Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Freiburg Writers' Group

Suddenly a date in my calendar started to blink in red announcing a scheduled Freiburg Writers' Group (F.W.G) meeting and I hadn't even started my homework. Yes, our charming MOC (Mistress of Ceremonies) had told us in June to write something about an item lost in the past and suddenly regained. Was she talking about Milton's paradise or Proust's madeleine?

Being late with my work I decided to make a virtue of necessity and turned my homework into a blog.

In spring I had joined the F.W.G. organized by the Carl-Schurz-Haus. Already the first meeting impressed me. There were students and older people of English, German and even Italian mother tongue eager to become writers in Shakespeare's idiom. Should I say that my aim is different? Being a writer neither of novels nor of poems but of prosaic blogs I want to profit as much as possible on questions of grammar and style. Nevertheless I bow my head to the demand of my MOC. Here comes my story about my item lost and regained.

Trying to avoid that my children will have to dispose of the things I have accumulated in the course of my life I started reducing the number of my books and found one titled: Ein Musketier von Potsdam. I had read the book as a child and now sat down to read it again.

Hansgeorg Buchholtz tells the story of one of those legendary Lange Kerls (tall guys) who served the Soldier King and his son Frederick of Prussia. In this book a simple soldier remembers the days when he was drilled for the pleasure of Frederick William for whom his children (as he called his tall guys) were too precious to be abused in a war. But the musketeer also remembers when as a sergeant he was crippled in one of the many battles the Soldier King's son, the Great Frederick, fought for his personal glory.

Red Baron counts Frederick the Great among the greatest warmongers in history together with Louis XIV, Napoleon, and Hitler but at the time of my youth Frederick was venerated as "the" German character who never gave up fighting although his enemies were overwhelming in keeping with the motto: Viel Feind', viel Ehr' (Many enemies, much honor).

Now as an adult I read the book differently seeing not so much the Prussian king but the simple people deeply rooted in their Protestant faith suffering from the repercussions of Frederick's many wars. I noticed that it is quite an honest book but I had read it differently as a boy.

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