A special form of humor in the GDR was the subversive snake joke, which reflected on the fact that people tend to have a herd reflex when there is a shortage of goods: “What should you do in the face of a snake? Get in line immediately.”
In Würzburg, as former Mayor Jürgen Weber reported, they had special experiences with the snake phenomenon. On November 11, 1989, a Saturday, the Residenzplatz was full of Trabbis at sunrise. Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, many wanted to visit the World Heritage city – and get their welcome money. Long lines? In Würzburg they know what something like that looks like.
And logically there is no comparison with the current situation on the lower market. But, yes, you can feel a little transported back to those times there, day after day. Where in modern Central Europe is it still possible to reliably long for an object of desire with the obligatory queuing?
In Würzburg, in front of the Marienkapelle, this is certainly included in the price. Anyone who wants a sausage there, a so-called curd “with” or “without” (mustard), is reliably invited to stand their ground. Sausage without a snake? It doesn’t exist – and no one would want it.
Because sometimes things have to be said shortly before the end, it’s time for a confession. Now that the Knüpfing family will be handing people into the queue for the last time on September 30th, more than 50 years after they did it for the first time, now one must speak or remain silent forever.
It’s like this: Anyone who has ever fallen for the coarse, Protestant bratwurst from Coburg will only be able to do something with the delicate, Catholic sausage from the Würzburg market place in moderation. So there were people, as the Knüpfing family confessed – which, along with the residence and fortress, made it into almost every travel guide – who were always struggling with themselves. And for the most part they decided on classless queuing, the cultic act, the ritual, the sausage mass.
There will continue to be bruised people at the Würzburg market in the future. But no more from the Knüpfings. Whether with or without a snake remains to be seen.