Sir Paul McCartney is launching his new album Egypt Station today. McCartney himself probably would not have had time for the Redekiste between Carpool Karaoke and other ventures.
But I dare boldly say that today I publish something equally good, interesting. The following conversation documents an unbelievable story about how a young man of about 15 years of age, in 1962, came to the pleasure to experience The Beatles live in the Hamburger Star Club.
I wish you good entertainment, next stop:
How can you imagine Hamburg at the time of 1962 ?
At the beginning of the sixties, Hamburg was still in the state of war, apart from many other regions. House facades and ruins of bombed-out buildings in many parts of the city recalled the effects of the bombing by the Allied Forces. Although you were not rich, but still in a thoroughly positive spirit of optimism. In addition, Hamburg was to be made pretty, at low tide, the many channels were freed from debris and old ammunition, ruins gave way to new buildings for housing and also around the central station was designed to compliment everything. All around there were many provisional arrangements, such as simply nailed together market stalls, kiosks and sausage stands, because even if the coat was worthy of renewal, for a sausage it was enough.
How did you come to visit the Star Club, there is a really special history …
Due to post-war restrictions; As well as social ills within many families, I received in 1959, in conjunction with the C.V.J.M. as well as the international Y.M.C.A. the opportunity to take part in a vacation holiday in England, with all preparations and exams on the C.V.J.M. in cooperation with the international Y.M.C.A. were made.
In this way it happened that I was allowed to spend the summer holidays with 19 other boys in a supervised hostel in the British St. Helen on the Isle of Wight.
All selected children arrived at the agreed time in the foyer of the Hamburg Central Station and were handed over to the attendants. The passenger train went first from Hamburg to the Dutch Hoek van Holland, then it went for the passage over the English Channel with destination Harwich on a ferry. I still remember that, instead of the chalk cliffs, I had actually expected the Statue of Liberty and the skyscrapers of New York. From Harwich we continued with a slow train that took us to London in just over an hour. There we were greeted by an English sir, as well as four or five supervisors, and guided to the typical London sights. For us all cars drove on the wrong side of the street and the dungeon of the tower with all its torture devices made us shudder. In the afternoon we went to a posh cafe in the heart of London. Sir Julian Holt informed us that we would soon be introduced to a lady, and this would hold a little surprise for us. And so it came about that we were introduced to a lady named Queen, who welcomed us in German and handed us a pocket money of £5. I still remember her headscarf and her checked clothes. I believe that each of us realized what happened when it was over. In fact, we had a wonderful and carefree vacation with a great pocket money.
Before returning to Germany, our sir, Mr. Julian Holt, informed us that the entire team, including the caregivers, was very satisfied with us and that we would like once again to participate in a youth camp in Wales with the consent of the parents.
Back in Germany, contrary to the usual holiday promises, we really managed to maintain a loose contact with Mr. Holt, who had already moved his first residence to Douglas on the Isle of Man from a few years ago, although the Liverpool second home was nevertheless preserved.
So months passed months in which we – my former school friend Horst Streese and I – informed Mr. Julian Holt in an admittedly bad English about current things like education etc.
In contrast to our bad English, we received an answer in the best German. So passed the time until we reached the beginning of April 1962 the news that Mr. Holt would be a few days in Hamburg and would be reached in this period in the Atlantic Hotel. I think on the 10th or the 11th of April we sat in the lobby of the hotel, shifting restlessly on the chairs, because we did not have any money. A waiter saw us and asked what he should bring us.
Somehow Horst and I each got a Coke. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Holt appeared and greeted us warmly. He asked the waiter to bring us some drinks and some cookies. He then informed us that we would be invited to dinner in the Ratskeller of the Hamburg City Hall for the next day and that he would be very happy if, with the consent of our parents, we accepted his invitation. Since neither Horst nor I had ever had dinner in such a posh restaurant, the whole thing was a challenge for us.
Despite all concerns, we had fun and learned that we had another surprise to come the next day. We should therefore meet at an appointed time at the Nobistor in St. Pauli. Of course, Horst and I speculated what kind of surprise the surprise might be, but we could guess nothing.
In the early evening of the following day we strolled down the Reeperbahn and were almost at the end of it when we turned right on the Große Freiheit. Past the many neon signs, to the Star Club. Here, Mr. Holt, combined with the words, as a tradition-conscious Englishman, the first appearance of The Beatles, in the newly opened Star Club, can not be missed in any case, each a ticket in the hand.
“Guys, look forward to it, you are cordially invited, I pay the drinks!”
Man, that was a pleasure. In the evenings at the newly opened Star Club and a guest performance by The Beatles, somehow we felt royally good. Like others of similar age, we had already heard some of the Beat Brothers songs as a backing band for other musicians, but that was something completely different.
After that, we continued to maintain contact until training and military service imposed a different track on each of us. Nevertheless, this memory always remained something special.
Thanks to Klaus for sharing your very special memory with us!