newspapers in Germany, and perhaps even in Europe, to achieve synergy effects. You should not underestimate the ambitiousness of the investors."

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reports on the joint appearance of the new owner, David Montgomery, and his new board member Gerd Schulte-Hillen. In an interview with the SZ, the publisher Stefan von Holtzbrinck defends the sale of the Berliner Verlag. He asks "why Anglo-Saxons, who gave us our newspaper licences in 1945 and in 1990 made freedom of the press possible in East Berlin with the Two-plus-Four treaty, are not welcome in Germany, in a city suffering from a lack of investors. The locust debate (launched by former SPD chairman Franz Müntefering when he compared international hedge funders to locusts) also leaves a stale after-taste abroad, drawing as it does on vocabulary which evokes associations between the world of finance and vermin – and to the period between 1933 and 1945."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 26.10.2005

Joachim Güntner sums up the debate on anti-Semitism among the political Left, which has been rekindled by an interview with Tilman Fichter, brother of Albert Fichter, who planted a bomb in Berlin's Jewish Community Centre in 1969. Günter is amazed that the self-image of the Left has remained intact. "The susceptibility to anti-Semitism in their own camp must remain a scandal for upstanding people on the Left. The facts stand in stark contrast to the self-image of the Left, whereby people who believe in egalitarianism cannot also be racists. People believe that by jumping on today's anti-Semitic finger-pointing band wagon, even knowing how slanderous it can be, it puts them on the safe side. Evidently the rapidly growing research literature on anti-Semitism in Germany has done little to change that."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 26.10.2005

It is "well known that Teheran exports a crude form of anti-Semitism throughout the world." But Matthias Küntzel is astounded that this can take place so blatantly and yet go unnoticed at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Here he found – published in English by the Iranian state – "The protocols of the Elders of Zion", and Henry Ford's abridged version of the protocols, "The International Jew. The World's Foremost Problem", being sold in Hall 5. And "a third anti-Semitic concoction with an garish attention-grabbing cover: a red Star of David above a grey skull on a yellow map of the world. Its title: 'Tale of the "Chosen People" and the Legend of "Historical Right"' by Mohammad Taqi Taqipour. In the foreword to the book the author, confident of victory, writes that the 'global Islamic movement' would soon erase Israel from the map. Did no one at the fair notice these works? What about the team from Deutsche Welle or the Foreign Office whose stands were just a few feet away from the Iranian one in Hall 5? Deutsche Welle promoted itself at the book fair as a 'Bridge to the Islamic World" and the Foreign Office was also handing out its 'Dialogue with the Islamic World' brochures in which it stated: "In order to achieve peace we must also engage in dialogue with extremists'."


Die Welt, 26.10.2005

Dresden's Frauenkirche, or Church of our Lady, dominated the city's skyline for over 200 years until it was bombed in World War II. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, a major campaign brought together 100 million euros in private donations to finance its reconstruction. The inauguration of the new structure will take place this Sunday. Dankwart Guratzsch comments: "The Frauenkirche also teaches us it was false to think the artists and craftsmen of the 20th and 21st century no longer have the skills to make perfect reproductions of lost works. Masons and apprentices came from all over Germany to construct the Dresden church. They reassembled the puzzle which had been smashed into a thousand pieces. Their freehand refurbishing of the interior decorations, including the cupola paintings, is a grandiose, astonishing achievement."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 26.10.2005

9.000 police cars are set on fire each year by the French youth, reports Michael Jeismann, for whom today's Europa is a panorama of horror: "The face of our continent is shattered like a mirror. Here we have a city abandoned by its last inhabitants and slowly falling into ruin. There we have hundreds of old people gaily living off the younger generation, and hundreds of mortuaries overflowing with the living dead. And there we have youths whose eyes narrow at the sight of knights of the luscious society. (...) Thousands arrive from across the sea, fleeing the misery of poverty and hunger. The world they arrive in no longer understands itself. In the middle of it all, a figure stands holding a giant's tool in its dwarfish hands: the state." The only salvation, in Jeismann's view, can come from French interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

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