Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Interview on German TV

If you have missed yesterday’s Kulturzeit programme on 3sat, you can watch the short item (including an interview) they did on my new book, Die Schatten der Vergangenheit sind noch lang, HERE.


I want some EU money too

The Vatican has recently announced that new LED lights are to be installed in the Sistine Chapel. There are benefits all round: the new lights will produce less heat than traditional light bulbs so that it will be possible to better illuminate the chapel and we will all get a better view of the magnificent art. The Vatican will save on its air-conditioning bill because of the reduced heat. Moreover, the LED is cheaper and the Vatican will save 60% of the lighting costs.

Installing the new system will cost 1.9 million Euro and here’s the rub: for some reason the wise men in Brussels have decided to subsidise the (non-member and cash rich) Vatican with €870,000 EU money for this project.

Bringing in hell, as in what-the-hell, is unlikely to shock the Vatican. They are used to more exciting sins than an occasional mentioning of hell. Not even what-the-f*** will cause a stir. 

Could the explanation be the granting of an umbrella absolution to the corrupt apparatus of the European Union? But the Vatican, I imagine, would have charged more than 870,000 Euros for that service.

Or are EU officials just like the girl-who-can’t say-no? You apply for a grant and get one. In that case, how about one for me? 

Monday, 11 November 2013

Shock counter Shock

I like the idea of Germany granting asylum to Snowden.

But they won't.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

The Joys of Facebook

Facebook is not only about people showing off their own or their children's bodies. 

Yesterday, a Facebook “friend” of mine, informed his “friends” that he would be going to an event at a kneipe, a sort of a pub, in the NeuKölln district of Berlin. The thing is - I hardly know the chap, my Facebook friend - and he would not have emailed me or phoned me to alert me to the fact that he was going to that specific event. But, it sounded interesting and I went there too. 

And it was worth it, despite the fact that I came out after two hours smelling of ten thousand cigarettes. They were all at it, rolling one cigarette after the other and it was just pure boring tobacco. Evidently the laws about smoking in public spaces are not very strictly adhered to. 

It was a sort of a talk-show, in which Peter Wensierski, an interesting and charismatic Spiegel journalist, spoke about the years in which he reported from the former DDR (East Germany). 

Things I heard at dinners in Germany

A man I just met at a dinner party told me that half of Berlin’s real estate was now in Jewish hands. I tried to suggest that this was somewhat exaggerated but he was certain of it. Since unification, he told me, they have bought packages of tens of thousands of flats in the city.

“I have no problem with it”, he hastened to add, fearing that I might think him an anti-Semite. “On the contrary, they are clever, they have a good nose for it”, he explained and “I try to follow the market to also do a deal now and then and it is useful to know what they are doing.”

Different party – different people, similar sentiment: a German academic in her forties, who has spent a couple of years in the USA, told me that Jewish academics look after each other. I questioned her statement and she was “certain” that if a Jewish researcher has his or her grant cut, his Jewish friends will help him out for a while, out of their own budgets, until things are sorted. “No”, she said “not forever, but for a year or two.”

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Die Schatten der Vergangenheit sind noch lang

The new book, Die Schatten der Vergangenheit sind noch lang: Junge Juden über ihr Leben in Deutschland,  is due out later this month.

First reading events:

Berlin - 26 November

Bonn - 28 November

Freiburg - 3 December