Neger am Rhein

Im Rheinland saugen die Neger den Boden aus. Sie schwängern die Frauen in Kompagnie, gehen straflos aus, lachen über alle Proteste der Bevölkerung. Die Haltung der Bevölkerung ist in Deutschland vorbildlich: es gibt keine Meldung von Mord und Totschlag. Diese Leute, denen die Frauen kaputtgemacht werden, sind von Lynchjustiz himmelweit entfernt. Sie knirschen mit den Zähnen, aber dazu gehen sie auf den Abtritt, daß es niemand hört. Sie nageln die Neger nicht an die Türen, sie sägen die Neger nicht entzwei, sie ballen die Fäuste im Sack und onanieren nebenbei. Sie beweisen, daß ihnen Recht geschieht. Sie sind die Überreste des großen Krieges, der Abschaum der Bevölkerung, die niedergehauenen Mäuler, das entmenschte Massenvieh, deutsche Bürger von 1920.

(aus Bertolt Brecht: Werke: Journale I (1913-1941), Tagebücher 1913-1922)

***

In England sowohl als in Italien ist der Zwiespalt in den Anschauungen der besseren bodenständigen Staatskunst und dem Wollen des jüdischen Weltbörsentums klar, ja manchmal kraß in die Augen springend.
Nur in Frankreich besteht heute mehr denn je eine innere Übereinstimmung zwischen den Absichten der Börse, der sie tragenden Juden und den Wünschen einer chauvinistisch eingestellten nationalen Staatskunst. Allein gerade in dieser Identität liegt eine immense Gefahr für Deutschland. Gerade aus diesem Grunde ist und bleibt Frankreich der weitaus furchtbarste Feind. Dieses an sich immer mehr der Vernegerung anheimfallende Volk bedeutet in seiner Bindung an die Ziele der jüdischen Weltbeherrschung eine lauernde Gefahr für den Bestand der weißen Rasse Europas. Denn die Verpestung durch Negerblut am Rhein im Herzen Europas entspricht ebensosehr der sadistisch-perversen Rachsucht dieses chauvinistischen Erbfeindes unseres Volkes wie der eisig kalten Überlegung des Juden, auf diesem Wege die Bastardisierung des europäischen Kontinents im Mittelpunkte zu beginnen und der weißen Rasse durch die Infizierung mit niederem Menschentum die Grundlagen zu einer selbstherrlichen Existenz zu entziehen.
Was Frankreich, angespornt durch eigene Rachsucht, planmäßig geführt durch den Juden, heute in Europa betreibt, ist eine Sünde wider den Bestand der weißen Menschheit und wird auf dieses Volk dereinst alle Rachegeister eines Geschlechts hetzen, das in der Rassenschande die Erbsünde der Menschen erkannt hat.
Für Deutschland jedoch bedeutet die französische Gefahr die Verpflichtung, unter Zurückstellung aller Gefühlsmomente, dem die Hand zu reichen, der, ebenso bedroht wie wir, Frankreichs Herrschgelüste nicht erdulden und ertragen will.
In Europa wird es für Deutschland in absehbarer Zukunft nur zwei Verbündete geben können: England und Italien.

(aus Adolf Hitler: Mein Kampf, 855. Auflage 1943)

***

Zyklisch kehren Ängste sich in Pogromschwangerschaften. Sprache dient als Mittel der Aufstachelung, die politischen Lager ergehen sich in Fehleinschätzungen, begleitet von Propagandalügen (das rechte) sowie zynischer Ironie (das linke) und steuern gemeinsam, als befänden sie sich in einer unlösbaren Situation, auf die Katastrofe zu. Für den ungeschulten Leser sind die Geisteshaltungen hinter beiden Texten kaum zu unterscheiden. Weder Brecht noch Hitler haben sich in ihren Texten häufig zum Rheinkomplex geäußert, doch gehören beider Äußerungen definitiv zu den unpoetischsten, die wir bisher gesammelt haben.

die Freude eines ausgebrochenen Sommers

remagen_zwerenz

Ein gewaltiges, geschlossenes Siedlungsgebiet vom Rhein bis zum Kongo

“Rein territorial angesehen, verschwindet der Flächeninhalt des Deutschen Reiches vollständig gegenüber dem der sogenannten Weltmächte. Man führe ja nicht England als Gegenbeweis an, denn das englische Mutterland ist wirklich nur die große Hauptstadt des britischen Weltreiches, das fast ein Viertel der ganzen Erdoberfläche sein eigen nennt. Weiter müssen wir als Riesenstaaten in erster Linie die amerikanische Union, sodann Rußland und China ansehen. Lauter Raumgebilde von zum Teil mehr als zehnfach größerer Fläche als das derzeitige Deutsche Reich. Und selbst Frankreich muß unter diese Staaten gerechnet werden. Nicht nur, daß es in immer größerem Umfang aus den farbigen Menschenbeständen seines Riesenreiches das Heer ergänzt, macht es auch rassisch in seiner Vernegerung so rapide Fortschritte, daß man tatsächlich von einer Entstehung eines afrikanischen Staates auf europäischem Boden reden kann. Die Kolonialpolitik des heutigen Frankreichs ist nicht zu vergleichen mit der des vergangenen Deutschlands. Würde sich die Entwicklung Frankreichs im heutigen Stile noch dreihundert Jahre fortsetzen, so wären die letzten fränkischen Blutsreste in dem sich bildenden europa-afrikanischen Mulattenstaat untergegangen. Ein gewaltiges, geschlossenes Siedlungsgebiet vom Rhein bis zum Kongo, erfüllt von einer aus dauernder Bastardisierung langsam sich bildenden niederen Rasse.”

(aus Adolf Hitler: Mein Kampf, 855. Auflage 1943)

Captain Picard (The Robbers of the Rhine)

For many hundreds of years the valley of the Rhine itself, and the various valleys adjacent, were the haunt of numerous bodies of rapacious and desperate banditti. The rugged, mountainous nature of the country naturally made lawlessness the more easy there, and till so late as the beginning of the nineteenth century these gangs of robbers were a constant menace to the traveller in Rhineland. At the time of the French Revolution, indeed, and for some decades thereafter, the district was literally infested with thieves; for the unsettled state of Europe at this date perforce tended to bring desperadoes from far and near, and for a while the inhabitants of the different villages on the banks of the Rhine endured a veritable reign of terror.

But almost from the outset the brigands realized that they would soon be undone if they grew too numerous. They knew that, in that event, strong military measures would probably be taken against them; so they made every effort to practise that union which is proverbially strength, and to prevent the enlisting in their ranks of anyone likely to prove cowardly or perfidious. In some cases, too, they actually had a well and capably organized system whereby one of their number could escape quickly, if need be, from the scene of his crime; for, like the French prisoners described in Stevenson’s St. Ives, they had a line of sanctuaries extending perhaps into Austria or Italy, the retreat in most instances being an inn whose keeper was sworn to hide and protect his robber guest at all costs. In short, there was honour among these thieves, and even a certain spirit of freemasonry; while, more important still, the captain of a band was very often in league with the few police officials of the neighbourhood.

The great highwaymen of Stuart and Georgian England — for example, that gallant Beau Brocade of whom Mr. Austin Dobson writes — were mostly content with waylaying a chance passer-by; while their contemporaries in France usually worked on this principle also, as witness the deeds of the band who figure in Théophile Gautier’s story Le Capitaine Fracasse. But the robbers of the Rhine were of different mettle from these, and often it was almost a predatory warfare rather than mere brigandage which they carried on. Frequently they had an agent in each of the villages on the river, this agent being usually a member of the scattered remnant of Israel; and the business of this person was to discover a house containing especial wealth, and then to inform the robbers accordingly. Having gleaned the requisite information in this wise, the gang would sally down from the mountains at dead of night; and it was customary, as they drew near to their prey, for the captain to call his henchmen to attention and see that each was ready for the imminent fray. Then, having gagged the village watchman and muffled his bell, they would proceed to surround the house they intended to rifle, and, should resistance be offered, to batter in the door with a log or other instrument. Sometimes it would transpire that the Jewish agent had misinformed them, telling them of booty where booty there was little, and woe betide him should this prove the state of affairs. Moreover, unlike the brigands in Gil Blas, these scoundrels of the Rhine would not be encumbered by prisoners, and they were wont to slay outright all who were minded to show fight.

Yet to their own brotherhood the robbers were invariably loyal, seldom failing to carry away with them such of their confrères as were wounded in the assault; for each was sworn to support his fellows under all circumstances, and awful was the fate of the marauder who violated this compact. It is told of a band commanded by one Picard, a cruel but brave leader, that one of its members chanced to be captured, and with a view to purchasing his freedom he gave information about the whereabouts of his chief. The next night, as the captive lay in his dungeon, a masked face suddenly appeared at the barred window, and in awestruck tones the prisoner asked the new-comer to declare his identity. “I am Picard, your captain,” came the answer. “As in duty bound, I have risked my life to set you free,” and having spoken thus, he proceeded to file through one of the bars, which being accomplished, the reprobate was drawn out of his cell by the aid of a rope. He breathed freely now, finding himself once more among some of his old comrades, but a moment later Picard addressed him again. “Traitor,” he snarled, “do not think that your perfidy has failed to reach our ears; you must pay the full penalty.”

“Mercy,” cried the unfortunate one; “at least let me die in action. Lead on against some foe, and let me fall at their hands.”

“Cowards,” retorted Picard, “deserve no such gallant fate,” and with these words he drove his sword deep into the heart of the traitor.

In general it was a point of honour among these bandits that none should reveal to a woman anything about the doings of his band, and one story relates how a young brigand, on the eve of setting out on his first predatory expedition, was rash enough to inform his sweetheart whither he and his mates were bound. Their commander was a Captain Jikjak, reputed something of a wit; and betimes, after the brigands had marched forward silently for a while, this worthy called upon them to halt. They imagined it was but the usual inspection of arms which was about to take place, but Jikjak, speaking in stentorian tones, told them that a traitor was in their midst, and pointing to the culprit, he bade him step forth. The young man pled his youth as an excuse for his fault, and he told the captain that, could he but get a chance to show his prowess once, they would soon see that he was as gallant a robber as any of them. But Jikjak laughed scornfully, saying he was anxious to find out which was stronger, the young man’s legs or a pair of trees. The culprit quailed on hearing the verdict, and implored a less ghastly fate; but Jikjak was obdurate, and smiling blandly, he bade his followers bend a couple of stout branches to the ground and tie their tops to the ankles of the offender….

Such, then, were the robbers of the Rhine, and such the code of honour which existed among them. A romantic institution they no doubt were, yet it was a form of picturesqueness whose disappearance can scarcely be regretted.

(Lewis Spence, Hero Tales and Legends of the Rhine, London; New York: 1915)

Jonathans Selbstmord

„Ich bin der einzige Engländer“, sagt Jonathan.
Wir sitzen seit zehn Minuten gemeinsam an einer Theke am Alter Markt. Es ist 2 Uhr – nachmittags natürlich, denn um 2 Uhr nachts kann man sich nicht mehr vernünftig unterhalten. Jedenfalls nicht über Selbstmord.
„Du meinst, der einzige Engländer in diesem Pub hier?“ frage ich.
„Nein“, sagt Jonathan, „der einzige Engländer in Köln. Ich wäre auch der einzige Engländer in England.“
Jonathan erinnert ein wenig an John Cleese – Ironie, Hypochondrie, konstruktiver Fatalismus. Was er ernst meint und was nicht, ist schwer zu trennen.
„Man hat mir meinen Führerschein weggenommen. Mein Konto ist gesperrt. Und heute Morgen haben mich die Cops eingesackt. Eine Prügelei, frag mich nicht.“
„Ich frag nicht.“
Direkt vor uns zapft die Kellnerin ein neues Guinness hoch. Sie hat hat lange, schöne Finger, die auch Jonathan auffallen. Er will wissen, warum ich hier bin. Ich sage:
„Ich mach Pause. Und du?“
„Ich denke darüber nach, mich gleich im Rhein zu ersäufen.“
„Ist ein guter Fluss dafür.“
„Ich weiß“, sagt Jonathan. „Aber die Themse wär mir lieber.“
Jonathan wohnt in Nippes. Er wirft ein paar Worte aus, von denen er glaubt, sie klingen Kölsch. Außerdem hat er die Idee für ein Theaterstück: Im Bauch der sinkenden Titanic; sechs Todgeweihte, was sie denken, was sie tun in ihren letzten Minuten. Womit wir wieder beim Wassertod wären.
„Meine Ex ist ein Biest“, sagt Jonathan.
„So ist das“, antworte ich, mittelwitzig, „mit Echsen.“
Statt der avisierten drei Kölsch bin ich inzwischen beim achten. Da kann man nicht mehr nur Goldtaler ausspucken.
„Und meine Kinder sind 8 und 6. Ich bin ein später Vater.“
Ich nehme einen tiefen Schluck, und das eiskalte Bier stanzt einen letzten Dukaten aus meinem benebelten Sprachzentrum.
„Dann sieh wenigstens zu, dass du´s noch eine Weile bleibst.“
Jonathan sieht mich zum ersten Mal geradeheraus an, starrt dann eine Weile in sein Bier, grinst unsicher und sagt: „Vielleicht bin ich ja doch nicht der einzige Engländer.”

(Ein Gastbeitrag von Bernd Imgrund, rheinsein dankt! Der Text erschien zuerst in der Reihe Thekentänzer (Nr. 74) auf Bernd Imgrunds Köln-Blog beim Emons-Verlag. Jeden Mittwoch gibt es dort neue Geschichten, Gedichte, Anekdoten, Zitate und Interviews zum Thema Köln, sehr häufig in Nahdistanz zu einem der zahllosen Tresen der Stadt.)

In Rotterdam

I
I gaze upon a city,—
A city new and strange,—
Down many a watery vista
My fancy takes a range;
From side to side I saunter,
And wonder where I am;
And can you be in England,
And I at Rotterdam!

II
Before me lie dark waters
In broad canals and deep,
Whereon the silver moonbeams
Sleep, restless in their sleep;
A sort of vulgar Venice
Reminds me where I am;
Yes, yes, you are in England,
And I’m at Rotterdam.

III
Tall houses with quaint gables,
Where frequent windows shine,
And quays that lead to bridges,
And trees in formal line,
And masts of spicy vessels
From western Surinam,
All tell me you’re in England,
But I’m in Rotterdam.

IV
Those sailors, how outlandish
The face and form of each!
They deal in foreign gestures,
And use a foreign speech;
A tongue not learn’d near Isis,
Or studied by the Cam,
Declares that you’re in England,
And I’m at Rotterdam.

V
And now across a market
My doubtful way I trace,
Where stands a solemn statue,
The Genius of the place;
And to the great Erasmus
I offer my salaam;
Who tells me you’re in England,
But I’m at Rotterdam.

VI
The coffee-room is open—
I mingle in its crowd,—
The dominos are noisy—
The hookahs raise a cloud;
The flavor, none of Fearon’s,
That mingles with my dram,
Reminds me you’re in England,
And I’m at Rotterdam.

VII
Then here it goes, a bumper—
The toast it shall be mine,
In schiedam, or in sherry,
Tokay, or hock of Rhine;
It well deserves the brightest,
Where sunbeam ever swam—
‘The Girl I love in England’
I drink at Rotterdam!

(Thomas Hood)

ran the river, ran the river

It was about the middle of the month of February when Vendale and Obenreizer set forth on their expedition.  The winter being a hard one, the time was bad for travellers. So bad was it that these two travellers, coming to Strasbourg, found its great inns almost empty. And even the few people they did encounter in that city, who had started from England or from Paris on business journeys towards the interior of Switzerland, were turning back.
Many of the railroads in Switzerland that tourists pass easily enough now, were almost or quite impracticable then. Some were not begun; more were not completed. On such as were open, there were still large gaps of old road where communication in the winter season was often stopped; on others, there were weak points where the new work was not safe, either under conditions of severe frost, or of rapid thaw.  The running of trains on this last class was not to be counted on in the worst time of the year, was contingent upon weather, or was wholly abandoned through the months considered the most dangerous.
At Strasbourg there were more travellers’ stories afloat, respecting the difficulties of the way further on, than there were travellers to relate them. Many of these tales were as wild as usual; but the more modestly marvellous did derive some colour from the circumstance that people were indisputably turning back. However, as the road to Basle was open, Vendale’s resolution to push on was in no wise disturbed. Obenreizer’s resolution was necessarily Vendale’s, seeing that he stood at bay thus desperately: He must be ruined, or must destroy the evidence that Vendale carried about him, even if he destroyed Vendale with it.
The state of mind of each of these two fellow-travellers towards the other was this. Obenreizer, encircled by impending ruin through Vendale’s quickness of action, and seeing the circle narrowed every hour by Vendale’s energy, hated him with the animosity of a fierce cunning lower animal. He had always had instinctive movements in his breast against him; perhaps, because of that old sore of gentleman and peasant; perhaps, because of the openness of his nature, perhaps, because of his better looks; perhaps, because of his success with Marguerite; perhaps, on all those grounds, the two last not the least. And now he saw in him, besides, the hunter who was tracking him down. Vendale, on the other hand, always contending generously against his first vague mistrust, now felt bound to contend against it more than ever: reminding himself, “He is Marguerite’s guardian. We are on perfectly friendly terms; he is my companion of his own proposal, and can have no interested motive in sharing this undesirable journey.” To which pleas in behalf of Obenreizer, chance added one consideration more, when they came to Basle after a journey of more than twice the average duration.
They had had a late dinner, and were alone in an inn room there, overhanging the Rhine: at that place rapid and deep, swollen and loud. Vendale lounged upon a couch, and Obenreizer walked to and fro: now, stopping at the window, looking at the crooked reflection of the town lights in the dark water (and peradventure thinking, “If I could fling him into it!”); now, resuming his walk with his eyes upon the floor.
“Where shall I rob him, if I can?  Where shall I murder him, if I must?” So, as he paced the room, ran the river, ran the river, ran the river.
The burden seemed to him, at last, to be growing so plain, that he stopped; thinking it as well to suggest another burden to his companion.
“The Rhine sounds to-night,” he said with a smile, “like the old waterfall at home. That waterfall which my mother showed to travellers (I told you of it once). The sound of it changed with the weather, as does the sound of all falling waters and flowing waters. When I was pupil of the watchmaker, I remembered it as sometimes saying to me for whole days, ‘Who are you, my little wretch? Who are you, my little wretch?’ I remembered it as saying, other times, when its sound was hollow, and storm was coming up the Pass: ‘Boom, boom, boom. Beat him, beat him, beat him.’ Like my mother enraged — if she was my mother.” (…)

When they had hurriedly refreshed and changed, they went together to the house of business of Defresnier and Company. There they found the letter which the wine-carrier had described, enclosing the tests and comparisons of handwriting essential to the discovery of the Forger. Vendale’s determination to press forward, without resting, being already taken, the only question to delay them was by what Pass could they cross the Alps? Respecting the state of the two Passes of the St. Gotthard and the Simplon, the guides and mule-drivers differed greatly; and both passes were still far enough off, to prevent the travellers from having the benefit of any recent experience of either. Besides which, they well knew that a fall of snow might altogether change the described conditions in a single hour, even if they were correctly stated. But, on the whole, the Simplon appearing to be the hopefuller route, Vendale decided to take it.  Obenreizer bore little or no part in the discussion, and scarcely spoke.
To Geneva, to Lausanne, along the level margin of the lake to Vevay, so into the winding valley between the spurs of the mountains, and into the valley of the Rhone. The sound of the carriage-wheels, as they rattled on, through the day, through the night, became as the wheels of a great clock, recording the hours. No change of weather varied the journey, after it had hardened into a sullen frost. In a sombre-yellow sky, they saw the Alpine ranges; and they saw enough of snow on nearer and much lower hill-tops and hill-sides, to sully, by contrast, the purity of lake, torrent, and waterfall, and make the villages look discoloured and dirty. But no snow fell, nor was there any snow-drift on the road. The stalking along the valley of more or less of white mist, changing on their hair and dress into icicles, was the only variety between them and the gloomy sky. And still by day, and still by night, the wheels. And still they rolled, in the hearing of one of them, to the burden, altered from the burden of the Rhine: “The time is gone for robbing him alive, and I must murder him.”

(Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins: No Thoroughfare, Act III: In the valley. 1867)

In those days… (The Penny Magazine on Cologne)

The fervent admiration with which the Rhine is regarded by Germans is a just tribute to its natural beauties, and still more to the stirring events which are associated with the noble river. The vineyards mirrored on its bosom, and all the varied beauties characteristic of the „scenery of the Rhine,“ would not be half so inspiring if its castled crags and ancient towns were not rich to overflowing in the legends of antique romance. Here the old Roman civilization irradiated the darkness of the wild forests, and the more benevolent influences of the modern civilization were fostered and developed. Few of the ancient cities of Europe can trace their origin so distinctly as Cologne. It was a Roman station, and subsequently a „colonia“ under the name of Colonia Claudia Agrippinensis, from the Emperor Claudius and his wife Agrippina, who was born here while her father, Germanicus, commanded in these parts. Agrippina adorned it with an amphitheatre, temples, aqueducts, &c., the ruins of which may still be traced. No spot on the banks of the Rhine exhibits so many Roman vestiges. A great part of the wall which extends along the river is Roman, and also one of the gates. Some of the streets still bear Latin names. Many busts, sarcophagi, and stones, with the numbers of the legions stationed here, have been dug up, and with other relics are placed in a public museum. It has been doubted whether the Emperor Constantine erected a bridge across the river at this spot. The story is, that it was destroyed in the tenth century by Otho the Great, Emperor of Germany, and that the piers are now occasionally visible. Between Cologne and the opposite bank of the river there is now a bridge, erected in 1822, which rests upon thirty-nine pontoons, and rises and falls with the tide. It is a favourite promenade in fine weather. Vitellius was proclaimed emperor at Cologne. Trajan was here when nominated by the Emperor Nerva as his successor. Several of the Roman emperors resided for some time, and Sylvanus was assassinated, at Cologne. It continued to be the capitol of Lower Rhenish Gaul until the fourth century, when it was sacked by the Franks, who were now harassing the Roman power; but it was retaken. In 460 the ranks once more obtained possession, and kept it. Clovis, their king, was proclaimed here. After a frequent change of masters Cologne was annexed to the German empire, and in 949 was constituted an imperial free city. The Roman municipal constitution might be traced down to the period when Cologne, in 1792, ceased to be a free city. It is now the capital of a Prussian province, and contains about sixty thousand imhabitants.
In the early part of the fourteenth century, Cologne, where the grander part of the Rhine commences, was called the „Rome of the North“. It was then the seat of the greatest wealth and civilization on this side the Alps. Petrarch visited it in 1333, and, writing to his friend Cardinal Colonna, he exclaims, „How glorious is this city!“ and he commends the taste of its inhabitants for literature and the refinements of life. Cologne was at that time the principal town of the great Hanseatic League, which it had joined in 1201, and had grown rich by industry and an extensive commerce. It could muster an armed force of thirty thousand men, and its population amounted to one hundred and fifty thousand souls. Even in the eleventh century the vessels of the Colognese carried Rhenish wines, corn, flour, malt, beer, linen and other German produce to all countries lying on the German Ocean and the Baltic, to England, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Russia, and brought back the productions of those countries. King John granted extraordinary privileges to the merchants of Cologne who traded to England. Whitehall was assigned to them exclusively for the Rhenish trade. They had factories also in Norway and the Netherlands. In those days the Colognese carried matters with a high hand. They obliged all vessels navigating the Rhine to unlade their cargoes at Cologne, whence they were conveyed in its own ships. In 1452 Cologne was formally excluded from the Hanseatic League, having taken the part of England, against which the League had declared war, and it was not until 1474 that it was re-united. While commerce flourished, the arts and sciences were equally vigorous. The University of Cologne was the most famous in Germany. The specimens of architecture, paintings on glass, sculptures, and pictures, which still exist, attest the perfection which the Colognese artists had attained.

(The Penny Magazine, November 1842)

Rotterdam: All you meet on the road salute you

„Never did common fame more grossly vary from the truth than in the English accounts of Holland. They tell us of a dirty, slovenly, unpolished people, without good nature, good manners, or common decency; whereas the very first thing that must strike every one that has eyes, and that before he has gone an hundred yards from Rotterdam Haven, is that this is the cleanest place he ever saw in his life, there being scarce a speck of dirt to be seen either on the doors or steps of any of the houses or on the stones of the street. And all the natives he meets, whether men, women, or children, are of a piece with the place they live in; being so nicely clean from head to foot, both in their persons and clothes, as I have seen very few in my life even of the gentry in England. There is likewise a remarkable mildness and lovingness in their behavior. All you meet on the road salute you. Every one is ready to show the way, or to answer any questions, without anything of the English surliness. And the carriage as well as dress of all the women we have yet seen is exactly modest and altogether natural and unaffected.“ (John Wesley)

Vor bald 300 Jahren schrieb John Wesley über das schmutzige Köln und das geleckte Rotterdam (heute sind beide Städte Partnerstädte), die jeweilige Mentalität der Einwohner. In Rotterdam hatten wir vorwiegend mit allochthonen Bürgern zu tun, Männern ausschließlich, die, sobald sie unser ausländischen Kennzeichen entdeckten, vom Straßenrand oder vom Steuer ihres Wagens auf der Nebenspur, lautstark auf sich aufmerksam machten, uns freundlich nach unseren Absichten fragten, und in der Folge sehr schnell: ob wir „etwas bräuchten?“ Sicher, brauchen läßt sich fast immer „etwas“ – unsere Antworten jedoch bewegten die jungen Männer erstaunlicherweise stets dazu, freundlich lächelnd den rechten Daumen emporzustrecken und zügig das Weite zu suchen, bzw. ostentativ am Straßenrand zurückzubleiben, eine Grußform, die wir schnell übernahmen, die Ehre der zahlreichen Begrüßungskomittees adäquat zu erwidern. Ja, die Rotterdamer sind freundliche Leute, nicht nur die allochthonen, welche in Kürze die Mehrheit stellen dürften, die autochthonen sind es nicht minder, allerdings in zurückhaltenderer Manier: die ohnehin recht hochpreisigen Rotterdamer Parkuhren akzeptieren lange nicht jedes Zahlungsmittel, was uns zu stundenlangem Cruisen bewegte, bis wir schließlich auf einen autochthonen Geschäftsmann trafen, der uns, nachdem wir ihn auf unser Problem angesprochen hatten, großzügig Parkzeit zur Verfügung stellte. Wohl mögen die Rotterdamer das touristische Parkplatzproblem noch locker nehmen – wir sahen bei mehrstündigem Cruisen gerade einmal zwei weitere Wagen mit ausländischen Nummernschildern. Sollten aber die Massen nach Rotterdam einfallen, welche diese Stadt schon aufgrund ihrer wirren Architektur verdient, könnte das allseitige Problem der Parkplatzschnorrerei zügig überhand nehmen. Sauber sind heute nicht nur die Straßen in Rotterdam, sondern in ganz Holland. Bei autochthon wirkenden Kindern und Frauen fällt zudem ein hoher Anteil Weizenblondheit auf, was uns zu Spekulationen über ein partielles Blondheitsgebot verleitete.

Cologne is one of the best cities in Germany

“Cologne is one of the best cities in Germany, seated upon the river Rhine; the streets are large, the houses high, the churches and monasteries great and numerous. The town-hall is a stately building; over the portal are written several Latin inscriptions, expressing the occasion of the building of this city by Agrippa, cousin to Augustus Caesar, scilicet, to hinder the incursions of the Suevi into the lower parts of Germany.
In the lower rooms are kept the courts of guards; in the first story the senate doth assemble; the second story contained a great number of Roman arms, distributed into several chambers; as also the third, scilicet, bucklers, some of which are whale-bone; cross-bows, and a great number of bolts. Amongst others there was one of those machines used by the Romans for a battery, called Ballista (…)
From the top of this house is an easy and pleasant prospect of the whole town, it being higher than any steeple there.
The cathedral is a fair church, but imperfect, neither the steeple nor body of the church being brought to their first intended height.
There they show several reliques; among others the bones of eleven thousand virgins of this country, who, for the more easy practice of their Christian religion, followed a king of England`s daughter to Cologne, and were all there martyrized with their leader, by a king of the Hunns.
The tombs of the three kings that came to worship our Saviour, first buried at Milan, and afterwards translated hither upon a certain day, which they observe as the greatest festival of the whole year. Their bodies, dried like mummy, are that day exposed to public view, the tomb being uncovered. One of them (they tell you) is much blacker than the rest, which they take to be the King of Aethopia. All the pilgrims (whose devotions lead them thither), that day, are treated and waited on at meat by the senators barefooted.
Near to this tomb lies a vast stone, which they tell you the devil threw in at the top of the church to destroy it, which heaven miraculously diverted; showing a round place in the repair of the roof, where it should enter. (…)
The next church of note is that of the Jesuits, built after the modern use: in the middle alley, going up to the choir, stand fourteen excellent statues, our Saviour`s with six of the apostles on one hand, our Lady`s with the other six, on the other side. (…)”
Der Zufall wollte, daß wir heute mit einem Kölner Stadtführer verabredet waren. Weil wir nichts von Reresbys Kölner “Jesuitenkirche” wußten, fragten wir bei derart passender Gelegenheit, ob es eine solche noch gäbe und er führte uns kurzerhand zu St. Mariä Himmelfahrt. Da wachen sie nach wie vor, die “fourteen excellent statues”. Gemeinsam klapperten wir weitere Innenstadtkirchen ab, erfuhren wo Karl Marx seine Schokolade trank, wie Georg Weerth in der Rheinischen Zeitung den Wortlaut offizieller Verlautbarungen im Feuilleton abdruckte und somit zur Satire umwertete und schlenderten durch längst verschwundene Gassen. Doch weiter im Reresby:
“The greatest part of the inhabitants of this city are Romanists, none being allowed the public practice of their religion but those; nor, by a late law, can any marry and settle amongst them, that is a protestant; which severity, with others in that kind, gives it the name of Roma Germanica.
The women here follow much the mode of Brabant, wearing upon their foreheads a round peak like unto a saucer, of black velvet; from the middle rises a black stalk of the size and length of a man`s finger, tufted with silk at the end; from the back of their heads there falls a black veil down to their heels, like widows. (…)
Here was born Bruno, the founder of that strict order of the Chartric, by the rules of which establishment the monks are never allowed to eat flesh, or to speak one to another, except at certain times, and those but few.”

(aus: The Memoirs and Travels of Sir John Reresby)

Nicht übel, Mr. Hubble!

Im April 1925 erschien in der amerikanischen Zeitschrift Popular Astronomy der Bericht eines Vortrags, welchen Edwin Hubble im Januar desselben Jahres unter dem Titel Cepheid Variables in Spiral Nebulae an der George Washington University gehalten hatte, gefolgt von einem Nachdruck in der britischen Zeitschrift Observatory. Mit dieser Pubikation wurde der Astronom weltbekannt.

Im Juli 1928 unternahm Hubble mit weiteren Teilnehmern der 3. Generalversammlung der Internationalen Astronomischen Union in Leiden eine Reise zu wissenschaftlichen Zentren in den Niederlanden, in Deutschland und in England. Während dieser Reise nahm sich Hubble, ein begeisterter Angler, Zeit, um in Schaffhausen seinem Hobby nachzugehen: Forelle, Barsch, Äsche, Hecht, Zander, Rotauge, Brasse und Karpfen schienen ihm Gründe genug für einen Besuch des Rheinfalls. Beim Weidlingsangeln wurde er seinerzeit von Josef Mändli, Journalist bei den Schaffhauser Nachrichten (damals noch: Schaffhauser Intelligenzblatt), fotografiert:

hubble1

Als im März 1929 Hubbles sechsseitiger Artikel A Relation between Distance and Radial Velocity among Extra-Galactic Nebulae erschien, erinnerte sich Josef Mändli seiner Aufnahmen vom Vorjahr. Unter der Überschrift Nicht übel, Mr. Hubble! erklärte Mändli seinen Lesern ausführlich und kompetent den neuen Meilenstein der Astronomie-Geschichte. Zur Illustration verwendete er nochmals seine Aufnahme von Hubble am Rheinfall, allerdings nun in einer bearbeiteten Version, welche den Expansionsgedanken an einem heimatlichen Beispiel illustrieren sollte:

hubble2

Eine heruntergekommene Stadt (2)

„(…) It was a city of priests, who spent there the riches of the country, but the days of ecclesiastical greatness are past. It possessed also monopolizing privileges in trade, which the good sense of modern times has abolished. Hence its decline. The people still speak with regret of the good times, when the canons spent their revenues there, like the princess of the Empire, and the neverending festivals and splendid processions at once brought wealth and entertainment to their city. (…)

No monk or nun was to be seen in the streets. Formerly black monks were ever to be seen crawling about, and annoying strangers for money.
A most numerous class of boatmen and porters at the quay along the Rhine, a more industrious, but here not a more useful class than the monks, no longer finds employment. By an iniquitous and absurd regulation, every ship which came down the Rhine, was obliged to stop, and unload her cargo at Cologne; as well as every ship that came up. A great delay was thus occasioned, an immense expense was incurred for no reason whatever, but to find employment for men, whose labour here was of no benefit to those who were compelled to employ them. In fact every thing seems to have been done by man, to counteract the bounty of nature. (…)

The first place I went to was the cathedral. It is a vast, but unfinished, Gothic building, of beauty, which connoisseurs say is unequalled. Several people were at their devotions, and the servants of the church were equally busy in shewing its rarities to strangers. The most remarkable are the splendid and costly monument, and the crowned skulls of the Three Kings. To what a pitch will not ignorance and superstition carry a besotted people! And what are the limits of imposition, when it is found to succeed! (…) A well-informed Catholic holds in equal contempt, the delusions of the mob in Cologne. (…)

The flying bridge on the Rhine is the scene of the most activity at Cologne. I went across the river by it, to see the country beyond, but as the roads were scarcely passable, and as no variety presented itself, the excursion was made very short. I shall here endeavour to describe the bridge, as we have got nothing of the kind in England.
The bridge consists of two very large barges, fastened together, and flooring of strong boards put over them, with a rail round the side to prevent accidents. This deck of the bridge is, they say, capacious enough to receive 1500 people; it certainly could accommodate 500 with great ease. An anchor is fixed in the river, far up above the bridge, a chain goes from the anchor to a boat, from that boat a chain goes to another boat, from that to a third, a forth, fifth and sixth; from this last boat it goes to the bridge. The bridge is kept fast to the side, till the passengers, horses, cattle, carriages, waggons, &c. are all got on board. A bell rings to announce its going off. When all is ready, the chain which fastens the bridge to the side is loosed, the helm is moved, so that the force of the current carries the bridge off from the side, and as the chain from the boats will no allow it to go down the stream, it is carried towards the other side. (…)

Such were the objects worthy of notice, which I saw at Cologne. As it is a great thoroughfare for Germany, I had the satisfaction of meeting with many of our countrymen. It was a high gratification to see the soft, and amiable pleasing countenances, and manners of British ladies, after being compelled so long to look on Dutch, or German women. It is no flattery, and any of our countrymen who have had the same experience, will say the same.

I am, &c. &c.”

(James Mitchell: A Tour Through Belgium, Holland, Along the Rhine, and Through the North of France, in the Summer of 1816: In which is Given an Account of the Civil and Ecclesiastical Polity, and of the System of Education of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; with Remarks on the Fine Arts, Commerce, and Manufactures, Chapter XIX, T. and J. Allman, 1819)

Al ruiseñor

¿En qué noche secreta de Inglaterra
o del constante Rhin incalculable,
perdida entre las noches de mis noches,
a mi ignorante oído habrá llegado
tu voz cargada de mitologías,
ruiseñor de Virgilio y de los persas?
Quizá nunca te oí, pero a mi vida
se une tu vida, inseparablemente.
Un espíritu errante fue tu símbolo
en un libro de enigmas. El Marino
te apodaba sirena de los bosques
y cantas en la noche de Julieta
y en la intrincada página latina
y desde los pinares de aquel otro
ruiseñor de Judea y de Alemania,
Heine el burlón, el encendido, el triste.
Keats te oyó para todos, para siempre.
No habrá uno solo entre los claros nombres
que los pueblos te dan sobre la tierra
que no quiera ser digno de tu música,
ruiseñor de la sombra. El agareno
te soñó arrebatado por el éxtasis
el pecho traspasado por la espina
de la cantada rosa que enrojeces
con tu sangre final. Asiduamente
urdo en la hueca tarde este ejercicio,
ruiseñor de la arena y de los mares,
que en la memoria, exaltación y fábula,
ardes de amor y mueres melodioso.

(Jorge Luis Borges)