Monday, September 17, 2018

A Foal Named Holbein

The sculpture of a foal on a small lawn triangle defined by Holbeinstraße, Hans-Thoma-Straße, and Günterstalstraße has a cult status in Freiburg. The Holbeinpferdchen was created in concrete by the sculptor Werner Gürtner in 1936.

The Holbeinpferd in a slim state ©joergens.mi
In 1980 the sculpture became famous when in a cloak-and-dagger operation an unknown “painter” gave the foal a new look. Other painters followed suit, so in 1981 the city decided to clean the foal from all those layers of paint.

My soccer club honored in 1987 for its 100th anniversary.
The Hamburger Sportverein (HSV), a founding member
of Germany's  Bundesliga, was relegated to the Second Ligue last year
for the first time in its history.  ©Wikimedia
But the painting of the sculpture had become a trend, and again a layer on a layer made the foal bulkier. More cleanings followed in 1985, 1987, and 1997.

Mr. Hellstern remembers the 1997 operation well, “We blasted off the layers of paint within two to three days. How long it took us to remove a layer depended on the quality of the paint. Some layers took several hours to remove, while others took only a few minutes. All in all, there were certainly between 50 and 70 layers of paint."

Present look ©BZ/Ingo Schneider
Since then the Holbeinpferdchen has put on weight again with an estimated 150 layers of paint. Eyes and balls have become invisible and many drops of paint running down its belly have dried. Once standing out for its graceful stature, the foal became an elephant. City official Matthias Wolpert moans, “It’s perverted with such an amount of paint.”

Somebody tried to count the present layers of paint ©joergens.mi
While in the past years the city had “earmarked” no money for cleaning, today the expertise for removing the paint is no longer available. Experts are scratching their heads about how to do the job.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Hetzjagd

While in the States POTUS denounces the witch hunt, Chancellor Merkel talks about the hunting down of people during recent right-wing riots in Chemnitz. They were triggered by the death of 35-year-old Daniel H., a German, stabbed by two refugees over a dispute during a funfair.

The two suspects accused of homicide, 22-year-old Iraqi Jussif A. and 23-year-old Syrian Alaa S., are in custody but the circumstances that led to the crime are still a mystery.

During the evenings following the homicide, a right-wing mob shouting Nazi slogans - a few showing the Hitler salute - roamed the streets of Chemnitz. Some participants started to hunt down people who looked like immigrants. Videos and eyewitnesses “confirm” those and other acts of violence.

Blankziehen or mooning the police in Chemnitz ©ARD/Morgenmagazin
Instead, Hans-Georg Maaßen, head of Germany’s FBI, murmured that there was "no reliable information" that "right-wing extremist hunts" had taken place in Chemnitz and a corresponding video could be "deliberately false information". Fake news in Germany?

In principle, Maaßen followed in his appreciation his master’s voice, Minister of Interior Horst Seehofer, although the latter and other center-right politicians demand that Maaßen must reveal the sources supporting his statement.

At present waves of political anger are sweeping over Germany. The opposition parties demand the immediate dismissal of the guardian of our Grundgesetz (the German constitution), although it possibly was easier to fire James Comey than it will be to dismiss Hans-Georg Maaßen.

As a result of the Chemnitz riots, democratic groups are standing up to promulgate #wirsindmehr. Their slogan aims to underline that the majority of Germans outnumbers the right-wing mob. However, the fatal heart attack of a 22-year-old German following his quarrel with two Afghans at Köthen in Saxony-Anhalt two days ago will add grist* to the mills of the right-wingers.
*In German we say, “Water to the mills”

©ZDF/Heute Show
Is Horst Seehofer right with his statement, ”The migration issue is the mother of all political problems in this country”?

Sunday, August 26, 2018

#rise

... and early to rise (©NDR/Extra3)
Intelligent, ambitious, and attractive Sahra Wagenknecht, whip of Die Linke, Germany’s left-wing party in the Bundestag (federal parliament), founded „#aufstehen“, a collective left movement. The movement shall rise against „social injustice“ in my country. The rassemblement* states that wages and retirement benefits are too low, prices for housing are too high, few people get rich, many more become poor, i.e., the whole spectrum of “socialism”. One year ago in a blog “Socialism for Pedestrians" Red Baron tried to explain that socialism has little in common with communism.
*I like that French word. Whenever something goes wrong in our neighboring country there will be a rassemblement du peuple.

Officially the left movement will be launched on September 4, but thanks to the bid for supporters on their website their number already surpassed the 85.000 mark.

When presenting her movement Sahra said, “Our goal is, of course, other majorities in the Bundestag resulting in a new government with a social agenda.” This sounds like "Bernie Sanders heavy" while already his light version of socialism is indigestible for most Americans. Mind you in nearly all European countries free education and Medicare for all are no longer an issue.

Sahra’s party Die Linke is not amused and sees its own chances dashed. But Sahra declared, “We want something new: not a party, but a movement for all those who want a common fight for our goals. The parties of the left-liberal spectrum, the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left, have not succeeded in forging a reliable alliance bringing about a change of government in Germany with different political concept.”

Populism left and light? So far only right populism is rising around the world following POTUS the master. His epigones are Orban in Hungary, Zeman in the Czech Republic, Duda in Poland, Erdogan in Turkey, Conte in Italy, and last not least Macron in France.

Already before the official start of Sahra‘s populist rassemblement cabaret artists are mocking.

What an ingenious pun (©NDR/Extra3)

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Freiburg Wall


In 2020 Freiburg will celebrate its 900th city anniversary. Duke Konrad of Zähringen awarded the right to hold a market to the small community of craft- and tradesmen that lived at the foot of the Schlossberg (castle hill) in 1120. The rights and duties of the new citizens were written down in a document called Stadtrodel (town document).

Tracing a city wall around the Freiburg market.
In 1240 the church is still the original one in Romanesque style dedicated to St. Nicolas.
It is remarkable that in the same year the "new citizens" started protecting their community by building an enclosure wall, even leaving space inside the “ring” for future citizens and their trades.

A cut through of  Freiburg's first fortification
Archaeologist Dr. Betram Jenisch explained that the city wall was 10 to 11 meters high, more than one meter thick, and had an apron. In most places, the moat was 15 meters wide and 5 meters deep. Two breast or abutment walls secured the outside berm of the moat and an inner circular road of 6 meters width and 5 meters height. Archaeological findings proved that in order to build that mighty construction along the Dreisam River existing buildings were demolished.

Admire the beautiful house wall made of pebbles
that was unearthed in Freiburg a few years ago.
Dr. Jenisch stressed two local peculiarities. While in most cases city walls are just grounded deeply and built straight up, the Freiburgers used a supporting apron ensuring that the side pressure from the circular high road was intercepted. Strangely this advantageous Freiburg model was copied nowhere except at Neuenburg on the Rhine, a city founded by the Dukes of Zähringen later in 1175.

The Freiburg model of wall support verified by archaeological diggings.around the city ring 
The other Freiburg peculiarity is that the building material was unearthed locally, i.e., gravel excavated from the dug-out moat. In separating the gravel into various grain sizes the builders gained boulders for the wall proper (30%), pebbles* for inner walls (see picture above), and sand (10%) for making mortar. The rest (60%) served as filling material for the circular road. In the course of the work, nearly 200.000 cubic meters of excavated material was moved corresponding to 50.000 truckloads.
*Within the 60% estimated for the rest.

Sickinger Plan of 1589
So it is astonishing that the fortification was already finished by 1140 although gates and watchtowers as seen on the Sickinger Plan of 1589 were still missing. Dendrochronological data reveal that the wooden beams of Freiburg's oldest gate, St. Martin, date back to the year 1202. It took the work of two additional generations to fill the holes in the wall, the entrances to the city, with proper gates.

How was all this financed? Most of the work was done by the citizens themselves but the Stadtrodel included provisions in case of a succession: One third fell to the city earmarked ad aedificium (for building purposes).

When firearms started to dominate warfare the old city wall became a joke. Several times during the Thirty Years’ War and in particular during the aggressive French wars in the late 16th and early 18th centuries artillery easily opened breaches in the fortifications (Bresche schießen).

When Freiburg became a French city in 1677 Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban started surrounding the city with modern fortifications thus integrating Freiburg into France’s northern fortification belt. Contemporaries called his work “La dernière folie de Louis XIV “.

Vauban's masterpiece in flore
When the French left Freiburg for good in 1745 they destroyed their fortifications. The city remained much limited in its boundaries until the middle of the 19th century.

Freiburg in 1825. Vauban's remains mostly served as vineyards
Today vestiges of Vauban’s masterpiece are still visible in Freiburg’s cityscape.

Vauban's fortifications superimposed on present-day Freiburg.
1. The Colombischlössle, 2. The municipal theater, 3. University mensa (cafeteria),
4. Vauban's Breisach Gate, 5. Vestiges of moat and watchtower.
To the right, the ruins of Vauban's Schlossberg fortifications extending along the hill are accessible to the public.
Dr. Jenisch’s work is an outstanding example of how modern archaeology will enlarge the knowledge of historians.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

My Web Heritage

The “tropical heatwave” is continuing in Freiburg although in this second half of August temperatures rarely pass the 30 ⁰C (86 ⁰F) mark. As is well known, at higher temperatures doctors recommend that elderly people avoid outdoor activities. So over the last two weeks, I sat in front of my desktop computer and looked at my web heritage.

When, following my retirement, I moved from Geneva to Freiburg I started my private internet activity by building my own website.

www.mhoefert.de
Soon I became interested in Freiburg’s fascinating history and started this never-ending project of Freiburgs Geschichte in Zitaten (Freiburg’s History in Quotations) (www.freiburgs-history.de)

www.freiburgs-geschichte.de

Reading books and listening to lectures I am continually upgrading the historical content of the site with the number of references surpassing 600 by now.

But there is more. Since 2003 I have documented those nostalgic yearly class reunions:

http://www.mhoefert.de/klassentreffen_2017.htm
Furthermore, I published reports about the prestigious bicycle tours with some of my former classmates in the years 2003 to 2011 as organized so professionally by my classmate Wulf:

http://www.mhoefert.de/wulfs_radeltouren.htm
Here comes the problem. I created the first web pages using Microsoft Frontpage® with its WYSIWYG-editor, so my initial steps in programming in 2002 went fast. I looked around and when I noticed that Freiburg’s Münsterbauverein was lacking a website I assured their presence on the Internet. In the meantime, the MBV paid for more professional help creating a new website.

Although the content of a web page was and still is more important for me than programming I soon learned about Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and applied the technique as time went by.

As a tool for creating web pages, MS Expression Web® followed Frontpage, and programming of websites became more transparent. Meanwhile, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) introduced standards for HTML programming, and it turned out that Frontpage does not support their recent recommendations.

So when I recently looked at my early web pages, I was shocked although I had already removed clumsy programming with the introduction of CSS in the past. The “old code” is flagged quite often warning that although some of the early “formulations” are still accepted they will no longer be supported in the future. As an example: the font attribute is obsolete and should be replaced by “styles”.

So being somehow blocked at home by the heat I started an improvement program replacing all that “antique” programming code by modern “formulations”. Luckily some of the old stuff could be changed by global editing. As a side effect manual changes frequently resulted in a clearer and better page layout.

So I saved my web heritage but will there be people looking at it when I shall have passed away?

Friday, August 17, 2018

Strips Are Falling On My Head

©BZ/Rita Eggstein
There is more to the tropical heat in Freiburg than drought. Two weeks ago a small piece of metal fell off the front of Freiburg’s university library (UB). The lamella made from stainless steel measures 4  by 16 centimeters and has sharp edges. In spite of the fact the piece only weighs 20 grams, its impact was enormous.

The lamella (©Private)
I was not really surprised for Freiburg's new UB is always good for a surprise. Red Baron reported about the granite surface outside made from Vietnamese basalt stones allegedly mined by children, reflections of the April and the October sun in the glass facade of the library annoying drivers, and a lack of space for the parking of bicycles in front of the building.

Why the metal lamella came down is not clear yet but experts guess that the adhesive bond with which it was fixed failed because of the heat. Yes, instead of screws and rivets modern construction relies more and more on gluing techniques.

©Fudder
As a consequence, the area around the building was spaciously cordoned off. Initially access to the UB was only allowed through the bicycle basement, but finally, a protective tunnel to the main entrance was built while experts are still investigating.

Note the reflection of Kollegiengebäude I that is located on the other side of the street (©BZ)

I like raindrops falling on my head rather than metal lamellae.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

A Tropical Heat Wave

Marilyn Monroe once made the song about A tropical heat wave popular.  The text has a tailor-made ending, “Gee, her anatomy, Makes the mercury, Jump to ninety-three.” Well, during the recent weeks we encountered higher temperatures than the corresponding 34 ⁰C.

It is not so much the heat that is annoying but what is worrying is the drought. Over the last three weeks, we had no substantial rain in Freiburg and its surroundings. All over Germany farmers are moaning. In particular in northern Germany - generally soaked with rain coming in from the west - more than 50% of the crops are lost.

©dpa
Here is a local picture of the Stühlinger Kirchplatz. Instead of a green meadow, people are lying on an alliterated Steppe im Stühlinger. In the back is the Church of the Sacred Heart. The formerly green church square served as an art object before.

©JKI/Der Sonntag
Freiburg's river the Dreisam is falling dry.

©BZ
While within the city boundaries bathers still enjoy what is left of the water ...

©BZ
... further downstream the remains trickle away in the gravel bed.

©Der Sonntag
Those who suffer most are the fish both from the lack of sufficient fresh supplies and the high temperature of the remaining water.

©Der Sonntag
The photo shows a dying animal but again here a local picture of fish coming to the surface gasping for oxygen is as heartbreaking. This happens at the Waldsee a small lake in a forest nearby. The fire brigade has started to pump out the water splashing it back in the hope that it may absorb some oxygen from the air.

©BZ
A little rain is expected for next Tuesday. False alarm again?

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Honor to the German House




The Gasthof "Zum Deutsches Haus", dates back to the 13th century. On the Sickinger plan, an old city map of Freiburg from 1549, the place is marked by an arrow and is easily located. The present building dates back to 1779.


Recently the German House was included in the list of Baden's historical inns. The Bächle (brooklet) marked on the old plan running in front is still there.

All photos above ©Zum Deutschen Haus


On the occasion, some well-known Freiburg gentlemen are shown at the entrance to the building.

From the right: The “patron” of the house, Toni Schlegel, proudly presents the seal of quality. Of the others, Red Baron knows well the tall younger guy, Joachim Scheck, head of the VISTAtour guided tours and the person to the left, Peter Kalchthaler, city historian, head of the Freiburg City Museum and deputy director of Freiburg's Augustiner Museum, with whom Red Baron made several historical journeys most noteworthy to the cathedrals in the north (1, 2) and in the south (3, 4) of France and into Lutherland (5, 6).

Congratulation for an award well deserved. Mind you nowadays the Haus serves the best beer in town straight from the cask. Why? It’s a slow beer. You don't just fill the glass but rather take your time, i.e., at least five minutes so that a fine white persistent head may slowly build up. Although my American friends always like their beer too cold here in Freiburg at the Deutsches Haus the draft beer is served with the ideal temperature.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

WWW

People of the Internet will know that WWW stands for the World Wide Web. In this blog, the acronym stands for an alliterated, “Wir werden weniger” (We are getting fewer).

Red Baron graduated from high school in February 1954 and here is the photo of us glorious 17 taken together with our class teacher Dr. Gabrielson in front of the school building on a gray Hamburg morning,


Until 2012 only three of us had passed away but this year two more left and the year is not over.

Manfred and Reina rest in peace

Read all about the Abitur 1954 and the 25th, 50th, and 60th anniversaries in German on my website.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

StadtLesen 2018

Every second year in July Freiburg’s sister city committees are invited to read the literature of their respective partner cities or countries at an outdoor event called StadtLesen. The reading takes place downtown Freiburg at the Kartoffelmarkt (potato market).


Two years ago Red Baron read Mark Twain’s “Über die schreckliche deutsche Sprache” and wrote a blog about “The Awful German Language”.

The leisurely ambiance at the Kartoffelmarkt (©Stadtbibliothek)
Although a meticulous search revealed some modern Madison lyrics the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft (FMG) decided to read Mark Twain again this year. Mind you, on Kartoffelmarkt listeners lounging in seat cushions are expecting to be entertained.

So we choose “The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine”, a fairy tale Mark Twain had told his daughters while he was in Paris in 1879 and of which he jotted down some notes. These notes were discovered in 2011 at the library of the University of California, Berkeley. “Co-author” Philip Stead used Twain’s notes to compose a full story.


In the run-up, Red Baron bought the English book and its German translation “Das Verschwinden des Prinzen Oleomargarine” to be read. The story is structured into the fairy tale proper and lengthy disputes between Mark Twain and Philip Stead about the direction the story should take. Therefore the text lends itself to be read by two people.

Suddenly I was stuck. My attempts to find a co-reader possibly an American reading out the fairy tale in German thus giving the presentation a certain touch failed. But the FMG can count on the help of friends. Margret Igel from the Carl-Schurz-Haus was so kind to read the main part of  “Das Verschwinden des Prinzen Oleomargarine” while I took on the conversation between Mark Twain and Philip Stead.

When we arrived at the Kartoffelmarkt thunderclouds threatened. We were told that the reading had been rescheduled at the lower floor of the municipal library. While we were walking the three minutes to Münsterplatz it started to rain.

At the library, we were welcomed by Ms. Türke, the director, and two and a half listeners. Disaster! People who had intended to attend* a lazy summer reading lounging in seat cushions on a warm evening did not show up for an indoor reading on wooden chairs.
*I had a couple of positive feedbacks

We nevertheless did our duty. Following my introduction, fabulous Margret took over while I interrupted her from time to time with the Twain-Stead dialog.

I do not intend to tell you the story in detail. Johnny, a rural boy without luck living in an unnamed country has only one companion, a chicken named Pestilence and Famine. Later in the story with the magic of a fairy, he understands the animal language. The animals become his friends and they help him to find the purloined Prince Oleomargarine.

Philip Stead wrote the book in 2017. So allusions to the present political situation are not accidental.

Following our reading, Margret presents the English book richly illustrated by Philip Stead’s sister Erin.
Thank you again, Margret, for helping out the FMG and reading like a pro. In the end, I donated my copies of  “Das Verschwinden des Prinzen Oleomargarine” to the municipal library and “The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine” to the library of the Carl-Schurz-Haus.

Freiburgers, if you want the read the full story as well as the story behind the story visit the municipal library for the German translation and the Carl-Schurz-Haus for the original.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Verunstaltungsverbot

Interdiction of disfigurement (sort of a double negative) is a municipal act that for the first time in Freiburg’s history may be applied in the case of some blue-painted parking spaces in my part of town, the Wiehre.

©BZ/Michael Bamberger
A Freiburg real estate agent wanted to animate the parking grounds in front of his office and had the gray asphalt painted in a brilliant blue. Now he is singing the blues for some of the Wiehre residents became upset and contacted the municipal legal board of construction. The board stated that the chosen color represents “a disfigurement in the sensitive and high-quality surroundings of the Wiehre” and asked the “painter” to zurückbauen (deconstruct) the surface bringing it into its initial state; otherwise, legal action will follow.

A poll among Freiburgers showed that 73% are in favor of this touch of vivid color, but those do not live in the near neighborhood. The “painter” is astonished by the discussion. "I can't understand the whole theater," he says. “In my neighborhood, there are garden zones in front of houses that have been asphalted. Is that nicer?", he asks. “In addition, some houses in the Wiehre are painted in a similar shade of blue. I am aware that taste is open to dispute - but in this case, an innovative and creative idea is simply flattened". Now the causer is looking for a compromise and even willing to discuss the color of the surface with Freiburg’s legal board of construction.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Friederike at the Museum

On Monday evening the director of Freiburg’s Carl-Schurz-Haus Friederike Schulte gave a lecture at the premises of the Museumsgesellschaft titled ”German-American Relations Today”

The Museumsgesellschaft is Freiburg’s oldest Bürgergesellschaft. Civil society is not the correct translation for in this case Bürgergesellschaft rather signifies a special society of citizens with a common interest. In 1806 it was the common acquisition of at that time expensive books, journals, and newspapers to be shared by all members of the Lesegesellschaft (reading society), the initial name of the Museumsgesellschaft. Here you may like to read about its history and the change of name.

The Lesegesellschaft was founded at the time when Napoleon ruled over Europe and when following Austria’s total defeat in the battle of Austerlitz the French emperor ordered that the Catholic Breisgau, the Schwanzfeder (tail feather) of the Habsburg empire, was ”married by force” to the Protestant Grand Duchy of Baden.

Friederike competent and charming at the rostrum of the Museumsgesellschaft
Friederike refrained from directly diving into present day US politics but rather recalled the history of the Carl-Schurz-Haus and the past of German-American relations with sometimes nostalgic undertones. America Houses were initially founded mostly in university towns shortly after the war. Friedrike informed the audience about the ups and downs of Freiburg’s Amerikahaus starting in the 1960s when many of those American bridgeheads disappeared not so much because the US regarded the education of the German people in democratic values as finished but rather due to reduced funding from the States. In some towns, German authorities took over the financing of existing Houses. In the case of Freiburg, the city council guaranteed the existence of the American foothold in town while renaming the America House after Carl Schurz, the Baden revolutionary who fled Germany as a 48er and started a political career in the States.

Nowadays Freiburg’s Carl-Schurz-House is half financed by the state of Baden-Württemberg, the city of Freiburg, and the US embassy (5%), but is proud to raise the other half of its yearly budget of about one million dollars by member fees, paid language courses and cultural events.

Red Baron frequently attends those well-organized events and blogged about some of the highlights. Here my blogs are presented in chronological order: The NSA and No End, What's Brewing?, Armageddon, Is This a Beer Or Not a Beer ..., The Freiburg Writers' Group, Napoleon Is to Blame for Everything, An American in Berlin, A Noble Cause For Religion, My Digital Revolution, I'm Going to Bring the Jobs Back, Shielding Democracies?, and Journalism 2.0.

Thanks to its dynamic management the Carl-Schurz-Haus offers more events in a year than there are days.

Friederike skilfully and moderately incorporated the present political development in the States into her talk, a development that causes incomprehension, shaking of heads, and German angst, particularly with the older generation.

The generous US who helped to rebuild Europe after the war where their mission of democratization mostly succeeded suddenly retorts with aggressive tweets and acts. It is true that in NATO Europe relied in its defense too much on the United States. In Germany, the equipment of the Bundeswehr is in a deplorable state so more money is needed and is made available.

On the other hand, the US trade deficit is homemade. Here in Europe we too had to run down many industries due to cheap competition from Asian and African countries. POTUS in his erratic way mixes NATO and the American balance of payment:


There is a grain of truth in his tweet. European countries buying more advanced military equipment from the States will help to improve the American trade balance. On the other hand, unilateral tariffs followed by retaliatory measures will kill the global economy.


Friederike’s talk was on July 16, the evening of the Helsinki summit between President Trump and President Putin. Late in the night, I read the following blog.

But then is his usual way POTOS pedaled back as CNN reported on July 17:

President Trump moments ago said he misspoke during his Monday news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump was talking about interference in the 2016 election when he said, "I don't see any reason why it would be" the Russians.
Now, POTUS corrected, "In a key sentence in my remarks I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn’t. 'The sentence should have been: 'I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia."



Thank you, Friederike, for keeping your head up. Keep on informing the Freiburgers about the American democracy based on checks and balances that still work in spite of an erratic president. Many a hope is placed into the upcoming midterm elections but how will POTUS react if the results are not to his liking? Will those results be a fake?

Friday, July 13, 2018

LM Martin Horn Meets H. E. Pietro Benassi

Yesterday afternoon, Oberbürgermeister Martin Horn met Seine Exzellenz Pietro Benassi, Italian ambassador to Germany, and Red Baron had an invitation. The reception took place at the historic Gerichtslaube (courthouse), Freiburg’s oldest townhall where in 1498 an imperial diet was held.

Flying the flags of Europe, Italy, Germany, and Freiburg
 in front of Freiburg's  Gerichtslaube
When I arrived in time I was shocked at finding only a few people. Two friends of mine, Ms. Gisela Strahlendorf, former president of Freiburg’s German-French Society, and  Professor Horst Buzello, president of the German-Italian Dante Alighieri Society, comforted me.

I had just started a conversation when the two protagonists arrived. The newly elected Lord Mayor greeted the Italian ambassador insisting on the significance of Freiburg’s Italien relations. In fact, Friburgo is so loved by Italiens that the city hosts an Italian consulate.

Horn addressing the ambassador and the "crowd"
Following his reply to Horn's speech, the Italien ambassador signed Freiburg’s Golden Book.

A smiling Martin Horn is watching Pietro Benassi writing a lengthy text

As the Italian ambassador, it is an honor to be in this beautiful city. Freiburg is a city of young people for young people. A city that respects its tradition, but at the same time is open to innovation and research!

Many thanks to Lord Mayor Horn for this invitation!

Pietro Benassi

Suddenly I felt very old.

When ambassador Benassi asked to see Pope Benedetto’s signature - the pontiff visited Freiburg in 2011 - Red Baron profited from the rare occasion shooting a photo of the page.


My offhand remark, “It's time for an Italien pope,” H. E. Benassi answered with a diplomatic smile.