VE75 in Oberursel

Whilst the UK commemorates the 75th Anniversay of VE Day, Germany calls it the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation from National Socialism.

Commemoration events in Oberursel were held at the Opferdenkmal (memorial to victims of the National Socialism) and at the stone in front of the town hall, which contains a quote from Richard von Weizsäcker, who was Germany’s President at the time of the 40th anniversary.

“Wir Gedenken in Trauer aller Opfer des Krieges und der Gewaltherrschaft.  Nur wer die Vergangenheit verleugnet, ist in der schrecklichen Gefahr, sie zu wiederholen.”

Opferdenkmal, 8th May, 2020
Gedenkstein am Rathausplatz, 8th May 2020

Locking down further

It was one of those moments yesterday, that I suspect we won’t forget in a long time. At 6pm I sat down with the children and watched Chancellor Angela Merkel announce the measures that will take effect tomorrow.

Previously the town of Oberursel had announced a series of its own measures, including shutting playgrounds and other outdoor facilities until further notice. The rubbish tip will remain closed. The swimming pool will remain closed. Bus services will be reduced. Bus drivers will no longer serve tickets.

Then came the 6pm press conference, and the national rules. Something almost unheard of in the Federal system in Germany of the past 70 years.

With the exception of supermarkets, weekly markets, delivery services, collection services, drinks shops, chemists, petrol stations, medical suppliers, banks, building societies, post offices, hair dressers, dry cleaners, launderetts, newspaper sellers, DIY stores, gardening stores, animal food stores and wholesalers, all shops are to close.

Bars, clubs, discos, pubs and similar establishments are to close, as are theatres, cinemas, exibitions, trade fairs, zoos and leisure parks. All public and private sports grounds are to close, as well as swimming pools, playgrounds, and fitness studios.

Restaurants are only allowed to open between 6am and 6pm. Tables should be set apart and the number of guests limited.

Hotel rooms are not to be used by tourists.

In addition to the information from the press conference, a number of borders with Germany were already being closed to everyone except goods traffic, people with cross-border jobs and returning German nationals.

Many of the islands in the North Sea and Baltic Sea are being cut off from the mainland, with no visitors allowed and only their residents being allowed to return. Tourists are being asked to leave.

Working from home is not really a problem. Co-ordinating it with two children doing their schoolwork from home is something new.

Germany is going into lockdown

To stop the spread of the Corona Virus (SARS-CoV-2/COVID19), different states are adopting different measures. But effectively, the whole country is going into lockdown. Where you are depends on what is going to happen.

Schools in most areas are closed from next week until the end of the Easter holidays. Hessen is taking a different approach and leaving the schools open, but attendence will no longer be compulsory for the children. Children whose parents work in the medical or care professions, or with the emergency services, will be cared for the their teachers. Other have to stay at home. Similar restrictions will apply to children in Kindergarten and after-school care.

Public events are being cancelled. Events in Hessen with more than 100 people are now officially banned. In some areas the threshhold is 50. Museums and theatres are closing. Some libraries are closing, others are staying open. Churce services are being cancelled.

If you are infected, then you need to be able to self-isolate for 14 days. So this has led to panic buying for the past couple weeks. Milk is often sold out, as is toilet paper and pasta. After the announcement on Friday evening about children staying at home, the shops emptied even further on Saturay. Now even fresh vegetables are hard to find.

Empty shelves in a German supermarket

We are told that the supply chains are working, and sometimes things do arrive. Suddenly a shop will have stocks of things back in, but these quickly sell out again as they can hardly keep up with the demand.

Home schooling is normally banned in Germany. On Monday, it will temporarily become the norm. As will eating and cooking at home, and hunting for things in multiple supermarkets rather than having a wide choice.

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