Bierhallenkitsch

The Frankfurt Jewish Museum is staging an exhibition, the Frankfurt School: a Return to Germany, presenting an opportunity for Die Zeit‘s writers to recall Leo Löwenthal’s observations of the Stunde Null (year zero) and Trümmerlandschaften (rubble landscape) after the war. It’s interesting to read how quickly the reinstated Munich Bierfest filled up with the same “bellowing, zombified masses” Löwenthal had earlier seen cheering on the Führer. (Today the bellowing is more likely to be that of tourists, paying over-the-odds to hear Schlager and ogle low-cut Dirndls). Löwenthal goes on to note the casual anti-semitism of the time: “Everyone knows the Jews had the money”, a taxi driver tells him, not realising he is Jewish, a scene which recalls Herr Treibel’s treatment in Fassbinder’s Veronika Voss. With some bathos, the author illustrates the piece with a comical picture of Adorno at Fastnacht. Who says he was a grumpy old man?