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                                                  Straße des 13. Januar

Feeling at loss when looking at this „Straße des 13. Januar“,

then outrage at the thoughtlessness in this country, then soon enogh the realization that the problem can be revealed, but not resolved, trough artistic means: Mia Unverzagt is deeply concerned, she indicts, but even in her indictments she remains modest about the scope of that what she as an Artist can contribute. This makes her all the more convincing in her search for a way to deal with the past. Her wake-up call against thoughtlessness is a rousing one.

The urgency of her appeal is allready apparent in a number of letters that were written to the editor of the local newspaper, some of which seek an overly simple answer in self-rightousness.

An answer that is perhaps understandable, considering that it is one's own youth or the dead of one's own family that are at stake here . But an insufficent answer nonetheless. For certainly people knew

much more about national socialism at the end of 1934 and the beginning of 1935 then they did in January of 1933. Especially this was, in the controversies surrounding the Saar referendum regarding the region's allegiance, bitterly and publicly debated every day. In the Third Reich, this had long ceased to be possible.

How many nevertheless underestimated Hitler and his regime? How many closed their eyes, with nationalistic motives, to the opression in Germany that had begun in 1933, and how did they manage to do so? How many voted, in full awareness of the crimes commited in Germany, for the reintegration of the region? What was the impact of the fact that so many conflicts on the Saar that had been domestic or social conflicts under the Third Reich were expressed as national conflicts due to administration by the League of Nations and to the the often clumsily executed work of the French mining administrtaion? How many residents of the Saar state were thereby made more susceptible to Hitler's „national revolution“ or blinded to the reality of that revolution? These matters bear only a limited relation to „left“ and „right“; those forced to flee by the referendum of January !3th adhered to a wide range of political tendencies.

Mia Unverzagt does not claim to have the answers However, she is right to ask. As an artist, she has allready shaken people up this too is evident in the letters more than many books have managed to do. Renaming the street, a practise that is popular in Germany, would not have achieved the same effect. Indeed, even after more then six decades, the particular difficulties of the inhabitants of a border region lie concealed behind self-righteoussness. The discussion about Unverzagts work truly allows these difficulties to come to the fore in sharper focus.

Respect to the artist's commitment. Respect for her search for new ways of expressing problems and questions that are, in final analysis, perhaps unsolvable.

Prof. Dr. Dr. Rainer Hudemann