On the traces of Jewish life

A walk with Josef Wißkirchen in Pulheim-Stommeln

The 20 or so curious visitors who joined Josef Wißkirchen on a summer Sunday afternoon in search of traces of former Jewish life in the village of Stommeln had to bring along a little imagination. The stables of Josef and Johanna Heidt’s agricultural business in Berlich have long since given way to a multi-storey residential building. One has to imagine the graffiti on the façade, which their son Julius and his wife Elisabeth branded: “A Jew lives here with his whore”.

Continue reading “On the traces of Jewish life”

Brigitte, Hermann-Josef and Olsen send greetings from the island

From the fulfillment of a lifelong dream

Anyone who asks Herman-Josef Hilbrecht and Brigitte how they are these days via a Messenger app may be surprised to receive a selection of springtime photos and greetings from their second home, the Greek island of Ios. How the painter and guitarist from Kerpen, his wife and dog Olsen (here they all show themselves via selfie) came to live on the Mediterranean island is quickly told.

Continue reading “Brigitte, Hermann-Josef and Olsen send greetings from the island”

"Sweet William" – Homage to Oliver Heuer

Only in the last few years, after many concerts, Oliver Heuer had actually arrived back where it all started, at performances with friends in his Hometown. I visited him in May 2016 in his home in a small town near Cologne, just before his appearance in the Christ Church up there in Sindorf. I brought him an edition of the “Kitzler” – who remembers this marvellous magazine for the “Erftkreis” of those 1980s? Strictly speaking, there were two issues. In this first, with Hans Barz dancing on socks on the cover, a foto of mine in my early works. A review of a performance of Sweet William in the school mensa of “Tagesheimgymnasium Kerpen” was printed.

In 2016 he gave me his last CD and invited me to his next concerts. There has always been something in between that seemed more important to me. And I thought there was still a lot of time to listen to his music live. On 11 December 2019, he died unexpectedly. His wife Birgit Barrero recalls, she found him lying dead on the sofa when she came home from work in the afternoon. The day before, they already had gone to a hospital because Oliver felt weak, they had been sent home.

Here, as a reminder, I once again dig out the text i wrote after visiting him.

Continue reading “"Sweet William" – Homage to Oliver Heuer”

"in fact we didn't meet in person…" – the Portuguese Francisco Vaudeville on his friendship with Oliver Heuer

Tributes in sombre sounds

The Portuguese Francisco Vaudeville maintained a deep friendship with Oliver Heuer for decades. That’s why he and his friends put together the tribute CD “Out of Sight”. Here he describes his encounter with one whom he considered “awesome musician” and “wonderful poet”.

Continue reading “"in fact we didn't meet in person…" – the Portuguese Francisco Vaudeville on his friendship with Oliver Heuer”

“Hello from our absolute lockdown (light)”, as the Brühler Kornkammer reports in an e-mail

Concert dates as tight as “concrete pillars” still tipped

Maggi and Rüdiger Tillmann from the event location Kornkammer report an almost complete loss of sales since mid-March 2020 and there is “no prospect of improvement”. As recently as the autumn, they had talked about events for the winter, as firmly anchored in the schedule as “concrete pillars”. They had expected further restrictions on the operation of concerts at that time, but not with a further complete closure of the hall to the public in November and beyond.

And so they now announce: “Everything is cancelled.” But need is notoriously inventive and so they have come up with something.

Continue reading ““Hello from our absolute lockdown (light)”, as the Brühler Kornkammer reports in an e-mail”

Social worker Jupp Meul retires and takes stock

The failure of open youth work

At the end of the year, Jupp Meul says, he will retire, and after 33 years he will be finished working at the DRK Youth Centre. With a precise look at the social changes of the last three decades, all of which have been reflected in his work with young people, the social worker and medical educator takes stock during a discussion at the Youth Centre.

Just in time at 2 p.m., the heavy wing door to the youth center opens with unmistakable squeaking in the hinges. 

Continue reading “Social worker Jupp Meul retires and takes stock”

Rhenish carnival in total failure?

On Rose Monday

My niece Milena sent me an “Alaaf”, namely as a greeting from her Cologne fridge. She describes the finest, cold “Kaiser Wetter” at the door, but far and wide no fete in sight. So it was probably the day before yesterday in the carnival stronghold of “Wieverfastelovend”, after about a year Covid-19.

I’m not really a big friend of the carnival. Nevertheless, I am uncomfortable in view of the total failure of the Rhenish cheerfulness.

But I found in daily news messages about “Weiberfastnacht” on the Friday after. It said that it had not been quite so quiet in the city on Thursday. At least 40 reports and calls were investigated by the Cologne Police Department.

Neighbours have mostly given hints of non-Covid-19 regular gatherings of celebrating people, sometimes loud music has been played. That neighbors blacken their neighbors makes thoughtful, virus back and forth. “Kölle, du bes e Jeföhl” and “mer stonn zesamme”, the special feeling of warmth and togetherness get quite nasty to the farce.

Carnival total failure? Or has something happened?

Continue reading “Rhenish carnival in total failure?”

Winter menus "to go" and "100% organic" from the Türnicher Schlossküche

The text on the website of the Schlosscafé begins as usual the news from the pen of Severin Hoensbroech: “Dear friends of Schloss Türnich…” First of all, the lord of the castle would like to thank all those who have remained loyal to the Hofcafé during the “turbulent roller coaster ride” in the Covid-19 year. With “pleasing many visits” in the guest garden and café, fully booked Friday menu evenings, up to the broad popularity for the “Castle Christmas Menu for Home” available in mason jars and between foil with written instructions for dressing in your own kitchen. “Winter menu for home” is now only logical.

Continue reading “Winter menus "to go" and "100% organic" from the Türnicher Schlossküche”

Christmas Comfort… (Cooper, Riemer & Geschwind, Schmitz Project)

Music for open ears

The Office for Cultural Affairs and the Archive of the Kolping city of Kerpen have long since been housed in the so-called House for Art and History in the immediate vicinity of the area. It is remarkable that birgit Immisch for the Kerpen cultural department as well as Susanne Harke-Schmidt as city archivist and chairwoman of the Kerpen History Association send out Christmas greetings as endearing as they are encouraging.

Both now recommend the music project of their colleague Hermann-Jürgen Schmitz as a common denominator and yet completely independent of each other. I have allowed myself to extend the recommendation to contemporary music.

Photo collage from screenshots of the video posts.

Continue reading “Christmas Comfort… (Cooper, Riemer & Geschwind, Schmitz Project)”

Funkamateur Heinz Schlagheck overcomes "Social Distancing" worldwide

Silent Keys from France

The world of wireless telegraphy has been marked by many abbreviations since the beginning of the 20th century.Even in today’s digital age, everyone still knows the sequence of numbers “SOS” as an emergency call.With “CQ” usually starts a dialogue, it is the abbreviation for “Come Quickly” and is the world-famous call to all radio operators who are able to receive the sent signal to respond quickly.

The abbreviation “SK” means “Silent Key” in the radio language. “SK” attached to the internationally unique phone number of a radio amateur tells other radio operators about his death, says Heinz Schlagheck.

Continue reading “Funkamateur Heinz Schlagheck overcomes "Social Distancing" worldwide”