As mentioned below, my program went to Weimar yesterday. Weimar, which was the cultural capital of Germany for many years. Weimar, which was home to Goethe and Schiller and Bach. Weimar, where the Anna Amalia library lies. Weimar, center of the Bauhaus movement. Weimar, which was incredibly supportive of the Nazis and which Hitler used as a political symbol. Weimar, right by Buchenwald.
We went on a two hour walking tour (auf Deutsch, because bitte), which was lovely, and our guide clearly loved her city, and the weather and the city itself were both beautiful. And I had a very nice time in Weimar. And yet.
And yet no amount of Goethe references or fun facts (e.g. the city had to make it illegal for women to sexxxily wash vegetables in the square outside his window because, you know, wenches be tempting) can change that that’s not what the city’s primarily known for any more.
“Between us and Weimar lies Buchenwald,” argued Richard Alewyn, and one can see why. I do, anyway. It’s like the larger question for Germany—how does one reconcile a country’s present with its past, and come to be more than that and keep moving forward?—is concentrated and crescendo’d in Weimar.