Of History and Dung

Posted on April 3, 2018

Germans managed to kill my father-in-law’s brother in German concentration camp Stutthof near Gdansk, but not him. He survived because he had trained to participate in the 1940 Olympics in Amsterdam in athletics.  He survived because Focke Wulf airplane factory nearby kept prisoners a bit more alive in order to supply slave labor.  When Russians approached at the end of WWII, he had to disappear before the Red Army came. Had Russians found him, they would have sent him to the Gulag. The reason would be the same as for Germans.  He belonged to the most popular Polish clandestine resistance, the Home Army (Armia Krajowa).  This affiliation did not amuse the Russians, who wanted to populate Poland with quite different brand of Poles, namely the ex-communists processed by the Soviet secret police, who knew who is in charge and what to think after each twist and turn of Stalin’s finger.

When I stumbled upon Germans, some of them were mostly academic and unarmed intellectuals and some of them were the mobile anti-riot policemen and women who fought the green-red leftist students on the streets of Frankfurt am Main in 1981, when I served my time as a post-doc of Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. My academic ecology, the Jurgen Habermases, the Joshka Fischers, or the Axel Honneths, were trumped by Christian Goldenboog, a DDR refugee, whom I met in an editorial office of “Filmfaust”, a critical film periodical edited by a sister of Alexander Kluge in Frankfurt’s Bermuda triangle between the Goethe University, Suhrkamp Verlag and the Old New Opera. We became friends long before Facebook made it easy. Christian went on to write on the Darwinian theory of evolution, on the new generation of French champagne producers and finally on the wisdom of the cow dung. Real manure. Natural shit. He wrote on the bio-dynamic agriculture dreamt about by the post-anthroposophic utopians in the vicinity of Frankfurt am Main. Will this DDR implant in the Bundesbody of the post-WWII Germans redeem their Nazi past? Or will political correctness crush him in his Austrian exile near Vienna?

Haarlem/Poznan, April 3, 2018