October 16, 2011

Look forward; don't look back.

It's Sunday, and there's no better day for a stroll to a park or city square. Europeans have a tradition of getting dressed up and walking about their public places. Although it's customary to take a stroll any day in the late afternoon, the ritual really blossoms on Sunday afternoons.

Some call it a promenade. Italians refer to it as a passeggiata. When I lived in Venice in the mid-1980s, my dear landlady and I "put on our Sunday best" and walked the streets of the Lido late every Sunday afternoon. We would end the day with a nice espresso and pastry at a café.

Europeans engage in this custom during prosperous times and under under adverse circumstances. Here, for example, my Dad relaxes in a town square with friends and their children. Look at the roof of the building behind them.

Schweinfurt, Germany about 1946. Schweinfurt was one of the big DP camp towns that housed Lithuanian refugees. The camp sat in the American-occupied zone of postwar Germany. My Dad, the second adult from the left, lived in the Schweinfurt camp. The monuments likely identify this area as the entryway to the Lithuanian camp. The little tower is a replica of "Gedimino pilies bokštas," or the tower of the Gediminas Palace in Vilnius. The iconography of three crosses has special meaning in Lithuanian culture.

Schweinfurt, like Würzburg, endured horrific bombing that made the city difficult to identify for many years later. I would not have known which city this was had my Dad not written the location on his negative.

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