In the latest issue:

Real Men Go to Tehran

Adam Shatz

What Trump doesn’t know about Iran

Patrick Cockburn

Kaiser Karl V

Thomas Penn

The Hostile Environment

Catherine Hall

Social Mobilities

Adam Swift

Short Cuts: So much for England

Tariq Ali

What the jihadis left behind

Nelly Lahoud

Ray Strachey

Francesca Wade

C.J. Sansom

Malcolm Gaskill

At the British Museum: ‘Troy: Myth and Reality’

James Davidson

Poem: ‘The Lion Tree’

Jamie McKendrick

SurrogacyTM

Jenny Turner

Boys in Motion

Nicholas Penny

‘Trick Mirror’

Lauren Oyler

Diary: What really happened in Yancheng?

Long Ling

Close

Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions of use refer to the London Review of Books and the London Review Bookshop website (www.lrb.co.uk — hereafter ‘LRB Website’). These terms and conditions apply to all users of the LRB Website ("you"), including individual subscribers to the print edition of the LRB who wish to take advantage of our free 'subscriber only' access to archived material ("individual users") and users who are authorised to access the LRB Website by subscribing institutions ("institutional users").

Each time you use the LRB Website you signify your acceptance of these terms and conditions. If you do not agree, or are not comfortable with any part of this document, your only remedy is not to use the LRB Website.


  1. By registering for access to the LRB Website and/or entering the LRB Website by whatever route of access, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions currently prevailing.
  2. The London Review of Books ("LRB") reserves the right to change these terms and conditions at any time and you should check for any alterations regularly. Continued usage of the LRB Website subsequent to a change in the terms and conditions constitutes acceptance of the current terms and conditions.
  3. The terms and conditions of any subscription agreements which educational and other institutions have entered into with the LRB apply in addition to these terms and conditions.
  4. You undertake to indemnify the LRB fully for all losses damages and costs incurred as a result of your breaching these terms and conditions.
  5. The information you supply on registration to the LRB Website shall be accurate and complete. You will notify the LRB promptly of any changes of relevant details by emailing the registrar. You will not assist a non-registered person to gain access to the LRB Website by supplying them with your password. In the event that the LRB considers that you have breached the requirements governing registration, that you are in breach of these terms and conditions or that your or your institution's subscription to the LRB lapses, your registration to the LRB Website will be terminated.
  6. Each individual subscriber to the LRB (whether a person or organisation) is entitled to the registration of one person to use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site. This user is an 'individual user'.
  7. The London Review of Books operates a ‘no questions asked’ cancellation policy in accordance with UK legislation. Please contact us to cancel your subscription and receive a full refund for the cost of all unposted issues.
  8. Use of the 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is strictly for the personal use of each individual user who may read the content on the screen, download, store or print single copies for their own personal private non-commercial use only, and is not to be made available to or used by any other person for any purpose.
  9. Each institution which subscribes to the LRB is entitled to grant access to persons to register on and use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site under the terms and conditions of its subscription agreement with the LRB. These users are 'institutional users'.
  10. Each institutional user of the LRB may access and search the LRB database and view its entire contents, and may also reproduce insubstantial extracts from individual articles or other works in the database to which their institution's subscription provides access, including in academic assignments and theses, online and/or in print. All quotations must be credited to the author and the LRB. Institutional users are not permitted to reproduce any entire article or other work, or to make any commercial use of any LRB material (including sale, licensing or publication) without the LRB's prior written permission. Institutions may notify institutional users of any additional or different conditions of use which they have agreed with the LRB.
  11. Users may use any one computer to access the LRB web site 'subscriber only' content at any time, so long as that connection does not allow any other computer, networked or otherwise connected, to access 'subscriber only' content.
  12. The LRB Website and its contents are protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. You acknowledge that all intellectual property rights including copyright in the LRB Website and its contents belong to or have been licensed to the LRB or are otherwise used by the LRB as permitted by applicable law.
  13. All intellectual property rights in articles, reviews and essays originally published in the print edition of the LRB and subsequently included on the LRB Website belong to or have been licensed to the LRB. This material is made available to you for use as set out in paragraph 8 (if you are an individual user) or paragraph 10 (if you are an institutional user) only. Save for such permitted use, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt such material in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department.
  14. All intellectual property rights in images on the LRB Website are owned by the LRB except where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited. Save for such material taken for permitted use set out above, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt LRB’s images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department. Where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, reproduce or translate such images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. The LRB will not undertake to supply contact details of any attributed or credited copyright holder.
  15. The LRB Website is provided on an 'as is' basis and the LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website will be accessible by any particular browser, operating system or device.
  16. The LRB makes no express or implied representation and gives no warranty of any kind in relation to any content available on the LRB Website including as to the accuracy or reliability of any information either in its articles, essays and reviews or in the letters printed in its letter page or material supplied by third parties. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) arising from the publication of any materials on the LRB Website or incurred as a consequence of using or relying on such materials.
  17. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) for any legal or other consequences (including infringement of third party rights) of any links made to the LRB Website.
  18. The LRB is not responsible for the content of any material you encounter after leaving the LRB Website site via a link in it or otherwise. The LRB gives no warranty as to the accuracy or reliability of any such material and to the fullest extent permitted by law excludes all liability that may arise in respect of or as a consequence of using or relying on such material.
  19. This site may be used only for lawful purposes and in a manner which does not infringe the rights of, or restrict the use and enjoyment of the site by, any third party. In the event of a chat room, message board, forum and/or news group being set up on the LRB Website, the LRB will not undertake to monitor any material supplied and will give no warranty as to its accuracy, reliability, originality or decency. By posting any material you agree that you are solely responsible for ensuring that it is accurate and not obscene, defamatory, plagiarised or in breach of copyright, confidentiality or any other right of any person, and you undertake to indemnify the LRB against all claims, losses, damages and costs incurred in consequence of your posting of such material. The LRB will reserve the right to remove any such material posted at any time and without notice or explanation. The LRB will reserve the right to disclose the provenance of such material, republish it in any form it deems fit or edit or censor it. The LRB will reserve the right to terminate the registration of any person it considers to abuse access to any chat room, message board, forum or news group provided by the LRB.
  20. Any e-mail services supplied via the LRB Website are subject to these terms and conditions.
  21. You will not knowingly transmit any virus, malware, trojan or other harmful matter to the LRB Website. The LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website is free from contaminating matter, viruses or other malicious software and to the fullest extent permitted by law disclaims all liability of any kind including liability for any damages, losses or costs resulting from damage to your computer or other property arising from access to the LRB Website, use of it or downloading material from it.
  22. The LRB does not warrant that the use of the LRB Website will be uninterrupted, and disclaims all liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred as a result of access to the LRB Website being interrupted, modified or discontinued.
  23. The LRB Website contains advertisements and promotional links to websites and other resources operated by third parties. While we would never knowingly link to a site which we believed to be trading in bad faith, the LRB makes no express or implied representations or warranties of any kind in respect of any third party websites or resources or their contents, and we take no responsibility for the content, privacy practices, goods or services offered by these websites and resources. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability for any damages or losses arising from access to such websites and resources. Any transaction effected with such a third party contacted via the LRB Website are subject to the terms and conditions imposed by the third party involved and the LRB accepts no responsibility or liability resulting from such transactions.
  24. The LRB disclaims liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred for unauthorised access or alterations of transmissions or data by third parties as consequence of visit to the LRB Website.
  25. While 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is currently provided free to subscribers to the print edition of the LRB, the LRB reserves the right to impose a charge for access to some or all areas of the LRB Website without notice.
  26. These terms and conditions are governed by and will be interpreted in accordance with English law and any disputes relating to these terms and conditions will be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
  27. The various provisions of these terms and conditions are severable and if any provision is held to be invalid or unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction then such invalidity or unenforceability shall not affect the remaining provisions.
  28. If these terms and conditions are not accepted in full, use of the LRB Website must be terminated immediately.
Close

‘If you have​ a taste for travel you can visit the town of Weimar,’ Jorge Semprún wrote in 2001:

It’s the town of Goethe, isn’t it? Charming. There are traces of him everywhere. There are memories of Schiller, of Liszt, of Nietzsche. After a visit to Goethe’s summer house, the following day you could walk the few kilometres which separate Weimar from the Buchenwald concentration camp on the Ettersberg hill, where Goethe liked to walk with the ineffable Eckermann.

Semprún, exiled in Paris, was arrested by the Gestapo as a member of the Resistance and sent to Buchenwald in 1944. He remained there until the camp was liberated by the US army in 1945.

Semprún’s picture of Weimar has not lost its irony. The town, set in the green woods and hills of Thuringia in central Germany, has two histories. One celebrates the German Enlightenment; the other remembers the Nazi years. Reminders of both are everywhere. The walk from my hotel to the Neues Museum, which I visited this summer, passed along Gropiusstrasse and Heinrich-Heine-Strasse to Goetheplatz, and then along Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse past the Kunsthalle Harry Graf Kessler. The space in front of the museum is Jorge-Semprún-Platz.

Weimar receives several million visitors each year, most of them German. Generations have paid their respects to the shades of Goethe and Schiller; a horse-drawn carriage stands ready to take groups on a tour of the picture-postcard heritage. But this year visits have been brought into focus by two centenaries. One hundred years ago, the Weimar Republic was established. In February 1919, the first session of the National Assembly was held in the former Hoftheater. Weimar’s place in German culture made it an ideal location for the new republic; and it was far away from revolutionary Berlin. The second centenary marks the founding of the Bauhaus, commemorated with a new eponymous museum.

It is six years since I was last in Weimar. On that occasion, I visited the Neues Museum for an exhibition of the work of the Belgian designer and architect Henry van de Velde. This year, the museum has installed Van de Velde, Nietzsche and Modernism around 1900 as a permanent exhibition. The ten sculptures of Nietzsche in assorted sizes and the half-dozen death masks are enough to establish his standing as a contemporary cult figure. The ‘Red Count’ Harry Kessler is not mentioned in the title of the exhibition, but he is given his place as a key protagonist in early modernism. It was his passion for Nietzsche that brought him to Weimar: Kessler foresaw the revitalised town becoming the model and inspiration for a new German culture, and in 1902 persuaded van de Velde to join him there.

Appointed director of the Art and Applied Arts Museum, Kessler upset the chauvinistic courtiers of the grand duke by arranging exhibitions of art from Paris rather than Berlin or Munich. Van de Velde, adviser on the duchy’s artisan industries and an advocate of the ‘modern style’, opened the School for Applied Arts that developed into the Bauhaus, but as a foreigner faced steady opposition from court functionaries. The project for a new Weimar foundered on the growing nationalist conservatism of Blut und Boden before the First World War. Once war began, van de Velde, who had worked earlier as a fashionable interior designer in Berlin, became an enemy alien. He lost his home, his bank account was frozen and his savings confiscated, and he left Weimar to work abroad. In March 1920 he returned for a visit, arriving on the first day of the right-wing Kapp Putsch. Nine workers protesting against the putsch were killed by armed troops. Walter Gropius, whom van de Velde had recommended to succeed him at the School for Applied Arts, designed a memorial to them, Monument to the March Dead.

The Neues Museum has seen much of Weimar’s history. The building opened as the Grand Ducal Museum in the 1860s, was badly damaged in the Second World War, left almost derelict for years, then reopened in 1999 as the Neues Museum. In 1922 Dadaists and Constructivists posed on its steps; works by Kandinsky, Feininger and Klee were shown in its galleries. In 1939, fifty thousand Weimar citizens saw these and other artists ridiculed at the Entartete Kunst (‘Degenerate Art’) exhibition. Kessler’s progressive taste had met a similar reception more than thirty years earlier. In 1906, Rodin agreed to present the museum with a set of watercolour drawings of female nudes (they are now on display at the Neues Museum). Their exhibition caused an outrage and led to Kessler’s resignation. He returned only occasionally to Weimar, for discussions with van de Velde on a memorial to Nietzsche, for example, and died in 1937 in Lyon. The project for a Nietzsche memorial was left to Hitler.

At the Neues Museum van de Velde’s white-painted, ink-stained desk is displayed under a spotlight. It is a functional design, with a lift-up drawing board. Another example of applied ergonomics can be seen in Goethe’s townhouse in the centre of Weimar, a kind of easel-desk which he could adjust for height and incline. For around £2000 you can order a facsimile. There is also a reproduction of Schiller’s flat-topped, five-drawer writing desk. In 1942 the original was removed to Buchenwald so that a copy could be made in the camp workshop. Goebbels approved of Schiller. In his diary he wrote that Schiller was ‘a revolutionary, idealist and visionary, who, if he is not as developed poetically and artistically as Goethe, towers over him as a human being’. Kessler’s desk, designed by van de Velde, hasn’t survived. It was bought by an SS officer in 1935 and disappeared.

In the tourist office, alongside souvenirs and brochures is a sixty-page booklet, Weimar in National Socialism: A Town Map. More than a map, it lists 35 sites with accompanying photographs. The first is Jorge-Semprún-Platz. Here was the Gauforum, a complex of buildings intended to symbolise the Third Reich’s power, taking the place of the old city centre. Forced labourers from Buchenwald razed a public garden to create an open space suited to party rallies. On May Day 1937, Rudolf Hess laid the foundation stone of the Hall of the People’s Community, with standing room for two thousand. It is now a shopping centre. The huge administrative building for the local party remains, occupied by the Thuringian state government.

Weimar is a place of memories and memorials. Visitors walking from the station to the new Bauhaus Museum will find the route lined with black and white poster-sized photographs of the last Buchenwald survivors. The route from the camp to the town is marked with stones to represent the death march of weak and half-starved inmates witnessed by Weimar citizens. Every third prisoner died: worn out, shot by the SS, soldiers or the police, by Hitler Youths or by civilians.

After 1945, Weimar was in the Soviet Zone and in 1949 became part of the GDR. For five years, a new camp next to Buchenwald was used to intern Nazi officials. Almost a quarter of the 28,000 detained there died of illness, cold or hunger. A statue of the German Communist Party’s prewar leader, Ernst Thälmann, was erected in the town in 1958 and dedicated to the 56,000 communists who died at Buchenwald. Gropius’s Monument to the March Dead, which had been demolished by the Nazis, was re-erected in the municipal cemetery.

The new Bauhaus Museum is a bunker-like, grey concrete cube. Gropius’s school had a short life, defeated by conservative reaction, but the museum is part of a new identity for Weimar, the first element in what is to be the town’s Modernist Quarter (next year a permanent exhibition on forced labour will open in the Gauforum). The Bauhaus Museum is alert to contentious issues. Lectures there have included three talks by the historian Hannes Heer, whose Crimes of the Wehrmacht exhibition in 1995 opened the eyes of many Germans to their recent past. The rise of the Alternative für Deutschland makes Germany’s culture of remembrance look less secure. And there is always the danger that memorialisation becomes rote, a lesson that teaches us nothing.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.