Jakov Lind

These days there seems to be an emergence of germanophilia, and apologists for the marauding Teutonic tribes which became modern Germany pop up everywhere, especially in intellectual circles. Timothy Garton Ash, following his recent piece in The New York Review Of Books in praise of German culture, is the most obvious example. What Garton Ash and others refuse to confront and consider is the politically incorrect possibility that far from being an aberration, Nazi-ism equally might be construed to be a logical and ongoing manifestation of the German psyche. The Pope was a young Nazi, and the "education for death" he received is not something to be swept under the proverbial carpet and forgotten, anymore than Gunter Grass's finally admitting (and making money from - cf. his piece in The New Yorker) his commitment to the Waffen SS. When in London in 1965, Jakov Lind told me that Grass was once a member of the Nazi party, and I repeated this information over the past forty years to a number of people who were, every one of them, incredulous, and refused to believe me, I had no recourse to any facts other than Jakov's word. Now that Jakov is with us only in spirit, Grass goes so far in The New Yorker piece to claim friendship with Lind! Hypocrisy is not a strong enough word.

The politically correct "good German" syndrome rears its head in the recent well-crafted and well-acted film, THE LIVES OF OTHERS. Clearly a fine piece of movie-making, but (although better paced - i.e. - a film, really, is made in the editing room), not nearly on the same level of imaginative achievment and political toughness as PAN'S LABYRINTH. LIVES was both ingenious and sentimental in the same way SCHINDLER'S LIST was, so of course it garnered the Academy Award for best foreign film. As Jean-Luc Godard has commented, Speilberg wants "to please before finding truth or knowledge" and this arrogance - his "reconstructing Auschwitz" was, to Godard, a kind of pornography, deeply authoritarian, as, for example, Resnais' NIGHT & FOG, or Andrej Munk's PASSENGER, were clearly not.