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Heinrich Heine is Honored

Heinrich Heine, the poet and political essayist, was honored in his native city of Duesseldorf last month to commemorate the 125th anniversay of this death. City officials unveiled a monument which was created by a local sculptor, Bert Gerresheim, who worked from Heine’s death mask to produce his eight-by-five meter “Free-Landscape” of the poet. At the unveiling ceremony, part of a weeklong Heine festival, Foreign Minister Jean Francois-Poncet of France praised Heine for his early recognition of the possibility for “fruitful and beneficial relations between the peoples of the Rhine.”

For years, Heine remained unhonored in his own land. A Jew and a liberal who fled autocratic Prussian rule to spend the last 25 years of his life in France, Heine remained critical of his homeland. His works were banned in the German states in 1835. In his writings, Heine tried to reconcile Judaism, Romanticism, his admiration for French culture and liberalism with love for his own country.

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