Jutta had reserved a room for me in a small Gasthaus one village over from Kella. During GDR times, Pfaffschwende had been just outside the Schutzstreifen, the high-security “protective zone”. The narrow road to Pfaffschwende had been the only one by which Kella residents could access the rest of the GDR. As she and Erhard drove me… Read more Dating in the Borderland
This article from the Werra Rundschau’s January 1, 2020 issue, about the festivities marking the 30thanniversary of the border opening between Kella and Braunrod, describes the improvisation that was necessary to set up a border crossing in the absence of any guidance from “above”. The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, had thrown the… Read more 30 years later: Kella and its neighbors commemorate the opening of the border
Today’s excerpt from Chapter 8 also takes place in Rüterberg, the little village on the German-German border that was doubly fenced-in. If you missed last week’s posting on why, you can catch up here. In today’s excerpt, find out about the border violation committed by the former mayor and his wife, and what it was like to… Read more A border violation
Germany is fast approaching the 30thanniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which took the country and the world by surprise on November 9, 1989 (for more on how this actually came about, stay tuned for the book!) Unbeknownst to the rest of the world, for a tiny East German village 130 miles northwest… Read more The Villagers’ Rebellion
Syrian architect Mohamad Hafez was at the Fleming Museum recently to speak about how as a college student in Iowa back in 2004, he began to build miniature scenes of his native city, Damascus, to work through his homesickness. I’ve been thinking about his work a lot, so I finally wrote a commentary about it.
More contemplations from the borderland: Excerpts from Chapter 7 In the Middle Ages, Heimat was a legal term that meant someone had the right to settle, live, and follow their trade in a particular location. The word still has the meaning of home place, or the place a person is from. But most of the… Read more “This is my country”
(Click on the heading to get to the video link) An excellent little video showing what a ‘hard border’ would mean to the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” (Section 2 (c) of the 1964 Wilderness Act) This certainly sounds like a good idea in an age where human… Read more “It’s complicated”: Borders and Wilderness
If you missed this post in English, you can find it here. Mit dem Lernen von Sprachen habe ich früh angefangen. Mein erstes Wörterbuch war ein Bündel vergilbter Seiten mit Listen russischer Wörter die meine Großvater väterlicherseits gehört hatten. Sie waren bei seiner persönlichen Habe, die meiner Großmutter geschickt wurde, nachdem er in einem Lazarett… Read more Britta Kowalski: Heimat
Today’s post is in German, at the request of some German readers. If you missed this post in English, you can find it here. Während meiner Expedition entlang des Grünen Bandes (der ehemaligen deutsch-deutschen Grenze) folgte ich einer Strategie, für die ich mir die Bezeichnung “strukturiertes Umherwandern” (Englisch “sauntering”) überlegt habe. Die 1400 km lange… Read more Silke Kowalski on Heimat (in German)