Internet photo, Munich train station.
Seeing the warnings on New Year’s Eve for Munich, of a terrorist attack, last night, I tried to bring up visual memories of the Hauptbahnhof from my visit in October. Honestly, I don’t have any; I have clear memories of the Hauptbahnhof in Berlin, and of the trains themselves, and of the area outside the Munich station, catching a cab… But I remember the outside of the stations, there and in Berlin, as a hangout for the homeless, the shiftless and the vaguely dangerous, like bus stations in the US. And I do remember the downtown area near the Munich station, because I lived there for four days.
Don’t get me wrong on the train stations; all of them, or all three of them that I saw, were very nicely kept inside. I found it interesting that the three bus stations were so clean and modern, as opposed to the airports in Berlin and Munich, which were old and run-down. And the trains were a delight. But as to the threat of terror…
I had planned my trip to Germany probably six months earlier, before the summer when the “refugee” crisis hit the media, so I planned without regard to it; about the only concession I made as the date for travel approached was to reserve a car for Munich, in case it was overwhelmed by aliens (who would be renting cars? Probably not, but we see the pics of the invaders with iPhones). As it turned out, I honestly saw few or no obvious refugees during the ten or so days of my stay. Only signs in the media, and signs on the streets.
I planned my trip as best I could without previous travel experience in Germany, or in Europe; I flew into Berlin, spent four nights there, then took the train to Nuremberg for two nights; then the same train on down to Munich, for the last four nights, then out. I spent a lot of time on foot in Berlin (my favorite city of the three, as it turns out), and in Nuremberg, over the weekend. By the time I got to Munich my feet were tired; I rented the car and took day trips to Garmisch, then over to Neuschwanstein one day, and the second went down to Berchtesgaden. So I really had one tired day at the end to see Munich, and it was dank, cold and rainy. I did take a walk around the historic area downtown.
Munich definitely had the darkest, most worn vibe of the cities I visited. I have an abiding interest in WWII history and had chosen those three cities, fairly proximate in the eastern side of Germany with that in mind (in retrospect I do regret that I omitted Dresden). But after seeing a plaque in front of the gated entrance to the Reichstag in Berlin memorializing the fallen heroes of the Weimer Republic(!), and the dismal Topography of Terror Museum (actually not a museum at all, but a documentation/indoctrination center, a squat concrete building full of little but a scale replica of the former offices of the Gestapo and other buildings from WWII Berlin, which are unreconstructed), I decided that the self-hatred imposed on Germany by its conquerors was not something I wanted to dwell on, or in. So I skipped the former NSDAP rally site in Nuremberg, which I understand is another documentation center, and focused on the former imperial palace, which was a delight. Similarly, in Munich I did visit the Hofbräu München, which is of course now a lot like a Hard Rock Cafe, with its t-shirts and souvenir steins. The upshot of all this was that I would up enjoying most the (largely reconstructed) monuments to Germany’s pre-Twentieth Century history, which are beautiful and extensive.
Similarly, my hotels in the three cities were selected by a travel agent who apparently specializes in corporate/business travel; she did a good job, though the hotel in Munich was less enjoyable than the others. That hotel, the Germania, was located only a couple of blocks from the train station, so the neighborhood was reminiscent of the areas in American cities near bus stations; the youth hostel was on the same block, as were residential hotels. There were a lot of foreigners in the area, though mostly Turks, whose presence I understand is long-established there (as evidenced by a plethora of kebab shops, casinos, and porn). There were also a lot of Russians, including Russian business travelers in the hotel. Unfortunately, over the course of the whole trip, my German was not good enough to engage in the level of conversation I would like to have had.
In the month or two prior to my travel, the news reports of unrestricted immigration to Europe gave me some anxiety, but mostly piqued my curiosity. Knowing that the mainstream media couldn’t be trusted, and intuiting that the alternative media on the topic would be exaggerated, I went in open-minded, and experienced little evidence of the issue. Again, I don’t know what the German on the street was feeling or saying on the topic. I did see that the German media was unable or unwilling to cover up the obvious problem of increased crime and threat of crime from the invasion; the US media doesn’t cover it, but the Germans are of course living in the middle of it, and it would be way too Orwellian not to even mention it in their news (and incidentally, the Germans, as opposed to us, still have a lot of print newspapers on the stands, which are also relatively plentiful). There was also lots of obvious anti-Merkel sentiment in Bavaria ( I wish I had taken my own pic of the posters of Merkel with a pig’s face); of course as soon as I got back, I heard that Bavaria had sued the federal government over the invasion.
Anyway, seeing the warning of the “terror attack”, which of course didn’t happen (as I suspected it wouldn’t; we always find out later there were warnings of these attacks which were “ignored”, so hearing of this one in advance means the announcement was either propaganda or real news, which means the attack had it happened, would have been a real one, and not a false flag) – did make me try to visualize the train station, and to think back on my trip.
I would have liked to know so much more of what was, is, on the minds of the Germans, the ones who are aware. I would suspect that, given their history for most of the last hundred years, they are a bit hesitant to speak their thoughts and fears, even to themselves. There are always those, I think, in any given society, who awake to the fact that what they are told of their government and history is false. I can imagine but not know what that might feel like to a modern German. Do they really understand that their government is not their own, but that it is the puppet government of the US government, which in turn along with the EU is a puppet government of another power altogether? Is there a seething resentment for Americans beneath their skins? I did my best to feel for that, and with the Germans with whom I had contact – who admittedly were mostly in the tourist and service industries, whose workers would be selected intentionally or by their own predilections to be English speakers and if not pro-American, then at least not anti- – if it existed, it was way below the surface. Again, although I have never been so much among people who felt so much like me, far more than in any modern American city, any time recently, I do not purport to know or to have read the modern German well.
But they have to be aware, these modern Germans, and these modern Europeans in general, that it is the war policies of America that have driven these people to their lands, or at least those few of them who may be actual refugees, but that also applies to the economic migrants, the opportunists, who have come with them. At any rate it is America’s senseless and eternal warfare that has inflamed the Islamic terror that has existed near Europe for 1500 years. I just finished The Enemy at the Gate: Hapsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe, which is excellent, on Audible. It is a reminder of a situation that has never gone away; and if the threat has faded in our jaded and deteriorated Western minds, it has not disappeared from theirs.
We must of course take steps to protect ourselves from immediate threats. Unrestricted immigration is invasion, and at least some of Europe is beginning to wake to that, regardless of what they have been told. They need to control their borders, just as we Americans need to wake up and control our southern one. But it would a mistake to think that the ultimate enemy is the Muslim, even the Jihadist. He is of course an ever-present danger, like an ill-tempered pit bull. But is he is kept at a safe distance and not brought into the home, he can be tolerated. We have seen, in this century, an intentional aggravation of all the factors that would destroy our society. The above is one, and another is the aggravation of Race as an issue in our society; whoever has done so much to aggravate that powder keg, as the Obama administration? But I feel that those two groups also could coexist as long as they are not forced together and one exalted over the other.
Who causes these things? Who turns us one against the other? Who is trying to destroy us, and why? Who feels that the destruction of our civilization is in their best interest? Who incites peoples who could live, and have lived, peaceably and separately from each other, to invade one another and fight? Who forces those together, who could peacefully live apart? And will it really result in their benefit, these inciters, or will it inevitably lead to their own ultimate destruction? This last question is for them; the rest of us need to think about the others.
I got back safely, of course, from Germany, and I hope to go back someday. I know others who have travelled to Europe more recently, including my cousin who had just returned from France, a few days before the shootings in Paris. But I am glad I got to see these cities which have been so long in my mind; in truth, the Berlin and Munich I wanted to see have not existed for many years, but I am so glad that their architecture and physical history haven been so beautifully reconstructed! I hope that we can awaken as a people so that they are not destroyed again, either by foreign invasion, or by any renewed and shameful Brother Wars.