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Friday, December 30, 2005


My mind reeled with excitement and imagination when I passed local poet Tachibana Yasuzumi's improvised house on the bridge spanning over the Tennoji Zoo. Poems, polemics, free jazz schedules, event bulletins were posted on the outside of his house, a soul map of the city for all to consult. I knew that day the city alive with a bright fire.

Tachibana-san was beaten about a week and a half ago by a gang of twenty high school kids out looking for a 'bum' to punish. He fought his attackers and thankfully survived the confrontation. It is with fury and respect that I bring these poems to the world. Thanks are due to Emily for translating the second two poems.

Living outside: Summer

My bicycle cart listens to the rain sounds
Some muddled cardboard, a shut futon, blue rain
Has the passing shower become stronger? Raindrops on my face
The rain falls, my cardboard house melts
Sleeping on the earth, the rain falls, like a river
I've caught a cold, perhaps I'll just let myself die in this rain

Sleeping on the roadside, one by one my embarassments extinguish
Blessed, I no longer hold back
Hungry stomach, dazzling sun I guzzle down water
The long line for lunch In the blazing sun no one speaks
Lumps of lunch work down my stomach, I've eaten too much

Faces of those I know, gradually burnt in the sun
Faces of those I know gradually tired
Faces of those I know, gradually wrinkle deeper
Faces of those I know; the life thins out of them

Trash pride sweat piss the smell of human beings
In the midnight park we bath in the sunken, shooting water

Living outside under one starred sky
Living outside under one starred sky

(an excerpt from 'Living outside, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter')


I often do not go to work
I just gave that shit up
Yes, I'm living outside, so what?
This is me, alive!

Rummaging through the garbage, lining up for lunch
My stomach empty, always, anytime
Living outside, what of it
This is me, alive!

Anywhere is fine, a place to sleep
Find some cardboard, this is 'my dream house'
Living outside, so what!
This is me, alive!

Not a thought to my appearance
Being alive, that's the pay-off
Living outside, what of it
This is me, alive!

Lazy fuck

A lazy fuck is a lazy fuck.
He doesn't work and he's got no savings or anything,
So he doesn't go out and he can't treat himself.
He's got no family and lives alone;
City hall doesn't look after him and he lives in poverty.

A lazy fuck is a lazy fuck.
He's not like an ant, but he's certainly not like a
He doesn't work on behalf of a queen
Or fight any wars for the sake of 'defending society'.
In summer the lazy bastard doesn't dance around playing music
He seeks no help from others just because the 'winter has come'.

A lazy fuck is a lazy fuck.
He lives in places that other people hate
He eats the food that other people won't eat.
The rest of the time he just sits it out
He can't even flex his wasted muscles,
When an enemy approaches, he lies stock still and plays dead.

A lazy fuck is a lazy fuck.
He'll be a lazy fuck for ever.
He lives in places where nobody lives, under the pouring rain.
Steadfastly munching on leaves -
A lazy fuck is a lazy fuck
He'll never be anybody's cherished koala.


The idler
is always an idling idler.
The idler idles and so he is idle,
I guess there have been times when he wasn't idling
But that might be hard to believe.

He is told 'Waste not!,
but of course he wastes himself, idling.
I suppose the idler becomes idle while idling,
Once an idler, he idles.
A softly sleeping idler.

(Tachibana-san riding the wataribune river-crossing boats on the Ajigawa river)

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Are 500,000 Keys to Paradise Enough?: Germany "Confronts" Ahmadinejad
BY Matthias Küntzel

In pondering the behavior of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I cannot help but think of the 500,000 plastic keys that Iran imported from Taiwan during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88. At the time, an Iranian law laid down that children as young as 12 could be used to clear mine fields. Before every mission, a plastic key would be hung around each of the children’s necks. It was supposed to open for them the gates to paradise.

The “child-martyrs” belonged to the so-called “Basij” movement created by the Ayatollah Khomeini. The Basij Mostazafan – the “mobilization of the oppressed” – were volunteers of all ages that embraced death with religious enthusiasm. They provided the model for the first Hezbollah suicide bombers in Lebanon. To this day, they remain a kind of SA of the Islamic revolution. Sometimes they serve as a “vice squad”, monitoring public morals; sometimes they rage against the opposition – as in 1999, when they were used to break the student movement. At all times, they celebrate the cult of self sacrifice.

Ahmadinejad forms part of the first generation of Basiji militants and still today he is often to be seen wearing a Basiji uniform. He would like to bring about a renaissance of the Basiji culture of the 1980s – in order, among other things, to combat the burgeoning Western-oriented youth movement that has, for instance, given rise to some 700,000 weblogs in the last years. Thus Ahmadinejad made a personal appeal this year for Iranians to participate in the annual “Basiji Week” that took place in late November. According to a report in the newspaper Kayan, some 9 million Basiji heeded the call, “forming a human chain some 8,700 kilometers long in which President Ahmadinejad also took part. In Tehran alone, some 1,250,000 people were mobilized.” (Cited in Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, „Bassiji: die revolutionäre Miliz des Iran“, on MEMRI Deutschland.) Ahmadinejad used the occasion to praise the “Basij culture and the Basij power” with which “ Iran today makes its presence felt on the international and diplomatic level”. Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, Chair of the Guardian Council, went so far as to describe the very existence of Iran’s nuclear program as “a triumph of the young people who serve the Basij movement and possess the Basiji-psyche and Basiji-culture.” He added: “We need an army of 20 million Basiji. Such an army must be ready to live for God, to die along the way of God, and to conduct Jihad, in order to please God.”

Is the Iranian population being thus prepared for the announced nuclear war against Israel? Three years ago, the then Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani explained that a single atom bomb used against Israel “would leave nothing on the ground”, whereas the damage done by a possible retaliatory strike would be limited (source: MEMRI Special Dispatch, 3 January 2002). Even with a million dead, the Islamic world would survive, whereas Israel would be destroyed. Thus the logic of Rafsanjani’s argument. It is this murderous calculation – the sort of calculation that lies at the base of every suicide attack – that distinguishes the atomic ambitions of Iran from the interests of all existing nuclear powers.

If there is a western nation today that has the means to confront such madness with effective sanctions, it is Germany. For the last 25 years, the German government has offered its good offices to the anti-Semitic Mullahs in Tehran with a shamelessness unrivalled by any other western government. In 1984, Hans-Dietrich Genscher was the first western Foreign Minister to pay his respects to the Mullah regime. Ten years later, Germany’s federal intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), trained Iranian intelligence agents in Munich. (See Arthur Heinrich, “Zur Kritik des ‘kritischen Dialogs’”, Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik, May 1996.) And whereas since 1995 American firms are prohibited from trading with Iran, Germany will, in the words of Werner Schoeltzke of the German Near and Middle East Association, , “remain the preferred technology partner of Iran also in the years to come” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 5 December 2003).

Germany is today by far the most important supplier of goods to Iran and its exports are increasing at a steady 20% per year. In 2004, German exports to Iran were worth some €3.6 billion. At the same time, Germany is the most important purchaser of Iranian goods apart from oil and Iran’s most important creditor.

Since, however, Ahmadinejad provided the world with such a stark reminder of the ideological foundations of the Mullah-dictatorship – Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism, and the destruction of Israel – Berlin is in a tight spot. On the one hand, Berlin would not like to put in danger Germany’s special relationship with Tehran. On the other hand, it does not look particularly good when the country from which came the Holocaust practitioners now collaborates with the regime of the Holocaust deniers. On 11 December, Germany’s new deputy Chancellor, Franz Müntefering of the SPD, indicated the way out of this dilemma: “Berlin Demands a ‘Reaction’ to Ahmadinejad” ran the headline in the following day’s edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (12 December 2005). This sounded surprisingly forceful. But whoever read the small type quickly understood the actual meaning of the headline: “ Berlin demands a ‘reaction’ to Ahmadinejad from everyone else”. The deputy Chancellor was cited as follows: “We cannot do it alone. Rather this has to be frankly discussed in the framework of the European Community and it must in the clearest possible terms be discussed in the framework of the United Nations”.

Excuse me? Germany can do nothing on its own? Only the German government can abrogate the 2002 investment agreement between German and Iran. Only Berlin can terminate the “Hermes” export credit guarantees that offer Iran advantages beyond almost any other country. As a consequence of the “Hermes” guarantees, the German state takes over all the specific risks connected with exports to Iran. Already in 1992, exports to Iran enjoyed the second highest level of Hermes guarantees after only Russia, and since then their scope has been continually increased. To bring an end to the privileges that the Mullah-dictatorship thus enjoys is entirely possible, though evidently politically unwanted. Müntefering’s uncompromising rhetoric is just the musical accompaniment to “business as usual”. Thus whereas the German government speaks impressively at the EU summit of sending “a clear signal of the sharpest possible disapproval”, in the Bundestag it speaks sheepishly “of avoiding the isolation [of Iran]”.

And what of Germany’s “Left” opposition? Should we not assume that privileging the most elementary human rights over the interests of the big corporations would be a special concern of the “Greens” or the “the Left” alliance? Far from it. Apart from some few exceptions, the “Left” has not been prepared to allow the Holocaust denier from Tehran to deprive it of its conspiracy theories and rage against “BuSharon”. “If the Iranian President Ahmadinejad did not exist,” writes, for example, the Berlin-based “Green” daily Die Tageszeitung (taz), “the USA and Israel would have had to invent him” (15 December 2005). Ahmadinejad’s words are only to be taken seriously inasmuch as they “provide a welcome pretext for the USA and Israel.”

Thus, on 16 December 2005, all the parties represented in the German Bundestag united to pass a resolution – including not a single word about the German-Iranian special relationship – applauding the Müntefering line: “The German Bundestag welcomes that the German government has stood up to the remarks of the Iranian President.” Yes indeed: Bravo and many more such successes! Given the obvious solicitude for the requirements of German industry, it would not surprise me if Ahmadinejad ordered his next batch of plastic keys for his Basiji from Germany. But will 500,000 keys to paradise be enough for the war against Israel?

Translated from the German by Transatlantic Intelligencer

Sunday, December 11, 2005


The anti-Semitism of the 68ers
Philipp Gessler and Stefan Reinecke talk with Tilman Fichter about the bomb planted in Berlin's Jewish Community Centre in 1969

On November 9, 1969, on the anniversary of "Kristallnacht", over two hundred people were gathered in Berlin's Jewish Community Centre in commemoration of the victims of Nazi Germany. Unbeknownst to them, a member of the radical Left student movement "Tupamaros West Berlin" planted a bomb in the building. The device failed to explode because the clock meant to trigger it off was connected by a rusty wire. The Tupamaros saw themselves as Germany's first urban guerillas, inspired by the Latin American role model. The brains behind the plot was Dieter Kunzelmann, a leftist radical political clown, founder of the "Kommune 1" and self-proclaimed "kingpin of Chaos". In the wake of the six-day war of 1967, Kunzelmann saw Israel as an imperial state and oppressor of the Palestinians, which must be resisted with force. His opponents inside the Left, who maintained a more nuanced view of the situation in the Middle East, accused him of having a "Jew complex".

This summer, Wolfgang Kraushaar published "Die Bombe im Jüdischen Gemeindehaus" (the bomb in the Jewish Community Centre). The book reveals previously unknown information on the 1969 plot, and sparked a heated debate about anti-Semitism in the German Left in general and in the 68er movement specifically. According to historian Götz Aly, "the German 68ers were wretchedly similar to their parents." Journalist Micha Brumlik pinpoints "the radical Left rebellion against their parents' Nazi generation as a contradictory process of identification with them and their hatred of Jews."

Kraushaar's research revealed why the Berlin police had failed (or wanted to fail) in their examination of the case. Kraushaar identified Albert Fichter as the man who placed the bomb. Fichter was given the explosives – and this detail warrants further discussion – by an agent provocateur from the Berlin intelligence service who had long had the "Tupamaros West Berlin" under surveillance. Allegedly the bomb was tinkered with so it would fail to explode. Tilman Fichter, Albert's brother, at the time chairman of the SDS (German socialist student group), explains in an interview why it was and still is taboo to talk about anti-Semitism on the Left.

[Click below to read the full interview]

taz: Mr. Fichter, you helped your brother Albert, who laid the bomb in the Jewish Community Centre in 1969, to escape from Germany...

Tilman Fichter: ... yes, twice in fact, because he didn't realise he was under surveillance.

Why did you help him?

Because he shared a flat with Dieter Kunzelmann, and I thought Kunzelmann was a difficult, unpleasant comrade whose influence on my brother was anything but positive.

What do you mean by "difficult and unpleasant comrade"?

We threw Kunzelmann and his "Kommune 1" out of the SDS in 1967 because he was always distributing leaflets which argued the opposite position to the SDS, on the grounds that he and the commune were anti-authoritarian. And he refused to abide by any resolutions, although the resolutions were arrived at in plenary meetings and were therefore relatively democratic. It also had to do with the happenings he staged, such as when he burned papier mache figures of East German leader Walter Ulbricht and US vice-president Hubert Humphrey on Kurfürstendamm boulevard. Nobody understood what that was supposed to mean. It was idiotic. But he saw himself primarily as an artist, not a political person.

Where was Kunzelmann living in 1969?

In a supposedly secret flat of the Tupamaros West Berlin which was known to everyone in the leftist scene. It was the time of the split in the Extra-Parliamentary Opposition (APO): Christian Semler founded the KPD/AO (German Communist Party/ Set-Up Organisation), Joscha Schmierer, who worked in the planning department in the Foreign Office during the Red Green coalition, founded the KBW, the West German Communist Federation, in Heidelberg. And the Trotskyists founded their mini parties.

Why did you think it was dangerous for your brother to share a flat with Kunzelmann?

It very soon became clear that Kunzelmann is an anti-Semite.

When did you realise this?

In November 1969, when we published his first letter to the public in our radical left-wing magazine 883, the "Letter from Amman". At the time I played down the letter, saying it was leftist anti-Semitism. If I read it again today I have to say: he's an anti-Semite. Kunzelmann's main word was "fight", not "emancipation" or anything like that. He wrote: "Palestine is for the BRD what Vietnam was for the Americans. The Left has failed to comprehend this. Why? The Jew complex." His argument was that because the Left was coming to terms with the causes of Auschwitz, it was failing to realise that the real enemy was sitting in Israel and that one should show solidarity with the Palestinians. This was a complete break in the highly complex debate taking place with the West German Left, which was critical of Israeli politics, but with an eye to the fact that the situation in Palestine after 1937/39 had been shaped by the Zionists trying to accommodate hundreds of thousands of European Jews. It was not a black and white issue. Kunzelmann blankly refused to accept this nuanced analysis. This was a break with the analytical tradition of the SDS, and an attempt to lead parts of the West German Left into a partisan struggle against the Jews in Germany.

Your brother Albert Fichter claims that Kunzelmann constantly referred to the "damn Jews" – did he do this in front of you too?

Not in front of me.

Apparently he said to Daniel Cohn-Bendit: "You're nothing but a little Jewish pig."

I could well imagine it. I just know that Kunzelmann's writings at the time, seen from today's perspective, do not qualify as leftist anti-Semitism, but as anti-Semitism tout court.

Why did so few left-wingers see this at the time?

Lots of them couldn't believe their ears! They simply weren't prepared for that sort of thing. It was the equivalent today of a group of young men in the taz standing up and saying the oppression of women is progressive. It'd take weeks for you to figure out what was happening among the editors – and that's how it was for us. At first we just couldn't believe our ears. I didn't make any friends by saying this was leftist anti-Semitism.

What was the reaction in 1969 among the radical Left to the plot to blow up the Jewish Community Centre? As Wolfgang Kraushaar appropriately puts it, this was Kunzelmann's attempt to regain his authority among the militants...

... yet he failed utterly. In Kunzelmann's diary, which is now in the hands of the Hamburg Institute for Social Research, he wrote – and he'll be kicking himself now because it was his vanity that made him write it – that he was on the verge of desperation because the German Left was not prepared to support his campaign with the PLO against the Jews. Kunzelman never made the distinction between the Jews in the diaspora and the State of Israel. This is why he was completely on his own in the radical Left.

The fact that the attack targeted Jews in Germany as Israelis and also the date, November 9, leave no doubt that it was an act of anti-Semitism. The radical Left in no way supported Kunzelmann – but it barely recognised this as a clear instance of anti-Semitism. Why not?

It's absolutely astonishing. The fake bomb was not taken very seriously at all back then. As I remember it, I was one of a very few to react it, with my article "What is anti-Semitism?" in Agit 883 (underground paper -ed). For a long time the subject was not breached on the Left. To put it rather cynically: as usual the friends of East Germany put the blame on the Right. That was their standard response to anything that was complicated in any way. And in this instance the anti-authoritarian Left seemed to be content to accept this line of argumentation.

And why the date, November 9, the anniversary of the pogrom in 1938?

My brother writes in his "confession" in Kraushaar's book that he didn't even know the significance of November 9 at the time. He was apparently so full of LSD that it didn't even dawn on him. The commune members didn't discuss things analytically or with a view to history. Their lives were all about the struggle. When you read this today, you recognise echoes of the thirties and the movement in Germany whose focal point was also the struggle, or "Kampf".

The bomb was supplied by the intelligence. Did you know that at the time?

Yes, I was aware that the bomb was provided by intelligence agent Peter Urbach. Kunzelmann let himself be supplied with defect bombs from the stockpiles of the German intelligence. And anyway it was a fake.

Was the bomb in the Jewish Community Centre a fake? Wasn't it rather a bomb that failed to explode?

I call that a fake bomb. It couldn't explode.

But only because of a technical defect.

All bombs that came from Urbach had this technical defect. They couldn't explode. Another fake bomb was later found in Kunzelmann's freezer. The intelligence irresponsibly tried to smuggle these things into the student movement. But one way or another, Urbach's superiors were aware they didn't want to plant any active bombs – unlike a few months later when Peter Urbach provided the first generation of the RAF with real weapons.

Has that been proven?

Yes. But it has yet to be found out who was behind the attempt to arm the student movement. Peter Urbach now lives in the USA, under protection and with a false name. He could clear things up at least partially. But no one has ever tried.

But we still don't understand. Why did the Left fail to understand how scandalous the attack was back then?

At that time we faced a twofold challenge. On one side we were fighting the US war in Vietnam. There were demonstrations nearly every day – it's almost impossible to imagine this sort of thing nowadays. We were permanently in action. On the other hand the extra-parliamentary opposition had just split. I made the mistake of thinking that this New Left could still be held together, and joined the editors of Agit 883. That was completely idealistic. Then in early 1970 I abandoned the attempt when I saw these city Tupamaros were just using me. Agit 883 informally belonged to Dirk Schneider. He was later uncovered as a Stasi agent active in the Green Party exectutive.

So the continual mobilisation was what prevented people from seeing this anti-Semitic attack. But why did almost it take decades for the Left to start talking about it?

It was taboo.

What was taboo?

It was taboo to say there could be something like anti-Semitism on the Left. Because the Left had been a victim, because it had suffered together with the Jews in the concentration camps, it never thought it possible that this problem could also exist in its own ranks. I was severely criticised at the time, even by comrades I still think highly of today. They said, "Tilman, you shouldn't make such a big thing of it. We can settle this internally." When I started discussing it openly with my article on anti-Semitism I was treated like a bit of a renegade, as if I were eroding solidarity on the Left, and opening a can of worms that had to be cleared up among ourselves. But it was never cleared up. That was the problem.

The SDS had been pro-Israeli, at times even Semitophile, before 1967. Why did it turn a blind eye to this anti-Semitic aberration?

No, you're assuming something there. The SDS was always on very good terms with leftist Zionist groups, even long before 1969. The SDS saw itself as a support group for the leftist Zionists in Israel that had been against the Israeli occupation policy since 1967. At a key SDS congress in 1967, comrades from Heidelberg had submitted a resolution that the SDS should break off all ties to Israel. I was there! Rudi Dutschke intervened and threatened that if that went through, if the Maoists mobilised a majority, then the Berlin contingent would get up and leave. Rudi was very clear that it shouldn't come to a vote. He was on very good terms with leftist Zionist circles, and held no anti-Semitic positions. It didn't come to a vote, and the question was deferred. Then came the attack on Rudi, and with it we lost our most reflective friend of the Israeli Left. For as long as the SDS continued to function, he prevented the West German Left from taking an openly anti-Israeli stance.

Some of the sympathisers of the SDS back then - Günther Maschke, Reinhold Oberlercher, Horst Mahler und Bernd Rabehl – are now more or less open anti-Semites.

Or at least right-wing nationalists.

Don't their biographies point to a long-standing if disavowed anti-Semitic undercurrent in the movement?

I can't say if that was always the case with Mahler and the others. I didn't know them well enough. Those are five people out of roughly 3,000 in the hard core of the SDS. It's appalling that there were people like Mahler at all in the New Left. But we're talking about an infinitesimal minority in the student movement back then, you've got to keep that in mind.

Did the SDS make mistakes back then?

Good question. I'd say it was a mistake that Rudi didn't insist that the Israeli occupation policy and the growing anti-Semitism in parts of the student body be discussed at the student conference in 1967. Instead we kept the question from the agenda with tactical manoeuvres. We didn't take the subject of underlying anti-Semitism in the German Left at all seriously. That was a mistake.

One of the major impetuses for the 68er movement was its rejection of the pall of silence surrounding acts committed by their parents. Then in 1969 an anti-Semitic act was committed within its own ranks, or to be more exact: on its margins – and everyone was evidently so busy with the revolution or Vietnam that they didn't see it?

That's right.

Yet the contradiction remains. We have to free ourselves from the idea that the second generation after the Holocaust, the children of the perpetrators, would have been able to simply cast off the inheritance of their parents with a sweep of the hand. There was an unconscious relationship of delegating between generations – perhaps the younger generation's eternal comparison of Israel with the Nazis was an unconscious attempt to qualify their parents' guilt...

Maybe for some people.

Some social psychologists even see the street battles of 1968 as an attempt by the children to recreate the violence experienced by their parents. Is there anything in that?

I think that kind of speculation doesn't get you anywhere. It just turns the facts upside down. My experience was: German society was full of violence after 1945. That violence didn't come from us. In January of 1952 for example, SDS students demonstrated against the new films by Veit Harlan, who'd made the hate film "Jud Süß" under the Nazis. They got severely beaten up. Another example: We wore shirts and ties to the anti-Shah demo on July 2, 1967, and were chased by the police. It's a wonder there weren't three or four deaths, and that only Benno Ohnesorg was shot and killed. The violence was in society. There was violence among the Berlin police and the population as a whole. At the time it was a real hate-society. When we demonstrated against the US Vietnam policies, 80 percent of the population was against us. Nowadays you can't start to imagine what it was like! For us students it was like running the gauntlet.

A lot of people went underground. Did you ever toy with the idea?

No. I was about ten years older, I finished high-school at night school and I'd spent time at sea. My motto was: rebellion is justified, but we're going to lose. When you're in the minority, you can't force your opinions onto the majority. That was the subject of a lot of my discussions with Rudi Dutschke. He was the only one I could talk to about things like that. Rudi understood my position, even though he thought it was wrong. In the mid sixties, the majority of society didn't want to think about the taboo of genocide. Yet culturally, the student movement was a lot more successful than I'd thought was possible.

So you never wanted to go underground?

No, I was always against making yourself illegal – just like I was against the RAF and the idea that the first RAF generation had been murdered in Stammheim prison in Stuttgart. It took a long time for the German Left to take a critical look at itself. It'd had its back against the wall for a long time, and didn't have the chance to think about itself.

That also goes for the Left's relationship to Kunzelmann. In fact after 1969 it should have been clear he was an anti-Semite. Nonetheless he was a representative for the Alternative List (AL) in the Berlin state parliament in the 1980s. Why did the AL think they could win the elections with Kunzelmann?

Because it didn't take the subject seriously. In 1984 when I raised the topic of anti-Semitism on the Left again, it came to nothing. Now Kraushaar is trying it again – and I'm afraid it still won't lead to anything. Together with the others I excluded Kunzelmann from the SDS. But I have to admit, I never really took him seriously. I always thought of him as a dangerous clown. And that's still how people on the Left think. They should stop trying to play down the problem and call anti-Semitism by its name. But I don't think we'll be able give this problem the attention it deserves.

Why was Kunzelmann so popular?

In fact I don't think he was so popular. He was physically a wreck because of all the drugs he took. It was only when he went to prison that he finally got a grip on himself. But I'll put the ball back in your court: The press always found him interesting and played along with him. For the press he was a lot more attractive than the SDS and its serious discussions. Kunzelmann said: "I rub shit in your face." He was full of bawdy jokes, in the tradition of Luther somehow. But he was also a bawdy anti-Semite. He always read Bild Zeitung, and complained that the Left didn't understand that Bild was the best paper of all: "They always write nice things about me" (Bild Zeitung is often held responsible for the death of Rudi Dutschke, on account of the virulent hate campaign mounted by the paper - ed). That was all he cared about. For us on the other hand, Bild Zeitung was a threat. A hate paper.

Did you criticise your brother for what he did?

It was only on Christmas 2001 that he told me he was the one who carried the bomb into the Community Centre. When he told me we had a long argument.

But your brother says you know he'd laid the bomb as early as the 1980s...

Yes, but that's wrong. The first I heard about it was in 2001, after our mother died. He told me about it, and explained why he was only telling me then. At all costs he'd wanted to prevent our mother from finding out about it. She'd been active against the Nazis and considered herself a friend of Israel. My brother certainly felt shame at what he'd done. I told him. "Abi, what you did isn't anti-Zionist, it's anti-Semitic." He agreed that it was totally wrong, but maintained it was an anti-Zionist action. I said: "If you act against the Jews in the diaspora and hold them responsible for the Israeli occupation policy, then you're doing exactly what the neo-Nazis do, namely equating the Jews in the diaspora with the Israelis." It took a long time for that to sink in. Three days later we were at the place of a mutual friend from the youth movement. My brother asked our friend if he also thought what he did was anti-Semitic. All our friend said was: "Of course it was." Now my brother accepts that, but it took a while.

What do you mean "youth movement"?

The Boy Scouts, but the religiously unaffiliated ones. By the way, that's another thing the 68ers haven't ever dealt with. A whole lot of people in the Berlin SDS came from the Boy Scouts or the "Bündische Jugend" youth movement. But no one's ever talked about that.

In 1969 you helped your brother escape to Sweden. Would you have done that if you'd known he was the one who planted the bomb on November 9?

No. I wouldn't have helped him if I'd known. I'd have left him on the street, to his own defences. I told him that, too. I wouldn't have handed him over to the police, you don't do that to your own brother. But I wouldn't have helped him. That would have been bitter for him – and for me too.

How do you get on with him today? Do you feel he deceived you?

No, we get along fine. To be honest, I'm happy I didn't know about it for so long. That way I could help him. He's my brother after all.

And why does he write that you've known about what he did since the 80s?

I also thought I knew about it. But then we sat down and thought about it, and came to the conclusion that I hadn't known. All I knew was that he was part of the Tupamaros West Berlin. He was also on one of the first RAF wanted posters – wrongly so. And just a couple of weeks ago he told me something else: the fake bomb was wrapped in Tommy Weisbecker's coat – and he came from a Jewish family. His father – as far as I know – was imprisoned in Buchenwald concentration camp for being a Jew and a communist. And Dieter Kunzelmann, that scumbag, should explain once and for all why he'd had the bomb wrapped in Weisbecker's coat. Tommy's father was a dentist, and Tommy broke into his safe to steal gold, on order from the Tupamaros. Imagine! The Nazis had been the ones to take all the gold from the jaws of their Jewish victims. What kind of mind has Kunzelmann got? He could have sued me as far back as 1984. But he didn't. And he knows perfectly well why not.


The article originally appeared in German in die tageszeitung on October 25, 2005.

資本主義と決裂 ((capitalism and rupture))

Demonstration against the eviction of autonomous parks in Osaka and against the cessation of welfare payments for somen and mochi.


'Dismantle the Emperor system'

'Halt evictions/Smash repression!'

We fight for freedom!

For a rupturous winter...


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