Ludwig Börne, Heinrich Heine and the Börne Prize 2003

in European Judaism

‘Frankfurt, the St Paul’s Church filled with guests ranging from George Weidenfeld to some of the old guard of intellectuals from the past, was a strange place’, said George Steiner. ‘The city itself, with its skyscrapers proclaiming its economic status, obscured its own memories of an old republic of letters. The fake Goethe House on the square, and the Börneplatz as a reminder of the vanished Jewish community, were depressing. In the bookshops, there were photos and the books of Adorno, Habermas, and my own work. It was all quite depressing, although the laudatio by Joschke Fischer, an unusual autodidact, showed that Germany was aware of the fact that so much of its intellectual past had gone into exile – like the truth.’