On the evening of Wednesday, November 22, 1961, a US Army "Duty Train" left Berlin for West Germany, traveling through Soviet-occupied East Germany, when a young East German, in a bid to escape, jumped aboard the train
when it slowed for a curve, and was let aboard. The incident was eventually dramatized as a film called Stop Train 349
, or Incident at Marienborn
Danube Revisited: Starting in 1958, Inge Morath dedicated years of her career to photographing daily life along the Danube River, which flows from Southern Germany to the edge of the Black Sea in Eastern Romania.... In early July, eight female photographers set out to follow Morath’s path along the Danube for five weeks.
In the records of human conflicts, there are at least three Chicken Wars. Two left little mark on the world at large, and the third resulted in some strange work-arounds for heavy tariffs. The first was Wojna kokosza, the Chicken or Hen War of 1537
, when an anti-royalist and anti-absolutist rokosz (rebellion) by the Polish nobility resulted in near-extinction of local "kokosz" (an egg laying hen), but little else. The second was an odd spin-off of the more serious War of the Quarduple Alliance
that lasted from 1717 to 1720. Though most of the activity happened in Europe, there were some battles in North America. The Texas manifestation was the capture of some chickens by French forces from a Spanish mission, and a costly overreaction by Spanish religious and military men
. The third Chicken War
was a duel of tariffs during the Cold War, with the only lasting casualty being the availability of foreign-made light trucks in the United States
. [more inside]
On the 25th of May, 2014, Martin Sonneborn of Die PARTEI became the first member of his party to enter the EU parliament.
Currently using the slogan, "Inhalte überwunden
" or "Overcome substance", the
Partei für Arbeit, Rechtstaat, Tierschutz, Elitenförderung und basisdemokratische Initiative (Party for Labour, Rule of Law, Animal Protection, Promotion of Elites and Grassroots Initiatives) was founded in 2004 by the staff of Titanic
, a satire magizine. [more inside]
In the past
week, Germany has found and fired an American mole in their intelligence agency, investigated
another suspect in their defense
ministry, and asked the CIA
station chief to leave the country
. Media reports offer
view of a post Cold
War world grappling
with the unexpected
* - spy vs spy
among friends and
traditional intelligence targets
Russia and China play the part
bystanders. [more inside]
Are you in Leipzig with €10 burning a hole in your pocket? You probably shouldn't spend it on this hilariously crappy Star Wars exhibition
. [more inside]
With the completion of the group stages, three quarters of the matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup
have been played. Now, it's a straight round-by-round elimination
for the remaining 16 teams in their quest to reach the final. There's been biting
, alternative commentary
, mood swings
, (allegedly) sulky England players
, exciting matches
, the USA vs Ronaldo
, Europeans taking early return flights
, deep analysis
, a fantasy league
and many goals
- but who will finally lift the trophy
in Rio's Estádio do Maracanã
on Sunday 13th July? [more inside]
Works by Monet, Picasso, and Renoir are among the 60 additional works found in the Salzburg home of Cornelius Gurlitt
, who made headlines last year when it was revealed that he had more than 1400 works stashed in his Munich apartment that had been lost or stolen during WWII. This comes just weeks after Gurlitt indicated for the first time that he is now willing to consider returning works
that are determined to have been looted by the Nazis. Determining rightful ownership of the works is an ongoing
Here's a video about the swedish part model
(aka parental leave) and an intro to German Elternzeit
(Parent's time). In Germany "both parents can claim parental benefits (...) the benefit is calculated at 65 percent of the parent's previous monthly salary, though it gets boosted slightly if they were earning €1,000 or less. (...)" ... "The parent intending to take time off work must apply seven weeks in advance, and must limit their periods of leave to two during the three years - but each period can be as long as they want." Here's the offical guide to working in Germany (PDF)
by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
On Wednesday, after retiring in September, former Germany international Thomas Hitzlsperger announced he is gay in an interview with Die Zeit (excerpt
, de) and a statement
(PDF, en) on his website, followed by an interview with the Guardian
. He discussed the decision and the aftermath of the announcement with Gary Lineker on Football Focus
(1:00-4:15). [more inside]
"The most beautiful girl or woman in the world would be a matter of indifference to me, but tall soldiers
—they are my weakness." Thus confessed Frederick William
, second king of Prussia, whose passion compelled the creation of an elite regiment of six-foot-plus grenadiers
. Recruitment, diplomatic gifts, and the occasional abduction of a spindly peasant or acromegalic tradesman supplied thousands of "giants" for the ranks; experiments with breeding programs and stretching machines were somewhat less successful. Frederick II, Frederick William's son and successor, dispersed the regiment when he succeeded to power in 1740. The Potsdam Giants had never actually seen combat, the main part of their duty having been to drill and parade before their enraptured king. [more inside]
This is The Big Picture, an official television report of the United States Army, produced for the armed forces and the American people. Now to show you part of The Big Picture here is Master Sargent Stuart Queen
The series consists of ~822 documentaries produced by the United States Army Signal Corps Army Pictorial Service from 1951 to 1971 to educate both soldiers in uniform and the American public about military concerns as well as things like historical battles, world geography, famous soldiers, the latest weapons, space exploration, strategic objectives, peaceful initiatives, and the life of a soldier. Being a product of the Federal Government it belongs to the the American people, and is thus freely available to all to copy and distribute. Most can now be viewed on archive.org [more inside]
Don't believe France's reputation as a country where sexual peccadillos are always overlooked. After a vote by the country's National Assembly on Wednesday, it has just joined a growing group of European nations where buying sex is now illegal. France is not alone in its fresh efforts to curb prostitution. The move follows similar bans in Sweden and Norway, while other European countries are also scaling back laissez-faire prostitution policies. Germany is poised to change its liberal sex trade laws, while Ireland is also debating a measure similar to France's. Is the end of legal prostitution in Europe in sight?
(Don't miss the deep and interesting links found within the article.) [more inside]
Tonight marks the 75th anniversary of the November Pogroms
throughout Germany, known as Kristallnacht
is live-tweeting the events of the night (in German.)
"Hardly anyone at the time would have believed that I would still be here today."
Christiane Felscherinow, better known as Christiane F., has published Mein Zweites Leben
(My Second Life), the follow-up to her (in)famous autobiography
, which was originally published when she was 17. Christiane's story became a sensation in Germany and a cult classic around the world (as well as the basis for a cult film
, with a soundtrack by David Bowie), and has recently been republished in America in a new translation
About 1,500 modernist masterpieces – thought to have been looted by the Nazis – have been confiscated from the flat of an 80-year-old man from Munich, in what is being described as the biggest artistic find of the postwar era.
World War I in Color
is a documentary designed to make the Great War come alive for a 21st-century audience. The events of 1914-18 are authoritatively narrated by Kenneth Branagh, who presents the military and political overview, while interviews with historians add different perspectives in six 48 minute installments annotated within. [more inside]
There has been much debate about how to respond to Russia's recent anti-LGBT laws in the context of the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics. This previous post on the Blue
covers it all in fine detail.
In potentially related news, Germany unveiled their uniforms their athletes will wear
during the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as during medal presentations. [more inside]
released by Glenn Greenwald from trove leaked by Edward Snowden show that the agency officially viewed arguments about 'due process' to be an 'adversary propaganda theme'
, listed alongside military threats to drones. [more inside]
We've seen the Stasi Fashion, but how about the Stasi camera technology & wireless bugs?
High resolution photographs from the Stasi Museum.
Top Secret: Images from the Stasi Archives A collection of images from the book, including more disguises, images of house searches, hand-to-hand combat techniques, hidden cameras, and even fake beards, is available free of charge at Simon Menner’s website. [more inside]
"Brigitte Höss lives quietly on a leafy side street in Northern Virginia. She is retired now, having worked in a Washington fashion salon for more than 30 years. She recently was diagnosed with cancer and spends much of her days dealing with the medical consequences. Brigitte also has a secret that not even her grandchildren know. Her father was Rudolf Höss, the Kommandant of Auschwitz." [more inside]
On September 22, Germany will hold its 18th federal election
since 1949 and the first since the European financial crisis. At the moment
, the government is made up of the black
coalition between the Christian Democratic Union and the Free Democratic Party, led by Angela Merkel, who have held power since 2009. The Social Democratic Party
, The Left
and Alliance 90/The Greens
sit in opposition. [more inside]
"We’ve suspected for some time that the French and German governments’ refusal to take part in the Iraq war had something to do with their access to independent overhead imagery satellites. Briefly, France and Germany did (with the HELIOS and SAR Lupe programs respectively), and didn’t take part at all. Spain and Italy had some access to French imagery and had advanced plans to get their own. They made a limited commitment. The UK, Australia, Denmark, and the ROK relied on the United States and were, in a phrase that should be better known outside Australia, all the way with LBJ." -- Alex Harrowell explains how the absence of independent satellite intelligence may have helped the UK into the War on Iraq [more inside]
The Baseballs are a German rock and roll band founded in Berlin in 2007. They became popular with 50s and 60s style rock cover versions of modern hits such as "Umbrella
","Hot n Cold
","Call Me Maybe
", "Tik Tok
", and "Poker Face
When you think of Berlin, you think of Cold War thrillers, the Wall, Cabaret
and reggea? You do if you know about Seeed
, Berlin's finest reggea/dancehall/hiphop music group. What finer way to unwind on a Tuesday evening than with a few of their best songs, like their first hit, Dickes B
, an ode to their hometown or perhaps Aufstehn
(featuring Ceelo Green), Ding
, Music Monks
, Wonderful Life
are more your style. [more inside]
A snapping turtle, dubbed Lotti,
has been terrorising the town of Irsee, Germany
since last week, where it bit a boy who was swimming, severing his achilles tendon. [more inside]
- the British Obsession with Germany and it's industrial Power continues (recent MeFi Discussion here
) - while Top Gear
tries to show with a Tribute that British Car Manufacturing
is still alive and kicking.
Madiha Tahir, a journalist and PhD candidate, presents a transcript of her interaction with NSA staff who came to recruit at the summer language program where she is studying.
"I had intended to go simply to hear how the NSA is recruiting at a moment when it’s facing severe challenges," says Tahir. Recruiters apparently discussed their "fun" after work, doing karaoke, having costume parties, and getting drunk. One of their slides asked the language students at the event "Are you good at manipulating people?" In the Q&A, Tahir and other students held their feet to the fire over surveillance of Germany and other EU countries.
Nike Wagner, the composer's great-granddaughter, puts the question that this raises in these terms: "Should we allow ourselves to listen to his works with pleasure, even though we know that he was an anti-Semite?" There's a bigger issue behind this question: Can Germans enjoy any part of their history in a carefree way?
"[Peer Steinbrück, the chancellor-candidate] is a good man, with quite a bold programme for ‘social justice’.
Tax increases for the better-off, a proper minimum wage, dual citizenship for immigrants, less elbowing individualism and more solidarity in a society where das Wir entscheidet – ‘it’s the we that counts.’ The German public, surprisingly, mostly agree that increasing taxes is a sound idea. What they resent is that the idea comes from the SPD. In the same way, the Augsburg programme is widely thought to make sense, but the voters don’t fancy Peer Steinbrück. They are pissed off with Angela Merkel’s governing coalition, but reluctant to let go of Mutti’s hand. In short, the public are in one of those sullen, unreasonable moods which make politicians despair." The LRB reports from Germany. [via
My subject is War, and the pity of War.
The Poetry is in the pity…
All a poet can do today is warn.
Two 20th century choral masterpieces share more than Biblical texts. Benjamin Britten’s well known War Requiem, Op. 66
and Rudolf Mauersberger’s
lesser known Wie liegt die Stadt so wüst
were both written in response to the destruction of medieval architecture and major churches in WWII bombings.
Since 1956, the cities of Coventry and Dresden have been twinned
to promote peace and understanding. [more inside]
German Brewers Say Fracking Will Mess Up the Country's Beer (via The Atlantic)
Brewing the world's best hefeweizen
, you see, requires great drinking water -- and fracking
, they said, "could reduce or even completely eliminate the security of the water supply." In a letter
(in German), the organization (Deutscher Brauer-Bund) argued that this newfangled way of extracting energy would conflict with Europe's oldest food purity law, the Reinheitsgebot
Days after Hitler’s suicide a group of American soldiers, French prisoners, and, yes, German soldiers defended an Austrian castle against an SS division—the only time Germans and Allies fought together in World War II. Andrew Roberts on a story so wild that it has to be made into a movie.
, a collection of photographs of every U-Bahn
station in Berlin, organised by line and showing the variety of architectural styles
in the system. There is an interview with the photographer, Kate Seabrook, here
The Virtual Power Plant:
"Critics of renewables have always claimed that sun and wind are only intermittent producers of electricity and need fossil fuel plants as back-up to make them viable. But German engineers have proved this is not so
." A pilot program
funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment
offers a rebuttal to critics who claim renewable energy sources have an insurmountable variability problem
is a collaborative collection of more than 3,000 royalty-free
photos from World War II's Battle of Normandy and its aftermath. (Photos date from June 6 to late August 1944). The main link goes to the photostream. You can also peruse sets
, which include 2700+ images from the US