Winkler’s views

One of Germany’s most respected historians has warned from letting separatist movements become more powerful. Speaking on such groups’ popularity boost in various regions across Europe, Heinrich August Winkler said: “If these movements succeed it would mean the end of our vision of a united Europe.” In an interview with Südwest Presse, the 80-year-old retired university professor who lectured in Freiburg and Berlin argued: “These movements are preferably established in rather wealthy areas. They consider it a disgrace to support disadvantaged regions and call on the European Union to take responsibility. It would harm us all if we don’t speak up against their agenda.” A collection of articles and essays by Winkler which were published between 1990 and 2015 is out now. C.H. Beck presents “Zerreißproben. Deutschland, Europa und der Westen”, a 230-page selection of texts printed by Tagesspiegel, Die Zeit and other newspapers and magazines.

Zerreißproben. Deutschland, Europa und der Westen
By Heinrich August Winkler
Published by C.H. Beck (

Luther & Gurlitt

Martin Luther’s 95 theses substantially changed the church but also society in Germany and all over Europe from 1517. “Brennen für den Glauben” offers and Austrian perspective of the landmark revolution which helped establishing Protestantism. Karl Vocelka, Walter Öhlinger and Rudolf Leeb recently organised an exhibition on the subject at Wien Museum in the city centre of Vienna. The historians also edited this 400-page publication which features immense amounts of background information but also old documents and paintings. In his foreword, Wien Museum director Matti Bunzl underlines the significance of conflicts nowadays concerning the fear from Turkish ghettos in Vienna and a spreading of radical Islam across the continent which also derive from fundamental religious mindset.

Brennen für den Glauben
By Rudolf Leeb, Walter Öhlinger & Karl Vocelka
Published by Residenz Verlag (

A highly controversial exhibition recently started in Bern and Bonn. Museums in the city decided to put works from the infamous Gurlitt collection on display as the debate about stolen art and compensating the victims of the Nazis’ reckless actions continues. Hildebrand Gurlitt, a museum director and art dealer, was ordered to acquire paintings for the galleries Third Reich leader Adolf Hitler had planned to create in Linz, a city of special importance to the dictator. It was a pivotal moment for the international art scene and restitution authorities when Gurlitt’s collection was discovered in 2013 during a routine tax fraud check. Now art historian Meike Hoffmann and Tagesspiegel journalist Nicola Kuhn present the result of their comprehensive research. “Hitlers Kunsthändler. Hildebrand Gurlitt 1895-1956” is a fascinatingly detailed biography which does not just inform about Gurlitt as a person but also about politics and the perception of art from the Prussian Empire to post-war Germany.

Hitlers Kunsthändler. Hildebrand Gurlitt 1895-1956
By Meike Hoffmann & Nicola Kuhn
Published by C.H. Beck (

Fighting for a better world

Jean Ziegler is a master of spitting out headline-grabbing statements. For decades, the sociologist and former Swiss parliament member is campaigning for more fairness in this world. Human rights and food supply are still the most vital issues on Ziegler’s agenda.

Now the United Nations diplomat looks back on his battles, on enemies and allies, friends and partners. In “Der schmale Grat der Hoffnung. Meine gewonnenen und verlorenen Kämpfe und die, die wir gemeinsam gewinnen werden” (Chemins d’esperance. Ces combats gagnes, parfois perdus mais que nous remporterons ensemble), the 83-year-old expresses his frustration over UN-internal difficulties and tortuous negotiations with decision-makers all over the world but also points out at what has been achieved so far.

Ziegler still accuses the world’s leading food manufacturers for the disastrous living conditions of millions of people. In an interview with Austrian magazine profil, the controversial diplomat claimed: “The companies are the main culprits and we are their accomplices. We must stand up and force our governments to control the businesses.”

A few years ago, Ziegler deplored “mass destruction” in developing countries in his book “Destruction massive: Geopolitique de la faim” (Wir lassen sie verhungern. Die Massenvernichtung in der Dritten Welt). He told profil: “Stock market speculation with food and agricultural fuels must be prohibited.”

Der schmale Grat der Hoffnung
By Jean Ziegler
Published by C. Bertelsmann (

Populists under pressure

A few years ago Nina Horaczek wrote an acclaimed portrait of Freedom Party boss Heinz-Christian Strache. Already in 2000, Walter Ötsch presented his book on Austria’s most feared right-wing ideologist Jörg Haider.

Now the Falter journalist and the university lecturer decided to analyse the strategies of populists in general. “Populismus für Anfänger. Anleitung zur Volksverführung” can be seen as a 250-page guidebook on how to unmask the phoney tactics of populist politicians and their supporters on social media and in reality.

Horaczek and Ötsch warn from “dangerous developments” as populists prefer malicious generalisations based on certain deplorable incidents. According to the authors, it is always “us and them” for populists. Following a terrorist attack, all Muslims are radical Islamists endorsing terror while migrants are ensuring that elderly natives receive fewer social benefits.

Horaczek is the co-author of “Gegen Vorurteile. Wie du dich mit guten Argumenten gegen dumme Behauptungen wehrst” and a new book on Sebastian Kurz, the popular leader of the conservative ÖVP who is about to become the first Austria politician who manages to escape the long shadow cast by Haider.

In a recent interview with, the author hit out at populists’ mainstream opponents for lacking concepts. Instead, they would ensure that populists keep getting all the attention by reacting furiously to another outrageous quote.

Populismus für Anfänger. Anleitung zur Volksverführung
By Nina Horaczek & Walter Ötsch
Published by Westend (

Schobesberger stays, Salzburg sails set

Rapid bosses have managed to keep a crucial element of the team’s game from walking out and join a top foreign club.

Philipp Schobesberger is one of the league’s dangerous attacking midfielders. In what is considered as Rapid’s return to relevance in Austrian football, the 23-year-old has played an extremely important role. Providing several assists but also scoring goals, the national team star had the chance to leave the Green-Whites in favour of some side in Germany or another prestigious league. According to reports, Schobesberger had a number of different options.

But now Rapid director Fredy Bickel confirmed that Schobesberger’s contract has been extended until 2022, turning the young starlet into one of the club’s best-paid employees. Schobesberger’s agent controversially confirmed that defending champions Red Bull Salzburg signalled interest in signing his top client.

Rapid face Salzburg this Sunday (Allianz Stadion Vienna, 4.30pm). The Bulls beat Europa League opponents Vitoria Guimaraes 3-0 last night after having removed Sturm Graz from the top of the domestic league table on Sunday with a convincing 5-0 home win.

Marco Rose’s team made a name for themselves in the past few years by earning stratospheric transfer sums. After having forked out just 1.5 million Euros for Naby Keita a few years ago, the new leaders of the Austrian Bundesliga received 37 million Euros from RB Leipzig half a year ago. Salzburg earned remarkable sums by allowing further important players like Sadio Mane, Jonathan Soriano and Kevin Kampl to leave.

Stephan Auer meanwhile decided to extend his contract at Rapid. The defender has become an extremely reliable part of the starting eleven regardless whether coach Goran Djuricin nominates him as left-back, right-back or defending midfielder. Auer, 26, joined Rapid – who celebrated a 2-1 away victory against LASK last Saturday – from Austrian Bundesliga rivals Admira in 2015. His new contract expires in three and a half years. “He’s our most underrated player,” Djuricin said.

The Bundesliga after 15 of 36 rounds:

Red Bull Salzburg, 34 points
SK Sturm, 32
SK Rapid, 29
Admira, 22
LASK, 20
FK Austria, 19
Altach, 16
WAC, 14
Mattersburg, 14
St. Pölten, 4



Achim Achilles & Austria

Achim Achilles is, in many ways, a typical runner – ambitious and self-determined but also constantly seeking the solace of a post-training pint, with strong feelings of contempt towards slower joggers and all those Nordic walking enthusiast. However, he struggles in achieving his unrealistic goals and experiences the return of certain patterns – from good intentions concerning a healthier lifestyle quickly abandoned after New Year’s Day to the unbearable torture of a short run in the early morning. His columns are among the most popular sections on Spiegel Online, Germany’s top news website, and it seems as his books are getting funnier as “Sehnen lügen nicht. Neues vom Läufer der Herzen” ticks all the boxes. Achilles – which is the pseudonym of Hajo Schumacher – writes about the difficulties of organising a dinner party under consideration of all of his running mates’ frugal nutrition preferences. He also painstakingly describes the typical types of athletes participating in a competition – from the veteran to the gadget geek. “Sehnen lügen nicht. Neues vom Läufer der Herzen” also reveals how Achilles intended to focus on training during his holiday with the family before it all turned out to be undoable as South Tyrol is pretty mountainous (and stifling in summer).

Sehnen lügen nicht. Neues vom Läufer der Herzen
By Achim Achilles
Published by Heyne (

Fun facts about Austria and its inhabitants are the subject of a new pocket-sized publication by Holzbaum Verlag. “Unnützes Österreich Wissen” comes after several releases regarding Vienna, Hamburg and other and topics. On 120 pages, the authors list astonishing information, from people’s beer consumption to figures concerning monuments and popular tourist attractions. The book also includes funny detail aspects about traditional costume sported in the country’s different regions and background knowledge as far as the provinces’ coats of arms are regarded. The Toplitz Lake mystery, actor and environmental activist Arnold Schwarzenegger and composer Joseph Haydn are featured too.

Unnützes Österreich Wissen
Published by Holzbaum (

Couchsurfing & Cruyff

A young German journalist has visited one of the world’s most controversial countries to find out more about daily life there as political propaganda has the potential to dominate our perception. “Couchsurfing im Iran. Meine Reise hinter verschlossene Türen” is an exciting reality check of young people’s life in Iran between strict regulations and limitless possibilities of having a good time. Author Stephan Orth (“Opas Eisberg. Auf Spurensuche durch Grönland”) manages to break the pattern by creating a vivid portrait of a multi-faceted nation. His 240-page release comes with over 70 photographs and useful but also hilarious guidelines on how to pay or cross the street in Iran.

Couchsurfing im Iran. Meine Reise hinter verschlossene Türen
By Stephan Orth
Published by Malik (

Johan Cruyff always was the trump card of his team. Relying on his incredible technical skills and outstanding creativity, the Dutchman won eight national league trophies in his home country was a player. “Der König und sein Spiel. Johan Cruyff und der Weltfußball” tells his story. The late Elftal legend scored 85 goals in 227 appearances for Barcelona before securing four league championships as Barca manager. Dietrich Schulze-Marmeling portrays Cruyff not just as a footballer but also as a person who managed to handle almost unendurable pressure on the pitch. On 330 pages, the co-author of acclaimed football books like “Das goldene Buch des Deutschen Fußballs” and “Nur der BVB. Die Geschichte von Borussia Dortmund” analyses Cruyff’s tactics and ties with important companions.

Der König und sein Spiel. Johan Cruyff und der Weltfußball
By Dietrich Schulze-Marmeling
Published by Verlag Die Werkstatt (