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Introduction to the First Issue of Frankfurter Hefte (April 1946)

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We thus expect “thoughtful” readers. We believe that in this way we will serve the renewal of Germany – we, that is to say, the publisher, the staff, and those readers already included. The darkness around us shall brighten. We all want to help to explain the opaque and the mysterious that is threatening us, to the extent that this is possible for us, who have just come from the abyss, and for the human spirit.

We therefore want more: namely to lead the reader that we have made thoughtful from this thoughtfulness to the necessary departures and decisions, to give him courage for “No” and even more courage for “Yes,” and we want to nourish with understanding the power of the heart and the mind, which is part of it. The clarifying and nourishing word that one can read here shall be shaped by the Christian conscience; yet the world to which it refers is not “the religious” world, but all of the multi-layered, rich, poor reality.

We are hoping, even though we are almost still entirely alone, that all those in Germany who are alert and restive will understand these words and this language, all the “open-minded,” the living and the questioning – an elite from all social strata, age groups, and “directions.” We are hoping, for otherwise we would not have had the courage to start. Some who certainly would have something to say have preferred to keep silent until know, from doubting caution that the nearly numbed ears of the people are not yet ready to hear, that the hearts are still closed, and from a concern for hasty slogans; moreover, the history of the last thirty years was not exactly suited to arousing in writers the desire and courage to create programmatic work. We, too, were struggling with these concerns. But in the end we did arrive at the opinion that many people in the country, especially now that the waters of a propagandistic flood have receded, are longing for clarity and orientation. And thus we have gone to work.

Source: Frankfurter Hefte, Zeitschrift für Kultur und Politik, edited by Eugen Kogon and Walter Dirks, 1/1 (April 1946), p. 2 f.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

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