Friday, August 4, 2017

Freiburgs neue Mitte

In the back the black diamond of the new university library,
on the left Henri Moore's Reclining Figure: External Form 1953–54,
in front of one of those specially installed rubbish chutes to an underground container.
The Square of the Old Synagogue (Platz der Alten Synagoge) is Freiburg's new center, as the Badische Zeitung announced. Red Baron reported the quarrels concerning the square redesign, where the city literally dropped some bricks.

The good news is that the transformation of the Platz der Alten Synagoge was finished this week, two months earlier than planned. With the official opening scheduled for the coming Saturday, the city continues dropping more bricks by not "knowing" that Jewish communities are excluded from any celebration on Shabbat. With the remark that the festivities continue beyond 10:30 p.m. and Jewish fellow citizens could join later, the city dropped another brick.

Following a senior citizen's proposal, many people favor renaming the newly configured square into Platz der zerstörten Synagoge (Square of the Destroyed Synagogue). Red Baron supports this idea for many old synagogues nowadays profaned still exist in Germany while new places of Jewish worship have been built. So it is in Freiburg except that the old synagogue no longer exists. In 1938 it was razed to the ground. Although the renaming of the square was extensively discussed in the press, the Jewish communities said that there were not officially informed, so another brick dropped.

While some citizens feared that the city's new center may not be popular, Freiburg's kids immediately embraced the water basin modeled to the Old Synagogue layout at current temperatures of 31 °C (88 °F).

Not only kids but adults too wade the basin.
Why is the original memorial plaque (now underwater) so interesting?
With all the troubled water
the text of the memorial plaque becomes difficult to read:
Hier stand die Synagoge der israelitischen Gemeinde Freiburgs, erbaut 1870, sie wurde
 am 10. November 1938 unter einer Herrschaft der Gewalt und des Unrechts zerstört

(Here stood the synagogue of Freiburg's Israelite community, built 1870,
destroyed on November 10, 1938, under a rule of violence and injustice).
Soon worriers raised their voices that the memorial was no wading pool, although some representatives of the Jewish communities even appreciated the activities of the kids as a refreshing sort of an Erinnerungskultur (remembrance culture).

Are adults and dogs allowed? (©Markus Wolter/Wikipedia)
Will this tolerance hold when students of the university nearby will cool their beer bottles in those waters and flip their cigarette butts into the basin? Does the city eventually has to employ guards to protect the site?

Freiburg's municipal theatre in the background.
Men are still at work.
Some kids prefer water fountains on the opposite side of the square to
the memorial basin while their mothers are texting. 
Henri Moore's Reclining Figure: External Form 1953–54.
When I tried to take a photo of Henry Moore's Reclining Figure: External Form 1953–54, two older gentlemen were in the picture. I warned them if you do not move, you will be in my photo. 

They told me that they were alumni of Freiburg's university and that in 1961 when the ornamentale Abortbrille (ornamental toilet seat) was installed, big controversies resulted. "There were possibly too many holes," I remarked, and they laughed. Indeed, one of the nicknames given to the Reclining Figure at the time of its inauguration had been Emmental Venus.

Red Baron will not attend the inauguration festivities tomorrow. He shall be at a funeral.

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