Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hot Bayreuth

There is another round date anniversary in 2013: Richard Wagner's 200th birthday on May 22. Although somewhat late yesterday's opening of the 102nd Richard-Wagner-Festspiele in Bayreuth, therefore, was something special.

Remember my blog about Marx?
This time artist Ottmar Hörl merchandises his plastic-Wagners for 300 euros.
In the back the venerable Festspielhaus (©BZ).
I love classical music but Wagner always has been too big for me. Many of my countrymen and -women feel alike: I find his music overblown, bombastic, sometimes flatulent and I do not like his ant-antisemitism (Ameisen-Antisemitismus) as Stefan Mickisch called it in this year's introductory lecture.

I know that the Brits and the French particularly adore Richard's music as typically German or should I rather write Teutonic. They pay a fortune to sit in the Bayreuth Festival Theater (Festspielhaus) on the Green Hill without air conditioning on wooden seats. Yesterday with temperatures approaching 40 degrees centigrade they devoutly listened to The Flying Dutchman together with Germany's high society.

From left to right: Bayreuth's Oberbürgermeister Brigitte Merk-Erbe,
Bundespräsident Joachim Gauck, Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel and
Ministerpräsident Horst Seehofer in front of Richard Wagner's birthday cake (©DPA).
The foreign aficionados came for the music, the politicians came to be seen. This is why Bavarian's Governor Horst Seehofer invited the latter to an official reception (Staatsempfang) at the Neues Schloss (New Castle). Together with Bayreuth's Lord Mayor Brigitte Merk-Erbe "Tricky Horst" (Finten-Horst) offered the first slices of Wagner's birthday cake to our President Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel. Joochen and Mutti (Mom) said that they liked the performance of Der fliegende Holländer but did not comment on the cake.

Friday, July 26, 2013

How to Boast with Statistics

Red Baron, in France too (©Schulz).
Anybody concerned with statistics has certainly read Darrell Duff's book How to Lie with Statistics. Darrell wrote it in 1954 and since then it has become the best selling book about the abuse of statistical data.

In spite of this somewhat pessimistic introduction I proudly present to my loyal readers the popularity ranking of my 183 blogs to date limiting myself to the ten most visited. Although Red Baron's Blog has only twelve registered followers some of the articles must have been read by many more people and stand out as rather popular.

As Google reports and there are not lying (?) here are the ten most visited blogs:

1. Annoying the French 2124

2. My Fairy Tales 1323

3. The conquest of space and time 829

4. Uta of Naumburg 814

5. Deutscher Wald 771

6. Saltworks and Hunting for Tympana in Southern Burgundy 758

7. Duelling is crazy 728

8. The Lost Cause 667

9. Döner, a German Food 510

10. Pirates! Prepare to Board 401

(©Scott Johnson 2013)
Why is my blog about Stephen Clarke's book 1000 Years of Annoying the French so popular? To find out I googled the title of the blog but instead of its web address I found many bookshops that wanted to sell me the book. Not until down to item 62 on th list reference is given to my blog. I leasend that Clarke had written a sequel to his bestseller Annoying the French Encore in the meantime. Considered as an addendum to the original book the new pages are available as an e-book. For a mere 99 euro-cents I loaded the booklet on my iPad and started reading. In his encore Clarke stuck to just four topics:

The merger of the English-French navies. The French simply forgot that all good things come in threes and repressed the memory of the humiliating Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and the British bombing and sinking of their tricolor fleet at Mers-el-Kebir in 1940.

The Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair. As an American-French issue it really has nothing to do with British-French relations. Nevertheless Clarke likes to see the Americans pillory a representative of the French establishment for his amoral conduct. The author's advocacy for women's rights, however, sounds put on and not very credible.

The French as royalists. They will always regret having guillotined their Bourbon king which, according to Clarke, explains their hype for the royal wedding and the jubilee in 2012. At the William-Kate marriage Clarke served as an expert explaining to French commentators the ceremonies but he had his difficulties: The name of the Goring Hotel, where Kate had spent the night, the French pronounced as if it had been named after the former head of the Luftwaffe. No, no, I repeatedly told them, the Royal Family may be of German origin, but they really wouldn’t book the future princess into ze ‘Otel Goering.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
plus Hanover represented by the Lower Saxon horse
I should say that my fellow countrywomen are at least as enthusiastic about the Royals as the bonnes menagères outre Rhin. And apropos German origin, our pulp magazines wrote that the brand new baby (direct quote David Cameron) is German referring to the House of Hanover that ruled Great Britain starting with George I in 1714. The new prince even got the two names of his x-times great-grandfather: Georg Ludwig (George Alexander Louis). Do not forget other German males in the line as Albert von Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha husband of Queen Victoria and the baby's great-grandfather Prince Philip with his roots in the House Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. Will the French - coming in not even second but third in the naming of the prince - consider Louis as a compliment or as an affront? I am sure Stephen Clarke will us enlighten in another sequel to his book.

David Cameron as defender of the British pound. At a euro-summit French President Nicolas Sarkosy seconded by German Chancellor Angela Merkel wanted to impose taxes on financial transactions but the Prime Minister refused to co-operate with the plan. Angela watched two boys quarreling until David simply walked out of the meeting at exactly 4.48 a.m. Sarko was said to have called Cameron a gamin buté, which I saw translated in the British press as obstinate kid ... At 6.50 a.m., Cameron went to bed at the British Embassy (his symbolic island retreat), and, triumph of triumphs, at 8.15, he ordered a full English breakfast. Oh yes, when England has its back to the wall and is being attacked by the sombre forces of continental Europe, it throws the namby-pamby Mediterranean diet out of the window and goes for good old British cholesterol. No doubt those other frustrated European leaders were either still in bed or nibbling at muesli, croissants or pickled herrings. You could almost hear ‘Rule, Britannia!’ playing in the background.

Here Clarke got one detail wrong: For breakfast Angela had a crusty buttered Schrippe followed by a Schusterjunge with crackling fat, both spreads loaded with German cholesterol.

The Economist magazine, which has a high profile in Paris, went one stage further - in humiliating the French - and splashed a headline across its cover – ‘What France needs’ – next to a picture of Margaret Thatcher. As for Germany, our Angela turned out to be an acceptable ersatz although her ministers call her Mutti (mom) instead of eiserne Dame.

The popularity of my silver-decorated Fairy Tale Blog may have to do with the pictures shown from my fairy tale book dated 1937. Here are two more:

Aschenputtel (Cinderella)
Der Wolf und die sieben jungen Geißlein
(The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Baguette de Tradition

The day before yesterday I read an article in the Badische Zeitung: Vive la baguette! Elisabeth and I love that French cultural heritage. It happens that when we buy our Bourgogne wine, Epoisses and other French cheeses in nearby Alsace we walk into a boulangerie and buy one of those crusty baguettes only the French know how to make. Our following lunch then is a frugal one: pieces of baguette with French cheese and wine, a real treat.

French cliché: Beret Basque and baguette (©BZ).
In the BZ-article I learned that the French National Assembly passed a reinheitsgebot for the baguette in 1993, i.e., the Décret n°93-1074 du 13 septembre 1993 pris pour l'application de la loi du 1er août 1905 en ce qui concerne certaines catégories de pains. In article 2 the following ingredients are allowed for the baguette de tradition française:

Peuvent seuls être mis en vente ou vendus sous la dénomination de : "pain de tradition française", "pain traditionnel français", "pain traditionnel de France" ou sous une dénomination combinant ces termes les pains, quelle que soit leur forme, n'ayant subi aucun traitement de surgélation au cours de leur élaboration, ne contenant aucun additif et résultant de la cuisson d'une pâte qui présente les caractéristiques suivantes :

1° Etre composée exclusivement d'un mélange de farines panifiables de blé, d'eau potable et de sel de cuisine;2° Etre fermentée à l'aide de levure de panification (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) et de levain ... 

The most important requirement for a baguette de tradition française is a freshly prepared dough containing nothing else than wheat flour, drinking water, and cooking salt to be fermented with the help of baker's yeast and leaven ...

This reminds me of the German purity law for beer that in reality is a Bavarian decree dated 1516 I dealt with earlier. Duke Wilhelm IV proclaimed that beer should only contain barley, hops, and water. What about brewing yeast? Well, that was not known in the 16th century. All beer was top-fermented, any of those ubiquitous yeast cells turned the mash into wash such that the quality of the resulting beer was quite variable. It was not until the 18th century that beer brewing was understood and specific "tasty" strains of brewing yeast were cultivated.

And here comes bad news for Bavarians. It was not their Duke Wilhelm who was the first but Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, who issued a regulation for the brewing of bierre as early as 1438 that only barley, hops, and water were allowed. Beer in Burgundy? In the 15th century la Bourgogne was the biggest producer of hops and historians have found out that Philip's decree was aimed to protect domestic cultivation of hops rather than the purity of beer.

Raising a baguette de tradition (©DPA).
Back to the baguette de tradition française. The guy on the photo above actually carries flûtes which are wider than baguettes. Another variety of bread is ficelles (threads) longer and thinner than baguettes and hence crustier. Ficelles are best for breakfast with salty butter and jam, some like to dip the combination in their black coffee. All these delicacies you buy in a boulangerie where, according to the law, the boulanger still kneads his dough as early as 2 a. m. taking his time with its fermenting.

Why do only the French know how to bake a traditional baguette? I remember even in French-speaking Geneva I had to cross the nearby border into France to get the real thing. And forget about German baguettes. We are good at making wholemeal rye bread containing the full grain although my grandchildren living in Geneva even refuse to taste it.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Stefan Heym

This year there will be many round-date anniversaries. About two of them, Johann Gottfried Seume and the Bundschuh in Lehen, I already have written blogs. Here somewhat late comes a third one about Stefan Heym. Below I shall only briefly sketch his biography for which I relied heavily on the article in Wikipedia. Citations are in italics.

Stefan Heym was born as Helmut Flieg in Chemnitz on April 10, 1913. When in 1931 he published an antimilitarist poem in a Chemitz newspaper he was expelled from the local high school. His parents sent him to Berlin to finish his schooling. There he got in contact with the pacifist and editor of Die Weltbühne Carl von Ossietzky and wrote articles for the magazine. As a young man, being a Jew, he did not see any future in a racist Germany. It was the Reichstag fire in 1933 that eventually triggered his escape to Prague. When in 1935 he received a grant from a Jewish student association he went to the United States to continue his academic studies at the University of Chicago, which he completed in 1936 writing a master's thesis on Heinrich Heine. Between 1937 and 1939 he worked in New York as Editor-in-Chief of the German-language weekly Deutsches Volksecho, a left-leaning paper for German immigrants. When following the outbreak of the Second World War the weekly ceased publication Heym continued as a freelance author writing in English. As such he got in contact with the Chicago writers around Nelson Algren (The Man with the Golden Arm) and married the dramaturge for film production and member of the Communist Party of the USA Gertrude Gelbin. In 1942 Heym had his breakthrough with his first novel Hostages, describing the situation in Czechoslovakia under the Nazi occupation. The book was made into a movie.

Heym as an intelligent (intelligence) Sergeant
 in occupied Germany (©gdw-berlin).
As an American citizen he served in a unit for psychological warfare during the war and participated in the 1944 Normandy landings. His unit composed texts designed to influence Wehrmacht soldiers to desert. After the war Heym became editor in Munich of the Neue Zeitung, one of the most important newspapers of the American occupying forces.

Because of his pro-Soviet inclinations Heym was transferred back to the US towards the end of 1945 and was discharged because of "procommunistic" mindset.

In the following years he again worked as a freelance author but in 1952 he, as a left-leaning intellectual, left the US during the McCarthy-era as did  Charlie Chaplin, Bertolt Brecht and Thomas Mann. Following a short stay in Prague he eventually settled in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany).

In the GDR Heym initially received privileged treatment as a returning antifascist emigre living with his wife in a state-provided villa in Berlin-Grünau. Its owners had just fled to the West. In April 1953 he celebrated his entry into the First German Workers' and Farmers' State with an open renunciation of the US accusing it of becoming a fascist state. At the same time Heym returned his military insignia to his former Commander-in-Chief President Eisenhower. Between 1953 and 1956 he worked at the Berliner Zeitung, thereafter primarily as a freelance author. In his early years in the GDR Heym supported the regime with socialist novels and other works he wrote in English that were subsequently translated into German.

First edition of The Lenz Papers
published in East-Berlin in English with
Heym's "special " Seven Seas Publisher (©Google)
In 1964 his novel The Lenz Papers was published. This is how Stefan Heym became one of my literary heroes. In his novel he intelligently mixes historical facts with fiction. His fictitious hero Andreas Lenz is in conversation with historic revolutionary protagonists Gustav Struve, Johann Philipp Becker, Lorenz Brentano, and Armand Goegg and in love with two fictional women, a down-to-earth Alemannic girl and an intellectual Jew. When the Baden Revolution aborts Lenz emigrates to the States where he fought as a 48er in the Civil War. Why is it that American authors generally are so much better at writing historical novels than German writers?

Andrew Lenz's tombstone at Arlington National Cemetery (©ARD-SWR)

Television play in four parts (©ARD-SWR)
Seventeen years of exile in the US had shaped Heym's attitude and style, had changed his perspective. He was independent, incorruptible, and disobedient. First tensions between Heym and the communist regime arose when he wanted to publish a book on the June 17, 1953, uprising in East Germany: Five Days in June. When in 1976 he together with other GDR authors signed a petition protesting the exile of GDR-bard Wolf Biermann the Union of Socialist Authors expelled him such that he was no longer allowed to publish in the East. From then on he started to write in German and published in the West.

Stefan Heym on Alexanderplatz on November 4, 1989
In the 1980s Heym supported the civil rights movement in the GDR. His criticism of the communist regime was scorching, sarcastic, to the point: I do not live in the GDR to keep my mouth shut. When it was for reforming the socialism practiced in the GDR Heym raised his hand, intervened, made difficulties, got difficulties. Highly gifted rhetorically he was choleric, caustic, quick-tempered, ironical, stubborn, resistant, wise but at the same time naïve. And so we see him in Berlin at the mass demonstration on Alexanderplatz on November 4, 1989, demanding a democratic socialism and discussing with demonstrators. Did he really think that in a free election his idea of socialism would win the majority?

Stefan Heym during his inaugural speech at the 13th Bundestag in 1994 (©dpa)
Following the Wende (turnaround) in the GDR Heym sought a mandate in the Bundestag (parliament). In the 1994 all-German elections he won a seat for the post-communist Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS). So it happened that he as the oldest deputy (age 81), tradition oblige, had the honor of opening the first session of the 13th legislative term of the Bundestag before the Bundestagspräsidenten (speakers) were elected. This November 10, 1994, will be remembered as one of the darkest chapters in the history of our parliament. The majority of the deputies deprecated him, gave him the silent treatment, simply ignored him.

But Heym was not silent and he even was foresighted when he said: This Bundestag was elected in a period of crisis. This is not a cyclical but structural crisis that will stay with us for a long time, worldwide. How long will this world, the only one we have, tolerate mankind producing thousands of goods and how are those distributed? As President Lincoln once said: You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
Mankind can only survive in solidarity. This presently means in our own country between East and West but it also means solidarity between above and below, rich and poor.

With respect to the structural crisis: After the Wende in Germany's East whole industrial complexes were platt gemacht (phased out). The overall unemployment in Germany in 1994 was 8.4% but rose to nearly 10% in 1997. The increase in the rate of unemployment between 1994 and 1997 for the long-term unemployed was even 24.1% whereas among the older persons the increase was as high as 42.6%.

Solidarity in this world is still lacking. We are shocked when in Bangladesh a factory building collapses leaving more than 1000 people dead who worked for a breadline wage but we like to buy our clothing cheap.

Has Stefan Heym become in addition to one of my literary heroes a political hero too? Well, for me he was too much of an utopian, naïvely believing in the good in man, dreaming and writing of an ideal socialist republic as in his novel Schwarzenberg of 1984.

Stefan Heym in 2001, the year of his death (©dpa)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Currywurst News

On June 30, the currywurst community celebrated the 100th birthday of Herta Heuwer who invented and sold the specially prepared wurst for the first time in Berlin in 1949. Even Google honored the currywurst with a doodle.

Somehow I missed Herta's anniversary and nearly got rid of the column written in the Badische Zeitung about it when two other articles appeared with some new information about the currywurst. In an earlier blog I went into the history of the wurst and described the situation here in Freiburg.

Freiburg's Lange Rote as currywurst (©BZ).
Although pizza, hamburger and döner are in fiercy competition as fast food there is a community of fans including workmen, teachers, medical doctors, clergymen, and professors sticking to their currywurst. While the original currywurst is based on a "white" sausage made from finely ground veal, here in Freiburg they use the Lange Rote (long red sausage) made from finely ground pork and bacon. It seems any sausage will do as a currywurst for the spicy sauce will overpower the taste of the sausage. In fact, it is the sauce that determines the quality of a currywurst.

In Breisach Peter Glatter claims he offers possibly the best currywurst in Germany. As a base you can choose between a white sausage with or without skin, a red sausage, a cheese sausage, or even opt for a merguez but the sauce stays the same. Peter reveals that it contains tomato ketchup, horsereddish and spices but does not give away his full secret.

Another specialist is Bernd Gottschalk from Berlin who offers currywurst in Hochdorf, a Freiburg suburb. According to him people walk miles (drive kilometers) to visit his stand for he not only spices his wurst with a mixture of chili and Worcester sauce but also with his Berlin dialect.

Inwurstmentbanker Thomas Brauße
 in Frankfurt's bank district (©BZ).
The third person I would like you to meet is Thomas Brauße, an Inwurstmentbanker as the Badische Zeitung called him, alluding to his former job as investment banker in Frankfurt. When in 2008 the housing bubble burst the US trade platform Instinet fired him and all other fellow traders sitting on the same floor simultaneously by an e-mail. Thomas saw a new market and opened a stand selling sausages in Frankfurt's finance district serving currywurst to colleagues from his former trade (floor). The currywust he sells for Euro 2.70 at his booth called FWB standing for Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse (Frankfurt Stock Exchange) but also for Frankfurter Worscht (sausage in the Frankfurt dialect) Börse. Soon, he will possibly charge the same rate (but in British Pounds) in London's financial district Canary Wharf changing the name of his stand slightly into FSE for Frankfurt Stock Exchange or Frankfurt Sausage Exchange.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Past and Present

The German artist Oliver Bienkowski projected the message United Stasi of America on to the back side of the US embassy in Berlin. The projection, which included an image of Internet activist and hacker icon Kim Schmitz, aka "Kim Dotcom," took place at around 1 a.m. local time on Sunday night (July 7) and lasted for a mere 30 seconds before police guarding the embassy asked him to move on (Der Spiegel).

This work of art did not amuse Angela Merkel. Our chancellor stated that NSA and Stasi activities must not be compared. Having grown up in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) she should well know the infamous Staatssicherheitsdienst from her past but did she know about the activities of the American secret service in present-day Germany? The Federal Government is maintaining a low profile with respect to the NSA although the spokesman said: Abhören von Freunden, das ist inakzeptabel, das geht gar nicht (Tapping friends is unacceptable; that won't do).

Before I dig farther into the matter I would like you to take a closer look at the photo showing some of Germany's past. To the left you distinguish two historical landmarks: the Reichstag building with Sir Norman Foster's cupola and the Brandenburg Gate. Ten years ago I made my first steps in the internet composing a photo gallery with my collection of historical pictures. I went into the history of these two Berlin landmarks that nowadays are tourist attractions.

The message on the US embassy building was projected over the concrete stelae of the Holocaust memorial remembering Germany's darkest past. On the photo you can just make out the stelae carrying that past into the present.

With respect to NSA activities in Germany some authorities still claim they did not know anything. Our Minister of the Interior Hans-Peter Friedrich said that US snoopery is OK and any criticism is anti-American. Did the German intelligence service profit from the work of the NSA? It seems highly probable when the same minister boasts that Germany has so far been untroubled by Al Qaida attacks.

The Red-Green* opposition takes on the Black-Yellow government on the issue using a double strategy in accusing them of being either completely ignorant about NSA activities in Germany or of knowing everything but lying to the people. Note, it's campaign time in Germany. While the press is greatly excited about the affair most men and women on the street could not care less. So far they do not honor the opposition's attack on the government. Even the (Orange) Pirates standing for free and open information for everyone did not improve their poll rating. With only 2% intending to vote for them in the federal election in September they will not make it into the Bundestag (parliament).
*I gave an explanation of the color coding of Germany's political parties earlier.

On Friday, July 18, Mr. Friedrich went to Washington.

I am Mr. Friedrich from Germany. Let us have a straight talk (©Struttmann, BZ).
When Friedrich was interviewed after his talks with NSA officials he said he was satisfied although the information he did not receive was NOFORN (not for foreigners); it was top secret.

During the talks Vice President Biden showed two fingers to Friedrich (©DPA).
Does anybody know what this gesture means?
Friedrich only mentioned that thanks to NSA activities 45 Al Qaida attacks on the European Union had been foiled with five targeted on Germany. Did the NSA reveal those round figures, did they reveal anything at all? Did Friedrich make up these numbers? The press now writes of only two cases for Germany. Nobody knows, but as time goes by the earlier statement: Tapping friends is unacceptable is changing to the question: Is illegal tapping acceptable for friends?

When President Obama came to Berlin on June 19, commemorating President Kennedy's historical visit 50 years ago, no NSA-shadow had yet fallen on American-German relations.

President Kennedy in Berlin in 1963 in the presence of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (left)
 and Berlin's Governing Mayor Willy Brandt (farther to the left).
It looks as if JFK is memorizing his famous words: Ich bin ein Berliner (©TIME).
In Berlin President Obama simply wanted to make the past meet the present but instead of uttering a memorable historical sentence he took off his jacket "among friends".

President Obama in front of the Brandenburg Gate with his jacket taken off (©DPA).
I find it sad that the NSA affair has destroyed part of the trust that had slowly been building up again following the deep mistrust between our two nations during the two Bush administrations.

What happened to the "artist"? Officially, a Berlin spokesman confirmed on Friday, Bienkowski is suspected of having violated a law against "insulting organs and representatives of foreign countries." So far, however, the artist has not yet even been approached by the authorities, though the Berlin police said he would soon be invited in for questioning (Der Spiegel).

Friday, July 5, 2013

See Krakow and die

This phrase many of my fellow countrymen and -women cite when the name of the Polish city is mentioned. The expression is a corruption of the Italian proverb: Vedi Napoli e poi muori! When he visited Naples in 1787 during his Italian Journey our national poet made it into a German dictum: Neapel sehen und dann sterben. According to Goethe Neapolitans are so much impressed by the beauty and flair of their place that even a couple of Vesuvii nearby will not bring them to leave their city.

Our group with  a model of the Wawel in front and the real Wawel in the back.
I admit that the word Krakow does not put a gleam into my eyes. Also my second visit did not impress me beyond of what I feel for other historical places. Krakow was not destroyed in the Second World War but while its building stock remained intact I noticed a strong westernizing of the city between my first visit in October 2010 and today. The shop where I once bought the famous Krakow sausage had given up to make room for one of those many fashion label boutiques you will find in any major city around the globe. However most of the sights did not change so I do not hesitate to show some of the photos I took during my first visit in particular because this time the weather was dark, cold, and rainy.

One person you will meet all over the place is Karol Vojtyla better known as Pope Jan Pawel II. He was educated in Krakow where he worked as a priest and archbishop before he was elected pope in 1978. Many, even Catholics, criticize Karol Vojtyla's conservatism but they admit that his stubbornness in questions of faith gave a final blow to the communist bloc. Today I learned that Pope John Paul II will be canonized this year.

Vojtyla greeting the visitor from a window.

Young Pawel's pew in the Dominican church.

The highlight of a trip to Krakow is a visit to the Wawel, the former royal palace.

At the entrance of the Wawel a statue of Jan Pawel II

View of the Wawel in the rain.
The inner court

A cultural highlight is exhibited at the Wawel.

Governor Frank's seat, his addition to the Wawel in Nazi style.
Since this time my trip to Krakow was a political one our group visited Schindler's factory known from the movie Schindler's List.

Schindler's factory
The place now is a museum with an exhibition about the German occupation of Krakow as the capital of the Generalgouvernement with some reference to and a nostalgic touch of the Austrian rule before the First World War. This period generally referred to in Europe as the Golden Age was nonetheless a time of oppression and Germanization for the Polish inhabitants.

Governor Frank's proclamation.

Winter pleasures in occupied Krakow.

Schindler's desk.

Schindler's products.
Schindler's radio.

Young Vojtyla in occupied Krakow

On the other hand, the Golden Age was the time of a relatively untroubled Jewish community living in their quarter Kazimierz. Nine synagogues bear witness to their rich religious and cultural life.

Kazimierz today. Our group stayed in the Ester Hotel.
During the Nazi rule the quarter was surrounded by a wall and made into a ghetto.

Entrance to the Jewish ghetto
with the infamous streetcar number 3 running through.

The old (stara) synagogue just across from our hotel.

Another Krakow highlight is the bugler blowing his horn every hour in wind and rain
from the steeple of St Mary's Church. You can barely discern his trumpet at the open window.

Goodbye Krakow.