Sunday, January 22, 1984

“Why Canada?” Jürgen continues our conversation from yesterday. Because I have relatives in Toronto and I might be better able to survive a nuclear war in the Canadian outback.

In the mid-1970s, Uncle Adolf visited my grandparents in Teutschenthal. Uncle Adolf was a brother of Grandpa Hans. My great-uncle stood upright in my grandparents’ crooked hovel, looking like a man of the world and dressed up like a movie star. He spoke in an eloquent mixture of German, English and French about a completely foreign world.

At school, we learned how miserable life is there, where poor old pensioners have to live from hand to mouth. WHY is he raving about it? WHY does he voluntarily return there? WHY doesn’t he just stay here? His “no way” really shook up my theoretical view of the world at the time.

Authentische VHS-Aufnahmen vom Schulkomplex in Halle-Neustadt im Frühjahr 1990

Above all, there was his completely relaxed distance to political issues that we were regularly confronted with in class. We were even allowed to feel particularly safe. Our school building in Halle-Neustadt was one of the first to have a nuclear bunker.

The rooms in the basement had large, bright window fronts with huge light wells in which meter-high concrete slabs led diagonally upwards. The doors to the stairwell were steel colossi weighing tons.

In the event of a nuclear attack, the concrete slabs would be tilted in front to the windows and the airlocks locked like in a submarine. If a nuclear bomb exploded, just don’t look into the light, but huddle disciplined under the desks until the school was evacuated. Then everything would be fine.  𝓣𝓸 𝓑𝓮 𝓒𝓸𝓷𝓽𝓲𝓷𝓾𝓮𝓭

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