Monday, November 3, 2014

Odd Munich

Here comes somewhat late my blog about Elisabeth's and my visit to Munich. Red Baron had lived in Bavaria's capital from 1957 to 1966 first as a postgraduate and later I had my first job there. From time to time knowing the city pretty well I like to visit the place, to meet old friends, and to look at new attractions.

Entrance to the Platzl Hotel
Elisabeth and I stayed at the Platzl, a charming hotel in the old part of the city just opposite of the infamous Hofbräuhaus.

All in one place: Hofbräuhaus and Hard Rock
As Goethe knew and wrote in Faust: Wer vieles bringt, wird manchem etwas bringen; und jeder geht zufrieden aus dem Haus (Who brings a lot, brings something that will pass: And everyone goes home contentedly).

In spite of the strike of the Deutsche Bahn (German Railway) we had safely arrived at Munich Hauptbahnhof. The check-in completed we took our first walk passing the municipal taxation office. During my stay in Munich I always had entered the building head bowed and I came out fully bent. Therefore I had never noticed the inscription high up: Moneta regia (Royal mint) that the Munich citizens translate as money reigns or Money makes the world go round as Liza Minelli once sang in Cabaret.

On our way through the city we saw a man unloading a fat gander from his bicycle possibly for a performance.

Gander looking ...
and attacking
When the animal noticed me taking pictures it came towards me protesting and attacking. I escaped just in time passing the (again infamous due to the Hitler-Putch in 1923) Feldherrnhalle. We reached the entrance to the Hofgarten where a jazz band was playing.

The following morning started with a shock. During my stay in about 1000 hotels in a lifetime it had sometimes happened that I had to repair showers but here for the first time the water refused to enter the shower head. I turned all faucets and nearly destroyed the valves, in vain. I called the reception. Eventually a man came to my rescue showing me how operate the shower.

For the solution of the mystery, wait until the end.

The Pinakothek der Moderne (museum of modern art) was inaugurated already in 2002 but Elisabeth and I visited the art gallery for the first time. If you love modern art or, as the Nazis called it, degenerated art that is the place to see. Taking pictures was allowed so I took lots of photos of paintings by German expressionist and abstract painters but I am not showing them here because of copyright. The only picture presented below is by a French artist which he painted in 1914. The man had well anticipated the mechanical killing of modern war fare.

The hand washing facilities in the restroom of the Pinakothek der Moderne look modern too:

Following lunch and espresso Elisabeth and I passed the inner court of the university on our way to the Englischer Garten when I stopped and stared looking at the wall to the right.

Inner court (Lichthof) of  Munich's Ludwig-Maximilian Universität
Those who read my blogs remember that I had written about the Horace citation Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori which was once carved into the marble of the inner court. Now I read the following inscription:

Monument of pius remembrance to the dead of three wars.
They did not succumb in vain to their fate. 1959
No, all those who perished in a war lost their lives in vain! This unexpected inscription is far from the proposal Red Baron remembers and wrote about: Mortui viventes obligant (The living are obliged to the dead).

So far all efforts to rename the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität to Geschwister-Scholl-Universität aborted. Nevertheless a plate at the entrance commemorates the Weiße Rose (White Rose) reproducing the flyers against the Nazi regime sister and brother had distributed in the inner court to their fellow students:

On our way back to the hotel Elisabeth and I passed the well-protected US-Consulate near the Englischer Garten.

A fortress
The following morning it was raining and we visited an exhibition called Rembrandt-Tizian-Belloto, the latter better known as Canelletto. There were a few Canellettos and Tizians alright but just one painting by Rembrandt. Photos were not allowed so here I present a picture taken of a reproduction at the entrance to the exhibition: Canelletto's view of Dresden with the famous Frauenkirche (Our Lady's) on the left.

Note the bollards crowned by red lights protecting the synagogue against bomb attacks by cars
The new synagogue in Munich is well protected. It was around 11 a.m. when we arrived but two guards at the entrance told us that the building was already closed for Sabbath.

The closed entrance
So we visited the Jewish Museum nearby. The general exhibition was small and rather poor just showing a few cult objects. No photos were allowed, an order I really regretted in case of the special exhibition War 1914/1918, Jews between the fronts.

On two floors the efforts of the German Jews to show their loyalty to their country was documented. Although the Jews enjoyed equal rights in the Second Reich under the Kaiser in practice, however,  they were not on equal footing in any of the European countries in the period preceding the Great War. The following photo I took at the entrance to the museum.

German Jewish soldiers are celebrating Hanukkah 1916 - the commemoration of the rededication
 of the Holy Temple - in the snow showing the nine armed menorah.
The Festival of Lights frequently coincides with the Christmas holiday period,
I am sorry that I cannot document the tragic fate of Hans Bloch, a Jew from Munich, with documents (pictures were not allowed within the exhibition). He and his father fought in the First World War and young officer Hans was attributed the Eiserne Kreuz First Class, the highest distinction a soldier could get. After the war Hans studied law, got a doctor's degree, and became a lawyer. Somehow his Jewish origin became forgotten because in 1934 on the 20th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War Chancellor Adolf Hitler bestowed on Hans Bloch a special medal of commemoration. As a Jew he was no longer allowed to exercise his profession but as veteran of the war the Nazis did not harm him. When Germany started the Second World War Hans wanted to fight for his country but as a Jew he was not allowed to serve in the German army. When his appeal against this decision was refused he committed suicide by electrocution in 1942. I never had imagined such a tragedy.

Passing the Viktualienmarkt (Munich's popular food market) I saw the following Maibaum (maypole) with a note shaking my knowledge of the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot.

The Bavarian purity decree was not issued on April 23, 1516,
but as early as November 30, 1487
In the evening Elisabeth and I had dinner at the Schneider Weisses Brauhaus. Remember my blog What's Brewing. At the Brauhaus they had several wheat beers on tap and some bottled including TAP5 with the unusual 8,2% alcohol. Here comes the full list:

Red Baron started with TAP7, our original (5,4%), continued with TAP11, our light wheat beer (3,3%), and ended with TAP4, my green (6,2%).

Tap4, Mein Grünes

Standing naked, being under stress waiting for the water, would you have found the nob for activating the shower?

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