Thanks to Peter Bürger, the writings of my grandfather have been finally published. Peter did a great job in collecting all those articles – they show my grandfather as an engaged citizen and Catholic, who was very critical about the Adenauer regime and its attempts to supplant the horrible crimes that took place in Nazi Germany. I wish there would be an English translation, as those texts show a different post-war Germany … There is also no English translation for ‘Trauerarbeit’, but that is what he mainly did: reminding the Germans of their guilt, asking them to remember. Of course not many were ready for that. As filmmaker Christian Petzold once said, there is a big gap in German Cinema:
“The Germans had to have this ‘coming home’ story in 1945, but they didn’t make it. They don’t want to have a picture of themselves. Because they are guilty and because they don’t want to stand in front of their guiltiness. I think this is a scar, a wound, which goes through our film history through today. I think someone like Fassbinder, who started to make period pictures, in Fassbinder you can find the fascists in the contemporary movies, but then he starts to make period pictures, and he uses Douglas Sirk—also a German director, for example, who’s a refugee—to go back to this gap, this moment, where we don’t have the cinema. We had propaganda, and after we had propaganda again, and there’s a big gap.”
This gap is not only to be found in German Cinema. The collection of my grandfather’s writings can help fill that gap – just like Petzold’s latest movie did.
I’m sharing a photo that I love very much – my grandparents and me, shortly after my birth. He died in 1967. I would have loved to meet him ‘in person’, not just as an organism. Thanks to Peter Bürger, I now have the chance to learn more about the thoughts of this courageous man.