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Newspaper clippings

by [unknown]

The following is an occasional collection of (mostly Melbourne) newspaper clippings:

Steiner Silverware on Sale

Silverware items designed and made by Steiner of South Australia were included in a Selling Exhibition organised by antique dealer Ed Clark and held in November-December 2009 at the Golden Crust Gallery in Windsor, Melbourne. One item was a black emu egg which had been cut in half to form a bottom and a lid and which was set on top of several palm trees, with an Aborigine standing between the palm trunks. It was suggested that these were presented to clergymen returning to England from the colonies as reminders of Australia. A similar emu egg sold recently in Texas for $40,000. The other Steiner item was a pair if candelabra. [Herald Sun Fri 20 Nov 2009 p.76]

Heide Giersch Recalls her 1980 Defection from East Germany

Ballerina Heide Giersch arrived in Australia in 1980 with the ballet company Komische Oper Berlin. She had been born in East Berlin in the early 1950s and she was eight when the Berlin Wall was constructed. She had been approached by the Intelligence Agency Stasi to be an informer and she experienced life in East Berlin as displaying “the feeling of greyness, darkness, unhappiness- heaviness”. She defected and was granted political asylum in Australia. She now recalls with satisfaction the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989.” It was a peaceful revolution. There was no bloodshed. The fall was a reunification not only between people but a reunification of a country”.

At present she is working on her autobiography, a documentary and a musical about her adventurous life. Her advice is “Follow your heart and your soul’s desire” [The Age Sat 7 November 2009 p.7].

The Tale of Two Germans.

Erwin Kastenberger was born in Germany, after his father had been killed in 1946. His mother died when Erwin was seven. After a childhood in orphanages, Erwin migrated to Australia with his brother Sepp. He married an Australian girl Robyn, had a son and gained employment as a Security Guard. He was looking forward to becoming a grandfather.

Olaf Dietrich was born in Germany in 1952 and he was the elder son of a miner in East Germany. After moving to the West, Olaf migrated to Australia with his family in 1962 , went to school but left at age 14 and worked mainly in retail. In 1990, he changed his name to Hugo Alistair Rich, became a share market adviser and lived in a Toorak apartment.

These two German-born Australians met each other in 2005 at a shopping centre in Blackburn North.

Erwin was there to deliver money as a security guard. Olaf/Hugo was there to steal this money. During this armed robbery, Olaf/Hugo shot Erwin dead, depriving a wife of her husband, a son of his father and a grandchild of its grandfather. Such is the sad tale of two Germans [The Age Friday 13 November 2009 p.13].

Deutscher Deals

Chris Deutscher, Executive Director of Deutscher and Hackett’s Art Auctions, was ecstatic at the $1.38 million paid for the Fred Williams painting Evening Sky, Upwey.

This followed the earlier sale of Brett Whiteley’s painting The Sunrise, Japanese: Good Morning! at Deutscher-Menzies in September for $1.32 million.
The earlier depressed market is now turning and the bargain-hunting days are past! [The Age Thursday 26 November 2008 p.12].

Germany in the News, 2009/2010

German Lady Under Christmas Tree

Frank Klueter, Manager of a Hamburg Shopping Centre in Germany, is investigating why a 4.5 metre-tall, 200 kg plastic Christmas Tree, which had been hanging from the ceiling, fell on top of a 78-year-old German woman. She received a 15 cm gash to her head and a bruised pelvis and hopes that next Christmas there will only be gifts under the Christmas Tree. [Herald Sun Fri 27 Nov 2009, p.32]

Santa’s Genuine Beard

Being a Santa Claus at most shopping centres during Christmas means hiding behind a white, fluffy beard made out of cotton-wool.. However, in Berlin, Peter has grown his very own white flowing beard, which makes him a most appropriate candidate for Santa duty at Berlin’s famous Kaufhaus des Westens/Department Store of the West [Herald Sun 27 November 2009 p. 53].

J. S. Bach’s Large Head

The Bach House Museum in the German city of Eisenach commissioned a model of the head of J.S. Bach. Caroline Wilkinson created a bust, based on the copper replica made of Bach’s skull in 1894 by physician Wilhelm His and sculptor Carl Ludwig Seffner. Caroline worked in her lab at the University of Dundee in Scotland and she concluded that Bach “was a strong-jawed man with a slight underbite and a large head, topped with short, silver hair” [Herald Sun Wed 5 March 2008 p.31].

Two Berlins

Post-wall Berlin is facing a Janus-like outlook. Tourism is creating a concern for Berlin’s rich history and built heritage but urban, residential Development requires living quarters and the provision of services for the population.
This issue of ambivalence is explored by Heather Merle Benbow. She observes that coming to terms with a troubled past has become a national obsession and that grumpiness and grouchiness are still debated issues.

The Tourism face, along with the friendly badges issued to city officials, need to cater for the eight million visitors annually.

The Residential face reveals a socially diverse city having to deal with gentrified streets like Prenzlauer Berg and such “problem areas” as Neukolln, with its large Turkish-German population. Other areas are also asserting a local identity.

She notes that much of Berlin is still a building site, so it has to be always mindful of its ambivalence in relation to both its built past heritage and its developing urban future [The Australian Wednesday 4 November 2009 p. 31].

Blizzards in Germany

A mid-January Arctic freeze and icy conditions, associated with the low-pressure system labelled “Daisy”, produced heavy snow falls and blizzards in Germany. It caused 350 flights to be cancelled at the Frankfurt Airport on the weekend of 9-10 January 2010, isolated villages, made roads and railways impassible and produced snow drifts two metres high. School was cancelled on Monday 11 Jan at Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and power was cut to thousands of homes in northern Germany. [The Age Tues 12 January 2010, p. 8]