The BASF Disaster

It seems that Johnny and I have a penchant for history that includes weird explosions in places we have visited…or maybe we visit these places because of the explosions. You know that chicken or egg dilemma that torments us all from time to time? Whichever it is, this story was one of the first of several big bangs that either intrigued us enough to explore their histories or that we stumbled upon accidentally.

So what is our connection to this one? Well, Mannheim of course. For eighteen years, I researched and wrote a novel about the Holocaust called, “Vala’s Bed.” And that story…both geographically and metaphorically…began in or evolved in or is about Mannheim. It’s a beautiful city with beautiful people. It‘s long history is endlessly intriguing and complex. My appreciation for it is nuanced though, because of what happened to the Jews of Mannheim during World War 2. And yet, even though I’m finished with Mannheim, it still pops up unrequested in my life like a double-sided coin that gives the same answer no matter how many times it’s tossed. Mannheim always has something to teach me…even if it’s just another disaster.





Cover art from painting by Aurora Huston












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