Soncino-Gesellschaft

80 years ago in the night of November 9-10, 1938 Nazi Germany unleashed terror on its Jewish citizens. The ‘Reichskristallnacht’ marked the beginning of the Nazis’ implementation of their ‘final solution’, the annihilation of the Jewish population and with it the destruction of Jewish culture and civilization. In this post we look at the Soncino-Gesellschaft as an example of the rich Jewish culture which was destroyed by Nazi Germany. Continue reading

The enduring appeal of Struwwelpeter

In 1844 a German doctor (and later psychiatrist at a psychiatric hospital in Frankfurt) was looking for a book to give his three year old son for Christmas but couldn’t find anything suitable, considering the books on sale to be too long and moralising. He decided to create something himself instead, being accustomed to sketching pictures to pacify child patients. This was Heinrich Hoffmann and his creation was Struwwelpeter, a short illustrated collection of cautionary tales which graphically demonstrated what would happen to children who misbehaved or disobeyed their parents. His bestselling book is one of the most well-known works for children in Germany, running to more than 700 editions, translated into more than 40 languages and with many imitations and parodies. There is even a museum dedicated to Struwwelpeter and Hoffmann in Frankfurt am Main. In this blog post we explore in more detail the original book and some of the many versions of it. Continue reading

Peter Behrens – 150

This year the 150th anniversary of the birth of Peter Behrens (1868-1940) is celebrated.  He was one of the most innovative designers and architects of the early 20th century and is recognized as a pioneer of modern industrial design. In his role as chief designer for the German company AEG he developed its corporate design encompassing the logo, publicity material, the form of the goods and the industrial buildings. With the turbine hall in Berlin Moabit he created an icon of industrial architecture. Continue reading

New electronic resources with a European connection

The ejournals@cambridge blog publicises trial access to and purchase of various databases and ejournals, and it is certainly a blog worth following.  Several purchases over the last few months complement our European collections, so this post gives an overview.  The subjects of these new resources span philology, politics, art history, theology, migration studies, history, and bibliography, and their contents are in English and various European languages.

Composite of samples of ephemera from the Euromaidan Protests database

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Upside-down bells in mainland Europe

Segeberg font by Quoth via Wikimedia Commons

I was recently cataloguing a book on monasteries in Schleswig-Holstein (Klöster in Schleswig-Holstein: von den Anfängen bis zur Reformation by Oliver Auge and Katja Hillebrand).  As I was leafing through the pages I was struck by a double page spread on baptismal fonts, and in particular by a full-page photograph of the highly decorative one to be found in the Marienkirche in Bad Segeberg.

The most notable feature of these fonts to me is that they were made of bronze, often, it seems, as a sideline for bellfounders (they do perhaps resemble upside-down bells). After a little research I soon realised that unlike in Britain (where stone was the usual material for fonts) there are still many fine examples of bronze baptismal fonts in northern Germany and nearby. Continue reading