Saturday, January 03, 2009

Hitlermania in Linz? Computer says "no"

An article in today's Telegraph about this year's European City of Culture, Linz in Austria, is marred by yet another of the sensationalist headlines so beloved by what will henceforth be only referred to as "The 'Great' British Press" at this blog:
Adolf Hitler at the centre of Austria's City of Culture campaign
This, however, clearly misrepresents what is actually planned in Linz for 2009.

As the article itself reveals, Linz uses its special cultural status as an opportunity for a bit of what we Germans call fondly "Vergangenheitsbewältigtung." The city is not in the process of creating some kind of Hitler themepark (as the headline implies), but is facing up to the city's connection with Nazism: Linz, where Hitler spent nine years of his life, was his favourite city, though the great plans that he had for the city thankfully remained unfulfilled. What will be offered as a part of a much broader cultural programme are exhibitions, installations and historical walking tours to remind visitors of that past.

Sorry to disappoint -- if you wish to feed your Nazi-fetish, Linz might not be the place to go this year (and it's not because the computer says "no"). How about Bogalusa, LA.?

Anyway, this passage from the article has just been nominated journalistic clanger of the day:

Liverpool naturally highlighted its connections to the Beatles, its most famous sons, when it became City of Culture in 2008. But the Austrian city of Linz, with no lederhosen version of the Fab Four to exploit, has instead decided to showcase the works of the architect of the Third Reich.

People get paid for writing stuff like this! I'm amazed.

If you're interested in real information on the topic (because believe me, what they tell you Brits about Germany is a cartoon version of reality), here's a somewhat more balanced and interesting Deutsche Welle piece.

2 comments:

Kris said...

As an admirer of Frederick the Great and someone fascinated by Bismark, I do struggle sometimes at the Brits' seeming inability to see past Hitler.

Moreover, I remain amused that for all of the passion of the Cold War, they never really managed to 'pin' Marx on the Krauts as well.

Too much time in British Libraries to qualify as a real Jerry, perhaps?

The Wife said...

And just think of the royal family -- bloody Germans the lot of them.

Too much time shooting grouse and beating their dogs on the hunting grounds around Sandringham to qualify as real Jerries?