The Bridge-builders –
Henry Kissinger, Fritz Stern and Lord George Weidenfeld

Jewish Emigrés and German Reunification

Book, Direction and Production by Evi Kurz

Broadcaster: ARD
Date: September 29, 2010
Time: 23.30 pm

They were persecuted, they were cast out, they were “happy and grateful” to finally be “out”. Nothing could keep Henry Kissinger, Fritz Stern and George Weidenfeld in the country that had deprived their families of any opportunity to live their lives. It was a “traumatic experience” – for the parents, for their siblings, for themselves. How could anybody who had experienced the unscrupulous anti-Semitism of their fellow citizens, who had left the country of their childhood filled with fear and scorn, make their peace with Germany and the Germans? Why did they come back? What drove them to it – revenge, curiosity, desire, hope?

Whatever it was, not long after the war, they embarked on this journey time and time again and it became increasingly common. Henry Kissinger, former US foreign minister, Fritz Stern, the leading US historian who specialised in German history and Lord George Weidenfeld, the British publisher, journalist and diplomat, all became builders of bridges between their new and old homelands. And when it mattered – when the question of reunification suddenly arose in 1989/90 and it wasn’t clear how the international community would react – they were there. Using all their influence in both politics and the media, the three of them stood up for Germany and the Germans.

It makes for a remarkable, moving story, which Evi Kurz gets to the bottom of. In a series of exclusive interviews, Henry Kissinger, Fritz Stern and Lord Weidenfeld provide their own particular insight into their private and professional lives as well as their changing relationship with Germany and the Germans. They describe their own perspective on reunification and assess international reactions to the dramatic events that unfolded between November 9, 1989 and October 3, 1990. Helmut Schmidt, Angela Merkel, Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Richard von Weizsäcker talk about the contribution of Henry Kissinger, Fritz Stern and Lord Weidenfeld to Germany’s reconciliation with the USA, Israel and the UK.