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Posts Tagged ‘Bremen

Unearthed and Buried again – the Remains of Verden’s Synagogue

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Verden Synagogue site, Johanniswall, 2011

Verden Synagogue site, Johanniswall, 2011

This used to be the site of Verden’s synagogue, from 1858 to 1938, before it was burnt down in the “Night of Broken Glass”. The place has been car dealer’s parking lot since early after the end of the war. In summer, the bulldozers were back. A shopping center will be built here, soon.

My guess about the future: one eighth of Verdeners may continue to add stolpersteine memorials to their city, and people will continue to traipse across them (literally, stolperstein means stumbling stone, but these won’t make you stumble), and try to put a Reichsbahn waggon next to the train station to remind people of the concentration camp transports, another quarter of Verdeners may continue to oppose  Reichsbahn waggons, and all other Verdeners will be shopping on this site, and listen to the sermons in church on christmas eve.

A small town in Germany – or: how to avoid remembering a real bit of the past.

Oh, and the foundations and underground facilities (including the mikveh, I seem to understand) were unearthed in summer, and then returned to the underground.

The Kreiszeitung referred to the location as a “place of memory”. But that was long ago, in 2010.


Written by taide

November 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Verden’s Commemoration Efforts: those Unhappy Memories

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It has been said before that the way Germans remember their former fellow citizens –  citizens murdered and expelled in the 1930s and 1940s, and many of them Jewish – may matter more to the German citizens of today, than to the actual victims, their surviving relatives and the following generations (many of whom live abroad).

This thought could make commemoration easier. It wouldn’t need to include the horrors, which can’t be adequately described anyway. People who once lived and worked here, and who worshipped their God in our town, would be remembered for the respect we owe them. People who, if this had always been a normal and decent country, could have stayed among us, rather than getting killed, or having to flee what had been their city and country, too.

Excavations on the old synagogue site, Verden, July 18, 2011

Excavations on the old synagogue site, Verden, July 18, 2011

Verden’s synagogue was inaugurated in 1858, and burnt down during the “Night of Broken Glass” (Reichskristallnacht or Reichsprogromnacht) in November, 1938. Until recently a car dealership’s location, the old site is now to become a shopping center. Excavations have begun last week.

Some eight years ago, a Verden Society for Regional History (Verein für Regionalgeschichte Verden e. V.) planned to place a Reichsbahn railway waggon at Verden Railway Station, as a site to remember the haulage of forced labourers and other nazi victims to the concentration camps. The railway waggon was arsoned on January 2007.

For the arson attack alone, the waggon had served a function after all – the attack was a clear indication that commemoration of nazi crimes was deemed undesirable by certain quarters (something that many opponents would have liked to deny). But many Verdeners – correctly – pointed out that deportations by rail had taken place from Bremen, rather than from Verden, and that for historical reasons alone, Verden’s railway station was hardly the right place for the waggon.

In April 2010, Eilert Obernolte, teacher at Verden’s Domgymnasium (one of the city’s secondary schools) and two students,  picked up a suggestion by city council member Jürgen Weidemann (FDP, liberal democrats) to find a way to commemorate the synagoge, within the shopping center concept.

While the railway waggon approach was questionable from a historian’s perspecitve, the synagogue is definitely part of Verden’s past. Now that the shopping center’s construction has begun, one wonders if and how the synagogue and Verden’s former Jewish congregation will be remembered.

Stay tuned.

Written by taide

July 18, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Another Friday Night in Verden

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Cave people

Cave Peoples' nightlife (picture: JR)

A number of nightlife fans aged between sixteen and twenty had a big fight in the Sandberg street, in the vicinity of a discotheque, on Friday night or Saturday morning. Then they let loose on the arriving police (usually one or two patrollers only) who defended themselves with pepper spray. A twenty-year old was chased and arrested after throwing a cobblestone. The sixteen-year olds were handed over to their lucky parents.

If education worked, the police would have had a calm night, and the idiots would have a future. And if idiots had a bit of memory, they might have been prepared for police who is somewhat chippy these days anyway, and in no mood to take chances.

Knockout Drops

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My vacation started today, and it is Friday. So off I went to my favourite pharmacy to by some knockout drops. The following is the dialog I had with Ms Richardson, the fourty-something year-old owner of the my favourite pharmacy.

Me: Good morning!
She: Good morning, Mr Taide! And what a beautiful morning it is, isn’t it? Your vacation started today, right?
Me: That’s right! And to celebrate the advent of this beautiful season, I’ve decided to go to the Dropstone discotheque tonight.
She: Oh, the Spring-Feelings-Make-My-Heart-Big-Bang Party?
Me: That’s right. I’m in the mood for an extramarital one-night stand.
She: Enjoy!
Me: That’s why I’m here.
She (whispers, tongue-in-cheek): You don’t need viagra yet, Mr Taide, do you?
Me (hating it when middle-aged pharmacists try to be tongue-in-cheek): Naah, not at all! I’m as powerful as a bull in its prime. But I’d like to buy some knockout drops.

Everyone in the sales room is now staring at us.

She (neither whispering nor tongue-in-cheek any more): Are you MAD?!
Me: Oh, uhm, no. Why should I be mad? Because I’m going to the Dropstone?
She: Because you are an outrageous, filthy, rapist, criminal BASTARD!!!
Me (now slightly annoyed): You are jumping to conclusions. I’m not going to drug anyone but myself.
She (confused): Yourself? But why?
Me: It helps me to deal with the situation. I’m too cheap to pay for sex. On the other hand, I reckon that sex with Dropstone acquaintances is going to be relaxing, but ugly. I’d prefer to awake with a mind-lapse next morning. Besides, if she claims that she didn’t want to have sex with me, I can counter-claim that I didn’t want to have sex with her.
She: We don’t sell knockout drops.
Me: Why didn’t you tell me at once? Could have saved both of us a lot of time. See you.


In the News today

More and more women become victims of sex-related crimes involving so-called knockout drops. The federal pharmacists association demands measures to fight this crime. “This subject must get into public focus, and the international criminal dealing business with pharmaceuticals must be controlled more tightly and be punished more severely,” the association’s president Erika Fink said yesterday.

Verden: Prison and Therapy for Knifer

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Hawkar A. from Verden, 19 years old, has been sentenced to five years and nine months in prison and in a psychiatric clinic’s closed ward by the Verden Regional Court’s 3rd Criminal Division on Thursday. The defendant, apparently an Iraqi national, had seriously injured his older brother by stabbing him five times, in an argument about too-loud-a-television in July last year. The defendant forthrightly admitted that he had intended to kill his brother, and during the trial, he continued to advance the view that he had been perfectly right in doing so.

Verden Regional Court

Verden Regional Court (Landgericht Verden)

His brother had taken refuge in a pub next to the railway station, and police and an emergency doctor came to his help there. Hawkar A. stabbed a policeman into the cervical artery. The patrolman was only saved by the emergency doctor, the Verdener Kreiszeitung writes in its Friday printed edition.

The policeman is back on duty, has reportedly overcome the psychological impact, but still has difficulty at speaking.

The judge found that the defendant had “no respect for lives” and needed both a therapy and a tangible prison term, but added that a shattered family background and a maturational lag needed to be considered as well.

Written by taide

March 13, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Brutal Poachers in Baden

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No, not in Baden-Baden, where the pretty people play. It’s Baden, Verden district, where they prefer a nice game of soccer instead. If they don’t go for a completely different kind of game.

brutal poachers

brutal poachers

Like those BRUTAL POACHERS (German: brutale Wilderer) who have caught several deer in wire loops during the past few days, in the marshlands around Baden. Kreisjägermeister Hilmar Kruse and the police are waiting for tips from the neighbourhood, says our district’s weekly Aller-Report.

One might argue that there is an overpopulation of deer in our district – but if anyone is going to kill an animal here, it needs to be someone officially entrusted with the bloody job.

That said, I can understand the concerns about the wire loops brutality. But in that case, the Kreisjägermeister should make good, fire-noise-oppressed UZI available to all poachers (firenoiseoppressed, to keep the poachers’ business sufficiently secret).

But only one shot at a time please. Too many hits spoil the broth.

The Recession isn’t ONLY Bad

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Prices for freehold flats in Bremen have gone down by 23.6 per cent in 2008. On average, buying such a flat in Germany came at the cost of 120,900 Euros, that’s 3.5 per cent less than in 2007. In Munich, prices went up.

There is a downward trend not only in Bremen, but also in neighbouring (or surrounding) Lower Saxony.

ugly rural residential area, Lower Saxony

ugly rural residential area, Lower Saxony

So far, this is how Verden’s local paper quotes Associated Press today. The Handelsblatt adds that one year earlier, there had been a substantial rise in Bremen’s freehold flat prices, and the decline was a correction of that earlier trend.

Either way, if sustained, this trend should do the Lower Saxonian commuter belt around Bremen,  and the Lower Saxonian hinterland in general, a lot of good. Maybe more people than before may move into the city, rather than buying property in rural “development” areas which spread in this otherwise beautiful countryside like cancer until recently.

For Sale, but at a Given Price, April 5, 2009
The Countryside – Reasons to Go, Reasons to Stay, June 7, 2008

Written by taide

September 25, 2009 at 8:14 pm