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Odeon Theater (Historical)

Odeon Odeonsplatz is a sight to see. It is a magnificant square. As you pass a statue of Ludwig I on his big bronze horse, you come to the entrance of what used to be the Odeon Theater. It was here that Ulrichs made his famous speech in 1867. Fortunately, the city printed a booklet on the history of the Odeon. Here is Ulrichs' account of his visit to the Odeon as well as pictures of the four-page booklet.

Odeon inside "Until my dying day I will look back with pride when on August 29, 1867, I found the courage to come face to face in battle against the specter of an age-old, wrathful hydra which for time immemorial has been injecting poison into me and into men of my nature. Many have been driven to suicide because all their happiness in life was tainted. Indeed, I am proud that I found the courage to deal the initial blow to the hydra of public contempt.

"What gave me strength at the last moment finally to mount the speaker's box at the Association of German Jurists was the awareness that at that very moment, the distant gaze of comrades of my nature was fixed on me. Should I return their trust with cowardice? Also giving me strength were thoughts still fresh, indeed, still smoldering, of a suicide caused by the ruling system, in Bremen in 1866. And also a letter I received as I was on my way to our session, informing me that a colleague had remarked about me, 'Numa is afraid to take action.'

Odeon in Ulrichs' day -- and bombed in 1944 "In spite of all this, moments of weakness continued to assail me, and an evil voice whispered in my ear: 'There's still time for silence, Numa. You need only to renounce the words you have prepared. Then your heart palpitations shall cease!'

"But then it seemed to me as if another voice began to whisper. It was the warning not to be silent, the voice that had warned my predecessor Heinrich Hössli in Glarus [Switzerland] thirty years before, and which at that moment loudly resounded in my mind with all its force: 'Speak, or be judged!'

Front and Back "I should like to be worthy of Hössli. I, too, did not desire to come under the hand of the gravedigger without having openly attested to my oppressed inalienable rights and without having broken through a narrow passage to freedom, even if with less renown than a greater name of the past.

"With these thoughts and with my heart pounding in my breast, I mounted the speaker's box on August 29, 1867, in the Grand Hall of the Odeon Theater in front of more than 500 jurists of Germany, among whom were members of the German parliament and a Bavarian prince. I mounted with God!

Odeon in Ulrichs' day "...There was apparent amazement and scorn; isolated calls to adjourn... There was a tempestuous outcry, 'Adjourn, adjourn!'...But now outbursts as loud as the previous ones came from the opposite side of the hall, 'No, no, continue, continue...'

Odeon now "...There was a chaotic uproar and violent interruption. Uncommon excitement in the gathering on that side that previously called for adjournment...The president says, 'I request that the speaker continue reading his proposal in Latin.' But I took my notes and left the speaker's box..."

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