A snowy weekend with about 20 cms. on Saturday and Sunday. Evidence if it were needed as to how well they cope here and how quickly everyone gets out their snow shovels. A long weekend visit from my husband Chris who has never been to Dresden allowed me to play tour guide and revisit many of my favourite places. This included the obligatory walk along the river from my apartment to the old town with a visit to every church. Museums included the Painting and Photography exhibition at the Hygiene Museum and a visit to the military Museum with the tank outside now wearing a knitted and crocheted cover. Restaurants included the trendy Lila Sose in the Kunsthof Passage, old style Augustiner in the Altstadt, and the Bautzner Tor for good beer and the décor of the DDR. High culture featured Handel’s Orlando at the Semper Opera, which even a lively production could not redeem. Exercise included walking the icy riverbank near the Blaues Wunder iron bridge and digging out the car.
Finished up working at the Grafikwerkstatt on Wednesday and took Thursday morning off to drive for an hour through the fog to Chemnitz to see the Conrad Felixmuller exhibition at the Gunzenhauser Museum. Felixmuller was a friend and patient of my grandfathers who painted and drew members of the family. An excellent, large and thorough retrospective type show with thoughtfully written texts (thankfully in English), and a several kilo catalogue. It included several pieces I was very familiar with and was entirely a pleasure. Back to Dresden and down to the Stiftung Sächsische Gedenkstätten, the Saxon Memorial Foundation where Dr Bert Pampel had found me some circa 1973 microfiche films of the newsletter of the Jewish Community in Dresden between 1928 and 1938. He told me the microfiche viewer had not been used for 15 years! The film projects sideways so you have to look at them with your head on one side, preferably standing so as to make the inevitable stiff neck less painful. This notwithstanding I am rewarded for my troubles and careful searching with adverts in October 1935 and January 1936 for my grandfather as a dentist and for my mother offering French conversation and tuition.The small ads are in the Jewish Community news not because they were devout or even substantially involved, rather that by that date my grandfather could only treat Jewish patients, and my mother could not do anything at all, let alone carry on her studies. I look back to editions of the newsletter before the rise of National Socialism in 1933 and it is inevitably, entirely different. These are remarkable microfiches that bear much further study. Dr Pampel also gives me a copy of the book Buch der Erinnerung. Juden in Dresden – deportiert, ermordet, verschollen. (Book of Remembrance. Jews in Dresden – Deported, Murdered, Lost.) 1933 – 1945.for which I am most grateful and which will also bear much further study.
I am packing both at the studio and the flat tomorrow and feel not only sad to be leaving but horrified at how much I have not accomplished. There is already an obligatory return visit on the cards.