Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Hamburgische Burgerschaft

When I read or hear Berliner or Hamburger, I think about the food first and then about the citizens of Berlin or Hamburg. Lately, I read an article in the weekly Die Zeit Hamburgische Burgerschaft. This is another pun concerning "hamburger." In German, the last word is instead spelled Bürgerschaft and means the city-state's parliament.

A Freiburger is a citizen of Freiburg, or?

My grandchildren refuse to eat at McDonald's and prefer der frei Burger
Red Baron blogged extensively about Currywurst and Döner but mentioned hamburgers only sporadically.

So here is my blog about the hamburger, starting with some basic knowledge I read on Wikipedia:

The origin of the word "hamburger" has not been handed down. What is certain is that the first syllable, "ham," has nothing to do with the English "ham" (Hinterschinken). Instead, "hamburger" is the short word for fried minced meat (hamburger steak), which Hamburg immigrants introduced in the States in the 19th century.

Going back in history reveals that street vendors in ancient Rome already sold isicia omentata, a meatball made of beef, refined with pine nuts, pepper, and wine.

In the 19th century, Karl Drais, the bicycle inventor, allegedly developed the meat grinder, and the raw minced meat, the steak tartar, became popular.

Since 1802 the entry "hamburg steak" existed in the Oxford English Dictionary, describing a "hard slab of salted, minced (ground) beef, often lightly smoked, mixed with onions and breadcrumbs."

Instead of a Hamburger, you find on the menu of traditional German restaurants a Hacksteak (minced steak) or Deutsches Beefsteak. My mother used to cook patties as Fleischbällchen (small meatballs). The Berliners call them Bouletten; in Bavaria, they are known as Fleischpflanzerl (little meat plants).

In the 19th century, millions of Germans emigrated to the United States in search of a better life. The "hamburger" crossed the Atlantic, and the Cyclopedia of American Agriculture states, "The best hamburger comes from lean meat of the rump."

But what about the burger bun? 

According to a legend, the burger bun was invented in Hamburg in the late 19th century and made its way from there to the United States. The butcher Heinrich Heckel ran an inn on Hamburger Berg near the Reeperbahn. One day, guests are said to have asked for something to eat late at night, but Heckel only had roast, sauce, and rolls, and his cook was ill, so he put the roast between two slices of roll - and is said to have invented the Rundstück warm (round piece warm) still served today in the port city.

The States know several inventors of hamburgers. After the Civil War, the "gilded age" made industrialists and robber barons rich but hid the bitter poverty of the day laborers. They were looking for cheap and readily available food.

When the 15-year-old Charlie Nagreen sold meatballs at a fair in the small town of Seymour, Wisconsin, he noticed that people liked to keep walking around while eating. So he pressed his meatballs, put them between slices of bread, and soon became known as "Hamburger Charlie." So the Wisconsin State Assembly decided that the hamburger was invented in their state in 1885. In the home of the burger, Seymore, they celebrate an annual "Burger Fest."

This story is contested by the towns of Hamburg* in New York State and Tulsa in Oklahoma.
*The U.S. counts 18 places carrying the name Hamburg

The chefs Frank and Charles Menches claimed, "We did it with the hamburger in Hamburg, NY. It is New York's gift to world cuisine." They celebrate September 18 as the National Birthday of the Burger.

They only smile about these stories in Oklahoma. Oscar Bilby from Tulsa served the first hamburger in a bun on Independence Day on July 4, 1891. And they claim that neither Charlie Nagreen nor the German immigrant Louis Lassen from New Haven - although he is listed as such in the library of the U.S. Congress - nor the cook Fletcher "Old Dave" Davis from Texas served a hamburger for they all placed their meatloaf not in a bun but between slices of bread. "Tulsa is the real Birthplace of the Hamburger."

Back to the roots: When McDonald's opened their first fast food in Hamburg in 1976, they boasted, "McDonald's brings the hamburger to Hamburg."

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Freiburg in the Spring of 1980

The other Saturday, Red Baron took part in a guided tour, essentially based on a booklet written by a man named Löhl and published in 1890.

Löhl imagined traveling into the future and called his writing an excerpt from a travel description at the end of the 20th century. The proceeds were intended for the Münsterbauverein.
The booklet was forgotten, but in 1980 the architect Josef Diel published a new edition and provided it with drawings matching the text.

I knew Josef Diehl as chairman of the board of trustees for the redesign of Freiburg's Schlossberg area and often saw him at Kieser Training.

My favorite guide Joachim Scheck led the tour he had named Historical Utopias in Freiburg - a guided tour in the footsteps of adventurous masterminds. He showed us a couple of Diel's "fantastic" book illustrations. So I acquired the book and will offer a few of them.

In his account of a utopian visit to Freiburg, Löhl writes: We had taken the newly built, electric ship, "Zukunft (Future)" from Strasbourg to Breisach and there turned onto the Rhine Canal to Freiburg's harbor, which is bordered by the suburbs of "Hochdorf" and "Hugstetten."

Click to enlarge
Here is a map of Freiburg on which Diel superimposed Löhl's "futuristic "additions.

The most striking feature is the shipping canal, a vital transport link from Breisach am Rhein to the port of the city of Freiburg im Breisgau.

In Diel's interpretation, Lake Loretto's waterfront looks like
Geneva with the Minster Church instead of St. Pierre.
Its water is diverted from the Rhine at Neuenburg and flows in a canal to Lake Loretto in Freiburg. The lake is located at Günterseck between the city and Günterstal, south of the railway line London-Paris-Freiburg-Konstantinopel
*Initially, the Orient Express was planned to cross the Black Forest, passing through Freiburg. What is left of this idea is the one-track Höllentalbahn.

Diel's nightmare. Note that in his other illustrations,
the Minster Church is shown with one steeple only.
And Löhl continues his story: A fresh morning wind came to meet us from the heights of the Black Forest mountains, the air was clear, and from a distance greeted us the majestic three towers of the Freiburg Cathedral, To the new construction in huge dimensions almost all of Germany had contributed.*

At Volksfürstenstraße (Ethnarch Street)*, once called Kaiser-Joseph-Straße, the electric streetcars now run at intervals of 5 minutes. The streetcar line visible in the picture connects the central station Zähringen with Günterseck.
* In Löhl's utopia, rulers are no longer born into hereditary dynasties but elected by the people.

In the forefront, the Günterstal village
Out there at Günterseck stands the sanatorium built of modern building materials, iron, steel, and glass. It was erected at the request and on the advice of the first teachers of the famous local university.

The crematorium at Eichhalde houses the urns of the dead in its halls. It is a place dedicated to the memory of the deceased. Cemeteries no longer exist.

Back to Löhl's account of the utopian visit to Freiburg in 1980: In the late afternoon, we are on the ascent of the Schlossberg, which at this point stretches its foot into the city.

Up there on Schlossberg, the Victory Monument has now found its final place.*
*In the 20th century, the Siegesdenkmal changed its location three times, causing controversies among Freiburg citizens

Wide roads and dozens of footpaths, interrupted by flat places with benches, lead up the mountain. We, however, climb the cable car, which also ascends to lofty heights on this side of the hill.

Slowly our car rises. We are already on the same level with the roofs of the nearest houses. The Kaiserstuhl becomes visible. The evening air shimmers golden through the three filigree towers of the cathedral. Now the Vosges Mountains have also emerged, shrouded in a bluish evening fragrance. Like a white snake, the Rhine Canal moves toward the mountains.

After the descent, we are again at the foot of the Schlossberg but at the same time in the middle of the city. The streetcars ring past us. Dressed-up people fill the streets or, after the day's work, head for the wide-open refreshment and dining establishments, one of which we visit.

Our guided group went to the foot of the Schlossberg too. On our way, Joachim showed us some northern remains of Freiburg's old city wall, of which I knew remnants so far only in the south at the Schneckenvorstadt.

At Gerberau near Augustinerplatz.
Medieval city wall riddled with toilets and an underground parking lot.
Löhl was right with his refreshment and dining establishments. In the 20th century, four beer gardens were located at the western flank of the Schlossberg. The innkeepers had caves dug into the mountain to keep their beer cool with ice harvested in winter at the Waldsee.

The beer gardens were dug out during the construction of the four-lane road bypassing the old town, and Schlossberg's foot had to be stabilized with a retaining wall.

Just one building of the old glory remained, which today houses offices. Only the barely visible archways at both ends of the building let guess the house entries through which horse-drawn carts loaded with beer or ice drove into the cellars on the left and out on the right discharged.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Sisters & Brothers

Last Wednesday, Red Baron took part in an excursion of the Museumsgesellschaft to Tübingen to visit the exhibition Sisters & Brothers, 500 Jahre Geschwister in der Kunst (500 years of siblings in art).

Why is the title in English, although the wave of anglicism is ebbing away in Germany? Sisters & Brothers are possibly explained by a photo taken by Nicolas Nixon in 1980, The Brown Sisters, Greenwich, Rhode Island, that adorns flyers and posters for the exhibition.

The vice president of the Museumsgesellschaft, Professor Sabine Wienker-Piepow,  guided the tour. Already on our way to Tübingen on the coach, Sabine introduced us to the part of the exhibition she knows best: siblings in fairy tales.

The makers of Sisters & Brothers boldly claim: Surprisingly, the longest and not infrequently most intense relationship in a person's life - the sibling relationship - has hardly been studied scientifically and has never been the subject of an exhibition.

When we arrived at the art gallery, the Director and Curator, Dr. Nicole Fritz, guided us through the exhibition.

Jan Harmensz. Muller: Cain and Abel (1589)
The book Genesis of the Old Testament starts with the first and most dramatic fratricide. Rival and conflicting siblings are frequent protagonists in Bible stories, such as Jacob and Esau or Joseph and his brothers.

Johann Gottfried Schadow: Louise and Friederica of Prussia (1797)
In the transition to the 19th century, siblings in love imagined themselves as soul mates. A well-known example is Queen Louise and her sister Frederica of Prussia, whose political significance in the Napoleonic era is still exaggerated today.

David Sulzer: Drei Winterthurerinnen (1837)
The pictorial representation of three sisters from Winterthur also emphasizes their close bond, embodying their sisterly friendship.

In the Grimm fairy tales, the relationships between brothers and their usually youngest sister are particularly close.

Moritz von Schwind: The Seven Ravens (1857)
In the fairy tale of The Seven Ravens, the sister sets out to find her missing and enchanted seven brothers. To redeem them, the girl's willingness to make sacrifices goes so far that, in the end, she cuts off her little finger.

From my Fairy Tale Book, here is an illustration from 1937:

Hastily the girl ran away and, in search of her brothers, ran to the moon,
but he was too cold and also gruesome and evil, and when he noticed the child,
he said, "I smell, smell human flesh."

August Gaber: The Six Swans (1860)
In the fairy tale The Six Swans, the sister, out of love for her six brothers who have been transformed into swans, performs unheard-of acts to redeem them. The girl sits in a tree, is not allowed to speak or laugh for six years, and must sew six shirts made of starflowers during that time.

Eugène Carrière: The Kiss of Innocence (1882)
Child siblings as a symbol of innocence are the motif of the painting The Kiss of Innocence.

Wilhelm Balmer, The Three Brothers (1898)
The bourgeoisie of the 19th century wants to radiate affection and security. This is precisely how The Three Brothers are depicted without the usual sibling rivalry and bickering.

Erich Heckel, Siblings (1913)
On the eve of the First World War, Heckel shows an intimate love between siblings. Heckel's wife, Sidi Riha, comforts her younger brother as their mother is dying.

Julie Hayward: Let's Dance (2014)
These objects, seemingly standing wildly in the room, represent two pairs of siblings. They are each connected with a metal bracket, i.e., I cannot choose my sibling. At the same time, however, the bracket is a sign of bondage.

Gert and Uwe Tobias: 6 PM Cain and Abel (2022)
With much temperament, Dr. Fritz explains the work of art. 
The monumental woodcut of two rival brothers, Gert and Uwe Tobias depicts Cain's fratricide surrounded by motifs reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch.

Here is the fratricide in more detail.
Erwin Wurm: The North/South Question for Siblings (2007)
Here the artist invites the viewer to participate. Siblings should face each other and express their bond with the help of a board, which they clamp between them without using their hands.

Joseph Beuys: Cosmos and Damian 3-D (1974)
Twins are very special siblings. A postcard of the collapsed World Trade Center is emblematic of the mythical physician twins Cosmos and Damian, who converted many of their patients to Christianity through gratuitous treatment. Joseph Beuys superelevated the names of the towers to Cosmos and Damian: charity spans the globe.

After a snack in the museum cafeteria, there was still time until the coach's departure to deal more intensively with some art objects.

Long shot of the work of the Tobias brothers.

Thank you, Sabine, for the most memorable excursion.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Rise of a Dynasty in the Middle Ages

Last Saturday, Red Baron visited the exhibition Die Habsburger, Aufstieg einer Dynastie im Mittelalter at the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer. Already on the way in the bus, an expert informed us about the history of the early Habsburgs. Later, there was a guided tour through the exhibition, during which, unfortunately, taking pictures was not allowed.

The Habsburgs run like a thread through my website Freiburgs Geschichte in Zitaten. At the latest, since 1368, the Habsburgs were present in Freiburg as rulers and remained so for 438 years until the handover of the Breisgau to the Grand Duchy of Baden decreed by Napoleon in 1806. The German-reading visitors of my blogs may start reading here with the election of Rudolf of Habsburg as German king.

So I will not give an outline of Habsburg history in the following, especially since there is a humorous account by Simon Winder. I limit myself to some highlights that I have not yet heard.

Rudolf's Epitaph

In southwestern Germany, in Germersheim on the Rhine, to which King Rudolf had granted city rights in 1276, he was staying with his government apparatus when, in the summer of 1291, his doctors announced the imminent end of his life. In his poem "Emperor Rudolf's Ride to the Grave," published in 1820, the Swabian Romantic writer Justinus Kerner put the following phrases into the mouth of Rudolf, "'On to Speyer! On to Speyer!' He shouts as the final curtain falls. 'Where so many a German hero  lies buried, be it accomplished!'"

Rudolfs wanted to be buried in the crypt of Speyer Cathedral, built by the Salians and intended as a burial place, among the very great of the empire. After riding to Speyer, about twenty kilometers from Germersheim, he died on July 15, 1291, in the shadow of the cathedral. Only three days later, Rudolf was buried in the imperial crypt in the empty grave of Frederick I, Barbarossa*.
*The Staufer emperor drowned in the Saleph River in Asia in 1190, so the Speyer tomb remained empty until Rudolf's death.

A funerary monument with a lifelike representation of the buried was first placed in the cathedral, then moved to the place of Rudolf's death, the Johanniterhof in Speyer, in the 16th century. The epitaph was later stored in a cowshed, among other places, and became lost. After its rediscovery in 1811, it was restored and subsequently moved back into the Speyer Cathedral.

Museum Wien
When rediscovered nose, chin, and both arms were missing. How the original epitaph might have looked can be seen in a painting of 1508 by Hans Knoderer. Right to it is an engraving based on Knodere's painting on which details of the original can be seen better.

Today's view
Hands, arms, and the scepter on the left were reconstructed, while on the right, an imperial orb was added instead of the lidded vessel.

The Late Maximilian

From the first to the last medieval Habsburg emperor, Maximilian. Throughout his life, he was concerned with his posthumous memory and salvation.

He was also preoccupied with the representation of his intact family life.

©Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
A painting, created by the Memmingen painter Bernhard Strigel, shows six members of Maximilian's imperial family. Such a meeting never took place because Mary of Burgundy, his beloved wife, died in 1482, Philipp the Fair died in 1506, and Ferdinand stayed in Spain until 1517.

Emperor Maximilian stands on the left side of the picture, holding his grandson Ferdinand in his arms. The ruler's left arm rests on Charles' shoulder. Maximilian's son Philip the Fair, stands behind his mother, Mary of Burgundy. Maximilian's granddaughter Mary is before her husband, grandson-in-law Louis of Hungary. Maximilian, Philipp, and Charles, decorated with the chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece, wear a beret, and Ferdinand and Ludwig have a wreath in their hair.

The portrait of the dead Maximilian is shocking: a pale yellow face with deeply sunken cheeks, a toothless mouth slightly open, and a half-squeezed eyelid revealing a twisted pupil.

We read in Wikipedia: Like other kings and emperors of the Middle Ages, Maximilian staged his death. Having already carried his coffin with him at all times for four years, in the face of death, he presented himself as an exceptionally humble and guilt-ridden sinner and penitent. He decreed that his body be scourged and that his hair be shorn, and teeth were broken out.

True to his will, Maximilian I was buried in his baptismal church at the castle in Wiener Neustadt. His heart was interred separately in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges in the sarcophagus of Mary of Burgundy.

Maximilian's famous tomb with numerous bronze figures, which he had commissioned during his lifetime, remained unfinished. His grandson Ferdinand assembled the fragments in a specially built court church in Innsbruck.

The guided tour of the exhibition lasted more than two hours. I had lunch at a nearby restaurant, eating a Palatinate plate:

Saumagen, Leberknödel (liver dumpling), bratwurst, wine sauerkraut,
fried potatoes and fresh farmhouse bread
After lunch, I just had time to reenter the exhibition and study some display items more closely before our group regained Freiburg. It was a Saturday well spent.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

International Mother Language Day

On February 21, International Mother Language Day was commemorated.

Mom, why is it called mother tongue?
Because fathers have nothing to say? (©Kidnetting)
Well, do they dominate the Fatherland?

Eighty percent of people in Germany speak only German as their mother tongue in their own homes. This was announced by the Federal Statistical Office last Tuesday on the occasion of International Mother Language Day. Another 15 percent are so-called multilingual and use at least one other language at home.

Instead, Red Baron previously blogged about the Tag der deutschen Sprache (German Language Day).

In our mother language, we think and feel, generating a people's national identity.

Take Poland, divided among neighboring states and twice eradicated from the European map. For them, their mother tongue remained the binding force and hope “Jeszcze Polska nie zginęa (Poland Is Not Yet Lost).”

Take Germany, divided into many small states and under Napoleon's rule. In this deepest humiliation, as German poets termed it, they saw in our everyday language a sign of hope as Turnvater (father of gymnastics) Johann Friedrich Ludwig Jahn powerfully formulated, “Germans, feel again with manly high-mindedness the value of your noble, living language, draw from its never-ending Urborn (initial spring), dig up the old springs and leave Lutetien's (Lutetia, Latin for Paris) standing pool in peace!”

Where the language is spoiled, consciousness and culture suffer, like in the aftermath of the Thirty Years’ War. Günter Grass wrote about the “anger about the mucking-up of the German language. Hoof prints and wheel tracks of French and Swedish military campaigns had carved the tongue's sensitive ground.”

The Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft (Fruitbringing Society), with the emblem of a palm tree founded in 1617, tried to guide the German language back into its “innate purity, adornment, and acceptance.” “Only the poets still knew what was worth calling German. With many hot sighs and tears, they had tied the German language as the last bond,” concluded Grass.

Therefore, the active cultivation of language and the learning of the mother tongue should be the first concern of schools.

Europeans are pretty good at languages: about 65 percent of the continent’s population can speak at least one language other than their native tongue. As a comparison, only about 20 percent of adults in the US can.

There are significant variations among regions. Nordic countries excel at bilingualism, while Southern Europe struggles a bit more. Perhaps unsurprisingly, countries where English is the native language, don't appear interested in learning a foreign language, with only 50 percent of Irish people speaking another language. The worst European score is attributed to the UK, at a slim 34 percent.

Countries with several official languages, like Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Belgium, are generally better off, so I am astonished that Germans are on equal terms with the Belgians. 

How to learn a second language well? Live in a country long enough and mix with the native people. For instance, two German parents raised their children in the Swiss Romande. They would only speak German at home and would let their kids become fluent in French by being exposed to the language everywhere outside their house, including schooling. So my children’s mother tongue is French.

They communicate well in German since they were exposed to the colloquial German spoken at home, but they were missing lots of vocabulary and sophisticated constructions of phrases. This deficiency they quickly straightened out in their professional life.

Thursday, February 23, 2023


Last Monday, under bright blue skies and nearly spring-like temperatures, the Shrove Monday Parade marched through Freiburg’s old town.

In total, 114 guilds and music groups with around 3,400 fools paraded in the presence of more than 100,000 spectators. All of Freiburg fool guilds were present. In addition, groups from the Lake Constance area, from Swabia, Guggenmusik from Switzerland, and even a group from Kiel (Schleswig-Holstein) participated. Everyone had just been waiting for the comeback of the big Fasnetmendig parade, which had been canceled in the past two years because of Corona.

The Badische Zeitung streamed the parade, with four employees reporting on the event. Here are some screenshots, mostly uncommented, all copyrighted BZ:

860 kilometers away from home: The Fish from Kiel

They got her captured on Minster square
The most beautiful steeple in the world in the sun.

A choo choo train

Blowing their horns
Salamander invasion
One salamander grinds one of the reporters hard

Freiburg's drag queen is interviewed
Import from Cologne? Funkenmariechen?
More witches
The city hall is firmly in fool's hands
The sailors from Waldsee (forest lake)

Permitted cultural appropriation?

A jester
Still more witches
The devil and #MeToo
The marching band of the Freiburg fire department concluded the parade