February 11, 2004

The new German Normality

Recently, shortly before it went to print, Rowohlt, one of the leading German publishers, withdraw "Endstufe" (Final Step), a book based on a scenario taken from the secret porn industry of the Third Reich and cancelled the contract with author Thor Kunkel.

Since 2000, when his prize-awarded first work "Das Schwarzlicht-Terrarium" about the Frankfurt drug and disco milieu in the Seventies appeared, Kunkel is considered as somewhat of an up-and-coming talent in literary circles in Germany.

Rowohlt's managing director, Alexander Fest, stated that one of the reasons for the cancellation was the fact that publisher and author were not able to bridge dissimilarities about questions of "aesthetic and subject matters" in central parts of the book. The manuscript, to which the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung had gotten access, was not only filled with scenes of sex and brutality, but made questionable comparisons between the violence of the Allied armies in WWII and those of the Nazi crimes.

Kunkel came across the topic for "Endstufe" after watching a TV-documentary in 1991 that looked into the then unknown porn industry during the Third Reich. He eventually got copies of the so-called Sachsenwald films, which are reportedly filled with scenes of sex, power relations and violence. The plot runs around a group of Nazi scientists who produce porn films as a sideline, whilst being blissly unaware of the horrors of concentration camps or war, so to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

Kindler, a Rowohlt subsidiary, has recently cancelled "I too, had to kill" by the French who calls herself Nina Zamar, an alleged Mossad agent, because the evidence that it might be a fake had become overbearing.

On February 4, in an interview with the newspaper "Die Welt" , the author said that one of Fest's reasons for the rejection of the book was that he, Kunkel, stands for a "biologism, which sees the world as a result of carnal protoplasm", an accusation, Kunkel refutes because, so he reasons, the younger generation doesn't have such reservations about technology anymore. He, so the author, sees the positive aspects of biotechnology.
Let's be realistic: In the USA and England research similar to that the eugenic scientists of the Third Reich performed, is made. People Mendelize and perform experiments… Germany is a totally normal European country. I don't think we should be brought up as shame-faced, intellectual garden gnomes. We are democrats and Europeans... Endstufe is written in a very modern language. It's not a historical novel. Instead, you have the feeling that the Third Reich is just around the corner. We will have to face the thoughts and ideas of those days -- not in the political, but in the scientific field."
Last Monday, the leading German newsmagazine Der Spiegel published in its print- as well as in its online edition an article by Henryk M. Broder, who is well known for never shying away from a good brawl, headed "Steckrüben der Stalinisten" (The Stalinist's Turnips) with extensive quotes from the controversial book.
He [Kunkel] says, for example, about the Soviet soldiers approaching Berlin: "More than two and a half million semi-stiff and increasingly stiffer cocks are advancing the Reichshauptstadt like an arrow rain from a rabid Cupid... The Second World War ended with the largest sex crime in world history as a barbarian rape final, whose 'live' transmission to New York, London and Paris was just not possible for technical reasons... The German cunt, shaggy or shaved after delousing, is the only remnant of the Third Reich, which still counts. Without this much called-for payment in kind, the losers would have fared even worse."

Kunkel describes the sexual excesses of the Soldateska [gang of soldiers without any humane or ethical inhibitions] with badly covered gusto and specifically with a lot of imagination, when he reveals details that were, so far, rather unknown: "Some of the victims are forced to sing the Internationale while, irony of the fate, they get laid by soldiers of several nations." The Red Army soldiers bring along their "own microcosm" to Germany, "on the Stalinists' dirty turnips the stowaways are travelling and get out in the humid climate of a sore cunt. Soon a persistent, Asiatic version of the syphilis is rampant."

A little later, Kunkel lets his character Karl Fußmann reason at length why the US Americans are predisposed, "to come into our inheritance" to thus resume the work the Nazis had to interrupt, because they "got their current turned off": "The result of the genetic Gleichschaltung will be a milk coffee-coloured plebeian with flat nose and blond curly hair, the product of Zionist policy: White coal, after all. Exactly the right thing for heating purposes, because the Americanisation of the planet will be even more bloody and long-lasting than the Second World War."
To such sentences any presumption of innocence for theatrical prose [where the author projects thoughts or feelings on a character who expresses the same in a monologue for dramaturgical reasons] cannot apply. The subtext equals the plain text. Kunkel speaks of the "Americans", who bring "their foreign exchange like venereal diseases into healthy national economies", and he complains about the fact that the Germans, after the end of the Second World War, "were presented a hefty gas bill". Revisionism pure. The search for the lost porno films of the Nazis serves only as an alibi for his insufferable resentments.
One particular discussion with Kunkel remembers Schieder [the Rowohlt editor in charge of him] specifically well. He said: "What happened to the German women by the Allied, specifically the Russians, was the worst happening during the entire Second World War. She asked: "The worst? But the Jews... " Kunkel stated that death in the gas chamber was preferable to rape by Russians. Those who went through it had to deal with it for life, while the Jews were "spared" from this. Kunkel did not want to talk with the Spiegel about all that. But to the publisher he admitted quite freely that he is concerned about "a long overdue paradigm change in Germany". And like all of those who feel called to higher things, he is of the opinion that he is unfairly judged. "If I were an American author people in Germany would have said: What a bold plan of the spirit." Because he is, however, a German writer he will have to get his affirmation elsewhere. At the end of the dedications he demands: "Hey, you dogs from the thought police : Read and despair."

Last Friday, it became known that the Eichborn Verlag will publish Kunkel's "Endstufe". Hello, Eichborn editors! Read and despair!
Immediately after the appearance of Broder's article on Monday, Kunkel published an "open letter" to the Spiegel on his new publisher's website of which I quote a sentence, which has annoyed me particularly for reasons I will reveal later.
To clarify: as a German European with Polish and French roots, married to a Dutch woman whose father was a resistance fighter, I condemn the horrors of Nazi regime, just like any fellow human being with a mediocre intelligence. I am neither an Auschwitz denier, nor am I into any form of revanchism.
I left a brief note in their guestbook, saying something like "Was that really necessary?", or words to that effect. Literally minutes later, an email from Eichborn, namely a Ms. Nadine Krischker, arrived who commendably pointed me towards Kunkel's 'open letter' on Eichborn's website (which I had already read) and informed me furthermore that "the Eichborn Verlag desires a constructive discussion about the topics "Endstufe" covers. But we believe that this will be only possible, once the book is published."

I liked that!
Dear Ms. Krischker,

Who told you that I did NOT read the open letter?

In fact, it was that very embarrassment, which let me write my brief sentence in your guestbook.

"To clarify: as a German European with Polish and French roots, married to a Dutch woman whose father was a resistance fighter, I condemn the horrors of Nazi regime, just like any fellow human being with a mediocre intelligence. I am neither an Auschwitz denier, nor am I into any form of revanchism."

Resistance-fighter-status has never stood in the way of being an anti-Semite, Friedrich Goerdeler is just ONE (prominent) example and as far as I know, the Dohnanyi-family does still live in their 'aryanized' mansion in Berlin. (I may be wrong!)

Similarly has a 'Leftist ethos' or a non-German pedigree never immunized anybody against being an anti-Semite, or did it?

The only thing missing are Kunkel's "many Jewish friends" to dole out even the very LAST anti-Semitic cliché.

Isn't David Icke* looking for a German publisher? Surely his books, too, will kick off a desirable constructive discussion about the many topics they cover.

Best regards

* http://www.davidicke.com/
To be quite honest, my own father was what Kunkel, pompous old fart that he is, would call a "resistance fighter" but in our family nobody would have ever stooped as low as to abuse that fact as an inheritable certificate for always being on the right side.

Sure Kunkel has asked the girl before he became deeper involved with her: "Now this is crucial, darling! Before I take matters with you any further: Has your father been a resistance fighter or not? Just Yes or No!" And of course he is not just a profiteer from the insuppressable German desire for a "paradigm change" (read: a re-writing of history) to sell his lousy prose!

And of course it won't help to fill the coffers of the Eichborn Verlag, which is in the red since 2000, either.

Constructive discussion my behind!

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