Thursday, April 23, 2009

Annals of justice? .... (4) el presidio, Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

El Presidio in Ushuaia was used as a state prison for especially dangerous subjects by the Argentinian government. However, a lot of anarchists, intellectuals and politically suspicious characters ended up there as well. The prisoners had to work in the forests of Tierra del fuego. The little engine was one of those to be used to haul log trains and transport the imprisoned workers. The coach, however, was built for the special occasion to accomodate the president on a visit.... who actually never came. The prisoners were transported on open wagons....
Some of the cell tracts of el Presidio are renovated, some are used as museum and a very interesting arts gallery. Another part is in the original state....
A couple of these ovens where thought to be sufficient to heat for a whole two-story wing of the prison in the barbaric conditions of fuegian wintersThe toilets

About life in prison (from the novel "das wochenende" by Bernhard Schlink (page 38/30):
"..als ich den Kampf um normale Haftbedingungen gewonnen hatte.....Der Laerm war schlimm. Du denkst vielleicht im Gefaengnis ist es still aber es ist laut. Bei jeder Aktivitaet muessen Eisentueren auf- und zugemacht und Eisengaenge und Eisentreppen begangen werden. Tags schreien die Leute einander an und nachts schreien sie im Schlaf. Dazu gibt's das Radio und die Glotze, und einer klappert auf der Schreibmaschine, und einer donnert seine Hanteln gegen die Tuer. ....Was das Schlimmste ist, willst du wissen? Dass das Leben anderswo ist.... und je laenger du auf danach wartest desto weniger ist danach noch wert."
The washing facilities.... cold water only

"Der Freie liebt die Freiheit, auch wenn er ihrer beraubt ist" (Jean Jaques Rousseau)
A renovated cell with a puppet of one of the inmates. Some anecdotes of their fates will be added soon

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Traces of history.... the olympic village, Berlin 1936

For the olympic games in 1936, the architects Werner and Walter March designed the first olympic village with the intention of further use after the games

The dining hall ("Speisehaus der Nationen") designed to feed 4500 athletes. Only the men were staying in this village, separated from the women, who stayed closer to the olympic stadium.

The sleeping quarters. Each national team had one house. Each had the name of a German city. Only the one used by sprinter Jesse Owens, who won 4 gold medals (for the first time), was renovated. To the annoyance of Hitler, black Jesse Owens became the favorite of the games.
The swimming hall, which for the first time had windows which could be sunk into the floor, was badly damaged by a fire in 1993 and is about to collapse.
The gymnasium still is in a quite good shape
After the games, the German Army used the village as an officer's academy. After the war, the Russians moved in, built a large number of flats and occupied the terrain until 1992.
Without windows and stripped of everything useful, the abandoned flats give the area the look of a ghost town
Unterhaltung am Zeitungskiosk in der DDR: Warum kostet die "Prawda" nur zehn Pfennige, das "Neue Deutschland" aber fuenfzehn? - Kann ich ihnen erklaeren, sagt die Verkaeuferin, beim Neuen Deutschland kommen noch 5 Pfennige Uebersetzungskosten dazu.
Outside the olympic village there are a whole lot of ruins of Flak bunkers and garages Der Generalsekretaer steht an der Mole und sieht beim Beladen der Schiffe zu. Fragt die Seeleute: Wo fahrt ihr hin? - Nach Kuba. - Was bringt ihr hin? - Maschinen und Fahrzeuge. - Womit kommt ihr zurueck? - Mit Apfelsinen. Fragt die Seeleute eines zweiten Schiffes: Wo fahrt ihr hin? - Nach Angola. - Was bringt ihr hin? - Maschinen und Fahrzeuge. - Womit kommt ihr zurueck? - Mit Bananen. Fragt die Seeleute eines dritten Schiffes. Wo fahrt ihr hin? - In die Sowjetunion. - Was bringt ihr hin? - Apfelsinen und Bananen. - Womit kommt ihr zurueck? - Mit dem ZugWie kann man mit einer Banane die Himmelsrichtung bestimmen? Auf die Mauer legen. Dort, wo die Banane abgebissen ist, liegt Osten....
Auf dem Alexanderplatz in Berlin wurde ein Bananenautomat aufgestellt. Steckt man oben eine Banane hinein, kommt unten eine Mark heraus....

Witze aus: Uwe Tellkamp, Der Turm, Suhrkamp 2008, pg. 61

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Reminders of the great days of railroading (4) ..... servicing the worlds fastest remaining steam locomotive

In an old railroad shed in Nossen, Germany, some intrepid volunteers keep the world's fastest serviceable steam engine in running order
The original version of this engine covered the 176 km distance from Berlin Ahb to Dresden Hbf non-stop in 101 min. The activities of a certain A. Hitler caused this service to stop after only a couple of years.Today, the fastest train will take you from Berlin to Dresden in more than 2 hours. They are still busy rebuilding a line being damaged more than 60 years ago and never completely rebuilt
The soot, oil and dirt of the shed gives a good impression under which conditions men had to work in these times

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Annals of transportation (4)..... lift for ships

At the meeting point of the east-west Mittellandkanal and Elbe-Havel Kanal with the roughly south-north-Elbe river, the ships were transported from one waterway to the other by a lift, built in 1938, which looks like a big bath-tub
After German reunification, a big lock was built.... the ships' elevator now is not important any more and was only used once in a year. The lift, one of 4 remaining in Germany at the moment, is threatened to be closed