Born in Detroit – last chapter in Berlin.
What a great life!
Softball was not Dave's first love. His real passion was books!
For over 2 decades he was a pillar of the literary community, as owner of Books In Berlin. Other book shops have come and gone, but Books In Berlin was always solid, stoic, and cleverly progressive. Dave used to love riding his bike, day and night. He often said that this was due to his opposition to the oil industry, and the unnecessary wars that they cause. He was hit by a taxi exactly on the date of the 70 year anniversary of the end of World War II. This is what we might call Synchronicity, like that excellent book by C.G. Jung. It is ironic, indeed, as Dave was a political animal. And yet it's perfect, somehow.
Let's remember Dave as he was: intellectual, sports fan, music fan, vegetarian, commie, generous Jew, terrible cook, lovable klutz.
David Solomon was a wonderful man.
He had many lives: bookseller by day, sports fan by night, helping hand and friend ALWAYS. Dave loved people and he loved politics. He worked often with Democrats Abroad, and was constantly urging everyone to vote. He was quite fond of saying that he truly believes “in all that nice Democratic shit!”
He fought for free speech and free will, wherever he went.
Dave had a heart of gold, and was always eager to help others. His smile was contagious. He had a great sense of humor. Dave could diffuse any situation just by cracking a joke. He had a large vocabulary and razor sharp wit. He could sting you with comic precision, or even shock random strangers, provoking raucous laughter!
One time I took him backstage to meet the British cult band New Model Army. They're basically the band that Bono and U2 wish that they were. New Model Army played a rockin' good show at Huxley's Neue Welt. The singer, Justin Sullivan, was telling us a story about how they weren't let into the US during the Bush era. Dave blurted, “You think you're hardcore, eh? My father is the last prominent Communist in America! We're all trying to get OUT!” Everyone started laughing, including Justin (I've never seen anyone make him laugh before)…
Dave's father, Mark Solomon, was a guest professor at the Humboldt University back in 1988. This was in the DDR during the time of the Berlin Wall, and they both have claimed that it was “quite an adventure!” It was this initial encounter within the divided city that Dave cut his teeth politically. It also instilled a great love of Berlin, that lasted until his dying day.
Yes, Dave truly loved this City. It was his home, and Books In Berlin was his base, his home plate. He always had a story to tell, especially if the Red Sox were playing.
I learned alot from Dave, volumes. If you had a question about anything, just ask Dave. He was a walking bookstore, and knew endless and amazing historical facts. Dave and I travelled to Prague to go to a concert. In the main train station, he pointed out a statue of US President Woodrow Wilson. He launched into a soliloquey about how Wilson had pushed for Czech independence during and after World War I. They even named the station after him: Wilsonovo Nádraží, until the Nazis changed it. And President Wilson created the Federal Reserve, he said, a watershed event for America. He also initiated a major bank reform, making them “public, not private.” How timely! If Dave hadn't pointed this out, we may have just walked right on past it.
That is also fittingly ironic, as the very first time that I ever walked into Books In Berlin, I was looking for a book by the former Czech President Václav Havel. The book was called, “Living In Truth.” It was out of print, but Dave found it somewhere and got it for me.
I have a million-and-one Bookstore Dave stories. Should I tell you about the time he fell asleep while making toast and smoked out the whole neighborhood? (2 fire trucks came, one ambulance, nobody hurt, all smoke and no fire.) Or maybe the one where he had a classic Dave rock 'n' roll terets moment at Harry Belafonte's book signing? Outrageous! One thing for sure, Dave was never boring!
Dave seemed to epitomize freedom and free thought, especially whenever he would hop on his bicycle. We had many great rides, and great discussions. Usually we rode to the Clash bar in Kreuzberg, or the Anti-War Cafe in Mitte. He also loved the Schokoladen, one of the last communal bar/squats in the city. Dave was a man of the people.
Now, the entire block where his accident occurred is being demolished by investors who want to build (yet another) luxury hotel. Maybe Dave's death is a WARNING TO US ALL: whenever and wherever the powers that be start investing enormous sums of money, without caring about the people, there will be disaster. Anyone walking or driving past that corner will be confused by missing bike lanes, scaffolding, and fences all the way out to the curb. For what? Just another profit scheme. Yes, the construction company and investors are culpable in Dave's death, not merely the errant taxi driver. Shame on you, Money grubbers!
Dave was one of a kind. Berlin has lost a great friend!
We will miss you, buddy…
REQUIESCAT IN PACE!
IN VINO VERITAS!
Written by Todd Calico