Creepy and scary is always good when you are looking for some mild diversion. This past fall my son went to study overseas in Lubeck Germany. Many of you have seen various tidbits about his stay there on this blog.
I have written some scary things on my blog in the past, true ghost stories when Poppi Iceland once did a call for them, and also imaginative works. I think some of you realize I do enjoy seeing some of this and hearing about it. I don't like the over blood curdling, freak me out scary stuff though, not a real Steven King fan either, although I respect his imagination. I do enjoy the message orientated, life saving, just slightly edgy, creepy stuff.
When the Milwaukee students first arrived in Lubeck, Germany, they set up their various little households. Some were in dorms and some in student apartments, the kids in the apartments really had the better deal. Those apartments are located in what is commonly referred to as the Innenstadt of Lubeck.
Lubeck is a kind of island and the little island is called Innenstadt. Numerous churches and old buildings are abundant in the Innenstadt. Some were ruined in the 1942 bombing of the city on Palm Sunday by the British, but eventually much of it was reconstructed. Lubeck is supposedly the first German city to be bombed in WWII.
Lubeck has had a complicated history due to its role as a Hanseatic city. Germany claimed it upon Hitler's rise to power. It had many incarnations, once even being French. It has had a much different history than you might expect for being now a major port in Germany, and the largest on the Baltic Sea.
Just a squirrelly little note, when I began my novel some years back, I was always drawn into a story that I had heard from a Holocaust survivor showing the paradox, I thought, of life before WWII and during it for the Jews. This woman who I had heard speak at a Hillel meeting some 37 or so years ago,had related that her family had visited the seaside. They had laughed and frolicked along a beautiful beach and the next year, everything had changed. She talked about how they went to see Disney's movie Snow White too. Then their lives were suddenly changed. They were Jews and marked, then it was a scrounge for food, hiding, ghettos and eventually death camps. Everything they knew changed and their lives shattered around them, the seaside a distant memory, it was something from another life.
As I wrote part of my novel, I was influenced by a recurring scene in my head, of her family carefree at the beach. It was always the Baltic Sea for me that I imagined, always somewhere north, now I know it as Travemunde.
Tavemunde is located at the mouth of river Tave. Thomas Mann was from the area. He wrote about it extensively in Buddenbrooks, a book, as a place of freedom, happiness and love in contrast with the problems of everday life. So in my mind, I must have somehow mixed these two places. Long before my son dreamed of studying in Germany and long before it would be in Lubeck, Mann had written something was magical about Travemunde. I think I took what Mann said and mixed it with that survivors experience and somehow it came to me, this area. I must have once heard what he wrote, I do not recall him except from German classes. I cannot say I read him but knew of his work, this line being familiar to me. So I drew all this abstract together and made some kind of connection to the Baltic Sea, and why not Tavemunde?
Halloween was fast approaching and the students in the apartments did plan a party. Many of them liked to roam about the streets of Lubeck to get accustomed to their new surroundings, especially the kids from the apartment building in the Innestadt. These apartments were not just for the American students but for student from other countries, and particularly German students who were attending the same school in the area or two other universities. As they all melded together and made friends, many of them hung out together.
During their searches of the city, sometimes after dark, they made their way to many bustling areas of light and night life, as well as areas which were full of dark passages called eingangs. Eingangs are really passages, walk ways in this sense. It is literally the word for entrance in German. These many eingangs were narrow enough to fit only a person through, they were however also designed in many cases to accommodate a coffin to be removed from some house out to the street. Also they led into areas where small quieter streets were located or simply from one place to another. Many have the ability to be locked or blocked with a gate.
The Innestadt being a place that holds many medieval buildings, even with buildings built upon the footprint of medieval buildings and such, using their foundation and some of their old walls, there is no doubt that spirits might dwell here.
On one of these adventures in October, a couple of the guys were near the Dom. One of the areas around it had a kind of gated entranceway.The Dom is a large brick Lutheran Cathedral. This is commonly referred to as the Lubecker Dom. The cathedral was started by Henry the Lion in 1173 partially destroyed in 1942, and rebuilding was completed in 1982.
As they approached this gate, they became overwhelmed with a sense of extreme forboding. They continued to take pictures, but hurried and left the area. The experience seemed frightening and unsettling.
As time has passed in their semester, they have visited more of the area of Lubeck and part of Hamburg. They have been introduced to some of the Holocaust related sites, such as Neungamme Concentration Camp. Recently they found out that the armory in Lubeck called the Zeughaus is located right next to the Dom. The Zeughaus and St. Anne's Convent were recently used as Museums of Ethnology, Municipal Art and Cultural Center. I have found some mixed information on the Zeughaus which leads me to understand that museum of Ethnology is closed. It had an exhibit of Jewish items in it and explanation of rituals and customs. This museum was begun in the 1990's and was abruptly closed in 2007 because of funding issues according to the city management.
It happens also that the Zeughaus was the location of Gestapo Headquarters during the war. The basement was the scene of unspeakable torture and death.
What a strange and frightening paradox, a house of worship next to a house of torture? I could only imagine what people must have thought being dragged in there and seeing those church steeples.
Although they did not meet their end in Lubeck at the Gestapo headquarters but in Hamburg, there are four martyrs of Lubeck, 3 of which are set to be beatified by the Catholic church this June, as was announced this past December. That is the Catholics are set to be, not the Lutheran protestent and some are worried about the message this lack of ecumenicalism will send today.This is interesting because one, the protestant minister, was the first such minister to be executed in Germany during WWII. It is said that Hitler personally participated in the review of this and insisted that they be tried; in what was widely considered a farce trail. They were beheaded.
"On 25 June 2011, the three Catholic priests - Frs Johannes Prassek, Eduard Muller and Hermann Lange - will be beatified while the Rev Karl Friedrich Stellbrink, their Lutheran counterpart, will also be honoured in a special way that day."from TOTALCATHOLIC.com
This is a picture showing the two spires of the Dom at night.
This is a nearby eingang on the same night.
This is a picture of a nearby alley way.
Down an eingang and into a small area of little homes. This window is so captivating.
This piece of the Dom really makes me think of a face. Not a pleasant one either.
Looking up in the same area. The shadows of the trees very foreboding.
This is a street scene from that night where I think I see an orb and mist.
This is a walled yard area along the path and street in vicinity.
This is another view of the Cathedral/ Dom.
It was starting to head through this area that the students had their sense of doom. If you look carefully, this looks like a locked eingang and something in front of it.
Using an automatic light correcter in my picture program, you can see that same picture lightened up and in it the image appears to be a dog. It is not. It is apparently a person and a bench. Very strange. The kids did not see who the person was, or get too close.
This is a picture of the Zueghaus in daylight. You can see one of the church spires directly behind it so you can see how close they really are to each other. It is referred to being right next to the Dom. The statue above the door is not a saint or angel that I can see, but a close up shows it as a warrior of some kind.
This is another eingang in the area.
Imagination takes us all on wild ride sometimes, but the imprint left of the pain of a place, is not without its power. The collection of eingangs that I have included here makes me think they are a kind of entrance to the unknown, a place to go to hide, each a secret in itself. As I looked over all of these, my thoughts were of mysterious, dangerous times, when war was running over all this medieval beauty and horror stalked its 7 churches, and its people did not know peace.
Copyright 2011 by SheilaTGTG55 Words and Pictures.
This is a re-post from January 2011. Since that time my son has returned from Luebeck Germany. He graduated from the Hochfachschule there and also the Milwaukee School of Engineering. He is currently employed by a German company. We visited Luebeck while he was there in May of 2011. I have written about our visit on this blog.