No Pension for the Upstart

When there were “complications” concerning a writer’s pension, Green Parliamentarian Terezija Stoisits’ reaction: “The front cannot be broken through!”

Here’s part of the front: Franz-Leo Popp, head of the Commission Pensions for Writers: “Herbert Kuhner does not qualify for a writers’ prison. The list of his publications would not even cover one page.”

“The list of Austrian poets that Herbert Kuhner has rendered reads like. Who’s Who in Austrian Poetry.
– Harry Zohn, Modern Austrian Poetry Journal, Riverside, CA

Konstantin Kaiser and Stephan Eibel, writer colleagues, spoke to Green politician Friedrun Huemer, who told them to desist. Reason to Kaiser: “He is against Artmann.” (H.C. Artmann is represented in Austrian Poetry Today and elsewhere in my translation. I would think that one would be able to discuss aspects of any author. Reason to Eibel: “You are not in Austrian Poetry Today.” (I met Eibel after the publication of the aforementioned anthology)

Eine lebenswichtige Frage/A Question Essential to Life by Stephan Eibel, a bilingual edition of poetry and prose in my translation has been published by PROverbis Verlag in 2017.

A Genuine President Comes into Play

Thanks to Kuno Knöbl I am represented in Das kann einem nur in Wien passieren: Alltagsgeschichten/ Only in Vienna: Stories of Everyday Events by Austrian Jews, edited by Ruth Wodak.  This is from the cover blurb: “These ‘stories of everyday occurrences’ comprise a collection of impressions, experiences and stories that many who live in Vienna have or could have encountered. However, not just anyone, but Jews of three generations.”

After publication, Dr. Gabriel Lansky, the Legal Counsel to the Socialist Party and the Jewish Community and “human Rights activist,” organized a meeting in the editor’s apartment for the purpose of asserting that I should not have been included in the book. Lansky was seconded by Rubina Möhring, Austrian President of Reporters Without Borders.

Kuno Knöbl:“Gaby Lansky is financial advisor to Reporters Without Borders. “
(Messages to Reporters Without Borders in New York have gone responded. No answer is indeed an answer.)

Kuno Comments: “In my view there is a Biedermeier-like silence concerning this topic. It is good that you (Harry Kuhner) have broken through it.”


I’ve always associated the name Gabriel with the guy with wings and a horn.

Blow, Gabriel! Blow! is one of the great hits in Cole Porter’s Anything Goes.

“Blow, Gabriel! blow!
Come on and blow, Gabriel, blow!
I wanna join your happy band.”

Now the name has a new connotation. There’s a Gabriel who plays in a band that I wouldn’t want to join, a band that’s not “happy,” but a band that calls the cultural shots in Austria. It’s a band that’s a “family,” and the music they play is pretty damn lousy.

An eminent Austrian barrister of prevailed on an editor of a collection of “sad songs” by Austrian Jewish authors that I should not have sung my song in it, after the fact.

Gabriel has the same background as I, and although we never met, I am sure that we have nothing else in common. When I related this to a writer I know, who is not enamored of Jews, she said: “See what I mean! Maybe if you weren’t what you are, you might be an anti-Semite.” “Oh, I replied that didn’t stop so-and-so and so-and-so-and so.” Actually, I named some Austrian fellow writers and a very, very prominent politician.

And I then quoted Henry Morgan, the humorist – not the pirate: “Everybody is an anti-Semite, except a few Jews, and they’re not sure.” Then I added: Jews make the best anti-Semites, because they know what they’re talking about!