Fotoeins Fotografie

location bifurcation, place & home

Posts tagged ‘Frankfurt’

IHolocaustdenkmal, Berlin, Germany,

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: observations from Germany

Primo Levi, Italian-Jewish author, chemist, and Auschwitz survivor, delivered a set of essays about life and survival in Nazi extermination camps in his 1986 book “The Drowned and the Saved”. Levi wrote:

… For us to speak with the young becomes even more difficult. We see it as a duty and, at the same time, as a risk: the risk of appearing anachronistic, of not being listened to. We must be listened to: above and beyond our personal experiences, we have collectively witnessed a fundamental, unexpected event, fundamental precisely because unexpected, not foreseen by anyone. It took place in the teeth of all forecasts; it happened in Europe; incredibly, it happened that an entire civilized people, just issued from the fervid cultural flowering of Weimar, followed a buffoon whose figure today inspires laughter, and yet Adolf Hitler was obeyed and his praises were sung right up to the catastrophe. It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say.

On 27 January 1945, Soviet Red Army troops liberated the Nazi concentration and extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in south-central Poland. Over 1 million men, women, and children were murdered.

The United Nations declared January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day; the designation came during the 42nd plenary session of the United Stations when resolution 60/7 was passed on 1 November 2005.

Accepting and openly stating responsibility are critical first steps, but spending time, money, and effort to ensure the simple motto of “never again” is also an ongoing reality that isn’t solely up to the citizens of Germany. It’s a collective responsibility that we all should have to remain vigilant; that we all have to recognize and bolster actions which encourage and strengthen the universality of human rights, and reject the erosion and withdrawal of those rights.

I believe responsible tourism also includes paying appropriate respect at a memorial, especially the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. It’s my view this important memorial is not (supposed to be) a playground.

And yet, there’s something to be said about what it means to have freedom in the early 21st-century, allowing people to laugh and frolic in the public space, an undulating sculpture of featureless massive grey cement blocks, a testimonial to the systematic murder of millions of people.

Naturally, you have the freedom to play here, take selfies, and have a grand time. But it doesn’t mean I’m gonna laugh with you; for example: Yolocaust art project (DW 2017).

( Click here for more )

An afternoon at Roemerberg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany,

Fotoeins Friday: animal kingdom (Frankfurt am Main)

I’ve been reading about photographer Joel Meyerowitz and studying his pictures. Meyerowitz said:

You look at it [a photograph] and all around the real world is humming, buzzing and moving, and yet in this little frame there is stillness that looks like the world. That connection, that collision, that interfacing, is one of the most astonishing things we can experience.

Photography is a response that has to do with the momentary recognition of things. Suddenly you’re alive. A minute later there was nothing there. I just watched it evaporate. You look one moment and there’s everything, next moment it’s gone.

At the Römerberg square in the German city of Frankfurt am Main, I stand apart from the crowds pointing their cameras at the fountain or at the reconstructed famous buildings to the side. I slow down, stop, and take a breath. I happen to look down at the small dog in the bag, attached by a ribbon to the gentleman holding a purse in his other hand. He’s adjusting his pants in a semi-reluctant pose and although he’s facing away from me, the pose is almost as if he’s been “caught holding the bag.” The purse’s owner has gone out of the scene, looking at something else that’s caught their eye or perhaps they’re looking for souvenirs.

Are they visitors or residents? Does it even matter? The tiny pocket-sized canine is the key.

The dog looks at me distinctly unamused, whereas the pigeon “inside” the cord sits calmly on the cobblestone, seemingly unconcerned by the surrounding bipedal hustle and bustle. Once I’ve taken the frame, I’ve witnessed the rhythm of legs, corners, and triangles; sometimes amusement strikes without warning. Does the dog somehow sense it’s at the bottom of the hierarchy? Is the dog’s pleading look a request for escape? Of course, I’m also thinking about Elliott Erwitt’s “Snaps“.

I made the above photograph on 9 May 2015 with the Canon EOS6D, 24-105 L-zoom, and the following settings: 1/200-sec, f/16, ISO1000, and 105mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at as

Römerberg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany,

Fotoeins Friday: Heine’s warning about book burning (Frankfurt)

Most visitors to Frankfurt am Main will stop at the historic Römerberg square for pictures of the surrounding buildings with bank towers in the background. But a glance down onto the cobblestones near the Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen (Fountain of Justice) reveals a writer’s stern warning. In the tragedy “Almansor“, the German-Jewish writer Heinrich Heine warned readers about the dangers of burning books:

Das war ein Vorspiel nur. Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.
– Heinrich Heine, “Almansor” (1820-1821)

Heine wrote how burning books is a dangerous omen: “where books are burned, people aren’t far behind.” A little over 100 years later, this prescient line played out as the Nazis took over and targeted in particular Jews. On 10 May 1933 in Frankfurt and in other cities across the country in plans orchestrated by the Propaganda Ministry, tens of thousands including university students loyal to the Nazis gathered to burn books by writers who were Jewish or who were deemed ‘unpatriotic’ or ‘un-German’ to the Nazi ideal. Books by Bertolt Brecht, Sigmund Freud, Heinrich Heine, Erich Kästner, and Heinrich Mann among others were thrown into the fire. The Gedenkplatte (or Gedenktafel) Bücherverbrennung is a memorial and modern reminder for constant vigilance against the dangerous reasons for book burning and the consequences beyond.

Gedenkplatte Bücherverbrennung, Römerberg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany,

Gedenkplatte Bücherverbrennung: memorial plaque to 1933 book burning

I made the photos above on 9 May 2015. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at as

Love locks, Eiserner Steg, Iron Footbridge, Main river, Frankfurt am Main, Germany,

Fotoeins Friday: Crown of locks on Frankfurt’s Eiserner Steg

The Eiserner Steg (Iron Footbridge, 1869) is a pedestrian-only bridge over the Main (word pronounced like “mine”) river in Frankfurt am Main which connects the city’s Römerberg and Old Town on the north flank with the Museum Embankment and Sachsenhausen on the south flank. My glance to the city’s “Main-hattan” skyline found clusters of love-locks hanging from the bridge structure. Whatever your opinions are about these love-locks, they make a great compositional feature.

Other love locks:

•   Cologne’s Hohenzollernbrücke
•   Heidelberg’s Alte Brücke (Old Bridge)

I made this photo above on 20 November 2014 with the Canon EOS6D, 24-105 L zoom-lens, and the following settings: 1/20s, f/4, ISO4000 and 24mm focal length. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress on as

Meral's Imbiss, Mainufer, Frankfurt am Main, Germany,

My Frankfurt: taste of Istanbul on the Main

“This is like being in Istanbul,” my friend says, in between bites of his sandwich.

Ömer, his fiancée, and I are sitting on the south bank of the river Main in Frankfurt, Germany. We’re soaking the late-summer sun. The grassy meadows are full of people: some in animated conversation; some surrounded by a big spread of food, beer, and wine; others kicking the soccer ball back and forth with their children.

There’s a whole lot of happiness here, but there’s a long line of people, waiting to purchase food and drink at the boat parked by the riverbank.

We just left that very same line after waiting for an hour. What we’re eating now made the wait worthwhile.

Over the ten-plus years I’ve known Ömer, he’s never been wrong about food in Germany.

Meral's Imbiss, Mainufer, Frankfurt am Main, Germany,

Speisekarte | Food menu

Meral's Imbiss, Mainufer, Frankfurt am Main, Germany,

Hamsi (Sardellen) fried-fish sandwich, “Ominade”

We each have a fried-fish sandwich: lightly fried fish in thin crispy batter, crunchy lettuce, slices of juicy tomato, stuffed in fresh soft Turkish bread. There’s a choice of Sardellen (anchovies), Makrelen (mackerel), or Doradenfilet (gilthead seabream). Ominade, freshly-squeezed lemonade according to Oma’s (Grandmother’s) recipe, is the right amount of sweet-tart, providing cool refreshment for our afternoon snack.

“The guy, the family who runs that boat, they’ve got this right, and I’ve gotta admit this feels like we’re on the Bosporus.”

High praise from Ömer: born in Istanbul, raised in Köln, and who’s gone back to know Istanbul very well in adulthood.

We’re silent over the next few minutes, chewing slowly and contemplating Istanbul. I’m realizing the obvious. If the food is any indication, I’m missing out; I’ve not yet visited Istanbul.

But right now, I’m eyeing that long line: I want another fried-fish sandwich and lemonade. But I don’t want to move; this is summer-like weather on an early-autumn afternoon on the bank of the river Main.

If you’re visiting Frankfurt am Main, make your way to the Main river to the boat called Meral’s Imbissboot (Meral’s Snack Boat). Naturally, they serve Döner, but their fried fish is too good not to try. Subject to weather conditions, the boat is open for service every day from noon to 11pm, between March and October.

Public transport: nearest U-Bahn station Willy-Brandt-Platz or Schweizer Platz.

I made the photos above on 3 October (German Reunification Day) 2011. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at as

Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof, central train station, Frankfurt am Main, Germany,

Germany’s urban G-E-M-S: Frankfurt am Main

Germany isn’t just about beer, Oktoberfest, or fairy-tale castles. There’s much more to find, see, and do in the country with a wide array of choices throughout the country.

But with tens of millions of visitors streaming into the country every year, are there any “hidden gems” left to discover?

The phrase “hidden gem” is mentioned as an overused cliché. Yet, the phrase can be turned over to emphasize the individual letters in “GEMS”. That word is no longer a four-letter burden or curse, because I’m creating an informative and more engaging acronym.

I shine the spotlight on places where most arrive by plane – on Germany’s five largest cities. They are Frankfurt am Main, Köln (Cologne), München (Munich), Hamburg, and Berlin.

Although it’s impossible to fit my favourites into a handful of categories, I’m listing for each city the following “G-E-M-S”: a Green Space, a place to Eat, a Museum, and something significant or Special. By design, the individual letters also work beautifully in German: Grünanlagen, Essen gehen, Museum, and Sondertipp, respectively.

I begin the series in the city of Frankfurt on the river Main.

[ Click here for more ]

Frolicking in Frankfurt am Main at Christmas

Why are there shoulder-to-shoulder crowds braving heavy snowfall while packed in tiny slushy streets in Germany’s financial centre? It’s got to be the Frankfurter Weihnachtsmarkt or Frankfurt’s Christmas Market.

Frankfurt am Main (pronounced “mine”) has a reputation of staid people concerned only with making money in “Main-hattan” and the apparent transgression of simply being “physically unattractive” compared to other cities in the nation. But the city’s people makes up for these perceived failings with a large Christmas market almost one kilometre in length. Frankfurters work hard and party hard, turning modern can-do energy into high holiday tradition.

Frankfurt’s Christmas Market begins at the pedestrian-only shopping area that is the Zeil just outside Hauptwache train station, continues south on Liebfrauenstrasse and Neue Kräme to Paulsplatz, meanders on and expands out to the “market’s centre” at Römerberg square in the heart of the Altstadt (Old Town), and south again onto Fahrtor towards Mainkai on the northern shore of the river Main.

With an obligatory Glühwein in hand, the compactness of a long continuous market packing a maximum number of people is a big reason why I enjoy this Christmas market. It’s an occasion I don’t mind crowds, although sometimes I wonder at the looks and smiles on people’s faces: this is Frankfurt?!

Another highlight is the 30-metre (over 100-feet) high Christmas tree at Römerberg. A third highlight is that with the earliest recorded mention of Frankfurt’s Christmas Markets in 1393, people in the subsequent six centuries know a lot about local Christmas customs; for example, their version of the humble Reibkuchen (potato pancakes) rivals those at other markets around the country.

With over three decades spent in Köln, one of my best friends in Germany loves the Christmas markets in his hometown Karneval City, but there are three reasons why the Frankfurt market is special to him. “It’s at this market where I met a woman for our first date, and she’s the one whom I eventually married,” says Ömer. “They’ve got the best Reibkuchen around. Finally, there’s a ‘Honey Hut’ where the local Imkerei (beekeeping, apiculture) sets up shop with various kinds of honey, honey liquor, and Christmas figures and candles made from bees’ wax.”

I could sip on that smooth honey liquor all day; Reibkuchen with apple sauce are light not oily; and I can understand how even a staunch Kölner can enjoy Frankfurt’s market.

To reach the city’s Christmas market by public transport, take the S-Bahn train to Hauptwache, or U-Bahn to Hauptwache or Dom/Römer stations. In the map below, the green solid line shows the approximate extent of Frankfurt’s central Christmas market, and the green tree marks the location of the large Christmas tree at Römerberg.

Andrew Couch and Alison Garland also provide deliciously colourful perspectives of the Frankfurter Weihnachtsmarkt.

With three photos made by Ömer Kutbay (ÖK), I made these photos on 18 December 2010. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at

Hangin’ o’er the Main

Holbeinsteg Frankfurt Germany

Holbeinsteg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

A sign at the foot of this bridge reads:


Baujahr: 1990.
Architekt: Albert Speer & Partner
Bedeutung: Die über 142 m frei gespannte Stahlseil-Hängebrücke ist das zeitgemäße Pendant zum Eisernen Steg ein wichtiger bestandteil des 1980 entwickelten Städtebaukonzepts des Frankfurter Museumsufers.

Completed in 1990 as a pedestrian-only bridge, the Holbeinsteg is a 142-metre free-span steel and cable suspension bridge over the river Main (pronounced like “mine”). The bridge is a modern version of the nearby Eiserner Steg (Iron Bridge) to the east, and is an important part of the 1980 planning concept developed by the city of Frankfurt for the Museum Embankment along the Main.

I made the photo above on 13 March 2010. This post is published on Fotoeins Fotopress at

Wrapping up Christmas in July

For the last four weeks, I’ve created a modest photo-post series called “Christmas in July”, highlighting some of the scenes to be found in Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Bielefeld, and Berlin in December 2010, right up to Christmas Eve.

To view the entire series of 14 posts and extra Christmas/winter posts from Munich and Prague, please click here.

Christmas in July (3 of 14), Frankfurt

Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse, Frankfurt am Main, Germany – 19 December 2010.

Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse, Fressgass, Frankfurt am Main
Happy holidays, Your Fressgass – yes well, it rhymes better auf Deutsch.

Grosse Bockenheimer Strasse, Fressgass, Frankfurt am MainGrosse Bockenheimer Strasse, Fressgass, Frankfurt am Main
I don’t think there’ll be any “al fresco” dining tonight.

Hier gibt’s die Beschreibung des Fressgasses.

I made the photos above in Frankfurt am Main on 19 December 2010. This post is published originally on Fotoeins Fotopress (

%d bloggers like this: