THE VERY BY-GONE SENSATIONS OF OLD WROCLAW / BRESLAU

The Polish author Marek Krejewski has only received most recently the Georg-Dehio-Bookaward 2016. His diverse Breslau crime novels are beyound the normal patterns with the main figure Inspector Mock investigating in the home city of the author, but not in the actual Wroclaw, but in the German Breslau between the two World Wars. Here is an excerpt from one of his books which was also published in English language.

Portrait of Inspector Mock, 1938  © transmutation.me (2016)

All around he heard cries of satisfaction and fierce bargaining. He leaned against the little wall surrounding the fountain in the square and like the Neptune who hovered over it, observed the traders with irony. A fat forester, ruddy with cold and wearing a hat decorated with the emblem of von Maltzan’s Militsch forests, extolled in Silesian German the Advent wreaths he was selling and collected orders for Christmas trees. At a neighbouring stall stood a formidable Silesian woman, her prominent backside wrapped in layers of striped aprons. She was arguing in Polish with her dimunitive husband, who was smiling ingratiatingly at some servant girl and pressing a wicker basket containing a fine-looking goose into her hand. Next to them, a whiskered baker waved his arms and pointed at his spiralling pyramids of pastries snowed over with icing and blackened with poppy seeds. Mock stroked the bottle of schnapps, loitered at the Silesian stall and listened with pleasure to the rustle of the Polish language.”

Marek Krajewski, in: The End of the World in Breslau

DSC_0440Interrogation room of Inspector Mock, 1940  © transmutation.me (2016)

 

ALS DIE WELT IN SCHERBEN FIEL

DSC_0040Detailansicht aus: Mietshaus ohne Adresse, Jurek Kozieras

Assemblagen aus dem untergegangenen Breslau
des polnischen Künstlers Jurek Kozieras
vom 4. Februar 2016 bis 2. März 2016
in der Humboldt-Bibliothek in Berlin-Tegel, Karolinenstr. 19
U-Alt Tegel (U6), S-Tegel (S25), Bus: A124, A125, A133, A220 und A222

Finissage mit Lesung  des polnischen Schriftstellers Jacek Inglot
am 2. März 2016 um 19.30 Uhr  am gleichen Ort
mit Passagen aus dessen Roman „Vertrieben“ in deutscher Sprache

Veranstalter: Deutsch-Polnische Gesellschaft Berlin & Humboldt-Bibliothek

Stammbuch_Johann_Gottfried_Rüde_Illustration_Breslau_1760Breslau während des Siebenjährigen Krieges,  Johann-Gottfried Rüder, 1760

Die Stadt Breslau in Schlesien bzw. Polen kann auf eine über 1000-jährige und bewegte Geschichte mit unterschiedlichen Akteuren zurückblicken, sodass die Stadt heute von vielerlei kulturellen Einflüssen profitiert. Dabei gab es immer wieder Katastrophen wie zum Beispiel Stadtbrände im Mittelalter, wobei die Stadt aber nur zweimal durch kriege-rische Handlungen sprichwörtlich ausgelöscht wurde. Nach dem Einfall der Mongolen in Zentraleuropa im Jahre 1241 komplett geplündert und zerstört, wurde die Stadt unmit-telbar danach von deutschen Siedlern wiederaufgebaut, was bis 1261 dauerte, und sie waren für viele Jahrhunderte bis 1945 die prägende Kraft der Stadt.

Neumarkt 1945Breslau, Neumarkt (Plac Nowy Targ), 1945

Gegen Ende des 2. Weltkrieges erklärten die Nazis die Stadt Breslau im Jahr 1945 als Ganzes zur militärischen Festung, die es mit allen Mitteln zu verteidigen gälte. Durch den hierdurch entstandenen Häuserkampf zwischen der Wehrmacht und der Roten Armee in großen Teilen verwüstet – wurde die Stadt danach in zweifacher Hinsicht ein Symbol der Migration und Vertreibung, denn gemäß den Vereinbarungen der Alliierten mussten nach Ende des 2. Weltkrieges nahezu alle noch verbliebenen deutschen Bewohner die Stadt und Schlesien verlassen, um Platz zu machen für expatriierte Polen aus polnischen Gebieten im Osten – Territorien, die nunmehr von der Sowjetunion besetzt und beansprucht wurden. Die neuen polnischen Bewohner und Bürger haben mit viel Mühe und Energie über längere Zeit Breslau nach den Wirren des Kriegs wiederaufgebaut, sodass man auch heute wieder die vielen historischen Häuser der verschiedenen Bauepochen und Stile in der Altstadt bewundern kann.

DSC_0051Die fünfte Fassade des Marktes,  Jurek Kozieras

In seinen Assemblagen setzt sich deren Erschaffer Jurek Kozieras seit dem Jahr 2000 quasi archäologisch mit der Stadtgeschichte Breslaus auseinander. Seine Arbeiten sind aus Alltagsgegenständen bzw. Resten davon entstanden, die er in der Nähe seines Hauses im Breslauer Stadtteil Herdain (Gaj) gefunden hat, nachdem Bagger dort im Rahmen eines Neubaus mit Erde und Schutt all diese Relikte und Schätze der ehemaligen deutschen und jüdischen Bewohner aus der Tiefe ans Tageslicht beförderten.

DSC_0102Detailansicht aus: Meine kobaltblaue Ballade,  Jurek Kozieras

Entstanden sind hierdurch phantastische, surreale und teilweise auch gemalte Objekte aus einer Grenzregion im Spannungsfeld unterschiedlicher nationaler Diskurse, auch wenn sich die Grenze zwischen Polen und Deutschland seit 70 Jahren nach Westen an die Ufer von Oder und Neiße verschoben hat. Für Jurek Kozieras ist es bei seiner Arbeit mit den historischen Fundstücken aber nicht wichtig, welche Nationalität die früheren Benutzer dieser alltäglichen Dinge hatten, sondern einzig und allein die Tatsache, dass es sich hierbei um Spuren und von der Geschichte vergessene Hinterlassenschaften ehemaliger Breslauer handelt, die in diesen Arbeiten wieder Gehör in der heutigen Zeit finden.

DSC_0084.JPGReisefieber, Jurek Kozieras

Der regionale Aspekt ist also eine treibende Kraft dieser Kreationen, welche in der Tradition von Kurt Schwitters oder auch von Hannah Höch stehen. Die während der sehr langen kommunistischen Ära verdrängte deutsche und jüdische Geschichte der Stadt bekommt durch diese Arbeiten so auch wieder einen Platz im Gedächtnis der heutigen Bewohner, und die Ausstellung seiner Assemblagen stieß vor 10 Jahren in Breslau auf so großes Interesse, dass die Ausstellung dort verlängert werden musste.

DSC_0127Detailansicht aus: Hoinstein bei Breslau, Jurek Kozieras

Im Jahre 2016 ist Breslau nun Kulturhauptstadt Europas (zusammen mit San Sebastian im Baskenland), und diese hier nun gezeigte Ausstellung Als die Welt in Scherben fiel mit einer Auswahl von 25 Exponaten in der Humboldt-Bibliothek in Berlin-Tegel ist die erste Veranstaltung der Kulturhauptstadt Breslau in Berlin.

DSC_0066Detailansicht aus: Ode an den Kölner Dom, Jurek Kozieras

DSC_0061Gespräch mit Kurt, Jurek Kozieras

In einer Zeit, wo eine Vielzahl von Politikern in allen möglichen Ländern wieder eifrig alte Feindbilder längst vergangener Zeiten reaktivieren und pflegen, sind diese Assemblagen im Gegensatz dazu visionäre und sehr komplexe Botschaften einer bei aller gepflegten Tradition auch modernen und aufstrebenden Stadt im Herzen von Europa.

DSC_0057Schlesische Schlösser,  Jurek Kozieras

Weitere Informationen zu Breslau und dem diesjährigen Kulturprogramm hier:

http://www.wroclaw.pl/go/veranstaltungen

 

 

 

MEETING LUBLIN IN POLAND – EUROPE AT THE BRINK

Poland or Polska is just standing for the term of a flat land what it is mostly in reality with wide agricultural fields, big forests and national parks, some mountains in the South-East at the border to Slovakia (High Tatra), small villages and some wellknown big cities like Warsaw, Cracow, Wroclaw or Gdansk. Around 40 million people are living there which are 99,9 % Christians (87 % Roman-Catholics) – only 5,000 Jews and around 30,000 Muslims have still their home in this country with a total amount of foreigners of around 100,000 or 0,27 % of the population (1).

So this is nowadays a ethnically cleaned society due to the brutal and fierce developments during the Nazi-occupation between 1939-1945. In former times the population was really much more diverse with a lot of Jews and other nationalities living there what is in my view always better for creating an open society.

Poland-Lithunia used to be an important monarchy in medieval times with the capital Cracow, but afterwards for long-time it was governed by foreign countries, divided more than once between other empires with the effect that Polish was more an underground language for centuries, therefore it is also regarded as a quite museal language in the Slavic area because it could not develop freely for long time. The grammar is really complicated, so to learn it is really not an easy task, but some few words like “barzo djekuje” (many thanks) can always be helpful to know for every visitor.

Due to the very bad experiences made in history nationalism is quite attractive for Polish people as a political concept, as long this does not mean national egoism and stupidity this is normally not a problem for neighbouring countries. So Polish people or governments quite often look nervously to the West (Germany) or anxiously towards the East (Russia) especially due to the traumatic experiences in the 20th century when in 1939 Germany and the Soviet-Union invaded and occupied the country and divided it in 2 parts where incredible crimes and mass-murders of the local populations took place. Subsequently a lot of matters happening today are a little bit more understandable when looking back in history of this country in the heart of Europe.

DSC_0065Urban art at an unused house in the old town of Lublin

The town of Lublin is situated in the very South-East of Poland not far away from the border to the Ukraine. The old town is very charming because not all houses are perfectly restored (some even without inhabitants) but instead you will find a lot of old pathes for loafing around, a high diversity of pubs and restaurants which are very crowded in the evening, just real life. Besides there is also an old castle in the centre hosting nowadays a big museum with a lot of important paintings from Polish history.

DSC_0018Former SS concentration camp Majdanek near Lublin

Only a few kilometers from the city centre you will find the former SS concentration camp Majdanek which was finally erected in December 1941 with the original purpose to serve as a camp for war prisoners from the Soviet-Union. However, it was then utilized for other purposes such as accomodating Polish civilians forced to work for the German SS regime. In 1943 and 1944 it served also as a place for eliminating the local Jewish population till the Red Army freed it in August 1944. At least 80,000 people (59,000 Jews) were killed here in the gas chamber, by shooting, due to hard work and inhuman treatment or by disease. On the photo you see the watch towers, in the background the crematorium with chimney and the white modern memorial monument made out of concrete at the place of a mass-grave. A visit is quite terrifying because the horror is still present in one of the still existing gas-chambers or the crematorium. This kind of industrialized mass-murdering is hardly realiziable for us today at this damned location.  So the memorial place outside of the camp therefore shall be a place of honour and remembrance to those who lost their life here at the brink of Europe.

DSC_0024Performance of the German-Polish chorus “Spotkanie” in May 2015 at Kazimierz Dolny

Fortunately we today live in different times with open borders between a lot of European countries (the Schengen zone). This is also the case for the border between Germany and Poland which can today be easily crossed normally without any control or delay. However, it must be still quite astonishing for a lot of people in Poland, when the mixed German-Polish chorus Spotkanie from Berlin is making concerts in Poland (mainly in churches) and then performing also a lot of traditional Polish songs like Gaude mater. The word Spotkanie is Polish and means meeting each other,  so in May 2015 the chorus did a short of performance on the market place of Kazimierz Dolny supported by the dynamic mayor of the town (to be seen on the photo infront of the chorus to the left) who professionally whistled melodies on a simple leaf what was a quite funny situation. Kazimierz Dolny (ca. 40 kms from Lublin to the North-West) is meanwhile regarded as one of the nicest villages in Poland with 2 famous Rennaissance buildings at the market place for instance. It is also possible to make short boat trips here on the nearby river Vistula.

zamosc_armenian housesMarket place with town hall and the Armenian houses at Zamosc

The city of Zamosc is a must for every visitor of this region while it is also called the “Padua of the North” – a UNESCO world culture heritage town being situated around 35 kms from Lublin to the South. The city was constructed (starting 1578) in accordance with the ideas of the Italian master builder Bernardo Morando in the style of the Italian Renaissance. It was founded by Jan Zamoyski in 1576 who was also the name giver of the town – his descendant Marcin Zamoyski was president of the town during the periods of 1990–1992 and 2002–2014. At the big market place it is truly nice to stay in one of the diverse taverns for a coffee or whatever will be individually preferred.

Wurzelschlucht2Roots gorge near Kazimierz Dolny

To complete an impression of the region it is also very much advisable to pay longer attention to a natural moment near Kazimierz Doly – the roots gorge created by erosion where you can view a lot of exposed roots created by very big trees in all different shapes. An amazing place for enjoying the subtile powers of plants which are existing much longer than our species on this unique planet Earth.

 DSC_0047

(1) All figures were published by the European statistics authority as per end of 2014.

More information is also available under the links above:
http://www.staypoland.com/about_lublin.htm
http://www.deutsch-polnischer-chor-berlin.eu/

© transmutation.me (2015)