(The article by Philipp Oehmke and Martin Wolf appeared in Der Spiegel, 11/12.)
There's an Eames chair in Roman Polanski's Paris office near the Champs Elysées. The seat back is broken, but Polanski is attached to the old armchair. He bought it together with Sharon Tate, his second wife, who was murdered in 1969. Tate's slaying is just one of the great calamities in Polanski's life. The first happened during his childhood in the Krakow ghetto, when both of his parents, who were Polish Jews, were sent to a concentration camp. His father survived, but his mother died in Auschwitz.
As a young man, Polanski had difficulty finding his bearings. The third calamity occurred eight years after Tate was killed by followers of the Satanist Charles Manson, when Polanski sexually abused 13-year-old Samantha Geimer in Los Angeles. He was tried in the United States and spent 42 days in prison. But after he had completed his sentence, the judge withdrew from the deal that had been reached by the district attorney and lawyers for Polanski and Geimer, which prompted the director to flee to Europe. He was arrested again in Zürich in 2009. In an interview with SPIEGEL in September, Geimer made it clear that she had forgiven Polanski long ago.