Yesterday I posted some images relating to the fantastic Jewish memorial in Berlin, I did not want to add any words to these images because I just wanted to and hoped that these images would share a feeling that I had walking and standing among the stones of this amazing public sculpture.
Today’s post is a little different, while In Berlin I came across the story of Sophie scholl and the body of Students of which she was a big part, called the “white rose“, Sophies’ story needs words, is all about words!. Words they, and she,this group used, words full of truth! yet by the simple act of using these words so many of these students including Sophie lost there lives!
If you want to try and understand what life was like under the Nazi dictatorship of the 1930’s and 1940’s, in Germany then you would be hard pushed to find any better example than the life story of Sophie scholl and the white rose movement, This was a group of German students who like many felt extremely disturbed and deeply saddened by the events they found happening around them and they simply wanted to express this feeling.
For the act of using their minds and voices to express what was a natural reaction, they lost their own lives. Sophie Scholl is one of the most famous of these student she was executed on 22 February 1943 (aged 21). She is just one individual among millions who lost their lives during the horrors, but I feel her story adds pure clarity to the events that she could not and would not tolerate unfolding around her!
How many of us today would be so brave?
“Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible crimes – crimes that infinity outdistance every human measure – reach the light of day”
It is an absolute tragedy and as Sophie herself said inhuman CRIME that someone who could and should have spent a lifetime adding to the world around herself, contributing to man kind! was killed by men who only held bitterness and discrimination of all kinds in their hearts.
I feel that by knowing more about human people like Sophie scholl, I understand the history of the Nazi’s much better, these men and women who formed their ranks embodied the very heart and soul of evil and bitterness, heartless discrimination of all kinds and not just racist discrimination but ones based of what they felt was a social right to be better than other humans based on nothing!
There is no-one better than anyone else, there is no position based on wealth, location of birth or physical standing that puts anyone higher in life than anyone else !! PERIOD!
I would like to declare myself a member of the “white rose” ! as I know if I lived Back then at 21 I would have wanted to join!
Sophie Scholl – an ANGLE in the darkness !!
The windmill at Sanssouci, Potsdam is simply one of the best restored windmills in Germany, Potsdam was the home of the Prussian royal family and as such this windmill like many of the buildings located in and around the city are nothing other than the best of examples in German, even the world, architecture.
History of the Wind Mill
In 1736 the soldier king, Frederick William I of Prussia, gave permission for the construction of a windmill, which was started in 1737. This first windmill, completed in 1738, was a post mill, whose entire superstructure, supported on a wooden post, was turned “into the wind” depending on the wind direction. The first mill and actual Historic Mill was thus older than the nearby summer palace, built in the years 1745 to 1747 for Frederick the Great.
The legend of the Miller of Sanssouci
The legend of the Miller of Sanssouci first appeared in 1787 in a French book about the life of Frederick the Great (Vie de Frédéric II by an anonymous author) and in a watered-down form one year later in Germany.
The legend goes that Frederick the Great was being disturbed by the clatter of the mill sails and offered to buy the mill from its miller, Johann William Grävenitz. When he refused, the king is supposed to have threatened: “Does he not know that I can take the mill away from him by virtue of my royal power without paying one groschen for it?” Whereupon the miller is supposed to have replied: “Of course, your majesty, your majesty could easily do that, if – begging your pardon – it were not for the Supreme Court in Berlin.”
The mill in June 2009
This is only a legend. According to Frederick the Great the mill underscored the rural character of his summer palace and said “that, … the mill is an ornament for the palace.” The miller was reportedly a difficult man, who cheated the local farmers over their flour and constantly pestered the king with petitions. At least one of these petitions was heard by Frederick II. Grävenitz pointed to the fact that, as a result of the construction of the palace, the post mill no longer stood in the open, but was partly shielded from the wind. So he demanded that the king let him build the mill in another site and to pay him for it. Frederick II acceded to this, with the result that, shortly thereafter, the wily Grävenitz was the proud possessor of two mills thanks to the king’s grace, until he eventually resold the old mill.
View from the Erlöser Church
In 1768 there was a legal dispute at another location over water rights and the remaining lease between Christian Arnold, the tenant of a mill in Pommerzig in the Neumark, and his landlord, the Count of Schmettau. After the miller was found guilty on two accounts, he appealed to Frederick the Great, who intervened in the ongoing proceedings in favour of the miller. Wrongly, as it turned out later. The king referred the case to the Berlin Court of Appeal, who once again ruled against the miller. Frederick the Great, then demanded a condemnation of the judges and their imprisonment in Spandau Citadel for their unjust judgments and thus precipitated an abuse of his name.
This legal battle and the story of the Sanssouci miller were woven together in the legend and were intended to emphasize the king’s justice towards all his subjects. After the death of Frederick the Great, the case was reopened. His nephew and successor, Frederick William II decided in a compromise that “… the Miller Arnold case … should be viewed as the consequence of a mistake, whereby the praiseworthy judicial zeal of our royal uncle, who rests in God, was misled by incomplete, inadequate reporting of the true situation by badly informed and preoccupied [biased] people.”
In the years that followed there continued to be disputes between the reigning kings and the millers for different reasons.
One of the most moving things about a visit to Berlin is just how many public locations have been dedicated to the unavoidable history of Germany. Memorials to the victims of the first and second world wars along with the cold war are located all around the city and they are free to visit and open to all.
Germany is not hiding from its past or running away from it, they welcome both inquiry and then knowledge!
It is a true credit to newer generations that they have made sure that so many victims of what was only a selective group of German people, are remembered into the future in this way.
The Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims is located just across the road from the Reichstag building, the German government buildings. It is peaceful place erected in 2012. When you enter the garden you are greeted by musical tones playing from the trees around you, this experience allows you time to stop and remember so many souls that were removed from life , rejected as people not wanted, not perfect and killed for just being from a different social background,location or belief.
The establishment of a permanent memorial to Sinti and Roma victims of the Nazi regime was a long-standing demand of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma and the German Sinti Alliance. In 1992 the Federal Government agreed to build a monument but the memorial faced years of delay and disputes over its design and location.
The city of Berlin initially wanted to place it in the less prominent district of Marzahn, where hundreds of Roma and Sinti were held in terrible conditions from 1936. In 2001 it was agreed to site it in the Tiergarten close to other Holocaust memorials but work did not officially commence until 19 December 2008, the commemoration day for victims of the Porajmos. The memorial was completed at a cost of 2.8 million euros and unveiled by Angela Merkel on 24 October 2012.
Berlin From the divided to the city of freedom
When you visit Berlin you simply cannot escape from German and European history and the History of the Berlin wall is still a part of Berlin just as much as so any of the events that go into shaping this great European city.
This November 2019, the Berlin Wall is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its fall. On the occasion a large number of events took place in Berlin dealing with topics such as reunification, the construction of the Berlin Wall, the division of the world during the Cold War, the overcoming of the Wall by the Peaceful Revolution of 1989.
I travelled to Berlin last week and spend a week in the city during many of these events.
These are just some of the pictures I took that show the Berlin wall today as it is conserved for the many generations in Berlin and the world to visit in the future.
Events dealing with the history of division, the struggle for freedom and the process of reunification took place not only in the run-up to and around November but from the start of 2018.
Rathfarnham Castle is located in south county Dublin. It was built in 1585 by Adam Loftus, Archbishop of Armagh. This is one of the finest examples of what is described as a ‘fortified manor house’ in Ireland. It’s 4 flanker towers, instead of being square are angular (angle bastions). This site is steeped in history and had previously been the site of an Iron Age fort.
The interior of the castle was redesigned in the 18th century by two of the greatest architects of the time, William Chambers and James Stewart. Chambers designed Buckingham Palace, Kew Gardens, St James’s Palace, Trinity University, and Casino Marino and James ‘Athenian’ Stuart is best known for his pioneering role in Neoclassicism in the mid 1700’s.
Rathfarnham Castle was for a long time used as a private house and ended up being a Jesuit College before it was taken under the care of the Office of Public Works. It is now open to the public.
Today marks the Winter Solstice , nowhere here in Ireland will this moment be marks more than at Newgrange the perfect locations to gain a little understanding as to how our European ancestors both recorded and celebrated the movement of the sun and the objects of universe they lived in.
Today is the shortest day of the year, the day when at Newgrange the rising sun can be seen to travel all the way into the passage tomb at the center of the monument.
Newgrange – Winter Solstice
Sunrise at NewgrangeNewgrange is best known for the illumination of its passage and chamber by the Winter Solstice sun. Above the entrance to the passage of the mound there is a opening called a roof-box. On mornings around the winter solstice a beam of light penetrates the roof-box and travels up the 19 metre passage and into the chamber. As the sun rises higher, the beam widens so that the whole chamber is dramatically illuminated.
Access to the chamber on the Solstice mornings is decided by a lottery that takes place at the end of September each year. All are welcome to gather outside the entrance to the Newgrange mound on each of the mornings from December 18th to December 23rd inclusive, sunrise is at 8.58am. Access via the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre or directly to the actual Newgrange monument.
The images posted here were taken this time last year at New-grange ……
Newgrange a Gallery
Ardgroom Stone Circle, County Cork, Ireland
The Ardgroomon stone circle is located on the Beautiful Beara Peninsula, county cork. It has to be one of the most magical of all the Irish stone circle, it also has the best of locations and views, sitting about the Atlantic ocean. There is something so exciting and mysterious about visiting a stone circle. The Ardgroomon circle is located in an area were there is an abundance of these historic sites, as well as wedge tombs, ring forts, boulder burials and fulachta fiadhs.
As well as being used for the Solar Spring and summer Equinox’s along with the Summer and Winter Solstice, many of these stone circles would also log the Movement of the Moon, Planets and Stars as during the year they changed their positions along the horizon. The standing stones in a stone circle would have in combination with a feature on local hill sides, have been lined up with astronomical objects(Sun, moon, planets and Stars). This would have given an almost daily measurement for months of the year.
The reason that ancient peoples needed to log the movement of the heavens was mainly for practical reasons such as farming, they needed to know when to sow seeds, bring cattle down from the mountains and bring in the crops, also they needed to know how long their store of food had to last before the new growing season started, no imports in those days.
Knockroe Passage Tomb, County Kilkenny
Knockroe Passage tomb is located in a picturesque setting on the slopes above the Lingaun River and old slate quarries which were abandoned in the early 1900’s. The site dates to around 3,000 BC and has many similarities to the far more famous examples such as Newgrange and Knowth in the Brú na Bóinne complex in County Meath.
Originally Knockroe would have been a similar tomb to Newgrange, albeit on a smaller scale. It is likely that it too would have had an earthen mound surrounded by large kerbstones. However unlike Newgrange, Knockroe has two burial chambers, located at the eastern and western sides of the feature. These tombs are exposed, and had long ago lost their earthen cover. Many of the stones lining the passageways of these tombs at Knockroe are highly decorated with megalithic art such as spirals, hollowed ‘cup marks’, and zig-zags. You can still find them in their original locations, and when you see them it is impossible not to wonder about the possible meaning of the decorations – was it purely decorative or did it have a deeper symbolism, and what messages may be in that symbolism? You can also still see the quartz which possibly would have formed a wall around the entrance to the passageways.
Also like Newgrange, Knockroe is aligned with the Winter Solstice. Every year around the 21st December people gather at Knockroe to witness the sun setting in perfect alignment with the length of western tomb.
Knockroe is one of a group of tombs located in this region, all of which are aligned with the large
mound on the summit of Slievenamon in County Tipperary. Knockroe is one of those wonderful sites that you can’t help to keep thinking about long after your visit, without being encumbered with its earthen mound, Knockroe is like the stony skeleton of a Neolithic passage tomb.
Loop Head Lighthouse, county Clare, Ireland
I have just spent a few days visiting County Clare, west Ireland, finishing with a visit to the great Loophead lighhouse. As you can see the day was very typical for a Septembers day here in Ireland, wet and windy.
It was still possible to visit the top of the lighthouse however which was great fun in the strong breeze.
I have very much enjoyed visiting some of Ireland’s lighthouses over the years from the north coast down to Hookhead, on the south coast, these remote location with their lighthouse keepers buildings that would have been both a place of work and a home, all year around and in all weather conditions, are a great reminder of the past.
A past that has almost gone but can in places like these still be felt very strongly.
Sometime back I found this video and have shared it before with other lighthouse posts, its still very much worth sharing again however as it reflects on the family life’s of Ireland’s lighthouse keepers …..
Here is a little history of the Loophead lighthouse
The first lighthouse on Loophead was one of four known Irish stone vaulted cottage type lights built about 1670. These cottages accommodated the lightkeeper and his family in two or three rooms and had an internal stone stairway between two of the rooms leading up to a platform on the roof where a coal burning brazier or chauffer was positioned. Part of the old cottage with its battered outside wall can still be seen near the lightkeepers’ dwellings.
The light must have fallen into disuse towards the end of the 17th century because it was re-established in 1720 after aldermen and merchants of Limerick petitioned the Irish Parliament in 1717 for a light on the Head.
The cottage-lighthouse with its coal fire was replaced in 1802 by a more conventional lighthouse, built by Thomas Rogers, who was also the contractor. The tower was about the same height as the present tower with four rooms and a lantern. The ground floor room was an oil store and access to the first floor or entrance room by an outside staircase of 19 steps. An internal spiral staircase connected the other two rooms and lantern. The twelve-foot diameter lantern contained twelve oil lamps, each with its own concave parabolic reflector. The reflected light shone through a 22″ diameter convex lens of solid glass, not unlike the ‘bottle glass’ or “bulls-eye” fitted into windows of modern psuedo-Georgian houses.
By 1811 the keeper was living in an adjoining cottage, rather than in the tower.
Loop Head Lighthouse, county Clare, Ireland , Gallery
The village of Cullahill, county Laois is located just over the boarder from county Kilkenny. It is home to some great old castle tower home and village chapel remains. Cullahill Castle was the principal stronghold of the MacGillapatricks of Upper Ossory built around 1425 and destroyed around 1650.
There are many places like this in the Irish republic, that have retained the remains of long lost times, this small village located on the R369 just north of Johnstown county kilkenny, is a perfect example of the way most small Irish villages would have been in the 1400’s. this small place is well worth a visit just to get a sense of old Ireland.