Monday, February 29, 2016

The importance of enzymes to our bodies.

There is a German proverb: “Health is like salt, you only notice it when it is missing”. To be in optimal health, enzymes are a very important factor. Yet, many people wittingly or unwittingly still cook vegetables in the microwave oven and consequently destroy the enzymes. Read about Microwave ovens from a previous posting.

We are lucky in Australia to have access to fruit and vegetables all year round which are rich in enzymes. While all fruits and vegetables contain enzymes, those considered to contain the highest amounts in raw form include apples, avocados, carrots, grapefruit, spinach,  tomatoes, papaya, pineapple and sauerkraut. Also, see my previous posting about this subject. Click here.

Following is an interesting article published in “Natural News” some time ago. I hope this helps you to understand enzymes, and help you to better health. If I would have to coin a phrase, I would say: “The way to good health starts with enzymes”.Werner
Understand Enzymes and Detoxification.
By Kim Evans.
Enzymes are powerful substances; they are responsible for initiating every action in the body, including blinking and breathing. As such, enzymes are often called our life force - because without them we would die. Enzymes are also responsible for helping us digest our food and breaking down and removing old and diseased tissue and cells from the body. But when our enzyme stores are low, diseased tissues and cells regularly remain inside the body - because the enzymes aren't available to help remove them.

Most diets these days are enzyme deplete and as a result, most people are enzyme deplete. This means our bodies often can't detoxify away the old, diseased tissue as they should be able to - and it leads to diseased people with health problems. Deep detoxification is one answer to the problem because detoxification removes old, diseased tissues and cells en masse - and it's why detoxification is recommended for most every disease. Another part of the answer lies in boosting our daily intake of enzymes. This helps our bodies engage in on-going detoxification and remove the old, diseased cells and tissue before they build and cause problems for us. Enzymes also give us life force and energy.

Eating plenty of nature's raw foods is one way to boost your enzymes and avoid depleting your enzyme reserves. This is the case because heating and processing food destroys the enzymes that are present in nature's foods naturally. So, the more raw foods you eat with their enzymes intact, the less your body needs to borrow from its enzyme reserves for digestion. This leaves more enzymes free for work like breaking down and removing old, diseased cells. Eating plenty of nature's raw foods also helps us because if those foods are grown without chemicals, they don't add to our toxic burden - as do processed, pesticide-laced and often cooked foods.

A few foods are bursting with enzymes and consuming them regularly is the key. Some of the most enzyme-packed foods include:
- Unpasteurized sauerkraut
- Papaya - particularly green papaya and papaya seeds
- Pineapple - particularly the core
- Sprouts
For a simple everyday enzyme drink:
Blend 1/2 papaya, 1/3 pineapple, and about 20 papaya seeds. Add a little stevia for sweetness, if desired.

In addition to breaking down protein and old tissue in the body, papaya seeds are known to help with intestinal parasites. In quantity though, green papaya and papaya seeds can induce abortion and have contraceptive effects - so avoid them if you're pregnant or trying to have a baby. In addition, some Hawaiian papaya is genetically altered, so it's best to avoid Hawaiian papaya or purchase only organic.

Why Are Enzymes Important to Our Body?
Ever wonder where to start learning about how you can have a healthy body? Try to begin with enzymes and study them in which it can help you well into getting a greater skin, breathing, digestion, brain function, teeth and organs. It is so important for our health that if we live without them we will easily caught up with unnecessary infections or diseases and any other kind of environmental insults.

These enzymes are powerful enough to operate every function in a human body but at the same time they are fragile where lack of freshness and heat can destroy them. Therefore we have to consume lots of vegetables and fruits by either eating them in raw or as juice. Consume them in such form are the best way to obtain enzymes. So, actually which enzymes do we found in fruits and vegetables, and what are their purposes?

One of them is amylase which its function is to aid our digestion of starches and carbohydrates. With good health digestion, human can achieved well blood sugar regulation and proper weight maintenance. Lipase is another important enzyme in which it's an agent that enables our lower intestine to absorb the nutrients from food.

Enzymes do not only play their role in our health digestive system, they also help to detoxify our body, protect the bone joints, and reduce bodily inflammation, plus many other more benefits that we should know. Eventually, you should start eating more fruits and vegetables from now on to own a disease-free and healthy lifestyle.

 Enzymes are the Secret to Longevity. Digestive enzymes play key roles in our health by enabling our bodies to digest and utilize all the nutrients we ingest to the greatest extent possible. Moreover, these enzymes also play a key role in the elimination of toxins and the digestion and removal of scar tissue that builds up inside all of us as we age.
More interesting reading: Raw food and enzymes.
My thought for today. Werner
A healthy outside starts from the inside. Robert Urich

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Shedding some light, on Sunlight - the source of vitamin D.

Queensland is often referred to as the Sunshine State. "Beautiful one day, perfect the next". We are all aware of the benefits of the sun,  but also of the risks we face. The sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation is both the major cause of skin cancer and the best source of vitamin D. In Australia, we need to balance the risk of skin cancer  from too much sun exposure with maintaining adequate vitamin D levels. Sensible sun protection does not put people at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Read also: Being vitamin D deficient is a bigger risk for type 2 diabetes than obesity.

So why do we need vitamin D?

Vitamin D helps to optimise the absorption of calcium. Adequate vitamin D levels in the body help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, falls and fracture in the elderly. For most people, vitamin D deficiency can be prevented by 5-15 minutes exposure of face and upper limbs to sunlight 4-6 times per week. If this is not possible, then a vitamin D supplement of at least 400IU per day is recommended. Read more and find out about the best exposure times:  Following is an interesting article; I thought to share it with you. - Werner

“15 facts that are important to know about vitamin D and sunlight exposure”.

The sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation is both the major cause of skin cancer and the best source of vitamin D. In Australia, we need to balance the risk of skin cancer from too much sun exposure with maintaining adequate vitamin D levels. Sensible sun protection does not put people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D prevents osteoporosis, depression, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and even affects diabetes and obesity. Vitamin D is perhaps the single most underrated nutrient in the world of nutrition. That's probably because it's free: your body makes it when sunlight touches your skin. Fifteen facts that are important to know about vitamin D and sunlight exposure:
 1. Vitamin D is produced by your skin in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight.
 2. The healing rays of natural sunlight (that generate vitamin D in your skin) cannot penetrate glass. So you don't generate vitamin D when sitting in your car or at home.
 3. It is nearly impossible to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from your diet. Sunlight exposure is the only reliable way to generate vitamin D in your own body.
4. A person would have to drink ten tall glasses of vitamin D fortified milk each day just to get minimal levels of vitamin D into their diet.
 5. The further you live from the equator, the longer the exposure you need from the sun in order to generate vitamin D. Canada, the U.K. and most U.S. states are far from the equator.
 6. People with dark skin pigmentation may need 20 - 30 times as much exposure to sunlight as fair-skinned people, to generate the same amount of vitamin D. That's why prostate cancer is epidemic among black men - it's a simple, but widespread, sunlight deficiency.
 7. Sufficient levels of vitamin D are crucial for calcium absorption in your intestines. Without sufficient vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium, rendering calcium supplements useless.
8. Chronic vitamin D deficiency cannot be reversed overnight: it takes months of vitamin D supplementation and sunlight exposure to rebuild the body's bones and nervous system.
 9. Even weak sunscreens (SPF=8) block your body's ability to generate vitamin D by 95%. This is how sunscreen products actually cause disease - by creating a critical vitamin deficiency in the body.
 10. It is impossible to generate too much vitamin D in your body from sunlight exposure: your body will self-regulate and only generate what it needs.
 11. If it hurts to press firmly on your sternum, you may be suffering from chronic vitamin D deficiency right now.
 12. Vitamin D is "activated" in your body by your kidneys and liver before it can be used.
 13. Having kidney disease or liver damage can greatly impair your body's ability to activate circulating vitamin D.
 14. The sunscreen industry doesn't want you to know that your body actually needs sunlight exposure because that realization would mean lower sales of sunscreen products.
 15. Even though vitamin D is one of the most powerful healing chemicals in your body, your body makes it absolutely free. No prescription required

 On the issue of sunlight exposure, by the way, it turns out that super antioxidants greatly boost your body's ability to handle sunlight without burning. Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful "internal sunscreens" and can allow you to stay under the sun twice as long without burning. Other powerful antioxidants with this ability include super fruits like Acai, Pomegranates (POM Wonderful juice), blueberries, etc
 Diseases and conditions cause by vitamin D deficiency:
 Osteoporosis is commonly caused by a lack of vitamin D, which greatly impairs calcium absorption. Sufficient vitamin D prevents prostate cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, depression, colon cancer and schizophrenia. "Rickets" is the name of a bone-wasting disease caused by vitamin D deficiency.  Vitamin D deficiency may exacerbate type 2 diabetes and impair insulin production in the pancreas.Obesity impairs vitamin D utilization in the body, meaning obese people need twice as much vitamin D.
Vitamin D is used around the world to treat Psoriasis. Vitamin D deficiency can cause schizophrenia.

Seasonal affective Disorder
(A form of depression caused by the lack of natural light during the winter months) is caused by a melatonin imbalance initiated by lack of exposure to sunlight. Chronic vitamin D deficiency is often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia because its symptoms are so similar: muscle weakness, aches and pains.

Your risk of developing serious diseases like diabetes and cancer is reduced 50% - 80% through simple, sensible exposure to natural sunlight 2-3 times each week. Infants who receive vitamin D supplementation (2000 units daily) have an 80% reduced risk of developing type 1 diabetes over the next twenty years.

Shocking Vitamin D deficiency statistics:

32% of doctors and med school students are vitamin D deficient.
40% of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient.
 42% of African American women of childbearing age are deficient in vitamin D.
48% of young girls (9-11 years old) are vitamin D deficient. Up to 60% of all hospital patients are vitamin D deficient.
 76% of pregnant mothers are severely vitamin D deficient, causing widespread vitamin D deficiencies in their unborn children, which predisposes them to type 1 diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia later in life. 81% of the children born to these mothers were deficient. Up to 80% of nursing home patients are vitamin D deficient.  Source of the article:
Read more about Vitamin D.
My thought for today. Werner
Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. - Anthony J. D'Angelo

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Growing up in Bischoffingen, Germany. 4th and final chapter.

My Grandfather and I went to Freiburg after the bombing and the sight before our eyes was absolutely horrible. The most important task after the bombing was to help the injured to get medical attention, to remove the dead, and to look for survivors.   Anyone who could be spared went there to help. It was an enormous task.

We found survivors in rooms of multi-storey buildings trapped there because half the building had gone with the staircase destroyed, but most were buried under rubble in cellars, which they had used as air raid shelters. 
Some were still being dug out a week after the raid, but the worst aspect of the situation was many could not be dug out because of lack of manpower and machinery.  The knocks or the distant cries for help from the buried people are unforgettable, yet we were so helpless and unable to get them out, and as time went on, the knocks and the cries began to get fainter and fainter, until they eventually stopped altogether.  It was that aspect of this awful situation that was the hardest to come to terms with, and it kept me from sleeping at night for a long time.

To describe what I saw as shocking and horrible would be an understatement
.  Nothing could accurately describe in words the destruction and the horror of human suffering.  Going through such an experience and seeing the ravage that war brings, makes the reason for waging it so clouded, yet the futility of it all becomes crystal clear.  I would never want to go through such an experience again - ever. 

Towards the end of the war money was absolutely worthless,
and on top of it all there was not much there to buy, and barter trade, food for clothing etc became the accepted norm. Food was very scarce, but we on the farm were lucky in this regard.  But for townspeople it was a major problem, which also caused a problem for us, as you will see. 

During the fruit season, people from Freiburg and surrounds, converged in droves on Bischoffingen and other farming communities and invaded our fruit orchards.
  They were hungry and looking for something with which to line their stomachs.  Ration coupons were often used up before the new ones were issued, and fruit was a readily available commodity.  Everyone in the village had to take turns in playing the role of “fruit police,” and it was an arduous task to keep the human fruit bats at bay.

Germany had a peculiar law on its statue books; it was called  "Mundraub," which literally means “robbery by mouth”. It permitted people to go to fruit trees and eat, as much fruit as they could, and only when they started to fill their pockets, boxes or other utensils, did it become an offence.  To think of calling the police was futile: there were none around, and to consider getting the ‘thieves’ in front of a court was equally futile. No court would have taken on such petty crime even if they had been sitting.  Charges of trespass would have been dismissed on the overriding grounds of the people being hungry.  Knickerbockers, which were in fashion, then, gained some notoriety.  The fruit pinchers discovered that the legs could be filled with fruit, eliminating conspicuous boxes or bags, and the Knickers became known as the “fruit stealer pants”.  Yes, those were indeed difficult times in Germany.

Towards grape-harvesting time, we also had the task of walking around the vineyards with shotguns to chase or dislodge large swarms of birds, which could devour large sections of the grape crop within a few minutes of landing on it.

Germany was under pressure from all directions: from the east, the west and from above.
  The western front was coming closer to Bischoffingen and it was becoming increasingly dangerous to stay in the house overnight.  We dug deep tunnels, rather like lairs, in the hills, (ours was about 40 meters long), usually starting on one side of the hill and coming out the other side, with lockable doors at both ends. This was the nightly home for my mother, sister, brother and I from the time Freiburg was bombed to the end of the war.  Our grandparents remained in the house, saying that if they had to die they wanted to die in the house.  Everybody in the village adopted this tunnel habitation practice: every family had their own tunnel. The tunnels contained beds, furniture, hurricane lamps, and a wood stove from which smoke was ducted through the air hole in the “ceiling”.  Water was carried from a nearby spring to the tunnels and stored in big containers. Nobody dared to light a stove until it was dark, in order not to be seen by planes.  Such “smoke signals” would most certainly be interpreted as armament production sites, with the prospect of becoming a bombing target.

Incidentally, that spring was the place where all the babies from the village, including myself, were left by the stork, and from where they were picked up by their respective mothers, or if the mother was not able, the local midwife would pick them up and deliver them - so I was told.

The war started to get progressively worse for Germany, and even the most ardent believers of a German victory started to have second thoughts. 
But the truth about the real situation was kept from us: the news bulletins were a litany of well-fabricated and one-sided lies. (I think our Australian politicians have read their work manual.)  In order to find out what was going on and what was really happening, we had to tune in to the Swiss national radio station, Beromünster, but this was a very dangerous practice and strictly forbidden.  The government employed people who drove around at night with monitoring equipment and whoever was caught in the act was in dire trouble.

In early 1945, the German forces withdrew from Alsace and crossed the River Rhine near us, and helped to some extent by Alsatian farmers with their draft horses. We had a couple of them staying with us overnight, and helped them to get back home across the Rhine the following morning.   Within a few days the allied forces had occupied everything on the western side of the Rhine, and once again we had a hostile flank - not a very comforting situation in which to be.  Quite a few artillery batteries and machine-gun posts in strategic positions encircled our village, and this added another element to our existing surfeit of distress. 

If they defended Bischoffingen and gave resistance to the imminent advance of the allied forces, our village would be totally destroyed,
and with it perhaps most of the population, and this weighed heavily on our minds. There was no sense in giving resistance and being decimated in the process, since we could clearly see that the war was lost.  With this ominous situation playing on his mind, my grandfather decided to see the commanding officer and he invited me to come along with him. 

Just as we arrived at the artillery battery, we heard the tail end of a propaganda broadcast by Dr. Göbbels.  We exchanged greetings and waited till the broadcast had finished.  Göbbels was appealing to the armed forces and the German people "to fight for every centimetre of German soil".  He went on to tell us, "Not to despair, the war has not yet been lost; the Führer still has some trump cards up his sleeve, in the form of new secret weapons".  He tried to reassure us, but we were well past the point of being able to accept reassurance.  Göbbels finished his broadcast with the words,  “It is only five minutes before twelve”, to which the commanding officer dejectedly retorted,  “In my opinion it is already five past twelve, and we’ll have to wait for one o’clock”.  His facial expression and mannerisms clearly betrayed what he was thinking; indicating to us that he knew it was too late for Germany. 

My grandfather expressed his concern to the officer, who responded by saying that he understood our apprehension and was sympathetic, but that he had to follow orders.  But somehow we left with the impression that if it came to the crunch, this officer would not see any merit in more destruction and bloodshed.  

When, after a couple of weeks, the troops around the village received the order to pack up and retreat further eastward, everybody felt a big weight had been taken off their shoulders.  For a few weeks, we were living in a sort of ‘No-man’s-land’ - the allied forces were poised just across the Rhine only about three kilometres away, and the German forces had gone. It was a time which could perhaps be best described as a time of suspense, apprehension, and uncertainty, and of never being sure what was going to happen next.  Yet a kind of uneasy calm prevailed. Everyone in Bischoffingen was resigned to the inevitable.   The thought of enemy troops coming to our village never entered our minds: such a situation was unimaginable just a few months back – if ever.

Now the time had come to think realistically, and we had to reassess the situation:  what had been the unthinkable had become the inevitable.  We anticipated and imagined all kinds of worst-case scenarios.  Bischoffingen, in its long history, had never been confronted with such a situation. 

On a sunny morning in early April 1945 I heard rumbling sounds, and I hopped on my bike and pedalled down the road a few hundred meters to discover ten tanks manoeuvring themselves into strategic positions with their heavy guns pointing towards the village.  I raced home to tell my mother, what I had seen, who was in the kitchen getting lunch ready. There was no panic; just an uneasy calm prevailing. We had expected this for quite a while. 

Not realizing that I was wearing a German army cap, I went outside the house and waited to see what would transpire - my inquisitiveness would not let me do otherwise. The rest of the family stayed inside the house, but after a while more people gathered in the street, when suddenly four armoured personnel carriers drove very slowly up the road with soldiers sitting on top, their guns at the ready. The crowd had now moved to the side of the road, and when the vehicles came abreast, the soldiers motioned us to go inside the houses.

At that moment the fate of the population of Bischoffingen had not dawned upon us - that realization came later.  It was only when I went inside that I realised to my horror, that not only was I wearing my army cap, but also had in my possession a high powered 08 Mauser army pistol.  No one in my family knew about this and I was worried that if the house was searched and the pistol found the whole family could be in trouble. The time had now arrived to hide it in a fairly safe place - and in a hurry.
When I first found the weapon some months back it nearly caused a tragic accident. My brother and I had gone into the room where a soldier used to sleep, and found the pistol lying on the table.  I lifted it up, pointed it towards the other side of the room where my brother was, squeezed the trigger and - bang - the bullet went into the wall, missing my brother by about 50 mm. The loudness of the bang was intensified a hundred fold because of the small size of the room, with its windows and doors closed.   As we left the room, both in a state of shock, I thanked my lucky stars that I hadn't killed my brother. After I had recovered from the trauma, I went back to the room and took possession of the pistol: for what purpose, I was never sure, but it made me feel that I had some sort of protection or even a sense of superiority with this weapon. 

For us, the war had come to an end. Uncertainty however, was not yet over by a long shot.  Close on the heels of the advancing forward troops came the actual occupation force, which set up camp one kilometre from our house.  Most of the soldiers were from the French colonies of Morocco and Algeria, but the officers were French.  A curfew from 6 p.m. was imposed and strictly patrolled by armed soldiers on trucks.  This curfew was later extended to 9 p.m. and, after six months totally lifted. To read about my own experience with a French soldier, see “The French Connection”

One day a French/Moroccan soldier with his rifle slung around him marched into our house and right up to the second floor where we lived. He went straight to the bedroom where my mum was, and sat on the bed. My mum was frozen with fright and stood there like a stone statue, but didn’t understand what he was saying. My 5 year old sister, Helga, was in the adjacent room, and mum was motioning her to come into the bedroom, probably thinking that there would be safety in numbers. However, Helga declined, also being frightened, and suspecting this soldier might have evil intentions. Grandfather summoned Uncle Phillip, who was in Bischoffingen at that time picking cherries for his grocery shop, and he spoke French. He asked the French soldier what he wanted, and he said that he wanted to marry my mother. My uncle told him that she was already married, and if he didn't leave the house he would call the police and the French commandant who was stationed nearby.

The soldier then left, but it took some time for my mother to recover from the shock. Women and young men didn’t dare to go out alone at night, as there were many rapes committed by French soldiers. (Addendum. Looking at recent events in Germany, and in Cologne in particular, German women are once again afraid to go out alone at night.)

Recriminations against Nazi party members were not long in coming.  The local chairman of the N.S.D.A.P. was arrested and taken outside Bischoffingen, where a rope was tied around his ankles; he was then dragged along the road behind a jeep until he was dead.  His son was told a day later to pick up his body.  This man had never harmed anybody in his life: his only “crime” in the eyes of those now wielding power and in a position to mete out judgement as well as punishment, was that he was a member of the N.S.D.A.P. (Nazi party) In the early thirties many young people joined that party, including my father.  N.S.D.A.P. was the abbreviation of National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiters Partei, which translated into English means, National Socialist German Workers Party.

Two months after the war ended we still were waiting to hear anything about my father. We didn’t know where he was, or whether he was dead or alive. It proved to be a trying time for all of us, especially my mother.  The long period of anxiety finally ended with a message from the Red Cross, informing us that he was alive, reasonably well and a prisoner of war in a camp in northern Germany, which was under American control.  After nearly four months in captivity he was set free and sent home.  Nothing could have prepared us for the shock we experienced when we saw father for the first time in many months.  I am guessing now, but it had been at least nine to ten months since he was last home. His normal 70 kg-plus frame had shrunk to a mere fifty-five kg. He was a feeble walking skeleton - a sad sight to behold.  Father was put under our local doctor’s care at home.  He was bed bound for quite a while and took a long time to recover fully.  He had an insatiable urge to eat and eat, but his craving had to be severely curbed on doctor’s orders.  Food and drink had to be administered very carefully, since the way he wanted to eat would have killed him, so food had to be taken in small quantities and often, but not too often.   I remember well, food had to be hidden and locked up when we had to go out. The urge to gulp down any quantity of food he could get his hands on would have been impossible to curb.

As the story unfolded, the daily ration per prisoner was one tin of water, a quarter-slice of bread and one plate of watery soup per day, plus one cigarette.
  Since father was a non-smoker, he traded his cigarette for a slice of bread from a smoker.  The prisoners supplemented their diet with the grass and weeds that grew near the fence. They scavenged tins from the rubbish heap to boil their “ veggies”, while cardboard boxes from the same pile were used as fuel for the fire. Having survived the war thus far, they were driven to try anything in order to stay alive.  And now, I have been pondering - should I tell Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers about this successful and proven weight-reduction diet?

Life was slowly returning to normality. The younger generation was more inclined towards easing tensions and breaking the ice between themselves and the occupying forces.
For the older generation, it took much longer to adjust to the situation, and they still harboured some muted resentment, eventually changing to a reluctant and somewhat aloof tolerance.  Weekend dances were the only form of entertainment, but the local girls went there only with boy friends, real or otherwise, because the Algerians and Moroccans were proving to be a problem. The girls could not refuse a dance, but if they had no male companion, the soldiers would ask them to their quarters or somewhere else. Young men were not safe either, and several rapes had taken place.

The minimum age for being allowed to go to dances at night was eighteen years, and I had not yet, by a long way, reached that age.
  One evening, as I was on my way home from a “look-in” at the dance hall, a girl rushed past me and disappeared into a cornfield.  In hot pursuit was an intoxicated soldier, who asked me in broken German in which direction she had gone.  Naturally, I directed him in the opposite direction.  He rushed into the cornfield, and I could hear the swishing and rustling of the corn leaves.  My eagerness to see what would happen, overruled my better judgement, which told me to go home and disappear.  After a while, and without any hope of finding the girl, the soldier came out of the cornfield, quite angry and not at all in a sociable mood.  He accused me of sending him in the wrong direction (which I had), and he rewarded me with a couple of hard whacks behind my ears.  My father, who had happened to look out of the window and observed the whole incident, admonished me when I came home for being so stupid and not leaving the scene.

There were also hard-core elements in the French occupying forces who had difficulty coming to terms with us, their former arch-enemy, and they wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to humiliate us, or remind us that they were still the boss in our area. Of course I could fully apprehend that reconciliation would not come overnight.  It would take time and effort on both sides for old wounds to heal. I recall clearly two salient incidents as if they had occurred just a short time ago, both of which centred around the flag-raising and lowering ceremony at the French battalion’s head¬quarters, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon. 

In the first instance, my schoolmate was walking past such a ceremony one day, but unfortunately for him nobody had told him what the protocol was on such an occasion: to stop walking, stand still and take off any headgear.  The young fellow (about 16 years old) was taken into the compound, given a verbal chastisement, was told that the French flag had to be respected and in particular by the former enemy.  He was then given a “total” haircut, and ordered to clean out their filthy toilets. After a day of “community service” for the French army, he was sent home to his family and to show them his new Yul Brynner haircut.

On the second occasion, my father and I went with horse and wagon to get a load of green fodder for our cows, which were kept in stables. As we were abreast of the flagpole of the French compound, the flag lowering ceremony commenced, the bugle player started his recital, and the sudden noise startled and frightened our temperamental mare.   Father held on to the reins of the horse, stopped the wagon, and told me to take my hat off, but kept his hat on.  When the ceremony was finished, the French commander on the balcony became very loquacious, yelling and screaming in French, (which we couldn’t understand) while gesticulating wildly with his arms and hands.  An officer and interpreter approached us, and I felt a tingling of apprehension creeping up in me.  The officer asked father why he didn’t take his hat off in respect to the French flag.   His reply was that he had to hold on to the horse as it got a fright.  I knew that this was just an excuse, and not the real reason, and I think the French knew it too.

Words went back and forth to the balcony, but it seemed that the commander was not convinced that the frightened horse was the reason for him to keep his hat on.  Father was ordered to go inside, while I was allowed to go with horse and wagon to our nearby paddock to fetch clover for our animals.  I was genuinely worried, not that he might be required to do  “community service” and get a free haircut, but that they might check him out and find that he was a member of the N.S.D.A.P.   About half an hour later, I had just finished loading the wagon when father came to the paddock.   Luckily he was not required for toilet cleaning, nor given a haircut or questioned, but the lecture he received instead would have hurt his pride, and would have been more painful and humiliating to this ex-soldier. 

Postscript.  A few years later I had an opportunity to pay the French back in my own way, and under my own terms - not in a vindictive way, more in a prankish vein.  Nevertheless, I felt good about what I did.  Had I been caught however, I would have been in conflict with the French military authorities. Here is what happened.

When I was dating Karola, one Sunday we drove on my motorbike to the town of Breisach 10 KM away. Breisach was sitting right on the River Rhine, which was the French/German border, and there was also a  garrison of French troops stationed there.
 We went into a well known café to have some quiet time together. Karola was new to Bischoffingen and surrounds; her parents had just leased the pub in Bischoffingen and that is where I got to know Karola. The café was on a hill, and nearby was a round observation tower with a long spiral staircase that led to the top and the observation platform. To obtain the key to go up the tower I was required to pay 5 Marks, and when the key was returned I got it back. We had spent quite some time up there to admire the surrounds, when three French soldiers came up the tower. I said to Karola as we saw them coming up, "When they are at the top we'll greet them, then we'll go down and I'll lock the door, and you run to the café with the key while I start up the motorbike to drive away.  So that is what we did, and I have been wondering to this day who released them from the tower.

The scythe and the flail are tools from a bygone era, and it is highly likely that today's generation has neither seen nor heard of them, and much less ever used one of them.  However, I had the opportunity to learn the skill to use them. The only way to cut grass on the slopes on the Kaiserstuhl, where horse drawn Grass cutters couldn’t go, was the scythe.  To cut evenly and cleanly with a scythe was an ability that took a fair bit of practice, and in time I acquired the necessary skill.  That skill however, also entailed learning to sharpen the scythe, which was made from special steel.

The cutting edge had to be hammered thin with a special hammer on a special purpose-built anvil, and stayed sharp for a long time.  From time to time, a couple of strokes with a wet honing stone enhanced the sharpness of the cutting edge.  The stone was carried in a holster containing water and was carried on a belt.  Interestingly, the holsters were made from hollowed-out cow or bullhorns.  Our slang word for it was 'Kumpf', but the word is unlikely to be found in any dictionary.  'Kumpf' was also used in a derogatory way, in reference to a person's enormous nose.

Rye is the tallest of the grain family, and a certain amount of it was not let through the threshing machine to save it from being crumpled up.  In the wintertime, when there wasn’t much to do, the rye kernels were separated from the florets with a flail.  (A flail is an implement consisting of a free-swinging round lump of wood called the swipple attached to a stick to thresh out grain by hand). In our barn we had a large clay floor area built solely for this operation.  My grandfather constructed the floor by mixing clay with animal blood.  The blood gave the clay cohesion, kept it smooth and hard, but not too hard, and prevented it from crumpling.  A cement floor would have been too hard and the rye kernels would get smashed.  I remember well having to swing my flail on many a cold winter’s day.  My grandfather, father and I would go back and forth over the spread-out rye, flailing it in unison: one - two - three, one - two - three, etc., to the muffled sound of the swipple hitting the rye on the clay floor.

Flailing the rye achieved two objectives: apart from getting the rye out of the florets, it also smashed the hard outer layer of the straw and took the stiffness out of it. The reason for the latter one was because the flailed straw was used to tie up the boughs of the grapevines, which were bent into circles after they had been pruned in spring, and the straw was then used to tie them to their support.  Had the boughs not been bent into a circle, the sap, when the vine started to grow, would have caused the uppermost eye of the bough to grow strongest and become top-heavy, while at the same time inhibiting grape yield.  Before the straw was put to use, it was soaked in water overnight to make it more pliable.  Four to five strands were used, and in the main, the women performed this task, and it required some skill to tie the special bowknot.

Few wage-earning opportunities for the young people in the village were available, except for the occasional grafting of grape vines, and during the harvest, doing shift-work in the winery.  I became very proficient at vine grafting which was paid on a piecework basis. Grafting the grapevine was done for a particular reason. “Die Reblaus”, (or phylloxera, its scientific name) is a vine pest. Grafting on a strong rootstock eliminated the problem.  Every graft had to be perfect, otherwise it was returned to you for correction.  If it was rejected, it was not counted for payment, and there was no union to complain to.
But there was another way for me to make some good pocket money.  During the war, and for a long time into the post-war period, every household kept dozens of rabbits for the purpose of fresh meat supply, and as a change for the taste buds. With most households deficient of men, because they were away fighting a war, I was taught by my grandfather how to kill rabbits, gut them, take their pelt off, and cut them into pieces ready for my mother to cook.  My remuneration for this job was the retention of the pelt, which I put on a stretching frame, and hung up to dry. The news was soon making its rounds via word-of-mouth courier, recommending me as a “rabbit butcher,” and in no time I was doing the job for all the relations as well as the whole neighbourhood.

The killing method was a bit crude: I held them on the hind legs, then hit them on the head with a hammer, and cut their throats.  I didn’t really like doing it, but making money from the pelts was an overriding factor for doing it. When I had accumulated a large number of pelts, I took them to a pelt dealer in Freiburg.  This sideline provided me with a much-appreciated cash flow.   However eventually I started to develop a dislike for killing animals and cutting them up in little pieces.   I could never have chosen the butcher trade as my profession. 

Rabbits are prolific breeders and the kids in the village had a lot of fun with them.
By mating males with different females - you could say it was a kind of a ‘rabbit sex trade’ - we finished up with all sorts of different coloured pelt patterns.  Many kids had their favourite rabbits, and sometimes it could cause a bit of trauma when a favourite finished up on the dinner table in a “ready to eat” state.

My paternal grandfather was my mentor and teacher and I learned a lot from him. He was a man of many skills and talents and was always sought out for advice by the villagers.  He was a man of resolve and perseverance, but he was also immensely practical, mentally as well as physically.  There was no doubt, that he was a real “do it yourselfer” - able to improvise, skilful with his hands, always looking beyond the next horizon, always ahead of his time in his thinking.  (If we had computers then, grandfather would have been the first to have one.) Grandfather exerted great influence on me in my formative years, since at that particular time my father was away as a soldier in the war.  I am ever grateful for what he taught me and I always look back to him with great admiration.  Grandfather had three hobbies: 1. Growing the latest roses; 2. Growing vegetables, especially asparagus and 3. Beekeeping.  The beehives, of which he had more than fifty, were housed in a separate building in the garden, which we dubbed the "Bee house". 

I was involved in all of those hobbies and it was like nourishment for my insatiable curiosity and appetite for learning practical things. The pride of our garden was a rose bush, which had fourteen different kinds of roses grafted onto it, and was a sight to behold when they were all in bloom.  I remember the special long knife used for cutting the asparagus plants deep down in their mound. They were easy to find as they betrayed their presence by lifting the soil on the smoothed-out mound.  The mound had to be smoothed-out again after every cutting. In their peak of growing, they just kept on shooting up and had to be cut twice a day.  Sometimes I was the victim of grandfather's great sense of humour.  One day he told me, with a serious face, that it was too dangerous to go near the asparagus mounds in the garden.  When asked why, he replied, “Because the asparagus are shooting.”  My gift of the gab was well known to everybody, and to shut me up could prove difficult.  I remember well Grandfather remarking frequently, “When you die, they’ll have to kill your mouth separately, otherwise you’ll keep on talking.

Through my hobby of beekeeping, I became very friendly with a former Commander of the French occupation forces in our area, who married a German girl and settled in the neighboring village of Oberrotweil after retiring from the armed forces. However, he was not the same loquacious firebrand who gave my father a lecture for failing to remove his hat at a flag-lowering ceremony.  He was the friendly one who came to interview me in the schnapps affair.  (See ‘The French connection”
Our mutual interest brought us together again and we formed an excellent liaison and friendship.  Over many cups of coffee and glasses of wine we talked ‘bees’ and reminisced about the petrol and Schnapps affair. It just goes to show how situations, circumstances and attitudes can change within a short time-span and how two “former” enemies can become friends, true to the maxim – if there is a will there is a way. 

I can’t remember much of my maternal grandfather, who died when I was four years old, but I was told that he, like my other grandfather, also had a great sense of humour. It looks like I have inherited a double dose of a sense of humour.  However, there’s one thing that I can remember well about my maternal Grandfather.  After his funeral, I went with other kids to the cemetery and helped the gravedigger to fill in my grandfather's grave.  Word got to my family. “You do not do this with your own grandfather,” I was severely admonished.

This is the conclusion of my condensed account of growing up in Bischoffingen, my experiences, trials and tribulations, my thoughts and dreams. This story doesn’t always follow in a chronological order. It could be said that I had a colourful childhood, and I experienced things that I hope our children or grandchildren will never experience.  But life through all this helped to form my personality, and I hope the story will give the reader a better understanding of my “make up” and complexity.

         I hope that you enjoyed reading it. - Werner Schmidlin August 2001.
My quote for today: - Werner“Life is the best teacher, just as it is. It is the toughest teacher. It won’t tolerate slothfulness for long. It’s always throwing some difficult problem your way and then seeing what you will do with it.” Stephanee Killen
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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Growing up in Bischoffingen, Germany. Part 3.

With the invasion of France by the German army, the danger from the French artillery had ceased.  Our village had a certain feel of emptiness about it as all the able-bodied menfolk were serving in the armed forces: only the women, the young (below 18 years) and the old people were left.  We had about thirty Polish prisoners of war stationed in Bischoffingen, each assigned to a family - and they supplemented badly needed manpower, and they helped with our farm work.  They were locked inside a building that had been especially prepared for that purpose, from six p.m. in winter and eight p.m. in summer and all day on Sunday.  The prisoners were not guarded; they went to their sleeping quarters by themselves, as well as returning to the farm in the morning. The prisoners in the village became part of their respective farming families, despite a government directive that they were the “enemy” and that we were not to get too friendly with them.  However, we considered them human beings who just happened to be on the wrong side of the fence – at the wrong time.  The prisoner assigned to us, Stanislaw, was no exception.  He sat at the same table with us and ate what we were eating and the war situation was frequently discussed. He became like part of our family. 

Shortly before the allied forces reached Bischoffingen,
the prisoners were given a choice. They could either stay or be shifted eastwards to a “safer” destination.  Stanislaw decided to be shifted, and bade us goodbye.  He vanished without a trace, never to be heard from again. The prisoners who remained in Bischoffingen stayed on for a while, and then migrated to either USA or Australia.

Towards the end of the war we also had French prisoners of war working for us. Our teacher, Herr Feuerstein, was from Alsace and spoke French fluently.  He was often seen talking to the French prisoners in the street. We had to greet our teacher by raising the right hand in salutation, saying  “Heil Hitler!” whereupon the teacher had to return the salute. However, each time he was talking with a prisoner and had to return my Hitler salute, I could sense he did so with painful reluctance, just mumbling the words and lifting his arm like a short quick wave, and I often pondered what they were saying to each other in French. 

A French prisoner who worked in the winery, rescued and saved from certain death a local man who had inhaled carbon dioxide, produced by fermenting grapes.
The prisoner found the man lying unconscious on the winery cellar floor, after the gas extraction fan had failed at the peak of the grape juice fermentation process. He received recognition from the German government, was released to the Red Cross, and subsequently allowed to re-join his family in France. Perhaps this goes to show that there was also a compassionate side to the German people - not often mentioned when the war is discussed by non- Germans.

Also, at the beginning of the war a lot of children from the German seaports and industrialised areas of northern Germany were sent to southern Germany and billeted with families.  In Bischoffingen we had a Girl from Bremen, whose name was Hannelore, and she was billeted with the local midwife, who in 1953 delivered our eldest daughter in Bischoffingen.  Hannelore was in my class at school, and every boy in the village had an eye, or both, on Hannelore. Shortly before the war’s end, Hannelore suddenly disappeared; all that was said was that she went back to her parents.  I never got Hannelore completely out of my mind and often wondered what happened to her and where she would be – it's perhaps my inquisitive mind at work. 

Postscript. However, when we returned for the first time to Bischoffingen after 22 years in Australia, we eventually met up with the old midwife.
  We came to talk about Hannelore, and it was there and then that we found out, some thirty years later, that Hannelore had also migrated to Australia with her husband.  We obtained Hannelore’s address in Melbourne and when we came back to Australia I wrote to her and after a few letter exchanges invited her and her Husband to visit us in Cairns. They accepted the invitation and we met again after all those years, and off course there was a lot to talk about and to reminisce about the time in Bischoffingen.  However, after their plane left Melbourne on the way to Cairns, I suddenly thought, oh my God how will I recognise Hannelore at the airport after all those years? I should have asked her to hold a newspaper or something in her hand which I could look out for.  However, my concern was for nothing. Hannelore walked through the airport gate, and suddenly a female voice exclaimed, Werner, you still look the same!  She recognised me instantly.

I was only 14 years old, when one night my grandfather requested my help for a special event - the birth of a calf - and I became an assistant obstetrician. Now, that was an event, which under normal circumstances young kids like me were not allowed to witness, let alone to help.  I’m not sure why, perhaps it was not to betray the instilled concept that all living creatures are brought by the stork.  The cow in question was particularly big, and as grandfather expected a very big calf and a difficult birth, like a good scout he prepared himself for any eventuality, especially the manpower required for pulling.  Beside myself, he lined up a German soldier who was billeted in our house.  With plenty of clean straw and a book, grandfather settled down in the stable to hold a vigil, ready to call on us when the time arrived.
Calf delivery time arrived just before midnight.   When I entered the stable the cow was lying down, the water had broken, there was some blood around, and I could see, protruding from the cow, two legs to which a rope had been attached. Grandfather quickly informed me that the calf was big and that it was coming out the wrong way - backwards.  I had hardly been instructed to pull on the rope when the soldier arrived.  As soon as he set eyes on the blood, he fainted, and we had to drag him out of the stable and call for help. Mother and grandmother took care of him and brought him back to life with cold water.  He apologized later for the let down, and explained that he couldn’t stand the sight of blood.  The happy ending to this episode was that grandfather and I delivered a big female calf – ‘no bull.’

Perhaps three incidents in my young life in Bischoffingen could easily be classified as the worst life experiences of my entire life.   They are embedded in my mind and will stay with me with every detail to the day I die.

1) The nightly intrusion of enemy aircraft high above us, with their monotonous drone, became part of our daily lives. One night, well after midnight, an aircraft broke this monotony seemingly in dire trouble. The sputtering of aircraft engines, the perception of the plane getting lower, louder and closer caused me to get out of bed and jolted me from my slumberous state.  My attention was now focussing on this new and ominous-sounding situation, then a big thud put a full stop to this not so “silent night”. At first light in the morning everybody was up looking for any evidence of this puzzling occurrence of only a few hours before.  It didn’t take long to find the evidence of this disturbing nocturnal event.

There was a long corridor strewn with aircraft wreckage, and we found all sorts of things, amongst them, still intact, an orange-coloured inflatable life raft and all sorts and shapes of pieces of twisted metal.  Despite the seriousness of our war situation and the many worries on our minds, this proved to be something of a distraction, and turned out to be a field day for souvenir collectors. The debris trail led us into the hills where, a few meters from one of our vineyards, we discovered the whole tail section of a Lancaster bomber, with its characteristic pair of upright tail fins and rear gun turret. The whole area looked like a drawn out scrap metal yard.   A little bit further on we found the mangled mid section, and a few hundred meters past that, the wing section, with its four engines and cockpit embedded in a hilltop, and still smouldering. 

The most distressing find, however, was around the tail section: parts of human remains, such as a foot, an arm, mid section of a human with intestines hanging out, and a head still partly attached to a shoulder and arm, the dog tag still around the deceased’s neck.  This was not a pretty sight, and is a ghastly memory that will remain with me for the rest of my life.  I can still see my mother crying and visibly shaken by this awful sight before us, and saying that there would be a mother, wife or girlfriend and a family crying for this dead airman somewhere in England or another allied country.  We informed the police, who subsequently removed the dog tag and collected the body parts, and handed them to the Red Cross.

2) By now, the “ safety of distance” had dissipated and two British Spitfires, equipped with extra fuel tanks under their wings to enable them to penetrate to the southern-most part of Germany, paid us a ‘visit’.  When their outside tanks were empty they jettisoned them. These two must have been on a reconnaissance mission and taking pictures of the landscape. A battery of anti-aircraft guns (Flak) nearby opened up, and in retaliation they attacked Bischoffingen. These “spitting” metal birds introduced terror and fear into our lives. They were only armed with heavy machine guns, yet their ear-splitting noise when they swooped low over you was even more terrifying than the actual gunfire.

It was the 16th November 1944; my father was home from Russia for a fortnight of rest and recreation.  We were killing a pig and calf for our meat supply.  This ‘killing’ event took an unexpected and terrible twist and turned into a ‘killing event’ of a different kind.  Suddenly, and without any warning, we heard the ear-piercing noise of planes and gunfire descending upon us.  Everybody scattered in different directions, each trying to save their own skin.  At first, I ran panic stricken into the house and huddled for a second  (which seemed like an eternity) under the dining room table.  However, the intensity of this terrible and frightening noise made me decide to run through the barn into the garden, only to be greeted by falling roof tiles, caused by shrapnel from the projectiles of the anti-aircraft guns nearby, and of course gunfire from the fighter planes.  The attack lasted only seconds - certainly much shorter than I can reiterate the story - but it appeared to be an eternity.  The roof of the house and barn looked kind of weird with all those tiles missing. 

Shouts by someone that our barn was on fire made me recover very quickly from my state of shock.  Although we had plenty of water from our own well, there were no pressure water hoses on our farm, which made things more difficult. Water had to be hand-pumped into buckets and passed on to me to the top section of the barn where all the hay was stored for the animals' winter supply.  Everyone worked feverishly to extinguish the fire, but another shout alerted me to the fact that, about three blocks further up the street the house of my great aunt (my grandfather’s sister) was ablaze. 

My grandfather, father and I raced towards the house, but father looked back and saw smoke coming from our barn, and went back to take care of it. As the faster runner, I arrived at the house first, but the heat was so intense and the two-storey house was totally engulfed in flames. The only thing I was able to retrieve from the raging inferno was auntie’s bicycle - and in the process of retrieval, the hairs on my head, arms and legs were singed.  We stood by helplessly as the house burned to the ground with only the brick walls jutting towards the sunny winter sky.

There was no sight of aunty, and my grandfather and I resigned ourselves to the worst-case scenario as we prepared ourselves mentally for the situation before us. We found my aunt’s daughter-in-law, Elsa Schmidlin, in the house next door, being taken care of by the neighbours. She was badly burned, and cut by glass by jumping through the kitchen window. But before the ambulance took her away, she told us that aunty was sitting with her at the Kitchen table having lunch.

We started to shift rubble where the kitchen table used to be.  Everything that was made from timber in the house has turned into ashes. The corner where the kitchen table had been was now littered with a large pile of fallen red bricks. We started to shift them gingerly, brick by brick, as they were still extremely hot.  Our worst fears were confirmed when we found the charred remains of my aunt’s body.  This was a sight I will never be able to erase from my mind as long as I live.  My aunt was a tall person, in the proximity of 1.8 metres tall, yet the body we found had shrunk to only about 600 mm  (2 feet) in length. The head was a little bit bigger than that of a cat; the arms and legs just short stubs.  She needed only a very small coffin.

As I look back at this terrible event, writing it down still raises strong emotions: tears to my eyes, and goose bumps over my whole body.  This short and terrifying incident left two people dead, two houses totally destroyed, and four including ours, damaged.

The other person killed in the attack was a man in our neighbourhood.  He was really unlucky as it was only his first day home from the Russian front, for two weeks of rest and recreation, having survived many fierce battles - only to be killed by a heavy, three-meter high barn door falling on him after having its hinges shot off by the Spitfire.  As I often say:  war is indeed a monstrous atrocity against humanity.

As we put the pieces together after this air attack, with the help of eyewitnesses, it became quite clear as to what happened.  There were two planes involved in the attack.  The anti aircraft guns nearby (known as “ the Flak “) fired a barrage of shots at the Spitfires. They retaliated by strafing our village with gunfire, while one plane jettisoned both long-distance fuel tanks, which it carried under its wings. The tanks still contained a quantity of high-octane fuel, which made it a lethal and highly explosive bomb.  As the first plane strafed us and dropped the fuel tanks, the second plane behind it set the tanks alight with its gunfire, sending them hurtling earthwards like trail-blazing comets. The burning tanks hit the roof of my aunt’s house, going through two floors and spreading burning fuel all the way down, finally reaching the kitchen where the two women were having lunch, where it exploded. The fact that one woman survived this inferno can only be described as an absolute miracle. We thanked our lucky stars, because it could have been our house and the casualty might have been one of us, perhaps me, and I would not be here today to tell this story.

It might be worth noting that the German word "flak", and now also part of the English language, was derived from the German abbreviation of Flieger  Abwehr  Kanone (One word) which means literally, Aircraft Defence Cannon - or Anti-Aircraft Gun.  The word is used in German in the same context as in the English language, e.g. to give somebody flak, by criticizing them. 

3) Freiburg, the capital of the Black Forest and the town in which I was born, had so far, been spared from being bombed.  It became a perplexing question as to why this was so, not that we wanted it to be bombed, yet all other towns in this area had suffered. This remained a bit of a puzzle and open to all sorts of speculation.   Freiburg had not much industry: it was mainly an educational centre with a highly rated University, as well as a few modern and (for that era) well-equipped hospitals.  Rumours were circulating, and Radio Beromünster (Switzerland) confirmed them to be true, that negotiations were under way between Germany, the Red Cross and the allied countries; the latter two wanting to declare Freiburg an international Hospital Town. Their intention was to hospitalise wounded or sick airmen, and also to station prisoners of war there, so that they would not be accidentally killed in their bombing offensive.  If Germany would agree with this proposal and stipulation the Allies would, in return, spare Freiburg from being attacked or bombed. The Nazis in their wisdom and with their severe tunnel vision refused point blank.  The stupidity of this refusal was that wounded German soldiers also would have been safe there, and within a few days, on the 27th of November 1944 most of Freiburg was destroyed.

It was just before 11 p.m. when we heard the familiar monophonic drone of the B 29 Super Fortresses and Lancasters high above us. The bombers always flew in several wave formations. The first unloaded their deadly cargo then started their return journey in a different direction. Then it was the second wave’s turn to execute their deadly mission followed by the third and so on. The last planes of the first formation had passed above our house not more than a minute ago, when the first bomb explosions could be heard, and from the short time it took, we realized that this time it was Freiburg’s turn.

The iconic and renowned Market Place of Freiburg was surrounded by businesses and in the centre of it was the Catholic Cathedral. (Münster in German) Every time we used to come to Freiburg that was where we went first to get a nice crusty bread roll with a German Bratwurst or Weißwurst - there was always a beehive of activity, especially on Saturday. When Freiburg was bombed everything that surrounded the market place was totally destroyed, but the cathedral stood there like a lone sentinel, and with only minor damage. This was described as either a miracle or an act of God – we will never know. 

I hope that you find this chapter interesting, tell me if you did or if you didn’t. Click on picture to enlarge.

My thought for today could only be: My love, not war. John Lennon

 The heart of Freiburg. (YouTube presentation)  Here are some interesting pictures of Freiburg from the National Geographic magazine, it shows the utter destruction and the nice buildings of Freiburg, many of which had been destroyed, and then restored to their collective former glory. Click here.