Gruenendahl, German Indology and National Socialism (Was: No longer Language barriers --- financial barriers)

Sun Mar 15 22:50:56 EDT 2009

Quoting "Gruenendahl, Reinhold" <gruenen at SUB.UNI-GOETTINGEN.DE>:

> Since Professor Franco indicated that he was too busy for proving his earlier
> claims it would indeed be too much to ask him to substantiate his latest
> charges.

Even this very statement is a distortion or ?fabrication.? I never  
said or indicated that I am too busy to prove my claims. Dr.  
Gruenendahl asked for one example (?may I ask you to give one  
example??) and I gave him one example. He may not like the example, he  
may think that the example is no good, but he cannot (or should not)  
claim that I did not take the time to write to him.

Further, I tried to take this discussion off the list, honestly  
thinking that ?everybody had enough of this.? But Gruenendahl knows  
better. The real reason why I do not want to discuss it on the list,  
he claims, is that I do not want to discuss the example in public (?I  
understand that this is the reason why he would rather not discuss it  
in public.?). Basically he accuses me of being dishonest. But this  
accusation is plainly absurd. We already discussed this example in  
public, and Gruenendahl knows it because he himself participated in  
the discussion. If anyone is interested, they can find the discussion  
in the archive of the German Indologie discussion group.

Evidence for ad hominem argument and cheap psychological analysis was  
already given in the last message, but if it needs to be ?proved?, I  
quote: ?I cannot see who expects to gain from
this, except in terms of attention - undeserved attention, in my  
view.?  It is clear from the context that this statement refers to me.

The most  significant point, however, which should have a broader  
appeal, is Dr. Gruenendahl?s attempt to exonerate German Indology from  
its affiliation with National Socialism. I think the issue is  
important and want to discuss it in some detail, without, however,  
being exhaustive.

The publication in question is Gruenendahl?s contribution to Gustav  
Roth?s Felicitation Volume, entitled ?Von der Indologie zum  
Völkermord,? In U. Hüsken, P. Kieffer-Pülz and A. Peters [eds.],  
Jaina-Itih?sa-Ratna. Festschrift für Gustav Roth zum 90. Geburtstag.  
Marburg 2006, pp. 209-236. Already when I first read it, I was  
dismayed not only by Gruenendahl?s occasionally spiteful criticism of  
Sheldon Pollock, but also by the way Gruenendahl misunderstands and  
misrepresents his sources, especially in his attempt to exonerate  
Frauwallner from the charge, made by Pollock, of having been  
affiliated with National Socialist ideology.

Gruenendahl (p. 217) argues (and this is typical for his emotional  
style) that one would thoroughly misunderstand Pollock?s intentions if  
one would drag them down to the level of facts, which are a negligible  
quantity in the age of ?polyvalent? discourse. He states that Pollock  
does not use facts to determine reality, but resorts to strategic  
choices and interpretations of the materials to draw maximum attention  
to himself (!). Had I tried, I could not have found a better way to  
describe Gruenendahl?s own approach to the topic.

I will illustrate the above with ?facts.? But let me first note  
Gruenendahl?s remarkable lack of sensitivity to the historical and  
political context. A racist or racialist statement made in Germany in  
1939 or 1942 cannot be divorced from this context, and to argue, as  
Gruenendahl does (e.g., p. 232 and passim), that similar statements  
were already made by racists of previous generations (such as  
Gobineau, Renan, etc.) and that it is therefore not evident that these  
ideas (as expressed e.g., by Frauwallner in 1944) are associated with  
National Socialist ideology, is not only naïve, but preposterous.

Here are a few examples of how Gruenendahl twists his source material.

Frauwallner (in 1944) approvingly quotes von Soden to the effect that  
only the Indo-Europeans, which are determined by the Nordic race, are  
capable of creating science properly speaking and states that ?on the  
basis of our investigations up to now we cannot but agree with this  
statement? (? ?daß Wis¬sen¬schaft im strengen Sinn des Wortes etwas  
ist, das nur von den von der nordischen Rasse bestimmten Indogermanen  
geschaffen werden konnte? (S. 556). Wir können dieser Behauptung auf  
Grund unserer bisherigen Betrachtungen nur beistimmen.?).

Gruenendahl (p. 232) interprets this statement to mean that  
Frauwallner at least signalized some reserve in his endorsement of von  
Soden?s statement (?? einen Vorbehalt zumindest angedeutet?). This  
interpretation of a stereotypical expression (?auf Grund unserer  
bisherigen Betrachtungen?) is simply tendentious and farfetched. There  
is certainly nothing in this context to support it.

Frauwallner?s confident perception of himself as a true pioneer of  
solid philological research into the history of Indian philosophy is  
misinterpreted by Gruenendahl (p. 231) to mean that Frauwallner stated  
that the relevant direction of Indological research (i.e., research  
that is programmatically determined by the aspect of race) was in its  
beginning?an unsuccessful attempt by Gruenendahl to show, on the  
alleged authority of Frauwallner himself, that Indologists up to this  
time had not yet followed this line of research.

Furthermore, in his polemical zeal Gruenendahl misre¬presents  
Frauwallner?s hypothesis of two distinct, racially conditioned  
historical phases of Indian philosophy and inverts Frauwallner?s  
judgement about the second period: he presents Frauwallner?s reference  
to the peak (occurring in the first half of the second millennium) of  
the development of Indian philosophy in its *second*, clearly inferior  
phase as the view that ?the mingling of the two races? was fruitful  
and even led to a new peak of its own kind of Indian philosophy (p.  

Gruenendahl seems to ignore that Frauwallner repeated his racist  
interpretation of Indian philosophy even after the war (and without  
any reservations) in his ?History of Indian Philosophy,? Vol. I, pp.  
26-27. In this context, Frauwallner?s usage of the typical Nazi term  
?Volkskörper? (nation?s body) has to be noted. As is well known, the  
National Socialists thought of the German nation as a body to be kept  
healthy, clean and free from disease, obnoxious influences and  
parasites (such as minorities belonging to so-called inferior races).  
The same racist historical interpretation is repeated as late as 1959  
in Frauwallner?s article ?Indische Philosophie.? This time at least he  
adds that a definitive statement about this, i.e., the racial  
background of the two developmental phases of Indian philosophy, seems  
?premature? (verfrüht).

That Frauwallner was an anti-Semite is certainly not an unfounded  
inference by Pollock (as Gruenendahl claims on p. 233), but a well  
attested fact. Even though there are no direct anti-Semitic statements  
in Frauwallner?s writings, there are other sources that testify  
clearly to his anti-Semitism well after WW II (cf., for instance, the  
sources utilized by Jakob Stuchlik?s dissertation submitted to the  
University of Vienna in 2005 and his forthcoming monograph on the  
background of Frauwallner?s ?Aryan hypothesis? to be published by the  
Austrian Academy of Sciences). It is arbitrary and unacceptable to  
form a judgement on the basis of published Indological studies alone.

Gruenendahl points out some differences between Frauwallner?s  
statements and those of Chamberlain (p. 228) and the agreement of the  
former with Gobineau?s positions (p. 229), but fails to indicate  
Frauwallner?s more immediate sources of inspiration. One such source  
is the renowned Vedic and Bud¬dhist scholar Hermann Oldenberg, whom  
Frauwallner admired; some of the former?s statements seem to have been  
of direct inspiration to him. I will quote from this source below  
because I believe that it is not well known and interesting reading  
(Die Literatur des alten Indien, pp. 132-133).

More details on the relationship between Frauwallner?s work on the  
history of Indian philosophy and his National Socialist ideology are  
available in a preface by Karin Preisendanz and myself to a  
forthcoming reprint of Frauwallner?s Philosophie des Buddhismus.

As for Gruenendahl?s confident statement that there is evidently no  
ideological consensus between Walther Wüst and Ludwig Alsdorf (p.  
213), and his denial that racist ideology did not at all affect  
Alsdorf?s scholarly work (p. 225), compare the first chapter of  
Alsdorf?s ?Indien? in the Weltpolitische Bücherei (supervised by  
Alfred Rosenberg himself), second edition, Deutscher Verlag Berlin,  
1942, especially pp. 12-13.

To be sure, Pollock?s statements and hypotheses are at times daring  
and sweeping, but they constitute the beginning of the exploration of  
this phase of the history of our discipline, all the more so as, more  
than sixty years after WWII, no German Indologist has attempted to  
undertake the task of coming to terms with Indology during this dark  
period of German history. In this sense, Gruenendahl?s announced  
monograph will be very welcome indeed. One only hopes that it will be  
less biased than his paper referred to above.

With best wishes,
Eli Franco

P.S. For Prof.  Slaje?s eloquent praise of Gruenendahl?s work and  
method, cf. his message to the list dated January 9, 2007.

H. Oldenberg, Die Literatur des alten Indien, 2nd ed., Stuttgart 1923,  
pp. 132-133:
?Above all there were probably influences [by the indi¬genous people  
of India] that worked in a very pro¬found way which we can only  
surmise: through the gradually progressing transformation of the  
blood, which means a transformation of the Soul, through the constant  
influx of new quantities of the blood of savages and semi-savages into  
the veins of those who still called themselves Aryans. Zeus and Apollo  
continued to rule as long as there were Greek gods because the Greek  
nation remained the same. Indra and Agni had to leave the field to  
other gods because the Indian nation had become a different one. For  
these minds, in which an inscrutable jumble of anta¬gonistic powers,  
intertwined with each other, unleashed at each other, was at work, the  
Vedic gods were much too guile¬lessly simple; their being was all too  
easily exhausted. They had come from the North: now tropical gods were  
needed. These were hardly of fixed shapes any longer; they were whole  
tangles of shapes, bodies from which oozed heads upon heads, arms upon  
arms, multi¬tudes of hands holding multitudes of attributes, clubs and  
lotus flowers: voluptuous, sombre and grandiose poetry every¬where,  
exuberance and blurred shapelessness: a terrible disaster for the fine  
arts? (?Vor allem werden jene Ein¬flüsse (scil. der Urbewohner  
Indiens) in einer tiefsten Weise gewirkt haben, die wir nur ahnen  
können: durch die allmählich fortschreitende Wandlung des Blutes, die  
eine Wandlung der Seele bedeutet, durch das be¬ständige Ein¬strömen  
neuer Mengen von Wilden- und Halb¬wil¬den¬blut in die Adern derer, die  
sich noch immer Arier nann¬ten. Zeus und Apollon haben ihre Herrschaft  
be¬halten, solange es griechische Götter gab, denn das Grie¬chenvolk  
blieb dasselbe. Indra und Agni mussten andern Göttern das Feld räumen,  
denn das indische Volk war ein andres ge¬worden. Für diese Geister, in  
denen un¬er¬gründliche Mischungen widerstreitender Kräfte,  
mit¬einander ver¬schlungen, gegeneinander entfesselt, ihr Spiel  
trieben, waren die Vedagötter allzu kindlich einfach; gar zu leicht  
war ihr Wesen ausgeschöpft. Sie waren von Norden ge¬kommen: jetzt  
brauchte man tropische Götter. Es waren kaum mehr feste Gestalten; es  
waren ganze Gestal¬ten¬knäuel, Körper, aus denen Köpfe über Köpfe,  
Arme über Arme hervor¬quollen, Mengen von Händen, die Mengen von  
Attributen, Keulen und Lotusblumen halten: überall üppige und düstere,  
grandiose Poesie, Überfülle und ver¬schwommene Formlosigkeit: Ein  
böses Verhängnis für die bildende Kunst.?)

> [A pedantic correction: We met in Berlin on one or two occasions, and I
> remember them as rather pleasant.]
> Reinhold Grünendahl
> ________________________________
> Von: Indology im Auftrag von franco at RZ.UNI-LEIPZIG.DE
> Gesendet: Sa 14.03.2009 23:47
> Betreff: No longer Language barriers --- financial barriers
> I guess I was wrong; unfortunately, not everybody had enough of this.
> So here we go for one more round, hopefully the last. I apologize for
> responding a bit late; I was busy during the last few days.
> Dr. Gruenendahl is right. Two times are not enough to establish a
> pattern. Perhaps next time he will side with me against a point made
> by Prof. Slaje, but I somehow doubt it.
> What I object to, of course, is not the fact that he takes sides in a
> discussion, but to his aggressive manner, malicious distortion of what
> I said, his use of ad hominem arguments, and cheap psychological
> analysis of the type ?Franco writes because he wants to draw attention
> to himself, undeserved attention.? In the same vein I could say, e.g.,
> ?Gruenendahl?s offensiveness is only due to some personal frustration,
> deserved frustration.? However, I do not want to regress to
> Kindergarten level.
> Some of you have voiced the concern that the list has become a place
> for personal and private battles. I can assure you that there was
> absolutely nothing personal in my remark about the Glasenapp
> Foundation. Furthermore, Dr. Gruenendahl and I do not know each other;
> at least I do not remember ever meeting him.
> Further, I do not think that Dr. Gruenendahl *purposefully* distorts
> what I said, but that his vision is blurred by some agenda. The same
> kind of distortion, at times even spiteful criticism he displays in
> some of his published work, notably in his attempt to exonerate German
> Indology from the charge of having been affiliated with National
> Socialism. There was a discussion about this last year on the list.
> With best wishes,
> Eli Franco
> Quoting "Gruenendahl, Reinhold" <gruenen at SUB.UNI-GOETTINGEN.DE>:
>> On 9 Mar 2009 at 21:09, franco at RZ.UNI-LEIPZIG.DE wrote:
>>> I will try to refresh Dr. Gruenendahl's memory off the list. I am sure
>>> everybody had enough of this by now.
>> Apologies to everybody who has had enough of this.
>> I thank Professor Franco for his kind assistance in refreshing my memory.
> As
>> I see it, the significance of the case he referred to offline lies not so
>> much in my agreement with Walter Slaje (actually I had endorsed his
>> forwarding of third-party information), but in my perceived disagreement
> with
>> Professor Franco, who was not altogether disinterested in the case and its
>> decision before a German court. I understand that this is the reason why he
>> would rather not discuss it in public.
>> So we still are where we were yesterday: I would have to consider Professor
>> Franco's remark a mere fabrication unless he comes up with evidence that is
>> presentable to the public, preferably a case in which he had no personal
>> interest, if that isn't asking too much. It goes without saying that at
> least
>> one more example would be needed to get anywhere near the
> "whenever"-pattern
>> insinuated in his remark.
>> Talking about patterns, there is another one that seems all too familiar:
> "I
>> have made my point, and now that I have been asked to prove it I am sure
>> everyone had enough of it."
>> Reinhold Grünendahl
>> *****************************************
>> On 9 Mar 2009 at 17:15, franco at RZ.UNI-LEIPZIG.DE wrote:
>>> It is touching to see how whenever Prof. Slaje is involved in a debate
>>> Dr. Gruenendahl comes to his rescue.
>>> Best wishes
>>> EF
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
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