A Rothenburg Veteran: Christian Horberger on Local Politics and His Book – Rothenburg and the Region

Christian Horberger has been heavily involved in local politics for 30 years. Photo: Minert

One could call Christian Horberger one of Rothenburg’s dazzling figures without hesitation. For 30 years, he has been touring local politics, the successful fight against the planned “Galgenfeld” business district was legendary.

Rothenburg – Also wrote books on the subject of the city and the tricks of local politics. He sometimes reads from his books – it’s always worth listening to.

Christian Horberger is an eloquent and eloquent man, who is sensed by the visitor as soon as he enters the front door. First, it is about the fox that hunts in the chicken coop at night. “A meal of five chickens,” says the host curtly. Words just pour out of him. “There are also red kites and hawks.” Horberger and his wife live at the far end of Obernau, you could also say at the end of the world, the house is ideally located on a very steep slope. “The fox visits there every day.”

Rhetoric lesson in Tübingen

The fact that the 76-year-old Horberger can speak well and fluently and is almost ready for journalism is probably due at least to his field of study: he studied rhetoric in Tübingen, at that time still with the legendary Professor Walter Jens. What do you do with this orchid theme like rhetoric, what career do you aspire to, do you want to know? “If you study rhetoric, it makes sense to enter politics,” Horberger says with a subtle smile that reveals a good dose of humor and irony. Incidentally, however, he proudly points out that prominent German politicians choose their speechwriters from among the pool of orators trained in Tübingen.

In fact, Horberger, who grew up in Stuttgart and Esslingen, also went into politics, albeit in local politics. As bread and butter, so to speak, he has served, among other things, as a news channel for private broadcasters, as an independent radio critic, as a radio playwright and television critic, and at times also for the Baden-Württemberg State Information Center. . Speaking is the elixir of life for Horberger. He says frankly about himself: “I like to talk,” and sometimes he also talks – again with a subtle smile – about “the disease of talking too much.”

The book is part documentary, part fiction

“Rothenburg – The Commune of Free Thinkers, Pious, Managed and Loving” is the rather difficult title of his book, which he also likes to read in public. It is about fighting against the planned industrial area of ​​Herdwig, dubbed “Galgenfeld”. One remembers that at the beginning of 2018 the city council of Rothenburg made a decision on the controversial business district – and the fight for a piece of nature began. The uproar was great and so was the resistance, at the end of 2018 there was a referendum that ended with a large majority against the industrial complex. The pamphlet is a documentary, and the other is fiction, with a heavy dose of humor and irony, about “the quirks of mass battles” and, in his words, “to stop the environmental madness.” Looking back, the author says, “We will not let nature be destroyed, neither by excavators nor by politicians.” For Horberger, the fight for the piece of nature and the victory of the vote is like his experience in the political awakening – the topic of ecology and the environment is still of great interest.

The slim brochure is full of humor. As a collective introduction, there is a description of the following about the Rottenburger: “On average, the stature of the population is rather tall rather than short, and the physique is normal. They are mostly muscular and strong, and their facial features reveal liveliness and openness …” the sentences, in the sense of documentation, An official city quote – albeit from 1828.

Appreciation of political parties is rather low

Horberger’s brief description of local council parties is highly readable as well as blasphemous: Young activists said unflatteringly that they “always follow the zeitgeist of the local political age” and “fight for hot spots and against dog litter. Several council members have managed to rank them from moving directly to a senior position in management.” Horberger is suspicious of the same about the CDU, that is, his suspicious proximity to the administration: “Usually the people are on a first-name basis. Only in the town council itself does it not officially stay with you, because the press is there and the listeners should not hear private chatter. “

The author writes about the greens: “The city council naturalists for a good 30 years … at most, the fighting group is demanding green areas for bicycle parking … and new signs for zebra crossing.” These are rather scathing judgments, which Horberger certainly doesn’t just make friends.

Horberger’s rating on political parties is rather low. “I am so glad I never accepted party membership,” he says today. In doing so, he made his short air visits to individual parties, such as the Green Party, including the left, as he openly admits. “But never with party membership,” he asserts.

‘We are fully encrusted’

But what matters to the 76-year-old today runs deeper than just complaining about local parties. “We’re totally solid,” he says. “Disruption of trust” is a word he uses over and over again, parties and politics no longer keep pace with the current problems. “The problems are brutal,” eloquent judgment, “we are all caught up in the madness” — and what he means by that ranges from the fight for the environment in Rothenburg to the “global madness” of climate change. “You can only describe what is happening today with the help of sarcasm,” was the final verdict of the trained orator.

A new book is already in preparation, “Where the Hut Burns” is planned to be a title, and is about “How a Small Town Suffers from an Epidemic”. Finally, Horberger talks about the fox and the night raids in the chicken coop. And he hands over his business card, the motto is a writing quote: “In the beginning was the word.”

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