On the Road to Mecca -Part 2

I started atteending high school in 1964, and at that time I was not at all attached to religion. After 1964 came 1968 and I quitted religious education - much to the dismay of my parents. Our teachers were not pleased either. My homeroom supervisor suggested that we - at that time our school was a girls 'gymnasium - would use the free hour to either hang out in the ice cream parlor smoking a cigarette or meet with the students at the boys' Gymnasium. Yes exactly. But then we started dealing with the Thirty Years' War.

 

Credit: Hanging Tree byJacques Callot, 1592-1635)

Wedealt wiith this war - in retrospect it seems to me, rather incompletely - not only in history, but also engaged in German lessons with the sory of Simplicius Simplicissimus and with the Baroque poetry of Gryphius and others. In our class were some very committed Protestant - today I would say: Evangelical - Christians. The Protestant religious instruction was held by a pastor's wife, who was ridiculed by many. I suddenly found Protestant Christianity exciting. Not that I had intended to convert to the Protestant faith, but I found it exciting. A very naughty consideration was added by me: I thought about studying medicine or psychology, and found out that the religious grade was included in the calculation of the average which was crucial for the license to study medicine (religion-neutral school - so far).

 

Ultimately it became a win-win situation for pastor's wife priest and for me: I got a one (equal to an A or a 100), and the image of her lesson picked up: if Dagmar Schatz was there to work without disturbing the lessons thr lessons could not be so bad... At that time I was notorious for "disturbances of teaching.  I behaved like a left-wing people's tribune and belonged to the editors of our school newspaper, which was always good for trouble with the conservative teachers. Incidentally, a member of the editorial staff later joined the terrorist Baader-Meinhof-Pack- but that's another story ...

I also went regularly to the parish hall. There I was once censured by the parish sister: sweater too tight, skirt  too short, make-up to thick. Well...

 

Studying medicine and Duesseldorf's left-leaning scene

My studies were difficult from the beginning, not least because we had many lecturers who had started their careers in the Third Reich. One, whose name may not be publicly mentioned, even made it into a book about the Nuremberg Physicians' Trial. In any case, I found the study program extremely unpleasant and could hardly be seen at the university, not even when I got a second admission: to study, psychology. I became the "candidate" of one of those left-wing splinter factions who mushroomed in the early 1970s, advised conscientious objectors and, in the Autonomous Women's Center, women on abortion and sterilization, in a group called "Women's Health" (self-examination and so on). Demonstrated against nuclear power plant, of course lived in a shared flat and was basically more to be found in the pubs and discos of Düsseldorf's Old Town than at the university. Towards the end of my studies, I fell ill with life-threatening hepatitis B, which was later recognized as an occupational disease. But three heavy relapses delayed my graduation. At the end of 1979 I finally graduated.

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