Posts from the ‘Germany’ category

Fraser River, Port Mann Bridge, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

World Rivers Day: an RTW selection

Every year, the last Sunday in September is World Rivers Day. The University of Oxford’s Dictionaries defines ‘river‘ as:

“a large natural stream of water flowing in a channel to the sea, a lake, or another river.”

A river has always been water supply and demand: daily use and consumption; farming and agriculture; and where the waste goes, often back into the same supply. A river has always been about transport: trade and delivery of goods; shuttling people between places; and with people travelling, the exchange of language and culture. Throughout history, the establishment of towns and cities and the subsequent development of rivers have been about a mix of urban and rural elements, and about the relationship and interactions between people and their waterways.

Here are my views of these rivers, above and from the ground, near and far, from around the world (RTW). Asterisks indicate the presence of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

  1. Alster, in Hamburg, Germany
  2. Boate, in Rapallo, Italy
  3. Cam, in Cambridge, England
  4. Capilano, in North Vancouver, BC, Canada
  5. Courtenay, in Courtenay, BC, Canada
  6. Danube, in Regensburg*, Germany
  7. Elbe, in Magdeburg, Germany
  8. Elqui, between La Serena and Vicuña, Chile
  9. Fox, at Fox Glacier*, New Zealand
  10. Fraser, in Richmond, BC, Canada
  11. Gera, in Erfurt*, Germany
  12. Guadalquivir, in Seville, Spain
  13. Havel, in Potsdam, Germany
  14. Iguazu*, at the Argentina-Brazil border
  15. Inn, in Passau, Germany
  16. Isar, in Munich, Germany
  17. Loisach, from Zugspitze, Germany
  18. Main, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  19. Mapocho, in Santiago, Chile
  20. Neckar, in Heidelberg, Germany
  21. Neisse, at the Germany-Poland border
  22. Parramatta, in Sydney, Australia
  23. Potomac, in Washington, DC, USA
  24. Rhine, stretch* between Mainz and Koblenz, Germany
  25. Río de la Plata, in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  26. Sâone, in Lyon*, France
  27. Singapore, in Singapore
  28. Spree, in Berlin, Germany
  29. Tasman, in Canterbury, New Zealand
  30. Thames, in London, England
  31. Tiền, near Mỹ Tho, Vietnam
  32. Trave, in Lübeck*, Germany
  33. Vltava, in Prague*, Czech Republic
  34. Waiho, at Franz Josef Glacier*, New Zealand
  35. Waimakariri, in Canterbury, New Zealand
  36. Yarra, in Melbourne, Australia

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Fotoeins Friday: Multimodal motion, Berlin Tempelhof

Leipzig Spinnerei: from cotton mill to arts centre

Worms’ Holy Sand: The Rabbi and the Patron

ShUM, SchUM, medieval Jewish cities, Speyer, Shpira, Worms, Warmaisa, Mainz, Magenza, Germany, Ashkenaz, Rheinland-Pfalz, Rhineland-Palatinate, fotoeins.com

Jewish ShUM on the Rhine: Speyer, Worms, Mainz

When threats of destruction to property and life follow and linger over a group of people through no fault of their own over centuries, there’s something to be said about an eternal need to keep a watchful eye. Words like Verfolgung, Vernichtung, and Vertreibung1 have been etched into memory. I have all this in mind as I explore Jewish history in Germany as part of my need to answer the following question:

How did a nation of people which fostered composers Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Strauss; and writers Goethe, the Brothers Grimm, Heine, Hesse, Heinrich and Thomas Mann, and Schiller sink to the worst depths of human atrocity and depravity in the first half of the 20th-century?

It’s easy to forget Jewish people have lived in what is now Italy and southern Europe since the middle of the 2nd-century BCE and inhabited southern Germany from the late 10th-century AD/CE2. During the High Middle Ages, three important bishopric (and cathedral) cities of Speyer, Worms, and Mainz along the Rhine river formed an important league or federation of Jewish communities (Kehillot) from the end of the 10-century to about the mid-to-late 14th-century. The word שו”ם or ShUM (SchUM in German)4 is an acronym consisting of the first letters of the Hebrew names for the three cities:

•   Shin (ש), Sh for Shpira (שפירא) → present-day Speyer;
•   Waw or Vav (ו), U for Warmaisa (וורמש) → present-day Worms;
•   and Mem (ם), M for Magenza (מגנצא) → present-day Mainz.

The ShUM cities became centres for learning, training, religion, culture, and trade within medieval Germany (Ashkenaz3) and throughout Europe. Today, the three ShUM cities establish key destinations for historical travel, provide rich examples for continuing research on medieval Jewish life, and add up to a comprehensive project in recognizing an important chapter of the history of Jews in Germany.

Germany has presently over 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but none of them relate to the long-standing Jewish history in the country. The German federal state of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate) submitted the ShUM cities for national consideration in the summer of 2012. Having passed the rigours of internal ranking among other worthy candidates within the national committee, the application entered the UNESCO’s tentative lists for World Heritage Sites in 2015. In 2020, the German Foreign Ministry will submit to UNESCO all documentation relating to the nomination, says Susanne Urban, Managing Director of the ShUM-Cities Association. Urban adds that a final decision by UNESCO regarding the ShUM cities as a new World Heritage Site is not expected until 2021.


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