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A Magazine from the American Academy in Berlin

Number Twenty-Seven  Fall 2014

the american academy

Celebrating Twenty Years

fiction in berlin
Jonathan Lethem, Mynona,
Nicole Krauss, Adam Ross

barkow leibinger
Architectural Portfolio with
an Essay by Hal Foster

beatriz colomina
Collaboration in
Modern Architecture

the holbrooke forum

Harold Hongju Koh and Louise
Arbour on Peace and Justice

monica black
Spiritual Redemption
in Postwar Germany
Zeit für eine Revolution.
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focus features notebook

4 24 66
the blot collaborations President Joachim Gauck Honors
by Jonathan Lethem by Beatriz Colomina the American Academy
blind restaurant portfolio: barkow leibinger Not An Accident of History
by Nicole Krauss Speech by President Joachim Gauck
architecture as instrument
empire of fading signs by Hal Foster The 2014 Henry A. Kissinger Prize
by Richard Kämmerlings Celebrating former Secretary
extraordinary emergency
of State James A. Baker, III
marina by Hillel Schwartz
by Adam Ross The American Academy’s
the cure bringer
Twentieth Anniversary Celebration
in a city of monuments by Monica Black
by Susan Stewart A Crucible of Culture
the holbrooke forum
Keynote Speech by Leon Botstein
the creator Essays by
by Mynona (Salomo Friedlaender) Harold Hongju Koh nothing possible without people
translated by Peter Wortsman and Louise Arbour Keynote Speech
by Frank-Walter Steinmeier
book reviews
by Porochista Khakpour, A Beautiful Mind
Hans Vaget, Andrew Bacevich, by Gahl Hodges Burt
and Andrew Nathan and John C. Kornblum

Jonathan Lethem, the author of nine novels, tecture and director of the Program in Media essayist, is the author of Sons and Other
was the Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow and Modernity at Princeton University.  Art Flammable Objects and The Last Illusion. 
in Fiction in spring 2014.  Nicole Krauss, the historian and critic Hal Foster is the Town­ Hans Vaget is Helen & Laura Shedd Professor
author of three novels, was a Holtzbrinck send Martin 1917 Professor of Art and Archae­ Emeritus of German Studies at Smith
Fellow in spring 2007.  Richard Kämmerlings ology at Princeton University and was the College and was the fall 2012 Berthold
is the editor of Litera­rische Welt.  Adam Ross 2011 Siemens Fellow.  Hillel Schwartz, a fall Leibinger Fellow.  Andrew Bacevich, a pro-
is the author of Mr. Peanut and is the fall 2014 Holtzbrinck Fellow, is a poet, cultural fessor of history and international relations
2014 Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow in historian, and author.  Monica Black, a his- emeritus at Boston University, held a Berlin
Fiction.  Susan Stewart, a John P. Birkelund torian of modern Germany, is an associate Prize in spring 2005.  Andrew Nathan, a fall
Fellow in spring 2014, is Avalon Foundation professor of history at the University of 2013 Axel Springer Fellow, is the Class of 1919
University Professor in the Humanities and Tennessee at Knoxville and a fall 2014 John Professor of Political Science at Columbia
the director of the Society of Fellows in the P. Birkelund Fellow.  Harold Hongju Koh, University.  Joachim Gauck is the president
Liberal Arts at Princeton University.  Mynona co-moderator of the Holbrooke Forum, is of the Federal Republic of Germany.  Franz-
(aka Salomo Friedlaender, 1871–1946) was Sterling Professor of International Law at Walter Steinmeier is the foreign minister
a German-Jewish avant-garde writer of Yale Law School and was legal adviser at of the Federal Republic of Germany.  Leon
novellas, criticism, and philosophy.  Peter the US Department of State from 2009 to Botstein is a conductor, scholar, and the
Wortsman, a spring 2010 Holtzbrinck Fellow, 2013.  Louise Arbour, the former UN High president of Bard College.  Gahl Hodges Burt
is a literary translator, playwright, and author, Commissioner for Human Rights, is counsel is the vice chair of the American Academy
most recently of Cold Earth Wanderers.  at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and a par­ in Berlin.  John C. Kornblum, a former US
Beatriz Colomina is the ­Berthold Leibinger ticipant in the Holbrooke Forum.  Porochista ambassador to Germany, is the co-secre-
Fellow in fall 2014 and a professor of archi- Khakpour, an Iranian-American novelist and tary of the American Academy in Berlin.
the berlin journal founder Richard C. Holbrooke
founding chairmen Thomas L.
Number Twenty-Seven Farmer, Henry A. Kissinger,
Fall 2014 Richard von Weizsäcker
chairman & president
publisher Gary Smith A. Michael Hoffman
editor R. Jay Magill Jr. vice chair Gahl Hodges Burt
managing editor co-secretaries Stephen B.
Johana Gallup Burbank, John C. Kornblum
advertising Berit Ebert
design Susanna Dulkinys trustees Manfred Bischoff,
& Edenspiekermann Stephen B. Burbank, Gahl
Hodges Burt, Caroline Walker
Copyright © 2014 Bynum, Roger Cohen, Mathias
American Academy in Berlin Döpfner, Marina Kellen French,

We are deeply ISSN 1610-6490 Michael E. Geyer, Hans-Michael

Giesen, C. Boyden Gray, Vartan

grateful to Cover Image: Barkow Leibinger,

Model for the Tour Total
Gregorian, Andrew S. Gundlach,
Helga Haub, Wolfgang A.
building, Berlin, photo © Herrmann, A. Michael Hoffman,
Werner Huthmacher, 2009 Stefan von Holtzbrinck, Dirk
Ippen, Wolfgang Ischinger,
TELEFÓNICA DEUTSCHLAND HOLDING AG Printed by Ruksaldruck, Berlin Josef Joffe, Michael Klein, John
C. Kornblum, Regine Leibinger,
Wolfgang Malchow, Nina von
the american academy Maltzahn, Kati Marton, Julie
in berlin Mehretu, Adam Posen, George
Rupp, Volker Schlöndorff, Peter
executive director Y. Solmssen, Kurt F. Viermetz,
Gary Smith Christine I. Wallich, Klaus
chief operating officer Wowereit (ex officio), Pauline Yu
Christian U. Diehl
chairman emeritus
Am Sandwerder 17–19 Karl M. von der Heyden
14109 Berlin
Tel. (49 30) 80 48 3-0 trustees emeriti John P.
Fax (49 30) 80 48 3-111 Birkelund, Diethart Breipohl, Gerhard Casper, Wolfgang
Mayrhuber, Norman Pearlstine,
and 14 East 60th Street, Suite 604 Fritz Stern
New York, NY 10022
Tel. (1) 212 588-1755
Fax (1) 212 588-1758

for their generous support

of this issue of The Berlin Journal. Support

The Academy is entirely funded by private, tax-deductible

donations. Contributions may be made:

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Designing the Future

Heady times during these last few months, as we reflected I belong to the generation that first experienced
upon what the American Academy in Berlin has become Germany through relatives who were forced to flee it; in
twenty years after its founding. Ever mindful of the in- my case, the cultural sensibility my mother and her fam-
flections of history, Academy founder Richard Holbrooke ily brought from Zerbst and Königsberg. The first gift I re-
understood that Germany’s relationship with the United call from my Tante Ruth was Mörike’s Ausgewählte Gedichte
States, just five years after the fall of Berlin Wall, would fun- und Erzählungen, in the Blaue Bücher series. And I can still
damentally change. He wanted to establish an institution recite more of Prometheus than any comparable English
such as the Academy that would be committed to cement- poem, even if self-consciously, just having discovered
ing those bonds in ways that were yet to be articulated. Oskar Werner’s otherworldly declamation. Understanding
Our work has concentrated on this task—understand- and translating this culture has become a lifelong preoccu-
ing how to articulate a new future for German-American ties. pation, one that brought me to Germany three decades ago
Our method is what we have come to call “slow ­diplomacy,” and that will keep me busy as I move on to new projects
generated by bringing America’s best talents and having after my departure from the American Academy at the end
them build relations with Berliners and other Germans, of this year.
and by projecting their ideas into the public sphere. This Speaking about the Academy, the German foreign min-
was a twofold conceptual approach very much unlike tra- ister recently invoked Jean Monnet: “Nothing is possible
ditional strategies of building transnational relationships: without people; nothing is lasting without institutions.”
not just academic exchange but a curious amalgam of intel- This institution is the work of the hundreds of talented indi-
lect, personalities, and international dialogue. That is to say, viduals who have built and refined its design over the past
the American Academy is not an ivory tower, an academic two decades—as fellows, distinguished visitors, benefac-
monastery where people simply produce books and articles tors, staff, trustees, and friends. All have contributed to the
they could write anywhere; it is not a think tank of individ- projection of American excellence the Academy has come
uals whose import and self-understanding is determined to represent. Barkow Leibinger’s brilliantly conceived lake-
by their relevance as actors or interlocutors in the world of side pavilion to house studies for our fellows on the grounds
public affairs. It is rather a center of contact and dialogue, of the Academy stands for our relentless search for distinc-
not always instrumentalized but always resourcefully guid- tion and innovation in designing the future.
ed and nourished, where ideas are permitted to ferment in All of these accomplishments, including our success-
the soil of a different culture. ful brokering of lasting personal relationships across dis-
Many things have changed since that crucial year of ciplines and the Atlantic, would never have been possible
1989, of course, and since the Academy was announced, in without our exceptional and broad circle of supporters, in
1994. But as Leon Botstein reminded listeners in his key- particular the great family behind the Stephen and Anna-
note address at our anniversary celebration, the Academy’s Maria Kellen Foundation, the descendants of the Arnhold
roots are manifold, and many were laid long before the family who once called the Academy villa their home. As
Berlin Wall. “What is astonishing, as I stand here in the gar- we mark two decades since Holbrooke first presented his
den of this house,” he said on October 8, “is that the most bold idea, we thank the many individuals, foundations,
important post-unification effort to renew and sustain and corporations whose generosity and personal involve-
the transatlantic dialogue, the American Academy, is the ment have made the American Academy in Berlin the ex-
creature of the nostalgia of the German-Jewish émigrés of traordinary place it is today. It has been the privilege of my
the 1930s and 1940s. The Arnhold family, the Kellen family, life to become its founding director, and I am supremely
Richard Holbrooke himself, Henry Kissinger, Gary Smith’s confident it shall continue to flourish.
mother, like so many American émigrés of German-Jewish
origin, retained a tremendously deep affection for the place Gary Smith
from which they were expelled. Despite everything, they
remained attached to the image of Germany.”
Berlin, Fiction, Memory

The Blot
Jonathan Lethem

Blind Restaurant
Nicole Krauss

Empire of Fading Signs

Richard Kämmerlings

Adam Ross

In a City of Monuments
Susan Stewart

The Creator
translated by Peter Wortsman

Des Hughes, Rust Never Sleeps, 2013,

fiberglass, fabrics, iron powder, 199 (h) × 216 × 83 cm
Courtesy Buchmann Galerie Berlin
6   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4


In this excerpt from a novel-in-progress,

American professional backgammon hustler
Alexander Bruno has visited the emergency
room of Berlin’s oldest hospital, because
of a nosebleed, a headache, and a strange
blot that has overtaken his field of vision.

by Jonathan Lethem

“Do you know the way home from here to your hotel?” The They’d crossed now, out of the grimly utilitarian modern
young doctor who’d come to him in the waiting room had complex, into another, more serene century. The old hospi-
perfect, unaccented English. tal was a grassy campus of red brick buildings, each with
“If you can direct me to the S-Bahn, I’ll be okay.” Shakespearean alcoves and porticos. Morning had broken
“We’re just across the river here from the Hauptbahnhof. out on the wide paths, with pale-pink sky visible through
It’s a very pleasant walk across the old section of the hospi- the greenery, and impossible numbers of birds twittering
tal—come, I’ll point you in the right direction.” Perhaps the overhead. But when Bruno raised his eyes to the branches,
young doctor wished to observe Bruno placing one foot in the blot intruded. It dominated the upper half of his field
front of the other before releasing him to his fate. Moving of vision more than the lower. No wonder he’d become so
together to the sliding entry doors, they stepped across the concerned with what lay underfoot.
red footprints. His escort had stopped on the path, to fish in his scrubs
“What are these for?” and come out with a pack of smokes, likely his real motive
“Excuse me?” for stepping outside the ER. “You’re well on your way,” the
Bruno pointed. “They seem to lead nowhere.” young doctor said, lighting a cigarette. “Just follow the main
“Oh, those! The red lead to the red zone, the yellow to road here through the old Charité, and you’ll hit the river.
the yellow zone. It waits for when it is needed.” You’ll then see the train station. Just cross the river and
“I don’t understand.” Out-of-doors, Bruno was over- you’re there.”
whelmed by the world’s resumption: the smell of exhaust “How charming it is here.”
and rotting grass clippings, the angled light, humans with a “Charité was first built as a plague sanitarium, so it’s a
mission and purpose on earth, with paper cups of coffee in city within the city.”
their hands. He and the doctor stepped together across the “It makes a pleasant sort of preserve.”
endless cobblestones, the cobble-dice, and out from under “Yes,” said the doctor, assuming a wry look, “with a great
the pedestrian bridge. number of buildings and streets named for famous Nazi
“Yes, I know, it’s odd, but no one ever thinks of it. These physicians.”
footprints indicate a plan for some emergency or catastro- Berlin, tomb city. Everywhere you walked on graves or
phe greater than the usual system can handle. The paths in- bunkers, or the ghostly signature of the Wall. Really, it ex-
dicate where the more badly injured should congregate, as plained the red footprints: Why shouldn’t future catastro-
opposed to those with minor injuries.” Under the demand phes be legible too, the columns of dirty bomb refugees or
of this explanation, the young doctor’s accent began to zombie survivors traced in advance? Between cigarette and
revert around the edges. “There’s a green zone as well, for cheap Teutonic irony, the blonde doctor had surrendered
those not requiring a doctor, but who have arrived to the his angelic aspect, but no matter. He’d delivered Bruno from
emergency room because of losing their homes, or to do- the terminal zone, to this little paradise of birdsong. Bruno
nate blood, or so forth.” was ready to part with him.
 fa ll 2 0 1 4 · t w e n t y- s e v e n · t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l  7

“I’ll be fine.” If only he had a wooden mallet, Bruno could pretend

“I’m sure you will.” to be working. Did a vast supply of older cobblestones
Alone, Bruno settled into a false exultation. His bender ­circulate throughout Berlin, endlessly repurposed for new
could as easily have been the result of an all-night fleec- walkways and bicycle paths, or did fresh ones need to be
ing of some puffed-up financial wizard or real estate baron. quarried and shaped? What would happen if he kidnapped
It wouldn’t make the first time he’d wandered the dawn one of the stones, took it out of circulation? Would the sys-
streets of a foreign town looking to the newly risen locals tem collapse? Bruno imagined he could enjoy contemplat-
like a vampire. The only difference was the absence of the ing the rough cubes forever, now that they’d captivated
money he should have had to show for it, and what was his imagination, if he weren’t lying sideways, watching
money? blood from his nose drip into the dusty soil, if he weren’t
Bruno smiled greetings in passing, swinging his back- embarrassed to be seen here. Forever had become a squishy
gammon case as he walked. The medical students, one concept, anyway. Time slipped from him in blacked-out
younger than the next, answered with their eyebrows, be- instants, like a film in which one blotted passerby was
guiled from their Prussian reserve. One or two even gave ­replaced by the next—a jump cut. How ironic, he thought,
forth with an awkward “Morgen!” Armed with a fresh shirt that just behind him, across the river, on the idyllic cam-
and a double espresso Bruno might not even need sleep, pus, a crumpled figure would surely find himself swarmed
though nothing stood between him and eight or fifteen by compassionate attention, the medical students compet-
hours dozing in a curtained room except the brief ing to show off their training. On this side of the bridge,
journey back to Charlottenburg, and his hotel. He beneath the edifice of the Hauptbahnhof, he lay
might even sleep away the blot, he felt now. beneath consideration, resembling as he did the
Why not? Though he had no way of paying the contemptible derelicts and drifters accumulat-
bill, he assumed the keycard in his pocket ing at major train stations all over the universe.
still worked. He’d met his just reward for flirtation with
Crossing out of Charité and over the river, the wish to disappear.
the Haupt­bahnhof in sight, Bruno’s spirit only For amusement, Bruno reached out for one
soared higher. Berlin’s sprawling indifference, of the squarish stones. The result was more than
its ungainly, crane-pierced grandeur, liberated he could have hoped for. He’d unknowingly been
him. Perhaps he’d only needed to blow the Kladow touching at his nose or lip; the fingers that seized up the
opportunity Edgar Falk had flung his way, and his subse- stone dotted it with brash bloody fingerprints. Three finger-
quent vigil in the ER, to understand it. He’d wanted to dis- tip-prints on one face of the stone, a thumbprint on another.
solve his tie to Falk, not reconstitute it. Let the whole absurd 3-1, always a pleasant roll at the start of a game. Just close
episode—his being gammoned, his nosebleed—be taken as up the so-called “Golden Point” on one’s own inner board,
a departing fuck-you. though this term had later been disputed, once computer al-
As he wended into the morning crowds approaching the gorithms confirmed it wasn’t as valuable as one’s bar point.
sun-twinkling central glass atrium at the Hauptbahnhof— But Bruno had decided to give up backgammon, so never
the train station another city unto itself, more chilly and mind. He brought the bloodstained cobblestone nearer.
anonymous than the medieval campus of Charité, but Touching his nose again—there was plenty of blood!—he
also therefore more familiar and versatile, with its Sushi carefully daubed the remaining faces, making a two, a four,
Express and Burger King and international newsstand, its a five and a six. Between glaring sun and absorbent stone,
dozens of tracks leading anywhere he might wish to escape the dots of fresh blood dried almost instantly. The challenge
to—Bruno had in his giddy escapes from death and from his was to keep from staining it further. Bruno wiped his fin-
former profession concluded he needed only a new name. gers on his shirt, which had been sacrificed hours ago. The
Mr. Blot. Blotstein. Blottenburg. It was there he fell. Not across task was amusing enough to distract him from the matter of
the Hauptbahnhof’s threshold, but before it, just past a con- the opinion of passersby, or even whether they glanced his
struction barricade at the river side of the station entrance. way or not. When the rough granite die was complete, he
He fell into a shallow rupture in the walkway, a section rotated it in all directions to confirm, around the obstacle of
where the cobblestones had been disrupted, the earth be- the blot, that he’d made no error. No. It was perfect. Bruno
low laid bare. A small pile of the granite paving cubes lay to grunted in satisfaction. Then he opened his set, which was
one side, at a point now level to his view. Bruno’s legs had itself printed with flurries of reddish fingerprints, took out
gone. He didn’t try to stand again. The blot made everything the two sets of wooden dice, the blonde and the ebony, and
confusing. His backgammon set was clutched to his chest tossed them into the sidewalk’s seam, into the dust. Then
still, or again. He saw the station, looming, a Zeno’s-paradox he pushed the giant die inside. He was just able to re-clasp
target now. He’d been nearer to it standing on the other side the set around it. That the blunt object would damage the
of the river. The front of his face bled again. He moved his smooth inlaid wood of the board, Bruno was certain. He
legs now, but only swam in the dirt and the rubble of stones. didn’t care. The cobblestone die might be the most valu-
No one paid attention. He smelled dust, mud, sunlight, and able thing he owned. It was proof, at least, of what Berlin
grilling sausages, nauseating so early in the morning. seemed otherwise to deny: that he existed, here, now.  □
8   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4


What one
writer saw
—and did not—
in Berlin

by Nicole Krauss

For awhile we lived in Berlin, and one night we went out with his elegant wife, the Italian painter had brought a
to a restaurant near Zionskirche, where one could eat and Brazilian friend, and the Brazilian had brought a Korean
drink and afterward pay whatever one deemed fair. In woman, and as we were leaving the restaurant someone
other words, there were no prices; it was completely up came up with the idea of going to a ping pong club. All
to the customer. At the start of the night it seemed like of us piled into the Korean woman’s 1974 Citroën. When
an almost laughably wonderful idea in the way that, say, you turn the ignition you have to wait a moment while
Swedish healthcare is: sweetly earnest, almost too good the hydraulic pumps kick in and lifts the back part of the
to be true, and impossible to imagine existing in America. car off the wheels, and once we had all been buoyed up
But as the meal wore on, the generosity of the restaurant in silence, we took off in search of the club. It was dif-
staff—who went on selflessly filling the table with tasty ficult to find, and we’d almost lost hope when finally we
dishes without any assurance of being adequately paid— came upon Mr. Pong on a street off of Schönhauser Allee:
began to feel more and more burdensome. Rather than a small concrete room, with a DJ and about twenty kids
dismissing the question of money, the little game we with paddles. They all circulated the table counterclock-
were all playing only drew attention to it in the most ex- wise, each taking a turn at hitting the oncoming ball.
acerbating way; and not just the question of money, but Whoever missed a shot was eliminated, until there were
of moral character. By the end of the meal it was clear only two players left. These two played a little informal
that the only way out of the situation was to pay an ex- game—to three points, or five, whatever they felt like—
orbitant sum, many times more than one would ordinar- until one banged the table with the paddle and all of the
ily pay for such a meal, in order to wrestle back from the others jumped up to begin a new game. Young kids—19,
insidiously beneficent staff of the restaurant a shred of 21 at most—racing madly around the table and barely
moral dignity. talking to one another at one AM on a Tuesday. It was im-
The saving grace was that we had gone with a possible to say whether they were friends who met every
friend of ours, an Italian painter in his sixties, and along night, or strangers who had never met before. At a certain
point, a girl with a choppy eighties haircut who made it
to the finals quite often abruptly slipped her paddle into
its case, tucked it into her messenger bag, and exited into
the night. The Italian painter was older than everyone by
forty years, his hair was white, and when he reached the
finals everyone cheered for him. Otherwise the players
made no acknowledgment of us.
The following week we went to a different restaurant,
this time one where you eat in impenetrable darkness,
served by blind waiters. At first J. felt claustrophobic
and started to panic, but after about five minutes he be-
gan to settle into his blindness, and soon he had relaxed
so much that he began to indulge in a medley of spas-
tic facial tics and grimaces as the urge struck him. These
continued throughout the meal (or so he said; of course
I couldn’t see a thing), and toward the end of the main
course, nearing the desert, sometime after we’d lost, ir-
recoverably, the thread of our conversation, the spasms
were augmented by a kind of squawking and a low hoot-
ing.  Judging from the number of similarly strange noises
that could be heard coming from other diners at sea in
the darkness, I have to assume this loosening of inhibi-
tion was a standard reaction. As for me, the darkness only
enhanced my tendency toward introversion. At certain
points I had to struggle not to fall asleep. When J. spilled
his beer, the waiter, who must have been hovering all the
while at his elbow, let out a giddy laugh. 
We had barely recovered from that when, some days
later, we were invited to dinner at the home of two art
collectors who lived in a huge white neoclassical house
You need commitment,
hunched over the road in the garden suburb of Dahlem.
Inside there were only tall ceilings, veined marble, white-
focus and passion to find
ness, and paintings by Kiefer, Warhol, Baselitz, and Beuys.
We sat down for dinner at a table that appeared to be the
new ways to fight the
only piece of furniture in the house. The conversation
burbled along, interrupted now and again by the Indian
diseases of this world:
staff who came and went with a variety of Ayurvedic
dishes. We came around to the subject of the house. One
innovation is at the
Sunday, our host told us, he woke up and there were
bright lights shining through the window—a TV crew
heart of it.
was outside. What are you doing here? he asked. They
told him that the house had belonged to a Jewish family
who had lived in a small crawlspace under the roof for Innovation for better health. Our commitment is to bring
two years during the War. to patients around the world quality medicines for use in
The conversation then moved on to children—we diagnosing, combating and preventing disease. Every day
we work against time, researching new pathways, new
had one son, like them, though ours was still an infant
molecules, new technologies – complementing our own
and theirs was now our own age. Our host, who clearly
capabilities with expertise of innovative partners from
doted on his child, regaled us with stories about when science and industry.
his son was young. In those days, he said, I used to play
tennis many afternoons with a certain Dr. Aunheim, who The success of this work is evidenced in new medicines
had trouble finding another tennis partner, and often I for areas with significant unmet medical need such as
would complain about him to my wife. One day my wife oncology, cardiovascular and blood diseases, as well as
took our son in the stroller to the drugstore. And what is gynecology and ophthalmology. Our aim is a better quality
your name? the druggist asked the little boy. Dr. Aunheim, of life for all.
he replied.
Berlin is full of these little abysses.  □
1 0   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4


The meanings
of Berlin in fiction

by Richard Kämmerlings

“About two years after being graduated from Singing on Bikes
college with a degree in unemployment—my thesis
was on Metaphor—I’d moved from New York to Berlin “In areas in which you are very smart you might try writing
to work as a writer, though perhaps that’s not right because history or criticism . . . where you are kind of dumb, write
nobody in Berlin works.” The narrator of Joshua Cohen’s a story or novel, depending on the depth and breadth of
short story “Emission” displays a thoroughly representa- your dumbness. . . . When you have invented all the facts
tive educational biography: an American college degree, a to make a story and get somehow to the truth of the
little jobbing, a little traveling, and then . . . Berlin! The epit- mystery and you can’t dig up another question­—change
ome of that phase of life that lies somewhere between the the subject.” —Grace Paley
fun of the campus and the seriousness of real work. Cohen
was born in 1980, in New Jersey, and lived in Berlin from I have thought about choosing home the way Grace
2001 to 2007 as a correspondent for the Jewish magazine Paley describes choosing fiction material. I chose Berlin
The Forward. Blame for his doing no work whatsoever can because I wanted to live somewhere that didn’t make
be placed more upon creative narration. sense, where I was dumb, where I could wander down
“However, my being a writer of fiction was itself just a streets, watching, for more information, and ask ques-
fiction and because I couldn’t finish a novel and because tions of new friends until I slowly began to grasp my sur-
nobody was paying me to live the blank boring novel that roundings. I didn’t want a city that snapped “Who wants
was life, I was giving up.” Shortly before his return to the to know?” or a city so shiny it made my eyes ache to look
United States, the narrator meets a young fellow American at it, or a city where I thought “Oh, I get it,” after staring
in a beer garden on the Landwehr canal. He has a more in- for two minutes.
teresting story to tell: about the absurdities of identity in the None of my writer friends, German or foreign, come
age of the Internet, and his story is worth telling. Although from Berlin. The city hurts our feelings on a regular ba-
Cohen himself has long since returned to New York, the sis. It never apologizes. It’s a good city for writing about
Berlin non-working phase emerged again in his critically ­other cities, because it makes you miss them so badly.
acclaimed book of short stories Four New Messages (2012). But it’s a tender, vulnerable city, too. You hear a lot of
Despite rapid gentrification and, recently, skyrocket- people singing on bikes late at night, on their way home.
ing rents, Berlin is still a relatively cheap city in which to
do almost nothing for a few months or years. But this is not Brittani Sonnenberg is the author
the only reason why it lures artists in particular. In 2009 of Home Leave (Grand Central, 2014).
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the writer Donald Antrim, then a fellow at the American Even the pop literature of the 1990s found its clubs and par-
Academy, spoke about the “weight of history,” as contrast- ties in Munich, Frankfurt, and C ­ ologne. There are still im-
ed with his own origins: “But what do I know? I’m merely a portant German novels set in cities other than Berlin. There
writer—and an American writer, at that. . . . No real bombs are Hamburg novels, by Michael Kleeberg, for example;
ever fell on the cities and towns of my youth, and so my or Frankfurt novels, by Martin Mosebach, Bodo ­Kirchhoff,
defense position is that I have no position, and I’m not here or Wilhelm Genazino; even Stuttgart novels, by Anna
to teach anybody anything. My job and my aim are to make ­Katharina Hahn. But these books usually describe a very
you laugh, and, along with laughing, to feel.” Here, Berlin specific, sometimes already historical milieu; Kleeberg’s
enters the scene as a thoroughly contaminated historical Updike-like novels Karlmann and Vaterjahre, for example,
area, burdened by the toxic heavy metals of two totalitarian concern the Hamburg bourgeoisie of the 1980s and 1990s.
regimes—its own “Empire of Signs” as Roland Barthes once But whoever wanted to write a truly representative
termed Japan. novel about German society since the turn of the millenni-
This is much the same image of Berlin that German- um could hardly ignore Berlin. There are good reasons why
speaking writers propagated in their own works of the 1990s, the Gerhard Schröder era was coined the “Berlin Republic.”
like that of Thomas Hettche, originally a from the state of Since then, increasing numbers of publishing houses have
Hesse, in his somber Fall of the Wall novel Nox (1995). Berlin moved to the German capital or been founded here; the
doesn’t figure as a cheerful city that makes a fresh start af- most important newspaper feuilletons have bureaus here.
ter division and the Cold War, but as a kingdom of ghosts, The literary business in Germany is practically congruent
where the dead and undead of the twentieth century move with the Berlin literary scene.
along beneath the surface. The city as a body, covered with For many mid-career writers but especially for young-
the scars of history. Donald Antrim means exactly that: no er ones, Berlin is the most natural place to go after leaving
street, no house left burdened by the overwhelming severity their hometowns, or even countries. This “unfamiliar” place
of the catastrophic century. For politically sensitive w
­ riters has long held a literary fascination for newly arriving writ-
like Jonathan Lethem—who traces his German roots and ers, especially those from West Germany. Berlin was the
the history of his communist grandfather in his most recent Other to the “old” Federal Republic. David Wagner, born in
novel, Dissident Gardens (2013)—this atmosphere is still an 1970, in Andernach in the Rhineland, burst onto the scene
important inspiration today. in 2000 with Meine nachtblaue Hose, a novel that summons
Overall, however, the semiotic character of Berlin as a his West German childhood and adolescence. But he also
place of remembrance for German and European history came to personify the new flaneur, describing his adopted
has been increasingly receding behind the image of a global- Berlin home in essays and sketches. Many authors continue
ized party-metropolis, with its vari-
ous scenes and countless creative
businesses. The world-famous club Performing Berlin
scene, best represented by Berghain,
is deftly captured in journalist Tobias We moved here in winter, immediately cursing the dark and the cold. Shared
Rapp’s 2009 book, Lost and Sound. apartments in Kreuzberg, Neukölln, in various stages of gentrification and
But what Generation Easy Jet with various degrees of heating. Meeting others like us there, arrived from
sets out to find in Berlin is precisely Prague, from Melbourne, Montreal. Bites of falafel and gulps of Club Mate,
not the horror of memory and the bitter.
haunting reminder of “never again.” At the spare bars, poetry readings, the performance spaces, we eyed
If they come from Eastern Europe other, newer arrivals. Young and pretty, they dressed in black; interns by
or, increasingly in recent years, even ­default, or until more expensive cities claimed, appreciated them.
from Israel, they bring along with We too took internships, were taken advantage of by the ruthless local
them an extra-acute awareness of rag, but somehow were never really “interns.” Freelance teachers, transla-
history. That approximately 20,000 tors, editors, we wrote about our new city with detachment for a hungry
Israelis, primarily young ones, now foreign press. The war, the East, “memory.” A state of exile that was never
live here is not because of but despite political, only economic. Romantic, sometimes, but indirectly; we never dat-
the horrors of German history. This is ed Germans, would never.
perhaps the clearest sign that it mat- Spring took us by surprise. Light returned. Bright, the lakes beckoned.
ters less today what Berlin means Friends were always visiting. Proudly we obliged them with a select tour
than what—in everyday life—it is. past remaining ruins, epic playgrounds, mysterious clubs where we were
­always on the list. Home at sunrise, miraculously; never more exhilarated

In the 1970s and 1980s, than when we were performing Berlin for outsiders.
Munich and Frankfurt—the The summer city, we made it our own.
home of Suhrkamp ­ Verlag
and the then Pope of literature M
­ arcel Florian Duijsens teaches at Bard College Berlin
Reich-Ranicki—played an equal role. and is an ­editor at SAND Journal and Asymptote.
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to do something like this today, albeit in a more humorous French, Scandinavians—life in Berlin tempts young, tal-
manner, in the ever-more lively scene of public readings, ented writers not only because of the still laughable cost of
where many newcomers find their first audiences. living and rent (when compared to New York, London, or
In the 1990s, Berlin was the main gateway to the West for Paris) but also because of the general atmosphere. And it’s
Eastern Europeans. Writers like the Hungarian-born Terézia not just about literature. Berlin is also a magnet for artists
Mora, recipient of the German Book Prize in 2013, and the (who need studio spaces and galleries) and musicians (who
Kiev-born, Bachmann Prize-winner Katja Petrovskaya are are looking for tolerant rehearsal studios and small clubs).
now an integral part of German-language literature and the Writers just follow them, because a kind of ground has been
Berlin scene. Many younger writers are on their way, too, laid in which creative talent can take root and grow. Berlin
like Olga Grjasnowa from Azerbaijan. These younger au- now occupies the space once held by eighteenth-century
thors can rely upon networks already established by writers Italy: a station on the way to an aesthetic education, what
from Budapest and Prague who had come before reunifi- British noblemen once famously called the Grand Tour.
cation on DAAD or other scholarships—Péter Nadas, Péter That an extended stay in the German capital promotes
Esterházy, and György Dalos, for example. the creation of art is, of course, utopian, but it’s not a com-
But Eastern Europe, with notables like Wladimir plete self-deception. The flip side of the young, hip artist-
Kaminer, inventor of the Russendisko, is no longer the main city Berlin is the temptation of endless procrastination. You
literary font in the German capital. As seen in the satirical to- will never know how many novels were not written because
pos of Joshua Cohen’s story, Berlin has become a seemingly of Berlin or how many promising pop-bands from around
inevitable station in the life of an emerging writer, no mat- the world were buried alive in basements and clubs. Art
ter where he or she comes from. Americans, British, Spanish, does not arise by itself just because a place has a lot of art-
ists living in it. It is significant that a Jonathan Franzen does
not come to Berlin to attend exciting literary festivals—an
Strength in Numbers author of his caliber could do so anywhere in the world—
but rather to explore rare birds of Brandenburg and western
After a rash of recent articles suggesting that Berlin is Poland. These are fauna that could better serve the subject
“over,” that it’s time for young creatives to pack up and of a new novel than the not-quite-endangered species of
move to Leipzig, I thought I’d check out the competi- night owl at Berghain.
tion. So I went to Leipzig. I found a city whose hip out-

skirts physically resemble Prenzlauer Berg, circa 1997. How does Berlin figure in contemporary
But there were only a very few young writers and edi- literature? More interesting than the adolescent
tors there—and they were dreadfully serious. sex-and-drug excesses of Helene Hegemann’s
This is not Berlin’s problem: Berlin has a surfeit of scandalous 2010 novel Axolotl Roadkill is the powerful or-
young American writers and literary magazines with dinariness of Berlin, which could not be further afield from
more staff than readers. This strength-in-numbers the cliché of “party metropolis.” Kathrin Schmidt’s Du stirbst
lends the scene a lightness, a casual cynicism that is nicht (2009) describes the life of a mother and wife in the
refreshing. Rents may have risen, but waves of kids in very eastern part of the city. The extraordinariness that be-
their mid-twenties continue to come here to write that falls her is a near-fatal illness and the loss of her ability to
novel. They’re steeped in American irony—some may speak, along with the dissolution of gender boundaries. This
even be post-ironic—but at least it’s part of their make- has nothing at all to do with a specific city. Berlin serves as a
up. They’re anchored by the heavyweight transients mere example of the larger German quotidian. After all, the
who come through on fellowships or on book tours; globalized and digitized economy is not bound anymore to
the result is the nearest equivalent to the Paris-of-the- just a few hubs. In her 2009 novel Der einzige Mann auf dem
1920s that any of us are likely to see in our lifetimes. Kontinent, Terézia Mora introduces the reader to the anony-
The downside: there aren’t literary father figures mous business world of the present, where it is ganz egal if
to slay here; there’s no Master American Narrative of one is in Neukölln or Brooklyn or some other provisional
Berlin to beat. Freshly published authors drink warm place in the world.
beer at readings and literary quizzes at St. George’s The most compelling and humorous Berlin novel of
Books in Prenzlauer Berg, or stronger drinks at the this season is by Kristof Magnusson, who has Icelandic
monthly reading series at Kaffee Burger. Free and easy. roots—which he ironically revealed a few years ago in his
Still, numbers matter. Berlin’s shot at producing wonderful 2005 saga-parody Zuhause. In his new book,
great American literature is largely predicated on the Arztroman, Magnusson accompanies an emergency doc-
sheer volume of talented people who pitch their tents tor named Anita on her nightly missions in Berlin’s various
here for a year or two. One of them will hit the jackpot neighborhoods and social milieus. She meets lung-disease-­
sometime. afflicted pensioners in the Schrebergarten (garden plots);
peels the remains of risk-taking 18-year-olds from a car
Ralph Martin is the author Ein Amerikaner in Berlin wreck, and saves a one-night-stand who suddenly col-
(Dumont, 2009) and Papanoia (Piper, 2011). lapsed in front of his blind date. Throughout these episodes,
A Place to Talk Semicolons

I came to Berlin to write, and did for a while. But writing

got lonely, and while I didn’t find it hard to meet other

writers, the conversations always felt loaded. I felt I was
prying. I discovered I like prying into writers’ projects.
I wanted to hear about their progress, so along with at-
tending readings at bookshops like Another Country and

you are,
Shakespeare & Sons, and going to SAND launch parties,
I started something called The Reader Berlin. We bring
writers together and twist the arms of poets, authors,
editors, and translators to offer evening courses and

we’re at
one-day seminars. Writing shouldn’t take place in a vac-
uum, and there are some conversations you can’t have
over cigarettes on bookshop stoops, like “Do you hate
my use of semicolons? Just tell me if you do! And where

should I try and get this piece published?” 
There are lots of writers here and a definite scene
of sorts. Is Berlin a good place for young writers? Well,
writers need time, and time is money, so it depends if
you can score a cheap flat and keep yourself afloat fi-
nancially. That’s still possible. Germans respect artists
even if they aren’t very successful (yet), and Berlin is a
liberating place. My advice, just don’t get too lost in the

Victoria Gosling is a novelist and the editor

and founder of The Reader Berlin.

Magnusson portrays Anita as a modern, single woman in

Berlin who pushes her way through life with a lover and a
patchwork family. This is also a way to experience Berlin:
at night and from below, devoid of techno music.
You can hardly hear that music at the edges of the city,
anyway. It’s an ironic twist that Thomas Hettche, the former
White & Case is a global law firm with
diagnostician of the present, has literally and literarily re- longstanding offices in the markets that
turned to Berlin in his latest novel Pfaueninsel, which was
shortlisted for the German Book Prize. Long a resident of
matter today. Our on-the-ground experience,
Frankfurt am Main, he returned to dig deep into the ­history our cross-border integration and our depth
of Prussia and illustrate ​​the fate of a nineteenth-century
­female dwarf.
of local, US and English-qualified lawyers
In Berlin, the Prussian renaissance is already over. Its help our clients work with confidence in
most visible expression was the municipal battle to rebuild
the Stadtschloss, the city palace. If Hettche can now place
any one market or across many.
a small footnote of history at the center of his novel, he can We do what it takes to help our clients
do so only because Berlin has been freed from the symbolic
over-determination it once had. When the German capi-
achieve their ambitions, here in Germany
tal becomes “poor but sexy” rather than a threat to its own and worldwide.
residents and neighbors, then the richness of its historical
places and subjects becomes available once again to narra-
tive invention. Berlin should not and does not want to make Berlin Düsseldorf Frankfurt Hamburg Munich
history anymore. It wants instead to provide the material
that makes for good stories—and not just German ones.  □
 Translation from the German: Tanja Maka
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by Adam Ross
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Bosch worldwide.
The first girl I ever kissed had a boy’s name, James. She
was a protégé of my mother’s, and a gifted ballet dancer Innovative solutions
to improve quality of life.
who studied with her, privately, at Carnegie Hall. My par-
ents had befriended hers, the Gordons. They had a place in
Montauk, on the tip of Long Island, and under the pretense
of scouting properties (mother was always trying to con-
vince my father to buy a home there) we would rent a car,
drive out Friday night, and spend the occasional weekend
with them. This was 1977. I was ten and James nine. She had
a younger sister almost her age whose name was also mas-
culine—Alex—and unless both families went to the beach,
the three of us happily abandoned our parents to ride bikes
through the scruffy backwoods where it was impossible to
get lost, for we could always hear the sea to our south and
soon discovered that all side roads, no matter how winding,
invariably returned us to the Old Montauk Highway. We
were often alone for hours, and if we had money and felt
ambitious we biked several miles over that humped road
into town. This trip always seemed stirring to me, since
from certain hills the coastline would present itself, the
breakers slowly boiling in the distance before thumping in-
visibly and out of sync below.
The village, meanwhile, felt more like an outpost than
a town with its low-slung knickknack shops, their facades
white and unadorned, their awnings flapping in the gusts
blowing in off the Atlantic and carrying sand from the dunes
that filled the asphalt’s cracks or snaked hissing across the
sidewalks. Our destinations were multiple: to Puff ’n’ Putt
for miniature golf, though the games never seemed to last
as long without our parents in tow; or to Johnny’s Bait-n-
Tackle to peer at the arrayed hooks and brightly-colored
bobbers; or to White’s General Store for Sting Ray kites that
always broke free of their strings before day’s end. If we
managed to be disciplined, we’d save up for Sloppy Joes and
soft ice cream at John’s Drive-In. The town kids hung out
here, skateboarding in its parking lot or gathering in packs
that always seemed to cluster around a boy and girl hold-
ing hands. We’d watch them for a while, not belonging, and
then set off for the long ride home.
The Gordons’ house was wondrous. Built on a hill and
set back in the woods, it was octagonal in shape and rose
up on stilts, its second and thirds floor banded by deck-
ing. The surrounding branches were hung with bird feeders,
seed-filled globes thronged by hungry finches that perched
and then flew off like bells shaken in your fist. In the sum- As an international leader in technology and
mer, when returning from the beach we were ordered into services, Bosch is committed to improving
the outdoor shower, a gray wooden stall just off the gravel quality of life. That is what Bosch employs
driveway, and I’d go first so I could hurry to the third floor more than 281,000  people to do, why it
and lay face-down afterward, peering between the deck’s invests more than 4.5 billion euros annually
slats in order to catch a glimpse of James naked before she in research and development, and why it
ordered me away. Though sometimes she’d spot my mol- applies for over 5,000  patents per year.
The resulting innovative Bosch products and
ten shadow pooled at her feet and gaze up at me curiously,
solutions have one thing in common: they
as if waiting for me to say something, the soap bar foam-
make people’s lives a little better each day.
ing in her clasped hands as she stood with her arms folded
More information at:
across her chest, whether for warmth or modesty it wasn’t
clear. Her skin always seemed brighter than anything else
in that dark, boxed space, and we’d stare at each other long
1 6   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4

enough to be aware only of the water forking over her tor- swung toward me, and we kissed. It was too busy at first,
so to lap gently on the wood flooring, until she called out with too much side-to-side tilt in our faces—we were ­aping
my name or I stated the obvious—“I see you”—to break kisses we’d seen on Charlie’s Angels and Love Boat—plus
the spell. While there was nothing coltish about her body, a darting action to James’s sharp tongue that began with
something about her face was equine, a jutting, elongated no feeling but soon eased to enjoyment. We paused after
shape to her jaw and cheeks that was (in ballet’s odd, thor- a while so James could pinch a stray hair from her mouth,
oughbred requirements) part of her gift. Her height, too. Her our faces hovering close, and to let her know to keep kiss-
already perfect proportions. Her long, expressive hands, the ing me I pressed into her back again, Alex’s breathing the
index finger on each a separate creature. Like her beautiful only sound as our lips joined (we’d forgotten all about her).
mother, Rebecca, she was hazel-eyed and raven-haired and There’s no telling how long we’d have stayed there if Greg
often our leader when we played, narrator and protagonist, hadn’t reappeared at the stairwell’s mouth.
damsel in distress or evil queen, and on this particular night “What is going on down there?” he shouted.
she taught us a game she called Scary Movie. And we burst from the room, knocking over empty suit-
For privacy, James directed Alex and me to the base- cases and yelling at the top of our lungs now that the si-
ment. A black spiral staircase ran down the house’s center, lence had become dangerous.
a structure that gonged under footsteps and carried sound
from top to bottom, like a tin-cup telephone. The grownups THAT WOULD BE THE LAST WEEKEND we spent with the G
­ ordons.
lingered on the top deck after dinner, their laughter occa- For dinner Saturday we went to Gosman’s, a waterside
sionally bursting like waves in the night. There was a fire- restaurant fronting Lake Montauk’s channel near where
place and the television up there, but in the evenings we it issued out into the Sound and just down the road from
spent most of our time in the basement anyway, where dis- ­Uihlein Marina, whose slips housed sailboats and yachts,
carded toys ringed an inactive sauna. James put Alex and commercial trollers and also famous sport charters, like
me on a pair of bean bag chairs and explained Scary Movie’s Frank ­Mundus’s Cricket II. Suspended on the dock above
rules as follows: We have gone to see Jaws at the ­drive-in it was a model, over twenty feet long, of his most famous
theater. One of the girls is the boy’s date, the other the catch, the largest Great White ever landed in America. My
chaperone, and she sits up front because she’s the mom. The mother, who was always encouraging me to read, had
movie is terrifying, and during the worst parts we scream, bought me Mundus’s memoir, Monster Man, and I was so
and then we hold each other. obsessed I’d brought it along to dinner.
To this day I remember exactly what James was wear- “He’s the guy Quint’s based on,” Greg told me, seem-
ing: cut-off denim shorts, their legs furry with loose threads ing pleased. “The captain from Jaws. You take him to see it,
where they’d been sheared, and a macramé bikini-top rich- Shel?”
ly hued with deep purple and orange. James rarely let poor “Too scary,” said my father.
Alex sit with me, though when she did she lay heavy and We were eating at a table adjacent the pier. Alex, James,
graceless in my arms, inert with nervousness but still excit- and I had finished navigating the placemat’s mazes, filled
ed that we’d included her. During the parts James deemed in all the Tic-tac-toe grids, and broken our crayons coloring
scary, she and her sister screamed so piercingly that their its map of Long Island. Seagulls watched us from atop e ­ very
father Greg appeared at the stairwell’s mouth. piling. No matter how hard I threw my steamertails they
“What the hell’s going on down there?” he yelled. His hopped into the air with their wings outstretched to snatch
voice froze us in kabuki expressions, a few strands of each prize, then landed in the same position as if tethered
James’s hair springing loose to dangle near my lips. “Jesus by an invisible string.
Christ,” he concluded, smacking the banister so hard that “C’mon,” Greg said, “it’ll put hair on his chest.”
his wedding ring rang a final warning. After which James “His friend’s in therapy over it.”
ordered us all into the cave. “A movie?” In the neardark, Greg’s eyes bulged. “You’re
Cut into the cinderblock and lined with exposed fucking kidding.”
plumbing, the crawl space was darker than the rest of the My mother shook her head. “He’s terrified of water now.”
basement, not much longer than our outstretched bodies. “You mean like going in the ocean?” Rebecca asked.
A large, cast-iron pipe ran parallel to the floor along the far “He won’t even take a bath,” my mother said.
wall, warm to the touch; its red shutoff valve, hung with a “He’s afraid to take a shit,” said my father.
tag labeled WARNING, was wide enough to function as a “But why?” Greg asked.
bench on which Alex dutifully sat, folding her hands in her “He thinks,” my father said, “the shark’s gonna swim up
lap to watch us. James spread out a beach towel and laid the pipe and bite him on the ass.”
down on it with her hand propped under her ear, and then I Just a ripple, at first, from Greg, but soon all the adults
joined her, mirroring her identically. were seized by laughter. Our mothers covered their eyes,
“Now we kiss,” she whispered. She took my wrist, placed shaking with it. My father, weeping now, wrapped his arm
my hand on her hip and, unprompted, in no hurry, I slid my around Greg’s neck. Across from me, James pressed her fist
palm over her back to run a finger along her spine, press- to her cheek so hard it slanted her eye.
ing it against the vertebrae. Upon which her body gently “Can we go play on the jetty?” Alex asked.
The question was so inspired that we were immediately
Up and down the jagged rockline we climbed, some-
times on all fours, toward the tip’s flashing lantern. The sun
had dropped beneath the horizon, its rim nautilus-pink but
collapsing to blue. Two stubborn fishermen who looked
Mexican were standing on the point with their hands
stuffed in their pockets and rods tucked under their arms.
We inspected their buckets: empty. The overnight trollers
groaned passed us, setting out for deep water, their out-
lines black except for their winking masthead lights, their
captains visible within the illuminated pilothouses, the
countless lines strung between jib-poles and crosstrees
conferring the illusion the boats were tangled in inky webs.
Then I heard James scream.
I found her lying face-down next to Alex, staring into a
gap between the rocks. “It’s a kitten!” she cried. “It’s trapped!
It won’t come to me!”
I heard mewing.
“Kitty!” Alex called into the cave. “It’s okay, kitty!”
She reached into the crevice while James sat up and
yelled, “Daddy!” We were at least a hundred yards from the
restaurant and now both girls were sobbing.
James gripped my arm and shook it. “You have to get
my dad!”
I returned with Greg, who’d run to his car for a flashlight “Germany is home to many of the
and net. The Mexicans, bemused and passive, stood watch- most important and influential
ing the girls, too fearful of their tears to help.
philosophers, artists and political
“She’s going to drown!” James screamed at her father.
“You have to save her!” Alex added. theorists of the last 300 years. And
Greg ordered them to calm down, then lay flat and their influence is still evolving.”
shined his light into the rocks. The kitten stood on a ledge,
Duncan Moench is an assistant instructor
soaked, mewing, and well out of reach. Its ears were enor-
and PhD candidate in Austin, USA
mous, like a bat’s. A boat passed, and the wake broke against
the jetty, water suddenly foaming around the cat’s feet. It
slipped a few times, looking a little desperate, and finally
balanced itself on the slick rocks.
“The tide’s coming in,” James said.
“Hurry!” Alex cried.
“Everybody shut up!” Greg snapped, then told me to
train the light on the kitten. With the net he was trying to
pin it against the wall and drag it toward me, but it kept
hopping around and suddenly disappeared in a gush of
water, gone for an endless minute, only to be flushed out
again by another spew, its front paws splashing madly as it
scrounged back up on a rock. Then another boat passed and
there was an enormous crash when its wake flooded the
rocks, swallowing the kitten just as Greg made a final lunge.
“I got it!” he screamed, though when he lifted the pole
the mesh was empty. We peered all around but the cat was
gone and the girls were clutching their father and ­sobbing.
I, too, started crying, right when one of the Mexicans
touched Greg’s back and dangled the kitten in front of him,
holding it by the scruff, its legs spread and claws ­extended,
water dripping from its tail. The man pointed between his
boots at the rocks from which the cat had miraculously
1 8   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4

“Al parecer a mis pies,” he said, offering his rescue to the Beneath the sheets with me, the kitten purred as she
girls. lay gnawing at my finger or digging her rear claws into my
Afterward James turned to walk back, shivering and palm. Her ferocity made me slightly afraid, but finally she
happy, the kitten wrapped in her sweater and clutched to curled up and fell asleep. I heard James whisper my name,
her chest, Alex and me hurrying alongside. then she pulled back the covers and gently slid in next to
“You’re not keeping that goddamn cat,” Greg warned me, the kitten vibrating between our bellies.
them. “I have a name for her,” she said.
Spotting our parents in the parking lot, we ran to tell “Me, too.”
them all about it. Cars slowly bounced by, kicking up dust. “What’s yours?”
My mother asked to hold the kitten, regarding its face in “You go.”
the light flung from the restaurant. Silverware rang. Wind “Marina,” she said.
whistled through the masts and set them gonging, the early It was perfect. There was no need to tell her mine.
September chill tangy with rotten shellfish. Another car’s “Marina,” I repeated. We lay with our foreheads pressed
headlights passed, and once our eyes adjusted, we could see together until James fell asleep as well.
the stars. My mother looked at my father. A long time passed. Sounds of my mother and Greg
“It’s like the kitten we found in Venice,” she said, “on our talking, followed by silence. I was unsure whether or not to
honeymoon. Remember that old man who offered him to rouse James, so I took Marina with me and wandered up-
us? He was trying to feed it liver.” stairs. The fire was still blazing. Climbing up the staircase,
“Did you keep it?” I said. I heard Greg move from the couch and cross the room to
“For a few days,” she told me. “But he died.” lean against the chimney, he and my mother both watching
Driving to the Gordons’ afterward, my mother let the the fire. My mother did an especially poor job of pretend-
cat ride in back with me. ing not to notice me. Her hair was down, her arm stretched
“She’ll need a name,” she said, peering over the seat. across the couch’s back, the impression Greg left beside her
Then, to my father: “We can make a litter box tonight. Fill a on the cushion slowly disappearing, like steam from a mir-
cardboard box with sand, don’t you think?” ror. For an instant her beauty struck me the same way it did
My father shrugged, keeping his eyes on the road. when I flipped through pictures my father had taken of her,
By the time we arrived, Greg had a fire going. I joined as if by some strange perspective I was able to regard her
Alex and James by the hearth, our soles pressed together to not as my mother, or even as my father might see her. The
form a loose triangle, a little pen for the kitten. We rolled a logs popped, shuddering once, sparks twining up the flue.
superball between us and she eyed it chin to floor, her hind- Greg was wearing waders—giant rubber overalls—with a
quarters raised and tail stiff. She pounced clumsily, ­spinning heavy sweater beneath them, and a stocking hat. When I
on the hardwood, scratching our hands when we tried to approached, he pointed at Marina and said, “Let me see that
extract the toy from her grip, our backs hot from the blaze. thing.”
We tried out a few names but none stuck. We did Rock/ He took her in his hands and ran his thick fingers over
Paper/Scissors to see who’d get to sleep with her and I won. her shut eyes, then set her on the mantle. Now awake, the
“We’re out of wine,” Greg mentioned. cat stood stunned for a moment, unsure of her balance. She
“I’ll go,” my father offered. seemed petrified by the height, but when Greg reached out
“Wait,” Rebecca said, searching through her purse for to pet her she batted his hand with her paw.
her cigarettes. She cursed under her breath, then looked up “You want to play, huh?”
at my father and touched her index and middle finger to her From a rack mounted on the wall, Greg removed a surf
lips. “I’ll come too.” rod and then freed the popper’s barb from the guide loop,
Neither James nor Alex knew her mother smoked. slowly taking in the line for greater control. In his fingers he
Earlier that day, I’d ridden back from the beach ahead of my lightly held the reel-seat, resting the pole’s handle between
mother and the girls and went straight to my room, when his legs, and lowered the rod tip toward Marina. As the lure
I caught her. Rebecca had just started dinner and was hav- turned tight loops, her eyes blurred into a single line as it
ing a drink with my father. They stood together on the deck twirled, her candy-red mouth shining. She raised her paw to
above, their figures divided between the planks’ gaps, the gauge the distance, her head bobbing between the bait and
smoke from Rebecca’s cigarette flying from her lips like floor, then swatted once, half-heartedly, and missed, only to
some freed spirit to quickly dissipate in the trees. settle back and crouch as if to spring. There seemed to be
“They haven’t caught you yet?” my father asked. an invisible sphere enclosing the lure, as weirdly strong as
“There’ve been close calls,” Rebecca said. the force pronged between magnets, and it was suddenly
“Would you quit then?” clear that Greg wanted neither to hook her pad nor make
“Quitting is hard. Sneaking around is easier.” her fall but to accomplish something far more expert. He
“Both are difficult.” made some inner adjustment, minutely shifting his posi-
“True.” tion, his waders creaking, and when the lure dropped into
Soon after Rebecca and my father left on their errand, the nether between Marina’s reach and the void, she rose
the girls and I were shuttled off to bed. on her hindquarters, both her paws outstretched, and stood.
At this Greg raised his free arm, each holding the pose like
a circus performer, and to confirm this wonder I glanced
at my mother. She was covering her mouth with one hand,
her knuckles white on the other as she clutched her sweat-
er’s lapel. When the cat took a final swipe at the hooks, my
mother gasped; and this, more than anything else, seemed
to give Greg the satisfaction he’d sought. He lifted the rod
and the lure floated away, at which point Marina returned
to all fours, her tail brushing the mantle’s edge, both she
and my mother watching Greg’s every step as he returned
the pole to the rack.
“Where’s Dad?” I asked.
“What?” she said. With a hint of a slur, she added: “He’s
not back yet.”
Greg checked his watch. “If I’m taking him to the point,
he’d better come soon.”
“For what?” I asked.
He indicated the pair of waders draped over a barstool.
 “To fish.”
“You need to go to bed,” my mother said.
“Will you come with me?” I asked.
Like a ricochet the question bounced between them
and then killed something.
Greg turned to look at the fire. “Don’t forget the cat,” he
said, though it was unclear to whom he spoke.
My mother laughed, taking Marina by the scruff and
then cradling her. She did this forcefully, with great confi-
dence. It was unusual to see. She pressed her free hand on
Greg’s sweater-thick arm.
“Nighty-night,” she said.
A musty smell rose from the basement as we walked
down the staircase.
“What if something happens to Dad?” I asked.
“What do you mean?”
“He’s not a good swimmer. Couldn’t he drown?”
“Greg’ll be careful.”
“What if he isn’t?”
When my mother noticed James in my bed, she bent
to firmly squeeze her shoulder, whispering to her as she
looked around the room, disoriented, both of us watching
as she stumbled out and back to her own bedroom. After
pulling back my sheets, my mother sat next to me while I
lay there, patting my chest and leaving her hand there be-
fore giving me a quick kiss. She searched my face and then
said something she’d never told me before.
“You look like your father,” she said. It sounded like an
accusation, so I didn’t reply. When she stood to leave, she
pressed her weight against me, losing her balance for a mo-
ment as she walked across the room, turning at the door to
wave to me.
“Goodnight,” she whispered. Then she disappeared into
blackness, as if diving under water. She pulled the knob un-
til the lock clicked into the catch, leaving me—just as all of
them did, all of the adults—to try and make sense of every-
thing I’d seen and heard.  □
2 0  t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4


Strategies of

by Susan Stewart

Along with the rest of the Western world, Berlin has inher- Federal Republic of Germany for the Victims of War and
ited a tradition of making and preserving monuments that Dictatorship.” Even if a monument endures, changes of
descends from the Romans. Indeed the Latin noun monu­ regime and the succession of generations are likely to
mentum indicates physical objects, such as tombs, and transform what it means. Christian Daniel Rauch’s great
written records alike; the word comes from the verb monere, mid-nineteenth century equestrian statue of Frederick
to remind or warn. Yet the ever-present potential for forget- the Great and his retinue still stand at the heart of the city
ting is what prompts a monument in the first place. And on Unter den Linden. With its 24 male figures and hover-
the contrast between a monument’s finite physical form ing goddesses representing the sovereign’s virtues, it has
and the unending, erring, abstractions of memory leads to outlasted monarchy and mounted armies alike. Its many
an often-tragic relation between objects and the memories ­inscriptions are increasingly useful as clues to its message.
they evoke. Every object is destined to become inscrutable; Not every landmark is a monument. A monument im-
every inscription is destined to be worn away. Horace, the poses itself upon you and asks, or warns, you to remember
Roman poet of the first century before the Christian era, it. For historians and architects of monuments today, Berlin
wrote in the third book of his Odes: “I have completed a is a well-known laboratory for designating sites of attention
monument more lasting than bronze, and higher than the and memory. Whereas Hans Stimmann, the former build-
regal site of the pyramids, one that the eroding rain cannot ing director of Berlin, declared in 1991 that his task was
destroy, nor the unrestrained north wind, nor the uncount- to “sustain historical development, which relates history
able series of years and the flight of time.” He meant by and the future to one another,” other officials and various
this that his poetry would not be vulnerable to the erosion groups of citizens have sought especially to sustain, and
weather and time can wreak upon even the greatest of built further discussion of, still vivid memories of the lived past.
human structures. Even so, his anxiety that his words, too, Albert Speer’s “theory of ruins” contended that National
might not endure is palpable. Socialist buildings would impress viewers with their might
To survive as a physical form, a monument needs care for a thousand years. Today only a few of those buildings,
and restoration. For its meaning to survive, it needs the such as the deteriorating Olympic Stadium, are visible at all.
continual engagement of institutions. There is no guaran- Meanwhile, immediate knowledge of the war and its conse-
tee, however, that those institutions themselves will last. quences will vanish as the survivors of the war reach their
Within a time frame of less than a hundred years, Karl late age. The events of the War are known to the next gen-
Friedrich Schinkel’s neoclassical masterpiece, the Neue eration through first-hand narratives. For a new generation,
Wache (the New Guardhouse) was known as a “Memorial these soon will be second-hand narratives.
of the Prussian State Government,” as the site of the Nazi Within the built environment of contemporary Berlin,
Heldengedenktag (Heroes’ Memorial Day) services, as a many approaches to remembering the War can be found.
“Memorial to the Victims of Fascism and Militarism,” and, On the smallest but not least effective scale, the Cologne
in its current incarnation, as a “Central Memorial of the sculptor Gunter Demnig has created and situated individual
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commemorative paving stones for those who were deport- registers the names of all its known victims. As Eisenman
ed and killed by the National Socialists: Jews, Sinti, Roma, and Serra have represented a genocide through the abstrac-
homosexuals, political and religious dissidents and dis- tion of their massed stelae, the information center records
abled persons. His small bronze pavers record the names the names of individuals through inscription. But known
and dates of each victim and are placed on the ground at victims, as we cannot forget, is a term that inevitably in-
the thresholds, or former sites, of those houses where they dicates masses of unknown victims. Other societies have
wereseized. Demnig calls the markers Stolpersteine, “stum- created tombs for “the unknown soldier” as a similar means
bling stones”; they are fitted at a slightly raised level into of acknowledging individuals when violence and time have
the pavement. The sculptor’s goal is figuratively to “trip up” combined to erase their particularity. What we remember
and inform oblivious passersby. Demnig now has made in the end is that some soldiers are unknown.
more than 43,500 Stolpersteine; they can be found in hun- Today, if you google “Berlin Monuments” you are likely
dreds of locations in many German cities, including Berlin, to discover the handsome website of the city’s “Senate De-
as well as other locations where deportations took place. partment for Urban Development and the Environment” at
The city has followed quite different strategies at the the top of your page. There, clicking on “Monuments,” you
sites of the destroyed Berliner Stadtschloss and the damaged will find a list of more than sixty monuments, a small por-
Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche. The massive ongoing re­- tion of the many hundreds of monuments and memori-
construction from the ground up of the ­eighteenth-century als within the city boundaries. The government organizes
Stadtschloss, damaged by Allied bombs and razed by the these eighty structures, which range from excavations of
GDR in 1950, is a utopian project, projecting an image of the medieval and early Renaissance settlements to vestiges
past into the future along the lines of Stimmann’s tenets. of the Berlin Wall, under the following categories: World
The Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kirche, with all but part of its spire and Heritage, Unter den Linden, Horticultural Monuments, Ar-
entrance hall destroyed during the Battle of Berlin by Allied chaeological Monuments, Churches, Residential Buildings,
bombs, is now designated a Gedächtniskirche (Memorial ­Industry and Technology, and Berlin Wall. If you are search-
Church). The remaining ruin of its spire was stabilized in ing with other categories in mind, such as the lives of Jews
the 1950s and stands—like its counterpart, the stabilized in B­ erlin before the Holocaust, you will be stymied. The
ruins of Coventry Cathedral in England—as a testament to “Neue Synagoge” appears under the category “Churches”
its own destruction and the suffering of war. and the “­Jüdische Friedhof Weißensee,” built in 1880 and
The early twentieth-century Viennese art historian one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Europe, under the
Alois Riegl was the first to put forward a theory of “age category “Horticultural Monuments.”
value”­—that is, value endowed by continuing in time. Monuments are among the most controversial of built
Riegl explained that what endures in a ruin is not neces- forms, and their controversy always lies in their inadequacy
sarily integral or intelligible. Instead, the very ambiguity of and in the inevitability of their failure. We pose impossible
the form—the flux brought on by its constantly changing goals for them when we expect them to last forever, to con-
state—is what modern viewers appreciate in a ruined mon- vey permanent meanings, to manifest all of our beliefs and
ument. As opposed to historical value, which encompasses ideas about the dead. Our Roman heritage includes unnum-
those aspects of a structure typical of its moment of origin, bered vanished buildings; those Roman ruins that remain,
age value is created by survival in time. Riegl believed that unlike the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche, are con-
the more signs of aging, the more valuable the work. In the stantly returning to a state of nature. They remind us that
Stadtschloss project, with its nostalgia for origin, and the neither our bodies nor our buildings can transcend time.
Gedächtniskirche, with its sculptural form underscoring its The starkly compelling German word for monument,
own vulnerability, we find vivid examples of this contrast. Denkmal, or mark/sign/time of thought, indicates a pause
The reconstructed palace will be bound to an ever-receding in the flow of existence given over to acknowledging and
nostalgia for origin; whereas the church, incorporating its pondering a designated place. Yet we live in time and there-
history into its form, has acquired an additional purpose. fore must find means of memorializing in time. We face the
“Age value” plays a role, too, in Peter Eisenman and unending, and very expensive, task of conveying to each
Richard Serra’s Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas new generation our knowledge of the past. We can put up
(Monument for the Murdered Jews of Europe). The mon- monuments, assuming their messages will cohere, or pull
ument’s 2,711 concrete stelae—placed within a grid of them down, assuming their meanings will disappear. What
sloping, uneven, pavements—disorient us and compel
­ is more difficult, and necessary, is to commit ourselves to
our attention, just as the Stolpersteine do. Yet the almost judging together, out of the vast raw material of human
overwhelming magnitude and weight of this work is be- achievements and errors, what is ethical and worthwhile,
ing undermined by weather. The concrete slabs already are beautiful and good, useful and true.
showing signs of deterioration, and the viewer is moved A monument can be a temporary means of teaching
not only by the terrible history they commemorate but the living about the past. But it is only in the continual
also by the fact of the monument’s vicissitudes in time. The transmission of our values, in the life of thought, language,
work’s “inscription” is its underground information center, and critical reconsideration, that we can find any perma-
which provides a historical context for the Holocaust and nence. □
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Writing from the dream-world of Berlin,

circa 1920

by Mynona (a.k.a. Salomo Friedlaender)

Translated from the German
by Peter Wortsman

Translator’s Note
“Who is Mynona? Almost incomprehensible: either very He pursued the study of philosophy, flirted with
good or very bad. I will have to read more by this author,” Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, then fell under the influence
wrote the implacable Viennese critic Karl Kraus upon first of Kant and one of his modern interpreters, Ernst Marcus
discovering a text of his published in 1910 in Der Sturm, (1856–1928). He produced a substantial corpus of serious
a leading Berlin-based literary review of Expressionist a ­ rt philosophical works, the best known of which are Friedrich
and writing. After reading another text in the next issue, Nietzsche: An Intellectual Biography, 1911; Schöpferische In­
Kraus concluded: “Mynona is very fine. Who is this?” differenz (Creative Indifference), 1918; a pedagogical text­
In the inverted anonymity of his pen name “Mynona”— book, Kant für Kinder (Kant for Children), 1924; and Das
“Anonym” (anonymous) read backward—Salomo Friedlaen- magische Ich (The Magical I), 2001, a posthumously pub-
der was toying with and perhaps unwittingly predicting lished work completed in French exile, which he consid-
his fate. The author known as Mynona—a philosopher- ered his magnum opus.
satirist fabulist likened in his day to Voltaire; a self-styled Parallel to his philosophical writing, a raucous Mr.
“synthesis of Kant and clown (Chaplin),” as he dubbed Hyde to his meditative Dr. Jekyll, under the pen name
himself in a letter to his publisher, Kurt Wolff (also the Mynona he produced novellas, novels, and art criticism,
publisher of Franz Kafka, with whom he was sometimes including the first monograph on the painter Georg Grosz.
mentioned in the same breath); an active member, along But he was best known for a vast body of short prose texts
with Raoul Haussmann, Herwarth Walden (a.k.a. Georg he called Grotesken (grotesques), which he presented
Lewin), Else Lasker-Schüler, Alfred Kubin, and Georg at various avant-garde venues of the day, including the
Grosz, of the German literary and artistic avant-garde that Neopathetisches Cabaret in Berlin, the unofficial club-
thrived between World War I and World War II; a literary house of the Expressionist poets, published in Der Sturm,
iconoclast and forerunner of the Dadaists—has been es- Die Aktion, and other leading avant-garde journals, and
sentially erased from memory. subsequently collected in more than twenty volumes.
Fried­laender was born on May 4, 1871, into a b­ ourgeois His writing attracted the attention, and later sparked the
Jewish family in the backwater town of Gollantsch, in the friendship of, among others, the philosopher and theo-
Prussian Province of Posen, on the border with Poland, to logian Martin Buber, and the artist Alfred Kubin, who il-
which it was re-annexed following World War II. His father lustrated a number of his works, including the following
was a cultivated doctor and his mother a woman of mu- excerpt, from Mynona’s book The Creator, from 1920, just
sical talent and refinement. He lived to witness and suf- published in English by Wakefield Press, which I had the
fer the total collapse of the enlightened German civility to privilege of translating.
which he had committed himself heart and soul, fleeing 
to Paris, where he managed to avoid deportation by being
bedridden, too sick to move, and where he died in penury
on September 9, 1946, a year after the end of the war.
 fa ll 2 0 1 4 · t w e n t y-s e v e n · t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l  2 3

Drawing by Alfred Kubin from the

original 1920 German edition
© Eberhard Spangenberg /
VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2014

arly one morning around three I awak­ inclined to consider my body as a physical manifestation of
ened from a deep, dreamless sleep. My dark- my soul. What then befell me? Who was that girl? What in
red eiderdown was all puffed up. A hand the world prompted her to attend to me? Why did my corri-
rested on it. But it wasn’t my hand. Definitely dor look different? How to explain that the door I had pains-
not. Right there in front of me I saw a young, takingly double-locked stood ajar? And how was I going to
dainty, but somewhat pallid hand; perhaps it was my night go about figuring out the solution to this riddle that had
lamp that made it look so pale. In any case, that hand gave thrust itself upon me and seemed to demand a solution?
me the willies. I hardly dared budge, only my eyes scanned There was only one effective way I could imagine: namely,
the room. Then I discovered, to my great surprise, that the by means of my imagination.
door to my room was half open. Compulsive as I am in my With the help of memory, the imagination has the ca-
personal habits, for many years I have made sure to lock and pacity to make the most fleeting impressions present again.
double-lock the door. I pulled myself together and sat up. It trembles with a ghostly presence that, once perceived, is
Only now did I notice that there was somebody standing already past. In the realm of the imagination I proceeded to
behind the eiderdown, between the door and the Spanish peer into the gray eyes of that apparition; and the impres-
screen beside my bed. It was a young lady with striking- sion remained so intense that even now it gives me goose
ly large, light gray eyes. Her facial expression was rather bumps. In my mind’s eye I addressed many questions to this
friendly. It was as if she had just entered the room with the visualized presence; in this way, a communion was estab-
concern of a concierge to see if I needed anything. With her lished between us that seemed more imaginary than it was.
hand she sought to pat down my eiderdown to look at me. Our communion with paintings, with portraits is already
No sooner did I sit myself upright than she promptly left quasi-magical. Everything perceived by a living gaze be-
the room through the open door. But I was absolutely de- comes animated, as the images of saints do before the eyes
termined to lock the door. I climbed out of bed, intending as of a believer. Such is the force of the imagination. It may
quickly as possible to slam the door shut and turn the key; not be reality; but it is no longer the stuff of mere whimsy
instinctively, however, I peeked through the crack between either; it has already taken one step toward actualization.
the door and the doorpost. Heaven help me! What did I see? In an Andersen fairy tale, a child climbs into the painting
Instead of my familiar corridor, I beheld a wide, hall-like of a rowboat and bobs down a painted river. In much the
passageway with Gothic cross-vaulting. Far in the distance same way did I lose myself in contemplation of this figment
I caught sight of that figure with a long, white, burning can- of my imagination, until dream seemed like reality. He who
dle in her hand; she turned a corner and disappeared. The has a lively imagination has a double face, twice the senses.
passageway went dark. Real-life images, be they only dots or splotches, take on a
Terrified, I locked myself in and leapt into my bed; at that dreamlike, otherworldly character. Especially at twilight or
very instant I woke up and realized that I had been sleeping at night, a piece of clothing lying around, a door curtain, a
and had dreamt the apparition. I examined my door and smoky ceiling, or a dropped towel can reveal the most strik-
found it to be locked tight, indeed as usual, double-­locked; ing physiognomies. But who is strong-willed enough to
earlier I had only turned the key once. So it was definitely a be awake and asleep at the same time? This experiment is
dream of an eerie apparition, a kind of incubus. I pondered dangerous for weak dispositions. They had better not try it.
it a while. My landlady, an elderly, harmless spinster, surely For sampled illusions grow ever more vivid the more you
had nothing to do with the dream. We two were the sole tease them forth; they turn visionary, hallucinatory, and
tenants of that tiny apartment. Dwelling on such unsettling in the end, usurp waking reality with the wildest effects.
dreams does not shed any light on them. But I couldn’t get Dreaming takes the upper hand, and he who cannot control
back to sleep and so decided to get to the bottom of this its caprices or hold it at arm’s length falls prey to madness.
strange business. He who can, however, as I will demonstrate forthwith, can
I am one of those people who seek a justification for the achieve the impossible. He becomes a magician, a wizard,
gist of my dreams not in some bodily condition, but rather, and nothing can stand in his way.  □
inside myself, as a condition of my soul. Yes, I am indeed
The Intellectual Pursuits of
Academy Fellows, Alumni, and Friends

Beatriz Colomina

Barkow Leibinger

Architecture as Instrument
Hal Foster

Extraordinary Emergency
Hillel Schwartz

The Cure Bringer

Monica Black

The Holbrooke Forum

The Law of Kosovo
Harold Hongju Koh
Freedom, Peace, and Justice
Louise Arbour

Book Reviews
by Porochista Khakpour,
Hans Vaget, Andrew Bacevich,
and Andrew Nathan

Camilo Vergara, Former Camden Free Public Library,

2nd floor reading room, Broadway at Line St., Camden,
New Jersey, 1997
2 6  t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4


The secret life of

bout fifteen years ago, I gave a exemplified by his Barcelona Pavilion
lecture in Madrid, the city where of 1929. And then one of the ­architects
modern architecture
I was born. The lecture was on said something that has stayed
the work of Charles and Ray Eames, with me since: “It is like a dirty little
by Beatriz Colomina and most of the discussion at the din- secret that we—all architects—keep.
ner afterward centered around the role Something that we all know, that we
of Ray—her background as a painter, all see, but we don’t bring ourselves
her sense of color, and so on—much to talk about it.”
to my surprise, since I was surrounded The secrets of modern architecture
by very well-known Spanish architects, are like those of a family. And it is
all of them men. Soon we were talking perhaps because of the current cultural
about Lilly Reich and what an enor- fascination with exposing the intimate
mous role she must have played in the that they are now being unveiled,
development of Mies van der Rohe’s little by little. If one is to judge by the
architecture, about the importance publications of recent years, there
of such projects as the Silk and Velvet is increasing interest in the ways in
Cafe, a collaborative work by Reich and which architecture works. It is as if we
Mies for the “Exposition de la mode” have become just as concerned with
in Berlin (1927), where draperies in the “how” as with “what.” And the
velvet and silk hung from metal rods to “how” is less about structure or building
form the space. Everyone agreed that techniques—the interest of earlier gen-
there was nothing in Mies’s work prior erations of historians—and more about
to his collaboration with Reich that interpersonal relations. The previously
would suggest this radical definition of marginal details of how things actually
space by suspended sensuous surfaces, happen in architectural practice are
which would become his trademark, as now coming to light.
 fa ll 2 0 1 4 · t w e n t y- s e v e n · t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l  2 7

As we shift our focus from the architect Collaboration is the secret life of archi- audience isn’t titillated by the
as a single figure, and the building as tects, the domestic life of architecture. phrase “­casting couch,” nor does
an object, to architecture as collabora- Nowhere is this more emblematic it object to a woman being
tive effort, we begin to see the other than with architects who live and work credited for work.
professionals: partners, engineers, together, with couples for whom there
landscape architects, interior designers, is complete identification between The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
employees, builders, as well as photo­ home life and office life. Ray and Charles never fully acknowledged either Ray
graphers, graphic designers, critics, Eames, in the 1950s, provided a model Eames. Only Charles was credited in
curators—and the media experts who for “couplings” in following genera­ the institution’s first exhibition of their
produce much of modern architecture tions, in particular for Alison and Peter work, a “one-man” show, called New
in media and as media. Even the clients Smithson, whose partnership in turn Furniture Designed by Charles Eames
—previously treated as “problems” for provided a model for Robert Venturi (1946). The museum also chose to
the architect or as “witnesses” to the and Denise Scott Brown, and for Enric ignore other members of the Eames
impact of the architecture—figure as Miralles and Carmen Pinos a generation office, including Gregory Ain, Harry
the active collaborators they are. later. Such couplings invoke nervous- Bertoia, Herbert Matter, and Griswald
In the postwar period, all the ness and resentment from all camps, Raetze, all of whom resigned, ­“ending
“great masters” associated with other including from women. The myth a particularly fertile period of the
architects on key projects. In 1943 of the isolated genius remains one Eameses’ careers.” The exhibition and
Walter Gropius founded The Architects of architecture’s most stubborn and catalogue of the Good Design exhibition
Collaborative (TAC) with a group of regressive concepts. Even when the of 1950–51 continued not to credit the
younger architects. In 1950 the Museum firm’s name, Charles and Ray Eames, work to Ray, even though she figures
of Modern Art held an exhibition on recognized the two as equal partners, in many photographs installing the
the Chicago firm Skidmore Owings other institutions, particularly East show next to the curator, Edgar
and Merrill (SOM), acknowledging for Coast institutions—the Museum of Kauf­mann, Jr. Only on the last page
the first time a corporate office. In the Modern Art, the New York Times, of the c­ atalogue are there a few lines
show, a more anonymous collective Harvard University—were in denial. about her “assistance” in preparing
subsumed the individual architects, A devastated Esther McCoy wrote to the show and book. The first draft of
but wherever their names did appear, the Eameses apologizing that the New Arthur Drexler’s introduction to the
a key woman architect in the firm, York Times had erased Ray’s name 1973 ­exhibition Charles Eames from the
Natalie de Blois, was systematically from the article she had just published Design Collection reduced Ray’s role
left out. Mies van der Rohe worked about their work: to an assistant. The second version,
with Philip Johnson on the Seagram however, includes an addendum that
Building (with the crucial intervention Dear Charles and Ray: The Times describes Ray as “closely associated
of Phyllis Lambert, as both patron story was an embarrassment to with furniture design and the produc-
and young architect). Gropius collab­ me as it must have been painful to tion of films and exhibition” from the
orated with the corporate office of you. It was originally (as requested) beginning.
Emery Roth and Sons on the Pan Am a 5000-word story and was cut The institutional recalcitrance in
Building. Wallace Harrison “stole” from at their request to 3500, and when acknowledging both Ray and Charles
Le Corbusier the forms for the new Paul Goldberger received it, he Eames stands in contrast to the deep
headquarters of the United Nations in called and said it was fine. Then admiration expressed by Alison and
New York. he turned me over to the ­editorial Peter Smithson, who treated pieces of
Rem Koolhaas suggests that such assistant, a Barbara Wyden, who the Eames oeuvre as precious icons
partners are overlooked even though had endless complaints I won’t and paradigms for their own practice.
they add the more idiosyncratic fea- bore you with, but the two things To the Smithsons, for example, the
tures. “From the 1930s, when he began we settled down in a death struggle now-iconic Eames chair was “a mes-
‘working’ with Lilly Reich,” he writes in were that Ray’s name must be sage of hope from another planet,” the
his 1997 text “Eno/abling Architecture,” included and that the chaise only chair one could put in any interior
“Mies left the theatrical to others—per- must not be called a casting today, the only one they would put in
version by proxy. From her silk and couch. . . . For twenty years I have their own living room. “Eames chairs
velvet to Johnson’s chain mail in the worked peacefully with editors. belong to the occupants not to the
Four Seasons, what is the connection? Now already in 1973 I have come building,” they wrote. “Mies chairs
Who took advantage?” up against two editors who are are especially of the building and not
unbelievably arrogant, the basis of of the occupant.” This observation
their complaint being that I didn’t informed the Smithsons’ conception
understand the broad audience. of how to design furniture, as they
This is sheer nonsense; the broad wrote in The Shift (1982):
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With the first interior sketches The Smithsons made many more with the relationship of Duiker and
of this project [Burrows Lea Farm, family trees, and the couple’s insistent [Bernard] Bijvoet, I speak of them as
1953] . . . we realised we had a inclusion of themselves is key. In the one eminence.” And on the occasion
problem. . . . What was to be put in modern architectural genealogy, which of Pierre Jeanneret’s death, Alison
as furniture? We needed objects they knew so well and which they and Peter wrote a moving “tribute”:
that achieved a cultural fit. . . . were able to communicate in such
There could not be falling back on a brilliant way in their writings, the We have a very spare file called
the Thonet sold in France and used Smithsons wanted to see themselves Significant Houses. In it is the
by Le Corbusier. . . . As a response as following the tradition of Mies. Farnsworth, a few early Rudolf
to the realisation came the Trund­ (Peter writes, “My own debt to Mies houses, and very little else. The
ling Turk, a chair which looked as is so great that is difficult for me to earliest ­document is from the
if it might follow its owners from disentangle what I hold as my own Architect’s Journal, June 27, 1946.
room to room and out onto the thoughts, so often they have been the It was this we rethought of on
beach (p. 22). result of insights received from him.”) the death of Pierre Jeanneret.
But if Mies was the architect of the The house shown there ­embodies
The Smithsons’ chairs assume the heroic period, the Eameses were the the sweetest collaboration with
same characteristics they had ascribed ideal for a second, less heroic genera- Jean Prouvé—who really has been
to the Eameses’ chairs. They occupy tion straddling World War II, and it was unfortunate in his architect
the space vacated by the Thonet, share with them, in fact, that the Smithsons ­collaborators (p. 42).
the same period as the architecture, felt in closer alliance.
and belong to the occupant, not to the In these family trees, the emphasis The Smithsons pay tribute to Pierre
building. The Smithsons have absorbed on women surfaces again, in what Jeanneret by showing his house
the Eameses’ mode of operation rather Peter calls “the female line”: “Much of with Prouvé. They remove him from
than the specific details of their forms. our inheritance reaches us through the Le Corbusier’s gigantic shadow only
The Smithsons’ identification with female line . . . Truus Schröder-Schräder, to pair him up again, in “the sweetest
the older couple seems to emanate Lilly Reich, Charlotte Perriand, Ray collaboration.” In the process, they
from the pervasive sense of domestic- Eames . . . ” The line continues all the introduce the question of Prouvé’s
ity. Literal domesticity, as when Peter way down to Alison Smithson, in what unhappy “marriages” to a succession
reflects on the Eameses’ breakfast Peter calls a “conscious homage to the of architects, including Toni Garnier,
table, then wanders back in time to the founding mothers.” The Smithsons Marcel Lods, Le Corbusier, and Georges
Walter and Ise Gropius breakfast table were very sensitive to women’s pres- Candilis. But since the homage is to
in Massachusetts, to end with an image ence in the history of architecture of Jeanneret, bringing up the matter of
of Alison at breakfast, on a snowy our century, more than any historian partnership raises questions about
day in their country house at Fonthill. or critic of the period. But the women what is perhaps the most unexplored
And conceptual domesticity, as when, they identify are always in couples. partnership of the century, that
in the same article, he organizes They refer to Margaret Macdonald and between Jeanneret and Le Corbusier,
the history of architecture from the Charles Rennie Mack­intosh, Charlotte and about what the former may have
Renaissance to the present as that of Perriand and Le Corbusier, Truus contributed to the latter’s work.
a small family with only six members: Schröder-Schräder and Rietveld, Lilly The 1950s offered many other cou-
Brunelleschi, Alberti, Francesco de Reich and Mies, and so on. A couple plings as well. Gwendolyn Wright has
Giorgio (representing three generations identifying other couples, perhaps recently shown how Catherine Bauer,
of the Renaissance) and Mies, the identifying themselves with those a social historian, “metamorphosed”
Eameses, and the Smithsons (three couples, as when Alison writes: “I can the practice of the architect William
generations of modern architecture). see the part played by Ray Eames in Wurster, whom she met and married
all that they do: . . . the perseverance in 1940, by “politicizing” him, infusing
in finding what exactly is wanted; his domestic designs with her social
although the seeker may not know the and political ideas, just as he helped
exact object until it is finally seen.” her to “become aware of the needs
Or, when writing about Mies, Peter of middle-class American families,
suddenly remarks, as if talking to both in city apartments and suburban
himself: “I want to know more about homes.” Bauer, Wright contends, had
Lilly Reich.” earlier radically transformed the work
It is not just heterosexual couples of Lewis Mumford, by spurring him “to
that interest the Smithsons. When take on the grand themes of technolo-
discussing Johannes Duiker in The gy and community, which will become
Heroic Period of Modern Architecture, the basis of his best-known books,” and
Peter writes: “It is not for me to deal Mumford, in turn, encouraged Bauer
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to “contemplate aspects of design that exhibition did not credit her work, par- Perhaps the growing fascination with
could not be quantified, to broaden and ticularly the City Tower in Philadelphia. collaboration is part of our current
humanize her definition of housing She writes, voyeurism. Talk shows, blogs, and
reform,” during the several years of social networking sites are redefining
their love affair while he was married I did not get an invitation to the what we consider “private.” Can we
to someone else. opening. When I asked our secre- expect architecture to remain immune?
Mumford had met Bauer in 1929: tary about it, she said my name We are increasingly less concerned
“We were drawn together by our com- might not be on the credit label. with the heroic figure of the modern
mon interest in modern architecture,” I immediately asked Lou if my architect, with the façade, but delve
he wrote in the autobiographical My name was credited. He answered ever deeper into his internal weak-
Works and Days, from 1932. “From the no, so I suggested it might be bet- nesses. Architects themselves have
beginning we were excited by each ter if he called the museum than started to tell us private stories about
other’s minds, and plunged and leaped if I called. There was no Sturm und their desperate attempts to get jobs,
in a sea of ideas like two dolphins, even Drang; he simply called and my about their pathological experiences
before our bodies had time for [one] name was added. I was profoundly with clients, about falling in the street,
another.” Bauer helped Mumford or- shocked that Lou would do such a and even about their masseuses. And
ganize the housing section of the 1932 thing, especially since Perspecta 2 we pay more attention than when
MoMA exhibition Modern Architecture. (1953), Progressive Architecture they were trying to dictate to us what
Her “challenging mind,” he wrote, (May, 1954) and the Atlas Cement their work meant. On the one hand,
“had a stimulating and liberating e ­ ffect brochure on the tower (1957) gave there is a concerted effort to demystify
upon my whole development.” To credit to both of us. I could not architectural practice and debunk the
Mumford, she “played the part of Hilda believe that his desire for recogni- heroes. On the other, all the private,
Wangel in Ibsen’s play: the voice of the tion would erode his integrity, since messy details are incorporated back
younger generation, bidding the Master sharing credit with me would not into the heroic images, in a new kind
Builder to quit building modest, com- necessarily diminish his fame. of therapy.
monplace houses and to erect instead Is this just a new form of attention
an audacious tower, even if, when he In the end, the City Tower appeared as to the same old figures, demystifying
had reached the top, he might fall to “Louis Kahn and Anne Tyng, architects them but in a way that keeps them at
his death. associated.” The MoMA exhibition the center of our attention, in a moment
Anne Tyng, one of the first woman Architecture and Engineering, of the when we might otherwise be drawn to
architects to graduate from Harvard, following year, also credits both Tyng alternative figures, alternative practices?
became Louis Kahn’s lover while and Kahn. In 1973, a year before his Women, after all, are the real ghosts
working in his office and collaborating death, Kahn publicly if inadequately of modern architecture—everywhere
closely on key designs. In a 1954 letter acknowledged her role when he gave present, crucial, but strangely invisible.
to Tyng, while she was in Rome, he the National Academy of Design a Unacknowledged, they are destined to
wrote, “I am waiting anxiously for us self-portrait, together with a 1946 haunt the field forever. Correcting the
to be together again in our wonderful portrait he had made of her, with the record is not just a question of adding
way of love and work which again is inscription: in a few hundred names. It is not just
nothing really but another form of that a matter of human justice or historical
love.” Tyng later said, “We were both This is a portrait of Anne Tyng accuracy. It is a matter of more fully
workaholics; in fact, work had become Architect who was the geometry understanding architecture and the
a kind of passionate play. We were able conceiver of the Philadelphia Tower. complex ways it is produced.  □
to bring out each other’s creativity, Well that is not exactly so because
building on each other’s ideas.” As the I thought of the essence but she
full tragedy of the relationship and knew its geometry. To this day she
Kahn’s ultimate selfishness unfolds, pursues the essence of construc-
the letters between them remain filled tive geometry, now teaches at
with the details of designs. Published the U. of P. and other places like
design becomes inseparable from Harvard etc. We worked together
private soap opera. on my projects from a purely 
As the institution of record for conception base. Dec 27, 1972.
the field, MoMA found itself caught
in disputes over attribution. Tyng, for Even in the moment of acknowledg-
example, who had ended her relation- ment, he draws a line between essence
ship with Kahn in 1960, shortly before and geometry that really makes no
the Museum’s Visionary Architecture sense in a project that is all geometry.
exhibition, was surprised when the



[1] Trumpf Campus Restaurant,

Ditzingen, Germany, photo by
David Franck
[2] trutec Building, Seoul, Korea,
photo by Amy Barkow
[3] trutec Building (detail),
photo by Corinne Rose
[4] Fellows Pavilion, American
Academy in Berlin, Germany,
photo by Stefan Müller
[5] Tour Total (detail), Berlin,
­Germany, photo by Corinne Rose
[6] Tour Total, photo by
Corinne Rose
[7] Loom-Hyperbolic,
Marrakech, Morocco 2012,
photo by Johannes Foerster
[8] Loom-Hyperbolic (detail),
photo by Johannes Foerster
4 0  t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4


The role of Spielraum One origin myth of modern architec- the old America once did: an expanded
ture involves the voyaging of German horizon for ambitious building.
in the work of
designers like Walter Gropius to North Although Barkow Leibinger have
Barkow Leibinger American cities such as Buffalo, where produced both domestic and cultural
they first saw in situ the industrial projects, as well as two landmark office
by Hal Foster structures, such as grain elevators, that towers, the TRUTEC Building in Seoul
they had already proposed as models (2006) and the Tour Total in Berlin
for functionalist buildings in Europe. (2012), they are best known for indus-
The partnership of Frank Barkow and trial architecture. At the same time
Regine Leibinger is a new variation Barkow Leibinger are fully aware of
on this old theme of international en- how such design has shifted in mean-
counter: in the late 1980s the American ing and motive. On the one hand, the
Barkow and the German Leibinger factory is no longer separate from other
met at the Harvard Graduate School of typologies, such as the laboratory; on
Design (GSD, where Gropius had once the other hand, the work undertaken
presided as chair). In the literature there is no longer distinct from other
on the office, this encounter is taken activities, such as research and experi-
as a primal scene: Frank Barkow, the ment, modeling and computing. So
rangy man from Montana, impressed even as Barkow Leibinger “recover
by the huge infrastructural projects essential aspects” of industrial archi-
and the great land art of the American tecture, they have also adapted to its
West (e.g., hydroelectric dams, in the changed parameters, and anticipated
first instance, Spiral Jetty by Robert still newer ones. If “today technology is
Smithson, in the second), meets Regine representation-less,” as Frank Barkow
Leibinger, the sophisticated daughter suggests, Barkow Leibinger do not buy
of the innovative director of TRUMPF, into the fantasy of dematerialization
the designer-manufacturer of laser-cut that drives the post-Fordist ideology
tools based near Stuttgart (which is of “light construction.” In effect, they
also where a classic of European mod- see industrial architecture as a set of
ernism, the Weissenhof Siedlung, is lo- operations involving materials and
cated). After training at the GSD, under techniques both new and old, and they
the chairmanship of Rafael Moneo, the develop these operations in architec-
two young architects set up a practice tural terms, often mimetic of industrial
in Berlin, in 1993, at a time when the ones, that are “repetitive, serial, and
new Europe came to represent what additive.”
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Ten years ago, some members that of a postmodern architecture par­ These tasks governed his first mature
of their generation spoke of a “new lante, yet neither is it simply that of a works: sheets of lead rolled, folded,
pragmatism,” while others insisted modern structural transparency, the torn, or otherwise manipulated; molten
on a “design intelligence” that was assumed self-evidence of construction lead splashed along the base of a wall
“projective” rather than “critical.” Both in brick, concrete, glass and steel, and and peeled back in creased rows;
notions pointed to a renewed com- so on. If much technology is “represen- slabs of concrete stacked on top of
mitment to practice, not an aversion tation-less” today, Frank Barkow and one another or sheets of lead propped
to theory or representation per se but, Regine Leibinger do not leave it there, up against each other; and so on. In
rather, an advocacy of knowledge in its own black box; they work to put their exhibition catalogue An Atlas of
that is intrinsic to architecture, that various techniques into action and, Fabrication (2009) Barkow Leibinger
emerges from its distinctive protocols in doing so, not only to demonstrate present a “list of actions” of their own:
of research, experiment, calculation, them but also to transform them in “2D-Cutting, Casting, Cutting/Stacking,
and execution. Barkow Leibinger ways that are appropriate to present Bending, Punching, Welding/Inflating,
favor a slightly different term, “design conditions. 3D-Cutting (Revolving), Anticipating.”
performance,” which can be taken to Another Barkow Leibinger mantra Although these operations, sometimes
indicate an architecture that meets the has it that “tools shape materials separate, sometimes combined, are
highest standards of industry (or any that make forms, not the other way often sophisticated in technical terms,
other client), to be sure, but that is also around,” a sequence that reverses they are usually simple when it comes
performative in another sense—inven- the usual order of design. Here they to legibility. Like Serra, Frank Barkow
tive, even playful. This is a cohort that, acknowledge the importance of the and Regine Leibinger think of practice
not concerned with a signature style, symbiotic relationship they have en- as a matter not only of experiment and
is responsive to given conditions of joyed with TRUMPF, a strong client that execution but also of demonstration
client, program, and site, and that is led Barkow Leibinger to consider “how and disclosure.
alert to how advances in technology digital fabrication technologies can be “The work of Barkow Leibinger
and engineering can be turned to used to make buildings.” Yet they have comes to us from inside architecture,”
architectural ends. also worked with other fabricators and the architect George Wagner has writ-
“For me it always has to be com- engineers to incorporate new materials ten, and it is true: theirs is a reflexive
prehensible and it has to be appropri- and techniques into the design process. language, one developed recursively
ate,” Regine Leibinger remarks. “Those In this manner, Barkow Leibinger also through building. It is a language they
are key terms for [our] architectural look back, beyond modern architec- always revise in accordance with
approach.” That approach is an ethical ture, to the materialism of manufacture the constraints of the program and
one too; certainly it was for the early advocated by Gottfried Semper. (Their the conditions of the site, and it is a
advocates of modern architecture. interest in “carpeting,” for example, language they always extend through
The common term for this modern recalls his fascination with textiles.) other activities such as competitions
commitment was “transparency,” The outcome is a distinctive “atlas of and master plans, prototyping and
which for the most part operated by fabrication,” in which materials and archiving, teaching and exhibiting. It is
analogy: if the materials, structure, and techniques are legible in the structures a language in which architecture is an
construction were made clear, then, it and spaces that result, in ways that instrument, as complex or as simple as
was thought, other aspects of life often unite design and program as well as the case requires.
shrouded in secrecy—social relations, construction and site. This brings us back to “design per-
economic operations, political deci- Another Barkow Leibinger motto formance,” from which I want to draw
sions—might also be drawn into the is Kein Stil, sondern Haltung, which can a final implication. There is always an
open, into the clear light of democratic be translated roughly as “Position over element of inspired performance in
understanding. That analogy, which Style.” “Position, in our case,” they add, bricolage. And as the greatest philoso-
was active in modernist art too (where “favors process over preconceived phers in German aesthetics tell us,
the common phrase was “truth to form,” and by “process” they mean such play (Spiel) is also essential to art;
materials”), was always a shaky one, ­specific operations performed on it opens up a realm for an imaginative
and today it is flouted by many archi- specific materials that are deemed response to any question. In the end,
tects whose production of atmospheric appropriate for a given project. Forty- this is what Barkow Leibinger offer
and affective effects mostly abets the six years ago, discontent with the us all: Spielraum, room for play, space
obfuscation that now dominates these pictorial effects of a Minimalist art for invention.  □
other realms (again, the social, the that contradicted its own program of
economic, and the political). literal transparency, Richard Serra also This excerpt is adapted from
This is why it is so important that developed a set of specific operations ­Foster’s essay in the forth­
Barkow Leibinger insist on “legibility,” to be performed on specific m ­ aterials, a coming book Barkow Leibinger:
the term they prefer over “transparency.” protocol laid out in his famous Verb List Spielraum (Hatje Cantz,
Again, the legibility they seek is hardly (1967–68): “to roll, to crease, to fold . . .” December 2014)
4 2   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4

When events everywhere
the spring of 2009, with all emergencies by definition sudden?
money collected from What makes an emergency extra­
seems to be fraught
friends and neighbors ordinary, when common sense and a
with urgency, what is an desperate to leave Sri Lanka during modicum of everyday optimism would
emergency? the final furious months of a 26-year suggest that all emergencies are events
civil war, a fisherman named Antony out of the ordinary? And just whose
by Hillel Schwartz Chaminda Fernando Warnakulasuriya belief was to be established as reason-
bought and provisioned a boat. On able: Those facing a sudden, extraor-
March 31, he sailed out of the coastal dinary emergency in Sri Lanka? Naval
city of Negombo with 31 others, head- officers intercepting a boat “in trouble,”
ing for Australia. Three weeks later, in waters thousands of miles from the
the Australian navy intercepted the putative emergency? Departmental
boat near Barrow Island, not 31 miles heads administering Australian im-
from the Australian coast. migration law? Moreover, was it the
Warnakulasuriya was arrested and reasonableness of the belief in a cir-
charged with facilitating illegal im- cumstance of emergency that must be
migration. pondered, or the reasonableness of the
Tried in November 2010, he was action prompted by the belief? The jury
convicted and sentenced to five years members themselves were perplexed
in prison. His lawyers appealed to the and sent a note asking for clarification.
Supreme Court of Western Australia Judge Eaton of the District Court
on the grounds that the District Court explained that the emergency need
judge had misdirected the jury. When not be both sudden and extraordinary.
the appeal was heard in August 2011, As to what the concepts “emergency,”
at issue was the very notion of “emer- “sudden,” “extraordinary” meant, that
gency.” was up to the jury to decide, for each
All sides had to contend with word had an “ordinary meaning.” How
Section 10.3 of Australia’s Criminal the words might be taken conjointly,
Code, which provides that a person is as with “extraordinary emergency,”
not criminally responsible for an of- he tried briefly to clarify, struggling
fense if committed in response “to cir- to elude tautology: “We use the word
cumstances of sudden or extraordinary ‘extraordinary,’ generally speaking, to
emergency,” so long as that person mean something that is not ordinary,
“reasonably believes” that: “(a) circum- something that’s out of the ordinary,
stances of sudden or extraordinary something that is unusual or remark-
emergency exist; and (b) committing able or out of the usual course. We use
the offence is the only reasonable way the word ‘emergency’ to describe a
to deal with the emergency; and (c) the circumstance that requires that there
conduct is a reasonable response to be some immediate action. So in a
the emergency.” medical situation, it may be that some-
But what exactly is a “sudden” or body has to have emergency surgery to
an “extraordinary” emergency? Aren’t deal with a problem that has presented
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itself and needs to be dealt with with and lifted just months before the deci- threefold shift, but an example of
some immediacy rather than being put  sion was rendered in Warnakulasuriya each may demonstrate the historical
off until later. So an extraordinary v. The Queen (2012)? Had the Parlia­ ­momenta of such befuddlement.
emergency, in that sense, is something mentary Committee intently chosen
that’s out of the ordinary, something language meant to encompass the Time and Timing. Although mothers for
that’s unusual or remarkable, and is hundreds of more temporary, if often millennia have had tacit standards for
something which needs to be dealt with prolonged, States of Emergency de- what constitutes a health emergency
by some degree of immediacy, actions clared by local, regional, and national for their children, it was not until 1855,
sooner rather than later.” authorities around the world over the when systematic triage was imple-
“Sooner rather than later,” wrote past decades to cope with natural or mented during the Crimean War, that
Justice Buss for the Supreme Court, was unnatural disaster (e.g., industrial ex- the medical notion of emergency could
an unfortunate phrase. The law nowhere plosion, radiation leaks, chemical fires), become a commanding model for
insisted on the immediacy of emer- epidemic, recurrent rioting, terrorism, immediate response. Nikolai Pirogov,
gency. What’s more, the Parliamentary or civil war? What summoned this a respected Russian surgeon who had
Committee that had crafted Section 10.3 enlarged, ungainly, even oxymoronic pioneered the field use of ether, began
was known to have specifically revised lexicon of emergency? sorting the many neglected wounded
its final draft so that the words “sudden at Sevastopol into groups by (1) those
or extraordinary emergency” were not Emergency itself was no new idea, of who required instant surgical attention,
defined in terms of “an urgent situation course. Besieged cities in classical (2) those who required pain relief, med-
of imminent peril”; instead, the words Greece fabricated emergency money icine, or mild debriding and bandaging,
were “left to the jury as ordinary words while the satyr Pan gamboled in and and (3) those who could not be helped
in the English language.” The District out of panic. Ninety-four times dur- except with a quiet place to die in the
Court jury has thus been misled into ing the tenure of the Republic, the presence of a priest. These principles
thinking that delay in response to a Roman Senate had invited a dictator would inform gradations of urgency
perceived emergency could be taken as to take control when faced with eco- implemented at clinics and hospitals,
proof that the emergency was neither nomic upheaval or severe civil disorder. and eventually the military, schools,
extraordinary nor sudden. Reviewing Roman history, Machiavelli, and government offices. As physicians
Hobbes, and Locke initiated five and surgeons adopted techniques
On January 24, 2012, Justices Buss, Hall, hundred years of debate over the against sepsis and shock; as they em-
and Pullin set aside Warnakulasuriya’s legitimate reasons for declaring a State braced experimental laboratory results
conviction and ordered a new trial. In of Emergency, the juridical and political from bacteriology, hematology, and
the opinion, Justice Hall sympathized entailments of such a state, and the cardiology; as they exploited newly
with the jury’s perplexity and the ethical implications of yielding to its synthesized anaesthetics and tailored
judge’s tribulations. “The difficulty,” he demands. Nor were people in 2012 pharmaceuticals; and as they became
wrote, “is that the ordinary meaning necessarily confronting an objectively adept at using ever-more sophisticated
of the word ‘emergency’ does include larger set of emergencies, whether diagnostic devices, the number of
a time imperative, as dictionary defi- simple, sudden, or “extraordinary.” In conditions that fell into category 1
nitions bear out. The Shorter Oxford each era, what was understood as an actually increased—substantially so.
Dictionary defines ‘emergency’ as emergency had differed considerably It was an almost-miraculous irony.
a situation especially of danger or according to political rank, social sta- Effective modern practice meant that
conflict that arises unexpectedly and tion, legal status, financial resources, wounds earlier thought negligible
requires urgent action or something military or medical vulnerability, food were in need of swift attention, lest
which occurs suddenly or unexpect- security, and the precariousness of they become infected. Vice versa,
edly.” Indeed, as Hall acknowledged, one’s environmental situation (under more serious conditions thought
“It may be thought that a non-sudden a volcano, near a geologic fault, on a intractable and fatal could be happily
emergency is self-contradictory.” If flood plain, athwart a border). resolved, so long as they were caught
pressed to maintain such a self-contra- The befuddling lexicon of emer- and treated in time. In double-time, for
diction, that odd and decidedly uncom­ gency as reported in Warnakulasuriya quick, confident intercession was what
mon phrase “extraordinary emergency” v. The Queen resulted, rather, from a modern medicine was all about. In
probably fit the bill, for it “may denote confluence of changes in the Western consequence, parents, teachers, nurses,
a situation of extreme gravity and ecumene since the late 1700s: changes insurance adjustors, and ambulance
abnormal or unusual danger that might in cultural senses of time and timing, drivers have had to accommodate an
well have occurred suddenly but per- in personal and collective senses of ever-multiplying number of medical
sists over a period of time.” place, and in real, present capacities to instances that ought to be handled
Was Justice Hall thinking of the respond to “real and present dangers.” as emergencies. By the twenty-first
long “State of Emergency” that had My short essay will not bear the weight, century, public health authorities were
been imposed in Sri Lanka since 1983 or the wait, of a full narrative of this advising that the “sudden emergencies”
4 4   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4

of heart attack, stroke, embolism, and under the slogan, “It’s 360 degrees of one could but hope that its persistence
childhood asthma be attended within chaos out there,” it is manifest that would compel not just fortitude but
the hour, if not within minutes, while emergency has overrun place. These thoughtful response. At legal point was
the slower progressive damage caused days we need global positioning sys- not the human capacity to recognize
by smoking, overeating, indolence, and tems to get from one spot to another emergency; it was the basic reasonable-
addictions to sugar could be magically through mazes of streets in megalopol- ness of wanting to escape immediate
reversed if ceased NOW. Abetted by itan settlements and their associated cognizable danger, then the reasonable-
wristwatches and alarm clocks that shanty towns that will, by 2030, harbor ness of believing that going elsewhere
measure time in seconds, minute-by- a third of the world’s population. We (e.g., to an essentially peaceful, lawful
minute rail and flight schedules, and need global satellite systems to track country 3,000 miles away) was an apt,
split-second photo-finish races, the “severe weather,” rampaging forest fires, timely escape.
imperatives of medical triage toward the acidification of the ocean. We need Emergency today cannot be a mere
a discriminating urgency have been global geographic information systems “state”—of jeopardy, risk, or tragedy.
applied well beyond the stricken to manage coastal emergencies caused As it has come to be understood over
­human  body. by oil spills. the last three centuries of industrial
The more that we are networked, derring-do, electrical wiring, electronic
Place. From stock-market crashes to the more we become individually aware programming, and digital prestidigita-
Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth: The of series of emergencies that move tion, emergency is a sharp p ­ rovocation
Planetary Emergency of Global Warming swiftly beyond the local, or that threat- to act—a summons, usually, to collec-
and What We Can Do About It (2006), en continually to impinge upon us tive action within the hour, the day, or
emergency, it seems, is everywhere. wherever we choose to stand. As with the archetypal “48 hours.” What distin-
That emergency might be planetary is the shift in our sense of time and ­timing, guishes the early twenty-first century
itself a signal shift. Although the darker the shift in our sense of place has from the early eighteenth is that coun-
apocalypses within traditions East and multiplied the number of emergencies tries and citizens across the planet have
West, North and South, have thrilled to which we are exposed—emotionally erected scores of new infrastructures
readers with images of a sudden, thor- and psychologically, if not physically. to deal with most every emergency:
ough, earth-wide destruction, in the In this context, we can sympathize tornado watchers, EMTs, hazmat teams,
past such visions have been read out with that Australian jury asked to incident management mobile units,
as local warnings toward repentance: determine whether it was reasonable international relief organizations, evac-
this is what will happen if we here, in for Antony Warnakulasuriya and his uation plans embedded in architectural
this place, persist in our evil ways. Each fellow Sri Lankans to believe that they codes, seismic recording stations. And
such apocalypse made sure of a nearby, could escape a local emergency by each and every kind of emergency is
familiar, prayerful emergency exit. heading out unheralded into the open believed to demand a quality and im-
But starting with a revolution in ocean to cross to another continent mediacy of response neither expected
the manufacture of cheap paper and itself beset by extensive drought and nor possible three centuries ago.
the contemporaneous nineteenth- vast forest fires. That is why imputations of delay
century march of telegraph poles, or hints of the slightest consideration
places have become so networked that Capacities. It was, yes, reasonable that of delay were so critical to the Supreme
proximity is determined as much by in an emergency one would attempt to Court’s review of Judge Eaton’s direc-
ease of two-way communication as by do something. Sudden, extraordinary, tions to the jury. Our real, present
geography or topography. As a result, or otherwise, emergency presumed a capacities to respond to “real and
our sense of place, wherever we are, need for action. This the prosecution present dangers” are far more effective
is rarely exclusive to an ecosystem or and the Bench both conceded—though in the short-term than the long-term.
polis. People may still cotton to a par- the action itself be ill-conceived. Given our capacities to intervene so
ticular growing zone or landscape, may “Reasonable” was not synonymous quickly in media res or to rescue and
still gravitate toward a certain hilltop with wise, cogent, or successful. resuscitate minutes after-the-fact, not
or hometown, but we have come to Justice Hall made this explicit with only is immediacy inherent in emer-
appreciate our lives as conditioned by reference to sudden emergency, which gency—emergency is contingent upon
events at an increasingly imaginable “creates a sense of immediate danger, immediacy. So our ability to grasp, rec-
distance, as far away perhaps as the one which will occur almost instanta- ognize, and acknowledge “extraordinary
solar flares disrupting reception of the neously unless the accused takes coun- emergency,” or what Rob Nixon has
World Wide Web. tervailing action. In this case there may called the “slow violence” of millions
When the Ford Motor Company be little opportunity for calm reflection of unexploded land mines, of nuclear
in July of 2014 thinks to sell its top-of- or for the mustering of resolve or forti- contamination, of the degradation of
the-line cars by promoting their new tude.” As for extraordinary emergency, aquifers, is by comparison stunted.
safe-stopping auto-monitoring features “which persists over a period of time,”
So, what of Antony Warnakulasuriya?
He was out of jail and back in Sri Lanka
by February 2012. A fortnight thereafter,
on the 16th, he was shot dead by police
who fired on a group of fishermen in
Chilaw-Wella. They were protesting
fuel-price hikes implemented by the
government as one of the austerity
measures imposed in return for help
from the International Monetary Fund.
Some 30,000 mourners, both Tamil and
Sinhalese, came to Warnakulasuriya’s
home to offer their condolences to
his wife and two daughters; perhaps
20,000 gathered in the cemetery. At an
obvious distance from the burial plot
stood hundreds of soldiers and 1,500
police who, on the day prior to the
funeral, had obtained a decree from the
Chilaw Magistrate Court that stated
“the dead body is not allowed to be
used for any violence.” There was none.
In March, the Department of
Defense and Urban Development
announced that Sri Lanka had become
the first country in the world to defeat
militarily an internationally proscribed
terrorist organization (the Tamil
Tigers). In October, the International
Commission of Jurists issued a report
on “The Crisis of Impunity in Sri Lanka,”
noting that although the State of
Emergency had officially been lifted,
the government had promulgated new
anti-terror regulations that effectively
maintained the state’s emergency
powers. Those regulations were still
in place when, during the summer
of 2014, Australia found itself tangled
in an international imbroglio over its
detention-at-sea and brusque process-
ing of boatloads of Tamils arriving in
Australian waters, seeking asylum.
When does an emergency end?
The phrases “sudden emergency” and
“extraordinary emergency” twist us out
of the toils of tautology into a paradox:
the more immediate our approach to
emergency and the finer our capacity
to deal instantly with emergencies
of all kinds, the more widespread the
emergencies we confront appear, the
less sudden they feel, and the longer
they seem to last. Now that’s extra­
ordinary. □
4 6  t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4


Seeking spiritual
redemption in
postwar Germany

by Monica Black

ermany’s prestige abroad has every other, nevertheless nurtures recapture a sense of the massive dis-
reached new heights of late, considerable social mobility, economic locations of that era, how much there
with commentators attribut- freedom within carefully considered was to be fixed, and how daunting the
ing the country’s success to constraints, cautious diplomacy, and a prospect of fixing it seemed to be.
cautious and rational planning, with quite understandable aversion to war. The 1950s, contrary to many popu-
a view to the long term. In a July 2014 No one in the 1940s or 1950s could lar images, were not just a “simpler
New York Times editorial, Roger Cohen have predicted any of this. time,” when saving for a first automo-
proclaimed Germany “Weltmeister”— As true as the success story is, bile or washing machine defined life’s
not only in international soccer and though, it also leaves a whole lot out. ultimate goal. And for all the hard-nosed
business—but equally in more quotid- There is a persistent imbalance be- rationality with which Germans are fre-
ian arenas, including the manufacture tween the amount of effort historians quently credited today, in the late 1940s
of high-quality windows. Historians have given over to explaining how, to and 1950s, uncanny events, inexplica-
of the Federal Republic, too, have often paraphrase Peter Fritzsche, Germans ble wonders, apparitions, and terrifying
and rightly emphasized Germany’s became Nazis (that is, a great deal), and end-times prophecies proliferated in
unlikely and astonishing reinvention how much we have dedicated to under- West German popular culture alongside
after 1945. In the wake of monumental standing how they became new kinds ghosts, nightmares, and a variety of
defeat in World War II and the enor- of Germans after 1945 (considerably powerful existential anxieties. As soci-
mous human and moral catastrophe less). Yet the postwar era entailed an ety recreated itself, new ethical visions
of the Holocaust, Germans rebuilt two extraordinary feat of transformation on erupted—spontaneous, fragmentary,
countries, almost from the ground up. nearly every level—not least in terms uniquely time-bound—to answer the
After the end of communism in East of how people thought, what they burning questions of the moment. Yet
Germany and the 1990 reunification— believed, and how they saw the world as critical as these questions were—
now 25 years on—a new Germany and their place in it. Appreciating fully “Does life have meaning?” “Why do we
has emerged, one that could be said the sweep of postwar German history become ill?” “Will good or evil triumph
to be a better country, in a number and the Federal Republic’s present-day in the world?”—they mostly could not
of important respects, than any of success almost necessarily entails be answered, just when people seemed
its predecessors. Today’s Germany taking a closer view of the period im- to need firm, undeniable answers most.
enjoys a broad-based, participatory mediately following the war—before In short, the early postwar era was a
democracy that, while flawed like the Economic Miracle—and trying to time of great spiritual tribulation. In
 fa ll 2 0 1 4 · t w e n t y- s e v e n · t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l  4 7

those years directly following upon the government ministers and members of “Only a good person finds his way to
multiple horrors of Nazism, Germans the Allied occupation administration. himself, to the health of his body, and
from many walks of life grappled in His personality was assessed by various to God.” “I cannot help bad people.”
very different ways with the nature and experts, including the psychoanalyst And on another occasion: “God wants
meaning of evil. Alexander Mitscherlich. He appeared in the person who has acknowledged

the pages of Der Spiegel multiple times that evil debases him to be helped.”
he immediate postwar period’s and once on its cover. The mere rumor But, he continued, “don’t come to me
popular preoccupation with that he might surface in a particular and tell me that you have not had a
evil is an unwritten chapter ­location was enough to draw thousands Schweinhund in you.”
of the era’s history, its various spontaneously to that spot and tie up Sickness and healing from sickness,
manifestations now almost entirely traffic for hours. in other words, were no more mor-
forgotten. Forgotten, too, is the man If all of this is striking now, it’s not ally neutral in Germany in the 1940s
who, perhaps as publicly and point- just because Gröning and the phenom­ and 1950s than in the time of Jesus of
edly as anyone, talked about and drew enon he helped to inspire have so Nazareth. Gröning not only insisted
attention to the theme of evil in those thoroughly faded from view. Germany that belief in God was fundamental to
years. His name was Bruno Gröning, is the country that gave the world Max becoming well, but also that the illness
and from the moment he burst into Weber, who saw as a key marker of mo- of the godless was godlessness, and
public view, in the spring of 1949, he dernity the world’s “disenchantment”— that those not right with God were be-
became a nearly inescapable presence, the decline of magic, and the rise of an yond cure. (These ideas were certainly
a name on the lips of almost everyone, instrumental-scientific outlook and no invention of the Miracle Doctor, and
from politicians and regional officials value system. If ultra-rationality and they long predated the 1940s. Villagers
to medical doctors and university technocracy have often formed one in the interwar period in Koerle, in
professors, from police detectives and side of Germany’s public image abroad, Hesse, one historian of medicine has
psychiatrists to lawyers and members Romanticism, moody landscape paint- shown, believed that sickness and
of the press. ing, and suicidal poets—to say nothing health were the product of God’s wrath
Gröning, it was said, could heal the of the Nazis’ occultist leanings—have or mercy. They also got their children
sick, make the blind see, make the deaf formed the other. Today, German immunized, and so hedged their bets.)
hear. In his presence, many attested, society’s secularism is often assumed, Coming to Gröning and asking to be
pain that had endured for months or but religious life here has always been healed implied submitting to spiritual
years subsided. Joints made stiff by multifaceted and operated on many judgment. While searching desperately
disease and age became supple. People levels, and not all Germans have fit for healing, some of his supplicants also
came to Gröning with every conceiv- within long-established religious wanted to know why they were ill. Was
able malady: headaches, sciatica, sinus- communities or been contained by illness a sign? A punishment? Did it say
itis, and insomnia; epilepsy, arthritis, traditional places of worship. Bruno something about one’s life, fate, past?
heart disease, asthma, cancer, thyroid Gröning’s greatest impact was felt A master butcher from Fulda hoped
and circulatory trouble, ulcers, angina, amongst crowds that gathered around Gröning would cure him of a variety
gall bladder and liver problems, and on him on the grounds of an inn called the of ailments. As he stood for hours
and on. Gröning told those on crutches Traberhof (“horse farm”) in Rosenheim, waiting and reflecting on the sources
or paralyzed and in wheelchairs to take a small town near Munich. Some called of his troubles to a reporter, he wept,
up their beds and walk, and some— it the new Lourdes. “I haven’t done anything to anyone.” The
as many attested at the time—did just For Gröning, health depended first sense that misfortune might somehow
that. For these feats he was nicknamed and foremost on faith in God. Born in be connected to guilt—to having done
the “Miracle Doctor” (Wunderdoktor) 1906 into a large, working-class, pious something to someone—was already
by the press, and he attracted tens Catholic family, he grew up in the in evidence in the war. Some Germans
of thousands of supplicants, who Gdańsk (then Danzig) suburb of Oliva. asked whether the Allied bombing
journeyed long distances to see him Though he does not appear to have been campaign revealed God’s disfavor. Was
and sent him so many letters that conventionally religious, he nonethe- Germany being punished, and if so, what
postmen in some towns had to have less spoke as a devout believer who for: for drifting away from God? For the
dedicated assistants to help deliver taught his followers that “the greatest persecution and murder of the Jews?
them all. Gröning’s acolytes called him doctor is the Lord God.” “All people Similarly, for Gröning, evil was no
Miracle Healer (Wunderheiler), Miracle were worthy of being healed, no matter mere metaphor. It lurked everywhere,
Doer (Wundertäter), Cure Bringer their nation, race or religion,” he said. a palpable and living presence in the
(Heilspender), even Savior (Heiland). He “We are all children of God and have world. Nearly 90 percent of people, he
became the subject of a documentary only one father and that is God.” And claimed, were its “prisoners.” He once
film, attracted workers and aristocrats, yet he contrasted this ecumenical mes- ordered a tree to be cut down because
men, women, and children, city and sage with other statements: “Things he was convinced that it was occupied
rural folk, as well as movie stars and only go well for those who are good.” by Satan and therefore to blame for
4 8   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4

the “suffering and . . . devil possession to Nazi criminality, he wrote, “I regard The preoccupation some Germans
of all the sick people living nearby.” any hint of myth and legend with had with evil after 1945 and Gröning’s
A woman who asked Gröning for help horror,” because it lent the Nazis a level enormous success point both to a
with a stomach ailment was told, of “greatness” that was wholly inap- powerful and lingering unease in
“The devil is grinning out of your face. propriate, given their “total banality,” postwar society as well as to a desire
I cannot help you. Please go.” Another and “prosaic triviality.” Nonetheless he, for cure, for wholeness, and perhaps,
woman, Frau H., went to visit Gröning too, sometimes spoke of the Nazis as for some individuals, also for forgive-
hoping to be cured of infertility. She devils that had fallen upon the German ness. Gröning came to preside over a
returned, according to her pastor, in population, “possessing” it. Historian community—the huge crowds who
a state of “total spiritual and religious Friedrich Meinecke also referred to followed him from place to place—who
bewilderment,” plagued by the most Hitler as demonic. sought to be whole again. Their quest
“anxiety-provoking visions and seized Of course, illness has often been— was bodily and spiritual, but also
by the belief that she was possessed by and sometimes continues to be—seen redemptive. They went to meet him in
the devil.” Frau H. had been a healthy as divine punishment for sins. Dirt, places from which the Miracle Doctor
woman, her pastor wrote, “but now ugliness, rottenness, and forms of had banned evil, as he banned the
gave the impression of someone ready physical imperfection, incomplete- woman from whose face the devil
for a psychiatric clinic.” ness, or unwholesomeness have been leered. In the gatherings around him,
To be sure, Gröning and his devo- equated with evil in many societies. there was often much spontaneous
tees were not the only ones concerned To ask, “Why am I ill? Or, “Why me?” singing of hymns, and people could be
about evil after the war, and there were is to assume that such questions can heard to shout “Thy kingdom come!”—
many ways—new ways—of thinking be answered, and that some entity can linking Gröning’s appearance to the reign
about it in the wake of the twin catas- answer, or indeed is responsible for an- of Christ. “Those healed [by Gröning]
trophes of war and genocide. Hannah swering. After the war, Germans some- and witnesses [to his spontaneous
Arendt famously wrote that as death times asked their pastors questions healings] . . . equate him with Christ,”
had been the defining issue of post- such as, “Why am I ill, when villains wrote one supporter, himself a doctor.
World War I intellectual life, evil would have it good?.” To be “sick,” Gröning One woman referred to Bruno Gröning
be the crucial question of the post- suggested, was to be inhabited by evil. as “the good son of God.”
World War II era. Karl Jaspers, Arendt’s But his talk of evil may also have hinted That his followers likened Gröning
teacher and frequent interlocutor, was at the realization that everything had to Jesus was a consequence of many
similarly concerned with evil. “Moral gone wrong, that bad things had been things—most obviously, a reputation for
and metaphysical guilt do not cease,” done, and bad things had gone unpun- curing the sick. But like Jesus, Gröning,
he wrote. “Whoever bears them enters ished. Everyone has a Schweinhund too, said unwelcome and disturbing
upon a process lasting all his life.” This in him, Gröning said. Things fall apart. things. When he talked about evil, when
is the language of stigma, which was Gröning offered ways toward he said that he knew about one’s inner
pervasive in postwar discussions about spiritual healing to some, harsh judg- Schweinhund, he was also pointing to
how to reinvent politics and national ments to others. He claimed to act as the evidence of defeat and humilia-
identity in the wake of “events that a channel for healing “through the tion, to the spreading stain of loss. If
were experienced as metaphysical evil,” spirit,” by encouraging a return to God— for some, the Miracle Doctor promised
as historian A. Dirk Moses writes. It at least, for the worthy. This greatly to usher in a new age of redemption,
was not uncommon after 1945 to refer perturbed some clergy, who found of divinely-authored healing, and of
to Nazism as Unheil—meaning disaster, the Miracle Doctor’s message at odds fixing what was broken, for others, his
but also suggesting the unholy, the with a Christian doctrine of salvation untimely ideas may well have seemed
un-whole. through the acknowledgment of sins. like an accusation.

Certainly, postwar intellectuals At the same time, Gröning’s talk of
understood evil differently. They had evil was ambiguous: what did it mean oday, Arendt’s inquiries into
no truck with the devil. For Arendt, it that the devil was grinning out of the meaning and nature of evil
was indeed crucial to emphasize that someone’s face? Gröning never put remain particularly current. She
evil belongs to us, human beings, and too fine a point on things. Like many went on to write what could be
is in that sense never “radical”—that of his contemporaries, he had been a thought of as an extended treatise on
is, never supernatural or monstrous or rank-and-file member of the Nazi party, the subject, Eichmann in Jerusalem, in
inhuman in origin—and that it is com- had fought at the Eastern Front. He had which she began to come to the con-
prehensible. “Evil possesses neither a past and had experienced his own clusion that evildoing was less a prob-
depth nor any demonic dimension,” share of misfortune. He served time lem of malevolent intentions than
she wrote to Gershom Sholem. Jaspers in a POW camp, became a refugee after “an inability to think, namely from the
expressed discomfort just after 1945 the war. Both his sons died very young; standpoint of somebody else.” What
with the then-commonplace idea that like many others’, his marriage had Arendt now famously termed “the banal-
Hitler had been a demon. With respect crumbled after the war. ity of evil” was essentially a problem of
Berliner Festspiele

thought, a failure of imagination. Rather than
having demonic intentions or killing from

Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte /

malicious desire, perhaps the thing we call

Ulfberht-Schwert, 10. Jh. n. Chr.

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin,
evil, Arendt sensed, meant having no inten-

Claudia Plamp
tions at all. Simply doing what is expected,
without reflection, can be evil. Without being
able to think through one’s actions and their
consequences, scheduling trains becomes
a link in a chain that culminates in mass
murder. 10 September 2014 – 4 January 2015

The Vikings
We still debate exactly what Arendt
meant by evil’s banality, and what it means
to us now. Gröning and the phenomenon
he helped inspire have, by contrast, largely Organizer: Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

slipped out of memory. The reason for this

is not obvious; after all, Padre Pio and Oral

Mamma Roma, Pier Paolo Pasolini,

1962. © All rights reserved
Roberts are still very much remembered,
certainly in their own national contexts but
even well beyond. Gröning’s absence from
popular memory in Germany today might be
explained by the course of the faith healer’s
own later life. In the early 1950s, Gröning
began to be investigated by prosecutors in 11 September 2014 – 5 January 2015
Bavaria. This culminated ultimately in his
being tried for manslaughter; he had alleg- Pasolini Roma
edly told a young follower with tuberculosis
to stop going to the doctor, and she had died.
But in 1959, even before the legal proceed-

W. Krinski: Experimentell-methodische
ings against him were decisively concluded,

und räumliche Komposition“, 1921 ©

Staatliches Schtschussew Museum
Studienarbeit zum Thema „Farbe
Gröning himself died.

für Architektur Moskau

By then, West Germany had changed—
dramatically so—and that is perhaps equally
important. In the late 1950s, the economic
miracle was in full swing. Society had stabi-
lized; there was hope for the future. People
had begun to believe that positive change 5 December 2014 – 6 April 2015
could last, and the despair that often hung
in the air in the early postwar years yielded
to greater security, greater optimism. The
hard and painful questions that Gröning and A Russian Laboratory of Modernity.
his followers had so obliquely yet indelibly
raised perhaps no longer seemed as pressing. Architecture designs 1920 – 1930
Maybe, too, those questions—about guilt and
innocence, right and wrong, good and evil,
sickness and health—now seemed especially
shameful. Shameful not only because they
pointed to the stigma of loss, to the pain of
the past, to grief and destruction, but also be- Niederkirchnerstraße 7, 10963 Berlin
Tel. +49 30 254 86 0
cause those who posed those uncomfortable
questions—Gröning and his adherents—were Wed – Mon 10am – 7pm, closed Tue
not deemed credible in a society that was open on public holidays, closed on 24.12. and 31.12.2014
reconceiving itself once again, and for which online-tickets:
mysticism of whatever strain seemed espe-
cially embarrassing. Or it might also be, that
on the cusp of the 1960s, with the memory
of the war fading like a bad dream, West
Germans just no longer felt punished.  □
5 0  t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4

The second meeting of the American Academy in Berlin convened
­Richard C. Holbrooke Forum the Holbrooke Forum, a novel gather-
ing of thinkers, scholars, diplomats,
working group will convene
and former government officials. The
at the Hans Arnhold Center Forum comprised an intense three-day
from December 18–21 to dis-
The Law
discussion of international statecraft
cuss “peace and justice,” led and law that is scheduled to repeat
every summer and winter. Michael
by co-chairs Harold Hongju
Koh, of Yale Law School, and of Kosovo Ignatieff and I agreed to serve as Forum
co-moderators, and the first session,
Michael Ignatieff, of Harvard on “Statecraft and Responsibility,” was
by Harold Hongju Koh
Kennedy School. The group held with great success in June 2014.
At the second session, in December 2014,
will address the sequencing
we will grapple with the issue of “Peace
of peace and justice in post- Richard Holbrooke’s distinctive and Justice.” To international lawyers
conflict situations, including in contribution was to align three potent and diplomats, what exactly does that
the Balkans, Libya, Rwanda, tools—diplomacy, force, and law—to topic connote?
achieve durable political results. Force
Syria, and Sierra Leone, and
and the threat of force brought the Let me illustrate by taking two mo-
how the International Crimi- Bosnian protagonists to Dayton in 1995 ments in the stormy life of the tiny
nal Court’s looming decision to an historic diplomatic negotiation state of Kosovo: NATO humanitarian
about a “crimes of aggres- that Holbrooke led. At Dayton, he intervention in 1999 and Kosovo’s
ingeniously marshaled all elements of Declaration of Independence in 2008.
sion” statute might affect
American power to secure an agree- In 1999, NATO famously took military
the calculus of peace and ment: a constitutional settlement with action in Kosovo without express
justice. The following two the force of law that has now endured Security Council authorization, in a
articles, by Harold Hongju for two decades. watershed exercise of the collective
Today, we live in a very different use of humanitarian force to prevent
Koh and workshop partici-
world. For America and Europe, the humanitarian slaughter. Some of
pant Louise Arbour, the for- task of aligning force, law and diplo- those who argued that NATO should
mer UN High Commissioner macy to forge stable political solutions intervene to prevent humanitarian
for Human Rights, assess has become far more challenging. slaughter in Kosovo nevertheless
In today’s world, how relevant is the concluded that such intervention
the overlapping demands of
“Holbrooke Formula” of using force, should be treated as “illegal but
freedom, peace, and justice combined with diplomacy, to gener- legitimate.” At the time of the Kosovo
in international law. ate law? To answer that question, the intervention, Richard Holbrooke was
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US Ambassador to the United Nations, alone as dispositive, the per se posi- territorial integrity of a state, in a case
and I was US Assistant Secretary of tion denies any nation, no matter how where that threat or action was criti-
State for Democracy, Human Rights well-meaning, any lawful way to use cal or essential to effectuate the UN’s
and Labor. At the inaugural June 2014 even limited and multilateral force to broader purposes. As Article 51 makes
Holbrooke Forum session, the partici- prevent Bashar al-Assad from inten- clear, Article 2(4)’s ban is not categori-
pants struggled over the question of tionally gassing a million Syrian chil- cal: the Charter expressly accepts one
whether humanitarian intervention in dren tomorrow. In the name of fidelity customary international law exception
Kosovo was legal, legitimate, or both. to the UN and this rigid conception of permitting use of force against another
We tried to relate the Kosovo precedent international law, leaders would either state for purposes of individual and
to the ongoing agony of Syria, and the have to accept civilian slaughter or collective self-defense. So does the
participants were divided on the ques- break the law, because international Charter accept another exception
tion of legality. law offers no lawful alternative to that permits the threat or use of force
Some participants thought—as prevent the slaughter. The question against another state when a persistent
a matter of international law—that not asked is whether preventing that Security Council deadlock obstructs
humanitarian intervention is simply slaughter would further the purposes the UN’s capacity to achieve its stated
barred by the prohibition of the threat of international law and the UN system humanitarian, anti-war purposes?
or use of force in Article 2(4) of the far more than a rigid reading of Article During Kosovo, I thought that the
UN Charter, a provision designed to 2(4) that privileges one systemic US should argue—as the British, for ex-
ensure non-intervention and protect value—territorial sovereignty—over ample, subsequently concluded— that
sovereignty. But in my view—and in all others. humanitarian intervention is lawful
Holbrooke’s, too—this view is overly “so long as the proposed use of process
simplistic. Such an absolutist position The customary international law is necessary and proportionate to the
amounts to saying that international concept of humanitarian intervention [humanitarian] aim and is strictly
law has not progressed since Kosovo. has a historical pedigree that dates limited in time and scope to this aim.”
It takes a crucial fact that marks the back to Grotius and the seventeenth Indeed, some 18 other NATO members
Syrian situation—Russia’s persistent, century. Since the birth of the UN implicitly accepted the legality of some
cynical veto—as an absolute bar Charter, examples of state practice that form of humanitarian intervention
to lawful action, not as a sign of a illustrate humanitarian intervention without UN Security Council approval.
systemic dysfunction that bars the in action include India’s incursion into In August 2013, the British Attorney
UN from achieving its stated goals East Pakistan to help create Bangladesh General recast that legal analysis
in Syria: protection of human rights, in 1971, and Tanzania’s intervention to argue again that humanitarian
preservation of peace and security, and into Uganda to help oust Idi Amin in intervention in Syria without Security
a proscription against the deliberate 1978–79. Chapter I of the UN Charter Council resolution could be lawful
use of banned weapons. A “per se states “Purposes and Principles” that under international law. But almost
illegal” rule would overlook many guide the United Nations, including: immediately, as a policy matter, the UK
other pressing facts of great concern “To maintain international peace and Parliament voted not to proceed. After
to international law that distinguish security . . . promoting and encourag- Kosovo, Secretary-General Kofi Annan
Syria from past cases: the catastrophic ing respect for human rights” and, captured the UN’s ambiguity about a
humanitarian situation; the likelihood quoting the Charter’s preamble, “to narrowly tailored form of humanitar-
of future atrocities; the grievous nature save succeeding generations from the ian intervention in situations of great
of already-committed atrocities that scourge of war,” including, presumably, extremis by issuing a statement that
amount to crimes against humanity by stopping renewed use of chemical recognized occasions when force might
and grave breaches of the Geneva weapons. Read in context, the Charter’s be necessary, while also referring to the
Conventions; the documented deliber- bar on national uses of force should importance of Security Council autho-
ate and indiscriminate use of chemical be understood not as the end in itself, rization. This catalyzed the international
weapons against civilians in a way but a means for promoting the UN’s legal movement to explore whether
that threatens a century-old ban; and broader purposes. there is an international Responsibility
the growing likelihood of regional Article 2(4) states that “all Members to Protect (R2P).
insecurity. shall refrain in their international The R2P movement shifted the
On reflection, a “per se illegal” rule relations from the threat or use of legal debate from the statist claim that
barring intervention is plainly over- force against the territorial integrity or individual nations have an amorphous,
broad. If no self-defense considerations political independence of any state, or discretionary “right of humanitarian
arose, such a rule would permanently in any other manner inconsistent with intervention” to the collective notion
disable any external collective action, the Purposes of the United Nations.” that the international community has
for example, to protect the population The use of the word “other” leaves a duty or “responsibility to protect” a
of any UN permanent member state open whether Article 2(4) would permit nation’s citizens when the national
from genocide. By treating the veto a threat or use of force against the government has undeniably forfeited
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that responsibility. Under R2P reason- In some ways, Syria presented—and even absent authorization by a UN
ing, a national government’s failure still presents—an even more urgent Security Council resolution. Under
to protect its own citizens from gross case for humanitarian intervention this view, had the United States led a
abuses creates a vacuum of protection than Kosovo. Assad plainly attacked humanitarian intervention in Syria in
that other entities may lawfully fill. innocent civilians with chemical 2013, it would not have been in flagrant
But which entities? weapons, and there are credible breach of international law, but rather,
At the 2005 World Summit, reports from the Organization for the in a legal gray zone. The US and its allies
member states declared that “we are Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and could have treated Syria as a lawmak-
prepared to take collective action . . . the US and allied intelligence that the ing moment to crystallize a limited
through the Security Council . . . on a Assad regime could have carried out concept of humanitarian intervention,
case-by-case basis . . . should peaceful such attacks. Whether or not chemical capable of breaking a veto stranglehold
means be inadequate and national weapons are still being used, there can in extreme circumstances, such as to
authorities are manifestly failing to be little doubt that large-scale deliber- prevent the deliberate use of forbidden
protect their populations from geno- ate attacks on Syrian civilians continue. weapons to kill civilians.
cide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and In response, I believe that a group of
crimes against humanity.” In 2006, nations could fill the vacuum of protec- The 2014 Ukraine crisis raised a sec-
the Security Council reaffirmed that tion without invoking either a “legal ond question challenging the Kosovo
conclusion in its Resolution 1674 on the right of humanitarian intervention” or precedent. On July 22, 2010, the
protection of civilians in armed con- even a legal claim of R2P, in the sense International Court of Justice (ICJ)
flict. And in 2011 the Security Council of an international legal duty to inter- in The Hague ruled by a vote of 10–4
“[r]eiterat[ed] the responsibility of the vene. What these states would claim that the February 2008 Declaration
Libyan authorities to protect the Libyan instead is an ex post exemption from of Independence announced by
population” by voting, with Russia legal wrongfulness. The International the Provisional Institutions of Self-
abstaining, for all necessary measures Law Commission’s Articles on State Government of Kosovo was “in accor-
to ensure the protection of Libyan Responsibility recognized that extreme dance with international law.” For me,
civilians. circumstances such as distress and and I know for Richard Holbrooke, that
Left unanswered in this legal necessity would preclude claims of was a particularly gratifying moment.
evolution was what should happen if— international wrongfulness against an At the time, Holbrooke was President
as in Syria—both the national govern- acting state, and permit certain forms Obama’s Special Representative for
ment and the Security Council fail to of countermeasures to stop illegal acts Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now serving
fulfill their responsibility to protect? by others. Whether the action would as legal adviser to the State Depart­
While the UN Charter obviously gives ultimately be judged internationally ment in the Obama administration,
the Security Council first ­responsibility lawful would then depend critically I had argued on behalf of the United
to act, when a state uses chemical on what happened next: particularly States to the ICJ in the Kosovo case.
weapons to kill its own civilians, does if the Security Council condoned the It is not often that as a government
Article 2(4) make that an exclusive re- action after the fact. lawyer, you have the opportunity to
sponsibility? Or if the Council repeated- In Kosovo, by comparison, NATO argue for the legality of work that you
ly fails to fill the vacuum of protection took action, and the Russians offered did as a policymaker. And so it was
by discharging that responsibility, a UN Security Council resolution of dis- with surprise that a year later, I learned
could a group of states with genuinely approval. Yet 12 of 15 Council members that my Kosovo presentation was be-
humanitarian motives act collectively voted to reject it, including many non- ing quoted on the Kremlin website—by
and lawfully for the sole purpose of NATO members, effectively agreeing the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs,
protecting civilians? Anticipating this that the NATO intervention could con- and by President Putin himself—to
question, the International Com­mission tinue. In Resolution 1244, the Security claim that Crimea’s 2014 “Declaration
on Intervention and State Sovereignty Council later approved the Kosovo of Independence” must also be lawful.
—on which Michael Ignatieff sat— settlement, effectively ratifying the Deceptively, President Putin relied
argued 12 years ago that, “if the Security NATO action under international law. on an introductory quote from my oral
Council fails to discharge its responsi- By analogy, in domestic law, onlookers observations, pointedly omitting a key
bilities in conscience-shocking situ­ generally have no legal responsibility distinction that I drew only moments
ations crying out for action, then it is to act as Good Samaritans, but when later. I opened my argument by saying:
unrealistic to expect that concerned they act prudently the law generally “. . . international law does not regulate
states will rule out other means and excuses them from wrongfulness. I every human event, and . . . an impor-
forms of action to meet the gravity and believe that Kosovo stands for a similar tant measure of human liberty is the
urgency of these situations.” principle: that under certain highly freedom of a people to conduct their
constrained circumstances, a nation own affairs. In many cases, including
could lawfully use or threaten force Kosovo’s, the terms of a declaration of
for genuinely humanitarian purposes, independence can mark a new nation’s
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fundamental respect for inter­ immediately to Crimea’s annexation

national law.” But soon thereafter, into Russia. Crimean independence
I gave this explicit caveat: “We do did not follow effective exhaustion of

not deny that international law may political remedies within the United
regulate particular declarations of Nations or any other intergovern-

Peace, and
independence, if they are conjoined mental organization. To the contrary,
with illegal uses of force or violate in Crimea, the UN General Assembly
other peremptory norms. . . .” My oral passed a resolution calling on all par-
observations noted three key factual
circumstances that made Kosovo’s
ties to desist from any actions that
would affect the territorial integrity
Declaration distinctive: “That Decla­ of Ukraine or change Crimea’s status.
ration was the product of not one, but To international lawyers, these
by Louise Arbour
three overlapping historical processes, factual differences make all the
which did not preordain Kosovo’s difference. To me, the best reading of
Declaration but do help to explain it— the ICJ’s Kosovo Opinion is as creat-
the disintegration of Yugoslavia; the ing a high threshold for a Declaration “Whereas recognition of the inherent
human rights crisis within Kosovo; of Independence to be deemed dignity and of the equal and inalienable
[and] the United Nations response.” internationally lawful. The 2008 rights of all members of the human
None of these three elements Kosovo Declaration of Independence family is the foundation of freedom,
was present in Crimea. First, Kosovo cleared a high bar that Crimea’s 2014 justice and peace in the world.”
was the last of several states to secede declaration came nowhere close
from the former Federal Republic of to meeting. Kosovo established an “Whereas it is essential, if man is not
Yugoslavia and confirmed the disin- international legal precedent, but to be compelled to have recourse, as a
tegration of that nation. By contrast, one whose factual pedigree few other last resort, to rebellion against tyranny
before Crimea’s declaration, Ukraine declarations of independence can and oppression, that human rights
was a stable territory undergoing a match. This is another issue on which should be protected by the rule of law.”
change in government, whose terri­ I think the Kosovo precedent should
torial stability was challenged only stand for “lawful and legitimate.” For — Preamble to the Declaration
after Russia’s purposeful interference in its Kosovo Advisory Opinion, the of Human Rights (1948)
and use of force. ICJ simply did not fix what was not
Second, the people of Kosovo broken, and thus it satisfied the first
declared independence only after test of legitimacy for any difficult
suffering through years of bloody decision: namely, “first, do no harm.” Wars have been fought in the pursuit
repression and crimes against hu- Like Dayton, the two legal faces of freedom; peace disrupted by the
manity by the Serbian Government. of Kosovo illustrate the Holbrooke pursuit of justice. The linkage between
Russia could point to no parallel Formula in action: prudently combin- the respect for human rights and peace,
human rights crisis in Crimea. ing force with diplomacy to generate justice, and prosperity is explicit in
Third, Kosovo did not declare in- law. NATO bombings in Kosovo the Preamble Universal Declaration of
dependence prematurely, but only af- brought the warring factions to the Human Rights (UDHR).
ter an exhaustive process within the table to forge a zone of political au- The Declaration, however, remains
UN system, which ended up reaching tonomy for Kosovo. Over time, with largely aspirational. Its commitments
the conclusion that Kosovo’s inde- UN, American, and European support, are hostage to the competing principle
pendence was the last resort, and that autonomy ripened into indepen- of state sovereignty—which places
the only practical outcome going dence. While international law has yet on states, almost exclusively, the
forward. Again, no similar process to fully recognize the legality of the responsibility for the wellbeing of their
transpired in Ukraine. Crimea’s collective use of humanitarian force citizens—and to the weak institu-
declaration of independence and that made Kosovo’s independence tional structures that are designed to
incorporation into Russia occurred possible, an international court has promote and protect human rights at
almost overnight, and was not the now blessed Kosovo’s Declaration regional and international levels.
last available option reached after a of Independence as internationally In what follows, I would like to
lengthy attempt to find a negotiated ­lawful. Force, diplomacy, and law examine how three modern doctrines
solution with Ukraine. While Kosovo brought peace to a troubled Kosovo, —international criminal justice, the
was protected by a complex legal re- and with it, an important measure responsibility to protect, and the rule
gime established under UN Security of international justice.  □ of law—have contributed to the ad-
Council Resolution 1244, Crimea vancement of peace, and how to make
was illegally entered and occupied it more likely that they might do so in
by Russian forces, which led almost the future.
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crimes threaten the peace, security, justice initiatives, whereby justice is

International Criminal and well­being of the world.” While not abandoned altogether but rather
Justice the statute champions accountability, substantially delayed, as has been the
much of its language assumes that case in many Latin American countries.
The first effort at using personal justice is—or should be—an instru- I find more troubling the following
­criminal responsibility for war crimes, ment of peace. It asserts that peace and observation by Mbeki and Mamdani:
crimes against humanity, and geno- justice are equally desirable objectives, “In civil wars, no one is wholly in-
cide after the Nuremberg Trials—the with the added assumption that they nocent and no one wholly guilty. . . .
establishment of the Tribunals for are mutually reinforcing. Victims and perpetrators often trade
such crimes perpetrated in the former But the past two decades have places, and each side has a narrative of
Yugoslavia and Rwanda—was an initia- shown that this is often not the case. violence.” Instead of pursuing criminal
tive of the United Nations Security Peace is unlikely to be sustainable over trials that define and to some extent fix
Council. That made it, theoretically, an time without justice. But in the short the identities of victims and perpetra-
exercise in the pursuit of peace. The term, the initiation and unfolding of tors, the authors call for “a political
Security Council’s jurisdiction came criminal prosecutions can complicate process where all citizens—yesterday’s
from it exclusive power as the world’s if not impede peace processes. victims, perpetrators, and bystand-
guardian of international peace and The skepticism over the contribu- ers—may face one another as today’s
security. That the initiative came from tion that criminal justice can make survivors,” as they claim was done not
a quintessentially political body may to peace was expressed very force- only in South Africa but also in Uganda
explain why, right at the outset, this fully in a February 2014 opinion piece and Mozambique.

imaginative justice initiative was seen by former South African President
as a political tool at the service of, if not Thabo Mbeki and Professor Mahmood confess that I find this model dif-
subservient to, the objective of secur- Mamdini in the International New York ficult to envisage in a post­conflict
ing peace. Times. The title says it all: “Courts Can’t environment, like that of Rwanda
It was, of course, depicted by End Civil Wars.” One would be tempted in the immediate aftermath of the
those it targeted as a means to pursue to retort that they were never meant genocide. Yet Rwanda today is leading
political interests less noble than to. But that would be to suggest the in the pushback against the ICC. In
peace, and they routinely denounced whole thesis could be dismissed easily. the end it is not persuasive to collapse
it as selective and biased. But even for It cannot. means and ends, political objectives,
its proponents, the basic assumption This is not the familiar rant against and criminal methods. It amounts
was that in emphasizing personal guilt accountability institutions by those to a total repudiation of the Geneva
rather than collective responsibility, who may have good reasons to fear Conventions governing the conduct
it would serve to prevent large-scale accountability. Rather, it poses the of war. And as much as many claim
vengeance and retaliation, and contrib- question that many champions of that these conventions are outdated,
ute to national reconciliation. That it international criminal justice refuse to the core assumption that civilians
would serve as deterrence, as criminal tackle head on: are criminal trials an are “wholly innocent” and therefore
prosecutions are always claimed to do, adequate response to politically driven improperly targeted, should not be
was also assumed. Twenty years later it mass violence? Mbeki and Mamdini so easily abandoned.
behooves us to question what evidence assert, “Mass violence is more a political This is a much more serious chal-
supports these assumptions. than a criminal matter. Unlike criminal lenge to the future of international
The Rome Statute that created the violence, political violence has a con- criminal justice, indeed of national
International Criminal Court (ICC) in stituency and is driven by issues, not war crimes prosecutions as well, than
1998 repeated this link between peace just perpetrators.” Arguing for a model the current spat between the African
and justice. The Court was set up in fact that recognizes that all survivors—­ Union and the ICC. In essence, Mbeki
to redress the lack of universality that victims and perpetrators alike—will and Mamdani are calling for a rejection
tainted the ad hoc tribunals for the have to live together in peace, Mbeki of the entire enterprise, or at least its
former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda and and Mamdani state: “There is a time postponement probably for decades.
subsequent initiatives in Sierra Leone and a place for courts, as in Germany Of course, there are contrary
and Cambodia. The objective of creating after Nazism, but it is not in the midst arguments: the International Criminal
a court by treaty was to eventually of conflicts or a non­functioning Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
enlist the voluntary adherence of all political system. Courts are ill-suited (ICTY) was created while the war
UN member states and thus counter to inaugurating a new political order was still raging in Bosnia; it was not
the claims of selectivity and coercion. after civil wars; they can only come into designed to stop the conflict—nothing
Like its predecessors, the ICC was the picture after such a new order is else had succeeded in doing so at that
anchored in the ideal of advancing already in place.” point—but was launched in the hope of
peace. Indeed the preamble of the This is not new. It calls for the reducing the atrocities associated with
Rome Statute states that “such grave familiar sequencing of peace and the conflict and, eventually, distancing
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the perpetrators’ communities from the same requirements are written into during their trial. This amendment
the collective responsibility that Colombian legislation). These preclude came as a result of intense lobbying
might otherwise be visited on them by blanket amnesties (or, to use President from several African heads of state
those seeking revenge. And for what Mbeki’s language, “yesterday’s victims, in support of Uhuru Kenyatta and
it’s worth as a precedent, Slobodan perpetrators, and bystanders all facing William Ruto, elected respectively
Milošević surrendered in the Kosovo one another today as survivors.”) president and vice president of Kenya
war just a few days after having been There is a point of convergence in after having been indicted by the ICC
indicted as a war criminal by the Colombia between peace and justice. for international crimes related to
Tribunal. But it can only be reached if there is the post­-2007 election violence. The
an agreement to compromise and indicted Kenyan officials argued that
I believe we are at a crossroads. There maximize the attainment of both. the fact of their having joined politi-
are essentially two ways forward. One Proponents of a peace deal at all costs cal forces and winning the elections
is to segregate as much as possible must concede that it would not be ­testified to a desire by the people of
the juridical from the political, which viable, not probably even upheld by Kenya for “reconciliation”—imply-
I have long advocated but which I be- the courts, unless it contained accept- ing that they faced a choice between
lieve is not on the immediate horizon. able measures of accountability for the that and retribution—and that their
The other is to muddle along with the many atrocities perpetrated by actors continued presence at the helm of the
status quo, which will require yielding on all sides of the conflict. government was required, particularly
more to the political imperatives of In turn, rather than insist that all in light of the abiding external threats
peace, at least in the short term, than perpetrators be prosecuted—an unreal- to domestic peace.
the justice advocates of the last few istic prospect in any event and a de- While the amendment served
decades have wanted to concede. mand that would almost certainly result to diffuse, if not merely delay, the
This doesn’t make for tidy advo- in either the FARC opting out of the confrontation between the Court and
cacy, of course; and it’s not a message talks or the military top brass blocking some states parties to the Statute,
many in the human rights community them—justice advocates must support the special treatment it provides for
like to hear. But to pretend otherwise— an approach that would focus on those persons in authority reintroduces the
to pretend there is no tension between most responsible for the most serious very elements of selectivity that the
peace and justice and that “we deserve crimes. Even there, considering that Court was designed to reject. Worse
both” without explaining how—is some of them might be able to hold the still, it provides for a preferential
unhelpful and, given the increasing peace process hostage to their personal treatment for those who are invariably
challenges to both the institution and, interest, there must be incentives for the primary targets of a court that only
now, the concept itself, it could prove them to come forward. Without com- has jurisdiction when national courts
devastating. promising the core integrity of justice, are unwilling or unable to act and must
Better would be to recognize this this could include lenient treatment in therefore focus on those most powerful
increasing tension and, for now, design exchange for disclosing facts, express- and responsible for the most serious
a framework for navigating the risks ing remorse, and making some form crimes.

in each individual case that accom- of restitution.
modates, as best possible, the goals Reasonable as this may sound, it is he two UN Security Council
of both peace and justice. The Rome not easy to put in place. Not all seem referrals to the ICC—Darfur in
Statute—like many of our other instru- to share my deeply held view that 2005 and Libya in 2011—reflect
ments of international justice—offers all good things—truth, justice, even once again political considerations that
little clarity on how we should do peace itself—can be pursued with too taint the justice process. For Libya’s
that. This is hardly surprising given much zeal and obtained at too high a referral, the relevant Security Council
its implicit assumption that the goals price. But compromise should not be Resolution (#1973) exempts from the
are inherently mutually reinforcing. confused with unjustified political reach of the ICC nationals of states
The current peace talks taking interference into judicial processes, of not party to the Rome Statute, except,
place in Havana between the govern­ which there are several unfortunate obviously, Libyans. This explicitly
ment of Colombia and the FARC examples. self­-serving exception made by a body
rebels offer a real opportunity for The most recent disturbing ex- of which three of its five permanent
addressing these issues constructively. ample of this is the decision by the members (China, Russia, and the US)
These talks present a serious chance Assembly of State Parties (ASP) to the are not party to the treaty in question
for peace in a country plagued by sixty Rome Statute to amend the “Rules of and one (the US) was active in the
years of ferocious conflict. And yet the Procedure and Evidence” of the ICC to Libyan conflict, is a flagrant repudia-
peace talks today are constrained by allow the judges to excuse “persons tion of the Rule of Law, premised as
legal developments internationally mandated to fulfill extraordinary public it is on equality before the law.
(as Colombia is a party to the Rome duties at the highest national level” This triumph of political weight
Statute) and domestically (as much of from the requirement of presence could perhaps be overlooked if the
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justice dividends were overwhelming. international assistance. Only time will Intervention and State Sovereignty,
But we’re far from that. With the ICC tell whether true, sustainable, national which itself had been launched as a re-
receiving no additional support—finan­ reconciliation is more achievable when sponse to the NATO-led intervention in
cial, political, or operational—even in “survivors”—victims, perpetrators and Kosovo in 1999, which was conducted
cases that are brought into its juris- bystanders alike—are left to move without Security Council approval.
diction by the might of the Security forward without any reckoning for the This history is important to under-
Council, I believe that, in the end, such past, than when criminal prosecutions stand the utility of the doctrine and, to
politically tainted referrals do more are used to stamp political violence some extent, its current shortcomings.
harm than good. as criminal. A very different path was It asserts that states have a respon-
Expected to expand the reach of taken in Rwanda than in South Africa sibility to protect people under their
accountability, they, in fact, undermine for instance. It’s too early to tell wheth- jurisdiction from genocide, war crimes,
it. It is one thing to explain why the er either society is truly reconciled. and crimes against humanity, and
ICC is inactive in Syria. Syria is not a Peace is not the only interest that if a state proves unwilling or unable
party to the Rome treaty. But it is then is currently putting international to discharge that duty, responsibility
difficult to explain why the Court is criminal justice under attack. In par- shifts to the international community.
engaged in Darfur and Libya, while allel to the emergence of the ICC, R2P envisages the use of force to
neither Libya nor Sudan is party to several states, predominantly Spain prevent atrocities only as a last mea-
that treaty. The answer lies in Security and Belgium, have acted under the sure, to be used when all others fail,
Council politics, not in any principled principle of universal jurisdiction for and then only with Security Council
application of sound legal principles. international crimes to assert their backing. But in reality the controversy
Worse still, nominally empowered by jurisdiction over foreign nationals around R2P has focused mostly on the
the Security Council, the Court is then for crimes committed outside their use of force.
left exposed to the obvious observa- territory. Belgium retreated consider- Few object in principle to the idea
tion that it is impotent to deliver on its ably some years ago, and Spain is of preventing mass atrocities through
threat of accountability. now also in the process of doing so, development, diplomacy, advocacy,
Under the current institutional ostensibly under pressure from China mediation, capacity building and the
model of international criminal justice, (after a Spanish magistrate issued like. But many such initiatives cannot
this intermingling of judicial and politi- international arrest warrants against really be characterized as efforts in
cal considerations is perhaps inevitable, Chinese former president Jiang Zemin preventing atrocities. In fact to do so
but I believe in the long term it is and former Prime Minister Li Peng could be counterproductive: even the
unhelpful to both. on matters related to Tibet). This fol- weakest and most vulnerable state will
Many have called for account- lowed similar initiatives against other resist early assistance extended under
ability for atrocities perpetrated in high-profile foreigners, most notably, the label “prevention of genocide.”
Syria and in South Sudan, to take two charges against Augusto Pinochet, It’s readily apparent, too, that for all
very current examples. Since neither which had legal ramifications in the the rhetoric about “early warning,” the
is a signatory to the Rome Statute, UK and eventually in Chile. earlier the warning, the higher the wall
however, the jurisdiction of the ICC It is not only economic conse- of state sovereignty (and the quicker
could only be activated by the Security quences that are persuading Spanish such a wall will be erected). In turn,
Council. The political paralysis in the lawmakers to back off. Diplomatic and the weaker the state and the more
Security Council may in fact be a relief political complications more broadly imminent the danger to civilians, the
to those seeking a political solution are fuelling the pushback. So the easier—still not easy, but easier—it is
to the conflicts—in Syria because resistance to the entire accountability to make external intervention possible.
accountability would undoubtedly enterprise launched some twenty years This is the sharp end of R2P: how
complicate the search for an already ago is at an all-time high. and when to mobilize support for
elusive deal; in South Sudan because military action to prevent atrocities.
it could prove a red flag before the bulls The crises in Libya and Syria have
who were so recently on the attack The Responsibility amply demonstrated the crucible of
against the ICC. to Protect the doctrine and its limits.
In both cases the arguments The doctrine was instrumentalized
advanced by President Mbeki may The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is by NATO in Libya as an act of war to
prevail. Until the creation of the ICC another recent articulation of human effect a change of regime. NATO used
these arguments had in fact for the rights and humanitarian impera- its Security Council mandate to protect
most part prevailed, if only by default. tives in the face of impending mass civilians to oust Muammar Qadhafi,
Very few countries had launched crimi- atrocities. Embraced by the United leading to outcries that a ­humanitarian
nal prosecutions for mass atrocities Nations General Assembly in 2005, doctrine was used essentially for
committed on their territory at times the doctrine was first articulated by political ends. While it is difficult to
of conflict, and even fewer without the International Commission on contemplate how Libyan civilians
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could have been protected from their the doctrine still works, even there. is structurally just as unsuited as the
murderous leader without his removal It calls, after all, for the application of a Security Council to advance legal
from office, the fact that his demise proportionality test before launching norms segregated from political con-
was not explicitly part of the request a military intervention. Applied to siderations, and has more than amply
for the Security Council mandate gives Syria, this test would recognize that demonstrated its inability to overcome
some plausibility to the claim of decep- the many arguments against military that flaw. It is a body of states, where
tion and has aggravated the suspicion strikes might lead to the conclusion state interests are traded. To expect
in many parts of the world that the that the external use of force could anything else of it is simply unrealistic.
West cannot be trusted with such serve to escalate rather than mitigate The Security Council, the pre­
doctrines. R2P, moreover, has also been the conflict and therefore do more eminent institutional forum in cases of
of little help in coming to the rescue of harm than good. deadly conflicts, was mandated neither
the more than 100,000 civilians since Surprisingly perhaps, the strong to champion fundamental human
killed in Syria. call for humanitarian access in Syria rights nor to be guided by the spirit of
One problem here, less acute than is not advocated as an R2P impera- brotherhood evoked earlier. The veto
in the case of international criminal tive. Hard as humanitarian access is of the five permanent members was
justice, is that R2P operates again in to achieve through Security Council explicitly given to them so that they
the gray zone between law and politics. engagement, the chances of success could protect their national interests,
The doctrine, to an extent, overlaps of that effort would probably not be not so that they could advance any
with the requirement to prevent geno- enhanced today by reliance on the kind of international public i­ nterest.
cide, a legal norm explicit in the widely doctrine. In short, for now, R2P, like Recent commentary suggesting other-
ratified 1948 Genocide Convention and justice, is on the defensive. wise has great moral appeal but, again,
reflecting customary international law is not grounded in either political
binding on all states. The reluctance of realities or institutional history. And
some to use the term genocide during Where Does the current pressure to reform the
the unfolding slaughter in Rwanda, the This Leave Us? Council by increasing its membership
controversy about its use in Darfur, is unlikely to affect that.
and now the occasional emergence of Quite apart from the numerous
the term in the contexts of Syria and rationales advanced in their support,
the Central African Republic, may international criminal justice and R2P The Rule of Law
reflect an understanding not only that share a common root in Article 1 of
genocide is the ultimate crime but the Universal Declaration of Human Let me turn to the doctrine I believe
that the obligation to prevent is real, Rights: “All human beings are born holds the most promise for conflict
even possibly justifiable. free and equal in dignity and rights. prevention: the Rule of Law. At this
Not so, at least not yet so, in the They are endowed with reason and point both greater doctrinal clarity and
case of the other mass atrocities con- conscience and should act toward one institutional capacity in the UN system
templated by R2P; hence the dilution another in a spirit of brotherhood.” would be required for the Rule of Law
of the responsibility to a mere political It is, I believe, that “spirit of brother- to deliver on its promise. Promotion of
one, however morally compelling it is hood” that calls for the protection of the Rule of Law has become the new
in the eyes of many. Not only that, it is victims of mass atrocities, ideally in a mantra in international affairs, both
a political responsibility that invariably preventive way, but ultimately through in development projects and in the
is assigned only to the offending state. accountability and redress. It might prevention of conflicts. But what is
It is not coincidence, I suggest, that in be wise to distance these doctrines, contemplated is often an impoverished
its resolutions on Libya, the Security which are grounded in human rights, version of the Rule of Law, used as a
Council only spoke of Libya’s respon- from international politics and further substitute for law enforcement, which
sibility to protect its people. Although anchor their roots in law. For instance, in turn can easily be manipulated to
the 2005 General Assembly was clear in the case of R2P, an additional pro- strengthen the repressive capacity of
that this responsibility fell to other tocol to the Genocide Convention to the state.
states in extremis, that was not explic- include crimes against humanity could Properly understood, the Rule of
itly embraced by NATO and its backers. potentially be a game changer. Law carries a much more ambitious
In short, we are left adrift between a Not that this provides any guar- agenda. To understand it one must
legal obligation that often will not antee of their implementation. But first understand the role of law in free,
speak its name, and a political one that it should alleviate their erosion from democratic and peaceful societies. One
obeys different imperatives. political processes that were never could conceive of the law as merely
The ostensible irrelevance of R2P in designed to implement fundamental the instrument for the orderly exercise
the face of the massive civilian casual- individual rights. The one body that of power. Even in that limited sense
ties in Syria may not be fatal to the purports to have this function, the it can have some virtues: it is explicit,
concept. Some could even argue that United Nations Human Rights Council, ­predictable, capable of compliance,
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and so on. One step above that, one rights instruments, conventions that as it should do, on justice and equality
may view the law as the neutral most states have ratified and should be rather than on repression. It would
regulator of social conduct: everyone implementing in any event. make the Rule of Law a more effective
is subjected to the law; treatment in I don’t want to suggest that we conflict prevention tool.
the application of the law (even if not could dispense with law enforcement Putting in place just, non­discrim­
necessarily in its content) is equal. institutions, or even with the use of inatory laws, and enforcing them, are
These facts bring a measure of fairness overwhelming force, in some circum- among the most important of long-term
into the regulation of human affairs, stances, in the enforcement of the law. conflict prevention measures. Such
and remove some arbitrariness. But for the most part, demonstrably laws would prevent the emergence of
Understood this way—that is, just laws have a better chance of gener- the unresolved grievances often at the
mostly in procedural terms—the Rule ating voluntary compliance by a large heart of conflict—or at least facilitate
of Law is nothing more than rule by segment of the population, freeing their peaceful resolution. This is again
law. As such it requires that laws be capacity to address deviance in proper a tall agenda where law intersects with
properly enacted, in a non­arbitrary ways. At the other extreme, profoundly politics. The Rule of Law may serve to
way, and that they be governed by a unjust laws are either barely enforce- set people free, but in doing so it must
series of rules, some constitutional, able (so great is the scale of noncom­ constrain power, and those with power
some administrative, that validate the pliance) or else have to be enforced by are usually, and not surprisingly, reluc-
legal process. Laws must be public, increasingly drastic measures, thereby, tant to see it curtailed.

non­retroactive, intelligible; they must in time, aggravating the disrespect
adhere to the principle that no one is that they attract and forcing escalation he Universal Declaration of
above the law, and must be of general in repression. Human Rights asserts that the
application. There are disputes as to In a democracy, laws designed foundation of freedom, peace,
some procedural requirements but, to maximize greater freedom for all and justice lies in the recognition of
broadly speaking, they are designed require special treatment for the most the inherent dignity and equal rights of
to ensure the primacy of law over force vulnerable. It cannot be assumed all members of the human family, and
or human arbitrariness. that their interests will be properly that those rights must be protected
But both these views fail to em- reflected in majority-rule governments. under the Rule of Law.
brace the full capacity of the Rule of In a system that fully embraces the The international human rights
Law, beyond its formal and procedural substantive Rule of Law, legal protec- agenda has been under siege for some
advantages over unruliness and arbi- tion will typically then be extended time, ironically often in the name of
trariness. Utilized to its full capacity, to vulnerable minorities through the human rights values such as cultural
the Rule of Law regulates conduct in a courts, particularly if the political identity and religious freedom. When
way that maximizes individual liberty. system is not sufficiently inclusive to human rights violations become cause
This may be seen as a paradox, as ensure their protection through the and effect of deadly conflict anywhere,
laws are often perceived as restricting legislatures. The Rule of Law therefore they mortgage our conscience, if not
freedom, particularly in legal systems engages all branches of governance, our security. In the rush to provide relief
that rest on the assumption that every- not just the executive (too often the we should not lose sight of the integrity
thing is permitted unless it’s prohibited center of power to whom the legisla- of the tools at our disposal. Today I’m
by law. tures may be subservient) or the legis- afraid they are under siege and in a state
But if content is inserted into latures (who may express the tyranny of considerable disarray.  □
the Rule of Law, the paradox disap- of the majority). In other words, a state
pears. This understanding of the role cannot claim to be operating under the This essay is adapted from
of law in society was first expressed Rule of Law merely because it has a the author’s Inaugural Roland
by the French cleric and philosopher strong and competent security and law Berger ­Lecture in Human
Jean-Baptiste Henri Lacordaire, who enforcement sector if the laws them- Rights and Human Dignity,
said, “Between the strong and the selves discriminate and oppress and if ­delivered on ­February 17, 2014,
weak, between the rich and the poor, there is no redress from unjust laws, at the University of Oxford.
between the master and the slave, it is or from laws unjustly applied.
freedom that oppresses, and the law Despite the growing interest in the
that sets free.” In other words, the role promotion of the Rule of Law interna-
of law in a free and democratic society tionally, legal theory is not about to re-
is to liberate, not to restrain. place inter­state politics, and the sacred
This requires inserting content into principle of state sovereignty will make
the Rule of Law: people should be gov- difficult the promotion of a substantive
erned by just laws, justly enacted and vision of the Rule of Law. Yet a richer
justly enforced. This required content understanding of it would go a long way
is reflected in international human toward preventing conflicts by focusing,
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NOT YOUR ORDINARY merit the real meaning of that platitude environmental lawyer—would not
that I often feel is nearly impossible immediately bring to mind Mitty
AMERICAN to experience, that near-mythical: if Galchen didn’t repeatedly have her
BY POROCHISTA an ­absolute joy to read. think “I was never a Walter Mitty
KHAKPOUR In the ten stories, all told from per- myself.”
spectives of women, though inspired One of the most unforgettable
 A review of by classic stories told by men, Galchen stories in the collection is “Sticker
American Innovations provides windows into all sorts of frag- Shock”—quite simply a relentless ex-
mented psyches, from wildly surreal to change between a mother and daughter.
By Rivka Galchen
painfully real. Furniture walks out on It details all that remains quantifiable
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
her owner; a lawyer feels compelled to in their relationship. Galchen seesaws
May 2014
promise the requested Chinese deliv- between the concerns of the mother
192 pages
ery order over and over for a wrong and daughter—debts and mortgages,
number; a woman finds herself grow- real estate and investments, age and
When Rivka Galchen’s debut novel, ing a third breast; a molecular biologist weight—and turns them into a domes-
Atmospheric Disturbances, came out poses as a journalist traveling through tic nightmare of hyperreality. Here the
in 2008, I wolfed down the work in Mexico City; a pregnant writer finds stylist in her shines—the minutia over-
a weekend, possessed. I immediately herself husbandless from a man who load and OCD cyclings of this piece
called a friend and said, “This is the has a blog called “I-Can’t-Stand-My- make it a perfect parable for not just
book I’ve waited to read for ages!”—a Wife-Dot-Blogspot-Dot-Com.” The near one family’s failings, but so many
touch Nabokov, a touch Borges, a touch and far of this collection are unified interpersonal modern debacles.
Murakami, many touches something by a consistently uncertain, resolutely Here you see shades of Oblivion-
altogether new—and with the added distracted, deeply insecure voice that era David Foster Wallace—and indeed
bonus of being by a woman, a young here comprises Galchen’s color palette. Galchen is the first writer I have read
one, just barely older than me (Galchen There are many layers here for since Wallace who wholly grants the
was born in 1976). I could have drowned many readers. As her publishers feel postmodern, the metafictional, the
in envy if it weren’t for the fact that I compelled to emphasize in the jacket absurd, and the seemingly purely cere-
found Galchen so needed, so vital, so copy, the primary tie that binds this ­bral, the gift of heart, soul, and spirit.
essential . . . collection together is the referential But it’s not just infusing something hard
And I still do. For years I’ve been foundations. Some of the stories are and dead with something soft and
reading Galchen with deep interest. Her based on, inspired by, retellings of, or springy. Galchen can see that the heart
stories in the New Yorker and Harper’s actual responses to some of the great- and mind are inextricably linked, that
only further cemented my feelings after est hits of the canon: “The Lost Order” there is not one without the other. But
reading her novel. I cannot remember takes off from “The Secret Life of Walter whereas Wallace and his contempo-
a time I did not find a work by her mes- Mitty,” “The Region of Unlikeness” is raries Jonathan Franzen and Donald
merizing, bizarre, magical, ­uproarious, an homage to “The Aleph,” “American Antrim and so many other writers of
utterly singular. Innovations” riffs on “The Nose.” James their generation sought to write BIG
Many writers go into fiction Thurber, Jorge Luis Borges, and Nikolai books with massive themes, epic plots,
because they want to inhabit many Gogol don’t suffer a bit by association, high conceits, and intricate maximal
realms, presumably. But Galchen allows nor do Galchen’s stories rely on the prose, there is a smallness about
the reader this joy just as intensely, if reader dismantling the framework. Galchen’s scope that somehow makes
not more. Her indulgences are nothing Instead, they play with their canonical the strangeness she sees in our con-
compared to her readers’. This new counterparts like sibling stories or temporary universe more strange. The
collection of short stories inspires the companion pieces, which backlight smallness of our word, tied together
feeling that, no matter what, you will and barely illuminate. Galchen doesn’t further by the tangles of the Internet
be somewhere very much else, and yet lean on, much less even vividly con- and social media, is deftly conjured in
anchored in emotions and sentiments jure, Gogol’s nose for her far more Galchen’s deeply intimate microcosms
that will feel altogether you. This disturbing breast in the title story, just where miscommunication is a rather
combination has absolute novelty and as the “daylight ghost” protagonist accurate expression of the ­confusion
makes American Innovations truly of “The Lost Order”—an unemployed of being alive today. None of her
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characters really know what they want, theory; and there are also the icons of biography may be mostly to blame:
where they are going, what lies before mundane American commerce; and a Canadian-born Jewish-American
them—and Galchen seems to make a they belong seamlessly in one universe raised in Oklahoma by a meteorologist
good argument, in hooking us to them, for Galchen, as a complete given, as if father and computer programmer
that neither must we. to consider it any other way is to miss mother, educated in New York in the
Galchen seems deeply interested life’s point. When this pushes into the Ivy League, with degrees in medicine
in our world, as she doles equal parts realm of fabulism, you can especially and in creative writing. Galchen is
high and low culture, without artifi- see the wizardry in full effect. not your ordinary American, and so it
cially merging the two—the poles are It makes sense then that to place makes sense that her wiring is consis­
simply necessary ends of a spectrum, Galchen in some literary tradition or tently extraordinary.
neither possible without the other. another seems a reductive task. I’ve had a long love affair with
Take the beginning of “Wild Berry Blue,” Galchen’s influences are many. In trying prose stylists, and in that sense, too,
set in suburban Oklahoma: “This is a to gesture toward canonical works Galchen had me hooked six years ago.
story about my love for Roy, though she tricks the reader by breaking away When, in a low moment, the protago-
first I have to say a few words about ­stylistically as well as conceptually nist of “The Lost Order” says of her
my dad, who was there with me at from those forefathers. In Galchen, you mutterings, “I language along,” I can’t
McDonald’s every Saturday, letting his are more likely to find the absurd mad- help but think this is key to reading
little girl, I was maybe nine, swig his cap-isms of prose poet Russell Edson, Galchen. She, too, languages along, but
extra half-and-halfs, stack the shells the tense and terse emotional restraint in the best way. To read her is to pro-
into messy towers.” In “the Region of of Lydia Davis, even the urban ennui of cess language uniquely because it’s a
Unlikeness,” the final moments present poet Frederick Seidel, plus a fabulism language that comes from the whole of
that “the general theory of relativity most focused on real-world magic of a human, the sum of so many conflict-
is compatible with the existence of math and science that feels like Kafka ing and somehow cooperating parts,
space-times in which travel to the past architecture with Aimee Bender fur- such that the telescopic and micro-
or remote future is possible.” There is nishings. It’s utterly impossible to give scopic become indispensable aspects
ethereal metaphorics, and then there Galchen a set place in contemporary of the everyday and yet insurmount-
is the raw, plastic, cruddy stuff of life; letters because she has created a place able project of understanding. □
there is quantum physics and chaos for herself as a true original. Her own

ARTICULATE SOUND said to be beautiful? Or is it downright 1854). In his youth, Hanslick was
“unschön”? Finally, are we right to see an ardent admirer of the creator of
BY HANS VAGET the Ninth as a harbinger of things to Tannhäuser, but he soon became
come? Or should we take it to be an ab- skeptical and mutated into Richard
 A review of Absolute Music:
erration that adulterates the purity of Wagner’s most formidable opponent.
The History of an Idea
a perfectly self-sufficient medium? This What triggered this change of mind
By Mark Evan Bonds set of issues is pivotal to the dramatic was, as Bonds tells it, Wagner’s 1846
Oxford University Press, story that lies at the heart of more than analysis of Beethoven’s Ninth, in par-
June 2014, 375 pages two centuries of theorizing Western ticular his vivid description of the last
music and that Mark Evan Bonds movement, with its elaborate setting
One of the most exciting and mo- reexamines in Absolute Music. The book of Schiller for four soloists and chorus.
mentous events in all of music occurs offers a wide-ranging survey, from With the cunning of self-interest,
in the last movement of the Ninth Pythagoras to Carl Dahlhaus, of the Wagner interprets the striking transi-
Symphony, where Beethoven in his “standing” and philosophical dignity of tion from instrumental to texted music,
mighty composition sets to music absolute music—purely instrumental the well-prepared and hence inevitable-
Friedrich Schiller’s “Ode to Joy.” music, that is, with no textual basis or sounding “entrance of language and
In a symphony, such a fusion of literary program. the human voice,” as the foundational
music and poetry had until that time The central figure in this story is event of the revolution that he himself
been unheard of. Should we think of not one of the great composers, as was itching to initiate and that would
Beethoven’s innovation as the logical we might expect, but rather Eduard soon bring us his Gesamtkunstwerk and
outgrowth of the preceding parts of Hanslick, Vienna’s leading music critic the music drama.
the work, and, indeed, of the entire and the author of a fiercely contested Crucial to the unfolding of this ab-
symphonic repertory? Or was it a re- but still indispensable definition of sorbing story was Hanslick’s decision to
grettable lapse of aesthetic judgment? the essence of music: Vom Musikalisch- turn the tables on Wagner himself, for
Can Beethoven’s setting of Schiller be Schönen (On the Musically Beautiful, he felt that the self-appointed leader
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of the “music of the future” was taking about the most unsavory dimension Be this as it may, Bonds has set the
music in an entirely wrong direction. of the whole story: the question of stage for showing us that, consciously
It was Wagner, in his comments about Hanslick’s Jewishness, with all the and unconsciously, it was Hanslick’s
the Ninth, who actually coined the messy implications that come with it. conception of music that guided
term “absolute Musik.” He used it in Hanslick’s mother was of Jewish de- modern music away from Wagner and
decidedly negative sense, branding scent but had converted to Catholicism toward a more sober and modest idea
purely instrumental music as outdated before her son’s birth. In the second of music shorn of metaphysical ambi-
because of its distance from the world edition of his notorious pamphlet “Das tions. It is here, in the chapters about
of ideas and emotions, its sterility and Judentum in der Musik,” Wagner, in the aftermath of Wagner and Hanslick,
inability to voice the pressing issues vintage racist fashion, outed Hanslick when the leading composers set to
of modernity. Wagner alleges that as a Jew and identified him as the head “de-program music history,” that this
Beethoven himself was frustrated of an anti-Wagnerian conspiracy. book takes on the features of a history
by the lack of music’s articulateness In light of the insistence with which in the emphatic sense. The epoch-
and that in the Ninth Symphony he these matters have been dealt with in making swing of the pendulum toward
addressed nothing less than music’s recent years, it is understandable that “music as music, as opposed to music as
secret yearning for the word—a yearn- Bonds decided to steer clear of this metaphysics,” makes Hanslick the ap-
ing that Wagner, and in their own less minefield and to remain focused on parent winner in the historical struggle
palpable ways, Hector Berlioz and aesthetic and historical issues. over absolute music, which, “associ-
Franz Liszt, were striving to satisfy. As for the character of Beckmesser, ated for more than a generation with
Hanslick would have nothing of his fortunes at the hands of his handlers the music of the past . . . would soon
it. In a courageous stand against the on stage and in the scholarly literature become the watchword of musical
momentum-gathering wave of texted are both curious and instructive. For modernism.” Bonds points to Claude
music and of program music, he de- a long time he was understood to be Debussy, Arnold Schoenberg, and Igor
clared absolute music to be the only the epitome of a hopelessly outclassed Stravinsky as the most vocal pro-
legitimate and pure form. Music in this would-be artist, devoid of true cre- tagonists in the “away-from-Wagner”
pure, instrumental form was, as Hanslick ativity; in Theodor Adorno’s view he movement. Its spirit is perhaps best
saw it, essentially the play of “tonally was a palpable caricature of a Jew. For summed up in Stravinsky’s witticism:
animated forms,” which is Bonds’s obvious historical reasons this nega- “La musique est trop bête pour exprimer
translation of Hanslick’s famously tive view has now been replaced by a autres choses que la musique” (Music
slippery formulation: “tönend bewegte more sympathetic treatment, so much is too stupid to express anything
Formen.” Henceforth the pro and contra so that in Katharina Wagner’s recent except itself). Bonds does not fail to
of absolute music set off a polarizing Bayreuth production “Beck” emerges point out that Debussy, Schoenberg,
tsunami of philosophizing about music, as the true artist, the only one who is and Stravinsky, while advertising their
which Bonds illustrates with a number untainted by compromise with society. newfound convictions, were at the
of judiciously chosen examples. Something comparably revision- same time carefully covering the tracks
Given Wagner’s intellectual temper, ist appears to be going on in Bonds’s of their own earlier involvement with
it was inevitable that Hanslick would book with respect to Hanslick. Bonds program music.
land on top of the composer’s enemies concedes that Hanslick was not as Where does the author of this
list. He was so irritated that he wanted original a thinker as he liked to claim; impressive and illuminating book come
to name the pedantic traditionalist of that he was “uncharitable” in acknowl- down, in the end? He appears to side
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg “Veit edging his intellectual debts; and that with Carl Dahlhaus and others in de-
Hanslich”—in an all-too transparent he “was happy to serve as figurehead claring that the “conceptual dichotomy
jab at his pesky critic. In the end he of musical conservatism.” But Bonds of absolute and of program music was
named him “Sixtus Beckmesser,” of gives lavish credit to his hero for hav- unsustainable. . . . The two extremes
course, and for reasons that lie far ing “radically altered the discourse came to be seen more and more as op-
beyond personal antagonism, Wagner about the essence of the art” and for posite ends of a conceptual spectrum.”
made Beckmesser one of the three chief having been “far more radical” than This confirms the wisdom of the vener-
protagonists in the high stakes musi- is generally acknowledged. At the able adage that escaped both Wagner
cal comedy that is Die Meistersinger. same time he wishes to take Wagner and Hanslick as they dug in their heels
Nonetheless, Beckmesser rubbed off several notches down, arguing that in the heat of their epic controversy:
on poor Hanslick, who could never the creator of Tristan and of The Ring In the house of music there are many
quite shake off the opprobrium embod- of the Nibelung enjoyed the “support dwellings. □
ied in Wagner’s hapless “Marker.” of a great many fellow composers and
Bonds touches upon the Beck­ music ­critics” and therefore does not
messer-Hanslick connection only in “qualify as a true radical . . . because a
passing, and he is even more reticent true radical stands in the minority.”
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LIFE FROM THE FIELD of Americans to grasp and to act upon never really knew what was going on.”
that war’s lessons. But they blundered on anyway.
BY ANDREW J. BACEVICH Raised in comfortable circum- Alas, things don’t necessarily get
stances, Greenway arrived in Vietnam better with time. When Greenway car-
 A review of
by way of suburban Boston, Yale, the ries his story forward into the post-9/11
Foreign Correspondent: A Memoir
United States Navy, Oxford, and Henry era, he finds the US reverting to old
By H. D. S. Greenway Luce. Part-time work as a Time-Life habits of mind that Vietnam ought to
Simon and Schuster stringer while attending graduate have demolished once and for all.
August 2014, 304 pages school led to full-time job in Luce’s The same “conspiracy of wishful think-
empire and the start of the career that ing” recurs. In Iraq and Afghanistan,
Anyone who has had the privilege eventually included long stints with Washington once more embarked on
of meeting David Greenway (as I have) the Washington Post and the Boston futile efforts to remake others in
knows him to be a person of very Globe. Greenway had the good fortune America’s own image or, failing that, to
considerable charm, grace, and good to become a “hack” (his term) when inflict so much pain that the adversary
humor—in every way a class act. It is print journalism was still in its golden “would one day come to the negotiating
therefore at least slightly disconcerting age. Reporters traveled first-class and table.” Greenway has seen this movie
to contemplate the cover of his splen- stayed in the best hotels. Salaries and before and therefore is not surprised by
did new memoir. expense accounts were generous. the difficulties that the US once more
Wearing jungle fatigues and what More by happenstance than intent, encountered.
was then known as a “boonie hat,” the Greenway’s beat became “the vacuum Woven throughout the narrative
author glares at the camera. Whether of retreating empires.” At the time, are vignettes recounting Greenway’s
his expression is meant to convey the Cold War—East vs. West, freedom personal experiences as an observer
consternation or annoyance or disgust against communism—seemed to be and interpreter of events large and small.
is impossible to say. Yet despite the the big story of the day. Experience has There were more than a few adven-
interpretive ambiguity, the image is an persuaded Greenway otherwise. tures to be had along the way, whether
apt one. The photo captures Greenway After World War II, Europeans searching for cannibals in New Guinea,
on the job, somewhere in the South began shedding their colonial posses- covering a Muhammad Ali prizefight in
Vietnamese bush, the still youngish sions, for holding sway over other races Kuala Lampur, illicitly buying parrots
journalist covering, and consumed by, had become more costly than profit- in Sandinista-governed Nicaragua, or
the biggest story of his career. able. Some left of their own volition, crossing the Khyber Pass on a train
For those of a certain age, Vietnam others only after suffering considerable pulled by an ancient steam locomotive.
remains personal—the first war that humiliation. As this “great process of There was also the occasional
retains a grip on our consciousness. For decolonization” unfolded, Greenway gaffe. In 1977, during Anwar Sadat’s
my parents, “the war” meant World writes, it found “America stepping into historic visit to Israel, the Egyptian
War II. For my children, “the war” refers other people’s empires,” largely oblivi- president was touring the Church of
to whatever confusing mess the US has ous to the challenges that waited. Here, the Holy Sepulchre. Greenway, then
lately gotten itself into in some quarter according to Greenway, was the actual serving as Washington Post bureau
of the Islamic world. But for my genera- big story of the postwar era: the US chief in Jerusalem, had the chance to
tion, “the war” is still the one we either foolishly “going down the old colonial ask just one question. “Mr. President,
experienced at first hand or opposed. roads, trying to force yet another people what does it mean to you, a devout
Although Foreign Correspondent to be more like us and adopt our values.” Muslim, to be here in the very heart of
ranges widely, chronicling Greenway’s This describes Vietnam in a nutshell, Christianity?” he asked. “Young man,”
travels to dozens of hotspots over and other mis­adventures as well. came the dour reply, “I will have you
the course of a long reporting career, As a reporter, Greenway shows know that there are more Christians
Vietnam provides the narrative hinge abundant curiosity and courage. So in my country than there are Jews in
on which his account turns. Decades wherever the story is, he goes. In Israel.” End of interview.
after it ended, the war remains for Vietnam that meant venturing deep Many other colorful characters
Greenway a touchstone. into the field where US troops slogged make cameo appearances. Clearly
“It was Vietnam that obsessed through jungle or rice paddies. While Greenway’s favorites are his fellow
me,” he writes. It seems fair to say covering the war close up, he was war-correspondents—Peter Arnett,
the obsession persists. What the shot down twice and wounded once. Gloria Emerson, Horst Fass, Sean Flynn,
Americans did there and the conse- Although he had arrived in-country Michael Herr, and Clare Hollingworth,
quences that ensued, not only for the believing in the war, witnessing it at to name only a few. Daring and fearless,
Vietnamese but also for the other firsthand changed his mind. His con- they were obviously great company.
peoples of Southeast Asia, continues clusions echo those of Graham Greene: Spending time with them must have
to haunt Greenway. What haunts him Whether because of innocence or been a rare privilege, which David
even further is the evident inability ignorance, in Vietnam “the Americans Greenway invites us all to share.  □
6 4   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4

A PIVOTAL YEAR War II drew to a close, in 1945. Chiang The Americans badly needed a
Kai-shek, a converted Christian mar- truce between Chiang’s and Mao’s
BY ANDREW J. NATHAN ried to a US-educated wife, relied on forces in order to preserve China as
American support and allowed the a postwar ally. Mao welcomed an
 A review of
Americans to advise him on military American mediation effort, which
China 1945: Mao’s Revolution
and fiscal policy. For Washington, was begun by the US ambassador to
and America’s Fateful Choice
the alliance with China was a key link China, Patrick Hurley, and continued
By Richard Bernstein in planning for the postwar world. by President Harry S. Truman’s special
Knopf, November 2014 To be sure, there was a com- representative, General George C.
464 pages plication in the US–China alliance: Marshall. On January 10, 1946, Marshall
the existence of a strong communist was able to report an agreement to a
The US–China relationship is insurgency in China’s northwest, led ceasefire between the two sides. US
notoriously a mix of cooperation, by Mao Zedong. To find out whether military personnel fanned out to moni-
competition, and occasional conflict. the communists threatened the alli- tor the truce in various parts of the
But its dominating feature is a profound ance, Washington dispatched some country. The two sides agreed to reduce
mutual distrust, which has only in- young foreign-service and military and eventually merge their armies.
creased over time in both countries. The officers to the communist capital of Yet when Marshall returned to
stronger China becomes economically Yan’an. There they found an egalitarian, China after a six-week home visit, the
and militarily, the more Americans vigorous young leadership that stood situation had fallen apart. Fighting
wonder whether Beijing’s assertiveness in sharp contrast to the exhausted, between Chiang’s and Mao’s troops
in regional territorial disputes and its hierarchical, corrupt regime in Chiang had broken out again in the northeast
breakneck naval development signal a Kai-shek’s capital of Chongqing. The (then called Manchuria). And the situ-
resolve to drive the US out of Asia. The Americans were kept in the dark ation proved to be irretrievable as the
more the US responds by tightening about a totalitarian thought-control communist forces picked up more and
its alliances in Asia and increasing its campaign that was taking place in the more strength. By 1949 they had driven
diplomatic presence—the so-called communist camp during their visit. Chiang’s forces out of mainland China.
“pivot to Asia”—the more the Chinese The distinguished journalist What went wrong? Some believe
perceive an effort to encircle them Richard Bernstein—a longtime friend the US should have aided Chiang more
strategically and to threaten their of the American Academy in Berlin strongly. Bernstein rules this out, and
regime with soft power instruments (and my graduate-school classmate)— for good reasons. His regime was
like human rights and democracy describes this encounter in his vividly too riddled with corruption and too
promotion. realized account of the historical forces demoralized to have been shored up by
Against this background, the that collided in 1945 to shape China’s any realistically conceivable amount
occasional attempts to cooperate— future relationship with the US. of American support. Others argue
for example, agreements on reducing In China 1945: Mao’s Revolution and that the US should have found a way
greenhouse gas emissions and lower- America’s Fateful Choice, Bernstein de- to establish cooperative relations with
ing trade barriers announced at the tails how communist leaders received Mao’s regime. This might have averted
November 2014 APEC summit—do not the Americans with warm ­hospitality many tragedies. Within China, the
signal a warming relationship. They and held long conversations in which destructive years of Maoist oppression
merely recognize the rare policy areas they portrayed themselves as nation­ could have been softened. The Korean
where the two sides’ separate interests alists and democrats, for whom War with its aftermath of decades of
happen to intersect. communism was a vague and distant crisis might have been avoided. The
Why are China and the US so goal. Likewise, as Bernstein explains, US would not have imposed a policy of
fundamentally at odds? Chinese and they charmed most of the American “containment and isolation” that de-
Americans get along well as individuals journalistic corps that was reporting layed China’s economic development,
when they cooperate for academic or on wartime China. While the areas split Asia into Cold War camps, and led
cultural purposes, visit one another’s under Japanese occupation or the to the war in Vietnam, Sino-Japanese
country, or do business. The two control of Chiang Kai-shek’s ­generals enmity, and the long-running and still-
economies are intricately intertwined sank into chaos and cruelty that continuing struggle over Taiwan. Today
and almost painfully interdependent. Bernstein describes with heartbreak- the two countries might be exploiting
China might reasonably view the US ing clarity, the communist districts all the benefits of cooperation instead
presence in Asia as a stabilizing factor were orderly, with a kind of Spartan of viewing each other as rivals and
instead of a threat, and the US could sufficiency. Moreover, the Westerners potential enemies.
view China’s rise as evidence that were charmed by the communists’ Bernstein sadly concludes that this
engagement worked. suave representative in Chongqing, second option also did not exist. Some
Indeed, partnership was what the Zhou Enlai, and his beautiful female of the reasons were political, i­ ncluding
two countries anticipated as World spokesperson, Gong Peng. Washington’s perhaps ill-advised
 fa ll 2 0 1 4 · t w e n t y- s e v e n · t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l  6 5

loyalty to Chiang Kai-shek and the

American commitment to democracy.
Some were strategic, including Mao’s
need for Soviet help to develop China
and his reasonable fear of challenging THE
Stalin, who was nearby, well armed, and
ruthless. Above all, however, Bernstein
concludes that Mao’s revolutionary
vision, to which he had been committed
all his life, made cooperation with the
US impossible. It was Stalin’s model
and Stalin’s support that Mao valued.
The communists’ signs of interest in Now available for iPad
friendship with the US had all along
been nothing more than tactical feints,
designed to buy time to reposition their
troops in the northeast, with Stalin’s
assistance, so they could re-launch the
civil war.
The question of “Who lost China?”
agitated American politics in the
early 1950s and continues to interest
historians. Bernstein’s answer is “no
one.” By 1945, China was no longer—
if it ever had been—America’s to lose.
A gifted historical storyteller, Bernstein
uses the single year of 1945 as a lens
through which to look backward to
the years and decades of events that
flowed together to make that year what
it was, and forward to the years and
decades of events that that year helped
to shape. China’s current leaders, he
believes, are just as uninterested as Mao
was in the fundamental values of
liberal democracy that shape American
strategy. If they are no longer com-
munists, and no longer entranced with
the Russian model, they nonetheless
remain as committed to their own
vision of China’s future as Mao ever
was—a future in which China, not an
outside power like the US, is the domi-
nant power in Asia.
As the West strives to construct a
better relationship with China, it would
do well to remember the lessons of a
turning-point year seven decades ago.
Bernstein’s skilled, timely retelling
justly serves the purpose.  □
News from the Hans Arnhold Center

President Joachim Gauck Honors

the American Academy

Not An Accident of History

Speech by President Joachim Gauck

The 2014 Henry A. Kissinger Prize

Honoring James A. Baker, III

The American Academy’s Twentieth

Anniversary Celebration

A Crucible of Culture
Keynote Speech by Leon Botstein

Nothing Possible without People

Keynote Speech by
Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Berlin and New York Honor Gary Smith


Kati Marton on Board


Profiles in Scholarship

Alumni Books

Supporter and Donors


A Beautiful Mind
by Gahl Hodges Burt
and John C. Kornblum

All event photos by Annette Hornischer. Additional

photos at Kissinger Prize by Matthias Wenger
6 8   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4
 fa ll 2 0 1 4 · t w e n t y- s e v e n · t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l  6 9



Federal President Joachim contributions to the reuni­ prove to be more important

Gauck stresses the similarities fication of Germany and the than what may separate us.”
between the US and Europe peaceful resolution of the Kissinger recalled the day
at the anniversary celebration Cold War. he fled Germany. He never
of the American Academy Federal President Gauck dreamt that he might one day
said that the network of con- be invited by a federal presi-

iven the new threats tacts between the United States dent who had done so much
that face the German- and Europe is tighter than for the realization of human
American partnership that between any other two dignity and human rights.
—independent of the ­security regions of the world. Now and Director of the ­American
discussions of the past—it again he departed from his ­Academy Gary Smith was
must now prove itself by em- prepared manuscript to make accompanied by his parents,
phasizing shared values. This the point that despite all re- who had travelled from Austin,
idea was a connecting theme cent public discussions, one Texas. They, too, recalled their
throughout the American must not forget what the USA flight from the Nazis. “We were
Academy’s twenty-year anni- did for German freedom. It is very lucky,” said his mother.
versary celebration on Tuesday true that new numbers from The birthday reception is
at Schloss Bellevue, at the the German Marshall Fund at the same time a goodbye
­invitation of Federal President point to increasing estrange- party for Gary Smith, who is
Joachim Gauck. Among the ment between Germans and leaving to return to scholar-
guests were former secretar- Americans. But because “the ship. Both Gauck and Kissinger
ies of state Henry Kissinger world has fallen into disorder thanked the departing director
and James Baker. Baker, who in a new and troubling way,” for his longstanding contribu-
led the US State Department Europeans and Americans see tions to the German-American
from 1989 to 1992, is to receive the new threats of the pres- relationship.
the 2007-established Henry ent very similarly. It is clear
Kissinger Prize this evening at that there is need for further —Elisabeth Binder,
the Hans Arnhold Center, in discussion. “What we have from Der Tagesspiegel,
Wannsee, for his outstanding in common will once more October 8, 2014
7 0   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4

NOT AN ACCIDENT friendships and family ties,

then business relations, the
This was made possible
by good ideas and hard work—
OF HISTORY wide range of cultural links and especially talented indi-
and the academic partner- viduals. Gary Smith, you first
ships. The planes crossing came to Germany because
the Atlantic are full of politi- of your love of the works of
Speech by President Joachim Gauck cians, schoolchildren, stu- Walter Benjamin. You built up
dents, researchers, artists the Einstein Forum in Potsdam
and business people. There is and then the American Acad­
always something that has to emy, which had been founded
These remarks are from Federal with the Order of Merit of the be discussed with someone on by Richard Holbrooke. To
President Joachim Gauck’s Federal Republic of Germany the other side of the Big Pond. this very day, I still catch my
speech marking the twentieth in this very room and at this Our links are therefore insti- breath a little when I mention
anniversary of the American very hour yesterday. You tutional but also individual. the name Richard Holbrooke,
Academy in Berlin at Schloss should see this palace as a No other two regions of the whom I had the honor of meet-
Bellevue, on October 7, 2014 forum in which Germans can world have established a more ing several times in person.
meet and talk with each other, close-knit network of contacts How we would all have loved

llow me to begin with with institutions, about who than the United States and to have him with us today. And
a few remarks on this they are. It is a forum for better European countries. Within now, Gary, you are returning
building where we understanding, a forum where this meshwork of transatlan- after a break of 17 years to what
are gathered today. It is very people can come together. tic relations, however, there fascinated you at the outset of
familiar to most of you, but That is the reason why I am is a special organization here your remarkable career: writ-
perhaps not to everyone: beginning today with these in Berlin, which plays a very ing and researching. I wish you
Schloss Bellevue is the Federal remarks about this building— special role: the American all the best for the future. And
President’s official residence. for it is serving us too as a Academy. I would like to thank you for all
However, it is also a forum forum for coming together. Housed in the former your ideas and for your com-
in which people meet to ex- Bringing people together villa of a family once driven mitment to American-German
change views and to discuss and widening horizons, that out by the National Socialists relations. Above all, however,
with one another. It is a forum is the task of the American and forced to sell it well I would like to thank you for
in which the events of the Academy, and that is why this under its market value, and making the Academy an “in-
past bloody century have been forum is so well suited to the now generously supported tellectual airlift,” as you said
commemorated this year in a occasion we are celebrating. by the very same family, the yourself. The transfer via this
variety of ways—the centena- Dear Gary Smith, I saw Arnhold-Kellens, the American airlift has benefited both Berlin
ry of the outbreak of the First in your eyes that you agreed Academy has become a center and Germany. Many thanks
World War from many differ- with me straightaway. of American intellectual life for that!
ent perspectives. Or take an- There are many links in Europe. It is a cultural gem We can see this most im-
other example: citizens of out- across the Atlantic: first of here in Berlin, on the Wannsee pressively in the shape of the
standing merit were presented all, the many, many personal lakeside. fellowship program: Fellows

 President Joachim Gauck, Henry Kissinger, James A. Baker, III

 fa ll 2 0 1 4 · t w e n t y-s e v e n · t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l  7 1

of the American Academy, you life and culture. Currently, have a very similar take on in earnest, and it must be con-
have come from all corners enlightened people who are the challenges and threats ducted with strong arguments.
of the United States, from aware of the cultural diversity of the present. However, a And if the weighing up of the
all academic disciplines, and in America and have helped new debate has now emerged. options in each country some-
from all cultural spheres to to raise awareness of it here Again, it seems, I have just times leads to a different con-
spend an academic semester in Europe have a tough job, briefly touched on this, as if clusion, the reasons for this
in Berlin. You are the ambas- for too many people with too Germans and Americans live should then be clearly named.
sadors of a country of think- little knowledge say too much on different planets when we The transatlantic partner-
ers and writers, a country about this other country. Here look at the Americans’ differ- ship is not an accident of his-
of universities and research in Berlin, we are very much ent approach to counterter- tory. It has firm and deep roots
institutes. Anyone in Europe aware what this very differ- rorism, data protection, or the on which we should pause and
who wants to take a close look ent country has done for the work done by intelligence reflect time and again. Those
at current American debates freedom of Germany and services. A recent survey by who stand for nothing, fall
should visit that magnificent Europe. As recently as 1989–90. the German Marshall Fund for anything, said Alexander
lakeside villa. Anyone who We cannot therefore sit back even provides statistics on Hamilton, one of the founding
wants to find out more about and allow public opinion the growing alienation of fathers of the United States.
a wealth of issues beyond in Europe and in the United Germans from America. What the United States stands
the usual images and clichés, States to drift apart. Such data should be for—for a free society and for
is in the right place at the I am pleased that two cause for concern for a
­ nyone open, critical debate—has
American Academy. Let me great pioneers who have sup- to whom the transatlantic been brought into very sharp
therefore express my wish for ported the American Academy alliance is important. It is focus here in Berlin, in the
the American Academy: may are with us today. Both of patently clear that there is a American Academy. Complex
it continue to be a magnet for them served as US Secretary need for discussion. We wel- issues are approached as they
the intellect, a forum for trans- of State, and both of them fos- come this discussion, which deserve to be approached—
atlantic exchange, under its tered the transatlantic partner- we should foster together. with profundity and in a way
new director. ship. Henry Kissinger, James Many of you here today can, that highlights subtle nuances.
And I have to add an- Baker, welcome to Schloss and indeed will, contribute And as for our encounters with
other comment here—quite Bellevue! toward this crucial American- art and culture, we experience
spontaneously. As I just read About ten years ago we German dialogue. And I am surprises, inspiration, and
the sentences I wrote earlier— debated whether Europeans firmly convinced that even if joy. I therefore hope that the
how I have just described and Americans lived on differ- differences remain, what we atmosphere on the Wannsee
America—it occurred to me ent planets, for some observ- have in common will once will be found at many more
how differently some people, ers felt that our security policy more prove to be more impor- encounters between Germans
especially here in Europe, per- cultures were so different. tant than what may separate and Americans, between
ceive the United States these Today, the world has fallen us. The debate on the relation- people from both sides of the
days. Not all of that was in into disorder in a new and ship between freedom and se- Atlantic, thus helping to ad-
the sentences in which I de- troubling way, and Europeans curity in the United States and vance our partnership.
scribed America’s intellectual and Americans once more Germany must be conducted Thank you very much.

 Henry Kissinger  Gary Smith

7 2   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4

 Gahl Hodges Burt, Andrew Gundlach, Leon Botstein

 Norbert Röttgen, Peer Steinbrück, Michael Schäfer  Gary Smith

 Nina von Maltzahn, Pauline Yu, Lothar von Maltzahn

 fa ll 2 0 1 4 · t w e n t y- s e v e n · t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l  7 3



he Honorable James of the Treasury under Ronald greatness to support us and to achievements possible: “None
A. Baker, III, sixty-first Reagan; as Secretary of State trust in us. For this, Germany of this could have happened
US Secretary of State, under George H. W. Bush; and as cannot thank you enough.” but for the indomitable spirit
received the eighth annual senior counselor to President Hans-Dietrich Genscher of the people of East Germany
Henry A. Kissinger Prize on Bush during the organization offered these words in a ­tribute and those of the other captive
the evening of October 7, 2014. of the 34-nation alliance in the to the man who served as his nations of Eastern and Central
The award recognizes Secre­ first Gulf War. Baker’s dedicat- American counterpart through- Europe. Their undying yearn-
tary Baker’s contributions to ed service has been character- out negotiations regarding ing for freedom could not be
­German reunification, the ized by vision and pragmatism, the reunification of ­Germany: indefinitely contained. They
peaceful resolution of the and his principled, politically “On the 9th of November, the are the true heroes of this story,
Cold War, and his central role skillful approach aided his very happy day when the Wall and they are a vivid reminder
in international negotiations ability to devise solutions to came down, I tried to thank that freedom works.”
following the fall of the B
­ erlin the most difficult challenges my Western colleagues for The 2014 Henry A. Kissinger
Wall, exactly 25 years ago. of postwar history, foremost their help and support, so I Prize was underwritten by
“Secretary Baker is a trusted the collapse of the Soviet called James Baker. The oper- Bloomberg Philanthropies; the
friend, a remarkable public Union and NATO enlargement. ator of the Foreign Office in Honorable and Mrs. Hushang
servant, and a seminal US Laudations at the cere­ Bonn connected me with Ansary; the Honorable Edward
Secretary of State,” Henry mony were delivered by Baker, and before connect- P. and Mrs. Françoise Djerejian;
Kissinger said at the ceremony German Minister of Finance ing us she said to him just Robert Bosch GmbH; Goldman
in Berlin. “In a period of up- Wolfgang Schäuble; former three words: ‘Mr. Secretary, Sachs and Company; the
heaval, when German reunifi- Minister of Foreign Affairs and God Bless America.’ And ­today, Honorable John F. W. Rogers;
cation became possible, no one Vice Chancellor of Germany twenty years later, I will repeat Unternehmensgruppe Tengel­
was confronted with a vaster Hans-Dietrich Genscher; US this to my friends, to Henry mann, Helga and Erivan Haub;
array of challenges in so brief Secretary of State John Kerry, Kissinger, to James Baker, and Nina von Maltzahn.
a period of time and handled via video message; and Henry and to the American people:
them more masterfully.” Kissinger. Recalling the criti- God Bless America.”
Baker’s achievements cal steps of 1989–90, Minister In his acceptance re-
over four decades of service in Schäuble said, “Unlike our marks, Secretary Baker
senior government positions European partners, the United thanked his German political A special publication presenting
include serving as Under-Sec- States—as a superpower— counter­parts but also recog- the full speeches and discussion
retary of Commerce for Presi- was not afraid of a reunited nized the groundwork that at the 2014 Kissinger Prize is
dent Gerald Ford; as Secretary Germany. Rather, it had the made their immense political forthcoming in early 2015.

 James A. Baker, III, Henry Kissigner, Gahl Hodges Burt, Gary Smith, A. Michael Hoffman
74   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4

 A. Michael Hoffman, Christian U. Diehl, Eva Köhler, Horst Köhler, Kurt Viermetz  Hushang Ansary, Edward Djerejian

 Josef Joffe

 Wolfgang Schäuble

 Henry Kissinger, Kimberly Emerson

 Hans-Michael Giesen, Peter Wittig,

 Erivan Haub, Helga Haub, Nina von Maltzahn Gahl Hodges Burt, Almut Giesen, Pauline Yu
 fa ll 2 0 1 4 · t w e n t y-s e v e n · t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l  7 5

 Henry Kissinger, James A. Baker, III and Wolfgang Ischinger

 Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Henry Kissinger  David Knower, Joschka Fischer, John Vinocur

 Gaby Fehrenbach, Warren Tichnor, Wolfgang Ischinger, Mercedes Bass

7 6   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4



 Christoph Israel, Max Raabe

wo hundred invited their longstanding engage- decades, has embodied, in New York Times columnist
guests gathered in a ment: “How often have we the words of Gary Smith, Roger Cohen; Harvard histori­
garden tent at the Hans made the pilgrimage to this “the academic-entrepreneur an Charles Maier; Washington
Arnhold Center on the evening villa on the Wannsee,” he said, non plus ultra.” Botstein drew Post journalist and author
of October 8 for the twentieth- “which before the Nazi era a ­connecting thread through Anne Hull; Ambassador John
anniversary celebration of the belonged to the Jewish bank- evening: “What’s very inter­ B. Emerson; and, finally,
American Academy in Berlin. ing family Arnhold, whose esting as I stand here in the Baroness Nina von Maltzahn,
Joining the Academy’s trustees descendants have shown garden of this house,” he said, a founding trustee and
and management were long- such tremendous generos- “is that the American Academy ­granddaughter of Hans and
standing friends, benefactors, ity in helping to transform it is the creature of a very un- Ludmilla Arnhold.
journalists, and former staff for into this wonderful place of usual nostalgia . . . the nos- “I remember being asked
a night that included inspired encounter. . . . We extend our talgia of the German-Jewish in a family discussion what my
speeches, a performance by gratitude to your family, Nina émigrés. . . . The Arnhold fam- grandparents would say to the
Max Raabe, a short film about von Maltzahn and Andrew ily, the Kellen family, Richard idea of an American Academy
the Academy by trustee Volker Gundlach.” Holbrooke himself, Henry in Berlin,” the Baroness
Schlöndorff, and addresses Minister Steinmeier’s re- Kissinger, Gary Smith’s moth- ­recalled. “I responded that
by German Foreign Minister marks were followed by a cap- er, like so many American I thought it would be a per-
Frank-Walter Steinmeier and tivating musical performance émigrés of German-Jewish fect thing to do, to which my
the president of Bard College, of songs from the 1920s and origin . . . retained a tremen­ aunt explained—exclaimed,
Leon Botstein. The evening 1930s by the German singer dously deep affection for the actually—‘That’s exactly what
was generously underwritten Max Raabe, founder of the place from which they were I said!’ And, Leon: You made
by the Holtzbrinck family and Palast Orchester, accompanied expelled.” (The full speech is people understand the Why.
Jeane Freifrau von Oppenheim. by pianist Christoph Israel. found on the next page.) Thank you. It makes me so
In his tribute, Minister Raabe’s time-travelling A series of toasts were happy to see my grandfather’s
Steinmeier called the Academy repertoire was contextual- then introduced by the eve- spirit reflected in the way the
a “jewel of the transatlantic ized in the keynote speech ning’s master of ­ceremonies, American Academy nurtures
partnership,” thanked execu- by Leon Botstein, an accom- Stefan von Holtzbrinck, deliv- cultural diversity, expression,
tive director Gary Smith for his plished historian and musi- ered by journalist and trustee and understanding in this
dedicated service, and lauded cian who, in his leadership of Kati Marton; former German house, and beyond.”
the Arnhold-Kellen family for Bard College for nearly four Interior Minister Otto Schily;
 fa ll 2 0 1 4 · t w e n t y- s e v e n · t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l  7 7

 Leon Botstein  Esther Smith, Gary Smith

A CRUCIBLE Raabe has provided us a multi-

layered example of the trans-
point of Berlin’s culture, what
he didn’t fully realize is the
OF CULTURE atlantic symbiosis that sus- extent of the history of inter­
tains the American Academy. action between Germany and
It was worth the entire trip America. That experience
to Berlin. constitutes the pre-history of
Keynote Speech by Leon Botstein In 1907 the German the Academy. The Academy
economist Werner Sombart has a Vorgeschichte, if you
wrote an article comparing will, because, as many of you
Berlin and Vienna. He wrote know, in late nineteenth-cen-

adies and Gentlemen! Many—if not most—of the it because during that period tury America, Germany was
Please understand that creators of the music that he Berlin had become quite ar- the most important cultural
if I were prone to night- sings, both the lyrics and the rogant about itself and looked influence on what became
mares, one would certainly be music, were Jews, and when down on its rival Vienna. America. Our universities,
an invitation to follow Max the Nazis came to power, this Sombart took aim at all the originally somewhat imitative
Raabe on a public stage. I can- genre disappeared. He has re- anti-Viennese Berliners. He of the British, were completely
not imagine a more daunting constructed it with the Palast described Berlin as essentially transformed after the Civil
circumstance in which to give Orchester in a fantastic way. a soulless place that was com- War by an American embrace
any kind of talk of any length. His is a great achievement not pletely mechanistic, where of the model of the German
I have long been a fan of only as performance but as people were only interested in university. In New York City, in
Max Raabe. Not only for his authentic musical archaeolo- time, power, and money. The 1900, there were probably 150
capacity to perform so utterly gy, one that brings something worst insult he could hurl at it German-language newspapers
elegantly and because he is forgotten back to life. was that it was rapidly becom- and periodicals; one could sur-
so innately and fabulously If one was ever in search ing New York—the symbol of vive in the City of New York
musical, but also because he of a witness to the transat- materialist modernity. speaking German. If you went
has unearthed an entire rep- lantic partnership between In contrast, Vienna was to the Metropolitan Opera you
ertoire that has vanished. For Germany and the United a place of culture and Kultur, had no need to speak English.
those of you who can’t get to States, it can be located in the and the jokes Berliners When Anton Seidl conducted,
sleep and have a good Internet music of the 1920s and early made about the Viennese there he needed no English,
connection, I recommend all 1930s that Raabe performs. and Austrian habits—their and when Gustav Mahler
the Max Raabe material that The style is unthinkable with- Gemütlichkeit and their came to take over the New
is available on YouTube. Max out the American influence. Schlampigkeit, all of this York Philharmonic in 1907, the
Raabe, in my experience, has Consider Walter Jurmann familiar stuff—were simply year of Sombart’s essay, there
redeemed insomnia. Among (1903–1971), the Viennese- evidence of the stupidity, the was likewise no necessity
the items most worth see- Jewish songwriter who appro- arrogance, the dangerous for him or for Alma to learn a
ing is a documentary of Max priated American models and blindness, and material greed word of English.
Raabe on his first trip to Israel. whose career took off in Berlin of Berliners. Kultur was the Apart from the German-
It is a remarkable documen- during the 1920s. After fleeing distinct essence of all good speaking religious commu-
tary, one in which elderly sur- to America after 1933 he went things German. nities in the Midwest and
vivors are in tears as they hear on to compose for Hollywood It is fascinating that when the South that came into
music they have not heard in (as you just heard)—including Sombart insulted New York being after 1848, there were
decades but know by heart. for the Marx Brothers. Max as the historical destination choral societies all over
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the country, as far as San talents including Lukas Foss thoughtless, collaborated Arnhold family, the Kellen
Francisco—Liedertafel and and Andre Previn, Kurt Weill with the Nazi regime. The re- family, Richard Holbrooke
Männergesangvereine. They and Hanns Eisler, for whom sult was a sense that perhaps himself, Henry Kissinger,
were all directly imitative of the Music Academy right here there needed to be an effort Gary Smith’s mother, like so
a German tradition, initially is named, who was actually to reform the German uni- many American émigrés of
liberal and later virulently forced out of the United States versity. Jürgen Habermas, in German-Jewish origin, unlike
­nationalistic—constituents of together with Bertolt Brecht in the later 1960s, argued that their fellow Jewish-European
the Deutsche Sängerbund that the late 1940s. And there was what the German univer- refugees, retained a tremen-
first developed in the 1840s, of course Arnold Schoenberg, sity ought to do is imitate the dously deep affection for the
here in German-speaking whose uncontrollable arro- American: institute something place from which they were
Europe. gance was a parody of an un- that we would recognize as expelled. Despite everything,
This all came to a very questioned sense of German the liberal arts or the col- they remained attached to the
abrupt end in 1917. Yet when superiority in matters of high lege experience in the United image of Germany. No equiva-
we think of this city in the culture that came along with States, and try to reform the lent of the American Academy
1920s—the Berlin that one the post-1933 emigration. way in which the professors in Berlin, funded by survivors
can see clearly and candidly As a Jewish child ­émigré were appointed and courses and descendants of Polish
through the Russian novels of myself who was not from of study organized. Inspired Jewry, is as yet imaginable in
Vladimir Nabokov, who lived German stock, I grew up with by the American philosophi- Poland, and nothing like it is
here at that time—the influ- the well-known joke about cal tradition of pragmatism, remotely thinkable for Russia
ence of America and the mi- the encounter of two dachs- he suggested that the hier- or Ukraine, at least certainly
gration of Americans to Berlin, hunds in Central Park. They archical, authoritarian sys- not sponsored by the Jewish
continued not only in science meet and sniff one another, tem—the kind of education emigration from those places.
and music but in painting, and both figure out that they of extreme obedience that Gershom (or rather
architecture, and popular are German-speaking. One Walther Rathenau described Gerhard) Scholem used to
culture. The transatlantic ex- asks the other where he’s experiencing as a young man, claim that there was no “sym-
change and communication from. Vienna, he says, and in a critique of the German biosis” between Germans and
for which the Academy stands the first one replies, “I’m educational system that he Jews in the years between
have indeed a very long his- from Berlin.” The Berliner wrote before World War I—­ the 1780s and 1933. I am not
tory indeed. asks, “How do you like it be abandoned. If one could quite sure he was right. Why
Ironically, the most here?” They both end up com- find a way, Habermas argued, did these German Jews who
important pre-history for plaining about the Wurst, the to reform the German school were forced out actually
the American Academy in apartments, and the fact that system and university so ­return in the 1990s with the
Berlin is the rise to power of Central Park isn’t quite the they would be more like the idea of putting an institution
Nazism, and the emigration Tiergarten or the Volksgarten. American (on the assump- into place that would sustain,
to America of a whole cadre After this bemoaning, the tion that the American com- after the end of the Cold War
of German intellectuals, sci- Viennese concedes that it mon school and university, and German unification, the
entists, and artists, some of is, after all, not too bad, con- in its hybrid form of English transatlantic dialogue and ex-
whom returned after 1945. sidering the alternative. The and German, were somehow change of ideas and of people
For those of us who grew Berliner agrees but adds: “Yes, contributors to sustaining between their new welcom-
up in the United States after all that isn’t really impor- democracy), there might be a ing Heimat, America, and the
World War II, the American tant, but what really bothers chance for democracy in post- old one, Germany? The answer
university would be unrecog- me is that in Berlin I was a war West Germany. Although goes back to Sombart’s cri-
nizable without figures such St. Bernard.” this did not come to pass, the tique of Berlin’s conceits and
as Karl Löwith, Leo Strauss, We grew up in the shadow transatlantic dialogue contin- his privileging of culture as
and Werner Jaeger, the clas- of this tremendous cultural ued in the midst of the Cold a major aspect of what Berlin
sicist; Hans Morgenthau in German emigration—partic­ War, partly motivated by the needed but lacked.
politics, at Columbia; Franz ularly of writers, (consider extreme fear and danger rep­ The German Jewish émi-
Neumann; and, of course, Heinrich and Thomas Mann resented by the Cold War and grés held fast to the belief that
all the Frankfurt School and Carl Zuckmayer)—and by the Soviet Union. Bildung and cultural attain-
­members, including Theodor the radical transformation of To turn now to Germany ment, including an aesthetic
Adorno (who returned) and the American university. after the fall of the Berlin Wall: sensibility, were instruments
Max Horkheimer. And, of The end of the war re- what is astonishing, as I stand of civilizing people and
course, one cannot forget the vealed the extent of Germany’s here in the garden of this the world. This ideal was an
obvious: the emigration of sci- cultural loss. What is interest- house, is that the most impor- extension of a late nineteenth-
entists, among whom Einstein ing is that German intellec- tant post-unification effort to century and very widespread
was by far the most promi- tuals after 1945 tried to figure renew and sustain the transat- belief that Germany was a
nent. In the visual arts, Hans out why the German univer- lantic dialogue—the American kind of pinnacle of true hu-
Hoffman, Josef Albers, and sities and German cultural Academy—is the creature of manistic civilization, placed
Max Beckmann come to mind institutions, from museums a very unusual nostalgia, a in the middle between raw
(as well as Lyonel Feininger, to opera houses and orches- sentimental echo of the nos- Russian “barbarism,” effete
American born of a German tras (particularly in Berlin), talgia we heard so wonder- French “superficiality,” and
musician, who moved to and indeed the German intel- fully evoked by Max Raabe, the “crass materialism” of the
Germany only to return after lectual and artistic commu- and that is the nostalgia of Americans.
the Nazis came to power) and, nity, in many different ways, the German-Jewish émigrés The dachshund and St.
in my own field, music, young both heinous and utterly of the 1930s and 1940s. The Bernard exchange implicitly
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reveals this conceit. For ex- disproving of the link between of Google’s algorithms and world beyond the forms of in-
ample, all of us who studied culture and civility. It was dur- Amazon’s manipulation, just ner emigration that flourished
music with émigrés constant- ing the Nazi era that culture confirming what we already under Stalin and Hitler. That
ly heard about how terrific it and the attributes of its devo- believe, and visiting sites with technique of inner emigration,
all had been in the old country, tees—Geschmack, Bildung—of- which we are already comfort- using the imaginative capaci-
and we, as Americans, were fered no barriers to barbarism able. So the massive techno- ties of poets, particularly mu-
considered simply unwashed and no barriers to hate and to logical expansion of freedom, sicians, kept some measure
and kulturlos, and hopelessly the unthinkable. Indeed, the communication and self-ex- of freedom intact, and sur-
resistant to true cultivation. elites of culture and scholar- pression has actually led to a vived under the radar screen
Even my parents—Ostjuden ship collaborated. So, why did kind of incrustation of confor- of censors and tyrants. But
who never lived in Germany— the survivors of this colossal mity. The more we have access after 1989 we know that this
looked with a kind of horror failure return to the premise to more information and data, is not enough. The purposes of
at America’s vulgarity, as if that culture matters in poli- the more we can say ­anything dissent, dialogue, scholarship,
such vulgarity had not ex- tics? we want and blog to our finding that things which
isted in Germany. Germany I think the American hearts’ content, the more we have been held to be true may
before 1914 put itself forward Academy was created explic- become predictable, ordinary, not be true, whether in history
politically and culturally as a itly to give the role of cul- and imitative. or in the natural sciences, but
kind of a broker between East ture and the arts in politics And it is not enough to for this Academy particularly
and West as a cultural ideal. a second chance. The work have inner freedom, just as in areas of philosophy and
Friedrich Naumann’s concept that Gary Smith has done inner emigration was helpless politics, require and demand
of Mitteleuropa, which was a with the Academy initially during the Third Reich. To as- an intrusive public presence.
serious idea for many a great may appear on the surface sert that one is immune to the Thought and expression are vi-
social scientist and keen mind, to be about politics (includ- constant assault from the web tal in ways that cannot be only
was rooted in Germany’s pride ing the hobnobbing, if I may of technology is unconvinc- interior; they must be exterior
in its cultural and scholarly say so, with foreign minis- ing. Since inner freedom is not and in the public discourse.
preeminence. It revealed the ters and ambassadors and enough, the Academy has be- This Academy is devoted, in
glib conviction that Germany other power-brokers) but it come devoted, in my view, to an idealistic and nostalgic
and particularly Berlin would is not. The fellowships at the the proposition that precisely way, spurred on by a genera-
become the cultural capital of Academy represent the core in the modern, technological tion that saw the death of the
the world, perched between belief that through the arts, world, the face-to-face en- dream that Kultur and Bildung
the two extremes of America education, scholarship, litera- counters, the work of artists, would lead to a civilized world,
and Russia. Sombart’s critique ture, and research, through and the expression of ideas to restart that process.
of Berlin was fueled by his what we call the humani- by individuals in real time The German-Jewish phi-
frustration at Berlin’s failure to ties, the development of the and real space will actually losopher Hannah Arendt,
grasp its proper destiny. Geisteswissenschaften, the de- emerge as the last vital bas- herself an émigré to America,
Ironically, after unifica- velopment of sensibilities and tion of dissent. challenged the conventional
tion Germany has indeed re- thought processes that are We may talk a lot about distinction between the word
emerged as unusually power- speculative and are imagina- freedom, but very few of us (speech) and the idea of action.
ful—the essential instrument tive, that somehow there will use it. We say we like dis- She argued, idealistically, that
of Europe, economically, po- emerge a connection between sent but we really don’t like speech is and must be a form
litically, and culturally. Placed the flourishing of those activi- to hear somebody say some- of action. What this Academy
between America and Russia, ties and the way we conduct thing we don’t already be- is dedicated to—in a gener-
Berlin is and will doubtlessly our political and personal lieve. I have not met or seen ous and eclectic definition
remain for decades to come lives. At its core the Academy a politician whose mind was of speech, including mak-
the cultural capital of Europe, under Gary’s tenure stands changed by evidence. In my ing of visual art, of music,
a cosmopolitan destination for the proposition that there country we talk a lot about performance, and, of course,
point for artists, young peo- is a link between democracy ­democracy and we have can- literature and scholarship in
ple, students, and the place of and freedom and learning, didates debate one another in the fields that Fellows come
dominant cultural institutions. a link between learning and a mockery of what is a debate. to work in—is the proposition
But in this political context, art-making and the defense of I would vote—no matter what that speech is indeed a form
one might ask, to what end? freedom, especially in the con- her political position might of action and should be politi-
The American Academy temporary world and particu- be—for any candidate who in cally engaged.
was built through German- larly in the public space that a debate, faced with a set of The tremendous irony
Jewish philanthropy and en- has changed very dramatically arguments and evidence, said, and beauty of the music per-
thusiasm on the premise that with modern technology. “You know, now that I have lis- formed by Max Raabe, with its
the answer lies in some con- The Internet is, after all a tened, I concede that I might tremendous twists on
nection between culture and large, undifferentiated sewer be wrong.” the classical tradition and
civility, between art and cul- of self-expression, in which Inspired by the highly sen- its inner jokes, is that it is
ture and the way we conduct it is impossible to distinguish timental and idealized hopes of part of a long tradition of
our lives in the public space of what’s true from what’s false. Americans of German-Jewish using music and comic the-
everyday life. The irony of this In it all sort of items look origin, the American Academy ater as modes of dissent and
belief is that it has survived alike. And we, the users ever has become a kind of cru- social and self-criticism. Its
not only among the victims more addicted to it, rather cible, a meeting place, where challenge to the conceits
of the failure of that connec- than having a dialogue with people can figure out how to about romance and sexuality
tion, but despite the complete ­others, end up, with the help resist what’s happening in the —and its undermining of the
8 0   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4

clichés of self-important exchange encouraged volun- not render all that we do in redeeming the cherished
individuality and notions tarily. Two societies, German the arts and humanities irrel- hopes of those who fled from
about what is morally right and American, that are demo- evant and merely private. this very place, not willingly
and wrong—help show the cratic, and pluralistic, might That is the future of the but who nonetheless have
way forward. The goal of the actually come to believe that American Academy, in my now come back, some only in
Academy can only be ap- Berlin, particularly because of view. It is also the legacy that spirit, to finally, we hope, make
proached in a transatlantic its history and its immensely Gary Smith so ably has left us possible a dream brutally de-
way within the patterns of the bright future, can become a with. I want to thank Gary, all stroyed in 1933.
nineteenth and early twenti- place in which the connection the Trustees of the American Thank you.
eth centuries, of an exchange between culture and freedom, Academy, all its b ­ enefactors,
back and forth, not forced by and culture and justice, can be and its Fellows for m ­ aking
emigration or by tyranny, but reshaped in a way that does this place possible, and for

NOTHING POSSIBLE and mastery of the full range

of instruments of diplomacy,
not merely abstractly, on
paper, but rather as encoun-
­W ITHOUT PEOPLE and who was willing to apply ters in flesh and blood. This
them. Anybody who expe- was the notion upon which
rienced him in action, and I the American Academy was
had that privilege a number founded.
Keynote Speech by Frank-Walter Steinemeier of times, was cured once and
for all of the cliché that diplo- How often since then have
macy consists principally of we made the pilgrimage to
subdued chitchat. Slobodan this villa on the Wannsee—
Milošević was not the only which before the Nazi era
one to get a taste of this. It belonged to the Jewish bank-
was Richard Holbrooke’s abid- ing family Arnhold, whose
ing ambition, as his wife Kati descendants have shown
Marton once described it, “to such tremendous generos-
do something, not just to be ity in helping to transform it
something”—and, Kati, I am into this wonderful place of
delighted that you can be here encounter. For this, too, we
today “to do something, not want to give our heartfelt
just to be something.” As it thanks this evening. And I am
was in Berlin in 1994, as well. very pleased that members
Richard Holbrooke rec- of this family are also among
ognized very clearly that, us today. So, we extend our
after the Cold War’s end and gratitude to your family, Nina
Germany’s reunification, the von Maltzahn and Andrew
strong transatlantic bond Gundlach!
could no longer be maintained It is thanks to you that
solely by an existential exter- we have been given the op-
nal threat. New threads were portunity in this place to see
needed with which to span and hear the best minds that

s Jean Monnet, one of and filled it with life. Mention­ the Atlantic. Holbrooke had America has to offer: artists
the fathers of European ing them all here individually great confidence in this new and scholars, poets and philos­
unity, so wisely stated: would surely provide splendid Europe but took a demanding ophers, politicians and non-
“Nothing is possible ­without entertainment for the rest of stance toward it. Europe, he politicians. And this is impor-
people; nothing is lasting the evening. insisted, should take respon- tant because there are those
without institutions.” Especially considering sibility for its own future and in Europe and, I admit, also
The American Academy, that each and every one of security, especially where this some in Germany, who, even
whose twentieth birthday you could expect to be named was called into question and today, harbor and carefully
we are celebrating today, is a personally. But not to worry, challenged, as in the Balkans. nurture the prejudice that
truly remarkable institution. I mean to limit myself to two Holbrooke wanted to create a American culture is shallow.
But it never would have this evening. That is: to two place for mature, enlightened For many who hold this bias,
become a reality without equal- people. dialogue across the Atlantic as the American Academy and
ly remarkable people who, a living expression of our en- the great number of its fellows
with their imagination, their In the beginning, there was during community of shared who have lived here in Berlin
experience, their passion, their Richard Holbrooke, who at values, which he felt so per- over the years have been living
foresight—and, yes, their mon- that time was the American sonally a part of. proof to the contrary.
ey, too—created this jewel of Ambassador to Germany— Ideas instead of infantry, Holbrooke, this man
transatlantic cultural exchange a diplomat with knowledge words instead of weapons— of many talents, helped the
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Academy to get off to a good is infinitely greater than what the world still look to us— but truly, from the heart, our
start. He mobilized funds and divides us. The decisive ques- to America and Europe alike full admiration and tribute
friends, and he accompanied tion is: how can we success- —with great expectations. go out to you as well as to
this young institution with fully translate this affinity into And look to us with respect. your comrades-in-arms at the
special devotion and care practical common action for Democracy is strong when it Academy this evening. The
for the rest of his life. I am a new world order? That is the does not become ensnarled in American Academy has grown
sincerely delighted that the true challenge facing us and, ideology, when it is not timid and matured. It has made and
Academy has initiated the even more, the next genera- but rather faces its problems continues to make its intellec-
Holbrooke Forum, in which tion, which, unlike us, has not realistically and allows space tual mark on the life of the city
he is not just honored and been shaped by the Cold War. for free thought. Domestically, in so many ways. It owes an
remembered—this would not Germany has achieved exactly inestimable part of this suc-
be enough—but which, as he To win over the younger gen- that. Though it hasn’t been cess to you and your unfail-
would have wanted, is com- eration to this partnership, easy, we have undertaken eco- ing energy, your affection for
mitted to looking toward the this transatlantic partnership, nomic reforms and opened up this country, your perpetual
future and seeking answers we must do more than simply in terms of our social policy. curiosity—not to mention
to the great questions of our shrug our shoulders at the loss Today, Germany is economi- your brilliant and singularly
time. For that was always his of trust brought by the NSA cally strong and socially more American talents as a net-
aim: to find practical solutions affair and the Snowden rev- open precisely because we worker and fundraiser. Yes,
with which to counter the vio- elations. We must find a way were not complacent but rath- it takes these qualities, too,
lence, the poverty, and the suf- to enter into dialogue about er were willing to take and ­ladies and gentlemen.
fering in the world. Solutions the challenges of our digital respond to criticism. The friendship and part-
that bring us, step by step, future—one that ultimately Germany needs this open nership between the United
closer to peace, justice, and yields a shared understanding thinking in its foreign policy States and Germany needs
unfettered development for and shared solutions. as well. This country is, af- institutions like the American
all people—in the Balkans, We must succeed in ter all, probably more closely Academy, and it needs people
in Africa, and in Afghanistan, pulling the great project of intertwined with the rest of like Gary Smith. It needs your
where I worked with him a the Transatlantic Trade and world than any other country active support, the active sup-
great deal. Investment Partnership, of comparable size. Our pros- port of us all. And because we
the TTIP agreement, out of perity and security depend on have always had this over the
What challenge would the shadows of rumor and our not seeing ourselves as years, our very special thanks
Holbrooke turn to today? In misperception and advance an island. also go this evening to Gary’s
this time in which the world it for what it is meant to be: wonderful wife! Dear Chana,
seems to be completely l­ osing a project to jointly establish The American Academy dear Gary—not only at the
its bearings? The crisis in east- norms and values that can represents, and indeed spans American Academy, but also
ern Ukraine that threatens be disseminated around the the Atlantic with this very very personally, America and
the framework for European world and can set standards— openness of thinking. It lives Germany have clearly grown
peace, in which he p ­ ersonally Western standards—not for this openness every day. It very dear to each other.
invested so much energy and a globalization of corpora- radiates the charm and the I don’t believe there is any-
effort? Or the threat posed tions but for a globalization productivity of critical think- body here in this room who
by the gangs who propagate that, far beyond our borders, ing. For many years now, one can quite imagine how the
diabolical terror in Iraq and lends weight and impact to person in particular has Academy will go on without
Syria, cloaked in the religious our ideas of proper economic been encouraging, provoking, Gary Smith.
guise of the “Islamic State”? management, social balance, ­inspiring, and spurring it Dear Gary, it is with in-
Or, once again, the future of the dignity of work, civil liber- along. And that is the guiding finite regret that we let you
the transatlantic partnership, ties, industrial and intellectual spirit of this house, namely go this evening. Not only I
a friendship that meant so property rights, democracy, Gary Smith. but also everyone here in
much to him? and the quality of life and its “Nothing is possible with- this room hope that you will
At the turn of the millen- environmental compatibility. out people,” said Monnet. always leave more than one
nium, while Germans were Without Gary, the Academy suitcase in Berlin. So that we

still enjoying the momentous n today’s world, the com- would never have become may continue to build on
gift of being surrounded, after petition between political what it is today. And it is dif- your wealth of experience and
1990, by friendly neighbors systems is in full swing. ficult for us to imagine this count on your sage advice—
for the first time in their his- Our Western democracy has place of encounter without and not only on your sage
tory, the United States suf- a quality that, despite certain him. In the last two decades, advice but also on your humor,
fered the shock of the attacks difficulties, causes me to look he not only has lured hun- your wit. All of this will, no
of September 11. Since then, to the future with optimism: dreds of the smartest minds in doubt, be sadly missed at the
we have at times differently the capacity to call ourselves America to Berlin, but he has Academy. And so we look for-
judged the challenges of the into question and to renew —if I may say so, dear Gary— ward to having a glass of wine
world, which has led us to dif- ourselves. This is our strength also seen to it that they leave together, somewhere and
ferent conclusions on more in a world that is changing at their best assets here: their some time in Berlin.
than one occasion. But in to- a dramatic pace and in which ideas, their enthusiasm, their This is true for me and for
day’s tumultuous world, that the ability to learn and adapt passions, and their friendship many others, too. So, dear Gary,
which we Western democra- increasingly makes the differ­ with our country. I say to you not just “thank
cies share, as champions of a ence. I believe this to be the This is why, dear Gary, not you,” but also: “See you soon!”
free and peaceful world order, reason that many people in only our very special thanks, Many thanks.
8 2   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4

 Charles S. Maier  Florian Kranefuß, John C. Kornblum

 Michael Naumann, Marie Warburg, Margarete von Portatius  Berit Ebert, Jessica Biehle

Mercedes Bass, Nina von Maltzahn, Volker Schlöndorff

 Gary Smith, Otto Schily  Kati Marton, Stefan von Holtzbrinck

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 Karen Roth, Erik Spiekermann

 Benita von Maltzahn, Maggie Bult, Andrew Gundlach, Vera Blinken

 Alexandra Gräfin Lambsdorff

 Mark Smith, Gary Smith, Aaron Smith

 Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Ines Pohl, Dieter Grimm

 Gary Smith, Byron N. Smith, Irene Smith  Roger Cohen, Gary Smith
8 4   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4



n the afternoon of at the Deutsches Haus at
­ ovember 18, 2014,
N New York University, where
Berlin mayor Klaus he was awarded the second
Wowereit awarded the annual Volkmar and Margret
­Verdienstkreuz 1. Klasse des Sander Prize, on October 20th.
Verdienstordens der Bundes­ New Yorker staff writer and
republik Deutschland to Gary alumnus George Packer
Smith on behalf of Germany’s ­delivered a laudation, and
President Joachim Gauck. The the Serbian operatic baritone
medal is Germany’s highest Željko Lučić performed. The
civilian honor, presented to prize committee of the Sander
individuals for outstanding Prize praised Smith for his
political, social, and intellec- “­ innumerable contributions to
tual contributions to soci- the innovative dialogue be-
ety. The medal recognizes the tween the scholarly and public
Academy’s founding executive spheres and his expert com-
director, who is retiring at the mentary on political affairs in
end of 2014, for his three-de- the German news media.” Photo by Thomas Platow, Landesarchiv Berlin
cades of service to deepening The Volkmar and Margret
German-American intellec- Sander Prize, established by 2011, was dedicated to pro- to the historian Fritz Stern,
tual and artistic relationships Professor Margret Sander in moting the knowledge of is endowed with a $5,000
through institutional support memory of her late husband, German literature and culture, grant, and honors individuals
of the arts and culture, and by Volkmar, the former head and to portraying contempo- who have made outstanding
brokering political and aca- of the German Department rary German literature, art, contributions to the cultural,
demic exchange in the German of NYU and founder of the and academia for audiences political, and a
­ cademic rela-
capital and beyond. Deutsches Haus, which he in the United States. tionship between the German-
Just a few weeks prior, directed from 1977 to 1995. The annual prize, award- speaking world and the
Smith was likewise recognized Sander, who passed away in ed for the first time in 2013 United States.


he Academy is proud to Central European University,
announce that journalist and the Committee to Protect
and author Kati Marton Journalists, which she also for-
joined the board of trustees in merly chaired. Marton’s jour-
spring 2014. Over the past four nalism has been published in
decades Marton has combined the New Yorker, the Atlantic
a career in journalism with Monthly, the Times of London,
human rights advocacy. She the Washington Post, the Wall
was a reporter for ABC News, Street Journal, Newsweek, Vanity
where she was the Bureau Fair, and the New Republic,
Chief from 1977 to 1979, as well among others, and she is the au- Photo by Brian Palmer
as for the Public Broadcasting thor of eight books, among them
Service and National Public the New York Times bestseller (2009), a National Book Critics Academy, and has been instru-
Radio. She serves on the Hidden Power: Presidential Circle Award ­finalist. Marton mental in the creation of the
boards of the International Marriages that Shaped History was married to the late dip- Richard C. Holbrooke Forum
Rescue Committee, the New (2001) and Enemies of the People: lomat Richard C. Holbrooke, for the Study of Governance
America Foundation, the My Family’s Journey to America the founder of the American and Diplomacy.
 fa ll 2 0 1 4 · t w e n t y-s e v e n · t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l  8 5

concerns about the ethics and
practices of the debt econo-
my have recurred throughout
modern Mexican history.

Presenting the fall 2014 class of capitalism,” uses the CCR5 have risen to some of today’s Anna-Maria Kellen Fellow
fellows and distinguished visitors gene as a heuristic tool to most pressing public policy Marjorie Woods, of the
probe three critical develop- issues. An intellectual histo- University of Texas at Austin,
West Germany in the immedi- ments in biotechnology from rian, Rosenberg specializes in is a literary historian work-
ate postwar years is the focus 1990 to 2010: gene patent- questions of historical repre- ing on medieval pedagogy.
of Monica Black, an associate ing, HIV/AIDS diagnostics and sentation and the history of Her project “Weeping for
professor of history at the Uni- therapeutics, and race and language, philosophy, and art Dido: Rhetoric, Gender, and
versity of Tennessee at Knox- genomics. The project ties in eight­eenth-century France Emotions in the Medieval
ville and the the Academy’s together intellectual ­property, and Britain. Classroom” looks at marginal
John P. Birkelund Fellow. In the sociology of race, and annotations in medieval Latin
her study “Evil after Nazism: ­molecular biology by showing Adam Ross, a Mary Ellen von manuscripts to learn what
Miracles, Medicine, and Moral how certain patent regimes der Heyden Fellow in Fiction, passages received special at-
Authority in West Germany,” have rewarded different forms is working on a new novel, tention from teachers and
Black uses the biography of a of intellectual property. Playworld, which tells the were performed by students
spiritual healer named Bruno story of Griffin Hurt, a child in the classroom—including
Gröning to examine the rela- Guna S. Mundheim Fellow in actor who finds himself sur- how performing speeches
tionships between sickness the Visual Arts Anthony McCall rounded by adult children. by women allowed boys to
and health, the meaning of is a British-born American He spends most of his adult ­explore emotions that were
evil in Germany after Nazism, artist specializing in cinema life, after quitting acting, otherwise denied them.
and the era’s overwhelming and projected film. McCall is trying to find a role to play.
sense of spiritual upheaval. known for his “solid-light” Ross, who was a child a ­ ctor,
­installations, a series he began is the author of the novel airbus Distinguished
Berthold Leibinger Fellow in 1973 with his seminal Line Mr. Peanut, a New York Times Visitor
Beatriz Colomina, an archi- Describing a Cone, in which a Notable Book, and a c­ ollection Jamie Metzl, Senior Fellow,
tectural historian, curator, and volumetric form composed of of short stories, Ladies and Asia Society; and Principal,
theorist, has taught since 1988 projected light slowly evolves Gentlemen. Cranemere Inc.
at Princeton University, where in three-dimensional space.
she founded the Graduate McCall’s work explores the way Hillel Schwartz, a Holtzbrinck Allianz Distinguished
Program in Media and Moder- in which the lines between Fellow, is a poet, cultural his- Visitors
nity. In her Academy project, sculpture, cinema, and drawing torian, and author. Schwartz Jeremy Rifkin, Founder and
“­X-Ray Architecture,” Colomina are traversed and redefined. is writing an intellectual and President, The Foundation
investigates modern architec- cultural history of the ­concept on Economic Trends; Author
ture’s relationship to medicine A specialist in Northern Euro­ of emergency, which today, Mary J. Schapiro, Vice Chair­
and the internal structure pean art of the early modern he argues, are associated with man of the Advisory Board,
of the human body, arguing period, Nina Maria Gorrissen health, severe weather, cli- Promontory Financial Group;
with myriad examples that Fellow Mark Meadow, of the mate change, and contracep- and Former Chairman,
the former simply would not University of California at tion, but also with fashion, US Securities and Exchange
have been possible without Santa Barbara, explores the vitamins, and daycare—a re- Commission
the latter. histories of rhetoric and col- markable shift in both nature
lecting as well as ritual and and notion since “­ emergency” Marcus Bierich
Berlin Prize Fellow Daniel spectacle. In his Academy first appeared in written Distinguished Visitor
Eisenberg is a filmmaker who project, “Quiccheberg’s Con­ English, in the seventeenth Stephen Greenblatt, John
teaches at the School of the tainers: Inventing Practical century. Cogan University Professor
Art Institute of Chicago. At the Knowledge in Early Modern of the Humanities, Harvard
Academy, he is working on Collections,” Meadow examines Siemens Fellow Louise E. University; and Permanent
the second of his three fea- Quiccheberg’s Inscriptiones, a Walker is assistant p
­ rofessor Fellow, Wissen­schaftskolleg
ture-length film essays in his key early treatise on collecting, of history at Northeastern zu Berlin
project “The Unstable Object,” along with a range of primary University. She focuses on
which problematizes the na- sources and Kunstkammer colonial and modern Mexican Richard von Weizsäcker
ture and meaning of work, artifacts. and Latin American history, Distinguished Visitor
objects, consumption, and the social movements, and the Javier Solana, President,
networks that comprise the “We live in an age of data,” history of capitalism. In her ESADE Center for Global
production and consumption writes Axel Springer Fellow project “Debt, Bankruptcy, and Economy and Geopolitics;
of goods in a globalized world. Daniel Rosenberg, professor Usury: Capitalism in Mexico former EU High Represen­
of history at the University from the Late Colony to the tative for the Common
Bosch Public Policy Fellow of Oregon. Rosenberg is work- Present,” Walker describes Foreign and Security Policy,
Myles Jackson’s Academy ing on “Data: A Quantitative how bankruptcy litigation Secretary General of the
project, “The Genealogy of History,” wherein he investi- in colonial courts—like the Council of the European
a Gene: Patents, HIV/AIDS gates the ways privacy, secu- Inquisition or today’s Credit Union, and Secretary General
and Race in the Age of Bio- rity, and interpretation of data Bureau—demonstrate that of NATO
8 6   t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l · t w e n t y-s e v e n · fa ll 2 0 1 4


Donald Antrim Richard B. Freeman, Alex Katz of Pinhas Hurwitz and

The Emerald Light Joseph R. Blasi, et al. Alex Katz: Revised and Its Remarkable Legacy
in the Air: Stories The Citizen’s Share: Reducing Expanded Edition University of Washington
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Inequality in the 21st Century Texts by Carter Ratcliff, Press, October 2014
September 2014 Yale UP, June 2014 Ivana Blazwick, et al.
Mary Elise Sarotte
Phaidon Press,
Mark Evan Bonds Janet Gezari (Ed.) The Collapse: The Accidental
September 2014
Absolute Music: Emily Bronte Opening of the Berlin Wall
The History of an Idea The Annotated Wuthering Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann Basic Books, October 2014
Oxford UP, June 2014 Heights and Michael North
Amity Shlaes
Belknap Press, Mediating Netherlandish Art
Hillary Brown The Forgotten Man:
September 2014 and Material Culture in Asia
Next Generation Graphic Edition
Amsterdam UP, July 2014
Infrastructure Francisco Goldman Illustrated by Paul Rivoche
Island Press, May 2014 The Interior Circuit: Wai-yee Li and adapted from (the 2007
A Mexico City Chronicle Women and National Trauma edition) by Chuck Dixon
Candida Höfer: Düsseldorf.
Grove Press, July 2014 in Late Imperial Chinese Harper Perennial, May 2014
Essays by Lothar
Literature (Harvard-Yenching
Baumgarten, Benjamin H. D. S. Greenway P. Adams Sitney
Institute Monograph Series)
Buchloh, et al. Foreign Correspondent: The Cinema of Poetry
Harvard University Asia
August 2014 A Memoir Oxford UP, October 2014
Center, June 2014
Simon and Schuster,
Anne Carson Francesca Trivellato (Ed.)
August 2014 Norman Manea
The Albertine Workout Leor Halevi and Catia Antunes
(Poetry Pamphlets) Susan Howe Religion and Trade:
New Directions,
New Directions, June 2014 Spontaneous Particulars: ­Cross-Cultural Exchanges in
December 2014
The Telepathy of Archives World History, 1000–1900
T. J. Clark and
New Directions / Christine Walter Mattli and Oxford UP, September 2014
Anne M. Wagner
Burgin, October 2014 Thomas Dietz (Eds.)
Lowry and the Painting Hayden White
International Arbitration
of Modern Life Anne Hull The Practical Past
and Global Governance:
Tate Publishing, May 2014 Untitled Memoir Ed Dimendberg (Ed.)
Contending Theories
Henry Holt and Co., Northwestern UP,
Nicholas Eberstadt and Evidence
October 2014 September 2014
The Great Society at Fifty: Oxford UP, September 2014
The Triumph and the Tragedy Martin Jay and Sumathi Alan Wolfe
Hiroshi Motomura
American Enterprise Ramaswamy (Eds.) At Home in Exile: Why
Immigration Outside the Law
Institute, May 2014 Empires of vision: A Reader Diaspora is Good for the Jews
Oxford UP, July 2014
Duke UP, March 2014 Beacon Press, October 2014
Peter Filkins (Trans.)
Esra Özyürek
H. G. Adler Ha Jin Peter Wortsman
Being German, Becoming
The Wall: A Novel A Map of Betrayal: A Novel Cold Earth Wanderers
Muslim: Race, Religion,
Random House, Pantheon, November 2014 Pelekinesis, November 2014
and Conversion in the New
December 2014
Pierre Joris (Trans.) Europe (Princeton Studies Peter Wortsman (Trans.)
Rothko to Richter: Paul Celan in Muslim Politics) Mynona (Salomo Friedlaender)
­Mark-Making in Abstract Breathturn into Timestead: Princeton UP, November 2014 The Creator
Painting from the Collection The Collected Later Poetry. Illustrations by Alfred Kubin
Phillip Phan
of Preston H. Haskell A Bilingual Edition Wakefield Press,
Conversations and Empirical
Texts by Hal Foster, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, October 2014
Evidence in Microfinance
Susan Stewart, et al. December 2014
Imperial College Press, Dimitrios Yatromanolakis
Princeton University Art
Branden W. Joseph (Ed.) December 2014 Fragments of Sappho:
Museum, July 2014
Kim Gordon: Is it My Body? A Commentary
David B. Ruderman
LaToya Ruby Frazier Selected Texts (Hellenic Studies, 34)
A Best-Selling Hebrew
The Notion of Family Sternberg Press, May 2014 Harvard University Press,
Book of the Modern Era:
Aperture, September 2014 June 2014
The Book of the Covenant
 fa ll 2 0 1 4 · t w e n t y-s e v e n · t h e b e r l i n j o u r na l  8 7


The American Academy in Berlin is funded HENRY A. KISSINGER PRIZE Barbara & David Detjen, Remmel T. Dickinson,
almost entirely by private donations from in- The Honorable & Mrs. Hushang Ansary, Astrid & Detlef Diederichs, Margrit & Steven
dividuals, foundations, and corporations. We Bloomberg Philanthropies, Robert Bosch Disman, Brigitte Döring, Elizabeth & Jean-
depend on the generosity of a widening circle GmbH, The Honorable Edward P. & Mrs. Marie Eveillard, Stephen Gangstead, Bärbel
of friends on both sides of the Atlantic and François Djerejian, Goldman Sachs & Co., & Ulrich Gensch, Marie Louise Gericke, Golf-
wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to those Helga & Erivan Haub, Nina von Maltzahn, und Land-Club Berlin-Wannsee e. V., Jan
who support us. This list documents the con- The Honorable John F. W. Rogers, Groscurth, Thomas Grube, Nancy & Mark
tributions made to the American Academy Unternehmensgruppe Tengelmann Gruett, Ralf Gütersloh, Donald Hagan, Carl H.
from November 2013 to November 2014. Hahn, Jörg Menno Harms, Robert L. Harrison,
LAKESIDE FELLOW PAVILION Volker G. Heinz, Karl & Mary Ellen von der
Ellen Maria Gorrissen Stiftung and the Heyden, Josef Joffe, KfW Bankengruppe,
Fellowships and Distinguished ­descendants of Hans and Ludmilla Arnhold, Ulrich Kissing, Marion Knauf, Evi Kurz, Jan
Visitorships Established in Perpetuity Mr. & Mrs. Henry Arnhold, Stephen B. & Ellen Tibor Lelley, Nicole & Alexander P. Letzsch,
C. Burbank, Gahl Hodges Burt, Hans-Michael Ellen Levy & Gregg Horowitz, Nina & Daniel
& Almut Giesen, A. Michael & Mercedes Libeskind, Peter Lindseth, Quincy Liu, Charles
ESTABLISHED IN PERPETUITY Hoffman, Dirk & Marlene Ippen, John C. Maier, Wolfgang & Beate Mayrhuber, Detlef
John P. Birkelund Berlin Prize in the Humanities Kornblum, Regine Leibinger & Frank Barkow, Meinen, Thomas Menzel, Michael Münchehofe,
Daimler Berlin Prize Kati Marton, Sal. Oppenheim-Stiftung im Kathryn & Peter Nixdorff, Wolfram Nolte,
German Transatlantic Program Berlin Prize Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, Barbara & Rolf Nonnenmacher, Susan
supported by European Recovery Volker Schlöndorff, Kurt F. Viermetz Rambow, Beatrice Reese, Christa Freifrau &
Program funds granted through Hermann Freiherr von Richthofen, Joanna S. &
the Transatlantic Program of the Daniel Rose, Alison P. & Jeffrey A. Rosenberg,
Federal Republic of Germany Individuals and Family Ruth & David Sabean, Henry Sapparth, Ulrike
Nina Maria Gorrissen Berlin Prize in History Foundations & Tom Schlafly, Volker Schlöndorff, Harald
Mary Ellen von der Heyden Berlin Prize in Fiction Schmid, Pamela & Philipp Scholz, Monika
Holtzbrinck Berlin Prize Sprüth, The Fritz Stern Fund of the Princeton
Dirk Ippen Berlin Prize FOUNDERS’ CIRCLE  $1 million and above Area Community Foundation, Maren &
Guna S. Mundheim Berlin Prize in the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation Joachim Strüngmann, Sycamore Tree Trust,
Visual Arts and the descendants of Hans and The Teagle Foundation, Hans Thümmel,
Airbus Group Distinguished Visitorship Ludmilla Arnhold Christian Tomuschat, John van Engen, Paul
Max Beckmann Distinguished Visitorship Ellen Maria Gorrissen Stiftung and the de- A. Volcker, Christine I. Wallich, Stanford
Marcus Bierich Distinguished Visitorship scendants of Hans and Ludmilla Arnhold Warshawsky, Sabine & Edwin Wiley, Pauline Yu
Lloyd Cutler Distinguished Visitorship
Marina Kellen French Distinguished CHAIRMAN’S CIRCLE  $100,000 and above
Visitorship for Persons with Outstanding Holtzbrinck Family, Nina & Lothar Corporations and Corporate
Accomplishment in the Cultural World von Maltzahn, Maren Otto Foundations
Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Visitorship
Stephen M. Kellen Distinguished Visitorship DIRECTOR’S CIRCLE  $25,000 and above
Kurt Viermetz Distinguished Visitorship Lester Crown, Werner Gegenbauer, PRESIDENT’S CIRCLE  $25,000 and above
Richard von Weizsäcker Distinguished Richard Karl Goeltz & Mary Ellen Johnson Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BASF SE,
Visitorship Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, Robert Bosch
TRUSTEES’ CIRCLE  $10,000 and above GmbH, Robert Bosch Stiftung, Cerberus
ANNUALLY FUNDED FELLOWSHIPS Gahl Hodges Burt, Hans-Michael & Almut Deutschland Beteiligungsberatung GmbH,
AND DISTINGUISHED VISITORSHIPS Giesen, Peter Jungen, Henry A. Kissinger, Cranemere GmbH, Daimler AG, Daimler-
Bosch Berlin Prize in Public Policy Wolfgang Malchow, Si & Dieter Rosenkranz, Fonds im Stifterverband für die Deutsche
Ellen Maria Gorrissen Berlin Prize Kurt F. Viermetz, Andreas Waldburg-Wolfegg Wissenschaft, Dussmann Stiftung & Co.
Anna-Maria Kellen Berlin Prize KgaA, GIESEN HEIDBRINK Partnerschaft
Berthold Leibinger Berlin Prize PATRONS  $2,500 and above von Rechtsanwälten, Goldman Sachs AG,
Inga Maren Otto Berlin Prize Robert Z. Aliber, Heinrich J. Barth, Volker Fritz Henkel Stiftung, Hewlett-Packard
in Music Composition Booten, Stephen B. & Ellen C. Burbank, Georg GmbH, Liberty Global B.V., Sal. Oppenheim-
Siemens Berlin Prize Graf zu Castell-Castell, Norma Drimmer, Stiftung im Stifterverband für die Deutsche
Axel Springer Berlin Prize Jutta von Falkenhausen & Thomas van Aubel, Wissenschaft, Pfizer Pharma GmbH, Porsche
Allianz Distinguished Visitorship Michael Geyer, Vartan & Clare R. Gregorian, AG, Susanna Dulkinys & Erik Spiekermann
Lily & Klaus Heiliger, Larry J. Hochberg, Erika & Edenspiekermann, Telefónica Deutschland
DISTINGUISHED VISITORSHIPS Jan Hummel, Renate Küchler, Jürgen Leibfried, Holding AG, White & Case LLP
Max Beckmann Distinguished Visitorship Regine Leibinger & Frank Barkow, Mehretu-
Gahl Hodges Burt, Betsy Z. & Edward E. Rankin Family, Carmen & Klaus Pohle, Jutta BENEFACTORS  Up to $25,000
Cohen, A. Michael & Mercedes Hoffman, & Hans-Joachim Pries, Ulrich Quack, Annette BMW AG, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals,
Dirk & Marlene Ippen, Michael Klein, & Heinrich von Rantzau, Thaddaeus Ropac, Deutsche Bundesbank, Deutsche Lufthansa AG,
Nina von Maltzahn, Achim Moeller, Bernhard Speyer, Katharina & Wolf Spieth, Dürr AG, Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. KGaA,
Hartley & Virginia Neel, Mr & Mrs Jeffrey Richard von Weizsäcker Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, GÖRG
A. Rosen, Mary Ellen von Schacky-Schultz Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten, GmbH,
& Bernd Schultz, Galerie Aurel Scheibler, FRIENDS  Up to $2,500 Hotel Adlon, Investitionsbank Berlin, Berthold
Clemens Vedder The Atlantic Philanthropies Director/Employee Leibinger Stiftung, MSD Sharp & Dohme
Marcus Bierich Distinguished Visitorship Designated Gift Fund, AvD e. V. with GAAC GmbH, Stiftung Erinnerung, Verantwortung
Robert Bierich, The Mallinckrodt Foundation and KAC e. V., Virginia W. Bergsten, Manfred und Zukunft
Bischoff, Bernd Bohse, Mark Evan Bonds,
20TH ANNIVERSARY Bernd Braun, Leopold Bill von Bredow,
The Mercedes T. Bass Charitable Diethart Breipohl, Eckhard Bremer, Irene We make every effort to be accurate in our
Corporation, Holtzbrinck Family, Bringmann, Emily Freeman Brown & Samuel list of donors. Please notify us of any errors
Jeane Freifrau von Oppenheim Adler, Caroline Bynum, Richard Cohen, in spelling or attribution.
by Gahl Hodges Burt and John C. Kornblum

There are certain words that come to mind when thinking Gary’s understanding of academia and his ability to put
about Gary Smith: chaotic, hectic, mad, brilliant, genius, scholars on a public stage for German and American edifi-
unashamed, big appetite, out of the box, multi-dimensional, cation and enjoyment was his real genius. He organized
and academic entrepreneur are a few that we immediately art gallery exhibitions, concerts, lectures, debates, and he
think of. Put all of that together and you come out with broadcast them through just about every form of media
a mixture of a personality that could only be ascribed to he could think of. Fairly soon, the American Academy in
Gary Smith. There is no other like him, and there most like- Berlin was quite well known, to the point where we were
ly never will be. both being solicited for information about the fellowships,
It has been our immense privilege to have spent the rather than the other way around, which was certainly
last twenty years with Gary. As he has grown, so have where we started.
we. From our first infant steps during the creation of the Gary can look at the landscape around institutions like
American Academy in Berlin, to today, the road has been ours and figure out what no one else is doing. Sometimes
bumpy but never uninteresting. There was no road map he comes up with the most outrageous plans you have
for the American Academy. Richard Holbrooke had an idea, ever heard of. More often, though, he comes up with an
but the idea needed to be nurtured and grown, which is angle that delivers something people are very much
exactly what Gary Smith did. wanting. And why is he able to deliver again and again?
How was this mad genius created? We are not sure. He Mainly because Gary is a collector of ideas and people. He
started out as an ordinary Texas boy, but he soon turned has the innate ability to connect the right person with
his love of reading into a study of German and, finally, of the right idea and with a big smile on his face, convince
the life of Walter Benjamin, which eventually brought him you that you should join him on this incredible journey
to Germany. Marrying Chana Schütz, and having three won- —and maybe even convince you to pay for it as well!
derful children with her, anchored him to Berlin. It was our Gary Smith has undoubtedly put the American
good fortune that at the birth of the American Academy Academy on the map. His ability to combine good ideas
Gary’s name was suggested. Richard Holbrooke and Gahl with hard work is unsurpassed. He tirelessly worked for
met Gary in the bar of the Carlyle Hotel so many years ago, us to find our place among other fine German-American
and from there, a beautiful partnership was forged. ­institutions. Our fellow trustees join us in thanking Gary,
in saluting Gary, and expressing our enormous appreci­
ation to him for giving us two decades of his life.
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