A postcard designed by Rolf Keller for Lederbogen Verlag. The text says: Best wishes for the beginning of school. This image does not show the whole postcard; I have cut off the margin (about one cm) around the picture since it had been written on.
I cannot date this card exactly. It does not show the printing license code typical of GDR printed media. The System of printing licenses had been introduce in 1951 (see https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Druckgenehmigungsverfahren), so this card should be latest from 1951. A letter by Rolf Keller dated February 23rd 1959 tells us that he started working for Lederbogen in 1945 “… Lederbogen is opening their trade fair stand fort he last time. In March the have to dissolve the company, an old customer (since 45) goes down the drain that way, who brought me 6000 per year on average. Friday morning I am driving to the fair to design the Lederbogen stand.” (“… Lederbogen hält zum letztenmal seinen Messestand offen. Im März muß die Firma liquidieren, ein alter Kunde (seit 45) geht damit flöten, der durchschnittlich 6000 im Jahr einbrachte. Freitag früh fahre ich zur Messe, um den Lederbogen-Stand zu gestalten. ”) I do not know what was the reason for the liquidation oft hat company, it might have been for political reasons since many private companies in the GDR where transformed into state owned ones or integrated into larger state owned companies.
So the earliest date for the card would be 1945. However, the quality of the paper and printing is quite good and there was probably no demand for such cards directly after the war, so I think it is very unlikely that this card is from the immediate post war time. I would therefore date it to around 1950
The motive of the card, however, is older. It shows Rolf Keller’s son, Svend Keller (born in 1928), as a young boy (around 1935) in the Kellerfamily’s apartment in Chemnitz, so probably Rolf Keller used a sketch or photograph from the 1930s as a basis for this card.
While in the US, Pentecost (or Whitsun) is only a church holiday and, as a consequence, only known to Christians, in Germany, where it is called “Pfingsten”, it is a public holiday and since the following Monday (called “Pfingstmontag”) is also a holiday, even non-Christians know it. As a result, people (used to) send each other greating cards, even if the religious connection is not always there, as is the case in these examples. They obviously belong to the same style and series as the New Year greeting cards shown here, designed by Rolf Keller in 1956 for the publisher Lederbogen Verlag.
I don’t know where Rolf Keller took the motives for these cards, but it was likely somewhere in the Erzgebirge mountains south of Chemnitz, where he was living.
Another pencil sketch by Svend Keller, from August 9th, 1948. The caption reads “Neusalza Spremberg Reiterhaus”. Neusalza Spremberg is a village just at the border between Saxony and Czechia. This is where the father of Rolf Keller’s mother Gabriele Hünlich, Friedrich Wilhelm Hünlich, came from. Her mother, Rosa Plocek, was from Czechia.
So while the year before, Svend Keller had visited Heidmühlen where the ancestors of his mother came from, one year later he visited Neusalza Spremberg on the trail of his father’s ancestors, although the family was not from this particular house.
The Reiterhaus that is shown on the sketch, is today a local museum (see http://www.reiterhaus.de/). It was built in 1670. The name refers to the depiction of a horse rider fixed to one side. This is hardly visible on the sketch but if you know where it is, by comparing it with the pictures from the museum’s web site, you can see that it is at least hinted at on the sketch. This house was built in the style of “Umgebindehaus”. In such houses, the upper part of the house rests on the pillars at the side, while the rooms downstairs are not directly connected to it. Typically there are arches at the windows in order to carry the weight of the upper part of the house. One theory why these houses are built like this is that the noise of the looms that where typically operated in these houses would not be propagated upstairs so strongly, so people could weave while other members of the family were sleeping. Another advantage seems to be that this way of building leads to a relatively stable room climate which is also thought to be advantageous for weaving. However that might be, all of the known male ancestors of Friedrich Wilhelm Hünlich (from the Hünlich and Hempel families) had actually been weavers, although he himself was a clerk at a district court.
Six Generations later, my sister Christine returned to the profession of our Saxon ancestors and became a weaver (and textile designer and textile artist) again.
A pencil sketch drawn by Svend Keller on August 7th, 1947. The caption reads “Hof Hans Danker Heidmühlen” (farm Hans Danker Heidmühlen). Heidmühlen is a village in Schleswig Holstein, north of Hamburg and this is where the familie of Svend Keller’s mother Margarethe (“Grete”) Keller, née Danker, originally came from, so this is probably the farm or her ancestors. Grete Keller’s grandfather was called Hans Danker and this had probably been his house.
I don’t know if this house is still standing. It shows typical features of northern German 19th century farm houses. Similar houses can still be found in the area. Having a little garden with some fruit trees, currant and goosberry bushes, as well as some vegetables and herbs, was also quite typical.
Svend Keller, at this time, stayed with his grandmother and his aunt in Hamburg. Probably he went to Heidmühlen by bike. I don’t have any specific information on this, but one motivation for this trip might have been to try to get some additional food from the farmers since the supply situation in the years after the war was very difficult.
Nerve impulses running down the spinal cord, triggering muscle cells – mitochondria pumping protons and electrons to provide the energy to move a muscle. The muscle contracts and the fingertip touches the release button, triggering a cascade of electronic signals, calculations, movements of electromechanical parts, chemical reactions inside a battery, a shutter opening, photons flashing inside and triggering chemical changes in the particles of the film. A myriad of smallest and shortest events and processes combine to produce that short “click” that indicates that a picture has been taken. The photographer looks away and her mind and eye turn on something else.
A short moment in her life. The moment she pressed the trigger of her camera. Clouds, trees or bushes, houses, the horizon, the sun. Motion blur. Lens Flair.
The photograph was shot while in motion, maybe from a train or a car. The hexagonal spots of lens flair…
This pencil sketch (you can click on the image for a larger version) by Rolf Keller, drawn in his typical style, was part of a letter written to Svend Keller on June 19th, 1958. At this time, Rolf and Grete Keller were living in the center of Chemnitz (then called “Karl-Marx-Stadt”), but before, they had been living in Grüna, a village near Chemnitz (and today a part of it). Svend Keller had spent part of his childhood there. In the letter, written during an excursion to their old place, Rolf Keller starts the letter: “Grüna, June 19th 58 on the bench at the edge of the forrest with the view onto our appartment in Rabensteiner Str.” (“Grüna, 19.6.58 auf der Bank am Waldesrand mit Blick auf unsere Wohnung in der Rabensteiner Straße”).
The house in the middle is marked “Rabensteiner Str. 8″. This is the house where the Keller family had been living. On the left, a place in the background is identified as “Poltermühle mit Teich” (“Rumbling Mill with pond”). The other texts contain news as well as memories about the houses and the people who had been living there before.
If you compare this sketch with the Sheaves sketch I posted last year, you will note that it is showing nearly the same area, so that sketch is showing Grüna as well, probably from a point slightly further to the left (and probably years eralier). Note also that the house shown here probably provided the inspiration to the house on the third advent calendar in Advent Calendars 4 (compare the arc-like structure on the house in the sketchand on the advent calendar). The sketch shown in Harvesting Hay had been made from a balcony of the house in Rabensteiner Straße, in 1935.