Reflections on Going to the Kunsthalle in Mannheim, Germany
Through the steady drizzle
Waiting for the streetcar
Mutti brings me to the Kunsthalle
I’m nine or ten I think
We walk through rooms of massive sculpture
All “modern” hinting at form – essence – not realism
At last past all the art referred to by Hitler and his sycophants as
Afterkunst –Anal Art
We stop in front of the Manet – a giant canvas
The Execution of the Emperor Maximilian of Mexico
It is overwhelming, realistic and yet not
The hapless Max being shot by a group of soldiers
But one is in the background
Checking his rifle or reloading?
Why put him there?
Is he not sure about shooting poor Max?
Mutti makes a comment about how all autocrats should be shot
What did this Austrian relative of Napoleon III think?
What qualifications did he believe he had to rule the people of Mexico?
Naïve and perhaps innocent
Another hapless, feckless dictator disappears
Alas, many others not so naïve or innocent take his place
Strange that after sixty plus years I should think of it now.
Peter Balint is the son of a victim of the NAZI regime, whose father was killed on a death march from the Mauthausen, Austria concentration camp to the Gunskirchen, Austria concentration camp just a few weeks before the collapse and surrender of the Third Reich.
He was born in Budapest, Hungary and fled to Germany in 1946 with his mother and older sister, before coming to the United States at the age of 13.
He holds a BA degree in French, and served for three years on active duty as an officer in the US Army, leaving the service as a Captain in the Adjutant Generals Corps. He attended what is now Verizon, where he was at one time Managing Director-Europe based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Balint is currently working on his memoir of his years in Germany and the cultural disconnect experienced in making his transition to becoming a successful American. He cares deeply about freedom of expression and civil liberties.
The Ekphrastic Review
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