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Odessa: Facets of a Changing City

Odessa: Facetten einer Stadt im Wandel

By Joachim Baumann and Uwe Moosburger

Fr. Ant. Niedermayr, Regensburg, Germany, 2003, 149 pages, hardcover, English and German text.


The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection is pleased to provide this fascinating and outstanding book, Odessa: Facets of a Changing City. The book includes impressive photographs and excellent text. There is a section titled, "A Brief German History of Odessa," with photographs and text from Neuburg and Grossliebental, former villages of the Liebental District, near Odessa, Ukraine. There are stories and photographs about the St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Odessa with the new pastor's house built in 2002 next to the church ruins.

Odessa is a young city, only little more than 200 years old. Nevertheless it has much to offer: architectural treasures such as the opera house, musical geniuses like David Oistrach, world famous monuments such as the legendary 'Potemkin' Stairway - these are just some of the highlights of the Ukrainian port by the Black Sea. Journalist Joachim Baumann from Berlin and press photographer Uwe Moosburger from Odessa's sister city of Regensburg set out to discover the secrets of the metropolis which is home to a million inhabitants. They explored the historic city centre and its cultural attractions, visited local entrepreneurs and experienced daily life with all its idiosyncrasies and contrasting impressions. The result is a very personal portrait of this major city, richly illustrated and with texts in both English and German with 150 pages that are both entertaining and full of information.

The idea of writing this book was conceived while accompanying an aid convoy travelling from Regensburg in Bavaria to Odessa and back in May 2001.

The two cities of Regensburg, Germany and Odessa, Ukraine have cooperated since 1990 and several times each year aid is sent to the Black Sea from Regensburg, the cargo consisting mainly of clothing, food, medical equipment and presents for disadvantaged children. These items are desperately needed in Odessa and, in spite of certain difficulties encountered with the border guards, customs and officialdom in general, they do reach their proper destination.

In spite of the existence of these regular contacts, comparatively little is known in Regensburg and elsewhere about the 'Pearl of the Black Sea.' We therefore decided to shed some light on the life of this intriguing city by combining photography with written information in the form of a book.

In preparing this, we were fascinated by the constant confrontation with all kinds of contradictory impressions: the old and the new, the beautiful and the ugly, the poor and the rich.

Odessa is a city of contrast. Contrast is ever-present. This book is an invitation to come on a journey to Odessa. In writing the book, we have made a very personal selection of what we will present. And, in keeping with the humor typical of Odessa, we would like to begin by giving a very important piece of advice for newcomers to Odessa, "Never step on a man-hole cover! It is probably insecurely fixed and underneath are the catacombs."

About the authors

Joachim Baumann, born in 1954 in Weimar, studied physics at Odessa's Metchnikov University from 1973 to 1978. Since 1983, he has worked as a science correspondent for various radio stations. At present, he is employed with Deutschland Radio Berlin.

Uwe Moosburger, born in 1964 in Neumarkt/Oberpfalz, trained as a journalist with the Mittelbayerische Zeitung in Regensburg from 1985 to 1986. Since 1987 he has worked for the newspaper as a journalist and press photographer. In 1999 he was winner of the Eberhard-Woll-Prize awarded by the Regensburg Press Club.

 

Historic map of Odessa from the year 1888.
Snacking on sunflower seeds is popular. But selling them is not going to make anyone rich fast.
St. Paul's Lutheran Church was destroyed by a fire in 1976. In 2002, the pastor's house was rebuilt next to the ruin.
The Odessa Opera House is considered one of the most beautiful buildings of its kind in the world and can accommodate 1,600 visitors.

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Review by Susanne Wiedamann


Odessa: Facets of a Changing City

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