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An Essay By Anne Applebaum

26 Aug

An Essay By Anne Applebaum in SPIEGEL ONLINE

A Test of Maturity

“Germany Must Abandon Its Military Reluctance and Lead

Germany enjoys high regard around the world. But with American power weakening and authoritarian powers rising, the country needs to abandon its military reluctance and finally lead in Europe.”

“Anne Applebaum, 53, is an historian and respected expert on Russian affairs. She received the Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for her book “Gulag,” about Soviet labor camps. She writes regularly for The Washington Post and Foreign Policy and is married to former Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski.”

She says in her essay: “Trump may be an aberration, but he does reflect a very real American exhaustion, and real American doubt about the worth of the trans-Atlantic alliance. ” I say, but what about the people in America who have the real power?

I also wonder, whether she studied the Putin speeches and what she might respond to these?


BuJazzO – Maria Baptist is fascinated by big cities.

11 Aug

“The BuJazzO, Germany’s Youth Jazz Orchestra, sponsors qualified and talented young jazz musicians in Germany. The current concert repertoire is rehearsed with changing line-ups in working modules that take the form of an intensive musical training in a professional master course atmosphere. The artistic directorship of rehearsals and stage work alternates and is performed by renowned artists. The working modules are followed by guest performances at home and abroad, where the results are presented to an international audience.

To encourage high qualified young female musicians BuJazzO has put a focus on women as conductors and instructors, starting with pianist Maria Baptist, composer/arranger and professor at the Berlin Music Conservatory ‘Hanns Eisler’. She has been conducting the 47th working phase of BuJazzO in March 2011.

Maria Baptist is fascinated by big cities. Together with BuJazzO she presents the programme City Grooves. It reflects the different moods and the mutability of a big city. Powerful energetic music alternates with concertante moments.”

“Her music is a gift, infused with all the creativity, power,  . . . ”

“Maria Baptist was born in 1971 in East Berlin in a very musical family. Her grandfather was an orchestra musician and composer, her father himself is a pianist. Maria discovered very early her fascination for music and at the age of six she began playing the piano. At the age of eleven she composed her first pieces. Maria developed her desire to become a classical concert pianist. At the age of fifteen Maria listened to recordings of Dave Brubeck and Keith Jarrett and discovered for the first time the world of jazz and improvisation. Impressed by the musical expression, Maria felt that she had to continue on this path. She began studying piano at the music university in Berlin and won her first international piano competitions on improvisation. During this period, the Berlin Wall fell, which meant a great personal change in Maria’s life. She took the opportunity to move to New York. Here Maria experienced the freedom, space and magic, which opened up whole new musical worlds to her. Maria’s artistic work was significantly influenced and inspired by the tremendous creativity, energy, living will, the strength and melancholy of the metropolis. . . . .  ”

. . . .  ”



5 Aug

Whenever I think about the housing crisis and that so many people in this world have to live without adequate housing, I think of the Fuggerei in Augsburg. My father’s older brother used to live in Augsburg. In 1977 Peter and I visited this uncle and his wife. They showed us the Fuggerei which is still maintained to this day.

I just looked up the blog I published about it some time ago. Here it is:

Here I copy the comments it got to this post about the Fuggerei:

10 Responses to “The Fuggerei is the world’s oldest social housing complex still in use.”

  1. catterelAugust 10, 2015 at 7:53 pm Edit #

    Fascinating! I’ve always wanted to visit Augsburg properly (I changed trains a few times there but never got beyond the station) – maybe one day I’ll make it.

    • berlioz1935August 10, 2015 at 8:13 pm Edit #

      It is a great place. The main street has buildings reflecting the wealth of the former trading post.

    • auntyutaAugust 11, 2015 at 8:03 am Edit #

      We have some lovely memories of the place, Cat, spending the day with Uncle and Flora. Gee, this goes back to 1977!

  2. berlioz1935August 10, 2015 at 8:26 pm Edit #

    I remember the day well. Flora, a Berliner speaking with the out of place accent, was a retired GP who did some work for the Army checking up new recruits. She was a no-nonsense person who liked to be in charge. In the restaurant, she was the queen.

    She had ordered a huge platter laden with cheeses and cold cuts. We could not eat all and she ordered all the left-overs being packed up to take home.

    The building in the main street seemed to be covered in gold and great churches could be seen. The Fuggers of the 16th century financed half of the known world.

    • auntyutaAugust 11, 2015 at 8:06 am Edit #

      It is quite impressive how rich the Fuggers were. Their housing project is a good example of what can be done for needy people.

      • auntyutaAugust 11, 2015 at 8:21 am Edit #

        Yes, Flora was quite a character. Both she and Uncle were marvellous hosts to us. They walked with us showing us very interesting places around the city centre. After lunch back it was back to their luxurious apartment for coffee and yummy cakes.
        Uncle was overjoyed when he could hand us a minuscule grandfather clock to take home as a gift. We loved this little clock because it was given with so much joy and reminded us of that beautiful day we had spent in Augsburg. Alas, sadly in Australia it soon broke to pieces! 🙂

  3. gerard oostermanAugust 11, 2015 at 11:27 am Edit #

    Yes, the idea of ‘owning’ own place is fairly new. We had no idea of that concept before we came to Australia. We always rented in Holland and it was as secure as owning.
    Social housing has a lot going for it. Just look at what the Fuggerei achieved and it is still going.
    Something like that in Australia would now be a shopping mall or a McDonalds.

    • auntyutaAugust 11, 2015 at 3:31 pm Edit #

      This uncle Edmund and his wife lived in a patrician. very spacious apartment. And I am sure they did not own it but paid rent, which they presumably could very well afford. I assume each one would have had a very good pension. As Peter mentioned, Flora substituted her income by doing some casual medical work.
      Edmund as well as Flora were widowed when they decided to get married. Edmund seemed to be quite content to have resolute Flora for company in his old age.

  4. stuartbramhallAugust 12, 2015 at 9:32 am Edit #

    Very interesting background. Excellent example of German determination to retain the commons. As I understand, resistance to enclosure was strongest in Germany. It was only under the Third Reich that customary rights were abolished in many regions. It’s good to see this institution survived the Nazi regime.

    • auntyutaAugust 12, 2015 at 4:02 pm Edit #

      Yes, it is quite amazing, Stuart, that the institution survived over such a long time. However it says In the Wikipedia that the Fuggerei was heavily damaged by the bombings of Augsburg during World War II, but has been rebuilt in its original style. I am glad that it was rebuilt in its original style! 🙂


Some of my Thoughts on Nuclear Usage

16 Mar

 Are there still people who want nuclear power stations? There must be, for from time to time I hear someone here in Australia voice an opinion that we should have nuclear power stations as a back up. In the media there are at present endless discussions about our power supply. 

All the nuclear power plant disasters that we know about already, and all the difficulties to rid ourselves of nuclear waste, these are well known facts but not talked about much in main media. Anyhow, with all that present knowledge that is available to us, some people still seem to deliberately ignore all this knowledge and do voice an opinion that we should consider nuclear power stations!

I know, doomsday predictions are not very popular. A significant number of people just want to ignore all the facts. I published in my last three posts some YouTube tapes. All of them have Helen Caldicott in them:

Helen Caldicott is a famous anti-nuclear activist. That does not mean that the majority of people all over the world are willing to listen to her, does it? How many people really make time to listen to what she has to say? Or when they listen a bit, they might soon say, she is just a doomsday predictor, and they are not wanting to further think about the consequences  of playing with nuclear. There are an immense number of anti-nuclear organisations:*

It seems to me politicians and main media all over the world ignore more or less the message of these organisations. And the extent of the Fukushima disaster is hushed as to not create a panic. It seems to me people with vested interests in nuclear just do not want to change their policies. The worst part is that a lot of people in power are not willing to work on nuclear disarmament.



Sunday, 23rd of October 2016

23 Oct

I always find my walks more interesting when I can take some pictures while I am walking, that means I really like to just stroll along. Taking pictures gives me an excuse to walk at a leisurely pace. I like to walk slowly so I can better notice a few details about what is beautiful to look at.

Right now, I think I need a break from reading articles on what is going on in the world. There’s just too much to read, and I cannot possibly read everything that interests me.  However, I am very glad that so much information is available on the internet. Unfortunately, sometimes it just gets too much. For relaxation I’m now going to publish some more pictures that I took on a little walk a few days ago.

This tree is in Lakelands Park.

This tree is in Lakelands Park.

I started this post in the morning. It is evening now. In the meantime Peter and I watched the above Video. We watched it with several breaks in between. You can find this video  also here on Dr. Stuart Bramhall’s site:

Brexit,Trump, Syria and the Fabricated War on Terror

Stuart did write a film review about it. It is a BBC production directed by Adam Curtis. Stuart says that in this fascinating documentary, Curtis explores the link between the rise of Putin and Donald Trump, the Brexit vote in Britain and the fabricated War on Terror. Having watched this video now, I must say that I too find this video fascinating. While watching it, I often thought, that we live in a crazy world. Really, it is extremely difficult to see what is “normal” in our world. We all seem to be manipulated by one power or another. Now back to my pictures.



That morning I took at first a few pictures in Lakelands Park. One of my neighbours came along and talked with me for a while. I took some photos as she went further along the footpath. She said she wouldn’t mind if I took a picture of her. However, the close-up photo I took of her did not turn out very well. So I am not going to publish it.



“Good vs Evil”

22 Oct

Reducing Foreign Policy to Good vs Evil

Last year in March Dr. Stuart Bramhall published a Film Review by Adam Curtis (BBC).

At the moment I was mostly interest in what it said about Good vs Evil. I copy it here:

“Reducing Foreign Policy to Good vs Evil

Like Ronald Reagan, George W Bush attempted to reduce the US role in Afghanistan to a simple battle of good vs evil. The political reality was far more complex. US and Saudi intervention during the Soviet occupation brought corrupt warlords to power who supported their fiefdoms through Afghanistan’s heroin trade.

The Taliban, consisting mainly of Afghan orphans raised in Pakistani Madrassa, were primarily driven by a desire to end the heroin trade and this endemic corruption, which they (rightly) blamed on the interference of western imperialists in their country’s domestic affairs.”

A simple battle of good vs evil? Certainly not. I think it still has not become clear to us what is at spiel. It still is not simple, on the contrary, it seems to become more and more complicated. See here:

Brexit,Trump, Syria and the Fabricated War on Terror

I reblogged the avove!

My Paternal Grandparents

24 May

Haus von Josef und Hulda Spickermann during the 40ties

Above the house of Josef and Hulda Spickermann in Lodz during the years before the end of World War Two.

Josef Alexander and Hulda celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in November 1943. All their children with all their spouses and most of the grandchildren were present. Josef and Hulda had three daughters and three sons: Olga, Jenny, Elisabeth (Lies) and Edmund (E), Alexander (Oleg) and Ludwig (Luttek). I have a picture of the Golden Wedding with everyone in it. I tried and tried to copy it for this blog. For some reason it was not possible to do it. Maybe one day I will find a way, to still include this picture of the whole family.

My father was the second son of Josef and Hulda. He married my mother, Irma Charlotte Summerer, on the 30th of September 1930. My mother was only nineteen at the time. Four years later, on the 21st of September 1934, I was born. In June of 1935 my parents travelled with me to Lodz (Poland) to visit Dad’s family there. My mother and I, we did not have our own passports. We were included in Dad’s passport as can be seen in the following picture.

Passport 1935

As far as I know we stayed in Lodz with Tante Lies and Onkel Alfred. I have several pictures that show me with their son Horst who was born on the 7th of February 1935. Tante Lies was about the same age as my mother. Whereas Onkel Alred was twenty years older than his wife. He owned huge properties. We always thought they were rich.

Juni 1935 in Haeuslers Pk Lodz

In the above picture I am in the pram with my cousin Horst. There are also cousins George and Gerd, the sons of Tante Olga as well as cousin Ursula, the daughter of Jenny. (Olga and Jenny were of course the older sisters of my mother.) The picture is taken in the park of the Häuslers, Horst’s parents.

Ute ist 6 Wochen alt

When I was six weeks old the grandparents, Hulda and Josef, came to Berlin for a visit, where they saw me for the first time. They were proud to have a grandchild by one of their sons. (Their other two sons did not have any children yet at the time). I think my twenty-three year old mother looks very pretty in that picture.

9.Juni 1938 Bodo ist nur ein paar Stunden alt

On the 9th of June 1938 my brother Bodo Alexander was born. He was born at home in our apartment in Berlin, Bozener Strasse. Here in this picture he is only a few hours old. I was thrilled to have a baby brother! I believed the ‘Klapperstorch’ had brought him. Mum’s sister Ilse was very excited about this addition to the family as well. Later on I always heard stories about how this home delivery took place. And I did sleep through all of it. When I woke up in the morning, Tante Ilse led me to the cot in the parent’s bedroom. And surprise, surprise, der Klapperstorch had brought a beautiful baby boy. There he was lying in the cot!

Ute mit Opa Spickerman am Reichssportfeld Juni 1938

Here I am with Opa Spickermann at the ‘Reichssportfeld’ in June 1938 soon after the birth of brother Bodo. I was a time when Mum still had to stay in bed. Tante Ilse and her husband Adolf Schlinke owned a ‘Wanderer’ car. In that they drove Dad, Opa and me to the Reichssportfeld for an outing. Probably so Opa could see a bit of Berlin. Presumably he had come all the way from Lodz to Berlin to see his first born grandson by the name of Spickermann.

Dad, Granddad, Tante Ilse and little Uta, (I guess, Onkel Addi took the picture.)

Dad, Granddad, Tante Ilse and little Uta,
(I guess, Onkel Addi took the picture.)

This is a picture of Dad's sisters from 1927 in Lodz.

This is a picture of Dad’s sisters from 1927 in Lodz.

And here is the Golden Wedding Anniversary picture from November 1943 that we were finally able to find.

Golden Wedding (2)