chapter  5
17 Pages

Wolf Biermann & His Guitar

ByMelvin J. Lasky

A revolution would mean a fundamental change, in some direction or other, of all the basic institutions; and that, heaven forbid, would constitute Counter-Revolution. Wolf Biermann never wanted "a revolution", even though he made some disagreeable noises about "Stalinist bureaucrats" and later excesses. And so in the year 1953, when Stalin was no more and all of Eastern Europe began its long 30-year struggle for self-liberation, the 17-year-old Wolf Biermann packed his rucksack and emigrated to the DDR. Biermann has even turned on his old favourites, revered comrades in the "wonderful '50s" and, indeed, in the legendary heroic, melodic Spanish Civil War days. Mourners are rarely haters; and it was something like a beloved fatherland that had died for Biermann. Now was a time for grave-digging, and the man's last temptation was to help the diggers and, if necessary, to use his guitar as a spade. He might even be persuaded to compose a tuneful dirge to commemorate the occasion.