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Book Briefs: September 2013

Bloodlands wins Hannah Arendt Prize Timothy Snyder has been awarded the prestigious Hannah-Arendt-Preis für Politisches Denken for 2013. The €7,500 prize is for his book, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, a history of the Nazi and Soviet mass murders that occurred on the lands between Berlin and Moscow. The book has been translated into 23 […]

The Fifth Column: September 2013

The Fifth Column: September 2013

Now it Can be Told Margaret Thatcher is safely in another place now, but only a sour-puss would deny the late British prime minister made an impression on everyone she met, one way or another. Austria’s then Chancellor Franz Vranitzky found himself in Moscow in 1988 to broach the delicate issue of whether or not Austria […]

Love in the Time of Globalisation

Love in the Time of Globalisation

A woman irons a shirt, telling the camera: “The Austrian Republic dictates how much money I must earn – €1,187 – so my husband can get his residence permit back.” She then tells us the staggering amount of clothes she must press this month to meet this quota. And many are far worse off in […]

Pedestrians Beware!

Pedestrians Beware!

Everyone interested in Vienna should stroll along Fleischmarkt and Griechengasse; rarely is so much history concentrated into just 400 metres. From the Babenbergs to Billy Wilder this short walk takes a long view into the city’s colourful past.   Kornhäusel and coffee Fleischmarkt is an ancient street first documented in 1220. The name recalls the […]

Book Review: Voices in Exile

Book Review: Voices in Exile

“By banning Jewish composers, Hitler’s Reich amputated an essential limb from the body of German cultural continuity,” writes Michael Haas in his groundbreaking book on Jewish musicians persecuted by the Third Reich, entitled Forbidden Music: The Jewish Composers Banned by the Nazis, published by Yale University Press in April. The former producer of Decca’s ‘Entartete […]

The Lighter Side of Wine

The Lighter Side of Wine

As we sweat through a blazing Vienna summer, I thought it pertinent to raise one of the hottest topics in wine at the moment, the “heat” or level of alcohol, in the wine. Obviously, wine wouldn’t be wine without the alcohol, and the buzz it delivers is part of the pleasure. But alcohol levels have […]

A Goy at the Gala

A Goy at the Gala

“Do you speak German?” asked a lady in her 40s, to my left. I hadn’t said much. I had accepted an invitation to the jubilee gala of Hashomer Hatzair at the Rathaus’ lavishly decorated Festsaal – a Jewish youth organisation I knew literally nothing about. Hebrew for ‘youth guardian’, it was, I learned, a Zionist-socialist […]

Warsaw, Still Rising

Warsaw, Still Rising

In downtown Warsaw, imposing, sleekly designed towers dot the skyline. Glass and steel towers have sprouted near the Palace of Culture and Science. A sign plastered to a skyscraper in progress, which wouldn’t look out of place in midtown Manhattan, identifies future “cosmopolitan apartments”.  Since we were last here, Warsaw has become exhilaratingly urban, at […]

Gallery Run: Getting Grafik

Gallery Run: Getting Grafik

The Künstlerhaus announced its third “Monat der Grafik” this past April, triggering a series of exhibitions across Vienna. While some came and went quickly, a few are still up and well worth a visit. Grafik is a broad term covering a lot of territory. What emerged from my quest was a definition that goes way […]

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