Thursday, September 22, 2022

revisiting lost cities

My #lostcities series on this blog has influenced my thinking about various things and indeed my travel plans, as I have (re)visited a few of the cities where my ancestors used to live in the last two years and really enjoyed discovering those I didn't know. I'm only missing Königsberg now, but I'm getting the impression that this city doesn't exist any more in any meaningful way, and given the current situation, I have no plans to travel to Kaliningrad.

I have compiled a B-list however of cities that are also relevant in this context, even if the case may be less clear and/or information harder to find. For instance, some of my direct ancestors lived in Breslau (today's Wrocław) for something like 40 years in the 19th century, but I can't pin down start and end dates, nor an address where they lived or worked, so it's all a bit hazy and virtually impossible to get a sense of place to attach to their lives. Information is slightly better for Krefeld, but I don't have a start date either. In any case, I'll see what I can do about these and a few others, so watch out for #lostcities season 2 at some point.

In the meantime, let's reshuffle the 10 cities of the first series to do some rankings.

First, ranked by longest stay of direct ancestors:

  1. Minden 1903 - 1952 = 49 years
  2. Elberfeld / Wuppertal 1919 - 1961 = 42 years
  3. Tangermünde 1888 - 1916 = 28 years
  4. Bad Nauheim 1945 - 1972 = 27 years
  5. Idar-Oberstein 1940 - 1962 = 22 years
  6. Rheydt 1923 - 1935 = 12 years
  7. Königsberg 1935 - 1945 = 10 years
  8. Würzburg 1961 - 1968 = 7 years
  9. Strasbourg 1901 - 1908 = 7 years
  10. Aachen 1936 - 1940 = 4 years

Have a postcard from Minden, winner of the longevity ranking:

Source

Second, cities ranked by most recent stay of direct ancestors

  1. Bad Nauheim 1945 - 1972
  2. Würzburg 1961 - 1968
  3. Idar-Oberstein 1940 - 1962
  4. Elberfeld / Wuppertal 1919 - 1961
  5. Minden 1903 - 1952
  6. Königsberg 1935 - 1945
  7. Aachen 1936 - 1940
  8. Rheydt 1923 - 1935
  9. Tangermünde 1888 - 1916
  10. Strasbourg 1901 - 1908

third, cities ranked by my personal/emotional attachment:

  1. Würzburg 1961 - 1968 - well, you only have to look at my Würzburg photos on flickr to figure that one out.
  2. Minden 1903 - 1952 - railway memories, mostly, and a lovely river.
  3. Bad Nauheim 1945 - 1972 - missing the art nouveau villa, mostly, but the town is ok too even though it lacks a river and a university
  4. Strasbourg 1901 - 1908 - an obsession with Strasbourg has travelled down the generations ...
  5. Elberfeld / Wuppertal 1919 - 1961 - whereas Wuppertal was obliterated in the collective memory, but I really like the place
  6. Idar-Oberstein 1940 - 1962 - I can't forgive what they did to the river Nahe, otherwise it might be a nice place. memories of the school and the gemstone museum.
  7. Aachen 1936 - 1940 -visited a few times, but it still feels slightly foreign
  8. Königsberg 1935 - 1945 - as a fairytale place of times gone by, the lakeside is really lovely.
  9. Tangermünde 1888 - 1916 - looks lovely but feels foreign
  10. Rheydt 1923 - 1935 - some nice buildings but not much of a spark ...

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