Dark days in the spotlight

Some months ago, the National Library (ONB, http://www.onb.ac.at) hosted an exhibit about holiday marketing strategies of Austrian ski resorts and seaside locations. The exhibition featured artful tourism industry posters and rich information about how businesspeople tried to increase overnight stay figures in the 20th century.
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Now the ONB confronts its visitors with the darkest chapter in the country’s history: the so-called Anschluss. “Nacht über Österreich” analyses what happened in March 1938 when Austria became a part of the German Nazis’ Third Reich. The exhibition includes diaries, photographs, propaganda leaflets and various documents. Residenz Verlag (www.residenzverlag.at), a St. Pölten-based publishing house, released an exhibit catalogue.

Meanwhile, the Leopold Museum (www.leopoldmuseum.org) is drawing the crowds with a new exhibit called “Wolken – Welt des Flüchtigen” (Clouds – Fleeting Worlds). The Museum of Art (Kunsthistorisches Museum, KHM, http://www.khm.at) is succeeding thanks to its superb constant exhibition of paintings and the recently reopened Kunstkammer collection. Miniatures of all kind such as games, souvenirs and travel accessories are on display at the Wien Museum (www.wienmuseum.at) as part of its “Unter 10” exhibit, and lovers of baroque art should visit the Unteres Belvedere gallery (www.belvedere.at).

Book look: Wolfgang Staudt

A German wine expert has written an excellent book about the popular alcoholic drink and everything that has got to do with it. “50 einfache Dinge, die Sie über Wein wissen sollten” examines 50 questions concerning wine and its production.

Wolfgang Staudt, who started organising wine seminars almost 20 years ago, considers a broad range of aspects: from listing the best winemaking regions in the world to various questions concerning the consumption. As far as Austria is concerned, he mentions the Styrian Schilcher wine and regions such as Lake Neusiedl and the Wachau in Lower Austria.
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Staudt writes about enjoying wine with fish, beef, cheese and chocolate. Furthermore, the wine expert – who has a Diploma in Wine and Spirits – informs about the characteristics of drinks like port wine, cognac and sherry. Critics have praised Staudt’s new book for holding new information even for true connoisseurs.

“50 einfache Dinge, die Sie über Wein wissen sollten” is part of Westend’s acclaimed “50 einfache Dinge” series which features authors as diverse as Vienna-based columnist Harald Schume and Gunter Böhnke, a popular comedian from Saxony. While Schume wrote an immensely entertaining book about his home country, Böhnke approached historic facts and contemporary issues affecting the German province of Saxony in light-hearted manner.

50 einfache Dinge, die Sie über Wein wissen sollten
By Wolfgang Staudt
Published by Westend (www.westendverlag.de)

Book look: Salzburg crimes, wartime memories and the magic of music

Cornelsen, a German publishing house, not only releasesleise kommt exercise books. On a regular basis, it also publishes reading books for people learning German. “Leise kommt der Tod” is such a release. The book contains a short story full of suspense as two German detectives try to clarify whether a Salzburg resident was killed by his greedy wife. However, the episode – which promises a plot about “Poison and cash in Salzburg” – also includes facts about local traditions, typical Salzburg food and the Salzburg Festival. Other great features of “Leise kommt der Tod” are a map and a CD which contains the nine-chapter story read by Eva Gaigg.

Leise kommt der Tod
By Roland Dittrich
Published by Cornelsen (www.cornelsen.de)

Helmut Schmidt, his late wife Loki and five other people – some of them close friends of the former chancellor – reveal very personal war era experiences in “Kindheit und Jugend unter Hitler”. They write about how their families dealt with the growing anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany and why relief was not the dominating feeling when World War Two was finally over. The articles – which were created in 1990 and 1991 – also deal with learning to get along on one’s own as child and teenager as parents were busy trying to make ends meet. Being a member of the Hitler Youth and what it felt like to fear for the lives of close relatives in the army are other issues which are dealt with in the book.

Kindheit und Jugend unter Hitler
By Loki Schmidt, Helmut Schmidt, Ruth Loah and others
Published by Pantheon (www.randomhouse.de/pantheon)

Joachim Kaiser, one of Germany’s most renowned literature and music critics, answers questions music enthusiasts may have never dared to ask. In “Sprechen wir über Musik”, he also creates a code of conduct for going to the opera. Kaiser also explains why breaks and quiet moments are of such great importance in music. The journalist – who published his memoirs “Ich bin der letzte Mohikaner” five years ago – brilliantly merges information and entertainment in his new book. His passion for music is evident.

Sprechen wir über Musik. Eine kleine Klassik-Kunde.
By Joachim Kaiser
Published by Siedler (www.siedler-verlag.de)

Book look: Oliver Bierhoff

A former German national team star has released a book about hierarchies in football and playing fair in a world of increasing competition and intensifying rivalries.

Oliver Bierhoff – who succeeded in Italy’s Serie A where he played for Udinese Calcio, AC Milan and Chievo Verona – deals with subjects such as the dangers of becoming famous as a soccer ace. He analyses whether it is all about the money in the end and investigates if team spirit still matters nowadays. Bierhoff does not shy away from revealing how he was badly hit by the news of Robert Enke’s suicide. Enke killed himself in November 2009. He was part of Bundesliga club Hannover 96 and the German national team at that time.1

Bierhoff wrote history with his two goals in the final of the European Football Championship of 1996 which took place in England. The ex-AS Monaco striker’s goals ensured Germany’s victory against the Czech Republic. The second strike of Bierhoff was the first ever Golden Goal. Today, Bierhoff works as coordinator of the German national team.

In his new book, Bierhoff also reveals that he once faced taunts by national team colleague Mehmet Scholl. The former Bayern Munich midfielder opted for “Speedy” as Bierhoff’s nickname, alleging that he was not quick enough for the team’s game. After scoring against the Czech Republic at Wembley, Bierhoff hit back by arguing that good players do not have to run fast if they are in the right place at the right time.

Spielunterbrechung
By Oliver Bierhoff
Published by Econ (www.econ.de)

Best of West

Visiting the new Franz West exhibition feels like entering a crazy wonderland.

The exhibit called “Wo ist mein Achter?” (Where is my Eight?) – now on at the Museum of Modern Art (MUMOK) in Vienna – features a rich variety of creations by West, one of Austria’s most renowned artists of the past decades. West passed away in July of last year, but the organisers of the exhibition point out that he was deeply involved in the process of setting it up at the MUMOK.
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Like it or not – West’s ways are not for everybody. His installations feature oil on canvas paintings, furniture made of wire, kitchen utensils, television sets and much more. “Wo ist mein Achter” consists of three parts separated on as many storeys.

On the ground floor, the MUMOK currently offers an exhibit consisting of paintings and sculptures by stars of the European art scene of the past century. Different styles from cubism to surrealism are featured in the exhibition.

Paintings by Rene Magritte, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and several Austrian artists – including Kolo Moser and Herbert Boeckl – are on display. A painting and a sculpture created by Pablo Picasso might be the exhibit’s highlight.

>> http://www.mumok.at

Book look: crime issues, French quizzes and railway madness

Michael Jürgs, the former chief editor 1of German magazine Stern, portrays who he calls “those who hunt the evil”. In “BKA, Europol, Scotland Yard”, the renowned journalist explains in which way Europe’s criminal investigation authorities changed their strategies to remain competitive in the fight against felonies such as child pornography and human trafficking. Jürgs points out that crimes like online fraud and banking business-related felonies like phishing and bank card abuse have become bigger problems in recent years. He writes that investigation units consist not only of detectives but also psychologists and mobile action units. Previous books of the author became acclaimed television documentaries. For “BKA, Europol, Scotland Yard”, Jürgs interviewed former German Crime Police Office (BKA) boss Horst Herold and other influential personalities.

BKA, Europol, Scotland Yard. Die Jäger des Bösen.
By Michael Jürgs
Published by C. Bertelsmann (www.cbertelsmann.de)

“Jeden Tag ein bisschen… Französisch” is the perfect change for people learning French without neglecting the target of mastering the language. The book by Lucie Drevon and Lena Luise Posingies features 99 games, quizzes and exercises such as word search puzzles and crosswords. Various topics – from national holidays to the French school system – are in the focus in additional texts. “Jeden Tag ein bisschen… Französisch” ensures that boredom stands no chance.

Jeden Tag ein bisschen… Französisch
By Lucie Drevon and Lena Luise Posingies
Published by Cornelsen (www.cornelsen.de)

A collection of aviation blunders called “Sorry, wir haben die Landebahn verfehlt” became a bestseller not long ago. Its authors, Stephan Orth and Antje Blinda, now released a book full with railway anecdotes. Spiegel Online, the internet portal of German magazine Der Spiegel, asked readers to reveal their most hilarious adventures as rail passengers. “Sorry, wir haben uns verfahren” not only features these stories but also several cartoons – which are superfluous to some extent thanks to the high entertainment factor ensured by the garnered real-life episodes.

Sorry, wir haben uns verfahren
By Stephan Orth and Antje Blinda
Published by Ullstein / Spiegel Online (www.ullsteinbuchverlage.de)

Book look: HSV

One of Europe’s most popular football teams turned 125 last year. A team of authors considered this occasion a good reason to create a book about the club they love so much.

The Hamburger SV (HSV) is the only German football club which was never relegated in the 50-yearf history of the Football Bundesliga. In “125 Jahre HSV”, Werner Skrentny, Stephan Spiegelberg and several more journalists and reporters portray some of the club’s iconic players. There are articles about all-time audience favourites like Harald Spörl and Uli Stein. However, members of the current squad like left-back Marcell Jansen are not neglected either. Furthermore, the book holds information about Felix Magath and ex-Manchester United ace Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Magath played for the HSV in the 1970s and 1980s before winning the league twice with Bayern Munich as manager. These triumphs took place in 2005 and 2006. Four years ago, Magath shocked self-proclaimed soccer experts by finishing the league in first place with VfL Wolfsburg. Magath was part of a successful team as far as European competitions are concerned. “125 Jahre HSV” not only focuses on victories in international competition. The 420-page book also informs about humiliating defeats and disappointing performances.
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Skrentny and Spiegelberg have strong ties with the HSV. “125 Jahre HSV” is not Skrentny’s first publication about the club. He previously released “Immer erste Klasse” and “Mit der Raute im Herzen” and other books. Spiegelberg describes his childhood as “rather unspectacular – until I attended a HSV match for the first time”. On that day, the team thrashed Borussia Dortmund 5-0.

Due to the large and voluminous format of their book, Skrentny and his colleagues are able to concentrate on an enormously wide spectrum of topics. They portray the club’s women’s football team and the wheelchair basketball division. Furthermore, the authors look back on how HSV bosses acted in Nazi Germany. An own chapter is dedicated to the Jewish members of the club.

Needless to say, “125 Jahre HSV” also contains a comprehensive statistics section where fans find all possible facts about the HSV stars – including a list of all players who were sent off with red cards. Several pages of the book deal with the club’s stadium. The modern 57,000-seat arena was the venue of five World Cup matches in 2006 and the final of the Europa League four years later.

“125 Jahre HSV” is just one of the many recent releases of the Verlag Die Werkstatt publishing house dealing with football. Another acclaimed book about soccer in Germany in the past 50 years is Gerhard Delling’s “50 Jahre Bundesliga. Wie ich sie erlebte”. Delling, who presents various sport shows on German television, skilfully merges facts, analyses and personal memories in his work. Delling discloses his childhood heroes and makes aware of many curiosities and anecdotes in the country’s top-flight football.

125 Jahre HSV. Das Jübiläumsbuch
By Werner Skrentny, Stephan Spiegelberg and others
Published by Verlag Die Werkstatt (www.werkstatt-verlag.de)