blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The resurrection of Pforzheim

Monument in honour of the victims of war, Pforzheim
Schloßkirche, 1945
As mentioned in my last but one blogpost, Pforzheim was bombed because it was a centre for armaments manufacture in the war. "There will never be a town in this place again," said the American commander who visited the ruins of the city after the bombing attack of February 1945 that destroyed so much of it and took more than 17,000 lives. Terrible indeed, but he was wrong. Ten years later, Pforzheim was in business again, transformed into a modern town and reviving its old industries of jewelry- and watch-making, and viniculture. Nowadays it's the home of electro-technical industries and Amazon has a big Logistikzentrum here. We saw adverts recruiting young Amazon personnel, with the slogan "Das ist mein Ding!" The annual grape-harvest festival was in full swing near our hotel in the market square, called the Oechslefest in honour of the metrologist, a local man, who invented the Oechsle scale for wine making, although I doubt if many of the patrons were very interested in that fact. The girls were in dirndls and people of all ages were dancing to the live music.

Present day Pforzheim

In the Schloßkirche, Pforzheim
I went into the Schloßkirche of St. Michael on the hill near the railway station, a 12th century church that was reduced to ruins and rubble during the bombing attack. There are colourful patterns of light on the floor when the sun shines through the stained glass windows.

Angel, Bad Wildbad
Some 20km upstream from Pforzheim, in the church at Bad Wildbad on the River Enz, is a 1950s fresco depicting an angel announcing Jesus' resurrection. It must have seemed very meaningful in those days.

I was still thinking about this when I visited Pforzheim's Stadtmuseum (free entrance) two days later. A special exhibition is on at present, entitled "Sie Bauten Eine Neue Stadt" –– they built a new town. The permanent exhibition shows how the town developed from prehistoric times until 1945. The 1940s bombing raids weren't the only calamity Pforzheim had suffered during its history. In previous centuries, it had been burned by three major fires and its citizens had had to deal with outbreaks of the Plague.

Model of the city as it looked in the 19th century
I signed the visitors' book and wrote in probably faulty German to say, as a British-Canadian, how moved I was by this museum.

Wedding guests in Pforzheim
August 2015
Chairs and tables by the River, Pforzheim

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