Lesson learnt

Given the landslide of books about Bruno Kreisky, is there any justification for another one? Ulrich Brunner looks back on the SPÖ icon’s era – and he does have a point.

Having worked as a newspaper and broadcasting journalist his whole life, most people associate the author with just one single incident. Brunner got a dressing-down from the legendary social democratic chancellor after a cabinet meeting in 1981 for just doing his job. Kreisky reprimanded Brunner as the then-television news reporter dared to question a highly disputable statement made by Kreisky.

However, the former SPÖ member is not seething with anger. “Lernen S’ Geschichte, Herr Reporter!” is a fair evaluation of the late chancellor’s difficult personality and remarkable political achievements. He examines why Kreisky struggled to come to terms with being Jewish. The ex-Arbeiter-Zeitung journalist explains why Kreisky’s imprisonments and exile had a significant impact on his decision-making during his 13 years in office. “Lernen S’ Geschichte, Herr Reporter!” also depicts when the gloves came off as Kreisky clashed with Hannes Androsch and Simon Wiesenthal.

“Lernen S’ Geschichte, Herr Reporter!” is a balanced and informative portrait of Austrian politics in the 1970s and 1980s. Unfortunately, Brunner felt the urge to spread some nonsense in his foreword (“The majority of SPÖ members want closed borders.”).

Lernen S’ Geschichte, Herr Reporter! Bruno Kreisky. Episoden einer Ära
By Ulrich Brunner
Published by Ecowin (www.ecowin.at)

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