Sunday, March 11, 2018

Freiburg on Foot

Yesterday Red Baron participated in a guided tour Freiburg zu Fuß on the occasion of the International Women’s Day. German women went onto the streets for the first time on March 8, 1911, demanding female suffrage.

This year German women celebrate the 100th anniversary of the right to vote that was granted to them in 1918. Although the annual Women’s Day is on March 8, the guided tour had been scheduled for the following Saturday so that women and men (there were three of us) might more easily participate.

A series of travel guides with the name of the city and the suffix zu Fuß were published in the 1990s, became extremely popular, and later were regarded as iconic. These books guided the left-leaning liberal to historical places in various cities, describing their historical significance. Red Baron still owns the books München zu Fuß, Frankfurt zu Fuß, and Köln zu Fuß. Some of the guides were soon out of print. So for Hamburg, I own a newer edition titled differently: Zu Fuß durch Hamburg.

When I moved to Freiburg in 2001, the local zu Fuß guide was no longer available. Later I met the author in a beer garden and tried to convince her to write a new and updated edition. This was ten or more years ago, so it was a surprise when I saw the lady last year as a new member of the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft and learned that she was working on a new edition of Freiburg zu Fuß. The book is crowdfunded and will be published this April.

Coming back to her guided tour of yesterday. From her rich material about Freiburg she had selected parts that had to do with women and women’s rights in Freiburg starting with angry wives freeing two of their husbands from prison, women who ran soup kitchens for needy families during and after the First World War, or women who initiated a general strike for milk that was lacking and had therefore become expensive. This general strike somehow coincided with a successful national general strike of the united left (Social Democrats and Communists) against the right-wing Kapp Putsch in 1920.

Woman gargoyle with only one tooth
In the Middle Ages, ugly women sculptured as gargoyles served as a deterrent against evil spirits on many buildings, including Freiburg’s Minster Church.

Even the gargoyle butt is female.
On the more poetic side, we passed a house on Wallstraße where the Russian Marina Tsvetaeva, aged 22, had lived in 1904/05.

I did not know Marina, so I looked her up. Apparently, this Russian poet is popular in my country because of her life-long declaration of love to Germany and in particular to Freiburg. Here is a poem she wrote in December 1914 while the First World War was in its fifth month.

An Deutschland

Germanien, alle Völker hassen
Dich jetzt und hetzen gegen dich.
Ich aber will dich nie verlassen.
Verraten gar – wie könnte ich?

Nie war dies meine Überzeugung,
Dies: Aug’ um Auge, Zahn um Zahn,
Germanien, meine tiefste Neigung,
Germanien, ach, mein edler Wahn!

Ich halte nicht zu deinen Schergen,
mein arg gehetztes Vaterland,
Wo immer noch der Königsberger
Spaziert: der schmalgesicht’ge Kant,

Und Goethe wandelt durch Alleen
– sein Städtchen ist kaum mehr bekannt –
Er sinnt, lässt seinen Faust entstehen,
Hält den Spazierstock in der Hand.

Wie könnte ich mich von dir wenden,
Germanien, mein lichter Stern,
Denn meine Liebe nicht verschwenden,
halb Lieben hab ich nicht gelernt!

Erfüllt von deinen ew’gen Liedern,
Hab ich für Sporenklirrn kein Ohr,
Mein Heil’ger sticht den Drachen nieder
In Freiburg an dem Schwabenthor.

Nie werde ich von Hass erbeben,
Weil Wilhelms Schnurrbart aufwärts zackt.
Verliebt in dich, solang ich lebe,
Schwör ich dir ew’gen Treuepakt.

Nein, weiser, magischer und tiefer
Ist keins, du reich beschenktes Land,
Wo Loreley von hohem Schiefer
Die Schiffer schlägt in ihren Bann.

1. Dezember 1914
To Germany

Germania, all nations hate
You now and agitate against you.
But I never want to leave you.
Betray you - how could I?

It never was my conviction
This eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth,
Germania, my deepest inclination,
Germania, oh, my noble illusion!

I do not stick to your henchmen,
my harshly harried fatherland,
Where the Königsberger is still strolling,
the narrow-faced Kant.

And Goethe is walking through avenues
- his town is hardly known anymore -
He muses, makes his Faust nascent,
Holding the walking stick in his hand.

How could I turn away from you,
Germania, my bright star,
How could I not waste all my love,
I did not learn to love only half!

Full of your eternal songs,
I have no ear for rattling spurs,
My saint stabs the dragon
In Freiburg on the Schwabenthor.

Never will I bristle with hate,
When Wilhelm’s mustache jabs upward.
In love with you as long as I live,
I vow to you eternal loyalty.

No one is wiser, more magical and deeper
You richly gifted land,
Where Loreley on a rock of slate
is casting her spell over skippers passing.

December 1, 1914

Note that St. Michael killing the dragon is Russia’s patron saint and Wilhelm is the German Kaiser.

Another strong woman is Lily Braun who on the eve of the First World War summarized the demands of the German feminist movement in a talk at Freiburg’s Harmonie, a historical building on Grünwälderstraße, known for its important role in the Baden Revolution 1848/49.

The Harmonie today
For me, yesterday's guided tour ended at the Martinstor where a tablet commemorates Marghareta Mößmer, Catharina Stadelmann, and Anna Wolffart, citizens of Freiburg who were incarcerated there. After standing trial, they were condemned by Chief Judge Johann Jacob Renner as witches and burned in 1599. The Rennerstraße in Freiburg will be renamed.

During our walk, a participant told me that she had the first edition of Freiburg zu Fuß in her pocket. Impatiently waiting for the second edition to be published in April, I took a photo of the precious book.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Red Baron, amazing! Love & Hugs, Gerlinde Kurzbach