Sunday, December 22, 2019

Freiburg 2020

Last Friday’s Badische Zeitung had the obituary of a good friend. R.I.P. He was two years younger than me. This made me very sad, although his death reminded me that I am still living in this world. How lucky I am.

The mayor's letterhead according to former Mayor Otto Winterer's Maxime,
"A village has roofs, but a town sports steeples."
Then I received a letter from Freiburg's mayor. Here is the first paragraph translated:

Dear Dr. Höfert,

Gingerbread, cookies, fir branches, and the colorful hustle and bustle everywhere - Christmas is approaching with great strides. This is an appropriate occasion, too, to say thank you.

Many thanks for the good and trusting cooperation. Together, we have again achieved a great deal in a wide variety of areas in 2019. I am incredibly grateful for this and would be delighted if, after the well-deserved Christmas break, we could pick up in the New Year with great enthusiasm where we left off.

Well, well, Mr. Martin Horn I understood your broad hint and, health permitting, you can count on me for those small achievements throughout the jubilee year.

Freiburg 2020 is ante portas, and I am looking forward particularly to the Partnerschaftsmarkt during the festival week on July 10 and 11. From our sister city, Madison, we are expecting a strong delegation with whom we would like to celebrate the city's 900th anniversary. My help is guaranteed.

Enjoy the Christmas tree. I took the photo on November 21, when I was in Paris visiting the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci in the Louvre. Stay tuned for the blog to come.

I wish all my friends and readers a Merry Christmas and a Healthy* New Year.
*At my age, I have no apologies for this obvious Germanism

Thursday, December 19, 2019

A Mystery Nearly Solved

In a previous blog, I presented the following mysterious poster:

Near the end of my deliberations, I wrote: Unfortunately, the poster does not show a historical event. Nevertheless, it makes me dream about some Freiburgers who - following the occupation of their city on July 7, 1849, by Prussian troops - fled and eventually embarked for the States on a ship of the Federal Navy flying the Federal Insignia and Freiburg's flag with St. George's Cross too.

What I wrote was fake news for, fortunately, the poster shows a historical moment of German-American history.

The poster was printed in 1983, the year when both countries celebrated the 300th anniversary of the German Mayflower.

The galleon you see on the poster was the Concord that set sail in Rotterdam on July 6, 1683, under the command of Captain William Jeffries and arrived at Philadelphia happily on October 6. Onboard there were 13 families from Krefeld on the Lower Rhine of Quaker and Mennonite faiths. Initially, the families probably moved to Dutch-controlled Krefeld due to religious persecution in Germany. They continued from there to America, where this first significant group of German settlers founded Germantown.

In 1983 President Reagan proclaimed October 6, as "German-American Day."

Here is an additional text from Wikipedia describing what happened in Germantown a few years later: In 1688, five years after its founding, Germantown became the birthplace of the anti-slavery movement in America. Pastorius, Gerret Hendericks, Derick Updegraeff, and Abraham Updengraef gathered at Thones Kunders's house and wrote a two-page condemnation of slavery and sent it to the governing bodies of their Quaker church, the Society of Friends. The petition was mainly based upon the Bible's Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Though the Quaker establishment took no immediate action, the 1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery was a clear and forceful argument against slavery and initiated the process of banning slavery in the Society of Friends (1776) and Pennsylvania (1780).

Francis Daniel Pastorius is also the author of the poem printed on the poster.

In 1983 the American and the German postal services jointly issued commemorative stamps showing the Concord on the high seas. As on the poster, the ship has two flags: St.George's Cross indicates that Concord was an English ship. As far as the German flag is concerned, the anachronism is obvious.

Original German navy flag around 1850
seen at Dresden's German Army Museum
The flag flown is that of the German navy of 1848, showing black-red-gold and the imperial eagle. Already in 1853, the German navy was dissolved due to financial problems. There was a lack of interest by the mostly inner-German states.

In the meantime, I found an original poster on American eBay and ordered it. This does, however, not solve the problem of the copyright that we need when the Freiburg-Madison-Gesellschaft would like to use it for its contribution "Auswandererlieder" to the Freiburg 2020 jubilee. Can anyone of my readers locate the author of the poster,  F. Dornstaedter?

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Are Schools Too Dumb for Our Kids?

This was the provocative title of a lecture at Freiburg's university in the series Education Today. The speaker was Jürgen Kaube, co-editor of Germany’s renowned newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine.

Everybody knows and talks about education because we all went to school, have our personal experience, ideas, proposals, and criticism.

Indeed, people were always dissatisfied with education like Professor Higgins when judging on Eliza Doolittle's quality of speech,

”This is what the British population,
Calls an elementary education.”

Before the musical ”My Fair Lady” was even conceived, Red Baron learned about British education. We kids were simply amused when our English teacher told us about the importance of the three ”Rs” in the UK, ”Reading, ’riting, ’rithmatic.” We thought the alliterated ”Rs” were just funny.

Much earlier Wilhelm Busch wrote in his cartoon Max und Moritz:

Also lautet ein Beschluss:
Daß der Mensch was lernen muss.
Nicht allein das Abc
Bringt den Menschen in die Höh';
Nicht allein in Schreiben, Lesen
Übt sich ein vernünftig Wesen;
Nicht allein in Rechnungssachen
Soll der Mensch sich Mühe machen;
Sondern auch der Weisheit Lehren
Muß man mit Vergnügen hören.
An old saw runs somewhat so:
Man must learn while here below.
Not alone the A, B, C,
Raises man in dignity;
Not alone in reading, writing,
Reason finds a work inviting;
Not alone to solve the double
Rule of Three shall man take trouble;
But must hear with pleasure Sages
Teach the wisdom of the ages.

Daß dies mit Verstand geschah,
War Herr Lehrer Lämpel da.
Of this wisdom an example
To the world was Master Lämpel.

Dr. Kaube started his lecture with a laconic remark, „Most people forget most of it,” referring to knowledge acquired in school.

He continued insisting that nothing has changed concerning priorities. Primary education should concentrate on Kulturtechniken (cultural techniques), i.e., nothing else than the three fundamental ”Rs.”

He warned: Do not try to treat kids as adults conveying sciences to them but rather strengthen their abilities. What is the use of asking children to write about the African elephant when they don't even know how to spell elephant? Don’t teach ”early English” in the third grade when children do not master their German mother tongue.

The second aim of schooling is to make children think. On which one of my teachers used to say when a classmate started his answer with, ”I think*...”, ”You should not think. Leave the thinking to the horses. They have bigger brains than you. Reflect!”
*Frequently understood in German and deliberately interpreted here in the sense of, ”I think I’ll have another beer.”

Although the art of reflection requires some knowledge, it needs above all basic understanding, e.g., that of cause and effect.

There is a dilemma. While today's parents propose a whole catalog of skills schools should convey to their children, the latter instead demand that schooling must not disturb.

Two weeks before in his lecture,” What is good education today?” the president of the German Teachers Association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, showed the above slide, "What one still should and could teach in school."

 I spare you the translation into English because you may have your own wish list. I only ask the question,” What is the role of the Elternhaus (parental care) in all this?”

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Freiburg Archaeology

Next year’s anniversary is already casting its shadow. On November 23, the exhibition 900 Years of Life in the City opened in Freiburg’s Augustinermuseum.

Red Baron participated in a special guided tour by one of the curators of the exhibition, Dr. Bertram Jenisch, the man who dug out quite a bit of the exposed objects.

Medieval Freiburg, as seen from the duke's castle on Schlossberg.
The river Dreisam on the left is in the south and
the still existing industrial channel runs near to the city wall.
Here is more than an artist’s view of Freiburg around 1150. With Freiburg being the city that is best archeologically explored in Baden-Württemberg, the picture is based on actual findings. In the middle of the fortified place is the parish church in Romanesque style.

A closer look at the original parish church surrounded by the municipal graveyard in winter. When the construction of the Minster church started around 1200, the old building was removed in stages with the new construction progressing so that worship was always assured.

The building of the city wall was a Herculean task. In August 2018, Dr. Jenisch gave a talk at the Museumsgesellschaft.

Coming back to the long shot, the still existing Salzstraße is seen on the left starting at the Schwabentor, the gate to Swabia, from where salt, one of the most important trading goods of the Middle Ages, was imported passing along Salt Street.

Starting at St. Martin’s gate, the Große Gass running south to north and west of the parish church crosses Salzstraße at the Fischbrunnen - today Bertoldsbrunnen. Broad Street was Freiburg’s market place, so the fish basin at the fountain where live fish were kept for sale came in handy. In the Middle Ages, markets were the most important outlets for food and other goods like clothing and tools.

Double drinking cup made of rock crystal, gold-plated silver,
and enamel produced in Freiburg or Basel 1487
Already early, the water of the fast-flowing Dreisam not only was used to feed Freiburg’s Bächle (brooklets, see below) but channeled for the operation of mills and gem cutting and polishing facilities located between the city wall and the river.

Rosary (15th to 17th century) made in Freiburg.
The beads consist of cut and polished Bohnerzjaspis, i.e.,
silicified beechwood mined, e.g., at Auggen near Freiburg

The picture illustrates some activities extra muros along the industrial channel. In the background, the city wall and the church of the Augustinian Monastery.

This brings us to the mystery and controversy about a re-leveling of Freiburg that is still not solved.

Note the double-window of the third house from the right on the second floor.
Here is a picture of Salzstraße around 1150. Two-story buildings partly timber-framed and with nearly flat shingle roofs border the south side of the street. These houses had basements dug into a layer of gravel.

Embrasure of narrow group windows.
They were beveled towards the outside
to improve the incidence of daylight.
Already Freiburg’s precursor, an initial settlement of merchants and craftsmen below the Schlossberg, was built on a cone of gravel running downhill into the plain. The natural gradient of the deposits made the construction of artificial courses of water that were taken upstream from the Dreisam river easy. The talus of gravel on which the city stands actually has a thickness of up to 18 meters.

Around the year 1170, some street levels in the city were filled with layers of gravel and raised by up to three meters. Some experts assume that this elaborate construction project was aimed to raise the level of the system of Bächle as a whole, creating a sufficient gradient so that the emerging western suburbs could be supplied with surface water too. This assumption is bitterly contested by other experts, although without providing an alternative explanation.

On Salzstraße around 1200, houses show saddle roofs.
Building one and two from the right have merged
while the double-window of the third building is now on the ground floor.
Note the Bächle running in the street.
Houses from the first half of the 12th century aligned to a low street level on Salzstrasse suddenly had their entrance doors on the second floor for the benefit of two superimposed basements.

New buildings after 1175 were aligned to the higher street level. In fact, the number of new buildings at that time exceeds the number expected due to the natural growth of the city, presumably also because the elevation was used to replace wooden with stone buildings showing saddle roofs.

The interior of the Augustiner church is now a part of Freiburg's Augustinermuseum.
The Bächle is still running in the street.
In 1278 Count Egino II allocated a narrow plot of land between the salt road and the city wall to the ordo Sancti Augustini, the Augustinian hermits. For their monastery and church, at least eight houses and courtyards were demolished, the foundations of which were uncovered during the renovation of the Augustinermuseum in 2004. This is the basis of the above picture.

Magnificent fountain column with lion chapter of the von Andlau family 
Because in Freiburg, the groundwater level is about 18 meters deep, and the water of the Bächle is not suitable for human consumption, the drinking water supply was channeled from the nearby mountains using wooden pipes. Drinking water was available at public wells, although wealthy people had outlets of their own.

Archaeology in Freiburg is not limited to the Middle Ages. The air raid on November 27, 1944, destroying most of the old city left a heap of ruins behind.

The content of a basement was dug up when a new building was constructed at the site of a destroyed house.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Maximilianus, the Art of the Emperor

On the occasion of Maximilian's 500th death anniversary in 2019, Freiburg's Alemannisches Institute had organized a three-day excursion to the exhibition with the above title at Tirol Castle in South Tyrol followed by a visit of Innsbruck where the emperor’s (empty) tomb is located.

Approaching Tirol Castle from below
Traffic lights even for pedestrians ...
... and the reason why.
In olden times access by a bridge over a ditch
Tirol Castle in 1845
His profile showing the way to the exhibition

A tournament with Maximilian winning.
The exhibition at Tirol Castle showed original graphics, paintings, and printings glorifying the last knight as he was called for his love for knight tournaments.
The well-known woodcut by Dürer
Maximilian on horseback
During all his life, Maximilian strived in building up his memory for the posterity, ”Wer ime (= sich) im leben kain gedechtnus macht, der hat nach seinem tod kain gedechtnus, und demselben menschen wird mit dem glockendon vergessen. (Who does not look after his memory in life has no memory after his death, and the same person is forgotten with the bell tone)." These are the final words of his autobiographic work Weißkunig (White King).

The White King dictates to four scribes from his life
and has a war campaign painted.
Here follows Maximilian's logical insight, "Darum wird das Geld, das ich auf Gedächtnis ausgebe, nicht verloren (Therefore the money that I spend on memory is not lost)." This is a bold statement considering that Maximilian was bankrupt during his whole life. Only loans by the Fugger clan kept him aloft who, in turn, got hold of Maximilian's assets.

Maximilian's triumphal procession

Maximilian's great triumph cart
The Burgundy wedding with Maria
Cart with statues of ancestors:
Rudolf I, Stephan of Hungary, Clovis I, and ´Charlemagne
Exotic people and animals
The bootmaker comes in handy at the end of the triumphal procession.

Maximilian's triumphal arch

Maximilian's triumphal arch
A scene from the triumphal arch:
He then moved to the Netherlands to help the English king.
Soon they gathered a large army strangling the French.
Its army laid down, Terrauan was destroyed, and Tornay surrendered

Getting kids interested in history:
Max was really cool! What a life he had!
He tried to capture it with his awesome corporate publishing
by woodcuts and copper engravings.
Make your selfie with Max, post it to your friends.
His epic profile is a brand that lets you be a self-promoter too.
When Maximilian died at Wels Castle in 1519, there was not even enough money to finance his funeral, as the abundant Tyrolean silver and copper mines were pledged to the Fuggers: Everything that carried money has been transferred. Only borrowed money enabled a modest burial in Wiener Neustadt.

Our group slept at Goldrain Castle.


The most famous Golden Dachl,
the initial residence of the Habsburgs in Innsbruck
Visiting the Hofburg with the dome of Innsbruck's cathedral in the background
A cross above Innsbruck's cathedral
To the left: Cafe Sacher. In the background, the cupola of the Hofkirche.
Well deserved: Sachertorte and Einspänner. This is a coffee covered with whipped cream.
The cream insulates the surface of the coffee, keeping it hot.
It is practiced by the Fiakers (the drivers of the one horse-drawn cabs in Vienna)
 to keep the coffee hot when it was delivered from the cafés to their cabs.
At Sacher, being observed ©PBöhm.

The Hofkirche

Maximilian had planned to decorate his tomb with 40 statues cast in bronze, but only 28 were finished. The figure captions below are the copied inscriptions at the base of those statues.

Maximilian's ancestors

The Habsburgs started off when, in 1273 Rudolf I was elected German king. In 1291 his son Albrecht (Albert) followed. He was assassinated in 1298, the year when the House of Luxemburg took over providing the German kings. But when Emperor Sigismund, the last male member of the House of Luxembourg, died, he left only one daughter. She was married to a Habsburg, Albert, who became German King Albrecht II from 1438 to 1439. In 1440 the electors chose as successor Albert's cousin Frederick - and Maximilian's father - who ruled until 1493. Contrary to Maximilian Frederick III was called the Reichserzschlafmütze (arch-sleepyhead of the empire)

Kaiser Rudolf Graf v Habsburg

Kunig Albrecht der Erst Herczog
zu Osterreich (son of Rudolf)

Albrecht (II) von Osterreich
Romischer Hugerischer und
Bechaimischer Kuning Laslau Vater
Fridericus Tercius Imperator Divi
Imperator Maximiliani Pater
(father of Maximilian)

Maximilian's wives

They write that Maximilian had truly loved his first wife, Maria of Burgundy and that he married his second wife, Bianca Sforza, because of her dowry of 400,000 ducats.

Still, Maximilian kept incurring debts also during the imperial diet held in Freiburg in 1498. When Maximilian took leave from the city, he left Bianca behind as a pledge. She had to stay in Freiburg for some time until at least part of Maximilian's debts incurred during the Reichstag had been paid. Twenty years later, financial claims of over 20,000 guilders were still outstanding. Read more about Maximilian and his love for Freiburg in German.

Maria vun Burgund Kunigin
Frau Maria Blanka Ko Kunigin MDXX

The Burgundy Heritage

Ruling Burgundy acquired by marriage was important for the Habsburgs, also given French claims.

Duke Philip the Good had led Burgundy to bloom, but his son Charles the Bold wanted even more. So he went to war against the rest of the world. On 2 March 1476, Charles lost his hat in the Battle of Grausen (Grandson) against the Swiss Confederates and lost his estate in the same year on 22 June at Murten (Morat) against an alliance of Swiss, Lorraine, and Austrian troops.

That's not all, because, in the following year in one last show of strength when the Duke put all his eggs in one basket, he eventually lost his blood in the Battle of Nancy. Charles fate rimes in German: He successively lost his Hut, Gut, and Blut. He blew it all. Is this the reason that his statue is a head smaller than the others? Read about the history of Burgundy in German.

Philipp Herzog v. Burgund d. Gütige

Karl Herzag zu Burgund zu Brabant
 zu Geldern Gave zu Flandern
There are two more historical spoliae inside Innsbruck's Hofkirche.

Tomb of Andreas Hofer,
a Tyrolean freedom fighter against Napoleon and his allied Bavarians
Commemorating the conversion of Queen Christina of Sweden to Catholicism.
Although the Hofkirche is run by the Franciscans,
 this surely must have been a Jesuit ploy or even plot.