Henryk M. Broder
The “Victory Column” is located in Berlin’s Tiergarten park. Also in the Tiergarten, barely half a mile away, is to be found one of the city’s best known cultural institutions: the “House of World Cultures.” On September 13, 2001, the Berlin municipal government and the Berlin-based Academy of Arts co-sponsored a panel discussion at the House of World Cultures devoted to the terrorist attacks that had taken place in the United States two days before. The author and journalist Henryk Broder did not attend the event, but his interest was piqued some days later when reports emerged in the local press about curious comments attributed to some of the participants. Despite the lack of cooperation of the House of World Cultures, Broder was able to obtain a recording of the event.
The following is his account of what transpired at the House of World Cultures on that Thursday evening two days after 9/11. To paraphrase one of the participants, it provides a “disturbing insight” into the German mood in the aftermath of the attacks. There was indeed a great deal of sympathy on display. It was, however, for the most part sympathy with the perpetrators.