Sunday, September 3, 2017

Hitler at Freiburg

We are in the midst of our federal election campaign but Red Baron never experienced a more boring one. Angela Merkel (Christian Democrat at 38% intentions to vote) is hovering as the mother of western democracy over the lowlands of German party politics whereas Martin Schulz (Social Democrat at a meager 24%) is struggling like the famous frog in liquid cream hoping that part of it may eventually transform into butter to give him at least some ground.

In the light of such a boredom the Landeszentrale für politische Bildung (lpd, State central for political education) scheduled a panel discussion at the university's Audimax (main auditorium).

General elections 1932 and 2017: Hitler at Freiburg 85 years ago
Unbelievable:
At campaign rallies in the Weimar Republic people had to pay an entrance fee.
Visitors came from Switzerland and neighboring Alsace to listen to Hitler.
Red Baron was early at the Audimax and got a seat near the stage but only in row four the other seats in front being reserved for dignitaries including members of the local soccer teams Sportclub Freiburg (SCF) and the Freiburger Fußballclub (FFC). At the entrance I got a free ticket issued for counting purposes since sitting of more than 800 persons at the Audimax is illegal. Nevertheless, as the starting time approached the auditorium became overcrowded.

©lpb
During the filling and waiting phase we were entertained by video material. A documentary about Hitler's arrival and stay at Freiburg on July 29, 1932, was the "top seller". Here are some frames.

Most impressive. In July 1932, Hitler campaigned using an airplane
allowing him to give four speeches at four distant cities
 in one day. At Freiburg he arrived late.

Removing his earplugs after arrival at Freiburg (Cabins were not pressurized in 1932).

Salutary children and flowers as usual.

Hitler liked powerful and fast cars.
Rumors have it that the autobahn between Prussia and Bavaria was built
with priority so that he could quickly move between Berlin, the German capital,
and the Hauptstadt der Bewegung (Capital of the Movement) Munich.

As Hitler passed young female voters were screaming
 like today's teenies idolizing Justin Bieber.

Looking determined and surrounded by his brown shirts
he is marching to the FFC's Mösle stadium.

Hitler is giving his third and same speech during the day.

Already in 1932 there were fake news about the number of attendees:
30,000 according to the Freiburger Sport Club,
50,000 as estimated by the Freiburg newspapers,
70,000 as claimed by Nazi propaganda.

Hitler with flying cap ready to head for Radolfzell on Lake Constance
to attend his fourth and last rally of the day.

Können diese Augen lügen? (Would I lie to you?). Yes, you did.

Super election year 1932. Rektor Schiewer during his introduction
in front of a poster of the presidential election of April 10.
The evening was opened by the host, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans-Jochen Schiewer, Rektor (dean) of Freiburg's university. The purport of his introductory talk was: Although there have been dark times in the past the motto of Freiburg's university is equality and freedom of speech and research.

In front of a historical photo
 showing Nazi Mayor Franz Kerber and Gauleiter (governor) Robert Wagner
here are the panel members from left to right:
Dr. Thomas Schnabel, Leiter Haus der Geschichte Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart
Dr. Dieter Salomon, Oberbürgermeister der Stadt Freiburg
Dr. Michael Wehner, Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Baden-Württemberg,
Außenstelle Freiburg leading the discussion
Christian Streich, Trainer, Sport-Club Freiburg
Dr. Heinrich Schwendemann, Historisches Seminar
der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
The panel discussion proper started with two noteworthy statements by Freiburg's mayor Dr. Dieter Salomon: Jeder Mensch hat seinen Wert (Every human being is valuable) and Populismus ist geschichtsvergessen (Populism ignores history).

According to Dr. Thomas Schnabel, director the the House of History in Stuttgart, a comparison between 1932 and 2017 is nearly ridiculous. In 1932 Germany suffered from the world economic depression and a resulting high unemployment rate of 18% (today 5,7%). This meant more welfare recipients and increased social spending that was compensated by a reduction of salaries in the public sector. Streets were dominated by politically motivated brawls and murder. This was an excellent climate for populism. Most important, however, was that more than 50% of the voters, be it right or left, rejected the Weimar Republic while today more than 85% fully support the democratic system of our Federal Republic.

Hitler and the National Socialists had their breakthrough in 1930 with 18.3% of the votes, reached their maximum with 37.3% at the July 1932 poll, and declined to 33.1% in the November 1932 elections due to a noticeable improvement in Germany's economic situation. Schnabel insisted that Hitler's January 31, 1933 rise to power was not imperative. The elites helped him to power and not the working class.

Schnabel is right for the chancellor-makers and members of Hitler's initial government were industry (Alfred Hugenberg), military (Werner von Blomberg), and aristocracy (Franz von Papen) where the latter commented: In zwei Monaten haben wir Hitler in die Ecke gedrückt, dass er quietscht (Within two month we shall have pushed Hitler into a corner so he will screech). All underestimated Hitler's will to power. Within only eight months the Nazi chancellor had brought Germany into line.

Why there were two of Freiburg's soccer teams invited and Christian Streich, coach of the SCF, was sitting on the panel? As Dr. Heinrich Schwendemann, Historical Seminar of the university, explained: In the beginning of the 20th century soccer was an integrating factor when Catholics, Protestants, and Jews placed the team spirit above religious and ideological differences. The Mösle Stadium, home of the FFC, was sponsored by Jews. So it is one of history's ironies that Hitler gave his speech in a "Jewish" stadium.

The integrating power of soccer today rather implies Muslim and native African than Jewish players. This multicultural mix sometimes leads to racist manifestations during matches of the Bundesliga (Federal soccer league). Christian Streich, contrary to other coaches, frequently had spoken out against racist remarks and hate speech and in particular had taken on the populistic AfD (Alternative for Germany) recently. Under great applause he explained that he had accepted to sit on the panel because here I am surrounded by educated people who are occupied the whole day with history and politics whereas I constantly reflect on how to prevent goals against my team.

Later in the discussion Dr. Salomon made the distinction between a political movement and a political party. The Greens started out in 1980 as a movement with Joschka Fischer being their charismatic leader. Now, together with the Free Democrats and the Linke (left socialists), the Greens belong to the spectrum of the smaller established parties in Germany with intentions to vote around 10% each. The populistic AfD is still in the stage of a movement but missing a one and only charismatic leader. They will possibly get 12% of the votes in the upcoming general election.

Dr. Salomon said: With respect to Germany's past, present generations are not guilty but we have the duty to watch that such an inhuman period will never reoccur. With respect to our uneasy relationship with our nationality Dr. Schnabel added: Nationalism yes, but never against others both inside and outside Germany.

Except for some interesting historical details and a few bon mots the panel discussion did not knock my socks off. Contrary to his habit Red Baron - this time being afraid of lengthy comments by people from the auditorium and verbose answers by the panel members - left the Audimax together with the majority of the audience before the general discussion started.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Donkeys' Corner

Some of my readers will remember Freiburg's Wagenburgler Story. Over the last years it has become quiet around the groups who like to live in caravans. They were roaming Freiburg in the years 2011 to 2014 for a site to park their vehicles in the shadow (Schattenparker is the name of one "tribe"). Another group calls itself Sand im Getriebe (sand in the transmission) and  indeed the quarrel with the city went "vicious" until most Wagenburgler had found their rest at a site near Freiburg's airport called Eselswinkel.

Wagenburglers behind the bushes in the background (©BZ/Rita Eggstein)
During this summer the quiet idyll was suddenly disturbed by noise. People were sleepless in Mooswald, a district of Freiburg on the other side of the airport. On August 5, techno music originating from the donkeys' corner continued into the following morning hours so that a lady at Mooswald stated: Ich stand senkrecht im Bett (I stood in my bed vertically).

©BZ
The office for public order told the Wagenburglers to keep a curfew between 10 a.m. to 6 a.m. but they opposed the order and announced more techno parties. A spokeswoman said, "There are no longer any sites at Freiburg where one can party somewhat louder beyond midnight. We would like to make such parties possible for young people. Therefore we invite youth groups who are interested in our culture and way of life". Na dann prost Mahlzeit! (Well, that's just great!)

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

Walking the Bundschuh Trail

Bundschuh, shoe with boot straps

worn by common people in the Middle Ages
Last Wednesday Red Baron walked the Bundschuhpfad (Bundschuh trail). This treat was offered by the Christian Democrats (CDU) as all parties are presently offering vote-catching goodies to Freiburgers since the general federal election of the Bundestag (House of Representatives) is scheduled for September 24.
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.
Our guide at Jos-Fritz-Straße
Many of Lehen's streets are named after participants in the revolt. Naturally there is 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
Els-Schmidin-Weg
Information panel (10)

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

Alternative for Germany?

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.

Unsatisfied with the work of the existing parties quite a number of voters indeed are looking for an alternative not realizing that the AfD above all is a "Germany first" party. Its members are right-wing populists and Eurosceptics. Founded in 2012 the AfD is now represented in 13 of Germany's 16 state parliaments.

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.

Red Baron wrote this blog when he was digesting a small note in the Badische Zeitung: No bed for Gauland.

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

Braukollektiv

To many Germans the word Kollektiv sounds ugly reminding them of the "collectives" in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR).

Diskussion im Neuererkollektiv (Discussions at the innovators' collective)
 (©Wikipedia/Nightflyer)
Or should I rather write that the word Kollektiv has a bitter aftertaste. However, the meaning of words changes with time and it is the Freiburg Braukollektiv who is actively working on changing the meaning of Kollektiv rather signifying the bitter taste of their various beers.

Beer sommelière Andrea Seeger and master brewer James Tutor
presenting a collection of Braukollektiv beers (©BZ/Rita Eggstein)
Today the Badische Zeitung started a new series about Freiburger Bierbrauer (brewers) and guess who is first? It was the Braukollektiv that brought craftbeer to Freiburg.

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

Hard Luck

or rather shit happens? Although not suitable as a title for a blog the latter words perfectly fit the following story.

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).

©BZ/Stefan Jehle
All signals immediatly went on red and rightly so for if a train had passed the distortion at 110 km/h (68 miles/h)* it had definitely derailed with all the resulting consequences.
*the 11 signifies that the maximum speed in the following section is limited to 110 km/h


©BZ
What had happened? The German Railway is upgrading the Rhine valley line from two to four tracks to meet the increasing demand for transport capacity from the North Sea ports via Switzerland to Italy. The two supplementary tracks in the region of Rastatt will be running in a twin-tube tunnel of 4.3 km (2.7 miles) length saving the landscape and protecting the town from noise. South of Rastatt the tunnel-boring machine crosses the existing line leaving an overburden of only five meters. So engineers used the proven technology of icing the ground around the boring machine in cooling the soil to - 35 °C (- 31 °F). Did the freezing technique not work at it should have?

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.

Passengers lost at Freiburg's main station (©dpa)
Suddenly not only passengers were stranded at Karlsruhe going south or at Freiburg traveling north but the transport of goods between Rotterdam and Genoa was completely interrupted. Cargo trains were blocked at various stations along the Rhine valley line. Alternative routes do not exist for important rail work blocks the direct link between Horb and Stuttgart. In addition most bypasses are not electrified and diesel engines have become a rare species in Germany.

©BZ
Presently transport firms are trying hard to trans-ship the stranded containers on to trucks so the autobahn running more or less in parallel with the Rhine valley line is becoming congested. This is a bad situation during the holiday season when thousands of Dutch caravaners are heading for sunny Italy or are returning home.

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.

The now lost tunnel boring machine (©BZ/Ralf Burgmaier)
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).
Red Baron needs to pass the blocked section four times in September going to Cologne for a family fest and to Hamburg for his annual class reunion. I keep my fingers crossed for a fast repair but as experience shows: Existing shit will attract more shit.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A Fruitbearing Society


On August 10, the German Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Fruchtbringende Gesellschaft, an association promoting the German language. The founding of the Fruitbearing Society took place in the run-up to the Thirty Years' War on August 24, 1617. 

Another stamp of 2017: The Wartburg
where in 1521 Luther translated the New Testament into German
Following Luther's translation of the New Testament into everyday language in 1521 one hundred years later the society for cultivating the German language was another important step jm Gantzen Reich, ein einträchtige Sprach, ein einträchtige Regierung, vnd Endlich Auch ein einträchtige Religion, bequemlich ein zuführen, und friedlich zuerhalten sey (to introduce conveniently a common language, a common government and finally a common religion in all the German Reich and to keep it peaceful).

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

Bison Futé

Indian Chief Bison Futé in France and ...
Smart Buffalo is known in France as the clever Indian who in times of heavy traffic guides frustrated drivers around jams proposing non-congested roads.

... grazing buffalos at Freiburg's Mundenhof (©BZ/Thomas Kunz)
In contrast, here at Freiburg's vivarium Mundenhof a herd of four buffalo cows and one bull - called bisons in German - happily and quietly lives on local grass and herbs.

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

Greiffenegg

The word rings a bell with many of my American readers. For them it is the Schlössle, Toni's place, known for its hospitality combined with a fantastic view on Freiburg.

An weird view from the Greiffenegg-Schlössle on to Freiburg in 1830.
The Münster church is in a wrong position.
There is no entry for Greiffenegg in the English Wikipedia but there are three articles in the German version two of them initiated by Red Baron. In addition to the Schlössle you will find an entry for Hermann von Greiffenegg who had the Schlössle built and for his son Hermann Gottlob who lived in the building following his retirement from Austrian service.

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
The next painting shows Hermann Gottlob von Greiffenegg-Wolffurt, the governor's son, at the age of 47. He had inherited his father's love for Austria and hated Napoleon.

Hermann Gottlob von Greiffenegg-Wolffurt in 1822
When in 1809 he fought the ursurper with a band of guerrillas he was severely wounded.

KK Oesterreichischer Oberst Greiffenegg-Wolffurt (1832).
Here the scar on his front due to his wound is clearly visible.
Later Hermann Gottlob served the Austrian government as charge d'affaires in Hanover. There the Royal Court Painter Rambach sketched him as a drunkard. The two friends lived through many other bold and illustrated adventures.

Ramberg and Greiffenegg pub crawling
Slowly the Austrian government became fed up with Hermann Gottlob and he was fed up with the cold climate in Germany's north. So they sent him to the south to some lost outposts of the Habsburg empire. In 1823 he became fortress governor in Osoppo near Friaul, nowadays Italy.

Der Commandant Greiffenegg Wolffurt Oberst
hunting scorpions on Osoppo in 1824 (with Greiffenegg's hand-written notes)
Although married Hermann Gottlob started, as people spread, a ménage-à-trois with stepsisters ...

Agathe Mauch and ...

... Josephine Lang
The two ladies had all the money and Greiffenegg lived on them.  The three traveled a lot.

Agathe, Josephine und Hermann v. Greiffenegg Wolffurt
Strange memories of Venice 1826 (hand-written notes by Hermann Gottlieb).
In 1827 the Austrian government sent Hermann Gottlob to Zengg, a fortress at the Adriatic Sea in Croatia near the Turkish border.

KK Militaire Commando Zenng Comdt. Greiffenegg Wolffurt KK Oberst
an der Bosznischen Gränze (at the Bosnian border)
He did not feel well and in 1831 raking with pain finally was retired. Filled with bitterness against the Austrian administration he moved with his two "wives" to Freiburg where he lived at the Greiffenegg-Schlössle until 1840.

Hand-written sales offer of the Greiffenegg-Schlössle 1838
Due to the lack of money he had to sell the Schlössle for 9750 guilders and lived until his death in 1847 with Agathe and Josephine in a rented apartment at Kaiserstraße, nowadays Kaiser-Josef-Straße.

Hermann Gottlob in 1840

Back to painter Johann Heinrich Ramberg. He was an early cartoonist illustrating everyday mishaps ...

Reise Unglück (travel accident) 1821
... and human, i.e., male weaknesses.

Die Kirschenleserin (cherry picking girl) 1800
The innkeeper's naked daughter is picking cherries off the ground
with leering old men watching.
Here is some more:

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.