Which country has the most passionate culture
Literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki died at the age of 93. Only last year, on January 27, 2012, the Holocaust survivor gave the main speech at the memorial event in the German Bundestag. Several of the politicians present at the time paid tribute to the deceased shortly after his death became known.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "In him we are losing an incomparable friend of literature, but also of freedom and democracy. I will miss this passionate and brilliant man." Not even the murderous hatred of the Nazis could drive him out of his love for German poets. One can only be grateful that the son of a Jewish German-Polish family, who lost relatives in the Nazi extermination camps, found his home again in Germany and gave so much to the country.
Federal President Joachim Gauck also expressed his grief: "He, whom the Germans once drove from their midst and wanted to destroy, was great enough to open up new approaches to their culture for them after the barbarism." With Marcel Reich-Ranicki, "German literature is losing its most passionate champion and its most determined advocate".
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called Reich-Ranicki one of the most important greats in German literature. "Marcel Reich-Ranicki is a really great part of German literary criticism," said Westerwelle in Berlin. "His always clear language has enriched the debates in our country for many decades, his love for German literature inspired many people in our country. We Germans will never forget that as a young survivor of the Warsaw ghetto he never turned his back on Germany. "
The SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel praised Reich-Ranicki as a "sharp-eyed critic". He was "a brilliant literary mediator and a fascinating and multifaceted personality," explained Gabriel. "Germany is losing an important publicist and a great person. We will all miss him." The compassion belongs to the bereaved.
The SPD parliamentary group leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that Reich-Ranicki was an institution. "His death is a heavy and painful loss for cultural life in Germany." As a critic, publicist and writer, he had shaped the literary culture of the country for several decades like no other. "His biography was closely linked to the wrong turns and heights of German history in the 20th century." At the same time, he was a moral authority "who enjoyed deep respect and the highest recognition from everyone in Germany."
There were also expressions of grief from the media world. FAZ co-editor Frank Schirrmacher had made the death report public via Twitter. In another entry on the short message service, Schirrmacher wrote a little later:
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Entertainer Thomas Gottschalk highlighted the deceased as a personality who with her literary criticism "made a landscape that is gray for many people colorful". "He has done more for Germany than most cultural politicians. With his memoirs he has forgotten nothing, but has forgiven a lot."
Loss of one of the "most outstanding authors"
ZDF director Thomas Bellut said that Reich-Ranicki has always remained true to his motto "The clarity is the politeness of the critics". With his German, Polish and Jewish biography he was connected in "a very extraordinary way with the history and culture of our country". "The literary quartet was the most successful book show of all time, an ideal talk show with cult character. We owe a lot to Marcel-Reich-Ranicki and we will all miss him, "said Bellut.
The Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt (DVA) was also dismayed by the death. "With him the Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt loses one of its most outstanding authors. Even more important: The world of literature loses the most important and influential critic and mediator of literature after 1945," said publishing director Thomas Rathnow. "Like no other, Marcel Reich-Ranicki helped German-language post-war literature to gain wide attention with wit, sharpness and a sense of clear judgments." His decision to live in Germany after the persecution by the National Socialists was "an extraordinary gift".
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