Sunday, December 20, 2015

Advent, Advent .... Happy Birthday, Leipzig!

Advent, Advent .... today, December 20, is not only my birthday, but also the birthday of Leipzig, the German city that was the home of Johann Sebastian Bach, Martin Luther, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Richard Wagner, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Clara and Robert Schumann, and Erich Kästner (among many other musicians and writers). Leipzig has turned" one thousand years on December 20, 2015. This is how our book Leipzig: One Thousand Years of German History, by Sebastian Ringel, describes the first mentioning:
"December 20, 1015, was probably a rather uncomfortable Wednesday in the middle of the Middle Ages and all in all not much different from most other days at the time. No one likely even suspected the day would become an important one. Thietmar, the bishop of Merseburg recorded the date in his Chronicle, however, but not because he wanted to mention Leipzig for the first time. One of his colleagues had died. “Then the valiant Bishop Eido was taken ill after returning from Poland with splendid gifts,” he wrote, “and his faithful spirit returned to Christ in the urbs Libzi on December 20.”
So, granted, Leipzig MUST have existed before December 20, because otherwise, how could Thietmar have talked about it, but this is how city birthdays are celebrated. So, here is you gift: If you buy the book on our website, you will get 5 dollars off. And, as always, if you sign up for our newsletter, you will get a free ebook.
And, of course, you will also get a picture....sadly, we don't have one of Thietmar, since selfies were not commonplace in 1015, but here is a pic of Dietrich the Oppressed, who governed Leipzig in 1217 (and who was not so much an opressee than an opressor).

Your Publisher, Eva C. Schweitzer

Friday, December 18, 2015

Advent, Advent .... Today is the day when West Berliners used to get Christmas presents!

Advent, Advent . . . this is your picture for December 17. This was a very important day for Berliners for a number of reasons. On December 17, 1963, the government of the German Democratic Republic and the West Berlin Senate agreed on the Passierscheinabkommen, ratified with the four Allies who governed Berlin. The Passierscheinabkommen made it possible for West Berliners to go to the Eastern part and visit their relatives. Until then, traffic had been cut off by the Wall since August 1961. This was a huge Christmas present for Berliners. 
The first crosspoint to open was Oberbaumbrücke, the bridge crossing the Spree, but only for foot traffic. Cars as well as the subway were still suspended. 
Nine years later, on December 17, 1972, the Transitabkommen was signed. This allowed Germans to drive from West Germany to West Berlin while transiting through the GDR without (much) border controls. Everybody does remember the words spoken by border guards, "Do you have children on board? Weapons?"
You can learn more about this in our books Berlin in the Cold War, by Thomas Flemming, and The Berlin Wall Today, by Michael Cramer


And here are your pics for today, Obeerbaumbrücke in 1963 and today!





Your Publisher, Eva C. Schweitzer


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