Summer Meeting in Germany,
20-23 June 2013
A select if happy band of SSR members gathered in Dessau, Germany on Thursday 20 June to begin a three day visit to specialist repositories in Germany. Thanks to modern technology we rendezvoused at the Radisson Blu hotel before taking a taxi to the Archives of the Bauhaus in Dessau. The location in a Victorian brewery certainly raised some eye brows amongst our party but once inside we were treated to a wonderful tour of the Collections which took in photographs, plans, models, posters, textiles and even a handbag! We were all extremely grateful to Mr Thoner for taking the time to show us around. Our business meeting was conducted satisfactorily in the Cafe Bauhaus in record time!
There were a limited number of rooms available in the original student block which are pictured below.
Having freshened up at the hotel in the sweltering humidity and temperature which was around 36 degrees, we imbibed some of the local brew in the Junkers Bar. The next stage on the itinerary was dinner on the Kornhaus Restaurant, sited on the Elbe River and designed by Carl Fieger it fuses great German cuisine and views. We arrived just in time as the weather broke and we witnessed a spectacular thunder storm that lasted for several hours and I think will be remembered for a long time by all those present. Having enjoyed a splendid evening we were then faced with a dilemma as there were no taxis available due to the weather so the staff kindly supplied umbrellas to protect us on the long walk back to our accommodation. Our group showed much spirit in walking three miles in the rain and James Corden was by the far the wettest person I've ever seen. In order to restore our constitutions we partook of more Dessau beer until 1am!
For further images of Dessau please click on the link,
The following day we awoke to a much fresher and brighter conditions which was just as well as our next journey took us to Leipzig. We began with a visit to Thomaskirche and the Bach Museum and Archive which are open to the public, favourable comments were expressed at the audio visual interpretation of the Collections. We then had lunch at the Grassimuseum which holds an extraordinary collection of musical instruments, fine art and objects. Our final guided tour was of the University of Leipzig and this was graciously hosted by Dr Jens Blecher who was most kind in providing refreshments and the novel use of an hourglass to reduce the time of meetings! I think we all appreciated that the pressures and financial constraints Jens faced were very similar to British archives and this greatly enhanced our understanding and respect for the work they were undertaking. Our tour took in everything from vintage computer equipment, photographic collections and medieval documents. After all of these cultural attractions we needed to refresh ourselves again at one of the oldest coffee houses in the City and one close to the Auerbachs Keller which was immortalised in Goethe's Faust. We arrived back in Dessau to change our lodgings to the original Bauhaus student accommodation, whilst some might say is stark proved to be most comfortable. Whilst the others tucked into the food and beverages offered by the Cafe Bauhaus I undertook to return the umbrellas to the Kornhaus Restaurant staff, thankfully in better weather this time! With my duty done I could enjoy several large beers in good company.
Leipzig apart from having one of Germany's oldest universities was also the home for Johann
Sebastian Bach and each year holds a music festival to celebrate his work.
Click here for You Tube Video of Bach music.
The Battle of Nations took place in 1813 just south of Leipzig and is memoralised through these
unusual buildings pictured above and below to the German and Russian casualities. For further images click on the link,
The next day saw us travel to Lutherstadt Wittenberg and visit attractions connected with Luther and his Reformation ideas. Thankfully there was a pleasant beer garden at the rear of Luther's House which had a view of the archaeological excavations. Having enjoyed another delicious lunch in the Markt we preceded back to Dessau where we split up and went our separate ways. I would personally like to thank all those who came on the trip for both their kindness and understanding when things didn't always go to plan!
The town itself has a university and developed printing in order to promote Luther's ideas.
The Town Hall is pictured below.
Unfortunately we couldn't fit in the visit to Worlitz Park but the pictures below illustrate it's delights.
The grounds are beautifully set out and in the summer concerts are held on the lakes with both
musicians and public in boats!
Worlitz incudes many islands some accessed by bridges but others through hand cranked ferries
so remember to bring change with you to pay!
The main house wouldn't look out of place in Britain and is the setting for a number of operas each year.
Below is a Jewish Synagogue which includes a display on the history of the Jewish community in the state of Saxony-Anhalt over the last couple hundred years. For further images of Worlitz please click on the link,
Getting to the visit in Germany is remarkably easy with both Berlin and Leipzig airports within easy reach. Each airport has its own train station with direct services to Dessau and Leipzig. For images of Berlin's modernist housing estates please clink on the link.
You can book train tickets in advance and print them off prior to travelling, see
http://www.bahn.com/i/view/GBR/en/index.shtml. You will need to have the card you booked them with for inspection on the train.