Thursday, April 23, 2015

How Orwellian : Joschka Fischer & Putzgruppe

The NYTimes in 2001 says about Joschka Fischer (former Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany under Gerhard Schröder) :
The minister says he has never hidden his leftist past, always opposed terrorist violence and apologizes for having been a ''street fighter.''
''Should I distance myself from the struggle over Vietnam or Chile?'' Mr. Fischer asks in a conversation with a handful of journalists. ''No. What I must distance myself from is being a street fighter.'' But, he adds, to compare freedom fighters with rightists or Nazi revisionists -- as has happened here of late -- ''is simply grotesque.''

Joschka Fischer, Hans-Joachim Klein and other putzgruppe putzes beating/freedom fighting German police officer Rainer Marx

Above is Joschka Fischer (former Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany under Gerhard Schröder), Hans-Joachim Klein and other putzes beating/freedom fighting German police officer Rainer Marx.

"Putz," as everyone knows, refers to a stupid person and is Yiddish for "dick."  Although this seems entirely appropriate, it turns out Putzgruppe is German for "cleaning squad" while the first syllable being an acronym for Proletarische Union für Terror und Zerstörung, "Proletarian Union for Terror and Destruction"

Fun fact : Joschka Fischer harbored members of the Red Army Faction and lent his car to Hans-Joachim Klein and Klein used the car to smuggle guns that were latter used to assassinate Hessian Secretary of Commerce Heinz-Herbert Karry. The German wiki page for Putzgruppe mentions they used molotov cocktails more than once including burning (or freedom fighting, if Herr Fischer would prefer) policeman Jürgen Weber over 60% of his body.

When he says the comparison to rightists or Nazis is "simply grotesque" I think he really means "accurate but not flattering."

I wonder if the NYTimes might want to rethink paraphrasing without qualification "always opposed terrorist violence" about a member of a group that included the word "Terror" in its name.

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