Anetta Kahane

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Anetta Kahane (2014)

Anetta Kahane (born 1954) is a German journalist, left-wing activist and the founder of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation. She is an activist against antisemitism, racism and right wing extremism. She has admitted to being an unofficial collaborator of the former East German secret police (Stasi).

Family background and youth[edit]

Kahanes parents Max Kahane and Doris Kahane (born Machol) were secular Jews and fled from Nazi Germany in 1933. Max Kahane fought in the Spanish Civil War against General Francisco Franco and later in the French Resistance against the Nazis. In a prison camp of the Vichy Regime he met Doris Machol, who was also active in the Resistance.[1] They married in 1945, moved to East Berlin, became loyal citizens of the German Democratic Republic and members of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany.[2]

Kahane is the youngest of three children of her parents. Following Max Kahanes jobs as a journalist for the east German news agency and state media, the family lived in New Delhi (India) from 1957 to 1960, in Rio de Janeiro in 1963.[3] As other Holocaust survivors, her parents did not speak about their persecution experience, but their psychological traumas influenced Kahane.[4] In school Kahane confessed to be a Jew, against her parents will.[5]

Student and Stasi member[edit]

Since 1974 Kahane studied Latin American studies in Rostock.[6] That year the Stasi questioned her about the Republikflucht of her best friend. She accepted to work as an unofficial collaborator.[7] She met a Stasi officer six times a year on average and reported her observations about West Germans and other foreigners.[8] At first the Stasi noted that she incriminated friends and other students, but soon they noted her to be unreliable and hard to manage.[9]

Since 1979 she continued her studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin and worked as a teacher for Portuguese language.[10] In 1979 and 1981 she worked as a translator for GDR engineering projects in São Tomé and Príncipe and Mozambique, where she observed the German officials behaving racist and condescending towards the inhabitants.[11] In 1982 she cancelled her Stasi commitment.[12] She lost her permission to visit other countries,[9] her job at the university and most of her translator jobs.[13]

From 1983 to at least 1988 the Stasi observed her.[14] In 1986 she applied to leave the GDR. In 1990, when the GDR had dissolved, she confessed her Stasi commitment to her friends, but decided not to publicize it.[15]

Activism[edit]

Since 1988 Kahane was active in the civil rights movement of the GDR opposition and supported foreigners and minorities. She participated in the East German Round Table.[16] In 1990 she was appointed to be the first and last official for foreigners of the East Berlin Senate.[17] After witnessing street violence and attacks on Sinti, Romani people, Africans and Vietnamese, she engaged constantly against daily racism. She pressured the city leadership to transform former military barracks into housing for east european migrants and refugees.[18]

Since 1989 Kahane initiated many associations for issues of foreigners and became a respected expert for this topic. Because racist violence especially in east Germany increased, in 1998 Kahane initiated the Amadeu Antonio Foundation as an organised effort to combat xenophobia, antisemitism and right-wing extremism. In 2012 she was awarded the Moses Mendelssohn prize for her work, donated by the Senate of Berlin. In 2015, she followed an invitation of the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection to take part in a task force against hate speech on social media.[19]

Kahane is a regular columnist for Berliner Zeitung[20] and Frankfurter Rundschau.[21]

Campaign[edit]

In 2002 Kahanes Stasi past became known. Since then nationalists, antisemites and right wing extremists use her past to discredit her present work and the Foundation. They stereotyped her as a Jewish conspirator, spy and Bolshevik communist.[22] The attacks in social media and hate mails escalated and include death threats, accompanied by physical attacks on the offices of the Foundation.[23] A terrorist plot against the Foundation was discovered in 2017.[24]

In her autobiography of 2004 Kahane reports in detail about her Stasi past[25] and admits to be very ashamed of it.[26] In 2012 on her behalf the political scientist Helmut Müller-Enbergs explored the Stasi documents about her case. He found no indications, that her reports caused any damage to observed persons, but he did not exclude disadvantages her reports might have caused in general. He also found that she received no awards or other advantages.[9]

Publications[edit]

  • Ich durfte, die anderen mussten. In: Vincent von Wroblewsky (ed): Zwischen Thora und Trabant: Juden in der DDR. Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin 1993, ISBN 978-3-7466-7011-9, p. 124–144 (German)
  • Ich sehe was, was du nicht siehst: meine deutschen Geschichten. Rowohlt, Berlin 2004, ISBN 978-3-87134-470-1 (German)

Awards[edit]

  • 1991: Theodor-Heuss-Medallie[27]
  • 2002: Moses-Mendelssohn-Preis of Berlin[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ulla Plener (Hrsg.): Frauen aus Deutschland in der französischen Résistance. Eine Dokumentation. Edition Bodoni, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-929390-90-6, S. 284
  2. ^ Anetta Kahane: Ich sehe was, was du nicht siehst, Berlin 2004, S. 36
  3. ^ Anetta Kahane: Vorsitzende Amadeu Antonio Stiftung im Gespräch mit Jochen Kölsch alpha-Forum, br.de, April 24, 2014, PDF-Datei
  4. ^ Anetta Kahane: Ich sehe was, was du nicht siehst, Berlin 2004, S. 34–44; Gerald Beyrodt: Stumme Ausgrenzung. Juden in der DDR. Deutschlandfunk Kultur, November 6, 2009]; Antisemitismus in Deutschland. Anetta Kahane im Interview mit Gerald Beyrodt. Deutschlandfunk, November 9, 2017
  5. ^ Anetta Kahane: Ich sehe was, was du nicht siehst, Berlin 2004, S. 52
  6. ^ Zur Person: Kahane, Anetta. BR alpha, April 1, 2014
  7. ^ Heribert Prantl: Anetta Kahane. Den Mond nach Berlin holen. In: Heribert Prantl: Was ein Einzelner vermag. Politische Zeitgeschichten. Süddeutsche Zeitung Edition, München 2016, ISBN 978-3-86497-352-9, S. 205
  8. ^ Anetta Kahane: Ich sehe was, was du nicht siehst, Berlin 2004, S. 98
  9. ^ a b c Helmut Müller-Enbergs: Zusammenfassende gutachterliche Stellungnahme zu Frau Anetta Kahane und die DDR-Staatssicherheit. Amadeu Antonio Stiftung, November 26, 2014
  10. ^ Anetta Kahane: Vorsitzende Amadeu Antonio Stiftung im Gespräch mit Jochen Kölsch alpha-Forum, br.de, April 24, 2014
  11. ^ Martin Jander: Rezension zu: Kahane, Anetta: Ich sehe was, was du nicht siehst. Meine deutschen Geschichten. Berlin 2004. In: H-Soz-Kult, November 3, 2004
  12. ^ Peter Schneider: Anetta Kahane und die Amadeu Antonio Stiftung. In: Peter Schneider: An der Schönheit kann's nicht liegen, München 2016, S. 232
  13. ^ Anetta Kahane im Gespräch mit Jochen Kölsch. In: Bayerischer Rundfunk, alpha-Forum, April 1, 2014
  14. ^ Helmut Müller-Enbergs: Ergänzung zur zusammenfassenden gutachterlichen Stellungnahme zu Frau Anetta Kahane und die DDR-Staatssicherheit. (Amadeu Antonio Stiftung, Januar 17, 2017)
  15. ^ Peter Schneider: Anetta Kahane und die Amadeu Antonio Stiftung. In: Peter Schneider: An der Schönheit kann’s nicht liegen. Berlin – Porträt einer ewig unfertigen Stadt. München 2016, S. 234
  16. ^ Teilnehmerliste der Sitzung AG-Ausländerfragen am 2. Jan. 1990. Bundesarchiv
  17. ^ Andrea Böhm: "...enorm viel Verständnis auch für die Deutschen". taz Berlin, May 10, 1990
  18. ^ Heribert Prantl: Anetta Kahane. Den Mond nach Berlin holen. In: ders.: Was ein Einzelner vermag. Politische Zeitgeschichten. München 2016, S. 200f
  19. ^ Gemeinsam gegen Hassbotschaften – Task Force stellt Ergebnisse vor. bmjv.de, December 15, 2015
  20. ^ "Articles by Anetta Kahane". Berliner Zeitung.
  21. ^ "Anetta Kahane alle News und Informationen - Frankfurter Rundschau". Archived from the original on 2016-01-12. Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  22. ^ Britta Schellenberg: Die Rechtsextremismus-Debatte: Charakteristika, Konflikte und ihre Folgen. 2. Auflage, Springer VS, Wiesbaden 2013, ISBN 978-3-658-04176-2, p. 208 f. and Footnote 843
  23. ^ Hanna Spanhel: Rechtsextremismus. Wenn Helfer Opfer rechter Übergriffe werden. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung, April 26, 2016; Angriffe gegen Amadeu-Antonio-Stiftung: Volle Kanne Hass. In: Tagesspiegel, August 3, 2016; Konrad Litschko: Drohungen im Netz, Kleber an der Tür. taz, 25. April 2016]
  24. ^ Wolfram Wette: Franco A. und die anderen, Zeit Online, Mai 12, 2017
  25. ^ Offene Worte zur IM-Tätigkeit. Tagesspiegel, March 24, 2004
  26. ^ Peter Schneider: Anetta Kahane und die Amadeu Antonio Stiftung. In: Peter Schneider: An der Schönheit kann’s nicht liegen. Berlin – Porträt einer ewig unfertigen Stadt. München 2016, S. 231
  27. ^ "Theodor Heuss Preis 1991" (PDF). Theodor-heuss-stiftung.de (in German). Retrieved 2016-07-16.
  28. ^ "MOSES-MENDELSSOHN-PREIS 2002 AN ANETTA KAHANE". Berlin.de (in German). Retrieved 2016-07-16.