] ing. Above all, it is necessary to be
brave, follow your conscience, keep your eyes open, and act. Afterwards
well, in my case, my actions would pursue me and drive me onward, and others
would draw inspiration from them. |
I decided that the first thing I
would do would be to take a stand publicly. I wrote an article and took it to
two morning dailies. They listened to me politely and advised me to go to
Combat. I had some trouble finding the old building on rue du Croissant
in Montmartre that housed the newspaper that is keeping the spirit of the
French Resistance very much alive.
The young editor I talked to, Michel
Voirol, seemed surprised to find a German determined to protest Kiesinger's
election. The first open discussion appeared on January 14, 1967, the day of
Kiesinger's official visit to Paris. I wrote for the opposition:
Official Germany has several faces. Willy
Brandt is the only one of whom the French need not be suspicious. At the
moment, when Germany seems to want to be identified with the person of
Kiesinger, fate has offset that desire with Willy Brandt's installation in high
government office. It was not hatred of Kiesinger, nor a morbid
fascination with the past, nor despair that motivated me. A future for Germany
was within our grasp. "Why You Should Bet on Willy Brandt" was the title of my
second article, which appeared in Combat in March 1967.
As a German I deplore Kiesinger's accession
to the Chancellorship. The election of this former member of the Nazi Party
even if that was merely opportunism is practically an exoneration
of an era and an attitude. Sociologist Hannah Arendt used the phrase "the
banality of evil" in speaking of Eichmann. To me Kiesinger represents the
respectability of evil . . . . There is certainly nothing to prevent Kiesinger
from feeling at peace with himself and, now that he is in a position of power,
from easing the consciences of those few Germans who did have pangs.
Willy Brandt's attitude was the opposite of Kiesinger's. As a young man
he was sincerely democratic, and he has never ceased being so. How many others
can say as much when it was so easy to swim with the current? . . The true
German democrats who fought Nazism with actual weapons were very few.
Paradoxically, they almost became the bad conscience of Germany by furnishing
proof that it was possible to become involved on the side of right and
morality. . . .
Willy Brandt and his team are the only ones who
can set Germany's