Pictures of a postcard (11)

‘The silence of a society’

A travel back in time; April 1968 – ten years before the tram would disappear – the Hüttenbergstraße in Neunkirchen situated in the German federal state of Saarland. A real postcard this time and not like the Amsterdam illustration of the last story in this series, my own picture but nonetheless of touristic value.
Also in this town I take pictures though this city was not the most desired venue for a day out or even longer. It always was immersed in the dust and other grave pollution of a nearby metallurgical industry. What it makes interesting was the rather steep main street and a tram running without artificial accessory others than all axles powered. If you close your eyes you can hear the soft singing while climbing to the top, downhill it was just a matter of braking. It’s a prefect situation asking for severe accidents but in the years of running the volume of traffic was definitely another one. The peace of time undisturbed by the dust, a few pedestrians walking along a handful shops for the most wanted necessities. The deceptive world of malls and similar places, a commercial landscape of hyper markets, to spend your hard working earned money were not there.
Now, forty-four years later, it feels like a fairy-tale, the bygone days of the European tramways, many cities still nourishing their existence and the way they were after the abandonment mostly in the fifties and sixties – some in the seventies or even eighties – sacrificed to other modes of transportation in those days the ones on rubber tires instead of flanged wheels. Rolling on rail from a certain point became an obsolete way of thinking in terms of transportation. One can say the spur of the moment because the tramway would have a revival and several cities especially in France which had a tramway system before reintroduce this friendly manner of going around. Modern articulated tramcars in a modern society, a new approach and well adapted by the public.
I got stuck with the old days and linger on whereas someone else has no remembrance what so ever or only suppress feelings. Another place in Germany but not the same; the GDR – German Democratic Republic; Mühlhausen in Thüringen where the single track meter gauge tram on June 26th 1969 run for the last time. The picture of this postcard must have been taken somewhat years before and in the height of socialism or being considered from a more negative standpoint: communistic doctrine. The silence of a society and looking at the girl on the pavement it must be summer. The motorcar comes from the station (Bahnhof) and it’s heading to the other destination: Weißes Haus zum Wald (The white house in the woods). What I said earlier about any shopping pleasure for sure behind the iron curtain, until the Berlin Wall crumbled under her weight, was reduced and even the most wanted necessities were not available and if so one had to que in order to get his of here share.
Looking at the façades of this pitoresk old medieval town they did not become deteriorate at this image of time or fallen into disrepair as a lot of structures within the GDR where looking in later years. A cobblestone street surface, a handful pedestrians and no other traffic only a single tramcar, life was harsh if we should believe the history but foremost within the political order. On this picture none what so ever only the demureness and maybe illusory but no care as long as the tram is running life can be worth living it.


About Robert von Hirschhorn

Author / Performer or in Dutch: schrijver / dichter
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