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


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”?