"Blogging isn't journalism, it's graffiti with punctuation."

Posts tagged “WWII

My Wartime Love Letters: read my latest essay in @globeandmail! #RemembranceDay

People are always telling me that I should write about my love letter collection, especially after that Toronto Life profile on me a couple years ago. And this past year, I bought a stack of love letters in Toronto, and decided to go on an investigative journey to find out what happened to these lovers separated by war and an ocean. I wrote about it for The Globe and Mail (my second time being published in this national paper) and they published it today in their Remembrance Day issue. They sent over a photographer to my place to complement the piece, and in the print edition, they gave me a two-page spread. That’s prime real estate, ya’ll. If you can’t pick up a copy today, click here to read!

It was really great working with the team at G&M today, they were really excited about this project, and they even met with me in person so we could talk about ideas. I almost never meet my editors in real life! Mind-blown.

Thanks for reading and for the support, munchkins!


In other news, I recently was interviewed by Karim Kanji for his very popular podcast Welcome! He gets like 12,000 hits, which is crazy! We chatted about — you guessed it — love letters, my writing career, graffiti and street art, Banksy, Jian Ghomeshi, the #MeToo movement, and everything in between. It’s a really great listen! High five to Karim to inviting me.

As always, don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more of my published works!

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Berlin light, colour, and stone

 

Otto Piene. RIP.

David and I went to the vernissage at the Neue Nationalgalerie and were blown away. It was thrilling. What a loss to the art world.

Nil Frahm playing on his custom made Una Corda piano at the Michelberger Hotel courtyard.

And then this happened, and we all collectively lost our shit.

Potsdam.

This guy is on his cell phone?

Tom and his doggie Rocky.

This is called Brandenburger Tor as well… smaller but just as swell.

SOMEONE BREAK THE GLASS AND LET ME IN. This was on Schoenhauser Allee.

This is my pornography.

This is the Bendlerblock courtyard where Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg was assassinated by the Gestapo after his plot to kill Hitler failed on July 20, 1944.

The 70th anniversary just passed.

You did not bear the shame.
You resisted.
You bestowed the eternally vigilant symbol of change
by sacrificing your impassioned lives for freedom, justice and honor.

The spot where he was shot.

The Berliner Dom. It had just rained, so the platz was deserted. I sat on the steps of the church, pulled out my journal, and wrote. I had the entire Dom to myself… and, it seemed, the entire city.

 

The platz in front of the university.

This is the spot where the 1933 Nazi student book-burning took place. The plaque talks of all the kinds of writers whose works are lost, and then there’s a Heinrich Heine quote from 1820, which says, “This is only prologue: where they burn books, in the end they will also burn people.”

I photographed this 8 years ago too.

But what never seems to develop properly in photography is the empty library. Next to this plaque, in the ground, there is a window. When you look down through it, you see underground, empty bookshelf after empty bookshelf.

 

This church was bombed out during WWII and after the war they decided not to rebuilt it as a memento to the horrors of war. I photographed this 8 years ago when it didn’t have all that cubism shit all over it.

Berlin-henge.


The Best Life

I’ve been on the road for three weeks now, and I’m so glad I decided to throw off the shackles of suspended animation and stationary living that were cutting into my skin (In short, paying rent is for suckers). I’ve been a backpacker for nine years now, and even though I have been to so many places, and learned a lot, I always seem to discover new places and learn new things. So far all the cities on this journey are places I have been to/lived in before (Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and soon Berlin), but it’s hard to be bored in these cities. I’ve forsaken flying, and have been taking the delightful European trains like a civilized person. I’ve been Couchsurfing and house-sitting, which has allowed me to make new friends, snuggle with some snuggle-pets, and take the time to really explore without feeling rushed. My days consist of drinking sweet lattes, writing in my journal while sneaking glances at the pretty bearded hipster dudebro behind the counter, walking around a European metropolis in the sunshine, taking photographs of provocative street art and urban art, indulging in Pain au Chocolat’s without a trace of guilt, going to flea markets, spending hours at enthralling museums, rocking out to Nils Frahm, and partaking in SO MUCH EUROVISION (I had no idea when I came to Copenhagen that I’d be here at the same time as the Eurovision Song Contest, but boy has it been fun! Go Conchita go).

A friend of mine recently sent me this message:

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I am forced to agree.

Here are some highlights and urban art from my travels this past month.

Brussels


In Brussels, of course my first stop was the Jeu de Balle flea market to spend hours upon hours rummaging through boxes to find some love letters. Remember this? Anyway, I found 10 love letters written between a husband and wife from 1956-8 in Brussels. He was a military doctor and so he was stationed away from home quite often. Look at that lipstick kiss in the letter! They totally got it bad for each other. I also found a letter written during WWII (it’s undated but I’m guessing from the letters’ contents that it’s from about 1944) written between cousins about how “les sales boches” (aka The Nazis) have invaded Belgium and the family misses their homeland. They are in exile in an area of France that was not occupied by the Nazis and 12 family members are living in a small flat. The cousin writes to the other cousin, begging him to join her, saying, “we will make space on the mattress for you.”

I love you, Jeu de Balle.


Jef Aerosol has an ongoing exhibit just around the corner from Jeu de Balle.

Amsterdam


Of course no trip to Amsterdam is complete without going hunting for a few Laser 314‘s 🙂


I also spent a great deal of time at Amsterdam’s Resistance Museum, and then following a map to all of the important locations in the city during the Nazi occupation, including where Jews had to buy their Star of David armbands, the theatre converted for mass deportations, the Carlton hotel that a war plane smashed into, the bombs that dropped on a home on the Herengracht, the air-raid shelters, and more. Highly recommended if you’re into WWII history like me


This is Laser’s nod to 1984.

 

Copenhagen


When you take the train from Hamburg to Copenhagen, the train (which is only 4 small carriages) goes ONTO THE FERRY. No one ever believes me when I tell them this.


SELFIE.


Ah, Copenhagen. I was last here in 2006 (read my post from that time here, and this post has all my photographs from back then). If I’m being honest, my memory of my time here in 2006 is rather hazy, so I’m glad I’m spending a good chunk of time here.


This is wonderful. An underwater sculpture in one of the canals.


The boats have to be careful, otherwise their propellers will be destroyed.


Kirekegaard’s grave!


Hans Christian Andersen’s grave!


I swear, Copenhagen is filled with so much antiquity, and so few people, that sometimes, you can walk down a street, preserved in detail for 200 years, and wonder if you’ve stepped through time, without the presence of cars and technology to distract you.

I’m still in Copenhagen, so this section is a work in progress. More photographs to come! I have SO MUCH STREET ART TO SHARE!

Stay glued.