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Police Within Reach

Stasi office interiors.
posted by The corpse in the library on Sep 12, 2014 - 24 comments

Stop Train 349

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.
posted by pjern on Sep 9, 2014 - 10 comments

ICI FINIT LA CVLTVRE ALLEMANDE

On this day one hundred years ago, Imperial German soldiers who had peacefully arrived in the Belgian city of Leuven (Fr: Louvain), having taken hostages and accepted the parole of its mayor on behalf of its citizens, without warning set fire to the city and massacred its inhabitants forever altering the city, its university's library, and the course of the war.
  • Belgian Judicial Report on the Sacking of Louvain in August 1914
  • The destruction and rebuilding of the Louvain Library: claim and counterclaim
  • [more inside]
    posted by Blasdelb on Aug 25, 2014 - 13 comments

    "Whoever heard of anybody being interested in a river?"

    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.
    posted by scody on Aug 8, 2014 - 4 comments

    The three Chicken Wars, and their (less than) lasting impacts

    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]
    posted by filthy light thief on Aug 4, 2014 - 15 comments

    Die PARTEI hat immer recht

    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]
    posted by frimble on Jul 31, 2014 - 11 comments

    'that's so stupid that one can only cry at the foolishness of it.'

    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 an interesting view of a post Cold War world grappling with the unexpected* - spy vs spy among friends and allies, while traditional intelligence targets Russia and China play the part of bemused bystanders. [more inside]
    posted by infini on Jul 11, 2014 - 56 comments

    What an incredible smell you've discovered.

    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]
    posted by Faint of Butt on Jul 7, 2014 - 35 comments

    2014 FIFA World Cup: From the Round of 16 to the Winner

    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]
    posted by Wordshore on Jun 26, 2014 - 1838 comments

    3000 Feet to Daylight

    Most expensive rescue in German history as man begins second week trapped 3000 feet underground in cave — It may take rescuers a week to evacuate speleologist Johann Westhauser after he was injured by a rockfall in the depths of Germany's Riesending Cave.
    posted by cenoxo on Jun 14, 2014 - 54 comments

    Oh, yeah, about that Monet in the other house...

    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 and complicated process. (Previously)
    posted by scody on Feb 11, 2014 - 20 comments

    'To Europe—Yes, but Together With Our Dead'

    What happens to a nation that's suffered a great crime? What happens when the wrong can't be made right?
    posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jan 28, 2014 - 32 comments

    Livin' like a Swede

    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
    posted by mathiu on Jan 26, 2014 - 22 comments

    To take the public debate a step further

    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]
    posted by hoyland on Jan 12, 2014 - 16 comments

    The Giants of Potsdam

    "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]
    posted by Iridic on Jan 9, 2014 - 18 comments

    The Big Picture

    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]
    posted by Blasdelb on Dec 10, 2013 - 6 comments

    Across Europe, a Growing Sense That Legalized Prostitution Isn't Working

    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]
    posted by Blasdelb on Dec 8, 2013 - 87 comments

    "Save one life, save the world."

    In 1988, Nicholas Winton appeared on the BBC program "That's Life." [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Nov 24, 2013 - 12 comments

    "Wenn sie Juden sind, können wir nichts machen"

    Tonight marks the 75th anniversary of the November Pogroms throughout Germany, known as Kristallnacht. @9Nov38 is live-tweeting the events of the night (in German.)
    posted by muckster on Nov 9, 2013 - 29 comments

    Europe's junkie princess, 35 years later

    "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. (Previously)
    posted by scody on Nov 6, 2013 - 13 comments

    "Degenerate Art" found in man's house.

    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.
    posted by R. Mutt on Nov 4, 2013 - 125 comments

    WWI in Color

    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]
    posted by Blasdelb on Oct 31, 2013 - 60 comments

    EU Immigration

    Immigrant boat headed to Italy, capsizes, more than 200 people in the water. A little more than a week after a boat sinking that killed over 300 people, the Italian navy has reported another boat is sinking. As refugees flow into the EU, looking for asylum, countries are torn between saving lives and stymieing the flow of people pouring into countries already under strain from austerity. [more inside]
    posted by zabuni on Oct 11, 2013 - 14 comments

    "This is just a fashionable jacket."

    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]
    posted by dry white toast on Oct 2, 2013 - 43 comments

    Snowden documents shed light on Shiban, Akbar, and Trojanov cases

    New documents 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]
    posted by jeffburdges on Oct 1, 2013 - 80 comments

    Sleeping with the enemy

    When German soldiers arrived in Paris in the summer of 1940, there were so few of them that they had to win hearts and minds. The untold story of one young couple.
    posted by gaspode on Sep 27, 2013 - 7 comments

    Respect to the men in the icecream van

    It's the weekend, time to start raving. If you adore hardcore, like it loud, are needed on the dancefloor and keep jumping all over the world (even Maaskantje), then you know there's always the sound above your hair and you're already hyper hyper (shoutout). Now Ramp it up (it's only logical), reach somewhere deep inside, move your ass and go Faster, Harder, Scooter.

    By the way, how much is the fish?
    posted by MartinWisse on Sep 21, 2013 - 18 comments

    Stasi Tech

    We've seen the Stasi Fashion, but how about the Stasi camera technology & wireless bugs? High resolution photographs from the Stasi Museum.
    posted by thewalrus on Sep 18, 2013 - 6 comments

    The declassified fashions of East German spies

    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]
    posted by KokuRyu on Sep 18, 2013 - 27 comments

    The Kommandant's Daughter

    "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]
    posted by zarq on Sep 10, 2013 - 81 comments

    Unentschlossenheit Zweitausendunddreizehn

    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/yellow 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]
    posted by frimble on Sep 8, 2013 - 37 comments

    Why the UK went to war when France and Germany didn't: satellites

    "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]
    posted by MartinWisse on Aug 19, 2013 - 13 comments

    Rock und Roll deutschen Stil

    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".
    posted by The Whelk on Aug 14, 2013 - 37 comments

    wenn ich durch Berlin-City cruise is' Reggae mein Motor

    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 or Augenbling are more your style. [more inside]
    posted by MartinWisse on Aug 13, 2013 - 19 comments

    Schildkröte Lotti bleibt verschwunden!

    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]
    posted by frimble on Aug 13, 2013 - 61 comments

    BBC Documentary - Das Auto: The Germans, Their Cars and Us

    Das Auto - 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.
    posted by homodigitalis on Aug 5, 2013 - 10 comments

    Women ruled in bed.

    Do Communists Have Better Sex? [SLYT]
    posted by whimsicalnymph on Jul 30, 2013 - 14 comments

    A life well lived.

    "In life, things happen twice if you're lucky. There's the father you get and the father you choose." [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Jul 10, 2013 - 10 comments

    15 Ways to Open a Bottle

    Your count may vary, but here are 15 ways to open a beer bottle. Previously, previously.
    posted by frimble on Jul 6, 2013 - 26 comments

    The Banality of Evil: NSA Recruitment Edition

    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.
    posted by gusandrews on Jul 3, 2013 - 179 comments

    Wagner's Dark Shadow: Can We Separate the Man from His Works?

    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?

    posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 27, 2013 - 122 comments

    Germany in 2013, a political sketch

    "[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]
    posted by rollick on May 31, 2013 - 20 comments

    Two Cathedrals

    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]
    posted by Madamina on May 27, 2013 - 10 comments

    Please don't frack with my beer

    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 of 1516.
    posted by michswiss on May 27, 2013 - 34 comments

    The Myth of Nazi Efficiency

    The Myth of Nazi Efficiency
    posted by Miko on May 18, 2013 - 84 comments

    World War II’s Strangest Battle: When Americans and Germans Fought Toget

    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.
    posted by cthuljew on May 13, 2013 - 26 comments

    Just remember to obey the red man and get some qualifications…

    How to be German in 20 easy steps; also, from the same author: how to be English. Elsewhere: how to be a really hip German.
    posted by acb on May 11, 2013 - 84 comments

    Endbahnhof, bitte aussteigen Sie!

    Endbahnhof, 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.
    posted by acb on Apr 28, 2013 - 10 comments

    A little sunshine on a rainy day...

    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.
    posted by saulgoodman on Apr 5, 2013 - 24 comments

    Operation Overlord

    PhotosNormandie 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 and Canadian National Archives.
    posted by zarq on Mar 19, 2013 - 12 comments

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