For a very brief time on our cruise, we will be in Germany. Specifically we will start our Danube cruise at Regensburg and on to Vilshofen and then Passau. First Regensburg. Regensburg is a medieval city in Bavaria and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city dates back to the Stone Age and once had a Roman fort. From the article:
Unlike many cities in Germany, Regensburg was not heavily damaged during World War II. More from the article:"From the early 6th century, Regensburg was the seat of the Agilolfing ruling family. From about 530 to the first half of the 13th century, it was the capital of Bavaria. Regensburg remained an important city during the reign of Charlemagne. In 792, Regensburg hosted the ecclesiastical section of Charlemagne's General Assembly. The bishops in council condemned the heresy of Adoptionism taught by the Spanish bishops, Elipandus of Toledo and Felix of Urgel. After the partition of the Carolingian Empire, the city became the seat of the Eastern Frankish ruler, Louis II the German in 843. Two years later, fourteen Bohemian princes came to Regensburg to receive baptism there. This was the starting point of Christianization of the Czech people, and the diocese of Regensburg became the mother diocese of Prague. These events had a wide impact on the cultural history of Czech lands, as they were consequently incorporated into the Roman Catholic and not into the Slavic-Orthodox world. The fact is well remembered, and a memorial plate at St John's Church (the alleged place of the baptism) was unveiled a few years ago, commemorating the incident in the Czech and German languages.In 1096, on the way to the First Crusade, Peter the Hermit led a mob of Crusaders that attempted to force the mass conversion of the Jews of Regensburg and killed all those who resisted.Between 1135 and 1146, the Stone Bridge across the Danube was built at Regensburg. This bridge opened major international trade routes between northern Europe and Venice, and this began Regensburg's golden age as a residence of wealthy trading families. Regensburg became the cultural centre of southern Germany and was celebrated for its gold work and fabrics."
Between 1945 and 1949, Regensburg was the site of the largest Displaced persons (DP) camp in Germany. At its peak in 1946–1947, the workers' district of Ganghofersiedlung housed almost 5,000 Ukrainian and 1,000 non-Ukrainian refugees and displaced persons. With the approval of U.S. Military Government in the American Allied Occupation Zone, Regensburg and other DP camps organised their own camp postal service. In Regensburg, the camp postal service began operation on December 11, 1946.Vilshofen is a city known for its' Oktoberfest though obviously we won't be there in the Fall. It is described as a charming Bavarian town with fine Bavarian beer.
Passau is noted for many things. It is also located in Bavaria. It's history goes back to pre-Roman times and is where the Danube joins with 2 other rivers. From the article:
I'm sure some of my readers are interested in the fact that bladed weapons have been manufactured in Passau for a long time.During the Renaissance and early modern period, Passau was one of the most prolific centres of sword and bladed weapon manufacture in Germany (after Solingen). Passau smiths stamped their blades with the Passau wolf, usually a rather simplified rendering of the wolf on the city's coat-of-arms. Superstitious warriors believed that the Passau wolf conferred invulnerability on the blade's bearer, and thus Passau swords acquired a great premium. As a result, the whole practice of placing magical charms on swords to protect the wearers came to be known for a time as "Passau art." (See Eduard Wagner, Cut and Thrust Weapons, 1969). Other cities' smiths, including those of Solingen, recognized the marketing value of the Passau wolf and adopted it for themselves. By the 17th century, Solingen was producing more wolf-stamped blades than Passau was. In 1662, a devastating fire consumed most of the city. Passau was subsequently rebuilt in the Baroque style.Passau was secularised and divided between Bavaria and Salzburg in 1803. The portion belonging to Salzburg became part of Bavaria in 1805. ...From 1892 until 1894, Adolf Hitler and his family lived in Passau. The city archives mention Hitler being in Passau on four different occasions in the 1920s for speeches.During World War II, the town housed three sub-camps of the infamous Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp: Passau I (Oberilzmühle), Passau II (Waldwerke Passau-Ilzstadt) and Passau III (Jandelsbrunn).On May 3, 1945, a message from Major General Stanley Eric Reinhart’s 261st Infantry Regiment stated at 3:15 am: "AMG Officer has unconditional surrender of PASSAU signed by Burgermeister, Chief of Police and Lt. Col of Med Corps there. All troops are to turn themselves in this morning."It was the site of a post World War II American sector displaced persons camp.
Now, let's look at the German gun laws. Germany's gun laws are categorized as restrictive. From this article, you can see that licensing of gun owners and registration of guns is required in Germany. It is interesting to note this:
Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Germany are required to prove genuine reason to possess a firearm, for example, hunting, target shooting, collection, personal protection (in exceptional circumstances), security. (...)
An applicant for a firearm licence in Germany must pass background checks which consider criminal and mental61 records
Where a past history, or apprehended likelihood of family violence exists, the law in Germany does not stipulate (unless reflected in a criminal record)3 that a gun licence should be denied or revoked
In Germany, an understanding of firearm safety and the law, tested in a theoretical and/or practical training course is required3 for a firearm licence.Also semi automatic weapons are not allowed except for special circumstances. And the most important thing is that, most likely due to the strict laws, the gun homicide rate in Germany is .02/100,000. There were 15 total handgun homicides in Germany in 2010. The gun suicide rate in 2010 was .94/100,000. Again, so much fewer than in the U.S. Gun accidental deaths are also almost non-existant.
Gun laws matter. I will feel safe, at least from bullets, while traveling in Germany. It's so good to be where common sense prevails. And while cruising on the Danube, I will also enjoy the amazing beauty of the villages and cities along the way as well as the history of the area.