As the bombs kept falling on Gaza this week, I thought of Essen. An industrial city situated in the industrial heart of Germany’s Ruhr area, Essen is less than picturesque.

I was thinking specifically of a neighbourhood I visited on a bleak winter’s day in 1998 called Margarethenhöhe, after the widow of industrialist Gustav Krupp and ironically called the “Krupp ghetto'. This neighbourhood houses the employees of the Krupp company, the company that became notorious for producing weapons for the Nazi regime. ..

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