Corona, Corona, and Corona again…
Article published in German, May 3, 2021
Of course, I was also affected by Corona – although, Thanks God, healthwise up to now my family was very lucky.
Corona 1: The public event to present my latest book was cancelled, a silent victim of the first lockdown in spring 2020. Its title, once translated, would be “The return of Holistic Pragmatism or How the Austrian Mind loves to look beyond the Box”. In German ist is “Mit Austrian Mind über den Tellerrand hinaus – zur Wiederkehr ganzheitlich pragmatischen Denkens” (more about the book on this homepage). Any way, the second edition of the book came out a year later, and there was a particularly nice review in the “Salzburger Nachrichten”.
Corona 2: The extensive standstill of public life in pandemic times also changed many things for me: I came to re-think and write about what I had been pondering some time before, and I found in Renovatio an institution – www.renovatio.org – that shares my values, and for which I am now happy to work as a freelancer. This Augsburg-based institute promotes understanding of Europe’s many existential challenges by strengthening societal resilience and the continuity of its Christian Western heritage. My analyses taken from Renovatio can be found in German¨ here https://www.breisky.at/de/europa-lieben-lernen/ (Learning to love Europe), here (On the soft power of cultural sense of community), and here https://www.breisky.at/de/909/(The Computer is neither God nor Kaiser).
Corona 3: The silence enforced by lock-down has also given me the opportunity to rework for Internet media the lectures I gave in 2008 in China at several universities and educational institutions on Leopold Kohr’s doctrine of the human measure. Under the title “HUMAN MEASURE COMES TO CHINA – the Leopold Kohr Lecture held by Ambassador Michael Breisky at Beijing Global Village in 20008”, the interview with Liao Xiaoy, the then president of this environmental organization, will soon be shown here. Quite remarkable, it touches also spiritual topics.
Corona 4: The fact that the National Archives of the United States in Washington also had to close because of the Corona lockdown hit me hard. This relates to my book published in 2019, titled (translated from German)”Wartime Sketches from Diplomatic Lisbon – what Hubert and Hildegard Breisky told me about their years in Portugal 1940 -1945.” In this book I came to write also about the secret negotiations that my father, as cultural attaché of the German legation in Lisbon, conducted with U.S. diplomats, agents of U.S. secret services. Starting in December 1942 within the framework of the Schellenberg initiatives – as is well known, this was also attempted by negotiations in Sweden – its aim was to check-out out all possibilities of step-by-step process leading to a consensual end to the WW2. Only after the publication of this book, however, did I receive documents showing that my father, more e and more aware of the catastrophe looming for Nazi-Germany, had eventually come to use these negotiations as a pretext (vis-à-vis the Schellenberg-People) to raise American interest in re-establishing Austria’s independence after the war. He was supported in this by his close friend Richard Skene, responsible for much of the Austrian sugar-industry, who had succeeded in these austere times to travel from Vienna to see my father in Lisbon in 1943 and 1944 – presumably on the pretext of war-economy (Skene was killed in March 1945 during the last fighting in Vienna). In the process, the two of them, in cooperation with the U.S. side in Lisbon, drafted and finalised an 18-page memorandum on September 6, 1944, which was forwarded, among others, to the U.S. delegation at the European Advisory Council in London, responsible for Europe’s postwar planning. There, according to feedback from my father’s American interlocutors, it “served best with regard to America’s involvement in the Austrian question.” Now, for months I have been trying to get this this hitherto unpublished document, which is certainly significant for Austrian post-war history, out of the archive cellars of the U.S. secret services – but here, too, the Corona lockdown is throwing a spanner in the works.