Altkönig Statue at Camp King Oberursel

In August of this year, one of the members of the B-17 delegation asked me about the significance of this statue, Altkönig (Lit: old king).  All I could tell her was the inscription left by the artist, Inga Dilcher-Hassenstein, who donated her piece of art to the city of Oberursel in 1998, and then found its permanent spot in Camp King in 2004.

Now, who is the ‘Altkönig’? In its original form, the Altkönig is the third highest mountain of the Taunus range in Hesse, Germany, reaching 798 metres above sea level. Around 400 BC, the Celts settled on the Altkönig Mountain, built the Heidetrank Oppidum, as well as several ring walls around the summit, which are still present.

This is the only information I could find in regards to the statue’s namesake.

The statue is part of a little rest area adjacent to the former Officers’ Club (Mountain Lodge).

Der Altkönig

Inga Dilcher-Hassenstein – 1975  Ms. Inga Dilcher-Hassenstein ( Name of the artist and date presented)

Geschenk an die Stadt Oberursel -1998  (Presented to the city of Oberursel in 1998)

Third Culture Kids or Where are you from?

Thomas, a freshman at the University of Nottingham, packed up his suitcase to leave Germany once more this morning. He wrote the following post about his experiences as an international student. He’s not quite a Third Culture Kid (a person whose personal culture is a fusion of two or more cultures exposed during childhood), but lives within the frame of one.

Where are you from?

That is one of the first questions I get asked upon meeting somebody for the first time, and it has given me headaches time and time again. I tell them: “It’s kind of complicated. Well, I was born in Japan, have lived in Germany for most of my life, but consider myself American”. And they inevitably look at me with a mixed expression of puzzlement and amusement. Or they just nod, and I remain in their mind an American. The accent fits, so the nationality should as well, right? Some ask me what citizenship I have. As I am a dual-citizen with both a German and US passport, this doesn’t really resolve things, either.

Sometimes I don’t want to say I’m either American or German at all and simply say I’m “of an international background”. But in my experience, people aren’t satisfied with that. I wish I could say I was either one or the other. The fact is, though, I am a mixture of both. The way I’ve thought of it most recently is that I’m German at mind and American at heart. I think in an analytical and methodical way (the German side), and I am quite open and empathetic (the American side). I know that these are qualities that are applicable to citizens of any country, yet for some reason I still associate them with those countries.

I am generally more hesitant to admitting my German heritage, especially now that I am studying at the University of Nottingham in the UK. I had a very uncomfortable experience in 2010 at a summer school program in Scotland. Once people knew that I was half-German, the name-calling wouldn’t stop. Now that I think of it, I got an impression of what the Jews must have felt like in the Third-Reich. I was first that “f@*king Nazi German”, then Thomas.

At University, however, my experience has been much the opposite. Only once have I been teasingly referred to, by a (inebriated) friend, as a “Nazi”. What I’ve gotten more is that they’ll do impressions of my American accent. As long as it’s not malicious, I don’t mind. I do a decent English accent myself! They probably wouldn’t agree – to them it sounds Australian, if anything.

I’m still not completely sure how to handle this question about origins. However, I don’t let it bother me too much. Once people actually get to know me, the nationality thing no longer matters anyway.

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