Alfred Grosser

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Alfred Grosser (2010)

Alfred Grosser (born February 1, 1925 in Frankfurt am Main ) is a German - French publicist, sociologist and political scientist .


His father Paul Grosser (1880–1934) was director of a Frankfurt children's clinic, social democrat and of Jewish origin, as well as a Freemason , according to Grosser, which is why he and his family emigrated to France in 1933 . By decree of the Minister of Justice Vincent Auriol on October 1, 1937, his widowed mother, Mrs. Lily Rosenthal, and thus also him, was granted French citizenship , which saved her from being “enemies” by the Daladier government in September 1939, like the other Germans persecuted by Hitler “To be interned in French camps. He studied political science and German and from 1955 held a chair at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) in Paris. In 1992 he retired as director of studies and research at the Fondation nationale des sciences politiques .

Alfred Grosser, 1975
Alfred Grosser (1929/30) as a child in Frankfurt.

From 1965, Grosser worked for numerous newspapers and television companies. Among other things, he wrote political columns for the daily newspapers La Croix and Ouest-France . He was very committed to German-French understanding .

Alongside Joseph Rovan (1918–2004), Grosser is an outstanding French intellectual with German-Jewish roots. He campaigned for Franco-German relations from the post-war period to the present and was one of the intellectual pioneers in the run-up to the Elysée Treaty . On numerous trips and lectures in Germany and France, he has contributed to the reconciliation of neighboring countries and strengthened them.

Grosser defines himself as an " atheist who is close to Christianity ".

Attitude to Israel

Grosser is known as an opponent of Israeli and, to some extent, French government policy. For several years he has been advocating the thesis that "criticism of Israel" is not allowed in Germany and that a club is being wielded against the Germans, which says "[...] I will beat you with Auschwitz [...]". He thereby expressly reaffirmed Martin Walser's position and formulation , which had led to a scandal in 1998 . Grosser is also of the opinion that Israel's policies promote anti-Semitism. To protest against what he saw as the unbalanced media coverage in the Middle East, the publicist left the board of directors of the French magazine L'Express in 2003 : “The editor-in-chief was reluctant to publish my positive review of a book critical of Israel. In the following issue, a storm of letters to the editor was printed that insulted me. "()

On the occasion of the 2007 Ludwig Börne Prize being awarded to Henryk M. Broder by Focus editor Helmut Markwort , Alfred Grosser criticized both of them as not being worthy of the Börne Prize and an award in the Paulskirche in Frankfurt . The background to this was a positive review by Grosser, not printed by Focus, of a book by Rupert Neudeck in which he describes Israel as an apartheid state.

The main speaker at the commemoration of the pogrom night in the Paulskirche organized by the city of Frankfurt am Main on November 9, 2010 , for which Frankfurt's mayor Petra Roth had been criticized in advance from various sides, was the main speaker . Members of the Central Council of Jews in Germany had threatened to leave the celebration if Grosser became “abusive towards Israel”. Roth then stated that she was not aware of some of Grosser's statements, but defended his invitation, as he had “endeavored for many decades to reconcile the peoples”. The feared scandal did not materialize. Both Grosser and the speaker of the Central Council of Jews, Vice President Dieter Graumann , tried to moderate the memorial service and symbolically shook hands.

In a review, Grosser defended Vivien Stein's controversial Heinz Berggruen biography (Berggruen's “will not to pay taxes [...] should be taken seriously”). At the same time he criticizes Michael Naumann , who, as Minister of State for Culture, bought the Berggruen Collection at the time. Naumann rejected Grosser's accusation that he had “owed answers”, and for his part was astonished that Grosser, as a reviewer, did not address the “negative-dialectical variant of that anti-Semitism” that was evident in Vivien Stein's accusation that Berggruen had did not admit offensively to his Judaism.

In the debate about the Grass text What Must Be Said, he defended its author. Grass kept silent about his membership in the Waffen-SS for too long, but: "At that time there were 900,000 young Germans who were in the Waffen-SS, but not in the SS." He repeated his view that factual criticism of Israeli politics In Germany it is taboo: "But it always means immediately that this is anti-Semitism." Grosser also said: "The Israeli government is provoking." And: "In order to divert attention from one's own policy against the settlers, for example, one needs the threat from Iran." ()

In January 2015, Arno Widmann described it as grotesque that more than half of the Wikipedia article about Grosser took up his criticism of Israeli politics and criticism of the criticism. Grosser made it clear a long time ago how little importance he attached to “his Jewishness ... in the totality of his political-religious convictions”, “how he stands by Israel's side when it is threatened but sees no reason to overlook how it threatens the life and existence of the Palestinians. "

On his 90th birthday on February 1, 2015, he played the “Interview of the Week” on Deutschlandfunk with sensational statements on many current and no longer so current political issues, mainly on French and German politics and culture, in particular on German- French relationship. For example, he described Merkel and Hollande as basically both social democratic (not socialist ), commented on Marine Le Pen and her father, and criticized French prison policy "because it produced murderers". He was referring to the riots in the suburbs in France and the murders of the editors of Charlie Hebdo (January 7, 2015). (This interview is reproduced in the “Conversations” section. Some of the statements were explicitly mentioned by Deutschlandfunk in the daily news.)

Prizes and awards

Grosser has received numerous prizes and awards for his works that contribute to international understanding:

In Bad Bergzabern , a school center consisting of Realschule Plus and Gymnasium was named after him.

Fonts (selection)

  • Germany balance sheet. History of Germany since 1945 , 1970.
  • The Alliance , 1981.
  • Attempted Influence , 1981.
  • The Thin Line to Freedom , 1981.
  • Germany in the West , Carl Hanser, Munich 1985, ISBN 3-446-12619-8 .
  • France and its foreign policy , 1986.
  • Arguing with Germans , 1987.
  • My Germany , 1993.
  • Germany in Europe , 1998.
  • What I think. , November 2000.
  • How different are the Germans? , Beck, 2002, ISBN 3-406-49328-9 .
  • How different is France? Beck, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-406-52879-1 .
  • The fruits of their tree. An atheist look at Christians , Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, September 2005.
  • The term revenge is completely alien to me . In: Martin Doerry (Ed.): Nowhere and everywhere at home. Conversations with survivors of the Holocaust . DVA, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-421-04207-1 (also as CD), pp. 120–129.
  • The question of the leading culture . In: Robertson-von Trotha, Caroline Y. (Ed.): Kultur und Gerechtigkeit (= Kulturwissenschaft interdisciplinary / Interdisciplinary Studies on Culture and Society, Vol. 2), Baden-Baden 2007, ISBN 978-3-8329-2604-5 .
  • From Auschwitz to Jerusalem . Rowohlt 2009, ISBN 978-3-498-02515-1 .
  • The joy and the death. A life balance . Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-498-02517-5 .
  • Le human. The ethics of identities . Dietz, Bonn 2017, ISBN 978-3-8012-0499-0 .



see also web links


  • Frank Raudszus: . In: Frank Raudszus (ed.): Egotrip . October 1998.
  • Michael Hereth: Alfred Grosser at his best . A dazzling book of France. In: The Parliament . No. March 11 , 2005 (on How Different Is France ).
  • Ursula Homann: Turning to the world . Why Alfred Grosser doesn't believe in God. In: . No. December 12 , 2005 (on the book The Fruits of Her Tree. An Atheist Look at Christians .).

Web links

Commons : Alfred Grosser  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Deutschlandradio : In the shadow of the Shoah 'Paul Grosser Freemaurer'. Retrieved February 26, 2012 .
  2. ^ Martin Strickmann: L'Allemagne nouvelle contre l'Allemagne éternelle. The French intellectuals and the Franco-German understanding 1944–1950. Discourse, initiatives, biographies. Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-631-52195-2 .
  3. Alfred Grosser, un athée proche des chrétiens ( Memento of December 19, 2013 in the Internet Archive ),, September 14, 2011 (French)
  4. ^ "Israel's policy promotes anti-Semitism" ( Memento from November 12, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) - stern, October 12, 2007.
  5. Why I Criticize Israel . In: Internationale Politik , February 2007
  6. Insult to Humanism - Wrong Choice: Henryk M. Broder did not deserve the Börne Prize , the daily newspaper , February 3, 2007.
  7. ^ Controversy over the speaker Alfred Grosser . DW-INTERVIEW, September 11, 2010.
  8. ^ Henryk M. Broder: When Grosser swings the anti-Israel club . Speech on the Reichspogromnacht. In: Spiegel Online , November 3, 2010.
  9. Remembrance of Reichspogromnacht - Alfred Grosser in the Paulskirche . In: Frankfurter Rundschau . November 9, 2010.
  10. ^ Alfred Grosser: The Bought Gift . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, No. 50, p. 7 . December 18, 2011.
  11. ^ Letter to the editor, FAZ from December 25, 2011, p. 28.
  12. Grass said something sensible . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , April 10, 2012
  13. Arno Widmann: A rascal for the education. He was the god Janus of Franco-German understanding: Alfred Grosser will be 90 years old on Sunday. In: Berliner Zeitung from January 31st / January 1st. February 2015.
  14. 8 o'clock news from Deutschlandfunk on February 1, 2012: Grosser in DLF: “French prisons produce murderers” , accessed on February 2, 2015
  15. Text of the laudation (PDF; 186 kB)
  16. Homepage
  17. State Main Archive Speyer ( Memento from July 1, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  18. ^ Alfred Grosser Visiting Professorship: On the Status of Civil Society . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung , May 15, 2009.
  19. ^ Alfred Grosser ( Memento of April 22, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) In: La Gazette de Berlin , March 23, 2012.
  20. ^ Website of the University of Duisburg-Essen. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  21. ^ Taunus-Zeitung: Kogon Prize for a Reconciler.Retrieved on March 2, 2018.
  23. Quote: On this point I stand behind Martin Walser's criticism of the Auschwitz club. Yes, I see this club that is constantly being wielded against Germans if they say something against Israel. If they do it anyway, the club immediately says: “I'll beat you with Auschwitz.” I find that unbearable. I've always fought anti-Semitism. And I always will! But to equate criticism of Israel per se with anti-Semitism - that is wrong and misleading.
  24. From the summary: (The critics of the invitation) justified their rejection ... with Grosser's criticism of Israel's politics and his support for the writer Martin Walser. ... Walser spoke of the "Moralkeule Auschwitz" on the occasion of the 1998 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade ...