Tag Archives: Germany

Once a summer

This post is part of the July 2013 Blog Chain at Absolute Write. This month’s prompt is “Dog Days of Summer.”

„Dog days“ of summer are literally translated into „Hundstage“ in German. We do not see them there every year, often as not summer in Germany is more a wish than a reality. But still, sometimes they happen.

Like in that summer when I had turned nine and we had moved into a new bought house. This came with a room for each of us two sisters and enough space to accomodate our cousins during the summer holidays. I loved it – having my two big cousins around who would treat me nicely and include me in everything made my day, no matter, what my elder sister and the youngest of the cousins were up to.

We would play crocket in the garden, although we had to fight the balls tendency to roll downhills, as the house is built into a hillside. Or we would search for the badminton set. Evenings would find us on the terrace with two sets of cards, for interminable rounds of canasta, under the sweet smell of the yasmine bushes and roses at the wall.

The weather grew warmer and warmer and saw us searching for a pool. The five of us would hardly fit into the family car, a beetle, because none was old enough to drive and my mother would not risk being caught with all of us on board. So the heat and lack of alternative forced us to use the local swimming pool. The entry fee was minimal, but so was the pool. Much too small, hardly a decent shower, raw stones on the edges. The lack of heating did not count in those hot days, we were happy enough with the temperature the sun had made raise to incredible 18° C. Then, the use of balls and other playthings were not yet forbidden, the water teemed with children, the heavily chlorinated water permeated the air with its acrid smell that we would take home in our wet bathing suits and towels.

Until one day, when in the morning we saw the sky covered with clouds and a cool wind greeted us as soon as we opened the door. But we had decided the evening before that we would go swimming again and I counted on another swimming lesson from my patient cousin. So, I would not hear of not going and the others also agreed that the clouds should not be a reason to deter us from enjoying another swim.

The water felt actually warmer under the leaden sky, as long as I did not leave a limb out to the wind. After one hour though we tried to dry up, my long hair still dripping with water I followed the others on the way home. I shivered, but tried not to show it for fear they would tell me it was my own mistake as I had been the one to insist on going.

I paid for this next morning when I woke up with a terrible headache, fever and a sore throat. The next week I had to spend confined in bed, while the others now could go everywhere as the four of them would fit into the car. To comfort me at least a little my cousins would buy sweets for me and, better, give me their own new books – that they had brought to read during the holidays – to read. They knew I would enjoy them.

The youngest had brought the „Winnetou“-Triology. Very famous in Germany I doubt my englishspeaking reades will ever had heard of their author, Karl May, who wrote a big number of storys from his fictous travels, a part of them set into the Wild West, another in the Middle East and Africa. Three big volumes kept my interest for a while and I cared less about being left alone after the fever abated sufficiently so I could concentrate on reading.

But it was the elder cousins book that I still remember best and that still helds a special place in my heart for the lasting effect it had on me: a German version of Lousia May Alcott’s „Little Women“. Never before I had thought about people who wrote the books I read, and I had started reading with four years of age and found my way through a number of books already. But Jo March did not only read them, she started writing stories and had them published, for others to enjoy them.

It needed years until I wrote my first story and still my first book waits to get published. But I always think of those dog days of summer that not only taught me to swim but also how to use my storytelling.

 

Check out this month’s other bloggers, all of whom have posted or will post their own responses:
Ralph Pines
articshark
Sunwords
Diem_Allen
U2Girl
robynmackenzie
Lady Cat
MsLaylaCakes
pyrosama
Angyl78
SuzanneSeese
Diana_Rajchel
HistorySleuth
AshleyEpidemic
SRHowen

Advertisements

When fiction becomes reality …

One of these days I wrote in my German Writer’s forum: You don’t need to invent much actually if you want to write a thriller – just write about what is happening and everybody will say it is unrealistic.

No, I am not talking about Prism or the UK-listeners. In Germany there are at least two not so big issues, but still, they teach a lot. I follow the news  from my safe home in Amman and enjoy being at home here.

One of the issues is directly related to me. Given the fact that due to the difficult language German news often are not widely spread internationally, maybe few people out here followed this scandal: from about 2000 to 2007 a group of Neonazis murdered nine people: one german policewoman, eight turkish men and one greek (which, supposedly, they believed to be turkish). All with the same weapon. The german police never thought about a racist angle, but searched through every aspect of the victims‘ lives, making the lives of the families hell.

In 2004, after the first five or six murders had already happened, a bomb exploded in the street where I lived. By the grace of god nobody was killed – the police considered the bomb well able of killing a multitude .

Most of my neighbours were also turkish, down in the street all the shops and small restaurants, too. Also the killed men all had been owners of small businesses. I saw the relationship – but only me. Never the police. There was a picture from a camera that showed the two men who had placed the bomb – short pants, basecaps, bicyle. Same description also fit men seen at one of the murder scenes.

But the police searched for criminal foreigners, clues in the busines of the neighbours. They did not even bother to compare the pictures with the list of wanted people.

Neither of these cases was solved – until late 2011. Two men, believed to have robbed a bank, killed themselves (as far as it is known). Short time later, a women who had been living with them, turned herself in to the police after having set fire to their appartment. CDs were sent to different people from which the police learned that these three who had gone underground about 1998 and had been wanted for criminal deeds related to hate and right-extremist circles had also commited the nine murdes and placed two bombs. The faces of the two man were easily recognizable as those from the camera close to my street.

Since some weeks the case is in court. During the last 18 months there have been several inquiries in the parlaments of thuringen, where this group had lived and hidden, in Berlin – and the results show that a lot of police and secret service staff had either not wanted to turn their sources in or had just looked the other way. The whole thing is sickening and for those Turkish living in Germany and following the news (good for Germany that not very many do that) it shows the neglect with wich their interest have been treated and the blindness of many officials when it comes to racist crimes.

I, myself, am furious, sick – that day, it was a close miss that my husband would have walked into the bomb. It was exactly on his way to our home, and the time when he would come from work every day. Not that day, thanks to God. He, helpful as always, had gone after work to pick up my new dress from the seamstress what made him half an hour late. But I will never forget the half hour when I saw the glass all over the street, destroyed shops and cars, blood everywhere and could not reach him. The helpless fury when the minister of interiour called this a crime that could not have any relation with racism when the street was still covered in glass and blood and nobody could know anything yet – so he directed the police what not to follow up.

And now, since 2011, all the dirty details of neglect, lies, cover up come out one by one. Had I written a thriller containing all this and tried to publish before 2011 – I doubt any German printing house would have wished to publish it. If I do it now, it will just be telling what the newspapers already wrote. Maybe I will, maybe not.

There is more … but not today.