Thursday, March 26, 2009

Third Reich in Ruins

I came across a cornucopiæc website of photos then and now, comparing locations in Nazi Germany at the end of the war - the abovementioned 'in ruins' - to the same locations in our current and fully de-Nazified Germany. It reminded me of my first trip to Nürnberg in '95 at the 50th anniversary of VE day, when the city had placed billboard-sized photos of the urban landscape from early 1945, smoke still rising from the rubble, sited so as to duplicate the view I had standing in front of each: one view mere piles of debris, one the beautifully reconstructed Disneyland of the old city.

Soon after, I headed out to the Zeppelinfeld, site of many a Party rally, where my friend and sometime colleague Jon Jost had, standing near the dais, watched as an elderly German gentleman walked by, looked quickly from side to side, then made a small, furtive, but definite salute. Old habits die hard.

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