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A few things I should have mentioned about Nuremberg – or maybe not

My eternally-un-named friend in Nuremberg

Eternally-un-named friend in Nuremberg at weekend

“I need a blog,” I told my eternally-un-named friend today.

“Oh no, no,” she said. “I’m tired. There’s a lot of things you’ve said in other blogs where I think Oh, I don’t really like the way I sound there – that’s stupid – and why do you have to use the eternally-un-named friend phrase so often?… and… I’m really tired.”

“You’re at your best when you’re tired,” I told her. “You’re on a roll; go for it.”

My eternally-un-named friend and I returned from Nuremberg yesterday. It was my first visit. She had been there in the 1980s and 1990s.

“Tell me about Dürer and the statue of the rabbit,” I suggested.

Albrecht Dürer drew a picture of a young hare in 1502. Outside Dürer’s (rebuilt) house stands or, rather, sits a modern sculpture based on his picture.

Mad hare

The hare with the myxomatosis kind of eyes

“I remembered it being like your mother’s ornament,” my eternally-un-named friend told me today. “But it wasn’t like that at all – or Dürer’s drawing. Instead it was like this crazy thing that had myxomatosis kind of eyes and had his claws on top of a human foot and had other things sticking out of it… It looked like it had had a car crash and was really rough and ghastly and spookily gross but, then, Dürer did have some pictures of odd animals with pop-eyes for some reason.

“It just disappointed me because, of course, I was getting well into hares because of their connection with the moon and them being…”

“Connection with the moon?” I asked.

“The moon,” repeated my eternally-un-named friend. “The moon goddess is represented by a hare in pagan religion when women ruled… or were, at least, equal… ehhh… the world.”

We looked at each other. We laughed.

Durer_NurnbergRuins

But you can mention the Dürer statue which survived the War

“We did have that conversation at Dürer’s house,” I reminded her, “where we were both disappointed that nothing in Dürer’s house appeared to actually be Dürer’s. Most things were copies.

“And I said to you: That’s possibly our fault, because the British bombed the place and – was it 94% or was it 97% of the town was destroyed?”

“I don’t think we need to keep mentioning things being bombed,” said my eternally-un-named friend. “I don’t think we need to keep mentioning the War. There is the Fawlty Towers joke of Don’t mention the War, but there does come a point where it all… There ARE other things.”

“Such as?” I asked.

“Dürer had a toilet built in his kitchen,” replied my eternally-un-named friend.

“I forgot to mention that in my blogs,” I admitted. “Remind me.”

“It was against city council regulations, even in those days,” said my eternally-un-named friend. “So he had to pay a fine before they would give it back to him.”

The Nuremberg Rally review stand in 1933

The Nuremberg Rally review stand in 1933

“But, getting back to the War,” I said, “you thought it was odd that I didn’t mention Rudiger playing tennis against the back wall of Hitler’s review stand at the place they held the Nazi rallies.”

“Well,” said my eternally-un-named friend, “people just used it for hitting balls against and Rudiger did when he was a teenager in the 1970s. Now you can’t do that because of it crumbling. If you had included it in your blogs, it would have showed that life had gone on. Only a few decades after this building we’ve all seen used on television as an awesome Nazi symbol of power… people were playing tennis against its side and back walls. It’s like the Ozymandias poem.

The Noremberg Rally review stand in 1993

The Nuremberg Rally review stand in 1993, already crumbling

“When we were there at the weekend, the whole of that road where they used to march in front of Hitler was being used by a family on roller skates. It was like a 1950s no-longer-used schoolyard and there was some guy in shorts just using the steps to run up and down for exercise.”

“The odd thing,” I said, “was that, when we were in the rally ground, I didn’t think of the awfulness of the Nazis or the scale of the rallies. I was thinking of the lyrics in that Stereophonics song Nice To Be Out:

Let me think now, let me see
I stood once where Hitler’s feet had stood
When he made a speech in Nuremberg in ’38

“Oh for goodness sake…” said my eternally-un-named friend.

Rudiger Schmidt - one degree of separation from car accident

Rudiger Schmidt: a man only one degree of separation from Nuremberg’s first car accident

“You didn’t mention that one of Rudiger’s first landladies was an old woman who was so old she had owned the first car in Nuremberg and, about a year after she bought her car, someone else bought the second car in Nuremberg and, a few weeks later, they crashed into each other.”

“I didn’t think it was interesting enough,” I said.

“But,” said my eternally-un-named friend, “you were interested when Rudiger mentioned that female nurses are called krankenschwester, male nurses are called krankenpfleger and ambulances are krankwagens.”

“I just like the idea of a crank wagon,” I said. “When were you last in Nuremberg?”

A knitted tree-warmer in a Nuremberg park

Knitted tree-warmer in Nuremberg park

“1993. And you didn’t mention in your blogs that the Nuremberg bratwurst sausages are small and thin – the size of a finger – because the wives of men in prison used to shove them through the keyhole. They were small enough to fit through a large keyhole… At which point in your blog, you could use the picture I took of you looking like Dr Strange-glove pointing to a very large lock which isn’t the prison. It was in the castle.”

“It might not be interesting enough,” I said. “What else did I forget to mention?”

“They have beavers in the river,” said my eternally-un-named friend.”

We looked at each other.

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A birthday present from Dartmoor and the crumbling of dark Nazi structures

The perfect birthday present for a man with a slip disc

The perfect birthday present for a slipped disc man

Last night in Nuremberg, I slept on the floor because of my bad back: I was hit by a truck in was it 1990 or was it 1991? I can’t remember and can’t be bothered to check.

Rudiger, with whom I and my eternally-un-named friend are staying understands my problem. He had a slipped disc recently.

It was his birthday yesterday and one of the presents his mother gave him was a pad for his back containing, as far as I understand it, some soil from Dartmoor in England. The pad seems to be called a Moor-Rucken-Kissen. When I put that into Google Translate. it says that it is a Moor-jerking-cushion.

Multi-national life can be very complicated.

“You have to put it in a microwave or hot water and then you put it on your back,” Rudiger told me.

“But you don’t have a microwave,” my eternally-un-named friend pointed out. “It’s a heat thing?”

“Yeah,” said Rudiger, “yeah.”

Rudiger with his back pack yesterday

Rudiger with his back pack yesterday

“It’s a moor back compress,” I read out from the packet. “A pleasant heat source for your back… Helps to release neck tension. Long heat storage due to ‘ist’ whatever that means. Natural moor filling. Perfect fixation by means of individually-adjustable hook and loop fastener. Removable washable covering made from cotton and it’s from Dartmoor?”

“My sister told me it was,” replied Rudiger. “I do not know for certain. I hope so. It would make it more interesting.”

“How are you going to heat it up?” asked my eternally-un-named friend.

“You have to put it in a microwave,” said Rudiger.

“But you don’t have a microwave,” I said.

“I will have to use hot water,” said Rudiger.

“Do you sleep in it,” I asked, “or do you just walk around in it?”

“I think I walk around in it,” Rudiger told me. “I do not know.”

Later in the day, we went to the Nazi Party rally ground on the edge of Nuremberg where Hitler showpieced the best of his Thousand Year Reich.

It looked smaller than it seemed on the newsreels and in the films but, apparently, the rallies comprised 200,000 people.

One of the Thousand Year Reich’s Nuremberg Rallies

One of the Thousand Year Reich’s Nuremberg Rallies of 200,000 Nazis

The vast parade stands and outbuildings of the Thousand Year Reich’s iconic rally ground had started to crumble less than half a century after they were built. They were still crumbling. Reportedly it costs 100,000 Euros per year just to maintain the deteriorating structures and the local council is uncertain whether to keep maintaining them as historic monuments or to knock them down.

Afterwards, Rudiger told us that, once a year, in the 1930s, the Nazi Party would bring together top Nazi officials from all over the country for their own elite rally in the half-built Coliseum near the main rally ground. These vast annual meetings/rallies were filmed but took place only at night, never in the daylight. The reason was that most of the party elite looked far from the ideal of tall, thin, blonde demi-gods. Like Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler and other top Party people, they were often short and dark.

Tall Aryan troops in black uniforms and with blonde hair fronted the assembled masses for the cameras with torches flaring and, in the darkness behind them, were the Nazis.

The Nazis always had a good eye for visual composition and good theatrical events, though I have never heard of any comedy clubs.

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