Category Archives: Germany

A to Z of Cathedrals – F is for Freiburg in Germany

For my A to Z of Cathedrals when I got to F I naturally considered the magnificent Duomo in Florence but decided instead to go north into the Black Forest in Germany.

I am trying to stay ahead of Phil and Michaela from The Hungry Travellers  (well worth a visit) because I am certain that they will have been to Florence but maybe not Freiburg and there is a bit of a challenge going on here.

The main square is the site of Freiburg’s Münster, a Gothic cathedral constructed of red sandstone, built between 1200 and 1530 and which is memorable for its towering needle like spire.  We went inside and it was cheerful and warm with large stained glass windows and friezes on the walls that commemorated the various traditional trades of the city.

From a an aerial photograph inside the Cathedral we had seen that Freiburg was heavily bombed during World War II and a raid by more than three hundred bombers of the RAF Bomber Command on 27th November 1944 destroyed most of the city centre, probably unnecessarily but Bomber Harris liked Bombing German cities  unnecessarily.  The notable and thankful exception of the Münster, which was only lightly damaged.

God sometimes looks after his own.

The target for the mission was the railway facilities and marshalling yards.  Three hundred and forty Lancaster bombers dropped three thousand bombs  totalling one thousand five hundred tonnes and twelve thousand markers and incendiaries totalling two hundred and seventy  tonnes.

The casualties in Freiburg were over two thousand people including nine hundred  civilians and over six thousand people  injured. Photo-reconnaissance  the target area after the attack revealed that civilian areas had been destroyed but none of the rail facilities had been damaged.  Bomber Harris didn’t do precision bombing that well.

Not a lot changes it now seems as Russians today can easily destroy civilian areas but miss military targets.  War is so futile.

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Streets of Wroclaw

I visited Wroclaw in February 2017.  Recently I was editing my pictures so thought that I might share these images of an exciting and eclectic city that I haven’t used before in my posts…

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Freiburg at Walt Disney

My A to Z of windows reached F and I included Freiburg in Germany and that reminded me of a sequence of posts from 2012 that very few people read.

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A to Z of Windows – F is for Freiburg in Germany

To give it its full title, Freiburg im Breisgau is one of the famous old German university towns, was incorporated in the early twelfth century and developed into a major commercial, intellectual, and ecclesiastical centre of the upper Rhine region.

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A to Z of Statues – B is for Otto Von Bismarck

I noticed that one thing that makes Berlin stand out against other grand European cities is that it has very few statues; it is that history thing again, Berlin can’t very well have statues of Kaiser Wilhelm II or Adolf Hitler because they were both responsible for unleashing hell in Europe.

Midway along the Tiergarten we did eventually come across a famous monument, the Berlin Victory Column, commissioned in 1864 to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian War and later dedicated also to victory in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War and then the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. Prussia did like going to war it seems.

It is indeed a grand column that soars into the sky and at the very top stands a golden statue of the Roman God Victory.

Prussia had become a modern European State in 1701 and for the next one hundred and seventy years was at war with someone or another for a total of ninety years, or over half of its existence. Not surprisingly Prussia was seen as a militaristic threat to the stability of Europe and so was abolished by the victorious allies in 1947.

This wasn’t especially difficult, two years earlier the Russian offensive in the Battle of Berlin had demolished and removed almost all Prussian heritage. East Prussia was absorbed into a redefined Poland and the remainder became East Germany.

Battleship Bismarck – what a beast…

Nearby we found a statue of a man that I was expecting to find – Otto Von Bismarck, the architect of modern Germany who was responsible for the creation of the country in 1871 following the defeat of France in a short-sharp war – the sort of quick victory Germany expected again in 1914. The sort of victory, it has to be said, that Great Britain also anticipated.

A grand statue but not on prominent display but instead tucked discreetly inside a corner of the Tiergarten, adjacent to the Victory Column.

Not really surprising because Germany looks mostly to the future. To some extent this is explained by Germany’s post war efforts to confront its past, The Germans have a word for this – Vergangenheitsaufarbeitung, which translates as “working off the past”.

In 2003 in a television poll German viewers bypassed Otto Von Bismarck (voting for Adolf Hitler was not allowed) and voted post-war Chancellor Konrad Adenauer as the greatest German of all time. Hands up anyone who has heard of Konrad Adenauer? It would be like voting John Major as the Greatest Briton. I mention this now just as a comparison, if you think Adenauer is an odd choice, in a similar poll in the USA they voted Ronald Reagan the Greatest American and in terms of Presidents alone that was ahead of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D Roosevelt.  Astonishing.

There were also some odd results elsewhere, Russia voted for Josef Stalin (responsible for an estimated 60 million deaths), France for Charles de Gaulle instead of Napoleon or Louis XIV, Portugal for Antonio Salazar (a dictator), Spain for King Juan Carlos (now disgraced) and Canada for someone called Tommy Douglas who turned out to be Scottish.

National Potato Chips Day in the U.S.A.

March 14th is National Potato Chips Day in the U.S.A. and although mine is not a food blog I am happy to recycle my post about potato chips…

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Some of you will have read it before of course.

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On This Day – A Black Forest Festival

The festival of Fasnacht is a carnival in Alemannic folklore that takes place in the few days before Lent in Southern Germany, Switzerland and Alsace. The Alemanni were German tribes who lived in this part of Europe nearly two thousand years ago and this area remains characterised by a form of German with a distinct dialogue called Alemannic.

The celebration literally means ‘Fasting Eve’ as it originally referred to the day before the fasting season of Lent. The schools are all closed for this festival and all over the Black Forest there are six days of parties and making merry.

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Gary Cooper and Lech Wałęsa 

I have visited three cities in Poland – Warsaw, Krakow and Wroclaw and I have stumbled across some interesting stories.  This one from Warsaw…

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On This Day – Strasbourg in France

Continuing with my look back through the archives, on February 5th 2008 I was in the French City of Strasbourg…

Strasbourg is the seventh largest city in France and is regarded as the cultural cross roads between Germanic and Latin culture. I

n the recent past Strasbourg has been passed between Germany and France like an unwilling baton in a relay race. Before the French Revolution it was a free city but the fanatical Jacobins seized it for the Republic. In 1870 after the Franco-Prussian war culminated in the creation of modern Germany it was ceded to Berlin but after the First-World-War in 1918 it returned to France. In 1940 the Nazis seized the city and it was liberated again in 1944 and has remained French thereafter

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Blizzard in The Black Forest

 

January 2010 in The Black Forest in Germany…

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