thoughts – and: Jelenia Gora

It has been more then a week since we have come back from the short trip to Silesia in Poland. In the meantime I have had a lot of thoughts about our trip and about my reactions to  finally seeing the places I had heard so much about …  but I struggle to untangle the different ideas and reflections and to put them into some kind of order.

Some of the themes and thoughts I plan to write about:

* “capitalism is our home” , a sentence I said to my girlfriend before we headed home.

* signs and imagery of different regimes in that region, after trying to imagine how it must have been there with all the Nazi symbolism on buildings … and then thinking that after the war they were replaced by communist propaganda imagery only to be replaced, again, decades later, by our capitalist symbols: huge advertisements on decrepit buildings for all kinds of shopping malls …

* people and buildings that do not go together … or how the Polish people how live there now let the old “German” houses and buildings fall apart and favour new, bland buildings, and wondering if it really is only a matter of money and means (which certainly is the main reason) or if something else is behind this structural neglect of the buildings of a past. Some parts of Jelenia Gora are beautifully restored though, but not the residential areas, where people actually live and work …

*stepping into a picture and into a time …

*layers of time again and again.

Let us begin with some pictures from the market place in Jelenia Gora (Hirschberg), those houses are, of course, all restored  ..

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My Girlfriend Claudia, her ancestors come from Silesia, and her father spent the war years some 20 km away from the village where my family was deported to … She was never interested in going to this part of Europe, didn´t even know where “Schlesien” was, until I told her about my family and what had happened to then during World War 2 …

Could I have imagined, as a kid, when I was listening to the stories about the war, that one day I would live in the country that was the country of the enemy, that I would have a German partner whose family originated in that part of the former Reich where my family had been deported to? No. But isn’t it an wonderful thing that this is indeed possible? Claudia asked me some time ago: “how can you live in Germany? ” But then I believe that we are all capable of the best and capable of the worst, and that this has nothing to do with where we come from ….


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