The RAW (Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk) extends between Warschauer Strasse, Revaler Strasse and Modersonstrasse in the Berlin district of Friedrichshain. The former railway area, which was closed in 1995, is considered to be the largest contiguous and culturally used fallow area in Germany.
Today the ruins are used culturally in a variety of ways. In addition to several clubs and art galleries, there are sports facilities, art studios and various take-out stands.
Self-government and graffiti art
The area is under grassroots self-government.
You can already see art without having to enter galleries, namely in the form of graffiti art, which blends harmoniously and inspiringly into the partly crumbling terrain.
Skate hall and mosaic of architecture, daily life remnants and graffiti
Sports activities are also revealed to the visitor very quickly when entering the area. For example, the skate hall, which opened in 2004/2005, is the only indoor skating facility in Berlin and is internationally well known in that sports scene.
But during my short visit on a summer day afternoon in end of June 2021, I was most impressed by the mosaic of architecture elements, Graffiti and signs of daily life.
Forest in the morning, tree stems covered by a foggy most, borderless steam wraps slowly rising in the air and disappearing there tracelessly.
Forests as moisture reservoir, being released in the morning due to the awakening warmth. Morning mist is nothing else than a fog, only some meters over the ground. Consisting like each fog of numerous water bodies in gas conditions, which condensate due to the cold night and seem to have springled all plants and even insects and other sleeping animals with tiny water drops.
Especially in arid environments, that morning mist watering is most wanted and essential for surviving.
With the rising sun, warmth moves the misty clouds up, where they cover the forests in a mysterious light, before the fog disappears.
Consisting of all rainbow colors, each color of the spectrum being defined by a specific wave length. But sunlight also consists of physical components, particles, called solar wind. Light as essential source for life on earth, sunlight as energizer, basis for the production of oxygen. Warmer sun beams as reawakener of a sleeping forest.
They bloom most early in the year, do not avoid to attract early insects inmidst of snow layers: snowdrops, winter aconites and crocuses.
Snowdrops (genus Galanthus) generate thermal energy due to the absorption of sunlight. This energy is essential for growth processes in cold environments.
Winter aconites (Eranthis hyemalis) have their blossoms only opened in the sunlight. Blossoms are closed over night. Opening and closing are temperature dependent growth processes. The blossoms themselves are resistant against cold. When temperatures rise to 10 – 12 degrees, first honey bee visits can be observed.
In crocuses (genus Crocus) blooming depends on the availability of moisture and warmth. Some species bloom in autumn, others in the late winter period.
All early blooming plants save nutrients as energy resources in tubers or bulbs.
When the sun disappears behind the horizon, an explosion of colors in red or yellowish cover the sky. In fact indicating the end of a day, in some cultures even officially a new day was dawning, when the sun disappeared, such as in Judaism, Islam or ancient Germanic peoples.
Saying „the sun is setting“ is a relict of a geocentric model of perspective. Not the sun is moving, but the observer.
When the sun is far enough underneath the horizon, the blue light spectrum dominates and creates a shiny blue sky, forming a photogenic contrast to the silhouettes of trees and landscape structures.
The only recent Trabant of our earth, presumably sirvivor of two or even several natural earth satellites in early times of our solar system.
Reflecting sunlight at night, lightening up the sky in the dark. Orientation aid for nocturnal animals, especially insects. Rhythm generator for the reproduction periods of numerous organisms.
The only extraterrestrial body that was so far ever visited by human beings. The first, which might be colonized before Mars.
In former times, when people lived in a mystic world, where elves, dwarfs, leprechauns and talking wolves did their dreadful state of affairs in the midst of dark and impenetrable huge forests, people thought that even the old trees in the woods had their own thoughts.
Uncontrollable, sounds, the snorting of the deer, a mysterious hidden, permanently changing shades in a cold and misty twilight.
A forest is only then a forest, when a high concentration of trees is given. Woods bear a great number of species, produce a majority of oxygen in our world; they are huge reservoirs of water and stabilize the ground with their tangles of roots.
Snow consists of ice crystals. Their formation within clouds depends on the presence of ice nucleating particles and temperatures lower – 12°C.
Crystals possess a hexagonal symmetry, being prism-shaped at lower temperatures and dendrite-shaped at higher temperatures.
Temperate deciduous forests hibernate without functional leaves. Most trees throw off all leaves already in autumn to be protected from desiccation in winter frost periods.
Layers of snow are excellent thermal conductors and additionally protect all life underneath from frost damages in the cold season.
Waiting for the spring time
Most life forms hibernate together with their leafless trees. Especially accumulations of deadwood contain remarkable numbers of species, such as insects, spiders, mites or nematodes. Some already begin under their snow cover to prepare themselves for the warmer season.
When all snow is gone, winter colors in red, yellow, brown and some green reappear. Early blossoming plants are already germinating.
Cancel Culture is a modern phenomenon mainly coming from the United States and negatively influencing increasingly European countries, such as Germany. A main tool of cancel culture is for me the so called "Me-Too" movement, according to which an accusation against a person does not need a proven evidence any more and preferably immediately harms the accused person existentially.
A recent case is the medial debate about alleged domestic violence by singer Marilyn Manson, who was accused by actress Evan Rachel Wood of abuse of power and a multiple wise domestic violence. Wood was in a relationship with the singer until 2010. Her detailed public accusation is from 1 February 2021 and was published on her Instagram account. Accusations by other women followed, one of them being model Ashley Lindsay Morgan.
No proofs and no trials were presented, but Manson was already harmed still the same day of Wood's publication: His record company Loma Vista Recordings immediately announced to cancel all further cooperation with him. The next day, his artist agency CAA parted ways with Manson. He additionally will be retrospectively cut off from the already recorded episodes of "American Gods" and "Creepshow".
I do not know, whether Manson is innocent, but in just states the presumption of innocence applies until the conviction. Seemingly not any more valid in the US, a shame, a picture of a declining moral of a society, for which not even Donald Trump can be blamed any more.
That easy way of cancel culture unfortunately already a longer time ago invaded Germany. Even journalists disregard all common methods of careful journalistic research. Recently for example a journalist named Laura Backes recognized already in the headline of her article in spiegel.de "Es ist: häusliche Gewalt (It is: domestic violence)".
And her article ends with "And the solidarity, which Evan Rachel Wood ... and others experience in the public, shows that it is worth taking this step". Normally the German journal "Der Spiegel" is famous for its investigative journalism. This article is a bad example for it.
Cancel Culture ist ein modernes Phänomen, das aus den USA kommend zunehmend auch fortschrittliche europäische Länder wie Deutschland infiltriert. Ein wichtiges Instrument der Cancel Culture ist meiner Ansicht nach die sogenannte "Me-Too-" Bewegung, der zufolge die öffentliche Beschuldigung gegen eine Person keiner überprüften Belege mehr bedarf und der beschuldigten Person unverzüglich schwerste existenzielle Schädigungen bereitet.
Ein aktueller Fall ist die mediale Debatte um die vorgebliche häusliche Gewalt, die der Sänger Marilyn Manson mehrfach praktiziert haben soll. Er wurde durch die Schauspielerin Evan Rachel Wood öffentlich des Machtmißbrauchs in der Beziehung sowie schwerer und multipler häuslicher Gewalt bezichtigt. Wood, die mehrere Jahre mit Manson in einer Beziehung liiert war, tat der Öffentlichkeit ihre unbelegten Anschuldigungen am 1. Februar 2021 über ihren Instagram-Kanal kund. Weitere Frauen folgten ihrem Beispiel und äußerten ähnliche Vorwürfe, wie zum Beispiel das Model Ashley Lindsay Morgan.
Es wurden weder Beweise noch Gerichtsurteile präsentiert, jedoch stellten sich schwerwiegende berufliche und existenzielle Konsequenzen für Manson bereits am selben Tage ein: Die Plattenfirma Loma Vista Recordings kündigte sofort jede Zusammenarbeit mit dem Künstler auf. Am Folgetag trennte sich auch seine Künstleragentur CAA öffentlich von ihm. Zusätzlich soll er aus den bis dahin bereits aufgezeichneten Folgen von "American Gods" und "Creepshow" im Nachhinein herausgeschnitten werden.
Ich weiß nicht, ob Manson unschuldig ist, aber in modernen Rechtsstaaten gilt die Unschuldsvermutung so lange, bis ein Schuldspruch erfolgt ist. Und genau das scheint inzwischen in den USA keine Gültigkeit mehr zu haben, was eine Schande ist. Es entsteht so nämlich das Bild einer Gesellschaft mit zunehmend rückläufigen Moralvorstellungen, das man inzwischen auch beim besten Willen nicht mehr Donald Trump in die Schuhe schieben kann.
Der einfache Weg, unliebsame Menschen aus dem Wege zu räumen, den man eben neudeutsch als Cancel Culture bezeichnet, ist seit einiger Zeit leider auch in Deutschland angekommen. Selbst Journalisten können heutzutage unter Verzicht auf alle gängigen Methoden der guten journalistischen Praxis zuschlagen. Heute hat zum Beispiel eine Journalistin namens Laura Backes in Form eines dort als "Analyse" bezeichneten Artikels eine Cancel-Tirade gegen Marilyn Manson und eine Lobeshymne auf die "Mee-Too-" Bewegung auf spiegel.de veröffentlicht. Das Ergebnis ihrer investigativen Analyse nimmt sie gleich in der Überschrift des Beitrages vorweg: "Es ist: häusliche Gewalt".
Ihr Artikel endet mit den Worten: "Und die Solidarität, die Evan Rachel Wood, Ashley Lindsay Morgan und die anderen in der Öffentlichkeit erfahren, zeigt, dass es sich lohnt, diesen Schritt zu gehen." Normalerweise ist der Spiegel bekannt für seinen investigativen Journalismus. Leider ist dieser Beitrag alles andere als ein gutes Beispiel hierfür.
Copyrights for both written article versions in English and German: Stefan F. Wirth, Berlin 4 February 2021
I documented my nature excursions in 2020 via photography and videography with a special focus to animal macros (outside in the field) and to drone flights. There is also an underwater scenery existing. Most footage was recorded in the area between villages Lübars and Rosenthal in Northern Berlin, close to the nature refuge „Tegeler Fliess“.
The area is characterized by fields, meadows and forest parts and lays along the former GDR wall, today being a hiking and biking trail. Due to a connected mosaic of different ecological habitats, a remarkable biodiversity can there be found, even despite of the worldwide species‘ extinction based on a mostly human made global warming.
Some few sequences were recorded in other parts of the green city Berlin, namely in the park of the Charlottenburg Palace (beginning sequences of the video) and in urban park Rehberge und Plötzensee (the leaf beetle Galeruca tanaceti in Plötzensee and the scarabaeid beetle – systematically related to genus Cremastocheilus- in Rehberge). Crematocheilus (Cetoniinae) is a genus of myrmecophilous beetles. My individuals were not yet determined, Their existence in Berlin might be even of scientific interest. As putative phoretic vector (to carry mites for their dispersal), they are at least of interest for me, although the studied three beetle individuals did not carry mites at all. The beetles were all found in front of an ant nest intrance (Lasius niger) along the roots of an oak tree in park Rehberge.
As my scientific/ photographic/ videographic excursions happened in exactly that year, 2020, in which the normal human life came worldwide totally out of order based on the covid-19 pandemic, I decided to add this topic to the concept of my video. The video presents nature footage from my visit in the correct seasonal order, beginning with May and June, followed by July, then September/October. In front of each of those months-blocks, I added at that time some important recent news headlines about the corona-pandemic. I named these written parts „corona calendar“. The few December sequences are only dedicated to human street life, showing Berlin in the total lockdown phase, being filmed in black and white (with red recognition).
Berlin, 2 January 2021, all copyrights Stefan F. Wirth
Ants usually reproduce via mating flights. So also the black wood ant Lasius fuliginosus, whose nest I discovered in the Berlin urban park „Rehberge“, where it was (and is) located in the depth under a spruce tree stump. I filmed them under favorable (climatic) for mating flights.
In some cases workers needed to force them to stay out. This behavior is well visible in my film.
Do ants live alone inside their nests? No, not at all. Numerous non-ant-organisms are adapted in living with them, using all kinds of tricks to be not attacked by the ant workers. A known example is the beetle Amphiotis marginata. Where do they reproduce, where does the offspring lives and develops? Semingly according to science and researcher Prof. B. Hölldobler still partly unknown. I also cannot contribute much. But: An undetermined larva of the same family, Nitidulidae, was found to be active under fruit bodies of the fungus Trametes versicolor on the nest top, adjacent to a beetle pupa (not known, whether the same species or family). When exposed to the ant trail near the fungus, the nitidulid larva was attacked, but not caught and was seemingly sufficiently defensive without a visible activity, thus may be chemically. The behavior is visible in my footage. The pupa in contrary was caught and carried away by the ant workers.
Numerous other insects, many mite species and nematodes inhabit ant nests. But some might just occasionally get in contact with a „suddenly“ forming ant nest colony, being remnants may be from former conditions, and nevertheless persist the passing ants on their crowded trails. Two species of mites of the Astigmata seemed to belong to that kind of cohabitants.
According to the visible different galleries of bark attacking insects, it is assumed that this was the way, how these mites came to their place on the inside of the (still partly well intact being) bark of the spruce stump, may be indicating that it was not too long ago felled down. Most conspicuous were the irregular shaped galleries of the bark beetle Dryocoetes autographus (Scolytinae), partly still equipped with remnants of dead beetle individuals. As typical secondary bark infesting insect, this beetle prefers harmed or dead wood. And might have been there already before or while the ant nest grew.
The mites were found free or attached to a wood insect on: the inside of the bark, which the ants use as major trail to access their main nest in the depth, means much ant fluctuation. But there was no clear indication for a direct phoretic interaction with the ants, because species one was only found as one deutonymph attached to another insect host, species 2 in different instars, rather no further ant-transport necessary.
Species one: a deutonymph on an undetermined beetle larva, later isolated and filmed via light microscope in motion. Seemingly belonging to Acaridae. Species two: two or three free deutonymphs and two tritonymphs close to bark beetle remnants, being Histiostomatidae, seemingly Histiostoma dryocoeti Scheucher, 1957. Due to the filming activities and the few mites, no slides were prepared, determinations are based on light microscopic footage and photos of living (thus not cleared) individuals. Scheucher’s description is bad and lacks juveniles, males and the female’s dorsum, the deutonymph’s drawing is almost sketch-like. Already for that reason, I determine my mites as Histiostoma cf. dryocoeti. being determined basically based on the deutonymph. Also because I could not see all important deutonymphal details, but the shape (smurf-house-roof-shaped, dorsal view) of the proterosoma, the entire body proportions, the pattern of dorsal setae (as far as visible on the photos) and especially their shape (like typically for bark-beetle-histiostomatids more or less directed forewards, but distinctly shorter than normally) as well as the leg shapes (distal end similar to Scheucher’s drawings) and the rather small rounded suckerplate and the short palposoma (ending with or before dorsal proterosoma) fit more or less to her description. The seemingly corresponding tritonymphs were not described by her, but according to my research fit at least to bark-beetle-species (dorsal structures). But paired posterior elongations are visible and might (not necessarily) indicate similar structures in adult females too, while Scheucher doesn’t show the female dorsum at all and just writes „no special features existing“ about it. Thus the tritonymphal morphology forces me to name the species with „cf.“ even more. The tritonymphal mouthparts (palparmembrane) seemingly show lateral elongations (almost fitting to Scheucher’s description).
I filmed on one day directly on the nest, mites were recorded the same day and subsequent days (end May, beginning June)at home using a light microscope with upper light and a stereo microscope.
I collected two specimens of the land snail Cornu aspersum from an old olive grove in the city Sorrento (Gulf of Naples, Italy) in April 2019. The land molluscs could be found in that spring season in and under flat stones and smaller rocks. They shared this habitat with bgger diplopodes of genus Julidae and the harvestman Trogulus tingiformis.
The snails are until today successfully kept in a terrarium with sufficient moisture and regular food consisting of vegetable pieces. They share the terrarium with some specimens of diplopods from the original location in Italy.
The snails go in a strict diapause several times a year for weeks or months, when temperatures in Berlin grow over 20°C . After getting active again on a colder period, they often quite immediately begin to mate. My video only focuses on details of such mating procedures, especially the spermatheca transfer. I decided to cut as less as possible and to present longer sequences of copulation activities, as they have due to slow slime exchange movements and rhythmical motions a special aesthetics. I additionally intended to show that scientific behavioral studies generally require patience and time as well as interest and fascination for aspects of life.
Cornu aspersum mates reciprocally, which means that both partners transfer a sperm package and produce ovules. The mating of my footage was successful (not visible in my video), and about 20-30 young snails hatched after about 2.5 weeks after egg deposition.
Aspects of mating and copulation in Cornu aspersum are quite well scientifically studied. For example: the variation in spermathecal morphology does not depend on the sperm competition intensity in populations (E. Koemtzopoulos & A. Staikou (Zoology 110 (2), 139-146, 2007); aspects of courtship and copulation were studied by S. A. Adamo and R. Chase (Canadian Journal of Zoology 66(6): 1446-1453, 2011). According to the latter authors the typical mating behavior has a duration of about 421.8 minutes and consists of three major parts: introductory behavior, dart shooting and copulation. My video concentrates only on part 3.
Berlin August 2019 – 10 June 2020, copyrights Stefan F. Wirth
The ant Lasius fuliginosus builts its nests into wooden environments, for example tree stumps. In the depth it is shaped by a carton-like substance, produced by the ants and with a „domesticated“ fungus involved. When ant workers leave the nests on trails, marked with pheromones, they might seek for food (mostly aphid secretions) in distances up to 30 meters. In the area around the nest, so called foraging trails are especially busy, as different kinds of foraging substances need to be carried in, in order to feed the fungus, in order to create new cartonage and in order to feed queen, nest mates and offspring.
Such a foraging trail is of course a very attractive place for invaders (non ant species) to either capture some food from the workers on their ways into the nest, or even to attach to these workers to get a ride inside the nest too, interesting for brood parasites for example, but also for all kinds of organisms, which prefer nest micro climatic conditions and want to be additionally secured or at least tolerated by the ants. All these organisms, such as insects, mites or nematodes, even pseudoscorpions, need to have specific adaptations in order to be not attacked by the ants.
Three examples are presented in my video. The ant cricket Myrmecophilus acervorum is a common inhabitant of different ant species. Here I found it while „walking in row and order with the ants“. That unusual tiny cricket is assumed to be able to adopt the „smell“ of a nest, which is why ant workers accept it around them. I discovered the specimen of my footage in a later afternoon (around 18:00 in May 2020) directly on top of the tree stump, in which the nest is hidden (in the depth). There it directly followed ants within their foraging walk to the nest entrances. It was directly walking with them in a row and seemed to imitate additionally antennae movements of ants. It after a while left the row of ants (unharmed and without getting a special attention) and went into a hideaway on the side of the tree stump. Generally, there is not much known about the biology of this cricket. There is evidence that it feeds on food and even brood of the ants.
Another ant trail invader is the tiny beetle Amphiotis marginata (Nitidulidae), which performs behaviors, which make its stay inside foraging trails of ants (seemingly associated with Lasius fuliginosus only) even necessary: Hölldobler & Kwapich (2017) had studied this beetle and its behaviors in detail. According to their findings, the beetle shows a complex behavior to beg for food from passing-by antworkers. Movements of its antennae are an important part of such a contact and might in the optimal case lead to a response by the ant to antennate back to the beetle’s head, and subsequently the beetle might be fed as if it were an ant conspecific. The authors describe that a beetle is not always successful. In the best case, hectic ants on their way home might simply oversee the invader (kleptoparasite), in the worst case, they might detect it as a stranger and would then attack it. For protection, the beetle is able to closely adhere to the ground with its claws, while the side edges of its elytrae are shaped downward to the ground. This way, ants are unable to lift such a beetle up and would continue their ways after a while. Hölldobler and Kwapich also mention that they observed cases, in which ants were nevertheless able to lift detected beetles up and then cut their legs off, which means the end of the beetles adventurous life. The beetle specimen in my footage found a bad position aside to an ant path, which was such busy that it was overseen and even unable to approach single workers to beg for food. The authors above found some indications that the beetle’s larvae might develop inside ant nests.
As an acarologist, I am of course interested in mites, which are associated with ant nests. I in detail was involved in research about non-native ants: in the USA (Lousiana) I did research about the leafcutter ant Atta texana and the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta, all in cooperation with John C. Moser. I even described a new species of astigmatid mites from S. invicta. I also did some unpublished research on native ants and thus know that also Lasius fuliginosus possesses greater numbers of mite-associates (Parasitiformes and Acariformes). As an example given in this video, we see a rather big mite of the Mesostigmata (Parasitiformes), which I could not determine closer based on my footage. Mesostigmata generally can appear as phoretic organisms (feeding for example on nematodes or mites inside the ant nests, but being carried by ant workers there), they can also invade by themselves and might appear as brood or kleptoparasites. The mite in my footage walked directly on the ant trail without being harmed. It might be like the ant cricket able to adopt ant nest scents to be protected.
Berlin, Plötzensee/ Rehberge, May 2020, copyrights Stefan F. Wirth
Berlin is a green city. Each district has several urban parks of different sizes. Besides Tiergarten and Tempelhofer Feld in the center and South of Berlin, the northern district Wedding has an unusually large park area, the „Rehberge“ (originally connected with Schillerpark and Goethepark), which is based on several sand dunes as relicts of the last glacial period. Before the responsible governmental institutions began in the 1920th to create a large city park with sports and nature sites, the sand hills were connected by extended swamps. Today the park, to which also the location Plötzensee is belonging, consists of a mosaic of different habitat types. A cut meadow area is made for people to rest or to practice sports of all kind. Adjacent lay forest areas with partly conifers mostly, wild growing (dry) meadows, sandy areas and wetlands (around ponds and lake Plötzensee).
There is quite a remarkable biodiversity inhabiting this urban nature refuge. Besides aquatic organisms and birds, arthropods, gastropods, lichens, mosses and different taxa of flowering plants inhabit the „Rehberge“. I did not try for this video project to seek for very rare species. Instead I just intended to record some (more or less) common macro life examples. Main purpose was a camera move through the park focused on the unusual perspective to the tiny life forms. Species names are visible underneath in the corresponding video parts.
Copyrights Stefan F. Wirth, Berlin, Rehberge/ Plötzensee, May 2020
This article is about a conflict since 2013 until today that I had and still have with the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, which I already accused in 2013 to perform a (homophobically motivated) bullying against me. In 2019 I finally complained to the petition committee of the Berliner Abgeordnetenhaus. They sent me statements from the museum management, Prof. Dr. Vogel, regarding my complaints, and according to that, they do not deny the bullying accusation, but stated :
"You have never been an employee of the museum and are therefore not under
the scope of the General Equal Treatment Act"
As I felt since 2013 so heavily bullied by that institution and in such an intensity that I despite of my very good CV-reputation could never receive any employment in a German research institution at all (abroad I could once). I in 2019 had asked at least for a certification by the museum that I worked with them for some years, wrote several peer-review publications for them and even organized the loaning of a very expensive light-microscope (Zeiss-Axiophot) from the FU Berlin for my use and the use of Dr. Jason Dunlop from the Museum of Natural History. The certification had helped to limit further bullying influences, when recently applying to research positions. Prof. Vogel answered to the petition committee the following regarding that point:
"A certificate can not be issued,
as you are not entitled to receive a certificate based on your
voluntary work in the museum"
A remarkable part of my mite specimens consisting of holo- and paratypes as well as voucher specimens is part of the museum collection being curated by Dr. Jason Dunlop. The museum denies me access to that material with one short interruption since 2013. I loaned that material to the museum, material, which I collected and prepared based on my private income only. The museum was asked in my petition to return it to me.
"You had been given the opportunity to examine the described
reference material from mites for your work. Another access to the museum
however, cannot be granted to you."
The mite material represents my so far lifework. To discover new species like Histiostoma palustre from Berlin or Histiostoma blomquisti from the red imported fire ant in Louisiana (USA), I invested all my energy, my sweat, my time, and in case of my ant work even my blood. The Museum of Natural History excludes me from the results of my own heavy productivity. the text indicates that the museum, represented by Prof. Vogel, has a right to decide about material, which I consider my property. I do not have a contract nor was I ever paid for these mite objects, I just rent them to the museum. I had repeatedly asked to receive my material back, as not only my access to it is denied by the museum, but and also the access for other scientists is limited.
"The collections of the Museum für Naturkunde
in Berlin are indeed a scientific infrastructure,
but they are not a public body for those working in science or for
other interested parties with an unrestricted access."
My intention was and is to transfer the types and vouchers permanently to another museum, which allows me and other scientists access to it, that my material can be a well suitable support for future scientific interests and research by me and others. I additionally doubt that the material is treated adequately as Mr. Dunlop is arachnologist, but no acarologist. The petition committee and the committee of „Regierender Bürgermeister von Berlin“ stated about the property conditions of my mite-collection:
"The ownership of those specific exhibits cannot be conclusively judged
(decided) from here (our side). To this extent,
only the ordinary legal action can answer this question."
I thus via this article ask lawyers with corresponding experiences to support me in this context, which I consider being a property offence even with the purpose to harm my public reputation! Committed lawyers please contact me via twitter private message.
What had happened originally to feel bullied by the museum and the former colleague Mr. Dr. Jason Dunlop?
I applied in June 2012, recommended by a colleague, who was researcher at the Karl-Franzens-Universität in Graz (Austria), for an official tender for a lecturer position at his university, the Karl-Franzens-Universität. The colleague G. was seemingly not sure about the integrity of the application procedure, as he wrote on 18.06.2012 at 7:37 am:
„Es ist auch nicht sicher, ob Herr S… (I shortened the full name, S. Wirth) für die Stelle nicht schon jemanden im Auge hat; also bitte erwarte Dir nicht zuviel.
It is also not certain whether Mr. S...
(I shortened the name, S. Wirth) already has someone in
mind for the position; so please don't expect too much."
I applied nevertheless believing in a fair process. But I indeed was officially informed that I didn’t get the position despite of my high reputation via Email on 06.08.2012 at 7:29 pm. Subsequently I asked for an explication for not having been chosen as candidate. I received an answer on 9.08.2012 at 12:33 pm by Mrs. C. H.-R.:
„Ich darf in diesem Zusammenhang betonen, dass diese Auswahlentscheidung auch vom Arbeitskreis für Gleichbehandlungsfragen der Universität bestätigt wurde.
In this context, I would like to emphasize
that this selection decision was also confirmed by
the university's work group for equal treatment."
That meant for me that the decision officially was made by preference for a person of female gender. I first asked for reasons not to be selected. Later additionally I complained against so called „equal treatment“ on 10.08.2012 to Mrs. R. with the words:
„…. Um den Verdacht auszuräumen, dass die Ausschreibung nur eine Formalität war, also eine Schein-Ausschreibung, und dass in Wirklichkeit jemand aus den eigenen Reihen die Stelle bekommen hat (und dies möglicherweise von vornherein feststand), bitte ich hiermit darum, mir mitzuteilen, wer die Stelle bekommen hat….
In order to dispel the suspicion that the
job advertisement was only a formality, i.e. a sham job advertisement,
and that in reality someone from your own ranks
got the position (and this may have been determined in advance),
I hereby ask you to let me know who got the job."
I got an answer only to my first question from that Mr. S., who is mentioned in the mail from 18.06.2012 at 7:37 further above. The answer is from 09.08.2012 at 8:16 pm:
„… Ich habe mir die Auswahl der Kandidatin bzw. des Kandidaten für diese Stelle nicht leicht gemacht. Es war in der Tat sehr knapp und Sie wären mit Sicherheit an Nummer 1 oder 2 gereiht worden, wenn bei dieser Ausschreibung die wissenschaftliche Erfahrung bzw. Leistung im Vordergrund gestanden wäre. Wir haben eine befristete und nicht verlängerbare Halbtags-Lecturerstelle besetzt, wo natürlich die spezifische Erfahrung in Bezug auf die abzuhaltenden Lehrveranstaltungen im Vordergrund war und hier waren andere KandidatInnen näher am Fach. So ist das nun einmal. …
...I didn't make it easy for myself to
select the candidate for this position. It was indeed very tight and you would certainly have
been ranked number 1 or 2 if the focus of this tender had been on scientific experience or performance.
We have filled a temporary and non-extendable half-day lecturer position, where of
course the specific experience in relation to
the courses to be held was in the foreground and
here other candidates were closer to the subject. That's the way it is....
I got never an official answer, who the position got, except of that it was a female candidate. but I already had before asked the colleague G. , who had answered already on 06.08. 2012 at 3:06 pm:
…wahrscheinlich darf ich das gar nicht mitteilen, deshalb bitte vertraulich behandeln, bis es offiziell ist: …… B… (I shortened the female name, S. Wirth), eine E. (i shortened the name, S. Wirth)-Schülerin.
... I am probably not allowed to tell you,
so please keep it confidential until it is official:
... B.(I shortened the female name),
an E. student (I shortened the name of a professor
of the same institution, a direct colleague of Mr. S. from above)."
Shocked by this mixture of by me perceived inbreeding, corruption and gender discrimination, I complained finally against the whole candidate finding procedure and officially asked for the repetition of the whole procedure, based on the fact that I am homosexual, and because homosexual men are more discriminated than women. The repetition application was approved, but it only (of course) confirmed the first decision.
Subsequently I perseived something like „a bomb“ of bullying activities against me in the German-spoken countries, especially in Berlin from side of the Museum of natural History, where I was volunteer (ehrenamtlicher Mitarbeiter) and where I had my official scientific affiliation, which I used to name in my scientific publications and from side of the FU Berlin (only periodically), where I was still teaching courses in evolutionary biology and ecology. but the worst consequences came from the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, where I had published already in 9 November 2011 a very successful paper with much international attention together with Dr. Jason Dunlop and technical scientists from Manchester (UK) :
Dunlop1 J. A., Wirth1 S., Penney2 D., McNeil3 A., Bradley3R.S., Withers3 P. J.,Preziosi2 R. F. (2011): A tiny phoretic mite deutonymph in Baltic amber recovered by X-ray computed tomography. Biology letters doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0923.
Apart from not being named as a first author together with Mr. Dunlop, which I only finally was informed about in 2013, as the small numbers on top of the author’s names seemed me to indicate an equal level of authorship, but it came out that it just referred to the same author’s address and apart from my name not being mentioned in the English-written press-releases of that very successful paper (about the tiniest animal ever in Baltic amber examined in a high resolution ct-magnification without the need to harm the amber itself) my name was from end 2012 to 23 September 2013 10:30 am entirely removed from side-publications of the same paper, especially in a poster presentation on the poster itself (much delayed finally added to it) and the corresponding online-abstract-publication (until 23 September 2013 10:30 am never added to it). A corresponding poster award, given by the Museum of Natural History, was not given too me at first, but to the other authors. I got it much delayed on my strict demand only.
I complained against these happenings and interpreted them as homophobically motivated bullying with a direct context to my complaints to the Karl-Franzes-University, where I had officially outed myself as gay and had officially criticized a perceived unclean application-procedure, being additionally based on gender unequality. My complaint referred in major parts to the happenings subsequently to the happenings in Graz. But I additionally considered the previous unexpected second authorship (I did all scientific work regarding the mite fossil interpretation including all paintings and most text parts, as I am and was the only expert for this group of mites in Germany) and the deletion of my name from international press releases as bullying too. This part of bullying as result of a harsh elbow mentality and putatively homophobic too, as there was a rumor of my homosexuality circulating at the FU before, as the female phd-student N.W. had interrogated me on a Christmas-celebration event in detail about my from her side assumed homosexuality.
As I got no excuses nor any compensations from side of the museum or from Mr. Dunlop, I partly needed to find harsh words to criticize, what happened to me from side of the museum (later also from side of the FU Berlin, but from there only periodically, they in 2019 wrote me without any difficulties a certification for my work in their house). Subsequently and finally in 23 September 2013 I was invited to a conference about my accusations by Mr. S. Junker (until today „Geschäftsführer Naturkundemuseum“) and some other witnesses. They did not intend to excuse, what happened to me, but let me know that I was no first author of the paper and thus had no rights about it. I then presented a print of the still in that time online published poster abstract being entirely without my name, which seemingly was unknown to the the people of that conference and also seemingly shocked them too. There was a visible feeling of unjustice noticeable in their faces, but still no excuses nor any try of compensation. I lately on this conference had announced to leave the museum based on these happenings and about a week later picked up all my belongings from there. Equipped with that harsh feeling of being bullied and of a general unjustice, I never did one step into that museum again. Except of once, where I needed to visit a further away building, belonging to it in order to receive the holotype of my species Bonomoia opuntiae, which I loaned for some time. I needed much to fight for that option, as my wish to see it was repeatedly denied. I then got it in harmed conditions. They excused that by saying it would sometimes happen to glycerine-slides (what I still doubt about), and I finally returned it in the same conditions. That is, what Mr. Vogel meant with writing that I once enough had had the opportunity to examine „the material“ for my scientific work. I never again got access to my own mite material. A terrible punishment for someone, who had invested all his life time into his acarological work.
To the petition commettee, Mr Vogel argued the restriction of access to my material in 2019 with the following words:
"You had to be banned from the house in 2013,
because you were facing the
museum staff continued in inappropriate
and expressed insulting ways
so that they felt threatened."
I was never in a written or a spoken way informed about such a ban to enter the house. Because of such a lack, a house ban did never happen. It was imposed subsequently in 2019. According to my perseption based on the will to negatively influencing my scientific reputation. Even in the situation, in which me as a victim I got no excuse or compensation, nobody had trusted additionally to even impose a penalty in those times. I never threatened somebody in my life, thus this is a mean defamation, and additionally my communication against the strongly perceived bullying cannot be named inappropriate at all. from the point of legal justice, in this context the term „felt“ is most important. Unfortunately, everybody can feel something, even, when it is not there. If you have a reason to feel threatened, you officially report an offence. If you just want to bully: say you felt threatened in public. Me as an intellectual and as a person, well known for his passion for nature research, has nothing to do with performing offences or feelings of being threatened. Bullying is a crime. I herewith want to refer to one of my last articles about bullying. But in Germany, it is not a crime according to criminal law. This makes it a perfect weapon to eliminate unwanted people.
But what is the sense of bullying from today back into the past by imposing a house ban, which in fact did not exist in this past, sounds not very efficiently, doesn’t it? That’s why Mr. Vogel needed a second paragraph to this topic, this time directed to the future:
"Also taking into account the rules
for good scientific practice
a weighting of interests by the museum management
...came to the result that the concerns of
the employees of the Museums are more worth of being
protected.The house ban is therefore upheld."
i interpret this statement as admission that the Museum of natural history in Berlin and Mr. Vogel acted aware and on purpose against the rules for good scientific practice. I as I said of course I did never threatened anybody and even everybody knows that, let’s not talk about, what they felt again, let’s talk about, what happened. After many years even to „upheld“ a house ban (elongation of a non existing ban in the past) is the most easiest way of bullying. One just needs to say to colleagues on a conference something like „Oh, Mr. so-and-so? He has a house ban in our institute. Do I need to say more?“. Very efficiently and fully destroying! Can I fight against the life-time house ban as basis for the denied access to my own mite collection? The petition committee answered this in the same document with no:
"The museum management is responsible
for exercising domiciliary rights within the framework of
their duties at discretion."
That means, in that case there is no option for legal actions against a house ban existing, because there are no legal reasons necessary to ban somebody from a house. It simply means for me and my perception: Bullying goes on!
But what about the facts? All happenings around the paper about the amber fossil? To that topic Mr. Vogel answered to the petition committee as follows:
"The museum had your other allegations
checked by an ombudsman, who
came to the conclusion that no scientific
misconduct by scientists
of the museum happened."
Who was this „ombudsman“, who decided that publishing an abstract with my drawings, my private photo of the recent mite Histiostoma blomquisti and with my text passages, and all that without my name at all is NO misconduct by the corresponding scientist(s)? Was this ombudsman the cleaning woman of the museum, who thus could earn some extra-salary? Or is the important information in this statement the term „of the museum“? Does it mean, it would be of course a misconduct, when performed by any scientists, but not, when they belong to the museum staff? As Mr. Vogel intends to keep all critical eyes away from the reputation of his famous museum? I subsequently instructed an ombudsman-committee (a legal and well known in scientific fields one) from my side too. I unfortunately am not allowed to publish details of the corresponding correspondence. But the correspondence is well saved. Purpose of my ombudsman-committee was only about to get my mite collection permanently transferred to another museum. I then rejected their indeed finally small success, according to which the collection would have been loaned to another museum for the duration of two years, as fully inappropriate.
But why would the management of the Museum of Natural History react in such unacceptable and harming ways on my complaints from 2013 about a specific researcher and its behaviors against me? My answer is: bullying is the most used weapon in Germany, but it exists nowhere. Institutions fear for their reputation and seemingly even prefer the destruction of the reputation of the victims. My life and career is since 2013 remarkably harmed. I just survive based on my enormous energy and productivity and passion for research. I herewith ask my readers for support. Wherever I apply to in the field of scientific research or museum work, it is denied without invitations at least for a first interview. Is there anybody out there, who has a feeling for justice and even made bad experiences with bullying and seemingly corrupt position procedures in the world of natural sciences, especially biology him/herself? Please contact me via private message on twitter.
Homophobic tendencies are unfortunately generally widespread in the fields of evolutionary biology. On 3 August 2020 the well known evolutionary biologist from the university of Kassel, Prof. Ulrich Kutschera, was sentenced by a trial for insulting homosexuals by bringing them close to pedophilia to pay a penalty of 6000 Euro.
The judgment is not yet legally binding.
He in detail stated besides other things in an interview with the catholic church (Internet portal kath.net):
„Sollte das Adoptionsrecht für Mann-Mann bzw. Frau-Frau-Erotikvereinigungen kommen, sehe ich staatlich geförderte Pädophilie und schwersten Kindesmissbrauch auf uns zukommen.
Should the adoption rights come for man-man or woman-woman
erotic associations, I see state-sponsored pedophilia
and serious child abuse coming our way. "
I had much email communication with U. Kutschera about male homosexuality in general and his assumed case of a tendency towards pedophilia under certain circumstances. He could not prove based on serious scientific findings his incredible theories to me!
But back to the topic of bullying:
Let’s play a little game with you, my readers: Just theoretically, imagine the author of this article would apply to the position offer of the museum of natural history in Potsdam, just because his CV according to his professional self-assessment exactly fits, to what they are looking for? Would he have a chance to be at least invited for a first interview? Let’s indeed regard it as a given fact that his qualifications are fitting very, very good to the job profile. So: Would he be invited?…. What? So many readers voting for „no“? Why? What did you say?…. „Because he is „gay“? Oh, no…..no,no,…. that one goes too far „because he even might be a pedophilist and because state-sponsored pedophilia needs to be prevented“. Ah….please again! That one is interesting:… „because he fights against bullying, which he perceives to have happened against him from another museum of natural history very nearby and because he is gay“. Really interesting, but I have a question: Where should he apply then, always under the conditions of very well fitting qualifications?….. I see, so you mean „may be in a small and isolated village in the Bavarian Alps, inhabited by non-conservative-religious people, let’s say a neo-hippie-community, who pays his scientific work with home grown potatoes“?…… I agree, but still, I have doubts…. What did you recommend? ….“Not Germany and no well known countries at all“? But where then?….. „Timbuktu“? ?? Why not! I like this idea very much.
Citations in my text out of the document from the petition committee of Berlin about my complaints against Naturkundemuseum Berlin were changed from indirect speech to direct speech, staying in the second person singular.