Innsbruck, July 16, 1985
Heinrich Böll (1917 - 1985)
This afternoon Heinrich Böl1, at the age of 67, passed away in his house in the Eifel. The German Nobel Prize Laureate in literature has become known as an engaged post-war author, especially by his moral voice. He narrated with unsparing realism the hardships of soldiers returning from the war, the fate of war widows, and the bungled life of half-orphans that grew up without a father. He also exposed the illusory values of the Wirtschaftswunder, the German economic miracle society. And he stood up courageously for the freedom of speech of authors in East and West. In the 1950s and ‘60s, Böll became the conscience of the nation. His short stories and novels have been translated into all major languages. His works may have reached a total circulation of about 20 million copies.
Innsbruck, July 30, 1985
Ten Years after the CSCE Final Accords in Helsinki
Today the foreign ministers of the 35 member states of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) have assembled in Helsinki for the 10th anniversary of signing the final accords on August 1, 1975. [See above entry of August 1, 1975.] The results of the Helsinki Agreement have been left far behind expectations. A certain disillusionment has been growing. Nonetheless, the success that has been achieved in the area of easing restrictions for the traffic of people across the borders between East and West cannot be denied.
At the beginning of the festival season in Austria this year, the tourism from Eastern countries has obviously increased. More than in previous years, one can see cars with tourists from Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and recently also from East Germany. It seems as if living in peace side by side could be possible after all.
[After completing my three-year term as director of the University of Notre Dame foreign study program in Innsbruck, my wife and I returned on July 31, 1985, to South Bend in Indiana.]