Subtitle: Complexities – Family mythology – From slug to Draculina
This is the person in my father’s family who gave him his middle name, or so my father had told us children. My brother and I still benefit from this personal mythology.
Michael Bielz, 1787 – 1866, Transylvania
My father: Walter Mihai (Michael) Bielz, born in Sibiu, Transylvania, Romania.
Family hero: Michael Bielz, geologist and zoologist, 19th century, Transylvania, Austro-Hungarian Empire. He discovered a slug called Bielzia coerulans. <http://www.animalbase.uni-goettingen.de/zooweb/servlet/AnimalBase/home/species?id=1274>.
Michael’s son Eduard Albert was also a zoologist. The town of Sibiu has named a street after him.< http://www.sibiutourist.com/location/1429.html>. He had discovered and categorised molluscs in various geographical places. You can find more about him here, which is not a lot, as most of the publications are in Hungarian, Romanian or German. So just a taster showing his name connected to molluscs: Oxford Journals. Life Sciences. ‘Journal of Molluscan Studies’. Vol 27. Issue 5. Pp. 218-222. 28 Jul 2011. <http://mollus.oxfordjournals.org/content/27/5/218.extract>.
The Landesmusem in Graz, Austria, has collected books, information, perhaps some molluscs by Eduard Albert. Graz was also ‘die Stadt der Volkserhebung’ (the city of the popular uprising) in Nazi Germany. (<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honorary_city_titles_in_Nazi_Germany>).
My mother’s father had been declared an enemy of Nazi Germany, which included Austria, this mercurial country that unlike Germany has never really admitted to its guilty part. My grandfather had been tortured by Hitler’s executioners in a prison in Graz. My mother had always insisted that his death was connected to this event of torture and disgust. In our family there was this saying: ‘You don’t do to your worst enemy, what had been done to your grandfather in prison’. I cannot and do not want to imagine what had happened to him there.
Graz is the connection between my families, besides my mother and father having met each other in another infamous city: Linz, the town Hitler wanted to make the capital of his Third Reich, and a town that had re-invented herself famously as a working-class steel town. (Review by Ries, John M. Burr Buckey, Evan. Hitler’s hometown: Linz, Austria, 1908 – 1945. Indiana University Press. 1986. 28 Jul 2011. <http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v09/v09p380_Ries.html>).
The connection, of course, runs deeper and lies in the violent history of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, an empire that had tried to tame and oppress her multi-cultural peoples throughout the centuries. Info: <http://www.historyhome.co.uk/europe/aus-hun.htm>.
My father had often talked about wanting to be a zoologist. My brother had continued talking about it. My nephew, Thomas Bielz, has done his PhD with research in the Nanostructures Group/Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute (Max-Planck Society), Berlin and the Institute for Physical Chemistry, University of Innsbruck. (<http://www.fhi-berlin.mpg.de/acnew/groups/nanostructures/pages/research.html>, <http://www.uibk.ac.at/physchem/staff.html>).
Perhaps a shorter way to zoology? 🙂
Info in German. http://www.ostdeutsche-biographie.de/bielmi87.htm
BEWARE OF ME, I AM IN THE PROCESS OF CHANGING FROM A SLUG TO DRACULINA, a song. Gudrun Bielz. 🙂
Draculina, Music by Alkaline Trio 2010
As we live in such a visual world: Here some delicious slug content and a lovely Draculina dreamscape.
(Photo sources: commons.wikimedia.org, biolib.cz, Gudrun Bielz)
Music we listened to as children (besides lots of classical stuff, also opera, and mother’s favourite Niccolo Paganini <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPcnGrie__M>, then Felix Mendelssohn’s viloin concertos <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRXJWUzn240> and Styrian folk music like this, as mother was from Styria <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4p3qN5KdMs>):
Hungarian folk music from Transylviania like this one from Zoltan A. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQNhbi9KZfU>.
Transylvanian music like this one <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLig4uePuv8>.
Not to forget the traditional gipsy music like this one <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H638IdI5Ks&feature=related>.
Romani (gipsy) music like this <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVdzCIibGiM>.
Music and dance: Musica tradicional rumana. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKM2l836G7I&NR=1>. (Note: I still have got one blouse similar to the ones worn in this video).
PS: There exist different versions of this mythology. My cousin insists on another narrative. It does not matter. My father’s story, which I remember from my childhood, was that his middle name was Michael because of the zoologist Michael Bielz. It is a fact that my father wanted to become a ‘Naturforscher’, a zoologist, and so wanted my brother. I have experienced that my cousin has a very different version of the family and their history. Who knows which one is right? It might be a virtual event. In the end, all what counts is this specific mythology within my family and what it has allowed us children to develop into. My cousin denies that our family was dysfunctional. I am talking about my father and his brother and sister and their parents. I believe that my father did not like his father, who might have been a controlling person and even abusive. So, I beg to differ. Although, I know that people want to live in denial for their own specific reasons. Let them do so.
The Beatles. Let it be. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0714IbwC3HA >