“Im Landen der Basken”

The documentary Im Lande der Basken (1944), directed by Herbert Brieger, was
completely unknown until now.

Distributed by UFA, it is an attempt to show a mythical view of the Basque people in images filtered through Nazi propagan- da.

Shot entirely in the French Basque region, it shows scenery, traditions, sport,
dances, etc. without separating itself from the Nazi’s frustrated attempts during
World War II to strengthen ties with Basque nationalism to build a new territo-
rial order in Western Europe based on ethnic principles.

Santiago de Pablo & Teresa Sandoval

Documental de trece minutos rodado en 35 mm por el realizador alemán Herbert Brieger, filmado seguramente entre 1940 y 1941 en el País Vasco francés y posiblemente Navarra.

La historiadora Teresa Sandoval, de la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, descubrió en el Bundesarchiv de Berlín una copia de este olvidado filme que distribuyera la UFA.

El Diario Vasco

Berlin Wall Scrapbook

“Life behind the Berlin Wall | Thomas Hoepker”: Photographs & narration by Magnum photographer Thomas Hoepker.

…they represent at least a try of what mankind could do but failed bitterly and brutally. In some aspects it was a dream which was shattered, people believed in socialism for a while and so many were disappointed.

Before the rise of the Berlin Wall in 1961, 3.5 million East Germans circumvented Eastern Bloc emigration restrictions, many by crossing over the border from East Berlin into West Berlin, from where they could then travel to West Germany and other Western European countries.

List of deaths at the Berlin Wall – Wikipedia

Great 3D recreation of the wall (please ignore the annoying audio):

I did not know about this “classic” quote by the, then, head of the DDR. The quote is from 15 June 1961 at a press conference in East Berlin. The construction of the wall started less that a month after that:

“Niemand hat die Absicht, eine Mauer zu errichten.”
“Nobody has the intention of bulding a Wall”

Walter Ulbricht – First Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany

East Berliners stormed the STASI headquarters to prevent files from bring destroyed.

According to Anna Funder, there was panic at Stasi Headquarters in Berlin-Lichtenberg:

Stasi officers were instructed to destroy files, starting with the most incriminating–those naming westerners who spied for them, and those that concerned deaths. They shredded the files until the shredders collapsed. Among other shortages in the East, there was a shredder shortage, so they had to send agents out under cover to West Berlin to buy more. In Building 8 alone, the citizens’ movement found over a hundred burnt out shredders.[120]

According to William F. Buckley, Jr., “In the weeks after November 9, Stasi offices were stormed in various cities around East Germany. Stasi commissars in three of those cities committed suicide. But not one was lynched or executed.”[121]

Erich Mielke – Peaceful Revolution – Wikipedia

Erich Mielke’s famous live TV appearance in front of the Volkskammer on 13 November 1989: As his speech was broadcast live, Mielke began by using overly bombastic, flag-waving language, saying “We have, comrades, dear assembly members, an extraordinarily high amount of contact with all working people” (German: “Wir haben, Genossen, liebe Abgeordnete, einen außerordentlich hohen Kontakt zu allen werktätigen Menschen.”). To his shock, the Volkskammer responded with boos, whistles, and catcalls.

His face grief-stricken and pale, Mielke then tried to defuse the situation, “Yes, we have such contact, let me tell you-let me tell you why. I am not afraid to stand here and to give you an honest answer” (German: “Ja, wir haben den Kontakt, ihr werdet gleich hören – ihr werdet gleich hören, warum. Ich fürchte mich nicht, ohne Rededisposition hier Antwort zu stehen.”). Mielke continued, speaking of the “triumph” of the socialist economy, continuing all the while to address the members of the Volkskammer as “Comrades” (German: “Genossen”). In response, Volkskammer member Dietmar Czok of the CDU, rose from his seat and raised his hand. Volkskammer president Günther Maleuda interrupted Mielke, and allowed Czok to speak.

With his voice dripping with contempt, Czok told Mielke, “As a point of order, let me remind you that there are more people sitting in this House than just your Comrades!“. In response, many in the chamber burst into applause, cheers, and shouts of “We are not your Comrades!” (German: “Wir sind nicht deine Genossen!”)

Trying to appear magnanimous, Mielke responded, “This is a natural, Humanist question! This is just a question of formality.” (German: Das ist doch nur ‘ne natürliche, menschliche Frage! Das ist doch nur eine formale Frage!”), leading to further shouts of displeasure from the chamber. In a last ditch effort, Mielke “raised his arms like an evangelist,” and cried, “I love all – all Humanity! I really do! I set myself before you!” (German: “Ich liebe – Ich liebe doch alle – alle Menschen! Na liebe doch! Ich setze mich doch dafür ein!”).

Everyone in the room, including staunch SED members, burst out laughing. John Koehler later wrote, “Mielke was finished.”

Mielke’s address to the Volkskammer remains the most famous broadcast in the history of German television. Anna Funder has written, “When they think of Mielke, East Germans like to think of this.

Erich Mielke – Televised Humilliation – Wikipedia

Coda: Although I may not necessarily agree with their conclusions, these two videos provide A LOT of raw data, and an alternative viewpoint.

Portugal impressions

Visiting our quieter, more sensible neighbours to the west

  • The arrivals gate at the airport is above level from the people waiting, making it easier to see those coming out the gate.
  • Obrigado/a: In order to say “Thank you” you need to disclose your gender in Portugese
  • The smoking are outside is NOT next to the taxi stop but across the road.
  • The song playing on the radio in the tqxi was a duet, a Spanish/Portugese.
  • The taxi fare from airport to the hotel was 6,6€. The fare from my place to the Madrid airport was 30€
  • 2 million people commute to Lisbon BY FERRY everyday.

Subtle differences with Spain

“No incomodar” sounds a lot gentler than “No molestar”.

“Alcampo” is called “Auchan” but has the same exact logo.

“Pasteis de nata” are in fact oversugared, undersized & burnt “pasteles de arroz”.

Late medieval origins

Castillo san Jorge. Morería, they were only allowed there.

The story of how the castle was conquered from the Muslim rules, the hero getting his body in the way of the door (Cascorro style)

Pedro IV getting rid of religious orders privileges in the 1830’s and granted a constitution

The seal of Lisboa. Whose corpse was acoopanied by a flock of Ravens?

1506 massacre

Church of de São Domingos. Alleged miracle, a concerted jew denied it and was killed. There was a masacre of 2000+ jews. When the king knew about this he EXECUTED the instigators (priests) and closed the church for 8 years.

We were allowed into the church even though the mass was in progress.
That would never been allowed in Spain, people are so much nicer in here.

Dominican friars promised absolution for sins committed over the previous 100 days to those who killed the “heretics”, and a crowd of more than 500 people (many of them sailors from HollandZeeland and the Kingdom of Germany) gathered and killed all the New Christians they could find on the streets, burning their bodies by the Tagus or in Rossio.

That Sunday, more than 500 people were violently sent to their deaths.

The New Christians, no longer found on the streets, were dragged from their houses and from churches and, along with their wives, sons and daughters, were burnt in the public squares alive or dead.

Not even infants were spared, as the crowd ripped them to pieces or threw them against the walls. The crowd proceeded to loot the houses, stealing all the gold, silver and linens they could find. More than 1000 people were killed on the second day.

Lisbon Massacre – Wikipedia

The 1755 Earthquake

The earthquake from 1755. On November 1st, at 9 while everyone was in church. After the earthquake there was a tsunami and 3 days of fires. It was perceived as the end for the world.

Abril 1974

(I will say that at least Salazar was an Economist… unlike his spanish counterpart)

By chance we are visiting Lisboa during the celebration for the 45th anniversary of the Revolução de 25 de Abril de 1974 (Carnations Revolution).

On april 24th 1974. They used two signals: first the Eurovision song, then: “Grandola vila morena“. (Note: research the name of the lady who started this).

Preparations for the 45th anniversary of the April 25th revolution on Praça Do Carmo

The headquarters of Carmo (Quartel do Carmo) is a very important building for Portugal’s history. Marcelo Caetano (former dictatorAntónio de Oliveira Salazar’s replacer) found refuge in the main Lisbon military police station at the time of the revolution.

This building was surrounded by the MFA (Portuguese Armed Forces), which pressured Marcelo Caetano to cede power to general Spínola. It was here where the Estado Novo (New Regime) officially came to an end after almost 50 years

Historic square ‘Largo do Carmo’ Lisbon

Lluis Llach’s Abril 1974 was one of the first foreign songs to talk about this, and is one of my favorite songs.

The palace that used to belong to Portugal’s last dynasty was converted into a national Panteon after the country became a republic, were prominent national heroes are now buried. Amália Rodrigues & Eusébio are there.