Marc Adrian

Hermann Hendrich
Zu den literarischen arbeiten von Marc Adrian

Wenn wir uns den literarischen arbeiten von Adrian zuwenden, vielleicht ein schmales, aber komplett veröffentlichtes werk mit zwei büchern, einer reihe von kurzen texten, einem theaterstück in kooperation mit anderen [1] und einer bestechenden übersetzung aus dem amerikanischen, sollten wir auch daran denken, wie die offizielle geschichte der literatur, freilich auch der modernen, immer von ihren eingeprägten oder eingebildeten gipfelhöhen ausgeht, und in den häufigsten fällen den ursprünglichen breiten und personenreichen kreativen sumpf partout nicht erkennen will. Freilich sollen die werke für sich sprechen, aber wenn es keine laudatores gibt, diese arbeiten einem breiteren lesepublikum vorzustellen, bleiben sie in den bibliotheken und auf den ikea brettern einiger interessierten intellektuellen stehen.

Eine neue generation von angehenden künstlern, schriftstellern, dichtern, musikern , komponisten, architekten der geburtsjahrgänge um 1930, auch verbunden mit jungen vertretern der sich aus dem rassismus befreienden wissenschaft der völkerkunde, versammelten sich mit beginn der fünfziger jahre in kleinen und größeren gruppierungen; eines der wichtigsten sammelbecken für diese frauen und männer  war der art club in der Wiener innenstadt, der so genannte strohkoffer. Geteilt wurde die ablehnung gegen die an den faschismus angepasste kunsthaltung, es gab informationen über die kunstentwicklung der 30er jahre, die vorher völlig unterdrückt worden waren, und manche künstler und schriftsteller, die quasi untergetaucht überlebten, Gütersloh sei als beispiel genannt, konnten ihre erfahrungen an die junge generation weitergeben. Marc mit seinen 20 jahren sog alles neue in sich auf, und konnte es auch so ordnen, dass es ihm in seinem letztendlich ungebrochenen gestaltungswillen zu diensten kam. Wie er insbesondere den losen kreis der – wie er schreibt – interessierten (Achleitner, Artmann, Bayer, Contreras, Ferra, Kölz, Jelinek, Potzelberger, Wobik, Rühm, Wiener) an den problemen der dichtung, musik und der bildenden künste darstellt, ist aus heutiger sicht von enormen interesse, haben sich doch die künste alle seitdem in ihre eigenen vier wände zurückgezogen. Für diese damalige zeit gibt es zeugnisse von Okopenko, Rühm, und zuletzt von Oswald Wiener, (Zur ausstellung „10 optische Gestaltungen“ im Jänner 1960 in der Galerie junger Generation am Börseplatz lasen Wiener, Rühm und Bayer, und Wiener legte ein blatt mit äusserst interessanten bemerkungen über dieses thema vor, das leider bei uns allen, die an den veranstaltungen teilnahmen, nicht mehr auffindbar ist.

Was hat man sich damals vorgenommen: das schreiben aus dem empfundenen, dem illusionismus, der einladung zum nachverfolgen des schicksals irgendeiner im text beschriebenen person herauszuführen, wie immer geartete andere prinzipien der anordnung von sätzen und wörtern anzunehmen. 1957 beendet Marc die ‚theorie des methodischen inventionismus’, der unter der beteiligung der in seinem atelier in der Oberen Donaustraße häufig anwesenden künstlerkollegen leider erst 1980 in der edition neue texte veröffentlicht werden konnte. Die mit hilfe dieser schreibtechnik geschaffenen texte der jahre von 53 bis 60 sind eben unter dem titel ‚inventionen’ ebendort erschienen. Dazu gehört allerdings auch die haltung sprachliches als material anzusehen, das nicht von augenblicklichen eingebungen gestaltet wird, sondern von einem kalkül.

Freilich hat die mathematische grundlage des „inventionismus“ sowie sein studium der wahrnehmungspsychologie an der UNI Wien neue möglichkeiten für seine bildnerische arbeit und den präzisen schnittprogrammen für seine filme mit sich gebracht.

Mit diesem rüstzeug ausgestattet, zu dem noch die kenntnis der cut-up und montage technik dazu gekommen war, erarbeitete Adrian zwischen 1966 und 69 eine anzahl von kürzeren texten, die in lesungen in verschiedenen galerien von ihm vorgetragen wurden. Leider fanden sie erst wesentlich später zu einer Veröffentlichung, sodass ihre wirkung auf die leseabende beschränkt blieb.

Auf grund aller dieser überlegungen und weiterführenden gedanken war Marc von den in der mitte der 60er jahre beginnenden möglichkeiten des computers fasziniert, auch in seinem filmischen werk hatte er sich damit auseinandergesetzt, nun gab die bekanntschaft mit einem programmierer am IBM und dem ähnlich gesinnten Gottfried Schlemmer die möglichkeit, völlig neue gestaltungen für ein theaterstück, das SYSPOT genannt wurde, auszuprobieren. Für die bühne wurde das stück nur in einer aufführung vom ersten Wiener Lesetheaters erarbeitet, aber in den protokollen 1970 abgedruckt.

Die intensive beschäftigung mit dem werk von Kenneth Patchen, insbesondere dessen meisterwerk Sleepers Awake, das Marc für den März Verlag übersetzte, verschafften ihm noch weiterreichende gestaltungsmöglichkeit. Patchen hatte ja nicht nur die visuelle und konkrete poesie vorausgenommen, sondern auch spezielle techniken der montage entwickelt, viele jahre vor Konrad Bayer. Als ergebnis dieser vielschichtigen anregung dürfen wir die wunschpumpe als die große montagearbeit betrachten, die 1991 erschien.

Wie ich in der vergangenheit einigemale ausführen durfte, hat Adrian in den von ihm meisterlich beherrschten künstlerischen disziplinen sein großes kreatives potenzial einbringen können, und seine neuen gestaltungsmethoden auch weitergeben können, in Cambridge, USA; Hamburg, Stuttgart. Zu erwähnen ist auch, dass er mit seiner aktivität in literarischen, insbesondere in der GAAV,  kreisen eine kleine gruppe von dichterInnen  der nächsten generation, unter ihnen Loidl oder Katt befreunden konnte, die sich mit seinen schreibmethoden intensiv auseinandergesetzt hatten.

Als abschluss oder auftrag an uns, die wir kreativ tätig sind:

„wir wirklichkeitsmacher“

wirklichkeit kommt vom wirken, das heißt vom machen.
schon diese herkunft deutet die machbarkeit des wirklichen an.

KONVENTIONEN

wo man hinschaut!
was man
sieht, hört, fühlt,
schmeckt man.
wie lernt man?

man sieht etwas bekanntes und
riecht dazu etwas unbekanntes.

p.e. faules fleisch (bekannt?)
in spiritus (innovation!). (*)

später lernt man dann schnaps trinken
und die grundregeln der bodenpflege
und kennt dann also den spiritus
in- und auswendig.

man hat ihn

GELERNT.

(kombinatorik macht klüger –
oder, jedenfalls, erfahrener.)

all das gelernte zusammen heißt

WIRKLICHKEIT.

natürlich gibt es dabei wichtiges und unwichtiges.
was wichtig ist weiß

DER STAAT

und seine beauftragten. denn sonst gäbe es ja
keine möglichkeit zur

KOMMUNIKATION

und das friedliche zusammenleben der menschen
wäre sehr schwierig.

was wichtig ist, lernt man in der schule

(wo es einem hübsch eingebläut wird, damit
man auch ja die

RICHTIGE WIRKLICHKEIT

innekriegt.)

aber natürlich sind da die lehrer
oft in peinlicher verlegenheit.

(wo sollen sie so viel wirklichkeit
herkriegen, wie sie zum lehren
brauchen?)

daher hat der staat uns,

DIE KÜNSTLER.

wir sind spezialisten für kombinatorik und machen
soviel wirklichkeit, wie gebraucht wird.

aber natürlich wissen wir künstler das nicht
so genau wie der staat und seine beauftragten.
und daher machen wir manchmal auch wirklichkeiten
die man nicht so gut brauchen kann.

(dann schlägt uns der staat züchtig aufs maul.)

DIE WIRKLICHKEITEN

legt der staat in die lade und kramt sie raus,
wenn er dafür eine verwendung hat.

dann bezahlt er die künstler,
wenn sie nicht schon tot sind.

wien, aug. 12/69
(marc adrian)


(*) anmerkung: in diesem konkreten fall handelt es sich um ein konserviertes blutiges menschenhirn im einmachglas in der vitrine der prosektur.

Bezogene Veröffentlichungen:

Adrian. M 1980, vorbemerkung (© 1957) in „marc adrian inventionen“, edition neue texte, Linz 1980

Hendrich H., 1993, ‚Der mehrdimensionale Künstler Marc Adrian’ in BLIMP Filmmagazin, No. 24, Graz 1993, S. 20-21.

Okopenko A. 2000 ‚Die schwierigen Anfänge österreichischer Progressivliteratur nach 1945’ in Andreas Okopenko, Gesammelte Aufsätze, Band 1, Ritter Literatur, Klagenfurt & Wien, 2000, S. 13-38

Rühm G., 1980. nachwort in „marc adrian inventionen“, edition neue texte, Linz 1980

Wiener O., 2015. ‚Anfänge’ in: „Konrad Bayer,: Texte, Bilder, Sounds. Paul Zsolnay Verlag Wien 2015, S. 278-286

Umfassende Information:

marc adrian: Katalog der Neuen Galerie Graz, Hrsg.: Anna Artaker, Peter Weibel. Ritter Verlag Klagenfurt 2007

Marc Adrian: Das filmische Werk, Hrsg.:  Otto Mörth.
Sonderzahl Verlag Wien 1998

aus: IDIOME, Hefte für Neue Prosa Nr. 10.
© 2016 Hermann J. Hendrich

[1] Liste der Publikationen von Marc Adrian

das mammut. ein lehrstück. edition werkstatt breitenbrunn, Breitenbrunn 1969 und in Neues Forum Heft 247/248, Juli/August 1974, s. 30-33 und in: die maschinentexte, Gangan Verlag 1996

SYSPOT (mai – juli 1968)  Zus. mit G. Schlemmer & H. Wegscheider, in protokolle, ’70; Jugend & Volk, Wien 1970 S. 86-96 und in: die maschinentexte, Gangan Verlag 1996

poémes inventionistes, zusammen mit moucle blackout. Siebdrucke Format 295 x 315 mm, Spiralbindung, Hamburg 1972

marc adrian inventionen. nachwort gerhard rühm. edition neue texte © Marc Adrian 1980, ISBN 3-9000292-13-2

Kenneth Patchen: Schläfer erwacht. Aus dem Amerikanischen übersetzt von Marc Adrian, Originalausgabe: Sleepers Awake 1946, © März Verlag GmbH 1983, ISBN 3-88880-038-2

4 Stücke für John Cage, in Ganganbuch 5, Jahrbuch für zeitgenössische Literatur, Graz/Wien 1988, S. 12-15, ISBN 3-900530-09-2

DIE WUNSCHPUMPE. Eine Wiener Montage. © Gangan Verlag Graz-Wien-Sydney 1991, ISBN 3-900530-18-1 www.gangan.com/buecher/Adrian_Marc.shtml

scenario für herrn h. in Neues Forum Nr. 452/454, Wien, Juli 1991, S. 57-63 und in: die maschinentexte, Gangan Verlag 1996

bein ade! bade nie. in Linzer Notate Positionen, Blattwerk Linz/wien 1994, S.116-120 und in: die maschinentexte, Gangan Verlag 1996

die maschinentexte (E-Book, online). montagen, textsynthesen, computer generierte texte, permutationen (1966-69), © Marc Adrian & gangan books australia (Raw Cut 1996) www.gangan.com/ebooks/adrian/index.shtml

die maschinentexte (iBooks, download). montagen, textsynthesen, computer generierte texte, permutationen (1966-69), © Marc Adrian & gangan books australia (iBooks 2013) ISBN 978-3-900530-25-9 https://itunes.apple.com/at/book/die-maschinentexte/id777136916?l=en&mt=11

KENNETH PATCHEN und die amerikanische nachkriegsgesellschaft
© 1994 in STRUKTUREN ERZÄHLEN – DIE MODERNE DER TEXTE, Hrsg. Herbert J. Wimmer, edition praesens, Wien 1996, ISBN 3-901126-35-X. S. 33-53 ***

gegen das vergessen, © 2000 Marc Adrian in: fern schwarz
versammlung struktureller texte 1960 bis 2000. Academic Publishers/Graz, 2000, ISBN 3-901519-08-4, S. I bis VII

kurzer versuch einer stelllungnahme zu drei texten von hermann hendrich
© 2005 Marc Adrian in Gesammelte Texte; zehn, bergsommer und andere in Werkauswahl. Edition die Donau hinunter, Wien 2005, ISBN 3-901233-31-8, S. 9 – 20

Veröffentlichungen in der Zeitschrift Freibord:
schotter der erinnerung
in Nr. 20, 1980, S. 64-68
kindsbraut in Nr. 21, 1980, S. 16-18
filmrealität und textrealität
in Nr. 52/52, 1986, S. 7-26
beschreibung einer anwesenheit (Auszug 1966) in Nr. 57, 1987, S. 39-40
die wunschpumpe (Auszug) in Nr. 76, 1991, S. 7-41
frie der… in Nr. 91, 1995, S. 18

Manuskript-Faksimile in „marc adrian, Katalog zur Ausstellung in der Neuen Galerie Graz 2007“ Ritter Verlag Klagenfurt 2007, ISBN 978-3-85415-412-9

Diverse Manuskripte im Literaturarchiv der Österr. Nationalbibliothek

National Young Writers Festival

Gerald Ganglbauer
Australia Publishing My Way

National Young Writers Festival


I used to be an independent book publisher for ten years and also a print magazine publisher, and even though I do print and web design for a living these days, I am still publishing literature on the Internet – purely out of love for the written word. In my early twenties I was Austria’s youngest publisher and most of the emerging writers I first published are established authors today. Back then I was always running on sheer determination and Arts Council grants, however, I never cashed dole cheques as I never received unemployment benefits in my life, and only once I had to sell my Yamaha XT 500 bike to pay a printer’s bill.

From the 1970s on many new small publishers emerged to become professional players in the book market. I was one of them from 1984 to 1994, and had gained a reputation for hard hitting avant-garde. I even founded and managed a writers’ street festival in Graz, a city very much like Newcastle, from 1982 to 1986. Some say, indies is the only place where contemporary literature belongs. On the other hand, there is not just the small press out there today. The ‘old’ publishers like Penguin are often taking very young new names on board. Therefore, if you don’t produce crap, it’s only a matter of time to find the right match (just as in your love life), as long as you have enough passion, talent and patience.

When I asked Kylie Purr, the festival manager, what the audience would expect from our panel, she reckoned it could be some practical information of how to self publish. Where to get ISBNs and such hands-on stuff. My alarm bells rang: in all these years I would have never published my own book in print. If your heart goes to publishing rather than writing, learn the trade or ask people like myself for help (just don’t think computers do it all for you), start with your mates’ work, and leave your own material better in the drawer. It’s OK if you read it at events you organised or write in a (maga)zine you edit, but just don’t do your own books, ever. It’s damaging to your career.

With few exceptions, self published books lack editing, professionalism, get nowhere in the media, as no reviewer takes them seriously and never make it onto the shelves and from there to the readers anyway. Leave that to the experts without embarrassing yourself. You can’t be dancing on two parties at once. Take the long road and start with submissions to lit mags, and read your stuff at as many gigs as you can get. Make friends with a published writer, and ask if he or she could recommend your work. Also, when you read the books you like, talk to the people who made them, as these are the ones who would eventually take you on board as the right publisher for your own material. No point in ringing every publishing house listed in the Yellow Pages.

However, if you write non-fiction, know exactly who and where your target audience is (bypassing bookshops with your own distribution), can afford to invest at least the equivalent of a new car, are a quick learner how to market and promote your ‘product’, and are prepared to cooperate with (and pay for) graphic designers, typesetters, pre-press houses, printers and book binders, go for it as you would start any other business. If all works out, you should have earned your royalties and made a profit. But that’s not my way (and supposedly not yours).

So far I talked about paper books, what about new media? Well, a real book is still a book in print. No-one will download an e-book onto his or her PDA to take it to the loo to read. Not many would bother reading a longer text stored on a CD-ROM on a computer screen. Well, not the general public (unless it’s non-fiction, where the search functions can come in very handy). There are, of course, works conceived for multimedia only, but I assume we talk about traditional texts here, where e-books are a great marketing tool. Instead of hundreds of pages of expensive and environmental unfriendly paper you just send one URL to a potential publisher.

Editors, literary agents, film producers and the like also search the Net for new material. And, yes, you get the occasional nerd who prefers a (free) e-book to a paper book he or she has to borrow and copy or buy. In my opinion e-books are an important step towards the real thing, but have your material edited (or stress it’s not edited) and presented in a user-friendly format. Again, it might be better to have your e-books published with an established site, rather than on your own homepage, for they already have the traffic you will take years too create. Copyright issues with the electronic media have finally been sorted out, so in this regard there’s nothing to worry about any more but getting the written word out there.

This paper was presented at the National Young Writers Festival
Newcastle City Hall, 7 October 2002

See also: Evading the jaws of giants. Independent publishing in Austria.

Consciousness States and Literary Creativity

Hermann J. Hendrich

It is for this reason (representing the true character of objects) that I hold the somewhat unusual view that artists are neurologists, studying the brain with techniques that are unique to them and reaching interesting but unspecified conclusions about the organization of the brain. Semir Zeki in ((3), p 80).

Fluidum

Already in the late forties of the last century Andreas Okopenko, an Austrian poet and writer, started to take notes about a certain consciousness state, which he experienced often. Later he began to call this state ‚Fluidum‘, „… At this enthused discourse at an age of 16 I called this phenomenon this reactive feeling upon a selected reality, FLUIDUM, I don’t know why.“ ((2), p 20/21) His first publication about his self observations appeared in an Austrian literary magazine in 1977 (1), much later a version with more examples and some comments by the author himself can be found in the two volumes of his selected writings (2).

Okopenko tried very hard to give us a good description of his ‚fluidum‘ as well as some definitions, a few of those I am presenting in an English translation.

„But the essential cannot be found in these encirclements, which do not sensually exceed thoughts or feelings, but something similar elementary or irreducible as the experience of the five senses.“ ((2), p 28)

„An important component of the fluidum is the affected one. The feeling of a fluidum comes most often as a shock.“ ((2), p 31)

„The fluidum is unique and mirrors subjectively the uniqueness of the moment. It hits like lightning. It is in the moment when it is perceived. During a fluidum the constituents of the moment are being felt as a whole and not as a collection of particular elements. The fluidum is an integral for experience within a time differential.“ ((2), p 53/54)

It should be noted that Okopenko by his heritage and upbringing has been a person from the eastern part of Europe (Moldavia) transferred to Vienna in his early teens and so has had a scholling experience with a number of different languages.

„The experience (of a fluidum) is functional: recognising (perceiving, reflecting), but also always dynamic: as seizure <Anwandlung>, enlightenment, lightning. The whole of the concept ‚fluidum‘ is an indivisible complex of objective content and excitement.“ ((2), p 27)

„The fluidum is not being exhausted in the optical realm on one side, and on the other side much conscious scanning does not lead to any fluidic experiences.“ (2), p 25)

„The fluidum is also one of the phenomena of pre-language thinking which is sometimes put into disgrace by the philosophers. (Thinking in pictures – not anything unclear! And not in icons! – clear perceiving of relations between seen or sensual imagined objects; before the words appear for them. …)“ ((2), p 29)

„The experience of a fluidum has similarities with spontaneous or provoked states of enlightenment or mystical intimacy, without a faith however at the fluidum.“ ((2), p 31)

„The clear sight in its meta-wordly aspect is the ‚direct experience‘3 … and one day the flash of the highest insight, the clear, happens, and with it the sight of the true reality.“ ((2), p 35)

In order to differentiate his fluidum experiences from the Eastern world view Okopenko mentions:

„In my fluidum experience I wander … over the limits of the subject, this tragic bearer of ‚the always opposite one‘ (Rainer Maria Rilke); until the confluence of the subject into the world of objects: into the midst within, at the suspension of contrast…“ ((2), p 38)

In 1963 Andreas states:

„You are recognising that everything you tried to say remains incommunicable. It can not be said with all the painstaking images of reality. It clings to the images but has its own nature.“

If these last two sentences give way to a feeling, which overcomes (I believe) many of us in the writing business sometimes, Okopenko certainly points to the problem of communicating consciously experienced phenomena. Especially states of consciousness apart from any mood may be very difficult to describe in a way accessible for the laywoman or the student.

Noting the additionally provided examples of Okopenko’s own poems or prose lines I suggest that his truthful self-observations fall into two categories, one characterised by this spontaneous enlightenment, and the other by a certain revelation, a heightened awareness, especially in the direction of aesthetic experience, but also of nature poetry.

I would like to add some other descriptions about fluidum by Okopenko. „Fluidum is an emotional state with existential resonance, or before an infinite horizon, basically it could happen always, even to catch up to a given narrow feeling.“ ((2) p 53)

„Maybe a great calm and a feeling of clarity comes over us.“ ((2) p 53)

„The Fluidum is singular and subjectively mirrors the singularity of the moment. It hits. It is complete in the very moment it is experienced. The elements of the moment are being felt as a unit and not as a cluster of individual pieces. The fluidum is an experience integral in a time differential. Despite the uniqueness of a fluidum all of one’s own fluidi are similar to each other, and one’s own and strange fluidi are also similar to each other, since each unique moment is similar to another one, and each psyche resembles another one. Artistic, fluidic communication: one zest for life alarms the other one.“ ((2) p 53/54)

The important thesis by Okopenko regarding poetry can be formulated as follows: The fluidic state of an author (poet) supports the development of new ways to write and to form poems. He cites a number of poets like Ezra Pound, James Joyce and T.S. Eliot, whose poetic works show an influence from the fluidic consciousness states. Especially the imagism from Pound seems to hold much in favour of Okopenko’s thesis. He believes very strongly that in writing poetry one tries to communicate ones own fluidic experiences. I believe an example of one of his poems from 1950 should somewhat clarify his intentions: a partial translation follows.

Now the various depths are being separated
Now you don’t eat in the best way cut up flowers
They do have their own scent, not a good one,
Now you eat bread from last year’s harvest or drill sharply
Into a tin can and cut around
The first slice of a canned piece.
As fast as possible you harness yourself before the rest of the country coaches
Breathe the yellow shaft
Pant the song in the yellow brown stubble field
From pursuing gray under the spread out gray
And then the sky rushes down.
You can only see a few steps ahead
The earth receives an adverse play explosions
Fountains of upwards pelting rain bundles
And sloping downwards, broken
And overlapping circles everywhere all the time.
Soaked man,
Man of the threethousand steps!

(From ‚Zu Herbstbeginn‘ (at the beginning of fall) in Okopenko 1980.

In my view: there is still a story, and the poem is full of surrealist influences, but when we take these away there is a rest, which may correspond to the fluidic experience: a certain hold in individual time, a widened consciousness state, which is able to observe simultaneously many different events on more than one sensual plan.

Let’s take a few lines by T.S. Eliot:

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
The inner freedom from practical desire,
The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
By a grace of sence, a white light still and moving, Erhebung without motion, concentration
Without elimination, both a new world
And the old made explicit, understood
In the completion of its partial ecstasy,
The resolution of its partial horror.
Yet the enchainment of past and future
Woven in the weakness of the changing body,
Protects mankind from heaven and damnation
Which flesh cannot endure.
Time past and time future
Allows but a little consciousness,
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.

(T.S. Eliot 1963)

This part of a longer poem (Burnt Norton) really has the ‚fluidic‘ quality Okopenko tries to demonstrate in his essay. Despite some contents which lead us to later discussion in my paper.

Let me end with a poem in English by Samuel Beckett:

Da Tagte Es

redeem the surrogate goodbyes
the sheet astream in your hand
who have no more for the land
and the glass unmisted above your eyes

There is little to add. (Maybe no thing).
(Samuel Beckett 1961)

Synaesthesia

Some aspects in Okopenko’s description of his Fluidum lead to the discussion, if this consciousness state has some common elements with Fluidum. Usually synaesthetic experiences are defined as the production of mental sense impression relating to one sense by the stimulation of another sense.

‚A Review of Current Knowledge‘ has been written by Richard E. Cytowic in PSYCHE, 2 (10), July 1995. In his ABSTRACT he summarises very clearly all aspects, which are interesting to neurology and art & consciousness.

Under 2.8 he writes „…The spatial location of objects is also strikingly remembered, such as the precise location of kitchen utensils, furniture arrangements and floor plan, books on shelves, or text blocks in a specific book…“

A descriptive passage from Andreas Okopenko ((2), p 23): „Suddenly – be it spontaneously or provoked, a watercock becomes of enormous importance to us, which has been indifferently looked at before. Or a room appears in a moving-perspective to us and becomes exciting for us. Particularly the alienation (‚Verfremdung‘) does much for a fluidic movement in the presence.“

„A whole landscape including the smallish human beings, little houses, vehicles, their perspectives, flowers, closenesses, distances, their weather, fragments of conversation, manifest values and no values, their tragedy, their humour, youth, age, water, heat, wind, single movements constantly everywhere, embedded in the nearest and the farthest surrounding, sucking in prehistory until world future, in addition superpositioning with my own small and large history, my appetite, clothe status, health status, working plan, with hopes, resentments, sexual life, this fitted into the world and this observing one self that all may become enchanting in the simultaneous experience (and not in remembering it).“

This poetic recall of a fluidic experience seems to me to be the only overlap between Okopenko’s concept and the general acceptance of synaesthetic ones. In this regard I would like to point to Cytowic’s paragraph 3. ‚History Of Synaesthesia‘ as well as to Braddock’s paragraph ‚Synaesthesia: A Case Study in Phenomenology through Vicarious Experience‘ in (5) and to the section ‚Artists, Poets and Synaesthesia‘ by Ramachandran and Hubbard in (6).

Besides the point, that Okopenko mentions a number of poets, whom he suspects of having had ‚fluidic‘ experiences, and whose names we find again in the articles mentioned above there is little evidence, that ‚fluidum‘ could be really listed within the synaesthetic experiences.

The discussion about synaesthesia lead to very interesting speculations, which should be noted by writers and literary reviewers, as „Second, we propose the existence of a kind of sensory to motor synaesthesia, which may have played a pivotal role in the evolution of language.“ (Ramachandran and Hubbard in ‚Synaesthesia – A Window into Perception, Thought and Language‘ in (6)). A similar view on the evolution of language is expressed by Harry van der Hulst in Hulst 1999.

Reviewing the above mentioned sources I am declined to think, that the ‚fluidum‘ of Okopenko has very little connections with anything being discussed within the realm of synaesthesia. There is one point which should be mentioned, however. The literature points to a fact, that synaesthets within the group of poets, writers and artists in the wider sense of the word are unproportionally existing compared with a more general group.

I am no synaesthet: music recalls emotions in my mind, but no colours, and paintings are just paintings for me. Understanding the main feelings of a synaesthet I still do find a phenomenological problem within this area.

Maybe the sentence by G. Braddock in his ‚Beyond Reflection in Naturalized Phenomenology‘ (5) on page 13: „In short, our phenomenological verdict about synaesthesia and its role in normal perception will be directed by all of the above information, and, in fact by any other information that might push our account of the phenomena in one direction or another.“ Serves well to my ideas at this time in writing that ‚account‘.

It may be interesting to note, that the German term ‚Doppelbegabung‘, intended to describe artists creating original works in at least two different art provinces, like poetry and music, or painting and theatrical propositions, may only try to group persons as synaesthetics together.

To own this heightened awareness in perception in form and intensity of sound, colour, bodily movement or rhapsodic prose may have been sometimes an advantage for the individual, leaving it to achieve a carrier as shamane, sorceress, cave painter, rock scratcher, and later into the roles of bards and clowns. It can be summed up by two sentences of Robert Allott:

„The process of art production as a biological reality presents problems for a number of aspects of evolutionary theory (e.g. fitness, altruism, gene determination of behaviour, gene selection) which may best be solved by defining or amending the theories rather than by ejecting the art process from the realm of biology. If the arts are correctly treated as biological in origin and in the process of artistic creation, the issue that matters, on the the analysis in the preceding section, is not the node of transmission of cultural pattern (via hypothetical memes, culturgens, etc.) but the origination of the cultural patterns, artistic or cultural ‚creation‘.“ (Allott 2002)

Freeze

(An associative description)

After a short while travelling in the tram during the onsetting twilight the view from my wide open eyes remains sharply focussed in the direction of the fast passing building walls with windows, entrances, shops, and in between lying billboards. The passengers are perceived as precisely outlined shapes throughout the field of vision, especially, if one moves. Familiar faces are resolved into strange features. (The way of viewing, the representation of the surrounding objects must have been widened.) The written signs on the shop portals are being perceived as such, but the meaning of the agglomeration of letters cannot be recognised.

The colours and shapes on each poster appear extremely clear, but cannot be combined together into a picture. Mirrorlike glass surfaces surrounded by dark brown frame wood, the phenomena themselves start to win significance, and those concepts which regulate the representation of objects are not involved.

In a way Jennifer Church gives us some explanation wen she writes in her article ‚Seeing A’s and the Double Bind of Consciousness‘ (4) on page 99: „Central to aesthetic experience, but also to experience in general, is the phenomenon of ’seeing as‘. We see a painting as a landscape, we hear sequence of sounds as a melody, we see a wooden contraption as a boat, and we hear a comment as an insult.“

Back to my ‚inside‘ report:

No effort can be felt by keeping the look forward even throughout many minutes. After these minutes the visual attention widens itself over the total field of view, no difference between foreground and background can be made anymore, the movement of single elements against each other, the shifts and overpositions can be observed, without moving the direction of the view, all things happening simultaneously. During this time acoustic phenomena can be perceived as well, and in contrast to the visual experience the meaning of utterances, even when more then one persons speaks at the same time, can be understood.

Thinking in a certain respect has actually ceased, since stimuli or analogue chains are no more followed at all. The capacity of conscious perception is just large enough to accept the immensely large abundance of visual and auditory details. The progressive loss of significance leads one to indulge in a strong feeling of strangeness. The normal atmosphere of feelings and emotions vanishes. The self is no longer included in the reality around it.

Another citation from Church’s above mentioned article, page 103, following Kant’s insight: „although seeing seems to be a twoplace relation between the seer and the seen, and thinking appears to be a twoplace relation between the thinker, the object of thought, and what is thought about that object, conscious thinking also requires one to merge an object with the way it is presented. “ And later on page 105: „This is not to say, that all thinking must be accompanied by images; sometimes thinking amounts to little more than the syntactical manipulation of symbols.“

Without being able to compare my ‚freeze‘ experience with those of others I can only speculate, that there are certain ways to loosen the ‚double binding‘ in consciousness space.

Since introspection does not give me any hints, how I really manage to click on freeze, I must leave this consciousness state to further investigations.

It seems also, that Eastern meditative practices lead to a similar state.

Zazen, Zen

‚zen‘ is a translation of the Indian Sanskrit word for meditation. Meditation has been passed down as one of the three facets of Buddhist practice (i.e. morality, meditation and wisdom). It is the most essential of the practices taught by Sakyamuni Buddha who himself attained supreme enlightenment by single-mindedly penetrating zazen.

In his Fukan Zazengi (The Universal Promotion of the principles of Zazen). Dögen says, that the crux of zazen is „non-thinking; that is the essential of zazen.“ This non-thinking is impossible to explain. If it could be explained, then it would not be non-thinking. Non-thinking is just non-thinking and there is no other way for you to experience for yourself in zazen.

You can’t understand with your brain. If you practice zazen, on the other hand, you can experience satori unconsciously. The posture of zazen itself is satori. Satori is the return to the normal, original condition. It is the consciousness of the new-born baby. Unlike what many people think, satori is not some special state, but simply a return to the original condition. Through the practice of Zazen one becomes peacefully. Through one’s body one can discover the consciousness of satori. So posture is very important. You can’t discover satori with your head in your hands like Rodin’s thinker. That is why people in the East respect the posture of the Buddha. It is the highest posture of the human body. Chimpanzees and babies cannot experience satori. Babies are in their original condition, but then karma obscures it, and we must regain that condition. Chimpanzees don’t nee to; they are always in their original condition. Only human beings have lost it and become complicated and so they must regain it.

Zazen clears up the human being mind immediately and lets him dwell in his true essence. Zazen transcends both the unenlightened and the sage, rises above the dualism of delusion and enlightenment. Through zazen we break free from all things, forsake myriad relations, do nothing and stop the working of the six sense organs.

Awareness is the ontological ground of phenomenal appearance, which only have reality as manifestations of Nature.

From these diverse statements (Maybe one wants to look up ‚Lecture on Zen‘ by Alan Watts) it seems plausible, to compare ‚freeze‘ with Zen When we lose the name of an object do we lose the object too? Patches of colour, sounds without meaning remain.

Andreas Okopenko writes about ‚direktes Erkennen‘ and Satori and believes, that Haiku or Zenrin are very close to a fluidic kind of poetry.

Conclusion

Literary creativity is a wide area, where new imagery, new forms for poetry or prose or new philosophical thoughts or recombinations are tried out and performed. Throughout our writing history stimulations have been sought by poets and writers in general to wake up creativity. Heavy smoking seems to be the one most often used ancillary, but alcoholic fluids from beer to whisky served some as well. In the modern literary history the use of many kinds of substances with mind expanding or mind changing abilities have been in use.

So it lies near that specific consciousness states, reached without the intake of any chemical substance at all, could serve this purpose as well.

From the various descriptions of poets, especially in ‚Fluidum‘ by Andreas Okopenko, one receives the impression, however, that the fluidum or synaesthetic experiences serve indirect means for literary creativity. It is the impact of these experiences which the poet tries to describe or bring into a communicable form, using language. Okopenko points to the theory of writing zenrin and haiku.

The role of ‚fluidum‘ may be described by using some words of explanation, Okopenko has written (2) about a request, to explain one of his own poems:

Strange Night

Blue cold wind of May
Gasdischarged from moon brown clouds,
Bushy tree tops driving
Avenue chestnuts wood
No rain will arrive until now

Seltsame Nacht

Blaukalter Maiwind
aus mondbraunen Wolken gasend,
Buschende Baumspitzen treibende
Allee Kastanien Wald
Es will bis jetzt nicht Regen einlangen

(partial presentation)

„Fluidum is a feeling with existential resonance, in front of a unending horizon, basically always possible, to be catched up with a given narrow emotion……About a great silence and a feeling of clarity overcomes us.“

It seems to me, that writing in this sense means reliving those episodes of unusual consciousness states. Okopenko has, however, scanned modern literature for remains and suggestions about fluidic experiences, brought forward in writing. For details see (2).

Synaesthetic experiences lead to somewhat different examples, many of those cited in the mentioned literature. A large number of poets used metaphors including colour references, as well as painters like Wassilij Kandinsky (The yellow sound) worked from the synaesthetic experience of music and colour. We can state that synaesthetic poets and writers have an internal source for creativity in their poetic work.

‚Freeze‘ and Zen – may I combine my intentions here? – can also not be used for writing while you are in a freeze or enlightened. Remembering those consciousness states, however, should spur the strife of writing. Using my freeze experiences I tried to get into what I repeatedly described as an ‚hot point‘ within myself, finding there the opening lines of some of my emotional moving poems. Let me end with one of it:

Heart Your Shaking
As by asked for I had
Only one hand – gratified touch
Ask never what aggravated me
Entrusted to clarity


Literature

(1) protokolle No 2 (1977), Wien, Jugend und Volk
(2) Okopenko, Andreas 2000/2001, Gesammelte Aufsätze Vol I & II, Klagenfurt, Ritter
(3) JCS Vol 6 (1999) June/July
(4) JCS Vol 7 No 8-9 (2000)
(5) JCS Vol 8 No 11 (2001)
(6) JCS Vol 8 No 12 (2001)

References

Allott, Robert 2002, homepage
Artaud, Antonin 1965 Antonin Artaud Anthology San Francisco, City Lights Books
Beckett, Samuel 1961 Poems in English New York, Grove Press
Blackmore, Susan 1999 The Meme Machine Oxford, Oxford University Press
Cytowic, Richard E. 1995 Synesthesia: Phenomenology and Neuropsychology PSYCHE, 2(10), July 1995
Dennett, Daniel C. 1996 Kinds of Minds New York, BasicBooks
Eliot, T.S. 1963 Collected Poems 1909-1962 London, Faber & Faber
Greenfield, Susan A. 1995 Journey to the Centers of the Mind New York, W.H.Freeman &Company
Gregory Peter N. 1985 Tsung-Mi and the single word ‚awareness‘ (chih) in Philosophy East and West Vol 35 No 3 July
Hendrich, Hermann J. 1999 in der strassenbahn – über nichtlineare bewusstseinszustände Electronic Journal Literatur Primär, Wien 1999
Hobson, Allan J, 1999 Consciousness New York, W.H.Freeman and Company
Hulst, Harry van der 1999 So How did Language Emerge? Second fall Lecture Skidmore College
Joyce, James 1927 Pomes Penyeach Paris, Shakespeare & Co
Kandinsky, Wassily 1912 Über Bühnenkomposition in Der Blaue Reiter München, R. Piper & CO
Kandinsky, Wassily 1912 Der Gelbe Klang in Der Blaue Reiter (as above)
Kerouac, Jack 1961 Book of Dreams San Francisco, City Lights Books
Kerouac, Jack 1958 The Dharma Bums Penguin Books
Metzinger, Thomas 1995 ed. Conscious Experience Thorverton, Schöningh/Imprint Academic
Miller, Matt 2002 Jack Kerouac and the Satori Highway in Literary Traveler
Okopenko, Andreas 1980 Gesammelte Lyrik Wien, Jugend und Volk
Pinker, Steven 1997 How the Mind Works New York, W.W.Norton & Company
Pound, Ezra 1949 The Pisan Cantos London, Faber & Faber
Pound, Ezra 1934 ABC of Reading New York, New Directions
Priessnitz, Reinhard 1978 vierundvierzig gedichte Linz, edition neue texte
Scott, Alwyn 1995 Stairway to the Mind New York, Springer-Verlag
Wiener, Oswald 2000 Materialien zu meinem Buch VORSTELLUNGEN Ausschnitt 05, TU Wien, Wien 2000
Wilson, Edward O. 1998 Consilience New York, Alfred A. Knopf

Josef Haslinger

Jewish Vienna

 

To speak about the Jews of Vienna is for me to speak about an overwhelming helplessness. It means to speak about myself, too. I’m not Jewish, but Sigmund Freud was, and Arthur Schnitzler, and Gustav Mahler, and Otto Bauer, and Joseph Roth, and Arnold Schönberg, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Alexander Zemlinski, and Karl Kraus, and Theodor Herzl, and Alfred Adler, and Siegfried Marcus, and Jakob Wassermann, and Egon Friedell, and Hugo Sonnenschein, and Elias Canetti, and Hermann Broch, and Stefan Zweig, and Bruno Kreisky. These people and many others I could mention, have had a considerable influence on my thinking, on the way I perceive and on the way I live. And they all lived in Vienna as I do.

These are names you may be familiar with. I could also speak about my friend Ilse Aschner, who did not even know, that she was Jewish. But the Nazis told her, as so many others, who were made to Jews, because they had Jewish ancestors. Ilse managed to escape in the last minute. Her parents could not. To speak about the Jews of Vienna means to speak about Ilse Aschner’s parents, too, and about the nameless others, whom I didn’t get the chance to know personally, because they were killed before I was born. At the beginning of the century 200,000 Jews lived in Vienna. Nowadays there are only approximately 10,000 Jews.

To speak about the Jews of Vienna means to speak about millions of European Jews and their fate, which the Viennese Jews had to share. Was it really fate? Not really, neither was it an accident, nor was it an isolated event. It was a systematically prepared and deliberately organized and performed extermination of millions of men, women and children, based on a long European tradition of Christian and political anti-Semitism. To speak about the extermination of the European Jews means to speak about the exterminators, the perpetrators of a scenario that has been rehearsed intellectually and psychologically throughout centuries. There were variations, but the purpose was the same: the decimation of a distinguished European minority.

The history of the Jews of Vienna is not only part of Viennese history, it belongs to European history. The history of the European Jews, however, especially on the verge of catastrophe is specific to Viennese history.

At the end of the 12th century the first considerable influx of Jews to Vienna began. Shortly thereafter 16 Jews were killed by people who had the blessing of the Pope to murder them in the name of Jesus Christ. Following the burning of Johannnes Hus (1415) Duke Albrecht V ordered the complete expulsion of the Jews. The poorer ones had been abandoned on the Danube river. But 120 wealthier women and 92 men were burned outside the city wall. People cheered. We shouldn’t shake our heads. After all we have not found a way to stop this cheering on while others are killed.

The property of the Jews was confiscated by the Duke. The Synagogue was destroyed, its stones were used to build the University of Vienna. There is no sign of cultural greatness which is not at the same time a sign of barbarity, said Walter Benjamin. The history of the University of Vienna is a striking example of this notion.

We are told that the Jews came back to Vienna under the special protection of the Habsburgian emperors. But they didn’t come back. Other Jews came. There were many places in Europe, especially in eastern Europe, where pogroms against Jews were the order of the day. In 1649, after the rebellion of the Cossacks, an estimated 100,000 Jews were killed in the Ukraine. Some Jewish refugees came to Vienna, which seemed to be a relatively secure place at this time. But twenty years later about 500 Jewish families were expelled by the next generation of Viennese. The emperor was no longer able to protect them. Again this was not the end of Viennese Jewry. For financial reasons the emperor invited wealthier Jews to come back. Slowly a new Jewish immigration to Vienna began.

After the revolution of 1848 civil rights were extended to the Jews as well. Based on this achievement the Jewish immigration to Vienna especially from the eastern parts of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy increased and brought the largest contribution of Jewish people to the city of Vienna. Freud, Schnitzler, Kraus, Herzl are children of this wave of immigration. The Liberalism of the 1880ies which served as the impulse to the immense cultural and scientific prosperity in Vienna at the turn of the century, stems from the Jewish immigrant traders, entrepreneurs and businessmen.

At the same time the advanced form of anti-Semitism, its radicalism and its application as political demagoguery, was developed in Vienna. For Georg Schönerer, a radical anti-Semite, the Jews personified all the evils of the world. On March 3, 1888, he and his gang devastated the editor’s office of the Neues Wiener Tagblatt and rampaged the Jewish employees. Schönerer had to go to jail. He also lost his noble title. After he was released, 21 members of his fanatical nationalist party (Alldeutsche Partei) were elected into the Reichsrat, the Austrian Parliament.

My mother remembers Schönerer. She was a little girl, who grew up on a small farm in the northern part of Austria, not far from the Czechoslovakian border. The scenery is idyllic. Nowadays many artists settle there. Schönerer was the owner of the castle of Rosenau. He used to ride through the neighboring villages and give candies to the children. My mother still can’t believe that this friendly man should have been so malicious.

Another anti-Semite, who’s influence was much stronger than that of Schönerer, was Karl Lueger, the popular Mayor of Vienna. Because of his notorious anti-Semitism the Emperor Franz Joseph refused to support Lueger’s nomination as Mayor. But Lueger was reelected. Franz Joseph refused again. And Lueger was elected again. After the fifth election Franz Joseph saw no alternative to Lueger’s nomination.

Lueger was the creator of a rhetorically polished political demagoguery against Jews. He was something of a modern politician. He did not always believe, what he said. He agitated against the Jews because he realized that anti-Semitism was a widely accepted attitude. He had good private contacts with Jews and never rejected a dinner invitation in a wealthy Jewish house. Many Austrian tradesmen, small merchants and shopkeepers, victims of the modernization and industrialization, welcomed the simple explanation that Jews are responsible for their fate. The Jews were either the big capitalists or the Marxists. Of course there were wealthy Jewish businessmen and with one exeption the leaders of the Socialdemocrat Party, the so called Austromarxists, were Jewish as well. But there were also thousands of poor Jewish immigrants from the eastern parts of the empire, who did not fit the image of the crafty Jewish businessman or the radical Marxist. They were simply hated because they were different.

Lueger was a politician in a very modern sense. He practiced the politics of sentiments. His maxim was: Let’s increase the prejudices and fears if they are able to bring in the votes. For him political power justified any means. I, myself, don’t believe that Karl Lueger would have allowed the persecution of the Jews, but his political rhetoric contributed to it. Lueger was very successful in developing an excellent welfare system which served as an example for many European cities. Many of the financiers of this renewal of the city were Jews. Lueger said: I decide who is Jewish.

At this time in Vienna there lived a young unsuccessful painter, a mediocre student, a man who was not as popular as he would have liked to be. His name was Adolf Hitler. Hitler admired both Schönerer and Lueger. What he tried to do during the twenties, namely to combine Lueger’s anti-Semitic rhetoric with Schönerer’s deep hatred of the Jews, he unfortunately succeeded in doing during the thirties. Hitler claims in Mein Kampf that he learned his anti-Semitism in Vienna from both Schönerer and Lueger.

To speak about the Jews of Vienna means to speak of the persecutors, about millions of Germans and Austrians and some others who helped them practice the hitherto unthinkable. It means speaking about two generations who’s thinking was informed by this irresponsible political rhetoric, from which some are still not able to disentangle themselves. Im speaking about my parents‘ and grandparents‘ generations, I’m speaking about myself.

Let me tell you one strange experience. I grew up in a region without Jews but still with latent anti-Semitism. It was as if Schönerer still was riding through the villages, spreading his political poison by distributing candies among the children. There were no Jews, but my father told anti-Semitic jokes. I didn’t understand them, but I repeated them, because these were the jokes of the adults. On Sundays, after the catholic mass, the men crowded into the local inns. While the women at home were cooking, the men told heroic stories of the war. The old enemies were still the enemies and the old friends, the Nazi-Germans, were still the friends.

During this time my father listened attentively to these war stories. He seemed to regret that he was not able to tell his own heroic stories, because he had not been old enough to join the German Wehrmacht. He bought magazines about the heroic German army and saw movies about the war. He resented that most of them were produced by the Americans. He became an admirer of general Rommel and on Sunday mornings after mass, in the inn of the village, he began to speak about the war. And the others were astonished that he knew more heroic stories than they did.

There was another farmer, our neighbor, who never spoke about the war. But everyone knew he had participated on the eastern front between Poland and Stalingrad. When he was asked, he just said: There is nothing to tell. But once when he was drunk, he was asked again to tell about the war. Suddenly he began to cry. His lower lip trembling, he started to tell that he did not fight against soldiers. He shot civilians. His company burned down houses and he shot at the women who tried to escape with their children.

Although everyone was aware of this side of the Second World War, it was taboo to speak of the fact that the German Wehrmacht was involved in the National Socialist extermination program. You can imagine that his story did not bring him the highest respect.

I often thought back to this experience in the tavern. I realized later that my father, who suffered because he had been too young to participate in the war, could not take seriously the old man who suffered because he had participated in the war.

To speak about the Jews of Vienna means to speak about the extinction of a great culture. The British author George Clare who became famous for his internationally acclaimed novel Last Waltz in Vienna, was born in 1920 as a Viennese Jew. He first returned to Vienna 1945 as a soldier of the British Army. He observed that post-war Vienna has become very provincial.

To speak about the Jews of Vienna means to speak about a huge absence. I felt this even when I was studying in Vienna in the seventies. I did not study in the old University constructed of the stones from the Jewish Synagogue. Nevertheless I became aware that the newer university, the Ringstrassenbuilding, was still affected by the discrimination and expulsion of the Jewish scholars. This university where only decades ago several Nobel prize winners had worked, was now dominated by academic small talk and intrigue. Without its Jewish academics and scholars the University of Vienna lacked in critical intellect.

To speak about Jewish Vienna for me also means to speak about my rediscovery of Jewish Vienna in America. I would like to tell you of my appreciation of Egon Schwarz, whom I met in St. Louis, of Frederic Morton, whom I met in New York, of Hans Zeisel, whom I met in Chicago, of I.D.Spenser, whom I met in Hamilton, Ontario, of Lilli and John Kautsky, whom I met in St. Louis, and of Jakov Lind, whom I met in Oberlin.

Next year would be the 80th birthday of Jean Amery. He was born in Vienna in 1912 as Johann Mayer, the son of an impoverished family. His father died in the First World War. He studied History and Philosophy in Vienna. It was not important to him that he was half Jewish, but it became important to him in 1938. He emigrated to Belgium where he joined the resistance. While distributing leaflets he was arrested. He was tortured in prison. Since he didn’t release the names of his comrades he was deported first to Auschwitz, later to Buchenwald and finally to Bergen-Belsen, where he escaped execution, however. Although he survived the Holocaust, he became a late victim of the Holocaust. Throughout his life he could not come to terms with what happened to the European Jews, to him and to his family. He couldn’t stand the post-war forgetfulness of his fate. When you have been tortured, said Amery, you stay tortured your whole life long. The Holocaust had made him homeless. In 1978 Jean Amery came back to his native country, only to commit suicide.

I do hope that Germany and Austria have learned their historical lesson. With regard to Austria, however, the Waldheim affair shows that there is still a lot to learn. There are still too many people unaware of what they and their forefathers have done. The extermination of six million Jews and the killing of millions of others is a very high prize to pay for the democratization of such small countries as Germany and Austria. I feel optimistic that we are learning to accept our culpability and that we shall not forget what has happened.

If human rights, the dignity of every human being, are not the common sense of the overwhelming majority, the minorities live under a constant threat. And anyone can suddenly become part of a despised minority.

To think about the Jews of Vienna means to think about ourselves, about our achievements, about our capability for a successful coexistence with all these diverse cultures it means to think about our capabilities for peaceful solutions in the face of threats and conflicts. To think of the Jews of Vienna, after all, is to think of our future.