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”.

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"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.

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"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”.

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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. 

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