baroness ilse von freytag-loringhovn (rozele) wrote,
baroness ilse von freytag-loringhovn
rozele

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retrospective (thuringen countryside; antifascist or anti-crowd?)

and after another long pause (for the record, i'm in haut savoie now, after an interlude in serbia - more about that later), back to some journal...

a quick ode to the the plums of thuringia! so many kinds, growing along the bikepaths. and mostly hitting ripeness just as i was biking through. little thumbnail-sized purple ones, and yellow ones the same size. ones the size of a small egg, that fit perfectly into the mouth whole, and then burst or split around their stone. those ones, the yellow version, are almost like an apricot, but with a bit of pineapple flavor. the purple ones are the ones that collapse in a flood of juice. then the too-big-for-one-bite irregular ones the ripen from greenish to red to purple - inedible to tart to sweet. and some are red inside, some yellow, some almost a kiwi shade of green. none of them have the rich purple inside that they do on the skin. and all of them have such thick yeast-blooms on them that slivovitz isn't just a good idea, it's an inevitability built into the plant.

and to the bike paths too. the system is amazingly well set up. the two times i went to the tübke panorama (more later on that), i took my bike on the train to different towns and rode for an hour or more to get to my trainless destination. mostly on paved paths running at the bottom of fields, along what might have been domesticated creeks or slightly feral irrigation canals. periodically shifting into cobbled backstreets of little villages, or into gravel tracks or worn-down routes across fields themselves. usually quite well-marked with distances to the next towns. with hawks and (unripe) apples and pears and (ripe) plums, and house backyards with occasional horses, and a few times a manmade pond belonging to a fishing club. and all around, this rather flat, slightly rolling landscape of fields and copses, with hills a ways away. and skies that make the german Old Masters make sense (the way a vermont sky is a reminder that peter schumann is actually a naturalistic painter, if not a photorealist).

and on another tip entirely:

in weimar, there are a number of places that were used for nazi mass rallies. which isn't surprising: thuringia was a major early base of support for the NSDAP, and weimar was hitler's favorite city. so there's the square where hitler's favorite balcony is. the big plaza in front of the train station. and the space defined by the romanesque/brutalist collonades of the gau-forum (the only completed headquarters of one of the new nazi-definied subdivisions of germany). after the fall of the nazis, the DDR did some redesign work on the latter two. according to N, as a form of anti-fascist urban planning.

the bahnhof plaza is covered in small hedges - plantings perhaps 2m x 3m x 1m tall - in a pattern that leaves walking-space of perhaps 2 or 3 meters between them, but only a few narrow diagonal routes that go directly through the plaza without multiple turns. it's not a space where a crowd can easily gather, or move at any speed.

between the buildings of the gau, there is a wide area of grass. under it, however, is the parking lot for the mall that now stands behind the nazi buildings - just as square and featurless, but not at all imposing. apparently it was built to only bear a minimal load past the sod and grass itself: a rally on the scale of the nazi celebrations held there would collapse its roof.

which leaves me wondering about public space, about gathering space, about hostility to populism, about how this relates to the architectures of counterinsurgency i'm used to at home (anti-terrorist flowerpots that block the sidewalk; fences around green space in parks; pseudo-public tax-break spaces that are always slightly constricted cul-de-sacs; etc). weimar doesn't lack open spaces for a demonstration or rally - the goetheplatz, the mark, the frauenplan, the areas in front of the various castles... - so is it sensible to say that removing these ones makes sense, so that the resonances of their nazi history are harder to revive? or does it mean that history can't be overwritten, and remains frozen into a prominent element of the cityscape rather than allowed to become less and less a part of it? (i should say: these are not memory-sites - there's a little museum at the gau, but's not very visible; the memorials and such actively preserving the memory of the dominance of and resistance to naziism are elsewhere)
Tags: bikes, fascism, history, memory, plums, thuringia, weimar
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