Praise, Every Day:

From the In-Box of the Blog Editorial

Luckily, this blog receives anti-Semitic comments only rarely. When the case arises, we, the moderators, ask ourselves – as we do with all comments – whether we should publish them and make them visible for others, or not? Should we post this type of aggressive nonsense for the sake of transparency and documentation, and reveal the statements a Jewish museum has to deal with? Should we perhaps even reply to them and invalidate the commentator’s ‘arguments,’ if he or she has any? Or would we be offering anti-Semites an unwarranted platform? So far, we have opted against publishing the type of comment which reproduces age-old theories of world conspiracy. Such delusions are far too widely proliferated already, and we neither want to spread them further nor compel our readers to take them seriously on the Jewish Museum’s blog.

An individual in front of a computer spreading comments

Blog editor at work

Much more often, the blog’s inbox contains a chorus of praise: “Thanks for the wise analysis,” one reader tells us, or, an even more enthusiastic writer: “Super-Duper website! I am loving it!! Will come back again.”

Some are positively ecstatic:  continue reading


Hot Tears of Ice

A cold wind blows tiles off of roofs and hats off of heads. The first pages of Robert Schindel’s new novel Der Kalte (The Cold One), read here by the author, are stormy. The Austrian novelist, poet and essayist born in 1944 already won over his readers with his persuasive images and poetic language in Gebürtig (Born-Where), published in 1992. Here too, the atmospheric beginning is reminiscent of the first line of the expressionist poem “Weltende” (End of the World): “From bourgeois’ pointed heads their bowlers flew, the whole atmosphere’s like full of cry” (Jakob van Hoddis).

An expressionistic painting of an apocalyptic landscape

Apocalyptic Landscape by Ludwig Meidner, 1913
© Ludwig Meidner-Archive, Jewish Museum Frankfurt-am-Main

Yet in the first scene of Schindel’s novel a world unfolds: Vienna of the Waldheim affair, from 1985 to 1989. During the 1986 Austrian election campaign, a debate ignited around the conservative candidate, Kurt Waldheim, who was indicted for war crimes. In his autobiography, he had concealed his time as a Wehrmacht-officer. Represented in the novel by the figure Johann Wais, he professes “that he had done nothing that one hundred thousand other Austrians had not done, too.” This is precisely why he functions “as an involuntary clarifying machine.”  continue reading