Wednesday, August 30, 2017
They are planning their yearly Diesel’n’Dust-Fest for September 15 into September 16. Mind you, #Dieselskandal is not such a dragging name presently.
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
|Bundschuh, shoe with boot straps |
worn by common people in the Middle Ages
Four years ago I blogged about the Bundschuh movement, a peasants' revolt in the village of Lehen, now a district of Freiburg. I also participated in the festivities on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the aborted uprising. Now I have walked the commemorative Bundschuh trail that had been created since then. For a complete story of the farmers' revolt in 1513 my German readers may like to consult this link.
The Bundschuh trail is conceived like a pilgrimage path with 14 stations. It starts at the Bundschuhhalle (1), a place where the Leheners hold their festivities and special events which however has nothing to do with the peasants' revolt in 1513. Since this historical event and Lehen's Bergle (hill) are the village's only important attributes they are marketed in combination. So you walk on the trail up and down the Bergle (11) with its vineyards and apple orchards.
In September 1513 the conspirers first met at the Hartmatte (2), a meadow outside the village, to take the Bundschuh vow. Today the famous Hartmatte is buried beneath a motorway and the tracks of Freiburg's streetcar.
Jos Fritz (3), the leader, his wife Els Schmidin* (6), and Pastor Johannes Schwartz (4) who spiritually supported the movement calling the Bundschuh ein göttlich Ding (a divine thing).
*In the Middle Ages women kept their family name just adding the suffix "in" when married
At the village church St. Cyriak (10) an information panel tells about the history of the building. Johannes Schwartz was parish priest at Lehen from 1497 to 1513 when following the betrayal of the conspiracy he fled to Alsace.
A 20th-century Longinus- und Armakreuz in the churchyard was worth a detour. These crosses are named after the Roman legionnaire Longinus who pierced Jesus in his side with a lance. In addition it shows the arms, the arma Christi, the weapons of Christ. The cross was created by Friedbert Andernach in 1987.
The last station of the trail is the Bundschuh oak (14), a work of art by Thomas Rees commemorating the peasants' uprising, carved out of an upside-down oak trunk, and presenting the signs of the times 500 years ago. The head of the crucified Christ is bent by the weight of two oppressors. To the right sits a clergyman pointing with one hand to heaven and opening the other hand for a euro. To the left sits a drinking nobleman squeezing out a peasant.
It was an afternoon well spent.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
|A disturbing video frame (©Der Spiegel)|
Here in Germany we have recently heard a lot about the Alt-right movement - sometimes also called neo-Nazis - in the States. The Alt stands for alternative and the word is also part of the name AfD (Alternative für Deutschland ), a right-wing party that will certainly make it into the next Bundestag (Germany's House of Representatives) following our federal election on September 24.
It is comforting to see that up to now the AfD has been self-absorbed in fights for sure seats in state parliaments and for the party's presidency. For me it is more important that so far no AfD member has shown the charisma of a Führer although some of the party faithful may think otherwise.
The AfD chairpersons are Frauke Petry and Jörg Meuthen. Frauke has a doctorate in chemistry but it may be unfair to quote the 18th-century German physicist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg: Wer nichts als die Chemie versteht, versteht auch die nicht recht (Anyone who understands nothing but chemistry does not even understand chemistry properly). Nevertheless this week the Saxon state parliament waived Dr. Petry's immunity so the prosecutor may continue his investigation into her having allegedly committed perjury in an AfD matter. Divorced from her husband, a Lutheran pastor, leaving four children in mental turmoil Frauke now lives with a party colleague and gave birth to a common child in May 2017.
|Even tactless campaigning is welcome: |
Dr. Petry presenting her love child on an election poster.
Another ambitious lady is Beatrix von Storch, AfD deputy chairwoman and member of the European parliament. Lambasting Angela Merkel as the biggest liar in Germany von Storch stated in a debate about incoming refugees: Und wenn die das HALT an der Grenze nicht akzeptieren, können die Vollzugsbeamten im Grenzdienst Schusswaffen auch gegen Personen einsetzen (And if they don't obey the HALT command at the border the border officials may use firearms against persons too), a situation we frequently had with East German border guards at the inner-German border before 1989.
Alexander Gauland, a former Christian Democrat, is a co-founder of the AfD and a deputy chairman. Following a planned party rally at Bad Mergentheim old Alexander (76) wanted to rest his weary head on the pillow of a hotel bed. When the local AfD branch tried to make a reservation the owner of the hotel barred Mr. Gauland from his premises. Immediately the party made the story public calling the ban a reminiscence of the darkest period in German history: Deutsche! Kauft nicht bei Juden (Germans! Do not buy from Jews). Imagine, such an argument made by the AfD.
The hotel owner said that he has the domiciliary right to decide whom he would like to see as his guest. It goes without saying that the Central Council of Jews in Germany did not dig the historical comparison brought forward by the AfD.
Gauland is one of the two AfD lead candidates in the upcoming federal elections. The other one is Alice Weidel, a management consultant and an avowed lesbian. Although the AfD stands for the traditional German family and is strictly against eingetragene Lebensgemeinschaften (registered partnerships) Alice lives happily with her Swiss partner who brought two sons into the "marriage".
When Weidel was nominated as one of the lead candidates at a party convention in the spring she formulated the memorable statement: Politische Korrektheit gehört auf den Müllhaufen der Geschichte (Political correctness belongs on the garbage heap of history). Although Red Baron thinks that political correctness is sometimes far-fetched Alice overshot fully.
A strong reaction to her remark followed promptly. As translated on Wikipedia the host of extra 3, one of Germany's popular TV satire programs, said, "Sure, put an end to political correctness. Let's all be politically incorrect. That Nazi bitch must be right. Was that politically incorrect enough? I hope so." Weidel sued, seeking to forbid re-airing of the program, and on 17 May the Hamburg District Court ruled against her, stating that a public figure must stand against exaggerated criticism. Weidel disagreed with the decision and promised to bring it to the Oberlandesgericht (Higher Regional Court).
AfD, an alternative for Germany? Doesn't a fish rot from the head down?
Thursday, August 17, 2017
|Diskussion im Neuererkollektiv (Discussions at the innovators' collective)|
|Beer sommelière Andrea Seeger and master brewer James Tutor |
presenting a collection of Braukollektiv beers (©BZ/Rita Eggstein)
Mind you we are still deep in the Sommerloch (summer slump) in spite of reports on presidential press conferences on infrastructure missing the point; it is hot, and we are in need of beer. So why not forget about the German Einheitsplörre or Lorke (dishwater) and opt for a craftbeer brewed by the Braukollektiv, i.e., by James, Chris, Bernard, and Gil.
For me it all started in 2014 when I took part in a beer tasting workshop at the Carl-Schurz-Haus. There I met James Tutor, spiritus rector of the Braukollektiv and enthusiastic teacher, presenting us together with Frank Geeraers among nine other beers as the highlight of the evening Black Sheep IPA, an Indian pale ale.
Later I asked James whether the Braukollektiv would like to brew a craftbeer for the 2015 International Meeting of Freiburg's Sister Cities? Well, it was too short a notice but the Black Sheep IPA presented at the Meeting turned out to be a great success with Freiburg's Bürgermeister and the American Consul General both tasting.
For this year's 9th International Meeting of Freiburg's Sister Cities I repeated my wish but the Braukollektiv - in the meantime busy in many "beer places" - initially had difficulties even to send a person to the Meeting at Rathausplatz. To my great surprise a few weeks before the event James sent me an e-mail with the message that for the occasion they had brewed 400 bottles of a friendship ale called Fox & Friends.
I admit that the deeper meaning of the label came rather late to me. This friendship ale turned out to be another success as photos taken at the Freiburg-Madison booth during the Meeting testify.
I still keep five bottles of Fox & Friends in my cellar with one being reserved for a special friend.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Last Saturday morning around 10:30 an alarm went of at the signal box of Karlsruhe's main station: Track distortion at the Rhine valley railway between Rastatt and Baden-Baden. Such a warning may occur when extremely high temperatures extend the welded tracks laid without joints but last Saturday the thermometer only showed 20° C (68°F).
The Swiss are angry and rightly so. Although they have kept their mouths shut for years they now insist on the fulfillment of the 1996 treaty in which Switzerland, Italy, and Germany agreed to finish the Neat (new Alp transversal by rail) by the year 2016. While Switzerland completed the basic train tunnels at the Lötschberg and the Gotthardt in 2007 and 2016 the construction of the feeder lines both in Germany and Italy is far behind schedule. Following the Rastatt disaster Swiss newspapers mockingly asked whether German quality needs some Swiss engineering development aid.
Meanwhile southbound passenger trains end at Rastatt and northbound trains at Baden-Baden with shuttle buses running between the two stations. Railway officials ask passengers to count in an additional hour while people who already travelled the distance experienced at least two hours of additional travel time.
In an earlier statement the German Railway said that the line should have been repaired by August 27. More news are coming in sparsely but at the time of writing it seems that the end of August date cannot be met. To stabilize the ground officials say that the tunnel under the existing track has to be filled with a concrete plug of 50 meter length giving up the expensive tunnel boring machine at the same time. How long this operation will take - inshallah.
|A bird's-eye photo of the disaster site taken on August 18, is showing the progress of the repair work. |
The white surfaces are not ice left over from the freezing technique
but concrete slowly filling the hole (©dpa).
Saturday, August 12, 2017
|Another stamp of 2017: The Wartburg |
where in 1521 Luther translated the New Testament into German
The English Wikipedia translates Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft into Fruitbearing Society and indeed the society engendered many new German words for Latin or Greek expressions common at that time. Many of the new words stuck and are still employed today. Most of those creations make use of the possibility in German to bind two single words together to form a new one, e.g.,
Anschrift (writing to) for address
Augenblick (blink of the eyes) for moment
Briefwechsel (exchange of letters) for correspondence
Bücherei (books stall) for library
Kreislauf (running in a circle) for circulation
Mundart (kind of mouth) for dialect
Rechtschreibung (correct writing) for orthography
Rückblick (looking back) for retrospect
Sinngedicht (poem with a meaning) for epigram
Sprachlehre (teaching of a language) for grammar
Tagebuch (book of days) for diary
Vollmacht (full power) for procuration
Wörterbuch (word book) for dictionary
Zeitwort (the word expressing the tense) for verb
In particular Philipp von Zeesen was very active creating German neologisms although his new word Gesichtserker (face oriel) for nose did not become popular possibly for being longer than Nase (nose). Nowadays Gesichtserker is sometimes used in funny situations.
This "forced" Germanization was in contrast to the many foreign influences on the German language in particular during the Thirty Years' War. The society strived daß man die Hochdeutsche Sprache in jhren rechten wesen und standt ohne einmischung frembder außländischer wort auffs möglichste und thunlichste erhalte unn sich so wohl der beste außsprache im reden alß der reinesten art im schreiben unn Reimen-dichten befleißige (that one must keep the High German language in its right nature and standing when feasible and possible without interference from alien foreign words and one must cultivate the best pronunciation when talking and the purest way when writing and rhyming).
The list of members of the Fruitbearing Society during the Thirty Years' War surprises with an important collection of foreign military men: General Franz von Mercy from Lorraine, Italian-born Army Commander Octavio Piccolomini, and Swedish Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna. It is almost a miracle that in spite of this military presence the Society survived the chaos of the war or is it rather because of?
In 1636 the poet and member of the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft Andreas Gryphius wrote his devastating sonett Threnen des Vatterlandes describing the atrocities of the ongoing war. Here is an English translation:
Full now—yea, more than full--behold our devastation:
The frantic drum beat, and the brazen horde,
The thundering siege gun, and the blood-slick sword
Devour all diligence, and sweat, and careful preparation.
The church is overthrown; our mighty men are slain;
The town hall lies in dust; our towers burn;
Virgins are raped; and everywhere we turn
Are fire, plague, and death to pierce us—heart and brain.
Down walls and through the town runs always fresh-spilled blood
For eighteen summers now, our river's yearly flood
Near-choked with corpses, has pushed slowly, slowly on
But nothing will I say of one thing—worse, I know,
Than death, more grim than plague, or fire, or hunger's woe:
Those pillaged souls from whom even hope of heaven is gone.
Near the end of the war in 1642 the Alsatian Baroque poet Johann Michael Moscherosch, member of the Fruitbearing Society, was appalled about Germans preferring foreign languages to their mother tongue and wrote a satirical poem Der deutsche Michel: Wider alle Sprachverderber, Cortisanen, Concipisten vnd Concellisten, welche die alte teutsche Muttersprach mit allerley frembden, Lateinischen, Welschen, Spannischen vnd Frantzösischen Wörtern so vielfältig vermischen, verkehren vnd zerstehren, daß Sie ihr selber nicht mehr gleich sihet, vnd kaum halber kan erkant werden (The Honest Fritz: Against all spoilers of the language, courtesans, concipients, and concellists who mix, distort, and destroy the old German mother tongue with all kinds of alien, Latin, South European, Spanish, and French words so that it does no longer resemble itself and even is hardly recognized).
Günter Grass refers to Moscherosch's dismay in his novella Das Treffen in Telgte (The Meeting at Telgte): Das entsprach dem allgemeinen Ärger über die Verhunzung der deutschen Sprache, deren gefühligem Grund die welschen und schwedischen Feldzüge ihre Huf- und Radspuren gekerbt hatten (This complied with the general anger about the mucking-up of the German language. Hoof prints and wheel tracks of Southern European and Swedish military campaigns had carved the tongue's sensitive ground).
Friday, August 11, 2017
|Indian Chief Bison Futé in France and ...|
|... grazing buffalos at Freiburg's Mundenhof (©BZ/Thomas Kunz)|
Two years ago Freiburg's Sister Committee in Madison, Wisconsin, together with garden experts at Mundenhof proposed to present some home fodder to those local buffalos by sowing prairie grass on the site of Freiburg's vivarium. Already in spring Red Baron had drafted a text about the Madison-Freiburg partnership project and sent it to the Badische Zeitung. He then was contacted by Claudia Förster who took over the task of reporting. In the meantime the Prairie Project was the topic at a Stammtisch of the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft on June 7.
Today the Badische Zeitung published Claudia Förster's long-awaited article titled Heimatgefühle für die Bisons (A Sense of Home for the Buffalos). Although the famous Sommerloch (summer slump) in the news is presently filled with verbal escalations between North Korea and President Trump we are all so happy to read about innocent buffalos and prairies.
Sunday, August 6, 2017
|An weird view from the Greiffenegg-Schlössle on to Freiburg in 1830. |
The Münster church is in a wrong position.
Recently an exhibition opened in Freiburg's Augustinermuseum titled Greiffenegg and Ramberg dedicated to the friendship between Hermann Gottlob and Johann Heinrich. The two men met in 1819 when Greiffenegg junior was Austrian ambassador to the Kingdom of Hanover.
|Catalogue of the exhibition at the Augustinermuseum|
Let us start from the beginning. Here is a painting of Hermann Greiffenegg, last Austrian governor in Breigau, before the region was annexed by Baden on Napoleon's order.
|Hermann von Greiffenegg in 1822|
|Hermann Gottlob von Greiffenegg-Wolffurt in 1822|
|KK Oesterreichischer Oberst Greiffenegg-Wolffurt (1832).|
Here the scar on his front due to his wound is clearly visible.
|Ramberg and Greiffenegg pub crawling|
|Der Commandant Greiffenegg Wolffurt Oberst|
hunting scorpions on Osoppo in 1824 (with Greiffenegg's hand-written notes)
|Agathe Mauch and ...|
|... Josephine Lang|
|Agathe, Josephine und Hermann v. Greiffenegg Wolffurt|
Strange memories of Venice 1826 (hand-written notes by Hermann Gottlieb).
|KK Militaire Commando Zenng Comdt. Greiffenegg Wolffurt KK Oberst|
an der Bosznischen Gränze (at the Bosnian border)
|Hand-written sales offer of the Greiffenegg-Schlössle 1838|
|Hermann Gottlob in 1840|
Back to painter Johann Heinrich Ramberg. He was an early cartoonist illustrating everyday mishaps ...
|Reise Unglück (travel accident) 1821|
|Die Kirschenleserin (cherry picking girl) 1800|
The innkeeper's naked daughter is picking cherries off the ground
with leering old men watching.
1. Toni's art criticism of the drawing on the cover of the exhibition catalog above.
2. Schauen und Schlemmen (Looking and Feasting). Red Baron will eat K&K cuisine, e.g., Marillenknödel (apricot dumplings) on October 1.
Friday, August 4, 2017
|In the back the black diamond of the new university library,|
on the left Henri Moore's Reclining Figure: External Form 1953–54,
in front one of those specially installed rubbish chutes to an underground container.
The good news is that the transformation of the Platz der Alten Synagoge was finished this week, two months earlier than planned. With the official opening scheduled for the coming Saturday the city continues dropping more bricks by not "knowing" that on Shabbat Jewish communities are excluded from any celebration. With the remark that the festivities continue beyond 10:30 p.m. and Jewish fellow citizens could join later the city dropped another brick.
Following a proposal by a senior citizen many people are in favor of renaming the newly configured square into Platz der zerstörten Synagoge (Square of the Destroyed Synagogue). Red Baron supports this idea for many old synagogues nowadays profaned still exist in Germany while new places of Jewish worship have been built. So it is in Freiburg except that the old synagogue no longer exists. In 1938 it was razed to the ground. Although the renaming of the square has been extensively discussed in the press the Jewish communities said that there were not officially informed and so another brick dropped.
While some citizens feared that the city's new center may not be popular Freiburg's kids immediately embraced the water basin modeled to the layout of the Old Synagogue at current temperatures of 31 °C (88 °F).
|Are adults and dogs allowed? (©Markus Wolter/Wikipedia)|
|Freiburg's municipal theatre in the background.|
Men are still at work.
|Some kids prefer the water fountains at the opposite side of the square|
to the memorial basin while their mothers are texting.
|Henri Moore's Reclining Figure: External Form 1953–54.|
Red Baron will not attend the inauguration festivities tomorrow. He shall be at a funeral.