Ulm: Stolpersteine Ceremony



Federal Republic of Germany

October 29, 2016

My Cousins and the Stolpersteine

Otto Polatschek is gone but not forgotten.

Lisa Polatschek is gone but not forgotten.

In Ulm, Germany, Otto inherited a retail shoe business from his parents Alois Polatschek (1879-1929) and Paula née Brumlik Polatschek (1883-1932).  But as the Nazi menace in Germany became more threatening, Otto sold his business to the Werdich family and fled with his wife Lisa to Berlin.

Der Ulmer Spatz



Federal Republic of Germany

October 30, 2016


Der Ulmer Spatz


“Why all the birds everywhere?” I asked Mark, my host and friend. 

On my leisurely walk this morning, I spot colorful and creative sculptures of birds attached to the walls above the front door of shops and businesses.  There’s even a sculpture of a bird atop the cathedral.   And one lady in town decorated her window curtains with birds as the motif!  

 “Why all the birds?”



Alb-Donau District



October 30, 2016

On this pleasant Sunday afternoon in Ulm, my friends and hosts, Mark and Christine have offered to drive me and my cousin Diana to Blautopf.

It’s a sparkling sunny day.  The late autumn leaves retain their intense reds and golds.   Outside Ulm, the rolling wooded hills and valley farmlands are mostly bright green.

Blautopf in German means Blue Pot, not exactly an enchanting name for what is purported to be a scenic spot with an unusual underground geological formation.

Nuremberg: "Organized"




 Nuremberg:  "Organized" 


A One-Act Play by Jan Polatschek


The Scene:  The Old Town of Nuremberg. c.1050.   Nuremberg, the city of mass Nazi rallies from 1933 to 1938.  A city almost completely destroyed by Allied bombing in World War II.   The location of the Nuremberg War Trials in 1945-47.

Cast:  In order of appearance:

Jan, an American visitor.

Carolina, a Philippine restaurant server.

Erika, a German office worker.

Helmut, a German office worker.

Alex, a German hotel receptionist.

Taxi Driver

Voice of Train Conductor

Cologne: Cathedral and Synagogue



November 5, 2016


Guten Tag,


The Cathedral in Cologne is a magnificent structure.  Its two spires dominate the city's skyline.  


And the view of the city from the KölnTrianglePanorama is "unique." 


The Cathedral is the most visited site in all of Germany.  Hohe Domkirche St. Petrus, Kölner Dom. Large groups of tourists rush through the doors and into the grand interior.


I choose a different schedule.  I remain outside to examine the sculptures on the exterior walls and the bas-relief on the door panels.

Siegburg/Bonn: The Very Best Welcome

Sankt Augustin

Rhein-Sieg District

North Rhine-Westphalia, 


November 6, 2016


Guten Morgan,

Alexandra (age 9) provides the very best welcome.   As I step off the train at Siegburg/Bonn, I am greeted by her colorful, speckled, illustrated and thoughtful drawing.  In bold letters she wrote, “Travel with Jan: Germany 2016.”

My good friend Rainer and his wife Alena are perfect hosts.  I am treated as a member of their family with specialty food, lively conversation and generous hospitality.