Czech Republic

Just before I took off with my family for an already planned holiday to the Czech Republic just after Christmas 2019, I bought a 1941 edition of Kurt Hielscher's Germany book. I was flabbergasted when I found photos from the Czech Republic in it, next to other areas occupied by German forces at the beginning of WWII like Elzas and Luxembourg. 

Consequently, I got doubts about I wanted to proceed with my photoproject or not, but the photos in Prague and Český Krumlov were beautiful and I decided to rephotograph them anyway. At home I made my posts and they were received well, without any questions, though I noted that Kurt Hielscher published these photos in 1941. I decided to proceed and inform my audience in full honesty about what I was learning about Kurt Hielscher. Check his bio here and especially the lecture I gave for the Geographical Society of Philadelphia in November 2020 for more details about the darker side of Kurt Hielscher as well. 

At the age of 10 my parents took me to Hungary for summerholidays. At a certain point my dad told me that the border of Czechoslovakia was only a few hundred meters away. In the distance I could see the border. In high school, 6 years later, just less than two years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we went on a study trip to Prag and Kutná Hora to visit the Nazi concentration camp of Terezin/Theresienstadt and ofcourse Church Sedlec with its famous art made of human bones.

View on Český Krumlov on the 31st of December when came downhill to explore the city and ofcourse to try to rephotograph one of Kurt Hielscher's photos. We stayed on the hill with the campervan for two nights.

Kurt Hielscher published photos in 15 places in the Czech Republic in his "Deutschland" photobook of 1941. When I received the book I was in shock. 

Just after the Velvet Revolution, the split up of Czechoslovakia on the 1st of January 1993, we went for skiing with students physical education as part of our education to Pec pod Sněžkou where the foundation was laid for the establishment of a new sorority. As one of its six founders, now almost 30 years later I can say this turned out to be a life changing event, with lots of friendships lasting till today.  

In 1999 I rediscovered Prague by an interrailtrip during that summer with Kim, so now it was nearly 20 years later that we entered the Czech Republic via an icy long road after dawn. We had enjoyed the snow at the border by sledding but forgot about the time. It was quite a slippery and scary trip and without any prepared roads but we managed to cross Šumava National Park to Kvilda where could stay for the night in the campervan  at the bottom of a small ski slope. The next days, we played in the snow and went skiing,  snowboarding, sledding and hiking. Unfortunatley, the ice on Lake Lipno was not thick enough for iceskating, but the sunset was very rewarding. We celebrated new years eve in the lovely town of Český Krumlov where I could rephotograph the first photo of Kurt Hielscher. Next stop was Kutná Hora and the we went to Prague and Litoměřice before going back home via Germany.

Photos below, December 2019/January 2020: Skiing in Kvilda, Church in Kvilda, Early morning in Kvilda, Sunset at Lake Lipno, Kaple Vysoká Muka on a hill near Frymburk, New Years Eve in Český Krumlov, My son Siebe takes a photo of Prague's Cathedral, Kostnice Sedlec in Kutná Hora, Kostel sv. Jakuba rises above Kutná Hora, Searching for Kurt Hielscher's photo with the impressive Chrám svaté Barbory in Kutná Hora, sunset and awaiting the fireworks on the 1st of January 2020 in Kutná Hora and last photo: checking out the main square and its surroundings in Litoměřice.

Below: panoramic landscape of the frozen Lake Lipno, December 2019

In the footsteps of  Kurt Hielscher