Colonial goods shop

Colonial goods shop at Limbach Stübchen
Colonial goods shop at Limbach Stübchen

[Rhine Province, ca. 1906/1907] In the “Limbach-Stübchen” Jakob also offered colonial goods. In the guest room, Jakob also served cocoa and coffee. Often the neighboring children did their schoolwork here.

As in the large Viennese coffee houses, the guests in his “Stübchen” could read the available newspapers extensively and sometimes even write something.

Coffee, cocoa and tropical fruit

In the room on the left, where in the past Grandma Limbach had displayed her hats, was now his grocery store. It was a wonderful, lovingly furnished store. On the shelves were Jacob’s goods: cocoa from Africa, coffee from Central America, chocolate and cane sugar from the Caribbean, tobacco, and tropical fruits. It was not a particularly profitable business, as he very often gave out free cocoa to the neighborhood children. But Jacob did not have to fear for his home and his business. After all, Count Csabany had given his faithful servant a more than generous sum as start-up capital.

Renowned companies advertised their cocoa beans to come from German colonies only. When Jacob bought goods, he made sure that his trading partners were honorable merchants. Often Jacob’s thoughts wandered into these distant lands. Togo, Cameroon, Southwest and East Africa, Kaiser Wilhelm Land on New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and the Marshall Islands. What were they like? Did the great powers really have a right at all to divide the world among them? Many whites considered themselves far superior to all others, and even thought it was scientifically proven. This led to a sense of mission to bring one’s own civilization to the rest of the world. Jacob’s interest in nature was accompanied by a deep love for her. Believing as he was, he could not imagine that God had deliberately brought higher and inferior creatures into the world.

Bad news from German Southwest Africa

Then there had been terrible news from German Southwest Africa. In 1904, the Herero, and a little later the Nama, had risen up, murdered German settlers, and burned settlements to the ground. The troops had taken cruel revenge for this; it had been a campaign of extermination. In the Reichstag, the Center Party in particular sharply criticized German colonial policy. Together with the Social Democrats, they voted against additional funds for the fight against the Herero and Nama. As a result, Reich Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow had dissolved the Reichstag. With the slogan “against the Center and Social Democracy,” his coalition won, while the Social Democrats suffered heavy losses.

Jakob had also voted for the Center. He liked the upright Member of Parliament Matthias Erzberger, who sharply denounced the colonial scandals in Africa.


And yet, Jakob would love to see one of these faraway places. It was Tendaguru in East Africa, where they were digging up the big animals that people were talking about – dinosaurs.

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