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The month 12

Scrapbook 12

Road to nowhere

Backup hell

Beyond analysis

Winter solstice

Judge Judy

Betjeman Christmas

Veiled Modesty

Energy made easy

Nobel Ceremony 2016

Schober? [9]

The month 11

Scrapbook 11

Word Of The Year

Man and machine

Cognitive dissonance

Schubert trajectory

No change

The month 10

Scrapbook 10

That man again

Freedom of speech

A victim remembers

The conquering hero


The Man in Black

Cox and Box

Bees pulling strings

Those formative years

John Dalton

The grape harvest

Babi Yar

Bible studies

Jacobin Conspiracy [6]

The month 09

Scrapbook 09

Wrong again

That Sappho thing

Rustling inspiration

Channelled speech

The houseman's friend

Wishful thinking

Churchill in Zurich

Franz's belljar

The other Spaun

Walking with Walser

Stephen McIntyre

The month 08

Scrapbook 08

Arthur Szyk

Climate alarmism

Citroen DS23

Artificial Intelligence

Portrait of the age

Shipwreck [7]

The month 07

Scrapbook 07

The Bastille Spirit

Classic books


Devaluing the family

Andrea Leadsom


Habsburg cradle

UK politics

The month 06

Scrapbook 06

The Chosen Ones

Referendum mop up



Last words

Gretchen am Spinnrade

The alien hatches

Carbon dioxide


Electoral Commission

Sahra Wagenknecht

The green tick

The month 05

Scrapbook 05

The Sun Queen

Before Schubert [5]

European wars


Saving time

EU referendum

Protestant Ethic [9]

The month 04

Scrapbook 04

Cherry blossom

Dark chocolate

Out of the swamp

Richard North

Do not sleep

Imperial chemistry

Lili Marleen

The Habsburg lip

The month 03

Scrapbook 03

Bedsheet, spreadsheet

French dodo

Lenten thoughts

Heinrich Heine

The great survivor

The Swiss muddle

Hans Erni

Switzerland defused

Tristram's bad start

Montségur [5]

The month 02

Scrapbook 02

Frosty wreck

Language lab

Referendum reloaded

Graven images

Die Forelle [5]

The grass on the weirs

The month 01

Rabid lexicography

Not like us

Language lab

IKEA's loose screw

Nathan's rings

Brief Encounter II

Mohammed, not my prophet

Lunatic calendars

Hidden Hemingway

Sharing the risk

Bathtime for St. Kevin

The dismal science

The below above

Sanitised swearing


Rockers do it better


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Home | 2016

Quote and image of the month 05.2016

Quote of the month

Nothing makes the tremendous relapse that has taken place in the world since the First World War more apparent than the restriction of the personal freedom of movement of people and the reduction of their liberty.

Before 1914 the Earth belonged to everyone. Everyone went where he wanted to go and stayed as long as he wanted to stay. There were no permits, no authorisations. I always enjoy the astonishment of young people when I tell them that before 1914 I travelled to India and America without owning a passport or ever having seen one. One got on and got off, without needing to ask permission or being questioned, one had not a single one of those hundreds of papers that are required today.

There were no permits, no visas, no inconveniences; the same borders that have now been turned by customs officers, police and gendarme-posts into barbed wire enclosures as a result of the pathological distrust of everyone by everyone else were nothing more than symbolic lines which one could cross as unthinkingly as one crosses the Greenwich Meridian.

It was only after the war that the destruction of the world by National Socialism began. The first visible phenomenon of this cultural epidemic of our times was xenophobia: the hatred or at least the fear of strangers. Everywhere one defended oneself against the foreigner, everywhere the foreigner was rejected. All the humiliations that one had formerly used against criminals were now applied to every traveller before and during a journey.

One had to be photographed from right and left, in profile and full face, the hair trimmed short so that one can see the ears; one had to be fingerprinted, first only the thumb, then all ten fingers.

In addition one had to present attestations, health certificates, innoculation certificates, police good-conduct certificates, written recommendations; one had to produce invitations and the addresses of relatives, supply moral and financial guarantees, fill in forms in triplicate and quadruplicate.

When only one document from this pile was missing you were lost.

Stefan Zweig (1881-1942), writing in 1941 in Die Welt von Gestern: Erinnerungen eines Europäers, Frankfurt am Main: Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, 2010, p. 420f, translation FoS.

Image of the month

Friderike und Stefan Zweig auf einem Bahnhof, Mitte der dreißiger Jahre

Restless travellers in a restless era: Friderike and Stefan Zweig on a station in the mid-1930s. Image: Stefan Zweig Centre Salzburg, Austria.