by ORF Redaktion Zeitgeschichte, Austria
receiving the Special Award Education and Ethics
Laudator: Thomas A. Bauer
The ORF TV production “Der zweite Welkrieg” is an impressing media oevre, so far submitted to the jury in five pieces, interpreting the horrible history from an authentic Austrian point of view. The production is the ever first one that assesses the participation of Austrians in doing the gruesome and fearful business of war from an Austrian self-critical perspective. This was possibly made by fundamental historical analysis, through extensive journalistic research and through a sensitive strategy of communication in interviewing the last still living contemporary witnesses in methods of oral history. For some of the witnesses the documentary became an act of self-liberation finally saying the fearful truth.
Each of the pieces of the TV serial on second world war and the Austrian enmeshment has to be seen as a self-contained comprehensive historical analysis on heroes, criminals, victims, on ideological, economical and mental conditions and on the amentia and craziness that was contributed to this crash of political and occidental reasonability through political, religious and societal institutions.
The history of mankind, of society and communities, as it is done through intelligent reflection or scientific observation, like it has been worked out in this remarkable TV documentary, is the a search for any logical explanation, and is a moral frame for a learning discourse. The difficulty of and for a TV documentary reflecting to such a serious topic is to tell drama and story but not to blanket the history in flat entertainment. The whole media oevre “Der zweite Weltkrieg” is a masterpiece of analytical narration that expects from recipients to overcome the simple schemes of distinction and of distribution of blame like the friend-enemy-scheme, the hero-masses-scheme, the aggressor-victim-scheme, the power- helplessness-schema, or the guilty-innocent.That inspiration is the European connotation within this historical serial. It prepares to learn that the distribution of power is a question of communication and participation competence. The Jury was convinced that this media documentary is not just a historical narration, this is – seen in the context of education - history in the making. Through that achievement the serial “Der zweite Weltkrieg” matches exactly on of the special focuses of the Erasmus EuroMedia Awards. Therfore the ESEC- Jury is proud to award the ORF Department “Zeitgeschichte” for its outstanding TV documentary “Der zweite Weltkrieg” with the Special Award for Education and Ethics.