Nej, Remarque hed ikke Kramer

Jeg hørte engang for mange år siden, at Erich Maria Remarques fødenavn skulle være Kramer. Lyder da også som en besnærende måde at lave sig et pseudonym på: stave sit rigtige navn bagfra og gøre det lidt mere fancy med en fransk endelse. Det er imidlertid en myte: Remarque har aldrig heddet Kramer. Hans fødenavn var Erich Paul Remark. Muligvis er den sejlivede misforståelse et resultat af nazistisk propaganda. Wikipedia:

On 10 May 1933, the Nazis, instigated by the then Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels banned and publicly burned Remarque’s works and produced propaganda claiming that he was a descendant of French Jews and that his real last name was Kramer, a Jewish-sounding name, and his original name spelled backwards. This is still cited in some biographies despite the complete lack of evidence. The Nazis also claimed, falsely, that Remarque had not done active service during World War I.

For nogle år siden, da jeg i en sprogklumme i en dansk avis så påstanden om Kramer-navnet fremført endnu engang, skrev jeg til klummens forfatter om ovenstående. Jeg modtog et lidt arrogant svar om, at det altid har været kendt, at han hed Kramer, uden yderligere dokumentation. Så jeg gravede – barnligt, indrømmet! – dette citat frem fra The Novels of Erich Maria Remarque: Sparks of Life af Brian Murdoch:

[O]ne of the most absurdly tenacious myths about him is that he was really called Kramer. This appeared in at least one official Nazi document and still crops up in otherwise respectable or scholarly works, even though he denied it fairly bluntly in print as late as 1966, and it has been corrected often enough. His birth certificate is in the name of Erich Paul Remark, born 22 June 1898, and there is even a photograph of it in Thomas Schneider’s pictorial biography.

Man må sige det er tankevækkende hvor effektiv propagandaen åbenbart har været i dette tilfælde.

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