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.

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