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Today's quote:

Monday, March 22, 2021

10 Pfennig BILD Zeitung


The German   Bild Zeitung    was like television in print: plenty of pictures (BILD means 'image') and sensationalised commentary. Sold for 10 Pfennig, or the eqivalent of a box of matches, everyone could afford it and, with just four pages, read it all in one sitting - literally!

Because, being just four pages, it could easily be folded - lengthwise to be slipped down one's trouser leg, or twice across to fit into one's back pocket - and taken to the office loo which in those days was the only place where one was allowed to take some time off from work.

Speed reading hadn't been invented yet and so, in an office with over twenty people and just one windowless loo, slow readers could be a bit on the nose, made worse on a Monday morning when the reporting of the weekend's footie results in the "Kicker Fussball-Illustrierte" slowed down some football-mad readers' bowel movements even further.

Such were the conditions in my office when I was an articled clerk in Germany in the early 60s, so is it any wonder I emigrated to Australia? - see here. But it wouldn't have happened without the   Bild Zeitung   which at the time carried advertisements by the Australian Embassy showing a smiley face in the shape of the Australian continent with rays of sunshine around the edges under the header "Come to sunny Australia!" - in German, of course, or I wouldn't have understood it.

No, I didn't write to the embassy while sitting there in that windowless loo, but I did so shortly afterwards, which is how I finished up in sunny Australia, the land of wide open spaces - and plenty of loos with windows in them! - and the freedom to read a newspaper even at work.

As for the 10 Pfennig   Bild Zeitung  , it's still around today, albeit a lot dearer (€1, I believe!) And I am still in Australia, too, a lot older but still grateful for having read that ad in one of my "quieter" moments.

Googlemap Riverbend


P.S. I never found a copy of that fateful ad in the   Bild Zeitung     - there was no Google in those days! - and so I wrote to the editor of the paper, asking him (or her) to search their archives for it - see here. Within hours - "deutsche Gründlichkeit" (German thoroughness) is still alive and well! - came this response, "Sehr geehrter Herr Goermann, vielen Dank für Ihre interessante Anfrage. Wir würden gerne mehr von Ihnen erfahren und bitten Sie, Fotos von sich zu schicken, als Sie nach Australien gingen und wie Sie heute aussehen. Außerdem wäre es toll, wenn Sie einmal kurz schreiben können, wie Sie dort leben, was Sie beruflich machen etc. Wann sind Sie telefonisch am Besten zu errei-chen?? Mit herzlichen Grüßen, Katja Hinrichs" To translate; try GOOGLE.

P.P.S. The search for a tiny ad in an old copy of the   Bild Zeitung   seems to be turning into a big story as the editors keep asking me more and more questions which I keep answering in longer and longer German sentences. As Mark Twain wrote, ""Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of the Atlantic with his verb in his mouth".