The world has been horrified by the brutality of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) as it has moved across northern Iraq, beheading and burying alive anyone who resists its radical extremist form of Islam. In the eyes of some on the German Left, something this evil must be the work of the United States.
Karin Leukefeld, a "journalist" for the leftwing dailies Junge Welt and Neues Deutschland has exposed who is really behind ISIS. Spoiler alert - it is the twin bogeymen America and Israel:
Doch finden sich inzwischen auch im Internet zahlreiche Quellen, die bestätigen, daß es sich beim IS um ein Geheimdienstprojekt (CIA) handelt. So sagte Anfang Juli in Beirut Nabil Naeem, ein ehemaliger Kommandeur der Al-Qaida, im arabischen Nachrichtensender Al-Mayadeen, daß alle heutigen Einheiten des Netzwerks einschließlich IS derzeit für die CIA arbeiteten. Der »Islamische Staat« sei Teil einer Strategie für den Mittleren Osten, die »Hornissennest« genannt werde. Demnach sollen Dschihadisten aus aller Welt nach Syrien geschleust werden, um den Eindruck zu vermitteln, daß Israel von Feinden an allen seinen Grenzen umgeben sei.
(Numerous sources in the Internet confirm that IS is a secret project of the CIA. In early July Nabil Naeem, a former al-Qaida commander, told the news network in Beruit,Al-Mayadeen, that all of the current units, including IS, are now working for the CIA. The "Islamic State" is part of a Middle East strategy called "the Hornets' Nest". The plan is to funnel Jihadists from all over the the worlds into Syria in order to create the impression that Israel is surrounded by enemies.)
Both Junge Welt and Neues Deutschland continue to print articles blaming the United States for shooting down Malaysian Air flight MH17, and accusing the CIA of engineering a "fascist coup" in Kiev.
If you happen to wander down Minetta Street in New York City's West Village, you will come upon a plaque on an non-descript apartment building that reads:
"Here lived from 1942 to 1959 the German poet Mascha Kaléko (1907-1975)."
Who was Mascha Kaléko? And how did she end up in the heart of Greenwich Village? To answer this question I turned to Jutta Rosenkranz's fine 2012 biography Mascha Kaléko.
Mascha Kaléko was born in what is today Poland but picked up German as a young girl when her family moved to Frankfurt as WWI broke out. Eventually, they settled in Berlin, which became Mascha Kaléko's spiritual Heimat. She eventually went to work as one of the smart, young female office workers described so vividly in Irmgard Keun's 1932 best-seller Das kunstseidene Mädchen. But Mascha also had a precocious facility with Berliner dialect and started publishing her short, witty poems in the Vossische Zeitung and the Berliner Tageblatt. She became a fixture in the Romanisches Cafe, where all of the luminaries of Weimar culture - such as Kurt Tucholsky, Bertolt Brecht and Max Liebermann - would come and go.
She published her first volume of poetry - Lyrisches Stenogrammheft- in 1933, and it caught the attention of Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse and Alfred Polgar. The book sold well and Mascha Kaléko's career as a writer was taking off. Her short, witty, immediately accessible poems tinged with melancholy reflected perfectly the urban reality of the late Weimar Republic. Lyrisches Stenogrammheft is "leichte Poesie" - "light poetry" - in the tradition of Christian Morgenstern and Joachim Ringelnatz. Unfortunatly, we don't have a tradition of "leichte Poesie" in American literature, other than negative examples like Ogden Nash. Mascha Kaléko's work is also similar to Erich Kästner's Gebrauchslyrik - poetry meant to be "useful". If the Zeitroman is the dominant literary form of the Weimar Republik, Lyrisches Stenogrammheft represents the equivalent form in poetry - Zeitlyrik.
Mascha Kaléko seemed destined for a brilliant career as a writer and poet in Berlin. But she was a Jew, and after 1934 it was no longer possible for her to publish her work in Germany. It is instructive to compare Mascha Kaléko's fate with that of another Jewish poet in Berlin- Gertrud Kolmar. Gertrud Kolmar was a visionary poet with a unique lyric voice who also was coming into her own as the Weimar Republic collapsed. Her book Die Frau und die Tiere was pulped by the Nazis in 1938. Shortly after that she was forced into slave labor and was eventually murdered in Auschwitz. Mascha Kaléko managed to leave Germany with her second husband Chemjo Vinaver and young son just weeks before Kristallnacht. Like many German exile intellectuals, they first tried to market their talents in Hollywood (see my review of Pazifik Exil). When that failed, the family ended up in a fifth floor walk-up on Minetta Street in Manhattan, where they stayed for the next 17 years. Mascha and Chemjo eventually obtained US citizenship.
If I have a quibble with Jutta Rosenkranz's book, it is that she devotes little space with Mascha Kaléko's New York years. We learn little about how the family lived, how they viewed America. There are twice as many pages covering the poet's six-month "comeback" tour of Germany in 1956. Mascha Kaléko's "comeback" stalled; her whimsical and witty style never gained traction in a Germany traumatized by war. Still, she was offered the Fontane Prize in 1959, which would have brought some recognition, but turned it down because a member of the jury - Hans-Egon Holthusen - had been in the SS.
In 1959 Mascha Kaléko and Chemjo moved to Jerusalem- more for the sake of Chemjo's career. It was not a happy move for Mascha: she spoke no Hebrew and felt isolated in Israel. Still, she and her husband kept their US passports - "just in case." America meant freedom and security.
Mascha Kaléko outlived both her husband - Chemjo had been her anchor - and her son Steven. The last years were difficult, as Mascha battled depression and myriad health issues. She died in relative obscurity in 1975 (in Zurich). Today there is growing interest in her work. Several of her books of poetry remain in print.
Ich werde fortgehn im Herbst
von Mascha Kaléko (aus Heute ist morgen schon gestern)
Ich werde fortgehn im Herbst wenn die grauen Trauerwolken meiner Jugend mich mahnen. Keine Fahnen werden flattern keine Böller knattern Krähen werden aus dem Nebel schrein Schweigen, Schweigen, Schweigen hüllt mich ein. Ich werde gehen wie ich kam Allein.
For those of you who have already binged on the complete episodes of Breaking Bad and are looking for something to fill the void, I can recommend Generation War - which is the English title of the German mini-series Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter("Our Mothers, Our Fathers"). Generation War,comprised of three episodes of 90 minutes each, just became available on Netflix Instant Play. The series was a huge hit on German television, attracting more than 7 million viewers each night - phenomenal numbers for the German market.
Generation War is the saga of five friends in Berlin who meet for one last farewell celebration on the eve of the outbreak of war in 1941. We follow their respective journeys over the next five years, as their youthful idealism and optimism turns into despair and desolation. From the title, it is apparent that these five are meant to represent the fate of an entire generation. None of the characters is a member of the Nazi party, although they all naively believe (at first) in the propaganda put out by the party. One of the five is a Jew who narrowly escapes the Auschwitz death camp. There are some unbelievable and absurd plot twists as Generation War struggles to keep all five of the principal characters in view.
The series has been roundly criticized for being bad history, but I have to say that Generation War is never dull and for the most part is highly entertaining. The acting is superb, and we grow to care deeply about each of the five, even as they become morally compromised in their efforts to survive a terrible war. The production is also of very high quality.
American critics have sometimes called Generation War Germany's Band of Brothers, the 2001 HBO series that follow one American combat unit in World War II. But Band of Brothers often focused on combat heroics. There is nothing heroic in the war scenes in Generation War - all superbly done. They are visions of unmitigated- and, ultimately, meaningless - horror.
"Während die deutsche Linke Russland gegenüber Nachsicht übt, geißelt sie jeden Fehltritt von Israel aufs Schärfste. Warum ist das so?"
('While the German Left has a great deal of understanding for Russia, it castigates every misstep by Israel in the strongest of terms. Why is that?")
She argues that the German Left has a sentimental attachment to Russia, harkening back to the old Soviet Union. The fact that Russia today is a right-wing kleptocracy, with no freedom of the press, held together (tenuously) by a crude ethnic nationalistic fervor apparently has little impact on left-wing pro-Putin sentiments:
Die Sowjetunion – für die Linken immer noch ein wenig heimlicher Hoffnungsträger gegen den bösen US-Imperialismus – war im Kalten Krieg am Ende den Amerikanern im Wettrüsten unterlegen. Ohnmächtig musste Russland zudem die Interventionen der USA auf dem Balkan und später im Irak und Afghanistan hinnehmen, die es ebenso kritisierte wie viele Linke im Westen.
(For the Left the Soviet Union was always something of a secret source of hope against the evil US imperialism, and at the end of the cold war it lost the arms race with the Americans. Russia had to stand by powerless while the US intervened in the Balkans and later in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Left shared its criticisms of those misadventures.)
Was in Wirklichkeit gedanklich synchronisiert wird, ist Israel mit den USA. Das kleine Land dient aus dieser Sicht als verlängerter Arm der Weltmacht in der Region – und ist somit ein vermeintlicher Bestandteil einer imperialen Politik, die ihre Interessen bedingungslos gegen Schwächere durchsetzt. Israel-Kritik ist immer auch zu einem substanziellen Teil purer unreflektierter Antiamerikanismus. So ist das Denken der Linken aufgeteilt in Stark und Schwach, und es gilt a priori, die Schwachen zu unterstützen, denn sie sind "die Guten"...
(In their minds Israel is paired with the US. In this perspective, the tiny country serves as the extended arm of the super-power in the region - and therefore represents an imperialist policy which exerts its interests to the detriment of the weaker group. Critique of Israel is in large measure pure unreflected anti-Americanism. The thinking of the left is split into strong and weak, and it is absolutely necessary to be on the side of the weak, then they are "the good guys"...)
Yes, anti-Americanism is at the heart of the "Putinization" and anti-Semitism of the Left. It is an automatic reflex. I'm reminded of an experience I had when the first Gulf War broke out in January 1991 and I happened to be in Hamburg. I was confronted by a demonstrator carrying a sign "Stoppt den US-Imperialismus!" I asked the young demonstrator if he had also protested when Saddam Hussein brutally invaded Kuwait the previous August. His answer?
BERLIN (AP) — The leader of Germany's Jewish community says he is shocked by an "explosion of evil and violent hatred of Jews" shown by protesters at pro-Gaza demonstrations across the country The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, said Monday that "we would have never in our lives have expected that anti-Semitic slogans of the worst and most primitive kind could be chanted on Germany's streets."
Since the outbreak of violence in Israel and Gaza, there have been demonstrations both for and against Israel in Germany. During some of those protests, pro-Gaza protesters have chanted "gas the Jews" and other anti-Semitic slogans.
At a pro-Gaza protest in Berlin last week, an Israeli tourist was verbally attacked and had to be protected by police.
Who are these demonstrators, protesting against Israel's actions in Gaza? For the most part, it appears to be an unholy alliance of Islamists, Neo-Nazis, and Leftists. The outbreak of violence in Israel and Gaza has been a convenient excuse to allow for the latent anti-Semitism to explode in the open:
Die Parolen, die derzeit auf deutschen Straßen zu hören sind, kennzeichnen eine neue Dimension antisemitischen Hasses. Der latent immer vorhandene Antisemitismus (Forscher sehen ihn bei 20 bis 25 Prozent der deutschen Bevölkerung), bricht sich zwar bei einer Minderheit, aber so aggressiv und offen Bahn wie vielleicht nie in der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik.
(The slogans that we can hear in German streets today indicate a new dimension of anti-Semitic hate. The latent anti-Semitism (researchers estimate 20 to 25% of the German population is anti-Semitic) has broken into the open in a minority, but not to such an extreme perhaps in the history of the Federal Republic.)
How ironic that neo-Nazis are coming together with Muslim extremists to make common cause. Usually, the NPD describes the Muslims in Germany as an alien bacillus, infecting the pure German Volk. But when it comes to vocally hating Jews, Muslims and neo-Nazis are bosom-buddies.
And the leftist pro-Gaza demonstrators? For two years Bashar al-Assad has been slaughtering tens of thousands of Arab citizens of Syria and not one protest from Die LINKE or other left-wing group. Why the solidarity with Palestine but indifference to Syria? Sybille Berg made this observation in her recent column in Der Spiegel:
Die Linke, falls es so etwas heute noch gibt, ... werden den Juden nie verzeihen, dass sie keine Opfer mehr sein wollen.
(The Left, insofar as something like it exists today, can never forgive the Jews for refusing to be victims any longer.)
Malaysian Airlines Flight LH17 crashed in the eastern Ukraine, The evidence mounts that it was brought down by a Russian-made missile launched by Russian separatists in a region under their control, possibly with the support of the Russian military. You would think that this development would demoralize the legions of Putin-Verehrer ("Putin admirers") in Germany. You would be wrong, however.
The mainstream press outlets in Germany have done a good job on reporting the facts as they emerge. But many commenters in the reader forums and many bloggers have latched on to wild conspiracy theories - usually claiming that the event was somehow orchestrated by the United States. Why? To force the EU into accepting tougher sanctions against Russia and/or to start a war ("die Amerikaner sind imperialistische Kriegshetzer")/
Typical reader comment found on the Web site of Die Welt:
die Russen kann man unbedenklich ausschließen, die haben keinen Grund in es wäre ihnen klar, dass sie, wie es auch gerade geschieht, verantwortlich gemacht werden. Die Ukrainische Armee und die amerikanischen und polnischen Milizen an deren Seite hätten die Möglichkeit und Gründe.
(you can exclude the Russians without reservation, they don't have any reason to do this and they know that they would be held responsible. The Ukrainian army and their Polish and American militia supporters have the capability and the motive.)
Klar Putin wars wieder. Natürlich nicht die USA, die die Ukraine destabilisiert haben mit 5 Milliarden Dollar und den Putsch finanziert haben, nein sicherlich nicht. Der böse böse Putin hat auf der Krim, die schon immer russisch war, eine demokratische Abstimmung vorgenommen, wie konnte er nur. Laut USA versteht man unter Demokratie das Werfen von Bomben und Töten von Menschen.
Wenn Morgen in China ein Sack Reis umfällt, wars wahrscheinlich auch Putin. Bedankt euch lieber bei Putin, ohne ihn hätten wir schon den 3. Weltkrieg. Seiner Geduld haben wir es zu verdanken, dass er auf die Provokationen der USA/NATO/EU bisher nicht eingegangen ist. Aus diesem Grund steht Deutschland zu 90 % hinter Putin und Russland.
(Of course it was Putin. Of course the USA is innocent, even though the destablized the Ukraine with $5 billion and financed the putsch - of course it couldn't be them. That evil, evil Putin held a democratic eleciton in Crimea, which was always Russian - how could he do such a thing? The US understands democracy as dropping bombs and killing people.
If a sack of rice falls over tomorrow in China it is probably Putin's fault. We should be grateful to Putin, without him there would be World War III. He has been patient and up to now not giving in to the provocations of the USA/NATO/EU. Because of this 90% of Germans stand behind Putin and Russia.)
There are thousands of similar comments I could quote from Welt, Spiegel, SZ, Zeit, etc. Some of the blogs are equally hysterical in blaming the US for the tragedy. This comment on the left-wing blog "Spiegelfechter" compares the US to the Third Reich:
Und der Absturz, Abschuss, Bombenanschlag, Elektronikanschlag, Qualitätsproblem-GAU oder was auch immer es war, wird von den USA gerade jetzt zur Durchsetzung ihrer geostrategischen Ziele aus- und benutzt. Dabei finde ich es gar nicht so wichtig, ob die USA selbst hinter dem Absturz stecken, was gar nicht so unwahrscheinlich ist, oder komplett unschuldig sind – es wird haargenau dasselbe gemacht, was damals nach 911 erfolgreich weltweit durchgezogen wurde. Auf den Leichen nicht von knapp 300 Menschen, sondern auf den Leichen von akkumuliert 100.000enden. Es ist einfach ganz objektiv so, dass die USA in der Summe mehr Kriege und mehr Tote als jede andere Nation verursacht haben. Sie können da durchaus auch mit dem Dritten Reich verglichen werden, welches aus anderen Motiven ebenfalls Menschenverachtung praktizierte.
Die Antwortauf die Frage »Wem nützt es?« liegtebenfallsauf der Hand: den USA. Das total bankrotteSchuldenimperiumbrauchteinenKrieg, um von seiner prekären Lageabzulenkenund um seine Schuldenzuannullieren. Zwaristauchdas natürlich nochkeinBeweis – aberzumindesteinplausiblerAnfangsverdacht.
DasneuerlicheVerschwindeneinesMalaysian-FlugesunddasAuftaucheneines Trümmer- undLeichenfeldesauf »separatistischem Boden« spielen den Kriegsinteressen der USA in die Hände. Es riechtnacheinerProvokationundeinem False-Flag-Anschlag, wie er schon lange geplant wird. Mit 80 Kindernund 20 Amerikanern an Bord wurde die Maschineperfekt ausgewählt, um die USA und die Weltöffentlichkeit psychologisch in den Konflikthineinzuziehen.
(Who benefits? The answer is crystal clear: the USA. The completely bankrupt debtor empire needs a war to distract from its precarious situaiton and wipe outits debts. That is not proof - but a plausible suspicion. The recent disappearance of a Malaysian flight and the appearance of wreckage and strewn bodies on "separatist soil" works in favor of the war interests of the US. I smells like a provocation and a False-Flag attack that has been planned for a long time. With 80 children and 20 Americans (sic!) on board the plane was perfectly chosen in order to draw the US and global opinion into the conflict.)
(By the way, the same publication accused the US of shooting down Malaysian Airline Flight MH370 during a missile test launch that went astray.)
Barack Obama, der einstige Hoffnungsträger, entwickelt sich mehr und mehr zu einer Ausgeburt des Schreckens für die ganze Welt. Waren die Bush-Präsidenten schon furchtbar, scheint er sie inzwischen zu übertreffen. Er wird uns am 4. Juni vor einem amerikanischen Kampfjet auf polnischem Territorium präsentiert und warnt Russland vor einer militärischen Intervention gegen westliche Staaten, für die es jedoch keinerlei Anzeichen gibt.
(Barack Obama, at onetime the hope for the world, has turned more and more into a monster of horror for the entire world. While the Bush presidencies were awful, he has now surpassed them. On June 4 he stood before a US fighter jet on Polish terrority and warns Russia against military intervention against western nation, for which there are zero indications.)
Are these minority views in Germany? Yes, but a vocal minority which each day grows louder.
In the next days and weeks, as further evidence is presented to the world concerning Russia's involvement in the MH17 tragedy, these folks will simply see this as further proof that the United States brought down the plane.
Things have gone from bad to worse in German - US relations with the discovery that two low-level German officials were spying on behalf of the CIA. It is naive to think that nations do not spy on each other, but in this case the spies were caught and it came after an acrimonious year of leaks by Edward Snowden. To make matters worse, the information passed along by the spies was of little or now value.
The conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - normally favorably disposed to the US - is infuriated by this latest scandal:
Über einen Zwist zwischen Deutschland und den Vereinigten Staaten können sich nur die Feinde des Westens freuen. Denn hier streiten und lähmen sich enge Verbündete, die – bei allen Meinungs- und Mentalitätsunterschieden – auf vielen Feldern ähnliche oder gar gleiche Ziele und Interessen verfolgen. Und die immer behaupten, ihr Bündnis, ja ihre „Freundschaft“ gründe auf einem stabilen Fundament von gemeinsamen Werten und Überzeugungen. Daran aber wachsen auf beiden Seiten des Atlantiks die Zweifel, und das ist der eigentliche Sprengstoff, der in dieser Affäre steckt.
("The West's enemies are the only ones who will be delighted over a spat between Germany and the US. Because it means quarrelling and paralysis between two close allies who - despite all the differences of opinion and mentality - share similar or even identical goals and interests in many areas. And who always claim that their alliance, their 'friendship', is based on a stable foundation of shared values and beliefs. But doubts about that are growing on both sides of the Atlantic, and that is the real explosive factor in this affair.)
I am glad that the author (Berthold Kohler) wrote about "doubts growing on both sides of the Atlantic." For there are real doubts about Germany's commitment to the West, We see columnists for Germany's leading news magazine openly calling for appeasement with Russia. We see one former chancellor expressing sympathy with Putin for Russia's aggression in the Crimea, which another former chancellor travels to St. Petersburg to celebrate Vladimir Putin's birthday even as Russian troops are invading a sovereign European nation. We see Germany's largest opposition party in the Bundestag condemn Nato and the United States and pledge allegiance to Putin's ethnic nationalist policies.
So yes, the spying scandal is another self-inflicted wound by the United States. But there is a growing uneasiness with som internal trends in Germany.
Norbert Müller, a representative of Die Linke (Left Party) in the Bundestag, calls Joachim Gauck a "repulsive warmonger" on his Facebook page ("widerlichen Kriegshetzer"). Müller's colleague in the Left Party, Inge Höger, repeats the charge on her Web Site. What was it that the President could have said to provoke such a reaction?
In an interview on German radio Gauck made the following statement:
"Es gab früher eine gut begründete Zurückhaltung der Deutschen, international sich entsprechend der Größe oder der wirtschaftlichen Bedeutung Deutschlands einzulassen. Das kann ich verstehen! Aber heute ist Deutschland eine solide und verlässliche Demokratie und ein Rechtsstaat. Es steht an der Seite der Unterdrückten. Es kämpft für Menschenrechte. Und in diesem Kampf für Menschenrechte oder für das Überleben unschuldiger Menschen ist es manchmal erforderlich, auch zu den Waffen zu greifen."
(In the past it was understandable that despite Germany's size and economic power it would react with restraint on the international stage. I understand that. But Germany today is a solid and reliable democracy. It stands on the side of the oppressed. It fights for human rights. And in this struggle for human rights or the survival of innocents it is sometimes necessary to take up arms.)
Germany, as a member of NATO, is bound by Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, which states that an attack on one member of NATO is an attack on the entire alliance. So, in a sense, Gauck was simply pointing out Germany's obligation as a member of NATO.
It is true that the Left Party is virulently pro-Putin and anti-NATO. Members of Die LINKE cheered as Putin annexed Crimea, and protested when Ukraine defended itself against pro-Russian separatists in the eastern region of the country. Never in a million years would members of the Left Party defend NATO members Estonia or Lithuania- much less Poland - if Putin decided to "come to the assistance" of the ethnic Russians in those countries. Obediance to Moscow is in the party's DNA, going back to its roots in the former East Germany (back then, however, it was not so reflexively pacifist: it had no problem in using military force against its own citizens).
Gauck grew up in Soviet-occupied East Germany (DDR) and his father survived Stalin's GULAG. So he might have a different perpective on Russia.
In the end, if push came to shove and Germany was under threat from Russian troops or ISIS bombs, Gauck's pacifist critics know (but never openly admit) that the "Great Imperialist Satan" - the United States- would defend it.
The other day Robert Misik had a short piece in Die Tageszeitung - Warum sind viele Linke so peinlich? (Why are so many on the Left so embarassing?) - in which he pointed out the tendency by many on the Left to chase after absurd conspiracy theories.
A good example can be found in the left-learning, pro-Putin blog NachDenkSeiten, which often publishes as fact any bizarre conspiracy involving the United States. Recently, Jens Berger of the NachDenkSeiten uncovered a sinister plot by the giant fund manager BlackRock to acquire major stakes in German industry:
Nur ein gutes Drittel der Anteile an den Dax-Unternehmen wird von Inländern gehalten. Ein weiteres Drittel gehört Personen und vor allem Finanzkonzernen aus den USA und Großbritannien, während das letzte Drittel sich auf den Rest der Welt verteilt. Die Spinne im Netz der Beteiligungen an den Dax-Unternehmen ist dabei ein Unternehmen, dessen Name wohl nur Insidern bekannt ist – BlackRock. BlackRock ist an jedem Dax-Konzern beteiligt, an 80 Prozent der Dax-Konzerne sogar mit 5 Prozent und mehr, bei mehr als der Hälfte der Dax-Konzerne ist BlackRock sogar der größte Anteilseigner. Doch wer ist BlackRock.
(Only about one third of the shares of DAX-companies are owned by Germans. Another third is held by individuals and mostly financial institutions from the US and Great Britain, while the remainder is distributed throughout the rest of the world. The spider in the web of ownership of DAX-companies is a firm that is known only to insiders-BlackRock. BlackRock owns a piece of every DAX-company, and owns 5% or more of 80%, and in more than half of all DAX-companies BlackStone is the largest single investor. But who is BlackRock?)
BlackRock is the world's largest asset management firm, with over $4.4 Trillion under management. I suppose if you survey the American S&P 500 companies you would find similar ownership stakes by BlackRock.
The thing is, "BlackRock" doesn't own the shares. The shares are owned by the hundreds of different funds in the BlackRock portfolio, which, in turn, are owned by the individual investors. BlackRock will invest in DAX (and FTSE and DOW) index companies, as long as the securities are aligned with the overall performance and investment strategies of the individual funds. I happen to own shares in several BlackRock funds. If I decide to sell my shares in those funds, the fund manager needs to sell the underlying corporate securities to cover my position. BlackRock has no say in whether I hold on to or elect to sell my fund shares.
Jens Berger directs his focus on BlackRock CEO Larry Fink as a mysterious, sinister figure who deliberately keeps a low profile as he quietly builds his global empire. Fink's reliance on algorithms for risk management is seen as profoundly "undemocratic":
Spielte bei den Cowboys und den Investmentbankern noch die Gier die entscheidende Rolle, so ist nun eine in Algorithmen geschmiedete betriebswirtschaftliche Logik das Maß aller Dinge – Widerstand zwecklos. Noch nie waren die Entscheidungsprozesse über wirtschaftliche Prozesse undemokratischer als heute in der BlackRock-Ära.
(Whereas greed was the decisive factor previously for the cowboys and investment bankers, now everything is driven by the logic of the algorithm - it is pointless to resist. Never has the decision-making process concerning economic process less democratic than they are today in the BlackRock era.)
But as CEO, Larry Fink has no control over how the shares in BlackRock funds are voted. He simply has the authority to hire and fire BlackRock fund managers. BlackRock is owned by institutional and individual investors, with a minority stake by PNC, a regional bank. What is BlackRock's "agenda" other than maximizing the returns for individual investors, who can move their money in a hearbeat to any of thousands of other asset managers?
One final point: BlackRock has a large German operation and actively sells its products to both individual and institutional investors in Germany. So at least some of the BlackRock money invested in DAX-companies is coming from home-grown German investors - not the scary foreigners feared by Jens Berger. Also, BlackRock is a large provider of Index Funds - passively managed funds that track the performance of specific indices. For example, the iShares DAX UCITS ETF (DE) invests in a basket of German equities that mirror the overall DAX performance, whether the DAX goes up or down. This is beneficial to all investors in DAX-companies since it provides stability and liquidity in the market. I am a huge fan of index funds since a) the expense ratio is a tiny fraction of that of actively managed funds, and b) very few actively managed funds outperform the major stock indices.
BlackRock is not secretly taking over German companies or disrupting the German equities market. Jens Berger needs to use his imagination to come up with other anti-American conspiracy theories - something as creative as The Great Amikäfer Conspiracy.