See trips hub: Europe Road Ways

For themes of conflict, present in any country, see Studying War.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Wittenburg - Martin Luther: 95 Theses Church, Home, Stove

Wittenburg, Schlosskirche, Castle Church of Martin Luther, Germany
Wittenburg, the home base of Martin Luther, is a World Heritage site. See With damage from WWII, it has many reconstructed buildings in a minimalist (read "botox") style, but much of that plain, stretched look is dictated by the cost of renovation, and the flavor of Martin Luther's old city remains. Some call the Reformation, to which Luther's work gave focus and momentum, a revolt against the established Catholic hierarchy. Others call it a needed course correction, back to original intents, since the original J never espoused hierarchies, authority, acquisitions or force in the first place. All in the name.

Here are the church where Luther is buried and where he posted his 95 Theses (Schlosskirche, or "castle church"). The doors are reconstructions..

Here also is Luther's stove, prominently and theologically located in the home that he shared with his wife.

See Martin Luther's Stove for what began as a light-brained review of the uses of the stove in great thinking; now delving into serious matters of what original texts really say - transliterations, word for word, rather than someone's interpretive translation.
Martin Luther's Stove, in his house, Wittenburg, Germany
Theology blooms around the heater.

Here, in this house, he served as mentor to many who gathered in the room. For Aga lovers, see, this predecessor probably rates deification.

Luther's home dates from the 16th century (probably before, since he lived there in the 16th century), on monastery grounds in Wittenburg.

See a photo gallery about Martin Luther's Wittenburg, and the interiors of some of the buildings he knew well, at :// There is also a picture of the stove there. Armando Rodriguez - fine job there.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wittenburg - reconstructions

Wittenburg, Germany. Square, Martin Luther, Schlosskirche
Wittenburg: Martin Luther in the foreground, the Schlosskirche behind the new buildings.

It is not a smooth transition between the reconstructed buildings, and the old, in East Germany. How could an entire country be rebuilt as it was, and with the same detail and materials, and this sector did not value preservation of religious sites.

Wittenberg chose to reconstruct - but in the simple, evocative style. It takes your eye from the old church, rather than lead you to it, but there was not enough money to create ambiance, especially here, in the old East Germany. That is Martin Luther in the center. We wish they had focused at least on recreating the old in this critical space. Other towns did combine both, the old half-timber and the new, so the some of the old tone remains. Not here, yet.

Wittenberg is in the old East Germany, however, and funding and interest in those things was limited.

It still is jarring, though, when you do see the very old. Nothing can compare.

What a waste. A culture decimated.

There are constant reminders of the wars, with most of the focus (we thought) on the Allied damage, and not why they were there in the first place. In Wurzberg, there is an entire room with a model of the city; then, in the next room, the model of 22 minutes later, after the bombing. Devastation, but perhaps a reference as to why the bombs fell, even if it had been overdone (I have no idea, but it was awful) would be helpful to the next generation.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Parc Sanssouci, Potsdam - palaces, parks. WWII

Dan Widing at Sanssouci, Potsdam, Germany. Guardhouse.
Frederick the Great of Prussis.  In about 1740, he built a palace, then some 700 acres of parks and buildings.  The name, Sanssouci, is the French "sans souci" or "without care".  Located about 17 miles from Berlin, it is an easy stop before going to the city.  See the 300th anniversary of the royal birthday at
More residences were added over time, and large villas along the Havel River. Potsdam the City now boasts the Schiffbauergasse theater district, on a lakefront, and exhibits of the life of Frederick are now opening (this by way of update 2012) in some 70 previously unopened rooms.  The settlements of World War II took place near this area, at Potsdam. These are UNESCO World Heritage sites. See, and

Voltaire stayed at one of these buildings, known collectively as Sans Souci,without worry, to old French students, or in Wikipedia, without cares: see The complex was built by Kaiser Wilhelm IV. Negotiations settling WWII were worked out at a smaller half-timber residence. Sans Souci and Potsdam.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Links, posts, archives

Please copy and paste in your own search bar to get to the reference. See

Post dates reflect a trip chronology, but those change when we change the post. A post date is not necessarily the date of first posting on the topic.

Archives - do read. These complete the trip - showing how and where we ended up.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Berlin - Wall, Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie

The Berlin Wall. Sections remain, not contiguous.

Berlin Wall, plain section

One section of the Berlin Wall is unadorned, just preserved, open.

This other section has two parallel paths, one for faster walking, another a close walk, to read the memorials and informational entries.

Berlin Wall, covered memorial walkway section

 See its history at Here is a timeline. Here is a narrative approach at

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

The Brandenburg Gate. See There is surprisingly easy parking here, as they have put broad diagonal parking rows in the center of the huge boulevard. See its evolution in photos from the 1700's to date at

Why keep Berlin's walls after their purpose is finished? They get repurposed:  memorials to all those who died trying to cross them. Reminders, guideposts.

Berlin -Checkpoint Charlie, facades, reconstruction, Unter Den Linden,

Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie, Germany
The passage point from the Russian Sector to the Allies. See

The museum at Checkpoint Charlie, see, makes a commendable effort to keep the exhibits honest - they even show a VW with bullet holes, the car used to take people across from the old East Germany (bisected the city) to West Germany, where the wall was. They explain that the bullet holes were added later by someone trying to make the point more strongly, and that the museum in no way countenanced it.

Unter Den Linden, Berlin, Germany, facades survived
Unter den Linden Boulevard - This majestic avenue is reconstructed, but the old pictures' glory is gone. Some buildings remain, this one not on Unter den Linden, but near. The words mean under the lindens, lindens being trees. Some of the trees were 250 years old, replaced by Hitler with flags. Another landmark street - Friedrichstrasse.

Strategy for finding hotel: go into a good one, then ask the clerk for a recommendation to a less expensive one. They often will even call ahead for you, to the other hotel, and give instructions.
Modern Berlin, Germany, houses, offices
Much of Berlin's reconstruction is imaginative. For a walking tour of Berlin, click away at

Berlin's Jewish Memorial Museum

Berlin, Jewish Museum, Germany
The Jewish Museum in Berlin. The off-kilter square columns, on the slanted floor, that disorient you. This is an experiential museum. See There is an exhibit where you step into a long rectangular area, that gets dark and enclosed and the end, and is filled with 7-9" iron disks.

Each disk each has shaped holes for different kinds of eyes and mouth shapes, forming faces, and expressions from horror to disbelief, to all the rest that people feel in their situaiton. You step in, they move and sounds are made. If you move faster the sounds get louder. So you tiptoe. There still are sounds. You go back to the dark part, and suddenly you are there.

Jewish Museum, Berlin, Germany

We had come there from Weimar and Buchenwald, in the fog.

The museum here is interactive, so leave time to experience it.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Chemnitz - Meet Mr. Marx

Chemnitz, Germany. Karl Marx several stories high.
Chemnitz: The city was 90% destroyed by WWII bombing. Many such places were reconstructed with bare approximations of the old manner, but Chemnitz decided to start over. Instead, mostly, they rebuilt in a new socialist style and renamed the town, Karl-Marx-Stadt.

This seems to have worked because the town is thriving, and its wide streets and fine office buildings have brought business. Sterile at first look, much like Plymouth in England (also rebuilt to accommodate predictions of traffic needs for a new city, rather than preserve-recreate historic areas)(see England Road Ways. But I don't think Plymouth ever recovered.

This head of Mr. Marx, at the new City Hall, is several stories tall. Wikipedia has a good reference section for Chemnitz at The city name means "stony brook" says the site.

The area of Saxony: How to make sense of all the germanic states and tribes? Start at That site says, in summary, that a large tribe, the Franks, ruled much of what later was France and western Germany and Italy. Big King: Charlemagne in 800A.D crowned as emperor. Empire split into the West Frankish, evolving into French, and East Frankish ("Franconians, Saxons, Bavarians, Swabians, and several others") evolving into German and electing a Franconian, Conrad I, as king after Charlemagne's descendants. See chronology of German history, overview, at

We were headed from Berlin and Dresden, going south. It got dark, so we stopped here by chance. Excellent choice.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Nuremberg: Hitler stadium; 1937-1942 - Propaganda and education

Hitler Stadium, Nuremberg, Germany

Nuremberg houses the Documentation Center, focused on the history of Nazi activities, founded in 1991, see There are documents, films, library, recreated scenes, photographs. An era of manipulation and horror recreated so it may not be repeated, but do we ever learn. The stadium where Hitler addressed crowds is behind and would look familiar if you have seen old films of Hitler's parades and displays in the 1930's and 1940's. For a thorough re-chilling, see for Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will." The entire (I think) film on the events here in 1934-35 or so, with the speeches and parades, all authentic, are on this site. There is a short beginning, and then download the full 1 1/4 hours or so, as you may wish. See

The Nuremberg Trials. The topic of war crimes and what is and what isn't, is always current. See the Nuremberg Trial issues at; and at

Persuasion, propaganda. How did the rulers persuade/distract the populace? Persuasion skills became an art form through people like Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, in 1928 here - and that followed years of use of the techniques. See; and

From 1937-1942 our government through its Institute for Propaganda Analysis educated us citizens about persuasion techniques we could spot it and not be taken in. The techniques were listed and explained. See

Sampling: Note the propaganda techniques list at that site, against which the US citizens were warned:
1. Word games (name calling, generalities, euphemism),
2. False connections (transfer, testimonial)
3. Special appeals (plain folks, bandwagon, fear)

And logical fallacies. Do all these sound like a current political playbook?

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Nuremberg: Old City; Duhrer house, Marriage Carousel sculpture

Nuremberg, Germany. View of city from old walls.
Nuremberg: the old city. Find its thousand-year history at Hitler's choice of Nuremberg, the "Imperial City," for his place of choice to address crowds, see other Nuremberg post here, was no accident, given its totemic stature in German history.

The old city walls are still there, with gaps, and with the covered walkways and towers. A hostel is inside one section of the walls - a great location for quick bunking. We have not used hostels yet, but hear good things about them.

The Albrecht Durer house, Duhrer 1471-1528.Albrecht Duhrer house, Nuremberg, Germany

Now, see it (watercolor and gouache) in 1496, when it was by a pond. Go to And another - so it must be true - Here is his hare. Go to Now see his life and more works at If you have something around the house with the commingled real AD logo, you may be wealthier than you realize. Go look.

Then, in the old town there is a fountain - The Marriage Carousel. I would have taken pictures but couldn't find a discreet angle. Scant clothes. I wore them, but not the subjects.

"Bittersweet Married Life," 1541. The fountain is an allegory of life and marriage, based on this poem by Hans Sachs, a Nuremberg meistersinger (member of a musical or poetic guild) 1494-1576, see; and

 full size image

Fair use thumbnail from

See views at; Here is another at The poem, or part of it, is also at that last site.