It was 80 years ago today that Hitler assumed power in Germany, and there are war documentaries all over the television airwaves. Actually one can almost always find a war documentary somewhere on tv, but they tend to cluster more thickly around the anniversaries. Anyway, I was watching an interesting one about the death marches from Dachau southward along the Starnberger See (they got as far as Seeshaupt, where they met American troops and the guards took off in a hurry). In one part of it, two sweet older women were talking about the decision to have a monument. One explained that she was looking for something other than a plaque or a stone, and remembered that there was a type of apple tree which had been bred in the Dachau Konzentrationslager (KZ), called KZ 3 (g). The man who had planted them, Korbinian Aigner, was a Bavarian priest who had been interned there, and who had been on those very forced marches and survived (the fruit is now officially named the Korbiniansapfel). A living memorial tree, the woman realized, would be a perfect kind of memorial to life.
Apparently they are very robust fruit trees. I wonder if they would take well to a large container. If so I may try to grow one myself.
Above, water color by Korbinian Aigner, around 1955. Image found here (g).
>The Beer That Dare Not Speak Its Name — at least, if it ever gets imported to the US.
This news is from a month ago, but I’d missed it. A couple of German marketing executives have won the right to use the name “Fucking Hell” for a not-yet-existent beer — referring to the Austrian town of Fucking (yes, there is one) and to the German word for light ale, “Hell”. (Hell is an adjective meaning light or bright. The German word for Hell, the place, is Die Hölle.)
There are some issues — there is no brewery in the town of Fucking, and the mayor is not altogether pleased (people keep stealing his town’s signs for souvenirs.) A complaint was filed that the phrase is “upsetting, accusatory and derogatory”, but the EU Trademark office rejected the complaint, saying that
“Fucking Hell” was an “an interjection used to express a deprecation, but it does not indicate against whom the deprecation is directed,” the Office added. “Nor can it be considered as reprehensible to use existing place names in a targeted manner (as a reference to the place), merely because this may have an ambiguous meaning in other languages.“
According to the article in Der Spiegel, the brand should be on the shelves by the end of the summer. I’ll keep my eyes open for it.
I had just sung closing night of “Le nozze di Figaro” (playing who else?), on Mozart’s 250th birthday. There was a special party in the theater’s foyer after the performance, with actors, singers and dancers taking part. My special assignment was to be rolled out into the center of the room in a special wooden cake-shaped box, jump out of the top and sing “Happy Birthday, Mister Mozart”, à la Marilyn Monroe. Which I did, before I was wheeled back into a corner and the real cake (a humongous chocolate-marzipan thing decorated to resemble a giant Mozartkugel) was brought out and cut.
That evening, I joked at the time, was both the high and low points of my career, one right after the other! But sometimes you just have to say “What the hell, sure” and do whatever will entertain.
>Last week we took a little excursion through the Bavarian lake region. First stop was lunch, in the Biergarten of a very nice cloister, where the specialty is Schweinhaxe (pork knuckle) and Knödel. We had a great view of the countryside.
Next stop was Bernried, a village on Lake Starnberg and home to the museum housing the art collection of Lothar-Günter Buchheim, whom Americans may recognize as the author of “Das Boot.” Apparently he was a colorful figure, and quite the collector of German expressionist paintings, primitive folk art, and carousel horses, among other things.
This artwork was parked in front of the museum. The seaweed draped over it is made from bicycle chains. The creature on the roof has already got his tentacles into some of the windows.The artist is local.