Not one German newspaper or media outlet has bothered to report the confiscation at Frankfurt airport of a Stradivarius carried by the Dresden concertmaster Yuki Manuela Janke. Ms Janke carried all the necessary documentation from the Nippon Foundation, which owns the instrument. The customs officers were being officious, and possibly racist, as they were last month with the Brussels-based soloist Yuzuko Horigome.
The only media reports this week have been in Slipped Disc, on the AFP wire and, today, in the Japan Times. It is six days since the violin was seized. The German silence is incomprehensible.
If an abuse of power like this had occurred in any British, US, French or Spanish airport, the vibrant and highly competitive local news outlets would have vied to get the instrument released.
In Germany, they stay stumm. Why? We have a tendency in English-speaking countries to regard German newspapers as stuffy, complacent, filled with old news and unwilling to challenge authority. Whatever can have given us that impression?
Anyone home at the FAZ?