Sunday, September 07, 2003

German annoyances

When I first came to Britain in 1991, one of the most annoying things about the country was the fact that most shops were not allowed to open on Sundays. This was deeply annoying. Eventually progress was made, but there are still restrictions and shops are still required to open late and close early on Sundays.

Of course, in Germany shops are still not allowed to open at all on Sundays. There isn't much to say. This is deeply annoying.

There are some glorious examples in the east of trendy, stylish, and well upholstered bars, cafes, shops selling pop cultural detritus and the like in old decaying buildings in the east. There is nothing like finding a specialist Hello Kitty store in the middle of a crumbing warehouse built by the communists (or perhaps the Nazis).

Meanwhile, I visited the New Synagogue, which was built in the late 19th century, and which escaped being destroyed by fanatical Nazi mobs in 1938 due to the bravery of some German policemen, but was reduced to a ruin by the combination of Allied bombing and the East German communist state. What remains of it has been restored and is now a museum. (It was covered in scaffolding last time I was here in 1992. Outside it are five or six policemen carrying machine guns, and when you go in you have to go through a lot of security. To tell the truth it rather appalls me that this is necessary. But if it is necessary, it must be done. Any kind of terrorist attack on this site would be unspeakable. (I visited a similar ruined synagogue in Warsaw once, and there was a great deal of anti-Semitic graffiti nearby. I find it mindboggling that anybody could do such a thing given the history of the 20th century, but somehow they still do).

No comments:

Blog Archive