Entries in mannheim (6)


Kristallnacht Lecture: Mannheim High School

On Monday, April 28, I was invited (by Summer's teacher) to be a guest speaker in two honor history classes. Summer had told her about my project. I was happy to oblige. If you know me, you know that I rarely turn down an opportunity to have people listen to what I say and look at what I make. Needless to say, I accepted.

The classes, one with about 10 students and the other with about 18, just started reading Elie Wiesel’s, “Night”.  This is a powerful and disturbing account of the Wiesel family’s torture and suffering in the concentration camps of Germany and Poland. Although my project is directly related to the Holocaust, it’s (Kristallnacht) more obscure and less known.

I started by asking definition of words like “anti-Semitism” and “pogrom”. I talked about what I believe caused the world to turn against the Jews and to allow the near annihilation of them. For me, it was important to stress that living in Germany and understanding this history changed how I viewed the world. How living here made an abstract idea, a real life “concrete” event for me.

I quoted Martin Luther King, Jr., "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." I talked about "indifference" and silence - or turning your head when bad things are happening to other people. I referenced this poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller too.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.


I showed a 6 minute presentation I put together of my work so far and then took questions. It was very rewarding and I look forward to doing it again.



The Anne Frank Exhibit

Anne Frank ExhibitOn Sunday, Jean, Summer, Denise and I jumped on the Straßenbohn and went into Mannheim. We walked around and enjoyed the people - pure C-A-N-D-Y, very delicious. There were two young German girls that came running up to us saying, "Engländer, Engländer!" I wasn't quite sure what to make of them. They were probably about 12 or 13 years-old. At first, they seemed to be interested in Summer's Converse bag. We finally realized that they were doing a project for their English class; they wanted to record us speaking English. Once I understood that, I told them to get their recorders ready - and then I said, "I want to know why more Germans can't be as friendly as you are and why they don't remember Kristallnacht here in Germany." I can't wait until their teacher translates that for them - maybe it will start a dialogue! They were puzzled but immediately played it back and were listening to it as we walked away. Several minutes later, they caught up to us again and had us clap (applause) into their recorders - we happily obliged. We were speaking in German and asking them to say "Hallo" to German people as they walked by and to see how many responded positively - few did - it was an amazing, quick sociological experiment and those girls gave me hope for the future of Germany.

We were hungry after all of this and had lunch at a Turkish Döner. Ein Der Turkei Pizza mit Lamm Fleisch (Döner) rocks!! I had the Turkish buttermilk called, "Arayan" - it's a cross between buttermilk and yogurt drink, very popular with Turkish people and very tasty. After lunch, we headed to the synagogue to see the Anne Frank exhibit.

Although we went to the Anne Frank Haus in Amsterdam in 2001, her story never ceases to amaze me, lift me up and sadden me all at once. It's like she knew that she wasn't going to live very long. Her passion and dreams were waiting to be realized, but were dashed and destroyed by insane, possessed people. I hope she can see the positive influence her work and life has had, and will continue to have, on people all over the world. She was an amazing human being.



This coin plus €1.80 will get you a Milch Kaffee in Germany!

Exploring Mannheim (Again)

We trained into Mannheim today (yesterday). Mannheim, at least to me, is a secret as far as tourists go. In other words, there are very few tourists - I like that. I like that a lot. The city is loaded with things to do; shopping, eating, looking at art, history, listen to people on the street corners ranting and raving or just people watching. It's a great city. I've always wanted to live in a place where I could sit in the cool shade on a sunny day and drink a Milchkaffee while watching people. Now I do!!

"Milchkaffee, 1.70 Euro, Mannheim, Germany"
August 19, 2006

I love to people watch in Mannheim. There are so many people! It's like New York or Paris to me that way. More than watch them, I like to try to capture the nuances with an image. It's hard to do, I'm still thinking of ways I can make this happen...
This is shot through glass, but Germans through glass look very interesting to me. Germans love to stare at you... I do it right back and take pictures.. they last longer!

"A German Through Glass, Mannheim, Germany"
August 19, 2006

"Lucky on the Straßebahn, Mannheim, Germany"
August 19, 2006


Eye Candy Everywhere!

This city is full of eye-candy. I like the subtle things... today, shoes and socks intriguied me. I may start to make images of one thing a day and see how that translates???

I thought that the local area would keep us busy for a while and I was right. There is a lot to do within a five mile radius of here. It's a bit overwhelming. Recently, I've been taken with the food and drink (can you tell?). I can't wait to have family and friends come over and treat them to an Italian meal one night, then an Indian meal and then a German meal, etc. all authentic and very different from anything they've ever had. What fun that will be!

Mannheim is an industrial city - with BASF and several other plants.