German Lesson: der Schießstand

Many German learners have a difficult time differentiating the sound difference between the diphthongs ‘ie‘ and ‘ei‘. If the learners have an Anglo or ESL background, I advise them to read only the second diphthong vowel in English. That way, it comes out as the proper German pronunciation.

The word ‘Schießstand’ [ʃiːs] means shooting range.

If mispronounced as ‘Scheißstand’ [ʃaɪz], then you are talking about a shitting range. Whatever that means.

Schießstand

Schießstand

This sign is in Oberursel, pointing towards the shooting range, and if you proceed, you will also get to the animal shelter in the forest.

German Christmas Tradition: St. Barbara’s Blossoming Twigs

Following my mom’s custom of cutting twigs on St. Barbara Day (4 Dec), I get apple twigs from our neighbor’s garden. With permission, that is. And tradition has it that I’m usually a couple of days late with the cutting.

My mom’s cherry twigs would sit in a hollow space between the kitchen cabinet and the ceiling. Back then, the kitchen was the only warm place in the house, but the twigs with their tiny white blossoms would thrive. When I was a child, they looked like tiny snowflakes from my vantage point.

This year Christmas, I got a few pink apple blossoms again and it always seems like a little miracle. Blossoms in winter.

My older post tells you more about how to care for them, the custom’s origin and meaning etc.: http://www.pension-sprachschule.de/anything-german/a-german-christmas-tradition-barbarazweige/

Barbarazweige and its first blossom

If everything is timed properly, the blossoms come to full bloom at Christmas and this means good fortune for the coming year, and shriveled ones brings back luck.

Information on German Citizenship for Oberursel Residents

Graham, from AllThingsGerman, has these important news to share:

The Ausländerbeirat in Oberursel is organising an information evening about the subject of applying for German Citizenship, which will be held in the town hall (Rathaus) on Tuesday, 15th November, 2016 at 6pm.

Read more here: http://www.allthingsgerman.net/oberursel/2016/10/information-evening-about-applying-for-german-citizenship/#.WBBsoyN95eU

Remembering Willy Brandt and the East-West Conflict

Yesterday afternoon, our work group Arbeitskreis Camp King was visited by a special guest speaker, Günther Vieser, to talk of the time, when he was working side by side with the former chancellor, Willy Brandt, from 1979 – 1982. At that time, Mr. Vieser was Brandt’s advisor, when he was Chairman of the Social Democrats.

One of the topics in question was of how much former chancellor Brandt’s doings contributed to solving the East-West conflict versus Chancellor Kohl, who reigned at the time, when the wall came down. Another question was what it was like to work with him on a professional and personal level. Of course, the spy Guillaume from the East German State was also mentioned and it was questioned why he chose Oberursel as his first place of residence in the West. For several months, Guillaume had rented an apartment downtown Oberursel, at the Homm Kreisel. In 1974, Chancellor Brandt resigned over the espionage scandal.

Mr. Vieser’s informative talk lasted close to two hours and we not only got a refresher course in modern history, but also heard some personal stories and tidbits.

After the talk, one of the visitors approached me. She said she remembers one time Willy Brandt came on an official visit to Oberursel. At that time, she was working for the Deutsche Rote Kreuz (DRK) (German Red Cross), and she confirmed how grown up women acted like teenagers as soon as Brandt showed up, with women screaming and occasionally fainting during his visit.

On his other visits to Oberursel, he would also meet with other young politicians of that time: Jürgen Habermas, Oskar Negt, and Joschka Fischer. They would stay at the former Villa Gans, which the state of Hessen had turned over to the Deutsche Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB) in commemoration after WWII – as a place for Völkerverständigung und des Aufbaus der Demokratie (international relations and founding democracy).

I like the idea, that the beginning of democracy in modern Germany started with parties on a garden patio.

That same place is now the Dorint Hotel Frankfurt/Oberursel (140 rooms, including 15 suites).

Announcement

Announcement

Günther Viesner presentation about his work with Willy Brandt

Günther Vieser talked about his work life with Willy Brandt

Mayor Brum also had a few welcoming words for the guest speaker.

Mayor Brum of Oberursel

Mayor Brum of Oberursel

Special thanks to Sylvia Struck, who is in charge of our ‘Work Group Camp King’, for putting together this event.

Brunnenfest 2016 in Oberursel

Here are a few impressions from the Brunnenfest 2016 in Oberursel. We had planned to have a Bratwurst and a beer, and then go home after an hour. This turned into four hours, because at a local fest like this, you realize you do know quite a few people after twenty years of living here, albeit in an ‘international bubble community’.

Marktplatz Richtung Bücherei

 

Ebbelwoi Hofwirtschaft

 

Kirche und Laterne

 

Schausteller