The “Firmament-Bauer“ on Unkenberg

Here to stay

The Westphalian, the youngest of nine children, grew up in the baroque Schwarzenraben castle with its own moat. Later, he worked in the Rhineland as a graphics entrepreneur in a very stressful industry, until 13 years ago when his doctor warned him, “If you keep going like this, you’ll be six feet under in ten years time!” Emanuel Ketteler retired from his company and acquired the Daxhof at 900 m above sea-level with his wife Sandra in 2008. Because this farm seems to be so near heaven, the householders there have forever been known as the “firmament farmers”. But mainly people simply say “Dax” to the 69-year old, who is very active in the museum association in Unken. He takes care of public relations, designs posters for exhibitions and otherwise mucks in eagerly. Large special exhibitions which he has dealt with so far have dealt with the timber industry; the skiing legends of Unken and the fate of soldiers during the First World War. There is currently a big anniversary exhibition running about the village fire brigade and band. The local poachers, who mainly hunted out of pure need, are also currently an interesting topic in the Kalchofengut. At some point Emanuel hopes to create a travelling theatre dedicated to these “mountain rebels”. “There are enough historically interesting things in Unken”, he says, smiling. The museum team is small but it is regularly stoked with ideas by the custodian Sepp Auer.

The inhabitants made it easy for him and his wife to feel at home in Unken, says Emanuel Ketteler, who gushes, “The location of Unken is also ideal. In half an hour you can be at the airport; in three quarters of an hour in the cosmopolitan city of Salzburg.” But he prefers to retreat to his little paradise high above Unken and listen to the birds chirping early in the morning. With complete peace of mind, he chops wood for the kitchen oven and thinks about graphic designs for new projects. “I have come back to my roots, so to speak. My mother was an Upper Austrian from St. Florian”, he reveals. And because he thinks in “stories”, one springs immediately to mind: in the imperial era, his grandfather was a regulator of the black market. When his grandmother once acquired a piece of meat on the quiet, she had to take the, in those days, very rare treat back immediately.

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