or the Perfect Setting for a Ghost Story
Both titles would be suitable for a description of the mausoleum in Weinheim. It is hidden in a far away corner of the castle gardens. The family of the counts of Berckheim had it built as their personal cemetery in 1910. It is large enough to hold 39 coffins, but only nine people are buried there.
Visitors walking in the gardens and enjoying the flowers would never know about the mausoleum. Some steep stairs lead up to it, there are no flowers, only some old trees.It is closed so you can only see the outside. Built in a byzantine style with a once beautiful mosaic (see picture three) inside the dome, its sculptures are now overgrown with plants. A tree is growing out of the roof and the mosaic is partly broken. I don't know if anybody of the family is still living, the last member I have heard of was a race driver who died in 1984. Only the gardeners employed by the city of Weinheim seem to be here from time to time.
But through all the decay there is still something of its former beauty left.
When Holly (VT name ringleader) told me her first concert in Germany would be in the Friedrich elementary school in Weinheim, I had to check where this school was, as I had never heard about it. It's in the northern part of Weinheim. When I went there, I discovered that this is a truly beautiful old building. It was planned in 1911 and built between 1913 and 1917.
Above the door there is a schoolboy carved in the red sandstone, to the right and the left there are carvings of angels and animals. I was stunned to see inside the school building a water basin in art nouveau. Maybe this inspired the art teacher. While I was waiting for the concert to begin, I looked at pictures on the walls, done by the art classes. There seem to be very talented students in this school.
Near the Rodenstein Fountain there is the old schoolhouse of Weinheim. Just an average looking house, nothing special, but the a small devil is looking above the wall of the old schoolyard. Now I'm wondering:
Wre the kids back then ( 18th century) like devils when they went to school? Surely not. Or were the kids supposed to think their teachers were devils? I hope not. Or was is just another protection, let the evil spirits think this place has already been occupied by one of their kind. So no other evil spirits should come and enter the school?
That seems to be the most likely explanation.
This fountain is dedicated to the history and the legends of the Weinheim area. The name Rodenstein is from an old castle near-by. The knight of Rodenstein is said to have assembled
an army of ghosts: men, horses and dogs, all dead for a long time, but still forced to ride on. They are called the "wild army" - das wilde Heer.
Two legends are connected to this wild army:
The first, it announces a war. When people see the wild army riding through the air, they say a war is coming.Some old people in the area swear they saw the wild army riding in 1939.If this is true, hopefully nobody will ever see the wild army again.
The second legend tells that it's very dangerous to find and pick up anything belonging to the wild army in the days between Christmas and January 6th. If you do this, the Rodensteiner will come and take you and you are forced to ride with him for ever. When you look at the second picture, you can see the iron image of
the Rodensteiner and his horse.
The carvings in the sandstone around the fountain show some legendary and historical rulers of the area, among them Odin, the germanic god who gave the woods around Weinheim their name - Odenwald.
To see the fountain, walk up Bahnhofsstrasse, and turn left at the Duerreplatz. Then walk down Hauptstrasse and turn right.
In downtown Weinheim stands a memorial to the fallen soldiers from the town of Weinheim. The memorial denotes both World War I and World War II.
I must admit being from America, I was quite startled by the sight of these large, imposing figures but as I continued to look at them I realised these men were people too, they had families that loved and grieved over them. I put aside all feelings about the world wars and read their names with tears in my eyes as these men never got the chance to live their lives out.
This is a good place to visit and to pick up a copy of the book, "Die Stadt Weinheim Zwischen 1933 und 1945" which gives a great deal of detail of the Weinheim area during the time of Hiltler's regieme.