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Sunday, 3. October 2021

Walter Kaufmann - Welch ein Leben. (What a life)

Walter Kaufmann, born in Berlin in 1924, lived in Duisburg until his escape in 1938, led an impressive and impressive life. He died on April 15, 2021, at the age of 97.

I was fortunate to experience him at two readings in Duisburg. I recommend, to look at the film absolutely.

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Rescue Chain for Human Rights #HandInHand

I was alerted to this important action by the newsletter of the Buchhandlung Scheuermann. A human chain from Hamburg to the Adriatic coast.

For more info, please go to https://www.rettungskette.eu/de/home/

First comes the food, then comes the morals. Bertold Brecht
About forty participants managed to form a human chain in Wanheimerort from the height of "Fischerstr." to the height of "Im Schlenk", i.e. roughly along the DVG stop. Quite few, in my opinion. All the more thanks to everyone who was there.
Many shoppers were not interested.

Friday, 27 November 2020

Make Amazon Pay instead of Black Friday

Among the winners of the Corona crisis is clearly Amazon. Nevertheless, the company does not pay adequate taxes anywhere in the world, but exploits its employees. Reason enough not to participate in actions like BlackFriday.
more information at https://makeamazonpay.com/

Thursday, 10 September 2020

City Palace of the Hohenzollerns

While in other countries people are demolishing monuments, in Germany the Hohenzollern city palace is being rebuilt. The family that usurped the whole of Germany with wars and violence and played a major role in instigating the First World War.
That is also a statement.

Addendum (10. September 2021):
Interessanting outside view, here from Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2021/sep/09/berlin-museum-humboldt-forum
Like an imposing Disneyland castle minus the fun, the Humboldt Forum stands in the middle of Berlin’s Museum Island, its beige walls and freshly carved stonework gleaming with the unreal quality of a high-definition digital model. Pieced together from photographic records, it is a simulacrum for the media age: a reconstructed image of a palace, made from images, to project an image of an idealised past. The sense of encountering a stage set is confirmed when you turn the corner and find the eastern facade has shed the period costume altogether. It greets the River Spree with a stripped-back concrete grid, giving chilling echoes of the more recent fascist past.

Monday, 15 June 2020

The death of George Floyd and the aftermath

After the murder of George Floyd on 25 May 2020, people took to the streets against racism in many places. In Bristol on 11 June 2020, an angry crowd toppled the monument to slave trader Edward Colston from its plinth and plunged it into the dock.

It's cheap to get upset about racism in the US and then buy a schnitzel at a sensationalist price because George Floyd works for Tönnies and similar companies in Germany.

Perhaps it is not only time to reconsider whose memory one honours with monuments and street names. Duisburg, for example, also has a Kaiser-Wilhelm-Straße and a Friedrich-Wilhelm-Platz and Friedrich-Wilhelm-Straße. In numerous cities there are Hindenburg streets or Ernst-Moritz-Arndt grammar schools. And perhaps history has to be told differently. Many of the medieval, early modern princes were little more than warlords who exploited and bullied their population.

Perhaps history needs to be told much more along the lines of Bertolt Brecht:


Who built the seven-gated Thebes?
In the books are the names of kings.
Did the kings bring the boulders?
And Babylon, which was destroyed many times,
Who rebuilt it so many times ? In what houses
Of golden Lima did the builders dwell ?
Where went the evening the Chinese wall was finished
. The masons? Great Rome
Is full of triumphal arches. Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Did the much-vaunted Byzantium
Only palaces for its inhabitants? Even in the legendary Atlantis
roared in the night, when the sea swallowed it
The earth-rising ones for their slaves.
Young Alexander conquered India.
He alone?
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Didn't he at least have a cook with him?
Philip of Spain wept when his fleet
was sunk. Did no one else weep?
Frederick the Second was victorious in the Seven Years' War. Who
Won besides him?
Each side a victory.
Who cooked the victory feast?
Every ten years a great man.
Who paid the expenses?

So many reports,
So many questions.

Friday, 8 May 2020

End of the war in Europe

On 8 May 1985, the then German President Richard von Weizsäcker gave a speech commemorating the end of the war in Europe. He concluded with the words:

Do not let yourself be driven into enmity and hatred
against other people,
against Russians or Americans,
against Jews or Turks,
against alternative or conservative,
against black or white.
Learn to live with each other, not against each other.
Let us, too, as democratically elected politicians, always take this to heart and set an example.
Let us honour freedom.
Let us work for peace.
Let us abide by the law.
Let us serve our inner standards of justice.
Today, May 8, let us face the truth as best we can.

You can find the entire speech in the webarchive of the German Bundestag:

You can listen to the speech here:

Also in my lecture on the Sound of the 20th Century, Part 1 features the end of the war. The last Wehrmacht report of 9 May 1945.

20:00 and 3 minutes. Reichssender Flensburg and affiliated stations. Today we bring you the last Wehrmacht report of this war. From the headquarters of the Grand Admiral, 9 May 1945. The High Command of the Wehrmacht announces. ... Since midnight the weapons have been silent on all fronts. By order of the Grand Admiral, the Wehrmacht has ceased fighting, which has become hopeless. This marks the end almost six years of heroic struggle. It has brought us great victories, but also heavy defeats. In the end, the German Wehrmacht was honourably defeated by a huge superior force. We brought you the text of the last Wehrmacht report of this war. There is a radio silence of 3 minutes.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Those who are rich can make quarantine comfortable

Edgar Allan Poe was already aware that if you are rich, you can make your life more comfortable, even in a crisis. more comfortable, even in a crisis. Somehow the story also reminds me of the German Football League.

Edgar Allan Poe: Die Maske des roten Todes.


Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Emily Dickinson voluntarily chooses social distancing as a way of life

Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1830. Apart from a short trip to Washington and Philadelphia, she did not leave her hometown. First as nurse to her sick mother, then voluntarily, she rarely left the house in which she lived. She spent almost her entire life in what is now called social distancing. Nevertheless, she was interested in the world and the things that were going on inside it. She kept numerous lively correspondences.

Her main influences were the works of William Shakespeare and the Bible. Downright modern are her sceptical, almost existentialist worldview and her experiments with language and verse. Often inspired by the rhythm of church hymns and psalms, she brings together intense images, dispensing a syntactical structure.

She sent many of her poems with her letters to friends and acquaintances. When she died in Amherst in 1886, of the 1,799 poems she left behind, only seven had been published.

I am now also planning an entire evening about Emily Dickinson.

'Hope' is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I've heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.