SZ editor-in-chief apologizes to Igor Levit – your SZ

Many sharply criticize the publication of a text about the artist and are outraged. Some see him as anti-Semitic, some see Levite as an artist and as a human being.

The Southgerman newspaper published a subjective, at times very polemical text about Igor Levit in the features section on October 16. Under the heading “Igor Levit is tired” it is about Levit as a pianist as well as his political engagement and his statements in social networks.

Many of our readers criticize this publication sharply and are outraged. Some see the text as anti-Semitic, some see Levite as an artist and as a human being. He sees it that way too. We are sorry, and we therefore apologize to Igor Levit personally and our readers.

The opinion that we show on this page to the editor also roughly corresponds to the opinion of the SZ editorial team. Many editors also consider several passages of the text to be anti-Semitic – especially the one who makes fun of the Jewish artist Levit because he wrote on Twitter for several days after the attack on a Jewish student in front of a synagogue in Hamburg how tired he was be.

There is harsh criticism in the editorial staff of the term “victim claim ideology”, which according to the wording of the text is related to social media in general, but can be understood to mean that it applies to Levit. The question raised in the text as to whether Levit’s campaign against right-wing extremism was “just a funny hobby” caused great resentment in the editorial team as well as outside.

Several editors criticize the fact that the text not only settles with Levit, but also with social media as such. This mixing is wrong, as is the mixing of the artistic and political work of Levit and his statements on Twitter.

In the editorial team we have discussed the Levitic text in detail, passionately and controversially over the past few days. The question of what and how we can learn from the case will continue to occupy us.

Wolfgang Krach, Judith Wittwer, Editor-in-Chief


Twitter reactions in the network service

The Süddeutsche Zeitung uses the social media platform Twitter. Its content currently reaches up to 1.6 million interested users via this channel. The SZ not only uses Twitter to present texts, videos and podcasts, but also to receive positive and negative feedback. This is also discussed internally.

Before the SZ received letters to the editor about the article “Levit is tired”, the editors received a lot of critical opinions on Twitter from last Thursday evening, a few of which are listed here as examples:

Victim claim ideology. This monstrous word that is in the @SZ has made it, deserves to just stand there in isolation. Origin of Dardan (@asallime)

I think it is somewhat insane that we are seriously discussing whether it is okay for Jews to take action against Nazis. Stephan anpalagan (@stephananpalagan)

Jews are often accused of exaggerated (false) emotionality, drama, pathos (like the @SZ @igorpianist). Always with the accusation that it was not real and that it was calculated. I’ve been through it often. Secret: In some cultures, feelings are expressed more strongly. The conscious or unconscious anti-Semitic narrative behind it is: Jews are not able to feel deeply and rightly, but only act to generate profit. That narrative needs to be broken. We’re damn humans. Marina Weisband (@Afelia)

This contribution shows so much ignorance, arrogance and the misunderstanding of how important it is for artists to raise their voices against the law. There are too many who are silent. Thank you, @igorpianist for your voice! Carry on please! Sawsan Chebli (@SanCheli)

Well, guys, I don’t even know where to start, there’s a lot inside. I would like to point out a few problematic rhetorical strategies in the text. Not just as a finger exercise, but because this language has real effects. Natascha Strobl (@Natascha_Strobl)

a the complete analysis by Natascha Strobl to read, please click the tweet.


From the editorial team – price for NSU protocols – your SZ

The city of Kassel has bestowed the “Kassel Democracy Impulse” award to the authors of the “NSU Protocols”. The SZ team made up of Annette Ramelsberger, Wiebke Ramm, Tanjev Schultz and Rainer Stadler received the award for documenting the NSU trial. The jury explained that the protocols are a unique historical document and a deep drilling into society. The award is given in memory of the victims of right-wing extremist crimes.

© SZ vom 19.09.2020 / SZ


Mask requirement – protection and damage – your SZ

That a mouthguard is now mandatory in public life arouses the mind. Finally, a uniform regulation, some say, outrageous restriction, the other – especially since masks suggested a protective effect that they do not have medically.

On “Joint effort” from April 23, “Mask-have!” from 18th / 19th April as well as on “Material of the Future” from April 17:

Recommend instead of commit

Now the next nationwide measure is here, mandatory mouth protection for everyone in shops and in public transport. However, the medical relevance is very controversial, sometimes even negative. I find it regrettable how quickly a recommendation that is controversial can become a binding measure. There is no scientific and medical basis for discussing and weighing this up publicly.

Thus individual federal states have come to the conclusion of making a recommendation and not a liability. It would have been desirable that individual state governments had not collapsed here. It is obvious that this was only implemented in order to drive a nationwide course, in the interests of the Federal Chancellor. Whatever your point of view, it does not inspire confidence in how the state governments will deal with upcoming proposals. In my opinion, more courage to think and steadfastness is required here.

Daniel Pfeifer, Mainz

The smile is neglected

A mask is not a fashion accessory like glasses that you put on, although you don’t need them, but, in some cases, a necessity at the moment. You wear the mask so that you don’t have to wear it anytime soon. As soon as the risk of virus infection is averted, you should dispose of it with joy or keep it in the back of the closet for future cases. Therefore, the comparison with the skier’s helmet is also incorrect. Because you wear it for your own protection and are not looking forward to the time because it is no longer necessary.

In my opinion, masks should only be worn if there is a lack of distance, such as in public transport or when shopping, which has been done so far. Because if everyone now walks around masked on the street, we lose part of our cultural identity, which is also based on the fact that you can look each other in the face. And you get a smile every now and then. If only from a distance at the moment.

Thomas Armbrüster, Erding

(Photo: SZ-Illustration)

Good uniform decision

After seemingly endless, sometimes hysterical discussions, all 16 federal states finally agreed on a uniform mask requirement. In the end, common sense and insight have won that going it alone and, above all, being knowledgeable about this highly sensitive topic is inappropriate. This also spares the Federal Republic a patchwork that citizens really would not have needed in this difficult time.

The masks will not eradicate the corona virus, but anyone who doesn’t get the virus in public life or in the supermarket is an invaluable asset. In addition, the mask does not harm the economy or its wearer. The mask is therefore more than just a symbolic policy and, moreover, is not suitable as a thirst for profiling individual prime ministers. However, if all Germans wear masks, this must not lead to false security, distance and hand hygiene remain the most important protective measures.

Dietmar Helmers, Westerheim

Security is only suggested

For weeks now there has been an uncritical whitewashing of fear-driven changes in the thinking and behavior of many people in the media. The mask is a symbol for this. It suggests security, and many of them quickly accept everything.

Now the comment “Future of the Future” wants to sell us the face mask as a means against the division of society. In my opinion, the allegation of ideology falls back on author Kia Vahland herself. External equality and conformity when wearing a mask do not even obscure the fact that the real social division is increased by the measures taken. Those who have a crisis-proof job, a decent income, a good education and a comfortable living situation can more easily cope with restrictions than previously socially disadvantaged people. An older couple may find it easier to cope with all regulations than working mothers and fathers with toddlers and adolescents who want to be employed. A large company will survive the crisis more easily than the small self-employed.

Internet trade is benefiting and the small business in the city center is falling by the wayside. The mask as “stuff of the future” should be the solution now? Yes, is it still ok In my opinion, the mask signals that you perceive other people and yourself as a danger to life and limb. Do we want to convey this to our children as a future attitude towards life?

Ursula Straka, Oettingen

Distrust is stirred up

There is far too little discussion about what masks in public space mean in our society: they make everyone anonymous at the same time, they cause uncertainty and distrust, yes fear. They prevent open communication, it is no longer possible to read in the face of the other person. Up to now, masks in Germany have only been worn by people who did not want to be recognized: hooded people on demos, bank robbers, hostage-takers. I am convinced that a long-term mask requirement has the potential to sustainably damage our open democratic society and our dealings with one another. It’s definitely not worth it.

Florian Fritz, Aying

Mask doesn’t match culture

Hopefully, the mask will not become a natural utensil in the future, which we “adapt to our wardrobe depending on the situation”, as claimed in the article “Mask-have”. It does not fit into our culture, which appreciates a free, open face that makes every expression of my face visible. Our culture tolerates human closeness and polite distance as in Asia only on special occasions or in exceptional situations (corona).

Where are all the burqa and niqab opponents who usually speak up when it comes to the non-acceptance of covering part or all of the face? The mask disfigures us. She “makes us mumble, sweat, and you can’t breathe properly”. Depending on the material, skin irritation cannot be excluded. Apart from that, it really doesn’t suit anyone, not even in patterned, pointed or traditional form. That the mask can still be useful temporarily may be true. We are bound to have to deal with it for known reasons. But please not in the long run, but for a limited time like all the other measures!

Petra Hufeisen-Langer, churches


Services – What blessings bring – your SZ

For Christian Easter, church fairs have to be canceled due to the Corona crisis. Some readers find this disproportionate, a reader encourages registration lists for short, consecutive church visits on a small scale. A reader writes about the effects of blessings in the Bible.

SZ drawing: Michael Holtschulte

On “Safer than in any supermarket”, April 6 and “Shock Prayers” from 28/29. March:

Preaching for moderation

How about if the churches were to get a little creative and get used to the issues of the time? Imagine a priest standing on the stairs in front of his church on Sunday morning with the sign “Preaching strike for the climate”. In front of him there is a relaxed group of listeners at a reasonable distance. He then gives an open air speech on “Subdue the earth, but don’t overdo it!” The topic fits many of our current problems, from the conflict between maximizing profits and basic health care to the topics of factory farming, limitless globalization, economic egoism, or even the exploitation of nature. Actually, we humans have exaggerated almost everything that is often not that bad when used in moderation.

It is purely by chance that someone reports on the open-air sermon in the press. And on the following Sunday there may be copies of this action from other pastors, other churches, other denominations? Suddenly, a wide variety of faith communities come together and into the media perception and even become part of the solution. This idea would be great for us and for the earth, which should no longer be ruthlessly subjugated? One insight now unites us: In the future, nothing more to be exaggerated. Because that goes backwards, as you can see.

Otto Große Mühl, Bramsche

Short fairs in stages

Finally, someone has the courage to question the proportionality of justified and sensible compliance with infection control to fundamental prohibitions that affect essential areas of our lives. The SZ article on the “Freundeskreis St. Philipp Neri” rightly points out that church services at the highest feasts of the church year in the usually high and large rooms of churches with a sensible organization would be entirely possible and that the conditions in supermarkets, even public buildings such as post offices can often be far more problematic.

Lists could be posted on the Internet and at the church door, in which worshipers can only register in such small numbers that the distance rules are observed. Shorter services, offered several times in a row, would be conceivable. The priest at the altar or in the pulpit is protected, as is the organist in the gallery on the organ.

The response given to me by the church authorities in response to such inquiries: in contrast to religious services and visits by pastors at the bedside of the seriously ill and dying, the provision of food and visits to the doctor are vital – this assessment seems to me to be questionable and essential with regard to the essential tasks of our churches falling short.

Helga Müller-Bardorff, Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Church should support the state

With all the impressions of the past weeks and months, I notice that we have hardly seen one: the church! Of course, the social commitment of the churches has inevitably almost come to a standstill as a result of the contact restrictions, but in this case I am talking less about services or other church and charitable events, but about financial aid. Why, for example, does the Catholic Church, in which individual dioceses such as Cologne or Munich-Freising each have a balance sheet capital of up to four billion euros, behave so quietly in these times of crisis? Why doesn’t the Church directly support the state in its comprehensive measures at a time when it should be challenged more than ever? Where is the church at this time of crisis? Perhaps I am doing the Church wrong or the reporting does not do justice to the church measures in the background, but the only thing that has been heard from the Catholic Church in recent weeks has been a call to prayer and the “Urbi et orbi” blessing of the Pope.

Dr. Stefanie Rodler, Valley

Lawsuits damage reputation

The lawsuits against the ban on public services are deeply annoying to me. We in hospital and nursing home chaplains are also in demand in secular houses, are appointed to ethics committees, we are trusted that we act responsibly. What mistrust will I have to expect in the future from a doctor or nurse who does not know me personally but who has heard of “these Catholics” and – I could not blame it – associate myself with them. Once again, people who feel particularly Catholic are harming my church.

Josef Silbermann, pastor, Munich

Powerful wishes of the Bible

The Latin blessing speech is often interpreted as benedictio, as mentioned in “Prayers of the Day”. But Greek (eulogia) and Hebrew (bracha) contexts go much further. What is meant is a comprehensive expression of appreciation. Whoever blesses someone gives him dignity, prestige and beauty. Theologian Fulbert Steffensky emphasized that with the blessing we pass on something, give away something that does not belong to us. The shine over other people belongs to this and the giving God. But we recognize the need for approval, for reaffirmation. This is also a valuable concession for the exhausted nurse, which should be followed by social and tariff policy consequences.

Numerous such algorithms are biblically documented. In the first psalm, for example, the adolescent is called an “aschre ha-isch” (Happy the man!): The efficient housewife is praised because “Strength and dignity are her robe and she will laugh the next day” (Book of Proverbs 31, 25 ). Those who are honored in this way need not hope for a miracle. Man himself is the miracle when he makes peace, practices meekness, promotes justice, suffers persecution. Blessings are not purposeless and unintentional good wishes, but powerful statements that will work, even beyond our narrow horizon.

Wolfgang Piechota, Bad Kreuznach