The Goethe-Institut Mourns Frank Schirrmacher – “A Skilful Master of Words”

(13 June 2014) The unexpected death of Frank Schirrmacher, co-editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, has caused dismay among many. Representatives of government and the media reacted with immense sympathy. The Goethe-Institut has also lost a great friend with the passing of Frank Schirrmacher. The journalist was a member of the institute since 1998.

Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, the president of the Goethe-Institut, recognizes Schirrmacher:

“Frank Schirrmacher is dead. I am shaken by the news, which comes so suddenly, so crushing to fixed expectations of reading him in the latest issue of the FAZ. We knew each other a long time, as early as the days in Frankfurt when he joined the arts desk in 1985 and I was director of the Frankfurt University Library. He was immensely gifted, a skilful master of words, equipped with an intuitive sensorium for new topics, social disruptions and frictions, a reliable pilot of literary events and a leading intellectual, unconditionally.

Schirrmacher was able to set future topics with an unerring sense of attention to audience appeal, keen and uncompromising, indeed he often determined social debate based on his early signals and his independent journalistic acuity. He was certainly not among the complacent of the nation and never wanted to be. We fought quite a few battles, but that changed nothing in our mutual esteem.

He remained true to himself as an enlightener, a newspaperman, a citizen who bore his responsibility to society. He learned his craft in Frankfurt, found his life’s centre in Berlin – as did I. He was committed to the Goethe-Institut since 1998 and for him, responsibility and dialogue were crucial aspects of sustainable foreign cultural and educational policy. His death leaves a huge gap. He was able and willing to provide answers.”