|Karl Buchholz on left. The other man is probably one of his sons.|
While reading about German immigration to Colombia, I discovered the remarkable story of Karl Buchholz, a German bookstore owner who became a minor legend in Bogotá.
|The old Buchholz store on |
But then fascism tightened its grip on Germany. Buchholz's political leanings aren't clear, but he certainly believed in freedom of thought. In the face of the Nazis' totalitarian laws dictating which books could be read and which paintings displayed, Buchholz continued secretly showing work by artists considered 'degenerate' by the Nazi authorities.
If he'd been caught, Buchholz quite possibly could have been sent to a concentration camp and even murdered.
|The Buchholz building today. |
(Background, in center.)
After the war, Buchholz emigrated to Bogotá, where he opened a bookstore on Jimenez Ave. and Carrera 8. Eventually, Buchholz and his sons Alberto and Godula opened several stores around the city. His flagship store on Jimenez, which occupied about five stores of the building, also included an art gallery. So, besides courage, give the man credit for persistance and believing in himself.
The area continues to be Bogotá's central bookselling district. Neighboring booksellers remember Buchholz's as being the best bookstore in Bogotá. Today, its building is occupied by a lottery store with offices above it, perhaps a sad commentary on cultural trends.
|Bogotá's central book district today. |
School texts predominate over literature.
Beginning in 1960, Buchholz also published the arts magazine Eco, which lasted 24 years.
But with Buchholz's death in 1992 at age 91 and his son Alberto's death in an auto accident six years later, the stores closed, ending an important literary chapter in Bogotá.
See also: Buchholz's passion for literature.
The Buchholz Bookstore-Gallery of Bogotá.
Did a Great Colombian Hide a Nazi Past?
Shoa Remembrance in Bogotá
German Immigrants in Colombia
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours