Ausgabe 6/2002

English Summaries

"The Suppressed Tragedy"

Cover story: It was probably the greatest ever maritime disaster, worse even than the sinking of the Titanic. Shortly before the end of the Second World War, a Soviet submarine sank the German refugee ship "Wilhelm Gustloff". Some 9000 people lost their lives, most of them women and children. The Titanic was a testimony of the hubris of a civilisation that worshipped technology and thought it could conquer nature. The Gustloff, on the other hand, was the symbol of the German hubris, the dream of a greater German empire that ended in a nightmare. It was Adolf Hitler's Titanic.

"No One Wanted to Hear about It"

Authors: In his new novella, "Im Krebsgang", Günter Grass tells of the thousands who died in the sinking of the refugee ship "Wilhelm Gustloff" in 1945 - and provides a gripping description of an issue that has been avoided by German literature: the bloody history of the expulsion from the Germany's eastern territories. Grass not only tells the story of the greatest maritime disaster of all time, but compellingly describes both the history and the effects of this all-German taboo - not least of all on himself.

Deutsche Bank: Power struggle over Germany's largest bank.

"The 500-Pound Gorilla"

SPIEGEL in-depth interview with historian Paul Kennedy on America's unrivalled role as a world superpower, terrorist challenges and the insignificance of the Europeans:

"If America is able to maintain its lead in terms of productivity, I don't see why it shouldn't remain the number one. But if China manages to achieve an economic growth of eight to ten percent over the next 30 years, the People's Republic will advance to become an important player in world politics. … It takes a good deal of imagination to picture a politically unified Europe adopting a key role in world politics also in military terms - one which is more than just a trade and economic bloc. … If conflicts should erupt in the Balkans or Mediterranean countries, the USA will always give preference to a Nato combat mission. To some extent because it's in command anyway, and to some extent because this means that the burden of the mission can be shared. … If multinational institutions and sentiments can serve American interests, then multilateralism is very convenient. It may well be that the Bush administration sees the world in a new light after the events of September 11, but anyone who thinks that the United States is therefore going to stop going solo, is likely to be on the wrong track."

"It's a Matter of My People"

Middle East: The humiliation of Yasir Arafat is increasingly putting pressure on Arab leaders too. After weeks of estrangement, Egyptian head of state Hosni Mubarak is trying to put together a new rescue package for the Palestinian president. Mubarak is plagued by the same dilemma as the Israelis: there is no lack of criticism against the constantly hesitating and manoeuvring Arafat. And there is something refreshing about the vision of a new beginning with a new Palestinian leader, not only for Israel and the United States, but for many an Arab leader too. But conversely, Arafat's popularity has increased rather than decreased in the light of the growing pressure of the past weeks.

"Just Sailing Around"

Djibouti: German soldiers are going into action in the Gulf of Aden, against terrorism - and frustration. For six months, up to 1400 German marines will be ploughing the seas around the Horn of Africa; only interrupted by the occasional outing on shore. But there is a general lack of clarity as to what concrete form the mission is to take.

"Everyone's Going to Be Richer"

SPIEGEL in-depth interview with statistician and environmental optimist Bjørn Lomborg, on the rise in world-wide affluence, the recovery of the environment and the apocalyptic scenarios of the conservationists:

"The situation is improving all the time and in every respect, both for the environment and for mankind. … Good news doesn't fit the agenda of many people. For a long time, environmental activists have trumpeted out an abundance of incorrect facts. And this nonsense was then repeated again and again - until society believed it was true. … The number of people starving in developing countries has dropped over the past 30 years, from 35 percent to 18 percent, and by the year 2030, it will reach 6 percent. … Democracies generate more affluence and at the same time ensure the fair distribution of that wealth, which is why this form of government is on the increase world-wide."

"Planet of Good People"

War crimes: Almost 1200 people are working at the United Nations tribunal in The Hague to ensure that tyrants are at last brought to justice - making it something like a test bed for a better world. Next week the trial of Slobodan Milosevic begins, and then we will see how much their work really has been worth.

"Operation Sweetie"

Secret services: Thanks to her love for a border guard, a young woman from West Berlin got caught up between the Cold War fronts. The secret services of East Germany, West Germany, France and the Soviet Union all investigated the putative spy. Now she is fighting to re-establish her lost honour. Ariane Damerow was viewed as a possible Western spy and even her most private habits were closely scrutinised. She was also treated as a "prospective cadre" (in the jargon of the Stasi) for potential recruitment as an East German spy in the long run. Since no one trusted anyone else in no-man's-land, the West German intelligence authorities, the French secret service and finally even the Soviet KGB all took a closer look at the enigmatic woman with the vigorous East German contacts. As a result of this, the Cold War is still not over for Ariane Damerow today: her personal details are stored in the intelligence service computers of the Eastern bloc, known as SOUD - in a file entitled "agents".

"Fear in the Laboratory"

Racism: In January, a visiting Chinese professor of mathematics and a Russian botanist were attacked and beaten up in Jena. Before this, two Russian mathematicians and an Egyptian professor had also become victims of xenophobia. And attacks on scientists of foreign nationality or different skin-colour have also been reported from Berlin, Halle, Leipzig and Frankfurt an der Oder. Do right-wing radicals pose a threat to East Germany as a place for pursuing science? Following last week's attacks. 5000 people took to the streets of Jena to demonstrate against violence and for more internationality in their city.

"A Kingdom of Allotment Gardeners"

Archaeology: An exhibition in Bonn presents the Hittites as an ancient superpower. However the artefacts themselves suggest a more modest appraisal. Weighty words have attracted visitors; yet although the Anatolian heartland briefly became a dangerous military force in the 13th century before Christ, the ancient Anatolians seem more like a nation of allotment gardeners when you compare them with Babylon and Egypt. Ultimately, the most exciting thing about the Hittites is their end - for one thing because according to Homer, Troy was stormed by 100,000 Greeks and set on fire at almost exactly the same time as the Palace of Hattusa was brought down.

"Tricky Whitewashing"

Art quarrel: An Amsterdam exhibition is showing van Gogh's fifth sunflower composition and provoking a new row over the authenticity of the famous painting. The flower arrangement was, for short time, the world's most expensive picture. And it was not until 1997 that grave doubts began to arise about the work. At the time, a British art critic suggested that the quality was below Gogh's usual level, and that the painting was in fact a forgery from the studio of Gauguin's pal Emile Schuffenecker. But there is no mention of this in the catalogue of the Amsterdam exhibition.

"Politics as a Sort of Slapstick"

Scandals: A miracle man is breaking his own spell - party founder Ronald Schill is in the headlines more with his excursions into nightlife than with successes in the fight against crime. In fact, it's not only the boss who is demystifying the party which claims to represent the righteous and upright, people who have had a raw deal and who have been overlooked for too long. With a system of favouritism and their airs and graces of greatness, with broken promises and an information policy ranging between chatting and chattering, the three senators of the Schill Party in Hamburg's local government are dismantling the image of a party that once stood up for honesty in the town hall and is now shirking all responsibility. Even within the party itself, there are fears that Schill, who won 19.4 percent of the votes in Hamburg straight off, drawing upon the fears of crime among ordinary people, could lose his grip on reality through his constant association with the "in-crowd" - and perhaps mix with people who will eventually know too much, and talk too much.


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