GHDI logo

Ernst Dronke: Excerpts from Berlin (1846)

page 3 of 9    print version    return to list previous document      next document

The essence of the big city can be seen in the movement of public life. The big-city element is perhaps the only, but perhaps also the most precious, asset that justifies a stay in Berlin. The different parties illustrate Berlin according to their partisan outlook and it is often ridiculous to hear such judgments from people who have never seen the city.

“This is the modern Babel,” says the pious man, making the sign of the cross, "the burning cauldron of radicalism, the sins of demoralization where all unity is dissolved and there is nothing holy to the people, not God, not the church, not the Fatherland, not even the holiest bond of family, not marriage, not a sense of duty.”

“This is the hotbed of reaction,” say the free spirits, “where the government pampers pietism, oppresses free science, and favors its own creatures above the love of honor. There is an army of bureaucrats here that makes every legal step impossible; here is the nest where neat regulations against the progress of time are hatched, where the police spies follow everyone, where a brazen nobility is in expansion, where the people of the streets are wounded and where the Russian knout will soon be used."

“It is the city of Prussianism,” says the good-natured southern German, “where everyone carps and criticizes, where everything is precocious and one finds only cold rationality and no soul!”

“It is the city of Prussianism,” adds the person of the Rhineland, “where the Protestant government is so nicely reflected in the essence of a sober spirit.”

“It is the school for pietism, where the strict rules for the Sabbath are implemented, Magdalene foundations are started, and Catholic processions and indulgences will soon be introduced.”

“It is the city of degeneration, where the government itself practices the most pernicious leniency with its people, where the faithful may be publicly mocked, where I hear blasphemous songs being sung in the bars and restaurants. ”

first page < previous   |   next > last page