Letter from Munich – 041
Letter from Munich – the Joseph Affair – 41
EINE DEUTSCHE FASSUNG STEHT WEITER UNTEN.
19 October 2001
Dear Mr. Graf, dear friends,
Jacqueline was smiling at us as she often does, in her quite stunning, aristocratic fashion. “In his new biography of John Adams,” she said, “historian David McCullough tells us of some marginalia that Adams scribbled in a book by Rousseau. ‘There is no doubt that people are, in the long run, what the government makes out of them,’ Rousseau had written. ‘The government ought to be what the people make it,’ Adams wrote in response.
A certain resignation appeared in Jacqueline’s smile. “In Europe we haven’t quite reached the stage where the government does what the people want. For example, in America it would be almost impossible for a district attorney to yield to political pressure, but not in Europe. Such things happen here – if not every day – then much more often than Europeans would admit. For a moment let’s leave aside the role that Kurt Biedenkopf and the government of Saxony played in the Joseph affair. I want to give you some further examples of this kind of influence. Then you may be able to understand a little better what happened to Joseph and to the investigation into his death.”
She picked up a newspaper from the small mahogany table next to her armchair. “I’d like to read a few sentences from at article that appeared in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung of October 17. It deals with an honest and courageous former district attorney in Germany, whose investigations were hindered and blocked from above: ’Never before had the former district attorney from Augsburg, Winfried Maier, spoken out before the Bavarian parliament’s special committee. He spoke about the harassment he suffered and the impediments placed in his way as he probed the affairs of Bavarian weapons dealer Karlheinz Schreiber and the activities of Max Strauss – son former Bavarian prime minister Franz-Josef Strauss – and others. . . . “Meaningful and timely investigation of Schreiber and Strauss was no longer possible,” said Maier. Everything became time-consuming, because “every piece of nonsense” had to be checked by the Munich office. “I was supposed to justify, down to the smallest detail, the precise reasons for every single request I made for various files I wanted to look at, even though I had no idea exactly what the files contained.” He said that in March 2000, when he was ill, he was given only a few hours to prepare a final disposition of the proceedings against Strauss. He was told it was a requirement for his promotion to the Bavarian superior court. “I was supposed to present a story that was devoid of content.” He said what was really wanted was that he should write, “The whole Strauss thing was really not so bad”.’”
Jacqueline’s smile was now rather bitter. “Yes, maybe the whole Strauss thing was really not so bad,” she said sarcastically, “but the thing with the corruption in the Bavarian district attorney’s office is. But even worse things have happened in Europe. On October 17 the highly regarded Franco-German television channel ARTE broadcast an astonishing documentary about a massacre that occurred in the streets of Paris, a massacre that has been covered up for the last forty years – and if the murder of dozens of people can be hidden at the order of the authorities, murder in the French capital, why not the murder of a little boy like Joseph in a village in eastern Germany? That should be child’s play for the government of a German state like Saxoy, shouldn’t it?”
This letter will be continued next week.
Robert John Bennett
======================================================== ” title=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org ======================================================== “>rjbennett at post.harvard.edu ===…
“>rjbennett at post.harvard.edu