Category: Germany

Wilhelm Geyer and other Ulmers

Start this bit of exploration at the white Bauhaus structure (city information) across from the Münster.

Interior of Münster in Ulm

A little-known but interesting tidbit about this building: In 1937, Wilhelm Geyer participated in a funny, satirical, but halfway serious “vision thing” for Ulm. His sketch included green belts and parks, precisely where Ulm has installed them since the war. And a white Bauhaus structure across from the Münster. Only difference, he thought it would be a parking garage, not the tourism center. The resemblance to his sketch is eerily accurate.

Of course while you’re here, be sure to tour the Münster itself. (Look for Wilhelm Geyer’s stained glass window, his postwar contribution.) Take time to listen to the porcelain bells on the nearby store, buy ice cream, soak in the beauty of this plaza. It was much different in 1943, since traffic passed through here. Still, Münsterplatz has always been Ulm’s heartbeat. Continue reading

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The Scholls and Ulm

Münsterplatz 33 as it was seen in the 1930s

Starting at the train station, take a quick look around Bahnhofplatz. It was much larger, fancier, and attractive in 1943. Try to imagine Susanne Hirzel—in her early twenties—being led through this plaza in her hometown along with ‘common criminals’, on her way to spend the next six months in a women’s prison.

Next, find Bahnhofstraße 10, where Robert Scholl had his accounting offices from 1930—1932. (Bahnhofstraße runs directly in front of the train station, whereas Bahnhofplatz is behind it.) Continue reading

White Rose student hangouts

Starting at Marienplatz: Head north onto Weinstraße. Make a right (south). Alexander Schmorell’s father had his medical practice at Weinstraße 11.

Now keep heading north on Weinstraße. Where Weinstraße becomes Theatinerstraße (to the right will be Schrammerstraße), turn left. This will be a small street—pedestrian zone only—called Maffeistraße. Number 4 was the very, very favorite cheap restaurant of the friends of the White Rose: The Bodega. Continue reading

Palace of Justice and environs

Starting at the Hauptbahnhof (main train station), the first “White Rose place” you will encounter is the Justizpalast, or Palace of Justice. To reach it, walk down either Prielmayerstraße or Bayerstraße from the main train station. Located at Prielmayerstr. 7, it’s an impressive building directly across from Stachus or Karlsplatz.

Right next door at Prielmayerstr. 5, the Chief Prosecutor or Bavarian Attorney General in Munich—a Dr. Helm—had his offices. While he was not directly involved with the White Rose trials, he coordinated things for Roland Freisler. Continue reading

Introduction to Munich

Ulm may be a place where hard work and industry produced a magnificent cathedral and concepts that mirror our own ideas about democracy. Everything it stands for, Munich casts aside.

In Ulm, the mayor renews the oath guaranteeing that every man is equal. In Munich, they fight to ensure that purity laws for brewing beer are enforced. In Ulm, they celebrate a tailor’s failed attempt to fly. In Munich, they party for two weeks to commemorate the marriage in 1810 of crown prince Ludwig of Bavaria to princess Therese of Saxon-Hildburghausen – though it is doubtful whether anyone enjoying the rides or beer tents remembers those names any longer.

This does not disparage Munich in the least. In Ulm, you feel like you must be doing something. It is a city of overachievers. Remember that Albert Einstein was born in Ulm.

But in Munich? Ah, my friend, slow down! Relax, find a table in a biergarten. The sun is shining, can’t you hear the birds? We can work tomorrow. Continue reading

25 Cheshvan 5759

(November 14, 1998) – 8:30 a.m., Jerusalem

Grueling 45 minute security check in Munich. Five of the seven agents concentrated on me, for a number of reasons. First, US Air checked my bags through to El Al, a no-no, as it must be hand-carried. Then, I was traveling alone and knew no one here. Continue reading