Postcard from... Germany


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The Independent Online

Anyone who had assumed they would never hear any more from Norway's convicted mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, is in for a surprise. One of his right-wing rants will be uttered on stage by a Turkish-born actress from a political theatre group in the east German city of Weimar this week.

She will read out the 17-page, hour-long speech the killer delivered to an Oslo court last April before being jailed for the slaughter of his 77 mostly teenaged victims in bomb and shooting attacks in July last year.

Breivik's speech was never published in full because the Norwegian authorities believed that it would be rampantly xenophobic and grossly offensive. But Milo Rau, the theatre group's director says Breivik's Explanation will demonstrate that the killer's right-wing views are widely held by many in Europe. He argues that the exception was that Breivik went out and committed mass murder to support his theories. "There is not a causal, basic relationship between thinking and acting. One cannot say that because a person is a right-wing nationalist, they are a murderer," Rau insisted in an interview. The audience will be invited to take part in a discussion after the reading.

Weimar may seem an odd choice for the premiere of Breivik's Explanation, but the venue is, in many ways, rather appropriate. The city is famous for its long association with Germany's master 18th-century poet, thinker and writer Johann Wolfgang Goethe. It is also renowned for the Buchenwald Nazi concentration camp, the site of which sits on a hill overlooking the city.