Max Czollek Video

Max Czollek on a “Germany of the Others”

Day 2 of #MutuallyMann starts with poet and writer Max Czollek and his powerful statement on how to embrace a marginalized “Germany of the others.”

3 thoughts on “Max Czollek Video”

  1. Thank you, Max Czollek, for your interesting post inviting us to “embrace a marginalized “Germany of the others”” as it is referred to in the announcement for your contribution. Well, I’m willing to follow this invitation (and did so before), but, reading the well-known German daily and weekly newspapers and magazines and listening to German public broadcast, I do not have the impression that the “Germany of the others”, as you call it, is, indeed, still “marginalized”. Due to my perception the current public discourse is characterized by topics as “gender”, “racism”, antisemitism” etc. The “Germany of the others” isn’t this nowadays rather the Germany of those who used to be part of the “majority” and who meanwhile feel forgotten (and, maybe, have been)? Don’t you think that, in such a climate and considering the shift in the public recognition of those who are conventionally not assigned to the so-called “majority society” (just to remind: we have already the ”marriage for all” and even a conservative like Markus Söder supports the women’s quota), a self-critical approach, as it is admirably performed by Thomas Mann in his essay, could be seen as something which is missed by many of those advocating for the “minorities” of today? A self-critical approach – wouldn’t this be a good starting point for everybody for an embracement, a mutual one? Having asked so I wish to add that the situation in the US with 70 million having voted for Trump and quite obviously being unwilling to exercise any form of self-criticism seems to be different to the situation in Germany.

  2. Thank you, Max Czollek, for this important intervention – you indeed triggered some thoughts on my part! To play advocata diaboli, I was wondering in how far your conception of “militant art” differs from the fatalist association of art and militarism that Mann presents in his fatalist and nationalist apology of (the first world) war in the article “Gedanken im Kriege” which was published 30 years before “Germany and the Germans”, in 1914? Also, connecting to your analysis of all the voices Mann is ‘sidelining’, as you say, it is so striking to me how he keeps quiet about his own family history that is so deeply entrenched in colonialism (cf. D.von Gersdorff’s recent biography of Mann’s mother who was born on his father’s plantation in Brazil), an issue that Prof. Veronika Fuechtner is doing significant research on. ( When Mann speaks about “the first frame of [his] existence” (49), the absence of any note on his mother’s story and its influence on him to me points to a significant blind spot in what he considers “a piece of German self-criticism” (65)

  3. Thanks so much for this! This is wonderful. I imagine I’m not the only reader marked by “difference” of some kind who is cheered and even a bit relieved to hear ourselves spoken into historical being and the possibility that, had things played out differently, we might have been instrumental in the creation of a less brutal German “destiny” (with apologies to those who understandably object to the use of contrafactuals in analyzing history).

    Two questions: What of Mann’s own dangerous line of difference, his well-documented sexual queerness, which made him a target of Nazi suspicion (SS chief Reinhard Heydrich had in fact written an order for Mann to be deported to Dachau, a fate he escaped only by remaining abroad)? Mann’s own attitude toward his “difference” as an obstacle to his dreams of “respectability” certainly complicate Mann’s status as an “other,” yet his overwhelming, (presumably/largely) unfulfilled attraction to men profoundly shapes (perhaps even motivates) his artistic accomplishments.

    And second, speaking of otherness in Germany, has the German-speaking world made any substantive progress on creating language (especially at the grammatical/morphological level) that’s inclusive of non-binary and gender-queer folks like myself? It’s been an issue every time I’ve visited Germany, and my internet researches on the subject have always left me quite confused! Mann himself was a fairly stark gender-essentialist, but we TGNC readers have much to contribute to his reinterpretation.

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