Marx rivals Einstein for Best German
Source Jurriaan Bendien
Date 03/11/08/10:40

Marx rivals Einstein for Best German

Saturday 08 November 2003, 12:06 Makka Time, 9:06 GMT

Millions of German television viewers picked Karl Marx, Albert Einstein and
Willy Brandt among the top 10 Best Germans of all time in a national call-in
contest on Friday. More than 1300 Germans were nominated for the competition
to identify the 10 most important Germans, and a "top 100" list unveiled on
Friday night contained a number of surprises. A winner will be selected from
the 10 finalists in three weeks. In a country long weighted down by guilt
from World War Two and wary of idolising national heroes as a reaction to
the ultra-national Nazi era, the Best German contest reflects a growing, if
still modest, sense of German patriotism. While sports heroes like Formula
One champion Michael Schumacher, Wimbledon title winner Boris Becker, tennis
queen Steffi Graf and football World Cup winner Franz Beckenbauer made it
into the top 40, supermodel Claudia Schiffer and Nobel-prize winning author
Guenter Grass weren't even among the first 100. Organised by Bild newspaper
and ZDF television, Germans now have three weeks to cast ballots for the top
10 finalists to pick the Best German in a competition modelled on a popular
British BBC television programme called Great Britons that selected war-time
Prime Minister Winston Churchill ahead of Shakespeare, Darwin and Princess
Diana. (....)

Top 10 Germans:

Albert Einstein
Johann Sebastian Bach
Karl Marx
Willy Brandt
Konrad Adenauer
Otto von Bismarck
Sophie & Hans Scholl
Martin Luther
Johannes Gutenberg
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Notable among the top 100 were the high number of those famed for resisting
Hitler - Georg Elsner, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Claus Schenk von
Stauffenberg. The list was rigged to exclude Hitler and most of his
entourage, but Nazi, and later US, rocket scientist Wernher von Braun was
ranked the 63rd. Another surprise entry in the top 100 were the so-called
Truemmerfrauen - the myriad of women in bucket brigades who cleared away the
rubble from bombed out cities after the war. They got the 88th place, ahead
of former world champion boxer Max Schmeling, now 97 years old.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was ranked 82nd behind Olympic figure skating
champion Katarina Witt in 70th, nationalistic composer Richard Wagner at
69th and sultry actress Marlene Dietrich in 50th position.

Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer (52), trailed rock singer Nena (38), known
abroad for her 1984 antiwar song 99 Luftballons, Nazi-era businessman Oskar
Schindler who saved Jews from death camps (37), Beckenbauer (36), Becker
(35), Graf (32), Schumacher (26) and composer Ludwig van Beethoven (12).
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was 13th, ahead of Wolfgang Amadeus
Mozart (20) - a controversial pick because Austria claims the composer as
its native son.
An early glimpse of the voting for the final contest that began on Friday
showed the trend favouring Einstein, a physicist who fled Nazi Germany for
the United States, ahead of Adenauer and Goethe. Marx, the German-born
communist philosopher and author of Das Kapital, and Bismarck were in 10th
and ninth place after the first five minutes of voting.

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