Being a fan of all things railway I greatly looked forward to visiting this museum and, being in North Korea, I knew it would have that something extra. It did not disappoint. …
The museum focuses on the country’s railway construction projects and how they were influenced/ directed by Kim Jong-il and, to a lesser extent, Kim Il-sung. …
Read the complete feature and learn more about the diverse mysteries of North-Corea just here:
“When I tell my story, it’s not about denouncing Germans and their history, it’s about using the past for the future, and I think I’m an example of building bridges, only then come closer to peace.” (Bernd Wollschlaeger)
Cover of book “A German Life” by Bernd Wollschlaeger, M.D., 2007
Many years ago, Bernd Wollschlaeger has written a book about his exciting life describing in detail how the son of a German Nazi and Holocaust denier became finally a Jew. The author has a story that is anything but commonplace and that he kept for a long time. A native of Bamberg, born in 1958, catholic educated who spent his youth in Meckenheim, where he graduated from high school. His German past was long buried deep. One of the reasons was that his father had put him through a choice: either your parents or Judaism. And Bernd Wollschlaeger had decided for his Jewish belief.
“The East is Red” by Liu Ruowang, China
picked up at NordArt Exhibition 2018 in Germany
His family always had this dark secret. His father used to tell always the same stories from the war, and he used to be proud of his country. He fought on every front: France, Poland, Russia. And in the stories he told his son, it was all about heroes and honor, Artur Wollschläger member of the German Wehrmacht elite. He served under general Heinz Wilhelm Guderian, the commander of large tank units – and father of the German blitzkrieg. But on the other side everybody talking about the Holocaust was just a communist, traitor and lier. His mother told him about the other face of the war, the pure horror and civilian victims. She had made quite different experiences as a Sudeten German, born in Carlsbad in the Czech Republic.
One day, through a teacher, he took part in a peace project involving young Israelis. That was in 1978. He became friends with some. They invited him to visit them in Israel. On the first day there he learned at dinner that his host father was a Holocaust survivor who showed him the tattooed number on his forearm. The next day they drove to Yad Vashem what turned out to be a drastic emotional and mental experience changing his life. What impressed him most, that so many Jews could overcome their hatred after the Holocaust. So he wanted to find out more about this belief. He got in touch with a Jewish Community when back in Germany, and after a very long process converted finally to Orthodox Judaism.
In 1987 Bernd Wollschlaeger emigrates to Israel, six months later his father, who has long since broken up with him, dies. In Israel he first works in a hospital as a doctor, then is drafted into the Isralis army, the son of a Nazis. All the time in Israel he does not talk about his biography and puts the story in a box for a long time. After 7 years in Israel he immigrated to the USA with his family. There his son told the story about his famous Nazi grandpa in the Jewish school in Miami . So Bernd Wollschlaeger had to justify the behaviour of his son in a talk with the headmaster and the Rabbi. He told them his story how he became a Jew, and they urged him to do the same in the class.
The circle has closed, because afterwards he began talking about the secrets of his German past and Jewish belief in many lectures. And lateron he also wrote the book A German Life about his very astonishing development, his contribution for a dialogue between the different cultures of this world.
Under the following link you find a film with a lecture hold by the author:
After decades of a ruthless and deeply unsocial neo-liberalism on the back of the normal people making only the already rich still more richer, another malicious ghost is creeping again over the boulevards of Europe. It is the chauvinist spirit of simplified truths spread by self-proclaimed saviors of occident as a whole.
The nationalist ideologies of 19th and 20th century are now on the verge to a powerful revival in many countries and as well in European parliament after the coming 23-26 May elections. The globalization of this retrogressive zeitgeist has opened new battlefields covered by a gloomy twilight of prefascist idols. Subsequently news of unilateral steps and national solo-efforts by individual states of the European Union now hunt us regularly like greedy and creepy ghosts of a dark age and past times.
The radical nationalists in the diverse countries of Europe now want to put just back the clock finally while having already started a postmodern crucial witchhunt. Like unscrupulous pupils in magic they have lighted blazing totalitarian fires everywhere which need to be urgently extinguished again.
After the bloody fascism in the first half of 20th century we have enjoyed the longest period of peace in Europe without war and opened national borders of former enemies. This represents a real big progress and step in history which needs to be safeguarded and maintained for our common future.
Monochrome look in newspapers, photos and television seem far away today but watching for example black/white television was really an amazing, new and big thing and experience in the early 60s of the last century for me when I was simply a quite young boy.
My brother, a friend from the neighbourhood and me (left to right), 1961
Those days living was so much different, and as a result of WW II the housing need was incredible big. So untll 1963 I used to live in a very small family house together with my grandmother, three aunts, one uncle, two cousins, my brother and my parents, alltogether twelve persons where today not more than six people would usually stay.
I do not know how my mother managed all this, as we had in fact only a small living-room being also the kitchen plus a room for sleeping. These were very confined space conditions, but without knowing anything else, I was happy with it. In the backyard of the house my uncle was running a small workshop for manufacturing and repairing upholstery, and there you would find also some chickens and a small garden with vegetables and some fruit trees. So it was a quite busy and never boring place overall on a rather little premises for so many people.
Scyscraper vision in the naive-modern style of the time
Due to great and extended social housing projects everywhere we fortunately got a bigger and much more modern appartment with a fair priced rent in 1963.
Actually in Europe each year 4 million people are constantly or temporarily without home, moreover the rents in a lot of cities are simply unaffordable for many people and/or housings are just missing. This is the prize of an unrestricted neo-liberalism in the EU since the 90s, so a different and social policy would be barely required now.
The USA under the actual embarrassing regime of a complete ballooned and blonde fake-personality however still have the intention to build a high and “nice” wall on its Southern borderline to Mexico. Hence, I have simply forgotten why this president is greedy for such fence, but this does not really matter because things like that do not constitute any future while the waves of history will just wash it away sooner or later like before the Roman Limes or the municipal Wall of Berlin – what a senseless waste of time, money and energy.
In this respect US American policies – personified by their reactionary, megalomaniac and egodriven leader Donald Trump – reveal again a complete dissociative amnesia regarding past times and history. Now, therefore let’s only remember to the former US president Ronald Reagan and his prominent claim towards the Soviet-Union in West-Berlin, 12 June 1987: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” When being said, this request sounded quite utopian but only around 2 years later this should become very true.
And now 30 years later, the same USA with another president wants to build a protective wall to Mexico in order to safeguard the bloody white American dream of freedom?! So without doubt the shooting slogan “America first” has become already a reality, but such a national-chauvinist strategy and thinking of the 19th century (getting critical also elsewhere in Russia, Turkey, Poland or Hungary) will not resolve any of the global challenging questions of today.
The European Union’s fate could be decided by how it deals with the question of refugees and migration. In Germany, national-chauvinist politicians are pushing to close again the borders such destroying the Schengen Zone being a real progress on this continent. At the frontier from Germany to Poland you may observe actually only the usual sporadic controls by German or Polish customs officers. But at the border to Austria there are already federal police controls which shall be widened.
The German Interior Minister Seehofer is one of the many radical-nationalist ghosthunters in this regard who had already promised to resign what he has not done so far. Instead of following up his other important tasks, such as taking care of urgently required new houses and affordable appartments, since many weeks he only promotes extremist steps against migration although only very few refugees do come to Europe at the moment. And on the recent EU summit nobody has discussed about the question why the people are forced to flee to Europe and what could be done so that they can stay and live furthermore in their homeland under acceptable conditions. This nationalist discourse sees the migrants not as human beings which simply need our help.
More than 100,000 people have already signed a petition asking the German Interior Minister to step back as promised. If you want to joint it, you can do so under the following link: