Sunday, December 10, 2017

December endings

Apparently it is assumed that with the holidays fast approaching, all Christmas luncheons and parties should be held the first week of December thereby "freeing" us all up for others things the rest of the month.  Unfortunately, it also makes for one hectic and busy week but lots of fun too!
The Legal department ate at a great German restaurant that has been serving food since the late 1700's around the time of the Revolutionary War.  The same family has owned it since the late 1800's!  

Don and Jill Roberts ( who is our volunteer volunteer coordinator for refugee projects : what they will do when she goes home to Idaho next month is scary: she is so awesome and a dear friend)  with Lynn Driscoll our British barrister in the office!  No really, she was a barrister in London before going to work for the church.

Jeff and Janet Nelson from Brooklyn, New York.  He is the Area Legal Counsel and the boss of OGC,.  Janet is a dedicated math and English tutor and does many refugee visits.  She is also a member of the YW General Board and rides her bike everywhere, even in a dress.  She is awesome and a great friend.
Paula and David Thomas with Christian Wolfert.  David is a retired law professor from the J. Reuben Clark law school at BYU and Paula has done oral histories of many of the refugees and church members in the Europe Area while serving here in Frankfurt, including one with Randy and I.  She is our main volunteer at Krift and I have no idea what will happen there when she goes home in 2 months!  A lovely friend who will be living quite near us post mission.   Christian is also a Legal coordinator in the office and one of the mid-singles who helped out for weeks on our baby boxes.

The next event this week took place on St. Nikolas day.  The Caritas staff gave all their volunteers and staff a final thank-you for the service rendered at the Rebstok refugee camp. This is Andrea, a favorite of mine whom I will miss a lot.  

 After the luncheon and thank you speeches we were asked to return to Rebstok where a photo shoot took place for Caritas that had helped sponsored the summer fest a few months ago. A state minister came and gave Caritas €6500 for having such great volunteers and doing a good job of helping the refugees integrate into German society.  We were delighted when so many of the refugee families also returned and had sort of a reunion of sorts since they are all now in differing living situations.  I loved the hugs and genuine warmth extended to us as volunteers and received from all these people we have come to love. Both of those boys have grown at least 6 inches this summer

Another highlight this week was the Area Presidency Christmas devotional broadcast for the entire Europe Area. The senior missionaries sang a special number. Each president and their wives spoke.  I love these women!   Following their remarks, those lucky enough to be in Frankfurt had some tempting refreshments and time to visit before heading out to Frankfurt to the Christmas Market with Elder and Sister Done and Sister Nelson.  

By Friday, we weren't done yet!  The senior sister missionaries along with Sisters Nelson, Johnson, and Sabin all had a little going away luncheon at one of our nearby Italian bistros for me.  A final good-bye for both Randy and I will be this week at our weekly Book of Mormon class which Jill Roberts will teach.  I am looking forward to the lesson as she is an amazing teacher: she and Don taught Seminary last year.  She had taught for years in Idaho.  You can tell.

The ward Christmas party was Saturday night : we had gone back into Frankfurt to the flea market one last time Saturday morning after we realized it was too cold for a bike ride.  I found a couple of ornaments and Randy bought a watch repair kit.  . Randy and I took Elfi with us to the ward party in the evening. The young women of the ward were in charge and did a great job from the the decor to the food to the entertainment.  They worked so hard to make this a lovely evening.  Our friend, Nicole Ludwig, who has been our contact with the Rebstok refugees and now with Krift, also came with Trisha Leimer, one of the forces with Their Story is Our Story.  I was so happy she would honor us again by participating with us as she has been integral to our volunteer service with the refugees and been a friend to all of us.

Sunday we had two or three more events: lunch at our house with Elfi, then we took dinner over to Elder and Sister Wright  (family history technicians).  She had blown out a disk and they did microsurgery on Thursday.  She came home this morning and is doing really well.
Then we finished the evening with a wonderful dinner with Kiever and Constanza and their 2 month old son Arturo, who is a doll.  Lovey black hair and starting to talk back when you talk with him.  What a sweetheart and they are going to be great parents. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Göltzsch Viaduct near Chemnitz in Leipzig Stake

When we spoke at the Leipzig Stake RS Women's conference, we drove under this bridge.  It is amazing and HUGE.

Göltzsch Viaduct

The Göltzsch Viaduct (German: Göltzschtalbrücke) is a railway bridge in Germany. It is the largest brick-built bridge in the world, and for a time it was the tallest railway bridge in the world. It spans the valley of the Göltzsch River between Mylau and Netzschkau, around 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) west of Reichenbach im Vogtland in the German Free State of Saxony. It was built between 1846 and 1851 as part of the railway between Saxony (LeipzigZwickau, and Plauen) and Bavaria (Hof and Nuremberg). It is currently part of the Leipzig–Hof line, near the Netzschkau station

History and construction[edit]

Size of the bridge compared to a car
One of the greatest challenges in constructing a railway between Saxony and Bavaria was how to bridge the Göltzsch valley. Hoping to find a financially feasible construction plan, the Saxon-Bavarian Railway Companyannounced a contest on 27 January 1845 in all major German magazines with prize money of 1000 Thalers. However, none of the 81 submissions could prove by means of structural analysis that it would be able to withstand the stresses of rail traffic on the bridge. The prize money was eventually divided among four contestants, but none of their designs were actually realized.
The chairman of the jury, professor Johann Andreas Schubert subsequently designed a bridge himself, making use of his recently attained knowledge of structural analysis, and letting himself be inspired by the submitted designs and the viaduct in Leubnitz (Werdau), which was finished in the summer of 1845,[2] making it the first bridge in the world to be subjected to a full structural analysis. It was planned to build the bridge mainly out of bricks, at the time a highly unusual choice, because of the abundance of loam in the vicinity, which allowed for rapid and cost-efficient production of bricks. Granite was to be used only for certain crucial segments.
The first stone was laid on 31 May 1846. The plans were revised just once after construction began, when certain technical difficulties arose. For instance, the foundation on which the bridge was to be built turned out to be less firm than previously assumed. Chief engineer Robert Wilke solved this by replacing the arches in the middle with one great central arch, which only added to the impressiveness of this edifice.
The Göltzsch Viaduct was an extraordinarily large endeavor for its time. Each day, the nearly 20 brickyards along the railway line would produce 50,000 bricks with the unusual dimensions of 28×14×6.5 centimetres (11.0×5.5×2.6 in). The scaffolding was custom-made for each arch, totalling 23,000 tree trunks,[3] although other sources even speak of 230,000 trunks.[4] In total, 1,736 construction workers built the bridge, with 31 on-site fatalities. When the bridge was completed and inaugurated on 15 July 1851, it was world's tallest railway bridge. Today, it still holds the record for largest brick bridge in the world.[5]

Key people[edit]

  • Professor Johann Andreas Schubert (1808–1870) – Chairman of the jury, architect, structural analyst
  • Chief engineer Robert Wilke (1804–1889) – Construction planner and chief superintendent
  • Engineer Ferdinand Dost (1810–1888) – Superintendent
  • Pharmacist and chemist Heinrich Carl – Mortar composition
DesignArch bridge
Total length574 metres (1,883 ft)
Width23 metres (75 ft) at the foot
9 metres (30 ft) at the top
Height78 metres (256 ft)
No. of spans98 vaults in total divided over 4 levels; the top level is composed of 29 arches, the widest arch spanning 30.9 metres (101 ft)
DesignerJohann Andreas Schubert
Construction start31 May 1846
Construction end1851
Construction cost2.2 million Thalers
Opened15 July 1851
World's largest brick bridge, sporting a total of 26,021,000 bricks and a volume of 135,676 cubic metres (4,791,400 cu ft).

Friday, October 13, 2017

Goetheturm burned down this morning.

It's been a bad year for fires.  We mourn with Santa Rosa and all of Northern California.  
But today was a particularly sad day here in Frankfurt. 

Someone burned down the Goetheturm.

The Goetheturm was a huge timber structure tower built in the woods south of Frankfurt where Goethe loved to walk.  

The Goethe Tower (GermanGoetheturm) was a 43-metre high public observation tower built entirely out of wood on the northern edge of Frankfurt City Forest located in Sachsenhausen (Frankfurt am Main). The tower was built in honour of German writer and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

In 1867, a wooden tower was first built on the site, at that time 22 metres tall. After the First World War, this first tower had become so rickety that it had to be pulled down.
In 1931, the Goethe Tower was rebuilt with money donated by the Jewish businessman Gustav Gerst. The opening ceremony took place in November 1931, shortly before the 1932 commemorations of Goethe's death one hundred years before. The city of Frankfurt provided the wood for the tower - altogether more than 340m³ of pine, beech, and oak timber.
The Goethe Tower remained a popular place for day-trippers, especially families, as a large playground and a café were built at the foot of the tower.

From the top you could see the whole city and all the way to the Taunus Mountains if the day was clear.


We climbed it at least twice and enjoyed biking through the woods around its base.

You can read the newspaper accounts Here and Here  and video here

And this is not the first loss in Frankfurt this year. The Goetheturm is the third structure in Frankfurt's green parks have burnt down within six months.  All three are places we have enjoyed riding our bikes to and enjoying the beauty.

The 4,800-square-metre Korean Garden (Koreanischer Garten) in the Grüneburg Park (Grüneburgpark) originated as part of South Korea’s presentation as the guest of honour at the 2005 Frankfurt Book Fair, and was a gift to the city of Frankfurt am Main. This exotic treasure has been designed in the style of traditional Korean scholars’ gardens, which since the 16th century have served as havens for artists and intellectuals. The garden should therefore also be a refuge for resting and meditation for residents of Frankfurt.

Next to two impressive pavilions, which were made from Korean materials, there are two square ponds with round islands. Each element in the design has a serious symbolic meaning and corresponds to Far Eastern philosophies. This also relates to the selection of plants, since, for example, pines, bamboo trees and plum trees are symbols of long life.
Koreanischer Garten im Grüneburgpark © Stadt Frankfurt am Main, Grünflächenamt
Dieses Bild vergrößern.
The arrangement of the Korean Garden reflects the four seasons from a philosophical point of view. The spring garden is located right in the main entry area. Here scholars not only await the springtime reawakening of nature, but also sometimes the arrival of their guests. The summer garden, with a “morning dew pavilion” built on wooden columns, offers recuperation and relaxation with its large pond. In the Korean tradition, it is meant to be a place for the meeting between man and nature. The autumn garden is in the highest position, and allows for a comprehensive view of autumnal nature. The winter garden has a small pond and also contains the “plum arbour pavilion”, where people can meet to talk, warmed by the traditional “Ondol” floor-heating system.

In this way, this impressive gift from the Koreans to their hosts brings Frankfurt residents closer to the “Land of Morning Calm” during each season of the year.

At the beginning of May, the morning dew pavilion in the Korean Garden in the Grüneburgpark in Frankfurt's Westend was also completely burned down. 

At the beginning of June, a fire destroyed the Chinese pavilion at Bethmannpark in Frankfurt's Nordend district.

A peaceful place to rest/In the silence one finds the strength for new thought”, this is what is written in calligraphy on a table at the water pavilion of the Chinese Garden (Chinesischer Garten) in Bethmann Park (Bethmannpark). And this exceptional place does indeed radiate a special calm and an East Asian aesthetic. Surrounded by thick walls and shielded from the hectic pace of the city, the garden has been constructed according to the model of the Shiukou Gardens in Huizhou. The buildings are in the style of simple homes from the Anhui province. Over a period of only 5 months of construction, in 1989 a 4,000-square-metre “spring flower site” was created here with 22 landscape views, a marble bridge, various pavilions, a large pond and even a waterfall. The specialists and craftsmen who created this exotic garden world also came from China, as did most of the precious materials used in its construction.
Chinesischer Garten © Grünflächenamt, Foto Hr. Lechthaler
Dieses Bild vergrößern.
The origin of Chinese garden culture can be found in Taoism. The requirement that wise hermits go to the cities to fulfil their obligations supposedly led to the idea of transferring landscapes to gardens. In this way, the harmony of the world with a balanced relationship of the “seven parts” (earth, heaven, water, stone, buildings, animals and plants) is to be illustrated. Hence the typical defining elements such as the honorary arch, the wooden “bridge of the half boat”, the “jasper green pond”, the “water pavilion of the purified heart” and the traditional zig-zag bridge can be found in Frankfurt’s Chinese Garden. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Open House at Nuur Mosque in Frankfurt

Senior Missionaries who were able to attend the Nuur Mosque last Tuesday had a wonderful experience. This is the mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslims in Frankfurt, who are broken off from the main Muslim religion, believing that the promised messiah has already come the second time. They believe that he came to India in the late 1800’s and lived a life of service and leadership. There were many wonders in the heavens at that time. He is pictured below.The Ahmadiyya Muslims have been persecuted, killed as heretics, and exiled because of these beliefs.   

We were welcomed warmly by the Imam himself, allowed to be present for the call to prayer and the subsequent group prayer in the mosque.  Various members took the time to teach us about the tenants of their faith, which include a strong sense of family, and a belief in actions similar to the teachings of Jesus that we try to pattern our lives after. We were invited to visit the women’s chapel (in the basement of the "patron housing building" next door to the men's mosque) - the women were more forceful in their efforts to convert us - and to their banquet of wonderful Middle Eastern delicacies. The Imam himself spent time with us before he conducted the call to prayer.

Feelings were warm and friendly, we were invited back, and they, in turn,  received pass along cards, promising to come visit our congregation soon! 
Their message: Liebe fur Alle, Hass fur Keinen. (Love for all, hate for none.)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Saying Goodbye to some of our Volunteers.

A week of goodbyes for some of the senior missionaries sisters at each of the refugee camps.  We've developed some loving friendships with all these wonderful people from Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Eritrea, Ghana, Ethiopia and more.  The mothers and children all came to say goodbye to Diane, Sharee, and Margie. They will be missed.  Games, drapery for the rooms, a garden, an outdoor patio area, handcrafts to sell at a fair: so many activities these Sisters provided.
At the camp on Krifteler Strasse, the mothers baked delicious cakes for us and then roasted their own fresh coffee beans to make coffee for us.  Since we do not drink coffee, they provided water for us.  Nevertheless, it was fascinating to watch the entire process.  Making coffee for guests is quite a gesture of hospitality in their African countries and we were very appreciative of their kindness to us.

Sharee Swenson, Jill Roberts, Paula Thomas, Diane Hacking, Margie Burt

The centerpiece of the party: making coffee.
Roasting the beans in a tiny pan with open slots on the bottom of the pan for the heat or flame to reach the beans.  The room began to fill with smoke..

Next, the fresh-roasted beans were ground  in battery-operated grinder  Then ALL the grounds were spooned into the pot.  I don't know much about coffee, but even I had to think this was going to be pretty strong with a good 1 1/2 cups of ground coffee to 2 cups of water..

Cakes were delicious

Time to serve

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Great Synagogue in Plzen, Czech Republic

I walked around in the 2nd largest synagogue in Europe today in Plzen, CZ Rep.  There are fewer than 100 Jews in that town now.  Only 200 of the thousands who built the synagogue returned after the holocaust.

 I got in the car and, while Randy drove, I checked my email and the news.  And I read that protesters in St Louis (against the recent exoneration of a police officer who was recorded saying he was going to kill a black man) were surrounded by hundreds of police and tear gassed.  They happened to be near a synagogue and the rabbi there opened the doors and sheltered the protesters.  Police supporters tweeted the hashtag "#GasTheSynagogue." Horrible images from Nazi years were posted and shared.  Twitter did not stop this.

Have we no memory? How is this happening again?

Sunday, September 3, 2017

All Clear : Another calm day in paradise

Frankfurt WW2 bomb defused after mass evacuation

Bomb disposal experts with the huge bomb (03 September 2017)Image copyrightAFP
Image captionBomb disposal experts from Germany's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Division sat next to the defused device on Sunday
Bomb disposal experts in Frankfurt have successfully defused a massive unexploded bomb from World War Two, officials have announced.
The news was greeted with spontaneous applause among some of about 65,000 people who were evacuated to enable experts to make the bomb safe.
Many residents are now awaiting permission to return to their homes.
The evacuation on Sunday morning was the biggest in post-war German history, involving hundreds of officials.
Police checked every designated house with heat-detection technology to make sure everyone was out.
Media captionThe evacuation operation was carried out with typical German precision
The evacuation area in the Westend district included hospitals, nursing homes and Germany's central bank.
There are believed to be hundreds of thousands of unexploded wartime bombs across Germany.
The defused bombImage copyrightAFP
Image captionThe 1.4 tonne British bomb was found on a building site on Wednesday
Evacuated people rest at a Frankfurt community hall (03 September 2017)Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionEvacuated residents are expected soon to be allowed back into their homes
Police early on Sunday morning cordoned off the 1.5km (1 mile) evacuation area as residents carrying luggage vacated the danger zone. A few stragglers who were slow to move may be prosecuted, local media reported.
Many residents made the most of the day, either by visiting relatives or enjoying a day out in a different part of the city.
Police told local media that the evacuation took place on schedule even though a handful of residents - for various reasons - were not initially prepared to vacate the area.
The 1.4 tonne British bomb was found on a building site on Wednesday.
More than 100 patients from two hospitals were moved on Saturday including premature babies and people in intensive care. Some care home residents left early on Sunday.
Hospitals were evacuated on Saturday

Bomb site has become a tourist stop
Fire and police chiefs in the city warned that an uncontrolled explosion of the HC 4000 bomb would be powerful enough to flatten an entire street.
Police close a street in Frankfurt (03 September 2017)Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionStreets were closed off by police early on Sunday morning
A police helicopter observes the danger zone as about 65,000 people in Frankfurt evacuate part of the city while experts defuse an unexploded British World War Two bombImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionPolice helicopters carrying heat detecting cameras scoured the area as bomb disposal experts began their task
The bomb disposal operation was completed ahead of the 12-hour estimate.
Police helicopters carrying heat detecting cameras scoured the area as bomb disposal experts began their task. Police will continue guarding empty houses and apartments from burglars until evacuees have returned home.
The area affected included 20 retirement homes, an opera house, and Germany's central bank where half the country's gold reserves are stored.
The city opened shelters for evacuees to spend the day, and most museums opened their doors for free.
A smaller evacuation took place on Saturday in Koblenz, about 110km (68 miles) west of Frankfurt, while experts disposed of a World War Two bomb that had been found during the construction of a new kindergarten.

So, how many unexploded bombs are there in Germany?

An average of about 2,000 tonnes of unexploded ordnance are found each year in Germany. It's estimated that about half the 2.7 million tonnes of bombs dropped by Allied powers during World War Two landed on German soil (compared to about 74,000 tonnes of bombs dropped on the UK by Germany). Many of the bombs were equipped with malfunctioning time-delay fuses, and many never went off.
Adding to the problem are Russian artillery shells, German hand grenades and tank mines, as well as Russian munitions from training facilities in post-war East Germany.
The problem is so widespread that Germany has a bomb-disposal unit, the Kampfmittelbeseitigungsdienst (KMBD), dedicated to the problem. Its technicians are among the busiest in the world, deactivating a bomb every two weeks or so - and they estimate their work will continue for decades to come.

Do the bombs pose a real threat?

Dozens of bomb-disposal technicians and hundreds of civilians died from uncontrolled explosions in the decades following the war. The rate of fatalities has slowed since, with 11 technicians said to have been killed in Germany since 2000.
But experts warn that the devices that remain could be getting more unstable as the munitions age and their fuses grow more brittle, and as bombs are discovered in more built-up, harder-to-reach areas.
The problem is also worse in certain parts of Germany. Oranienburg, just outside Berlin, has the dubious distinction of being the "most dangerous town in Germany". Under Adolf Hitler, it contained an armaments hub, aircraft plant, railway junction and a nuclear research facility - so it was a key target for the Allies, who gave it an aerial pounding. Almost 200 bombs have been defused in the town since the end of the war, and residents are well-drilled in the evacuation procedure. But with experts estimating that some 350-400 bombs remain buried, the task is far from complete.

Other WW2 bombs recently discovered in Germany