Die Welt (Germany): the situation around the Berlin underground station Mohrenstraße turns into a farce

The metro station Mohrenstraße (the title translates as “Street of the Moors” — approx. transl.) in Berlin, soon to be renamed Glinkastraße (“Street University”) in honor of the composer Mikhail Glinka, which, incidentally, was a staunch anti-Semite.

It’s not about that to blame for this Glinka. But it’s pointless to present the signs with the street names as a symbol of our current “progressive”.

Maybe the name of the station Mohrenstraße still remain the same? The Senate of Berlin is told the city Department of transportation to refrain from movements. He had already taken the decision to rename the station and offered alternative title: Glinkastraße. But who is this man, whose name, perhaps, will be the station? Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (1804-1857) Russian composer. He was a staunch nationalist. And an anti-Semite.

Glinka was born in Smolensk province, in a noble family. Like many artists of the XIX century, he admired folk culture and national heritage. He traveled extensively in Europe, was personally acquainted with Vincenzo Bellini’s (Vincenzo Bellini), by Gaetano Donizetti (Gaetano Donizetti), Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy) and Hector Berlioz (Hector Berlioz) and admired their works.

However, his true goal was the creation of an original Russian music. In 1836 Glinka wrote the score of the first Russian Opera “Ivan Susanin”. The main character — a Russian peasant who lived in the early seventeenth century. Hero he became because deliberately started the Polish invaders into a swamp to rescue the Russian Tsar. For this he paid with his life, but the poles were unable to get out of the swamp and died.

Opera and Jewish conspiracy

Opera Glinka is hostility towards Poland. Originally, the author called it “a life for the Tsar” to force the upper strata of Russian society to accept that a hero can become a simple peasant. Through the whole book runs the idea of the mythical “bliss” of the Russian people.

But, as so often happened in the nineteenth century such ideas like to of anti-Semitism. Another Opera of Glinka called “Prince Kholmsky” devoted to the military campaign of the Russian Prince Daniil Dmitrievich Kholmsk in 1472 from Pskov in the territory of present-day Estonia against the knights of the Livonian order. The campaign ended with the conclusion of a peace Treaty, which guaranteed the Russian merchants freedom of trade in the Baltic States.

Prince Holmskogo in this Opera had to defend himself from the Jewish conspiracy — “the heresy of Judaism.” They allegedly sought to penetrate into the Russian nobility and the Russian Church and to destroy them from the inside. In the Opera they tried to weaken the Russian army in the fight against the knights.

Historical figures and the harmful spirit of the time

What is anti-Semitism, overwhelming this Opera, was not an isolated incident or some kind of artistic technique, confirmed by many personal statements Glinka. He has repeatedly attacked other composers, for example, by modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, for what they alleged was “too German” or “too Jewish.” And pianist and composer Anton Rubinstein he called a “brazen Jew”.

The Russian authorities, whether tsarist, Soviet or Putin’s times, Glinka died in 1857 in Berlin, always considered a recognized composer, who left behind a great legacy. Overt Russian nationalism fit any ruling regime, and the authorities easily turned a blind eye to his anti-Semitism.

In 1951, that is during the time of the Socialist unity party of Germany (the ruling party in the GDR — approx. transl.) then street Cannistraci (Kanonierstraße, “Kanonerskaya street”) was renamed the street Glinka — as a friendly gesture to the “brotherly people”, whose elegant Embassy is just around the corner.

Today we are not talking about how to judge the Glinka. Like many writers, philosophers and intellectuals of the nineteenth century (Gerres, Kleist or Arndt), he was also obsessed with ideas of nationalism, directed against many people who were considered “enemies”. But at the same time it must be admitted that the choice of names of streets, squares, railway stations or buildings in honour of historic figures can be difficult. Because most of them do not meet the present criteria of merit and are never going to meet them. But, whatever it was, they were the bearers of the spirit (often harmful) of his time.

And yet it is impossible not to notice that they are in good or bad sense — are not our contemporaries. Pointless now to try to make signs with the names of the streets through which we walk every day as we pass by themselves and their own “progressive”.

The Berlin Department of transport on the planned renaming of the metro station proudly said he will do it because, “being open to the whole world company, rejects all forms of racism and other discrimination”. That’s just stupid, isn’t it: the man after whom the station may be renamed, was a staunch anti-Semite.