The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum is the 15-minute drama on Radio 4 this week. If you’re not familiar with the novel or film adaptation, try and take time to listen to the abridged radio version. As the plot outline from Wikipedia shows, the sexual shaming of divorcee Blum by the vicious German tabloids is perhaps more pertinent than ever, taking into consideration the media portrayal of Pussy Riot, and the issue of so-called “creepshots” and “revenge porn”, as explored in this superb article by Kira Cochrane, and the unmasking of Reddit’s “violentacrez” over on Gawker.
Four days after a Weiberfastnacht party, where Katharina met a man named Ludwig Götten, she calls on Oberkommissar Moeding and confesses to killing a journalist for the newspaperDie Zeitung. Katharina had met Götten at a friend’s party and spent the night with him before helping him to escape from the police. The next morning, the police broke into her house, arrested her and questioned her. The story is sensationally covered by Die Zeitung, and in particular its journalist Tötges. Tötges investigates everything about her life, calling on Katharina’s friends and family, including her ex-husband and hospitalized mother, who dies the day after Tötges visits her. He paints a picture of Katharina as a fervent accomplice of Götten, and as a communist run amok in Germany. Katharina arranges an interview with Tötges. According to Katharina, upon his arrival he suggests that they have sex, whereupon she shoots him dead. She then wanders the city for a few hours before driving to police headquarters and confessing to Moeding. The book also details the effects of the case on Katharina’s employers and friends the Blornas; Mr Blorna is her lawyer, and Mrs Blorna one of the designers of the apartment block where Katharina resides. Their association with Katharina leads to their exclusion from society.