Jewish History in Warsaw 
Wednesday, 31 .May, 2006, 16:02 - English Entries, History, Photographs, Travel
Yesterday we took a guided tour on Jewish history in Warsaw. Here are some impressions from the tour.

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Tablet at the Jewish Cementary in Warsaw, reminding of the Holocaust.

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The only remains of the wall around the Jewish Ghetto can be found in a backyard. The Ghetto was established in October 1940 by the Germans, in order to isolate the Jewish population of Warsaw. At its peak there were 450.000 Jewish people living in the Ghetto. Most of them were brought to the Treblinka extermination camp, where they got killed.

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Some of the stones of that wall have been removed and brought to Jewish mueseums and memorial sites all over the world.

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The memorial place for the uprise within the Jewish Ghetto of Warsaw - nearly all Jews still living in the Ghetto got killed by the Nazis.

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Mila 18 - the place where the leaders of the Ghetto uprise killed themselves, before the Nazis could get hold of them.

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Umschlagplatz - from here the trains from Warsaw ran to the Treblinka extermination camp, where nearly 900.000 people got killed.

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When German chancellor Willy Brandt came to Warsaw in 1970, he fell on his knees in front of the memorial place for the uprising in the Jewish Ghetto. This gesture became famous as the "Warschauer Kniefall", which opend the door for better relations between Western Germany and Eastern Europe. This memorial site remind of the "Kniefall"

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The jewish cementary, which is over 200 years old.

» Further Impressions from the visit to Warsaw (Flickr)
»
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Thursday, 01 .January, 1970, 02:00

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Der Palast der Republik 
Friday, 26 .May, 2006, 12:28 - English Entries, Germany, History, Online/Blogs, Politics

Der Palast der Republik, Berlin, Germany Lewis wrote a very good article on German architecture, that I recommend you to read. One of the buildings mentioned there is "Der Palast der Republik", which is currently being demolished. The building is located in the Eastern part of Berlin and the so-called Parliament (Volkskammer) of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR or in German: DDR) had its seat there.

It is with no doubt good that the GDR does not exist anymore and that Germany is re-united. But the decision to tear down the Palast der Republic, which was taken by the German Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag), is just a shame. It might be that the building seems ugly to some - we have more ugly buildings in Germany than one can count, so that is not an argument. The major reason is, that this building represents a part of German history, that most Germans are not proud of and some people also don't want to be reminded of it. With this reasoning it is still a violent act to destroy the building - it is the pride of the winning side in a cold-war between two ideologies.

» English Wikipedia: Der Palast der Republik
» Take a stroll through the palace online
» Ideology, Football, and Architecture - posting on German architecture at lewism.org
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Maija Vilkkumaa in Concert - Tavastia, Helsinki - May 24th 2006 
Thursday, 25 .May, 2006, 13:40 - English Entries, Finland, Music, Photographs

Maija Vilkkumaa Maija Vilkkumaa played live yesterday in Tavastia. I got recently addicted to her music when I got her two albums "Ei" and "Se ei olekaan niin" as a present. She's all Rock'n'Roll and full of drive and I regret to not understand her words.

But seeing her live is the one thing about her you must not miss, as she is a bolt of lightning. When jumping around on the stage she disproves several laws of physics, being an endless source of energy and joy.

Unfortunately I was not in the first row and I am still not good enough with my camera to make really good picture, but I hope some of them give you an impression about yesterday night.

» My pictures from yesterdays concert (Flickr)
» Watch the pictures as a slideshow (Flickr)

» Maija Vilkkumaa Homepage
» Maija Volkkumaa on Wikipedia

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German Music: Peter Licht and the End of Capitalism 
Monday, 22 .May, 2006, 10:25 - English Entries, Germany, Music

Peter Licht - Vierzehn Lieder Peter Licht (translates to "Peter Light") is one of the most surreal German artists that I know. His songs are soft (electro) pop, his lyrics are often far from reality. His best known album so far was "Vierzehn Lieder" (Fourteen Songs), on which he had such inspiring messages as "Gravity is overrated - it is not really necessary", "Stay away from Pop Culture" or "We are young and we are worrying about our chances on the job market". He sang about his "Relative from Transsylvania" and regretted that he lost a "Parking lot at the foot of the N'Gong mountains". Most famous became his beautifully simple song "sun deck" and this one:

Peter Licht:
Cheerfulness


I love the hate speeches of my shoemaker
whenever I give him something that needs to be repaired
I love being insulted by guys who make pizza
I love it to be grilled by somebody
I love the songs of civil servants,
I love love this sing-sang

I love to lose direction in the vally of tears
I love to be left there standing when it rains shit
I appreciate when moths like my clothes
I love when somebody tells me that something will not work out
I love talks about suicide
I love love this sing-sang

But it needs to be charming
And it needs to be subtle
And it must not miss humor
And it should be sexy
And it should be of wit
And cheerfulness

I also appreciate the big catastrophes
I love social differences
I love it when everybody is complaining,
I love love this sing-sang

But it needs to be charming
And it needs to be subtle
And it must not miss humor
And it should be sexy
And it should be of wit
And cheerfulness

A few days ago his new Album "Lieder vom Ende des Kapitalismus" (Songs about / from the End of Capitalism) came out, together with a book ("Wir werden gewinnen" / We Will Win). I could not resist and gave the translation of the title song a try - it's simply too good.

Peter Licht:
Song from / about the End of Capitalism

did you already
did you hear already
this is the end
the end
of capitalism
now it's finally over

over over over over over over
over over oh-over over
now it's finally over

do you remember
we rode with the sun carriage
over the firmament

and we plucked the stuff
from the shelves – from the stores
and we were complete

do you remember
we organized our things
with money

over over over over over over
over over oh-over over
now it's finally over

do you remember
we all labelled ourselves
and put on less and less clothes

do you remember
when we all were too much
do you remember

labelled and too much
and our bellies –
our capitalistic bellies

over over over over over over

capitalism, the old trickster,
he lived us off long enough

over over over over
now it's finally over
over over over over
now it's finally over

it was long enough anyhow
it was long enough anyhow

did you already
did you hear already
it's finally over

Obviously his lyrics do not offer an alternative to the capitalistic system, his criticism is not clearly formulated and it is all not helpful to really fix the problems of our time. Accepted!

But Peter takes us to an over-idealistic dance on a meadow, where we can believe for something around three minutes that everything is over and better now. It's over, over, over - it's finally over. He sums up the worries and fears in a single word, that he abandons and it becomes clear that afterwards we just feel free and light.

Of course this is an illusion, a cheap trick, playing with the feelings of the listeners. But then again: whatever he expresses would not work if there would not be the true desire for such a change. Or at least a general feeling of being fed-up with the current situation and system.

The song is a big, easy smile, that lurks behind our own dissatisfaction. It is friendly and harmless, it does not talk about revolution or brutality. It has gone past those revolting against something. It gives hope, without saying for what we should hope. Peter Licht is an artist who does not try to teach us anything but criticizes in the most friendly, humorous and effective way.

» Listen to "Lied vom Ende des Kapitalismus" (on Peter Licht's MySpace Page)
» Watch the Video of "Heiterkeit" (Cheerfulness) - on YouTube
» Watch the Video of "Clubbing Against Capitalism" - on YouTube
» Watch the Video of "Meine transsylvanische Verwandte" - on YouTube

» Peter Licht – Official Homepage (in German)
» Wikipedia.de: Peter Licht (in German)

» Amazon.de: Peter Licht - CD: Vierzehn Lieder
» Amazon.de: Peter Licht - CD: Lieder vom Ende des Kapitalismus
» Amazon.de: Peter Licht - CD: Lieder vom Ende des Kapitalismus + Book: Wir werden siegen

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