The Ultimate Passover Easter Bunny Contest

March 29, 2013

Was eigentlich essen Osterhasen zu Pessach? Ostereier? Matzen? Handelt es sich gar um Pessach-Hasen?

Augsburg Pessach Hase Matza passover bunny

Once again Augsburg has proven its essential role as a leading international research location.

ארנב פסחא או ארנב פסח

?..

ארנבות אוכלים ביצי פסחא או מצוות

הנה עדות הווידאו

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Jewish Museum Berlin

October 31, 2012

While many people today compare stories you tell them from your own experience with episodes they have seen in a movie or TV series, modern museum concepts try to explain the relationship between experience and museums. As a key institutional space of modernity  museums currently increasingly appear as active operator. You no longer just have to enter an usual room with some more or less precious samples in show cases or behind barriers. Modern concepts include interaction, audio-guides, videos, computers, screens and other touchable items you can grasp with your hands, in order to make as many different sensual “experiences” as possible. Maybe the way you know from a ghost train at funfairs.

When it comes to the question of how to organize a Jewish museum the problem to deal accurately with it obviously already is the requirement to deal accurately with it. Since for most Gentiles Judaism in one way or another is connected with the Holocaust, a Jewish Museum obviously is no funfair matter, although some ghosts are still haunting in many attics. One way to get over the known dilemmas for two decades or so was to use architecture and its forms as key element of a modern museum concept. Thus exhibition premises as well as individual showrooms, their furnishing, technical equipment, illumination, etc. have become at least as important as the actual exhibits.

If teenagers who grow up with umpteen sequels of “scary” movies and smart phone videos of bullied classmates are bored to look at poster sized black-and-white photos of murdered Nazi victims, let them enter a narrow, dark and rather frigid concrete tower which will leave on them the sensation of  “hopelessness” and “desperation”. At least that is what was the “master plan” in Berlin at the new “Jewish Museum” and since there is no intention to learn anything from jewish culture and tradition, that apparantly “works”.

The idea of the former Israeli director of the museum Amnon Barzel (born 1935) to use the museum as an instrument to portray German history from a Jewish standpoint, instead of the usual Gentile perspective on Jewish clichés, items and exhibits, was rejected. With Polish-Jewish architect Daniel Libeskind whose main aspect in architecture is “the experience” and Berlin born Werner Michael Blumenthal, (former Secretary of the Treasury under President James Carter from 1977-1979 and since 1997 successor of dismissed Barzel), who said at the opening the museum was “not for Jews but for Germans” the project broke out in another direction.

The Jewish Museum of Berlin, inaugurated two days before „9/11“ in 2001 is best known for its remarkable zigzag design, which is interpreted as “Blitz” by one or as “broken Star of David” by another, but actually also equals the more or less likewise random route of the Berlin Wall in the center of the town, which you can still take notice of on Berlin roads signed by marks. The makers of the federal museum obviously also felt some kind of connection and maybe therefore integrated a “Checkpoint Charlie” entry, where as visitor of the museum you will be treated like a terror suspect by the employees of a private security company.

You have to put all your baggage, such as backpacks, purses or handbags on a conveyor belt which takes it to a x-ray like apparatus. Next you have to undress your jacket and overcoat, because it also has to be roentgenized. Now you have to pass a security door system, which of course suddenly peeps as if you was leaving a supermarket or library with demagnetized items. No need to be embarrassed here, because it is just your key in your trouser pocket as one of the four security agents who are occupied with you instantly finds out with his hand held metal detector. He requests you to show the content of your trouser pocket. It is a bunch of keys. He looks fleetingly at the keys and asks you to put them in small plastic container one of his colleagues sticks toward you. Why? Because also your keys are x-rayed and you starting to worry whether this are reasonable security measures or harassments. And indeed your key does not contain any weapons as you know them from James Bond movies. But the hand probe of the security man now detects another peep worthy violation: your wallet in the other trouser pocket. Since Euro-Cent coins are mainly made from steel (covered by a copper alloy) there of course is another potential reckless endangerment. It is hard to imagine what kind of malicious insidiousness actually may fit in a flat fingernail sized 1-Euro-Cent coin, but of course the German saying goes” Ordnung muss sein”. Finally you pass all the examinations and you get your personal belongings back. Since it is no secret that there are terrorist attacks against Jewish facilities or others which they regard as such, you already accepted the procedure as a bit annoying and surely exaggerated – but maybe in some respects also as necessary. After all we know that from airports and the like. You received a thorough examination and usually that is the end of that! But not so in the zigzag-museum.

Although your belongings were checked and x-rayed by a number of people and probes, you are not allowed to carry any of it with you. In contrary there are no lockers which you can use to put your bags in. Every library or backwoods museum in Germany has lockers where you insert a coin and get personal key. Not so at the Jewish Museum in Berlin, where they have a checkroom instead with a number of additional personal from the same security company. They tell you that is not your decision what you may carry with you. You have to hand out your bags of course but also your jacket and overcoat. Why? The onset of winter outside and the concrete structure of the building of course do not warm up. Additionally a sign at the wall says that they assume not any liability for your belongings. Although half a dozen or more people treated you like a kind of criminal or terror suspect because as a Jew you wanted to visit the stately “Jewish” museum, in contrary you are requested to trust them, resp. to accept the possibility that your belongings will be lost.

Well, of course actually it was better to leave, but since you already have your ticket, you just ponder whether it was easier to get your money back or to “continue” with the exhibition. Of course you prefer the later. The permanent exhibition of the museum now promises to depict “two thousand years of German-Jewish history”. That sounds good, but unfortunately just is an advertising gimmick.

The first item of the exhibition is a replica of a small shard fragment of a late antique oil lamp with the partly survived emblem of a menorah on it. The original was found in the city of Trier and was dated “4th century”. Similar findings are known also in Augsburg or in Switzerland. Depending on whether you regard it as the beginning or end of the century the small replica remarkably already covered three or four hundred years of “German-Jewish history”. The next item was another replica of two figurines we already knew from Bamberg where we had seen a copy at the façade of the Cathedral and the original inside the church: two female statuettes which depict “ecclesia” (church) and “synagoga” (synagogue), which are dated about the middle of 13th century. The Berlin Museum now has a snow white plaster cast of the figures. Before you could turn around you already have left 1250 of the 2000 years of German-Jewish history behind you. Next there are some gimmicks like a huge hinged garlic bulb which represents the medieval Jewish communities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz. The Hebrew initials of the names frame the word “shum”, which actually means “garlic”, but it also means “nothing”. It is a common phrase in Hebrew to answer questions like “is anything wrong?”, “what is happening?” or “do you want to bring any weapons of mass distraction into the museum?” with “shum davar!”, what means “nothing at all” or “forget it!”

Soon after that you will be in the Baroque period, introduced by the famous “memoirs” by Glückel of Hameln (זיכרונות גליקל האמיל,see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gl%C3%BCckel_of_Hameln), written about 1700. Actually the exhibition of the museum rather deals with the history between 1700 and 1945, two and a half centuries of modern Jewish German history, which of course rather is portrayed from the standpoint of the Gentile perspective. The pretention to represent “two thousand years” of history is misleading. In the same way it has not that much to do with Judaism, rather with some more modern day Jewish individuals whose roads of life are portrayed as far they were on the move on “common ground”. To put in a nutshell: sort of German-Jewish assimilation history over two and half century until the rise of the Nazi party who tore everything to shreds.

The museum concept is “between the lines”. So the architecture, especially the façade is characterized by crossed lines or let’s say by different kinds of crosses (The part of Berlin where the Museum is is called Kreuzberg,that means “Cross-Mountain”… ). A concrete building covered by zinc-coat sheets with cross windows of course does not represent the “openness” architect Libeskind was pretending. It is cold and impersonal, oversized and obtrusive. But as we know this comes not by accident but is part of the exhibition idea, which is to impress people rather by the architecture than by the exhibits (or replicas).

Double-cross window at Jewish Museum Berlin

Double-cross emblem in “Great Dictator” (wikipedia)

Double cross also is a phrase meaning to deceive by double-dealing, but there is no need to over-intellecualize the matter, since there also are a number of empty spaces called “voids”. One called “memory void” has some 10.000 (nobody wants to examine the figure) “faces” of steel, which are distributed on the ground of a narrow, some 60 feet tall “room” of uncovered concrete walls. The masks or “faces (as they put it) represent “the victims” – which one is unclear, but a number of sources say that a bit more than ten thousand Jews were killed by the Nazi. You can see there many visitors walking on the masks (or: “faces”) in order to listen the “sound” when they clang. A funny experience for school classes obviously. So they may “experience” what it is like … to jump on the faces of victims. Another “void” is the so called “Holocaust-Tower” (there is no explanation what actually is a holocaust – tower, the name obviously speaks for itself. Does it?). It is another rather pointy and high concrete room which now is complete dark – at least you have the impression until your eyes realize a small window at the ceiling. There, as we heard from leaving teenagers “you can feel the holocaust”. Isn’t that the experience Jewish museums urgently want to convey? Where else you can get such an “experience” for so little money?

one of the lower ten thousand


The Talmud on Jesus

October 31, 2011

A comment from Steven Baker in the FAQ section from June 15 this year raises the question whether the Talmud would be “full of extreme hatred against Jesus” and if so, what was our position on it. Although we are dealing rather with local issues regarding the Jewish history in Augsburg, former Austrian, today’s Bavarian Swabia or let’s say Southern Germany, it maybe is worthwhile trying to find an answer – which of course is ours and may differ from other assessments.

Question:

 Dear Madam or Sir,

I have read a number of times in different books and articles that the Jewish book of Talmud is full of extreme hatred agains Jesus. Is that true and why is that so and what is your position on this?

Short Answer:

The short answer to your question in a Hillel like style would be: Since the authors of the Talmud most likely had no knowledge on him, they did not mention Jesus in the Talmud and there also would had been no need to do so.

More detailed answer:

Everything else actually rather derives from the fantasy of the authors of those books and not from given facts.

According to common understanding Jesus from Nazareth in the Galilee lived about the first third of the first century according to Christian calendar and therefore was a contemporary of the earlier Mishna period (until 220). None of the umpteen scholars of the Mishna does refer to Jesus, although thousands of ideas and interpretations of the Tora, particular laws, regulations, customs and beliefs as well as historical events, customs of foreign people are topics of endless debates. Although also a larger number of long forgotten rivals of rabbinical Judaism are mentioned in detail, most of the time quite sober in order to assess their standpoints, Jesus, almost incredible to most Christians, actually is not. The explanation for this is quite simple, the Mishna, and still more the completing Gemara (until sixth and seventh century) of the Talmud originate basically from Babylonia, where early Christianity obviously played no important role (if any) and therefore was no part of any controversies within the Jewry there. This of course rapidly changed when from the eighth and ninth century on Talmudic sages from the Orient arrived in Southern and Western and Middle Europe.  At this time, the Talmud of course already was completed. But now there is no problem at all to find a huge number of disputations between Christians and Jews on Jesus and / or the Talmud, with written references on both sides. Some were quite famous and time and again resulted in Christian burnings of the Talmud, as the 1240 one in Paris for instance.

A more formal requirement was how the Talmud actually should or could have refered to Jesus at all. For some two centuries modern Humanist scholars and leaders of Reform Judaism as well as nowadays participants of Christian-Jewish or Jewish-Christian dialogue groups name him “Yeshu” or “Yeshua”, etc. in order to re-translate his Greek Jewish name into a Hebrew Jewish one. That of course is an anachronism. Nobody knows whether Jesus actually was called “Yeshua”, “Yeshu” or “Yoshua”, but we of course do know that the name Jesus as written in the Greek Gospels actually existed and that furthermore it was a quite common name among Greek speaking Jews all over the Mediterranean. In the life time of Jesus probably the majority of Jews already lived outside of Israel and their main language was no longer Hebrew, but Greek. Therefore long before Jesus the scriptures of the Hebrew Bible were translated into the Greek Koine language (commonly known by the Latin word Septuagint). The Hebrew Book of Joshua, following right after the first five books in the Bible in Greek was titled “Jesus”. This means every time the Hebrew Bible mentions “Joshua”, for instance in the context of the conquest of Jericho, the Greek text of the Septuagint has Ιησους (Yesous). Accordingly among ancient Greek Jews the name Yesous was as popular as Yoshua was among Hebrew Jews. At best you may compare this to the popularity of the English name “James”  which as Jacob refers to the Hebrew name Yakow. From the writings of ancient Jewish-Roman historian Josephus (who by the way reported ten thousands of crucifications) as well as from many ancient inscriptions we know that there were many bearer of the name Jesus, so there is no reason to assume that the Jesus of the Christian Gospels would have had another name. Since his followers regarded him as central figure of their faith it furthermore is rather unlikely that they will have changed his original name, whether it was “Jesus” or “Yoshua” in one way or another.  So there actually is no doubt that his original name was “Yesous” and not “Yoshua”, although that of course implies that he was named by the Greek version instead of the Hebrew one. Since on the other hand the name of his mother according to the Gospels was Maria, that of course was no surprise. Although Mary (Latin: Maria) by many is interpreted as Hebrew name Miryam it actually of course is the female equivalent of the Latin name “Marius”. Ancient Rome only knew a little number of prenomia (first or fore names), from which the female equivalents were derived. A daughter of Julius therefore was named Julia, a second one Julia Secunda (Julia the second) in order to differ her from the first one. Likewise the female equivalent of Lucius was Lucia, of Gaius was Gaia, and so on. Maria thus is the female version of Marius, which refers to the Roman god of Mars and often was given to boys who were born in the Month of March which also refers to Mars. A well known example would be historian Marius Maximus (165-230), who was quite popular as biographer of twelve Roman emperors and was regarded as successor of Sueton. Considering the spread of female Roman names of Julia or Lucia, there is no plausible reason to assume that of all Roman names only Marius had no female name bearer and all persons with the name Maria would refer to the Hebrew name Miryam instead, which in Greek “mar-yam” may sound somewhat similar, but isn’t the same.  By the way it is perfectly normal and anything but exceptional that some Jews in this time also had foreign and even pagan names. It is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage. The predominant language in the Galilee obviously was Greek not Hebrew. Since the Talmud has thousands of foreign words from Greek and Latin it just reflects the given influence which noone will deny.

 

However, since the Talmud does not mention Jesus, what for Christian scholars until today of course is quite disappointing, for a long time, there of course were many attempts to reinterpret other sections from the Talmud which refer to rivals of the rabbinical Jews, of which were many among the Jews of that time. Some writers try to examine the Christian Gospels on the basis of Talmudic writings, especially the trial of Jesus. To some extend this might be interesting, but in the bottom line it just is science fiction. 

Another argument is to assume two types of censorship on the Talmudic scripture, one imposed by Christian authorities in Europe and the other as freely one practiced by the rabbinical scholars to avoid conflicts with the Christian authorities. This of course requires patterns of thinking also known from conspiracy theories, which postulate the result of an investigation and likely will ignore any other interpretation. For instance if the Talmud actually would have referred to Jesus, why any references necessarily must have been derogatory when contrary to that the Talmud has no problem in admitting advantages of Greek or Roman achievements, what it does on quite a number of occasions? So the expectation already is biased and therefore focuses on feigned “suspicious” passages from the Talmud, which are interpreted to refer in a negative way to Jesus and Christianity, although both are not mentioned in the Talmud.     

Actually this is no attempt of an apology which is out to deny references of the Talmud (some authors invent to sell their books) to the Christian Jesus and his lore. Of course we would prefer if there were any, but inasmuch Christianity rejects full obedience towards the commandments of the Tora what of course is everything else but a bagatelle, it likewise defines Christianity as an independent and self-contained religion, outside the framework of Judaism, what hardly is common ground for debates.  Christianity obviously needed a sharp distinction from Judaism as well as a close relation to it. Judaism in contrary has no inner need to deal with Christian beliefs, which simply are regarded as another foreign religion. In our times Jews and Christians have no general problems to meet Buddhists, Hindus or Muslims or to have a dialogue with representatives of Zen, Shinto, Jaina or Bahai in order to find things in common, which are quite a lot. It is no use to look for a rather notional who was wrong, who is right. It simply is enough to be aware of your the own tradition and to respect those of others.  

On the other hand, there maybe are quotes from Jesus in the Talmud nobody understands as such. Always provided that Jesus indeed originally was called “Yoshua” by his students and contemporaries and not “Jesus”, there are umpteen Yoshua, Yosse and Yoshi mentioned in the Mishna and Gemara, even one who was called Yossi Hagalili and lived in the first century of today’s Christian calendar counting. From many we know hardly more than some wisdom saying. Since fiercest controversies are expected no one would ever take notice of.


Kein Konflikt zwischen Judentum und Naturschutz

July 30, 2008

 

Im Zuge unserer Bemühungen zur Säuberung, Pflege und Restaurierung des Jüdischen Friedhofs zu Kriegshaber wurden seitens der Anwohner Bedenken laut, dass der Baumbestand des Friedhofs einem Kahlschlag zu Opfer fallen könnte. Bei einem gemeinsamen Treffen mit dem Beirat der Anwohner konnten wir diese Befürchtungen als unbegründet ausräumen. Die Zusammenkunft am 24. Juli 2008 im Gemeindezentrum von St- Thaddäus an der Madisonstraße hatte Pfarrer Groll organisiert, wofür wir ihm herzlich danken. Neben den Anwohnern und Vertretern des JHVA erschien auch Herr Engelhard vom städtischen Grünamt der Stadt Augsburg, wegen seiner fachkundigen Informationen für die Anwohner, und für die “Augsburger Allgemeine” Zeitung Frau Karen Eva Noetzel, die wir beide dazu eingeladen hatten.

In unserer geschichtlichen Dokumentation des Friedhofs ergab sich ein ganz klares Bild. Die Umgebung des Friedhofs war über Jahrhunderte hinweg ein freies, unbebautes kärglich fruchtbares Gelände ohne jeglichen Baumbestand. Noch bis in die 1930er Jahre gab es um den Friedhof herum sog. Halbtrockenrasen, der nur einmal jährlich eine Heuernte, die Mahd ermöglichte. Danben befand sich seit den 1800er Jahren ein militärisches Gelände mit einem Kugelfang für Schießübungen und dergleichen. Erst unter US-amerikanischer Besatzung entstanden um den Friedhof herum Wohncontainer für die Unterbringung von Soldaten und ihrer Familien. Sie bilden heute die Wohnanlagen der Nachbarschaft.

 

Es ist uns völlig verständlich, dass die Anwohner des jüdischen Friedhofs das Gelände auch von außen als eine Art „grüner Lunge“ in ihrer ansonsten immer dichter bebauten und verkehrs- aber wenig abwechslungsreichen Umgebung schätzen. Wir verstehen voll und ganz, dass sie sich darum sorgen, dass der Baumbestand am Friedhof gefährdet ist. Und in der Tat, er ist es.

 

Als historischer Verein ist der JHVA selbstverständlich der Dokumentation und Bewahrung des Erbes der jüdischen Kultur und dem Gedenken an die jüdischen Menschen, die hier Jahrhunderte lebten verpflichtet. Wir sind deshalb natürlich in erster Linie daran interessiert und der Aufgabe verpflichtet, jeden Grabstein, jedes Fragment, jeden Buchstaben zu retten und zu bewahren. Jedoch bedeutet dies nicht, dass wir dem Naturschutz in irgendeiner Weise ablehnend gegenüberstünden.

Das Gegenteil ist der Fall.

 

Einige grundsätzliche Standpunkte der jüdischen Religion, die in der heutigen Zeit der Verstädterung zugegeben immer weniger Beachtung finden, erläutern dies selbstredend.

 

Schon der Mensch selbst – hebräisch adam – findet sein sprachliches Gegenstück in adama, was wörtlich Erde bedeutet. Der Mensch und die Erde – adam ve-adama – bilden deshalb ein Paar im Angesicht Gottes.

  

 Die Lehren des Judentums beinhalten nicht nur das älteste Lebensmittel-, sondern auch das älteste Naturschutzrecht. Dies beginnt bereits im ersten Buch der Bibel mit dem Gan oder Garten Eden als Sinnbild des vollkommenen, mühelosen irdischen Lebens inmitten einer befreundeten Natur. Es ist kein Zufall, dass in dieser Geschichte der Thora Bäume als Quell des Lebens und der Erkenntnis aufgezeigt werden. In der Thora finden Juden das Verbot selbst im Kriegsfall Nutzbäume zu fällen. D.h. der Naturschutz wird höher bewertet als möglicherweise entscheidende Erfolge im Krieg. Allgemeiner bekannt ist auch das biblische Gebot des Schmitta-Jahres, sozusagen als Schabbat-Jahr für die Natur, die sich wie der Mensch am siebten Tag im siebten Jahr von ihrer Arbeit und Mühe erholen soll. Schließlich feiert man heute in Israel und zunehmend auch im Rest der Welt, das alte talmudische vom modernen Zionismus wieder aufgegriffene Neujahrsfest der Bäume – rosch ha-schana ha ilanot – mit der Anpflanzung neuer Bäume. Ganze Wälder sind auf diese Weise in den letzten Jahrzehnten in Israel neu entstanden, zum Nutzen von Menschen und Tieren.

 

Es wird deshalb auch nicht verwundern, dass im jüdischen Gebetbuch, dem Sidur gleich nach der Thoralesung die Thora selbst als Baum des Lebens bezeichnet wird: „HaThora … Etz chajim hi le-macha-sekim ba…”.“Die Thora ist ein Baum des Lebens für jene, die sich an sie klammern.“

 

Im Judentum bezeichnet man Friedhöfe häufig auf Hebräisch als Bet Chajim oder Bet Olam. Bet Chajim lässt sich je nach Auffassung als „Haus des Lebens“ oder schlicht als „Leben“ übersetzen. Das ist kein Euphemismus, um von den Toten abzulenken, da nach jüdischer Auffassung auf einem Friedhof eigentlich nichts von den Toten und dem Gedenken an sie ablenken soll. Der Begriff besteht wegen der Nähe und der Einbettung der Grabstätten in die Natur. Und die lebt und soll leben. Bet Olam wiederum wird mit „Haus der Welt“ oder schlicht „Welt“ übersetzt, wobei das zugrunde liegende Verb ala, ola wörtlich aufsteigen, wachsen, emporwachsen bedeutet. Schon sprachlich also ist die „Welt“ im Judentum deshalb „das Wachsende“, also begrifflich, das was wir lateinisch „Natur“ nennen. Über Juden die bestattet werden spricht man deshalb auch das biblische Wort „Erde zu Erde und Staub zu Staub“, bzw. „Staub warst und Staub wirst du wieder“. (…ve-afa taschuw)

 

Für uns Juden ist der Friedhof auch ein Vorgeschmack auf die künftige Welt – ha-olam haba – und damit auf den Garten Eden. Denkmalschutz und Naturschutz können also in der Perspektive des Judentums keine Gegensätze sein und stehen deshalb grundsätzlich in keinem Konflikt.

 

Ganz allgemein lässt sich sagen: Das talmudische (oder christlich gesprochen: das pharisäische) Judentum ist nicht ideologisch, sondern durchweg pragmatisch und auf das menschenmöglich Machbare Bezogen. Der universelle Grundsatz dabei ist immer die Annahme, dass Gottes Gebote Nutzen bringen und nicht schaden. Das bedeutet, dass alles, was uns in dieser Welt begegnet durch das Gebot Gottes lösbar wird, wenn wir es verstehen, seinen Gehalt zu erfassen und umzusetzen. Es gibt deshalb keine Patentrezepte, sondern nur praktische Erfahrungswerte. Im Talmud heißt es, man urteile nicht über einen Menschen, wenn man nicht in seiner Sachlage ist und nicht über ein Problem, dessen Details man nicht kennt.

 

Für die Lage am Friedhof bedeutet dies, dass wir auch aus religiösen Gründen den Naturschutz ungefragt ernst nehmen, da wir unsere Gräber als Bestandteil der Natur verstehen und von nichts anderem ausgehen können und wollen.

 

Das grundlegende Problem am fast 400 Jahre alten Kriegshaber Friedhof ist die Vernachlässigung des Geländes in den letzten 90 Jahren. Mit Auflösung der thoratreuen Kriegshaber jüdischen Gemeinde im Jahre 1911 kam der Sinn für die Verantwortung abhanden. Zwar gab es in der Folge Generationen von Friedhofswärtern, die nach dem Rechten sahen, aber sie gestalteten das Gelände mehr und mehr im Eigennutz und kümmerten sich wenig. In den letzten Jahren geschah nicht mal mehr das Nötigste.

 

In der Folge wuchsen Efeu und Bäume wild und brachten endloses Gestrüpp hervor. Der Efeu nun bedroht nicht nur die Grabsteine der hier bestatteten Menschen, sondern auch die Bäume. Er nimmt ihnen das notwenige Licht und tötet jeden Baum, den er umschlingt, früher oder später ab, und raubt im Wurzelreich die notwenigen Nährstoffe, usw. Der Baum wird also sozusagen stranguliert. Schon Plinius der Ältere hat vor rund 1900 Jahren die gleiche Erfahrung gemacht: „Lässt du Efeu einfach wachsen, wird dein Garten irgendwann nur noch aus Efeu bestehen.“ (historia naturalis)

 

Grundsätzlich gehen wir, was die Bewahrung und Restaurierung der Grabsteine anbetrifft davon aus, dass man jeden einzelnen Fall gesondert betrachten und lösen muss. Wenn ein groß gewachsener – gesunder – Baum einen noch halbwegs intakten Grabstein in seiner Substanz bedroht, ist es sinnvoll und machbar, den Stein zu versetzen. Dies ist prinzipiell möglich. Handelt es sich um nachwachsende Sämlinge, die zwar jetzt keine Gefahr darstellen, aber nach weiteren zehn Jahren Gleichgültigkeit zu einer werden, so handelt man besser jetzt. Bereits zerbrochene Steine werden aber auch nicht wieder heil wenn man einen unversehrten Baum beseitigen würde, usw. Es ist also klar, dass in jedem einzelnen Fall, die gar nicht so gegensätzlichen Interessen des Denkmal- wie des Naturschutzes optimal berücksichtigt werden müssen, um jeweils die beste Lösung zu finden.

 

Jedoch sind kranke Bäume, die umstürzen eine Gefahr für Menschen und den Grabsteinbestand. Erst im März ist ein groß gewachsener maroder Baum nach einem Sturm umgestürzt und hat zum Glück keine Grabsteine beschädigt. Zum noch größeren Glück ist er auch nicht nach außen, sondern ins Gelände gestürzt.

Aber stellen wir uns vor, was wäre, wenn ein schadhafter Baum nach außen fällt, und etwa ein Auto beschädigt. Dass dabei auch Passanten oder spielende Kinder getroffen werden könnten, wollen wir uns – Gott bewahre – nicht ausmalen. Da der Grad der Baumschädigung zunimmt und die Anzahl der Stürme offenbar auch, gibt es ein objektives Problem, eine potentielle, reale Gefahr. Diese betrifft in allererster Linie die Anwohner des Friedhofs – aber sie betrifft auch den rechtlichen Eigentümer des Friedhofs, der haftbar wäre für entsprechende Schäden, da dies Fragen der „Verkehrssicherheit“ betrifft.

 

Herr Engelhard stellte fest, dass die Bäume von ihrer Substanz nichts besonderes und nicht schützenswert seien. Prinzipiell könnten sie alle gefällt werden, was natürlich nicht wünschenswert wäre – und auch nicht beabsichtigt ist. Ausgenommen sind der Baumverordnung nach Bäume, deren Umfang in einer Meter Höhe mindestens 80 cm beträgt. In diesen Fällen müsse der Eigentümer des Friedhofs eine Fällung eigens beantragen. Hinzu kämen rechtliche Fragen hinsichtlich der Vögelnistplätze. Das geltende Recht schreibt hier vor, dass Bäume beispielsweise nicht in der Brutzeit gefällt werden dürfen. Herr Engelhard nahm aber sehr erfreut zur Kenntnis, dass es zwischen den Interessen keinen wirklichen Konflikt gibt und sich die Sachlage im Einzelfall, so und so lösen lässt und für tatsächlich zu fällende Bäume auf geeignetem Gelände auch sinnvolle Neueinpflanzungen möglich sind.

 

Auch die Bewohner waren sichtlich erleichtert, dass die Missverständnisse gänzlich ausgeräumt und geklärt werden konnten. Jedoch machten sie uns auf aktuelle Bebauungspläne aufmerksam, die ggf. darauf hinauslaufen könnten, dass an der Ostseite des Friedhofs im alten Kraftwerk der US-Siedlung ein neuer Eigentümer ein Restaurant errichten könnte. Eine „Gaststätte zum Friedhof“ halten wir vom JHVA nicht für geschmackvoll und nur wenige Meter vom Friedhofsgelände auch nicht für wünschenswert, da dies unsere Bemühungen für den Erhalt des Friedhofs in der Tat abträglich sein könnte. Auch die Anwohner wollen in ihrer Nachbarschaft keine Lärmbelästigung, die zwangsläufig entstünde und so stellten wir am Ende unseres gemeinsamen Treffens fest, dass wir unsere Kräfte bündeln können.