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May 17, 2009

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hattie

Fascinating. For so many reasons. I don't remember how I knew this about him, but I did. Maybe he mentioned it. Really, I don't think his espionage activities were any big secret.
As you say, it's lucky he became a writer.
In retrospect,thogh I wonder if he continued to work for the CIA or west German intelligence. There were people of interest at the Deutsche Sommerschule am Pazifik in the 80's: Niki and Elke Stenzel.
We will probably never know. One thing for sure: the antagonism among the faculty at the Sommerschule went far beyond the usual rivalries among academics and intellecuals!

hattie

That's Niki Berwanger and Elke Stenzel.

David

Hattie,

What do you mean by "people of interest"?

hattie

Leftists. Elke taught at that time at the Freie Universität and Niki was the director of the Schiller archives. He was a journalist and editor of the German language newspaper in Rumania, a dedicated Socialist but enemy of the dictator Caucescau. He was in exile in West Germany and had received the prestigious post of director of the Schiller archives in, I believe, Marburg.
This was in the late 80's. Berwanger died shortly after that, which was a tragedy for many of us. Berwanger despised Kempowski. In truth, Kempowski was hard to like in person, being mostly dry and ironic with an undertone of cynicism, although I always respected him for his genius and also for his goodwill toward students. Like most of us, he was a mixed bag. But if you want to talk about a man with a heart and soul, that was Niki.
The atmosphere at this school was highly political and all this was going on over the heads of most of the students, who were not proficient in German. I'm not making any allegations. The truth will eventually out, one way or another.

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