Das Gedicht

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EditorAnton G. Leitner
Former editorsLudwig Steinherr (1993)
Markus Bundi (2008)
Friedrich Ani (2009)
Ulrich Johannes Beil (2010)
Arne Rautenberg (2011)
Matthias Politycki (2012)
Michael Augustin (2013)
Hellmuth Opitz (2014)
Kerstin Hensel (2015)
Fitzgerald Kusz (2016)
José F. A. Oliver (2017)
Melanie Arzenheimer (2018)
Christoph Leisten (2019)
Circulation3,000 - 5,000
PublisherAnton G. Leitner Verlag
First issueOctober 1993
Based inMunich, Bavaria

Das GEDICHT ([ɡəˈdɪçt] ) (German lit.The Poem), established 1993, is the largest poetry magazine in the German-speaking world.[1] It was founded by the poet and publisher Anton G. Leitner together with Ludwig Steinherr. Between 1994 and 2007 as well as between 2020 and 2023, Leitner served as its sole editor. Between 2008 and 2019, Leitner has edited the annual periodical with changing co-editors.


German - in comparison to English - being a relatively small language, periodicals, almanacs, and anthologies play an important role in negotiating the most current developments in its contemporary poetry. For this reason, DAS GEDICHT takes a central role in giving new and established voices a forum. It makes new trends in the aesthetics of poetic production visible. The magazine is also indicative of the trends in the ways in which poetry is received by the contemporary German speaking audience.[2]

Main Focus[edit]

Since its first edition in 1993, DAS GEDICHT has published original, often seminal work from German-language poets as well as critical essays from contemporary writers and scholars.[3] Each edition follows a theme (e.g. erotica, religion, pop, political poetry, poems about children, animals, health, or nature).[4][5] The themes are announced only to subscribers of the magazine.[6] In addition, the book-length editions include criticism and commentary as well as a detailed bibliography of new releases in the genre.[7]

The work performed by the editors has gained widespread national and international recognition over the years.[8] Through their broad publicity campaign for the publication, the editors of DAS GEDICHT have not only brought attention to the magazine itself, but have tremendously increased the acceptance and visibility of poetry in the general public.[9] Hence, DAS GEDICHT has often been the root of an international public discourse on the role of poetry in the contemporary world, particularly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Luxembourg. It also serves as an important archive of contemporary poetry and is a part of a poetic culture of collective memory: for instance, the magazine has published the last poems by Karl Krolow. In order to maintain its independence, DAS GEDICHT operates without governmental funding.[10][11]


Today, DAS GEDICHT ranks among the top-selling poetry publications in the German language and is one of the largest periodicals specifically dedicated to the genre in German. DAS GEDICHT attracted international attention; when it released a listing of Poets of the Century (Vol 7, 1999/2000), which has been published and republished several million times worldwide.[12][13][14] At the turn of the 21st century, Anton G. Leitner had invited 50 leading critics and poets to vote on the national and international Top 100 Poets.[15][16]

Interventions, like the TOP-100 poets that DAS GEDICHT identified by way of a commission, headed by 50 major literary critics, poets, editors, and literary scholars,[17] have made DAS GEDICHT not only an internationally recognized publication for poetry, but also a model for successfully raising cultural awareness of poetry.[18] With respect to the success of DAS GEDICHT, the Bavarian State Newspaper put for the question: "What is going on with the reading humanity? Why can't they suddenly be without poetry?"[19] With DAS GEDICHT in view, the critic and member of the Group 47, Joachim Kaiser, said in the Bayerischer Rundfunk: "Suddenly, we are beginning to understand how important poetry can be."[20]

The first edition in October 1993 already received widespread attention with over 130 reports in newspapers, magazines, and radio broadcasts discussing its work in every German-speaking country.[21][22][23][24][25][26][27] Many commentators noted its conceptual clarity as well as its international and intergenerational approach.[28][29] This editorial method has made the magazine an "integrative" medium for contemporary poetry in the German language.[30] Like no other publication, DAS GEDICHT was able to initiate a widespread debate on poetry with a broad scope of readers.[31] The Stuttgarter Zeitung wrote that the genre poetry is setting out on a "search for the traces of a new identity" with DAS GEDICHT.[32][33]

The Erotik-Special Scandal of 2000/2001[edit]

On grounds of obscenity, various branches within the German book market boycotted the sale of DAS GEDICHT Volume 8, which was centered on erotic poetry.[34] While intended to simply feature erotic poetry by major contemporary German, Austrian, and Swiss poets, the edition was misunderstood by many in the reading public, who claimed it was pornographic. The editor was scolded by a number of self-announced patrons of morality.[35][36] The Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote, the Erotik-Special was "shocking and authentic."[37] The Austrian artist Gerhard Rühm contributed Bildstrophen (German lit., iconic stanzas) embellishing the edition´s interior design.[38][39][40] The edition sold over 10,000 copies.

Cover: DAS GEDICHT Vol. 8: Vom Minnesang zum Cybersex - geile Gedichte

At the height of the scandal, the national weekly Der Spiegel said:

A bookstore in Mainz denied the delivery of the magazine, saying that 'the Cathedral was too close by.' In Münster 10 ordered copies were rejected, and a further bookseller sent the magazine right back. In Dachau a recipient poet was so offended by the volume, so that he wrote to the editor, claiming that in the future he'd rather invest in an additional sachet full of Weißbier than to buy another copy of DAS GEDICHT. Blushing, a sales representative in a bookshop said that she couldn't even put the Erotik-Special on display in her store. The Swiss poet and reformed pastor, Kurt Marti,[41] himself featured in the volume, gave the amused remarks that the edition had brought together 'a most multifaceted collection of poems.'[42]

The reactions to DAS GEDICHT Vol. 8 ranged from simple gestures of dismay to crass invectives against the editors[43][44][45][46][47] and even amounted to multiple death threats, as the sample recording shows.[48][49][50] The editorial board had already anticipated such reactions and added little perforated paper screens that could be individually used to censor displeasing lines while reading.[51]

As however, in an act of solidarity, major German newspapers (such as Bild,[52] Spiegel-Online, Süddetusche Zeitung) reprinted a number of erotic poems from that edition, the following edition of DAS GEDICHT celebrated widespread success, having won a great number of fans.[53][54] The national weekly Focus included DAS GEDICHT in its list of the 100 best books of the year at rank 41.[55] Major German broadcasters, such as the Westdeutscher Rundfunk, aired an erotic poem from the Erotik-Special edition each day on public radio. The German sex talk show host, Lilo Wanders, recited poems from that edition in her nationally aired late night television show, Wa(h)re Liebe.

Poetry in the Public Sphere[edit]

Public Debates on Poetry[edit]

While many poetry magazines are purely interested in the art form, without reflecting its role in society, the circle associated with DAS GEDICHT has emphasized the public status of poetic expression from the beginning.[56] The editors of the very first edition in 1993, for example, supplemented the volume with additional material on 'Poems and the Stasi.'[57][58] The volume contained the first Stasi files on literary figures to be published freely.

In cooperation with the literary scholar Ulrich Johannes Beil, DAS GEDICHT initiated a widely followed debate on, "Is there such a thing as a European poem?"[59][60] Alongside translations from English, Spanish, or Classical Greek authors, the magazine regularly features German-language poetry from outside Germany, such as Austrian, Swiss, and Luxembourgian poetry.[61] DAS GEDICHT has also often been the root of productive altercations among aesthetic positions and has facilitated debate among poets. Looking at the question – short poem or long poem – many prominent German poets engaged in critical exchange within the realm of the magazine: Durs Grünbein, Walter Höllerer, and Jürgen Becker.[62][63] The critic and member of the Group 47, Joachim Kaiser, dedicated a larger portion of his radio broadcast, in order to give this debate a national audience.[64]

Political Interventions[edit]

In October 1999, Anton G. Leitner on behalf of the editorial board of DAS GEDICHT demanded in a public notice that the Humboldt University of Berlin abnegate the PhD title from the German literary scholar Elisabeth Frenzel (author of the standard reference book Daten deutscher Dichtung) on grounds of antisemitic tendencies in her dissertation.[65]

A violent debate developed from this request and also involved the president of the Humboldt University.[66] He strangely argued: "By withdrawing academic titles, we`d be following in the steps of the National Socialists." The German liberal national paper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, was perplexed by this argument and wrote in a commentary that it was "at a total loss" with respect to the University´s line of argument. In the course of the controversy, Anton G. Leitner received multiple letters with antisemitic contents and threats.[67][68]

With respect to DAS GEDICHT, a similar advocacy for more democracy in the name of poetry has become evident in the controversy between the editors of DAS GEDICHT and Günter Grass in 2006. The Nobel Prize laureate, Günter Grass, had surprisingly revealed his membership in the Waffen-SS, after many years. Anton G. Leitner, speaking on behalf of DAS GEDICHT, requested that Grass donate the revenues from his autobiographical book Häuten der Zwiebel to victims of the holocaust. Leitner told a German national newspaper: Grass could "easily show that he is in no way financially interested in profiting from his literary investigation of his own involvement with the Waffen-SS."[69]

Public Awareness of the Art Form[edit]

Sugar packets with poetic verses by the company HELLMA

Aside from more political or poetological debates, DAS GEDICHT also has initiated public campaigns to bring poetry into every-day life.[70] It is a key player in shaping the literary culture at the grass roots as well as in the avant-garde. It actively cultivates the literary field in the German-speaking countries. By printing verses onto millions of little sugar pouches and baguette bags, for instance, DAS GEDICHT contributed to raising public awareness for poetry as an art form. This campaign was initiated in collaboration with the sugar producer HELLMA. One media commentator called these sweet verses: "Crystals against life's bitterness."[71]

International Summit on Poetry[edit]

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of DAS GEDICHT, the magazine organized an international summit on poetry in Munich, Germany.[72][73][74] The event took place on October 23, 2012. It featured readings from sixty major poets from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Luxemburg, such as Friedrich Ani, Joachim Sartorius, Ulrike Draesner, Franz Xaver Kroetz, Paul Maar, Matthias Politycki, Said [de], and Robert Schindel. The summit was broadcast in full-length (156 minutes) by the Bayerische Rundfunk (BR-Alpha) within the series Denkzeit.[75][76]

25 years DAS GEDICHT[edit]

The publication of the 25th edition of DAS GEDICHT in October 2018 was accompanied by several events.[77][78] At a colloquium titled "Die Zukunft der Poesie" (The Future of Poetry) several poets gave speeches, among them Paul-Henri Campbell, Christophe Fricker, Uwe Michael Gutzschhahn, Klára Hůrková, Erich Jooß, and Anatoly Kudryavitsky. At a demonstration at Munich Marienplatz, held by DAS GEDICHT and Amnesty International Munich, several authors stood up for other poets being denied their basic human rights.[79] Friedrich Ani and Christoph Leisten gave a speech in honour of DAS GEDICHT at the large public reading at Literaturhaus München.

International Edition: DAS GEDICHT chapbook[edit]

German Poetry Now

Together with the poet and translator Paul-Henri Campbell as their co-editor, the editors of DAS GEDICHT launched an international edition in English: DAS GEDICHT chapbook. German Poetry Now.[80] The pilot edition (Vol. 1: Pegasus & Rosinante. When Poets Travel.) is based on No. 21 of the German main edition. It includes major authors in contemporary German poetry from Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and Israel.[81][82] The second edition followed 2016 (Vol. 2: Lustful Things – Geile Sachen). It contains texts previously published under the same title on dasgedichtblog.Lustful Things - Geile Sachen on dasgedichtblog

Online and SocialMedia[edit]

The magazine has maintained a website since 1995 and operates a YouTube channel since October 2009. Using conventional online media and social media, DAS GEDICHT has been exploring various effects of online formats to the genre. Via YouTube, it publishes poetry clips (dasgedichtclip) that show recordings from poetry readings and poems in video production. In 2012, inspired by the magazine's 20th jubilee, DAS GEDICHT began a blog (dasgedichtblog) and published a directory of poems it has published over the 20 years of its existence.[83]


See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Die Zeitschrift DAS GEDICHT feiert 20-jähriges Bestehen, news article, Abendzeitung, October 16th, 2012.
  2. ^ Sprudelnder Quell des Anstoßes, news article, Süddeutsche Zeitung, January 26th, 2011.
  3. ^ Complete listing of authors featured in DAS GEDICHT
  4. ^ Dichtung und Religion sind aus demselben Holz geschnitzt Archived 2013-10-04 at the Wayback Machine, In: Sonntagsblatt – Evangelische Wochenzeitung für Bayern, May 14th, 2002
  5. ^ Wo bleibt jetzt der Heiligenschein?, Interview, Publik-Forum, November 14th, 2001
  6. ^ "Anton G. Leitner Verlag / DAS GEDICHT".
  7. ^ Das Gedicht, news article, Basler Zeitung, November 19th, 1993
  8. ^ Deutschland als Lyrikstandort. Nachrichtenbeitrag, Die Welt September 3rd, 1996.
  9. ^ Die Sprache - Das Haus der Dichter, Rezension, Deutsche Tagespost, February 25th, 1997: "Die von Anton G. Leitner seit 1993 herausgegebene Lyrik-Zeitschrift zählt ohne Zweifel zu den wichtigsten Publikationen des deutschen Literaturbetriebs, die sich der Gattung Lyrik angenommen haben." (S. 10)
  10. ^ Zerstreute Gedichte wieder eingesammelt. Der Weßlinger Lyriker Anton G. Leitner verschafft sich einen Überblick über sein Werk in 25 Jahren. Artikel, Süddeutsche Zeitung, June 16th 2006
  11. ^ Klartext statt Volltext. Branchenträger: Der Deutsche Literaturfonds in der Kritik. article, Süddeutsche Zeitung, April 1st/2nd, 2006
  12. ^ Die besten Lyriker des Jahrhunderts. article, Salzburger Nachrichten, September 29th, 1999
  13. ^ Lyriker spielen um den Aufstieg. news article, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, September 23rd, 1999
  14. ^ NERUDA ENTRE LOS DIEZ POETAS MAS IMPORTANTES DEL SIGLO. news article, EFE, September 21st, 1999
  15. ^ Poesie und empirische Sozialforschung. Die Zeitschrift Das Gedicht präsentiert ihre Millenniums-Edition, article, Passauer Neue Presse, October 28th, 1999
  16. ^ Un ranking de poetas del siglo fecha de publicion. Artikel, La Nación, September 27th 1999: "Warum mit Dichtern nicht das tun, was auch mit Filmstars, Millionären und Fußballspielern veranstaltet wird? […] Außer Borges wurden auch Roberto Juarroz (58), Alejandra Pizarnik (72) und Olga Orozco (89) in die Wertung aufgenommen. Diese Anerkennung der argentinischen Lyrik kann nicht weniger als zufriedenstellen."
  17. ^ Die Lyriker des Jahrhunderts. Zeitschrift kürte Gottfried Benn und Ezra Pound, article, Hamburger Abendblatt, September 22nd, 1999
  18. ^ Selbstmord vor einem geisterhaften Publikum. Im literarischen Dauerlauf: Die Lyrik-Zeitschrift Das Gedicht, Artikel, Sächsische Zeitung, September 11th 1996
  19. ^ Die schönsten Verse der Menschen. article, Bavarian State Newspaper, Dezember 10th, 1999
  20. ^ Zeitschriftenschau, Hörfunkbeitrag, Bayerischer Rundfunk, aired September 24th, 1996, 10:20p.m.
  21. ^ Gelungenes Gedicht. news article, Süddeutsche Zeitung, November 8th, 1993
  22. ^ Wagnis Gedicht. article, General-Anzeiger, November 4th, 1993
  23. ^ Rettung für eine "bedrohte Gattung". article, Nordkurier, October 30th, 1993
  24. ^ Gegenwartslyrik. Erstes Heft "Das Gedicht". article, Nordkurier, October 15th, 1993
  25. ^ Das Gedicht. article, Frankfurter Neue Presse, October 6th, 1993
  26. ^ Interview mit Anton G. Leitner. Rundfunkbeitrag, Deutsche Welle, Sendung vom October 18th, 1993
  27. ^ Gute Zeiten für Lyrik. news article, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, November 25th, 1993
  28. ^ Gegenwartslyrik. Erstes Heft Das Gedicht. news article, Nordkurier, October 15th, 1993
  29. ^ Das Gedicht. news article, Frankfurter Neue Presse, October 6th, 1993
  30. ^ Das Gedicht. journal article, Der Literat, 35. Yr. No. 10/1993
  31. ^ Poesiezeitschriften. article, Das Goetheanum. Wochenzeitschrift für Anthroposophie, November 14th, 1993
  32. ^ Gegenwartslyrik. Erstes Heft "Das Gedicht", Stuttgarter Zeitung, October 15th, 1993
  33. ^ Das Gedicht. article, Süddeutsche Zeitung, September 8th, 1993
  34. ^ DAS GEDICHT Nr. 8: Vom Minnesang zum Cybersex. Geile Gedichte, summary of press responses, Anton G. Leitner Verlag, 2000
  35. ^ Erotische Lyrik im Kreuzfeuer: Lieber Weißbier als erregendes Vorspiel, article, Der Spiegel, September 25th, 2000
  36. ^ DAS GEDICHT Nr. 8: Vom Minnesang zum Cybersex. Geile Gedichte, summary of press responses, Anton G. Leitner Verlag, 2000
  37. ^ Der Böse Reim auf Öse. Ein Gedichtband aus Weßling erregt die Republik, article, Süddeutsche Zeitung, September 26th, 2000
  38. ^ Ein lyrisches Symphonieorchester. article, Münchener Merkur, January 23rd 2008
  39. ^ Umschlagfoto sorgt für Wirbel. article, Münchener Merkur, September 26th, 2000
  40. ^ Goldener Heiligenschein., article, Der Spiegel, July 16th, 2001
  41. ^ Aufregung wegen Sex-Gedichten. Pfarrer Kurt Marti schreibt im Erotik-Special, Blick, September 30th, 2000
  42. ^ "Erotische Lyrik im Kreuzfeuer: Lieber Weißbier als erregendes Vorspiel", article, Der Spiegel, September 25th, 2000
  43. ^ Buchhändler irritiert über Erotik-Ausgabe. article, Der neue Tag, October 7th, 2000
  44. ^ Erotik in Versen. Artikel, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, October 5th, 2000
  45. ^ Buchhändler gegen Erotik. Artikel, Stuttgarter Nachrichten, September 27th, 2000
  46. ^ Annahme erotischer Lyrik verweigert. Artikel, Kieler Nachrichten, September 26th, 2000
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  48. ^ DAS GEDICHT Nr. 8: Vom Minnesang zum Cybersex. Geile Gedichte., Pressespiegel, Anton G. Leitner Verlag, 2000
  49. ^ Das Schwein im Reim. article, Süddeutsche Zeitung, October 7th, 2000
  50. ^ Erotik kommt nicht ins Haus. article, Neue Presse, September 26th, 2000
  51. ^ Schwarze Balken. press release, Department für öffentliche Erscheinungen, October 1st, 2000
  52. ^ Erotische Lyrik: Aufregung, weil Dichter das Spiel 69 erklären. Artikel in der Bundesausgabe, Bild, September 27th, 2000
  53. ^ Matthias Koeppel: Wahre Liebe, Die Zeit, October 5th, 2000
  54. ^ Leitners Gedichtband vergriffen. Empörung über Cover-Foto puscht Erotik-Special. Münchner Merkur, October 4th 2000
  55. ^ Focus Nr. 42/2000 - Die 100 besten Bücher., weekly magazine article, Focus, Oktober 16th, 2000
  56. ^ Wie man aus Bayern die Republik mit Lyrik aufmischt: Anton G. Leitner im Gespräch. Luxemburger Tageszeitung, Tageblatt, 22. August 2008
  57. ^ DAS GEDICHT, Band 1: Lyrik und Stasi. Verlagsseite, Anton G. Leitner Verlag, October 1st 1993
  58. ^ Stasi-Spitzel in Darmstadt. Artikel, Darmstädter Echo, October 4th, 1993
  59. ^ DAS GEDICHT Band 5: Das Gedicht in Europa. Verlagsseite, Anton G. Leitner Verlag, 1. Oktober 1993
  60. ^ Die lyrische Existenz. Feuilleton, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 31. Oktober / 1. November 1997.
  61. ^ Au revoir et à bientôt. Gretchen. Die Luxemburger Lyrikszene in "Das Gedicht". article, Lëtzebuerger Journal, October 12th/13th 1996.
  62. ^ Der Wahrheit letzter Ort. Warum Autoren Lyrik machen. news article, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, October 24th, 1996: "Warum aber schreiben Autoren Lyrik, von der die wenigsten trotz des Booms leben können? Das jüngste Heft von ‚Das Gedicht‘ hat junge und ältere Schriftsteller nach ihrem Impetus und Selbstverständnis befragt. Die Antworten steckten zugleich die formale und thematische Vielfalt zeitgenössischer Poesie ab."
  63. ^ Voll im Trend. Feuilleton. Süddeutsche Zeitung, September 6th 1996: "Mit dieser Debatte dürfte sich die Zeitschrift wohl endgültig zum Forum aktuellen Denkens über Gedichte entwickeln und einigen Wind in die Behäbigkeit der Schreibenden bringen. Denn wie meint der Lyriker Senocak in seiner Antwort richtig: Dichter flüchten sich zunehmend in Nischen. Das tut weder ihrer Poesie noch ihrem Portemonnaie gut."
  64. ^ Zeitschriftenschau. radio broadcast, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Sendung vom September 24th, 1996, 10:20p.m.
  65. ^ Streit um antisemitische Arbeit. article, Frankfurter Rundschau, October 13th, 1999
  66. ^ Die Antisemitin. article, Süddeutsche Zeitung, October 13th, 1999
  67. ^ Keine juristische Handhabe. Warum die HU-Germanistin Frenzel ihren Doktortitel weiter führen darf. article, Berliner Morgenpost, October 20th 1999
  68. ^ Wo ist die Doktorhutablage? article, Süddeutsche Zeitung, October 14th, 1999
  69. ^ Leitner fordert Grass-Spende. Feuilleton, Süddeutsche Zeitung, August 18th, 2006
  70. ^ Ein lyrisches Symphonieorchester. article, Münchener Merkur, January 23rd, 2008
  71. ^ Erkenne die Tüte. Feuilleton, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Dezember 20th, 1999
  72. ^ Zentralorgan der Realpoesie., article, Die Welt, 16. Oktober 2012
  73. ^ Die Zeitschrift DAS GEDICHT feiert 20-jähriges Bestehen., Artikel, Abendzeitung, 16. Oktober 2012
  74. ^ 20 Jahre die Literaturzeitschrift DAS GEDICHT. Archived 2013-12-19 at the Wayback Machine, article, Die Neckarquelle, October 16th, 2012
  75. ^ Internationales Gipfeltreffen der Poesie, press release, Literaturhaus München, 2012
  76. ^ "Lyrikzeitschrift: 20 Jahre DAS GEDICHT", video, Bayerischer Rundfunk, October 23rd, 2012
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  79. ^ "München: Zum Jubiläum der Zeitschrift". donaukurier.de (in German). Retrieved 2018-08-08.
  80. ^ World Literature Today, Nota Bene, DAS GEDICHT Chapbook. German Poetry Today [1] |"Pegasus & Rosinante presents a selection of German poems and essays translated into English. Emerging and already established writers are revealed in this sleek volume. Inspired by its predecessor of twenty-one years (Das Gedicht), this first English edition showcases a rare and living assortment of voices writing in the German language."
  81. ^ DAS GEDICHT chapbook. German Poetry Now.
  82. ^ "Travel On" Archived 2014-03-08 at the Wayback Machine, Review by Sabrina Barreto, Santa Clara Review, February, 2014
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  84. ^ Kulturpreis der Stiftung Lesen für den Anton G. Leitner Verlag, Bayerische Staatszeitung, November 8th, 1996
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  86. ^ Bisherige Preisträger des Victor Otto Stomp Prieses Archived 2013-06-17 at the Wayback Machine, listing of all award winners, Bayerischer Rundfunk, October 23rd, 2012
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