Facets of a Changing City
Review by Mikhail Golubouski
Baumann, Joachim and Moosburger Baumann, Uwe. Odessa: Facets of a Changing City. Regensburg, Germany: Fr. Ant. Niedermayr, 2003.
Declaration of love.
There are many ways to reveal one’s own feelings.
This applies equally to people and to cities.
The city of Regensburg is one of Odessa’s sister cities.
The students of Odessa State University and Odessa Musical Academy,
plus Danube’s sailors, know this town very well. Most importantly,
Odessa’s people appreciate a humanitarian convoy with medical
supplies, equipment for hospitals and children orphanages which
comes every year from Regensburg to Odessa.
During a recent year, Joachim Bauman, a journalist from Berlin,
came to Odessa along with this humanitarian convoy. Immediately,
he fell in love with Odessa and decided to tell about this fascinating
city to his fellow-Germans.
Next time he returned to Odessa with his friend Uwe Moosburger
who is a professional photographer. Their intent was to create a
photo-exhibition about Odessa for display in Germany: and later,
to publish a photo album, reflecting continued changes of this city.
Now I hold in my hand the photo album, which Joachim Bauman sent
me from Germany. This album has photos by Uwe Moosburger when in
Odessa, to accompany commentary and pictorial sketches by Joachim
Bauman often lyrical and sometimes ironical. For example, the title
of the first chapter of this book is: “The timely advice:
Do not step on manhole covers in the streets!” The first and
last pages show photos of these frequently opened manholes.
Joachim’s love for Odessa has deep roots: He graduated in
physics studies from Odessa State University in 1978. During his
student years, he strolled everywhere in this town. Now, a quarter
century after the fall of the Berlin Wall: He has the opportunity
to observe vigilantly and with loving glance at changes which happened
during the recent ten years, since Odessa is now living differently.
Joachim’s humorous and discerning penmanship and Uwe’s
attentive camera did not miss striking contrasts of Odessa’s
cityscape: From grand architectural display of Seaside Boulevard,
Potemkin Stairs, and beauty of Opera Theatre and Philharmonics,
to everyday Odessa backyards and hopeless elderly people. The new
and ever-changing Odessa is most attractive for these authors: Odessa’s
modern discos and businessmen, also a faintly perceptible revival
of German Odessa which formerly contributed so much to our flourishing
city. The authors’ attention was also attracted by the World
Club of the Odessa Citizens, featured by the Odessa journal “Passage”
which can compete with the best of western journals; by the new
public monuments such as “The Garden of Sculptures”
near the Literature Museum; one of the famous “12 Chairs”;
and monuments to Utjesov (Odessa singer) and to Deribasovskaya Street
Thus, two German authors transfixed by Odessa’s charm, have
caught the wind of changes
which blows through Odessa’s sails. Their photo album is a
souvenir gift to German readers from Odessa, but also a cultural
gift to Odessa from Germany. This bilingual German-English photo
album hopefully will be available in Odessa with a short commentary
in Russian or Ukrainian.