802 Prisoners attempted escape from Auschwitz. 144 were successful. Kazimierz Piechowski, a Polish boy scout, was one of them. Today, at age 91, he tells his story
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 13, 2011 -
Do you like video games? Have you ever wanted to comprehensively
reenact the daily life of a double-decker bus driver in 1985 West Berlin? Your prayers have finally been answered.
Aerosoft's impressive Omnibus Driving Simulator
allows you to take command of the venerable 1980s-vintage MAN SD200 and SD202 double-decker buses (in 20 authentic 1980s advertising liveries) along West Berlin's Omnibus Route 92, complete with an accurate simulation of all four production-runs of the SD200's transmission, drivetrain, climate control, and passenger information systems. If the SD202 doesn't cut it for you, or you want to escape the clutches of West Berlin, there's a comprehensive map editor and scripting engine
at your disposal. (via) [more inside]
posted by schmod
on Feb 22, 2011 -
"The Szpilman Award
is awarded to works that exist only for a moment or a short period of time. The purpose of the award is to promote such works whose forms consist of ephemeral situations." This years winner is Treebute to Yogya
. The organisers also maintain a blog
and an encyclopædia
of ephemeral works.
posted by unliteral
on Jan 10, 2011 -
On August 30, 1978 a Polish airliner was hijacked
and redirected to Tempelhof airport in West Berlin. Torn between a policy of supporting defection and a recently-signed anti-hijacking treaty, the West German government ceded jurisdiction over the defendants to the United States government, which was still technically an occupying power and had an interest in the case because of the US Air Force Base at Tempelhof. The result was the one and only decision rendered by the United States Court for Berlin, United States v. Tiede
. [more inside]
posted by jedicus
on Jan 7, 2011 -
Robert F. Gallagher served in the United States Army's 815th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Third Army) in the European Theater during WWII. He has posted his memoir online: "Scratch One Messerschmitt,"
told from numerous photos he took during the war and the detailed notes he made shortly afterwards. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Nov 23, 2010 -
In the scale of its intensity, its destructiveness and its horror, Stalingrad has no parallel. It engaged the full strength of the two biggest armies in Europe and could fit into no lesser framework than that of a life-and-death conflict which encompasses the earth.
- The New York Times, February 4, 1943 [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese
on Oct 27, 2010 -
In 1957, the year of the Treaty of Rome
, founding the European Economic Community and setting the aim of an "ever closer union", the national railway companies of West Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy and Holland (later joined by Belgium and Spain) launched the Trans Europ Express
, a joint network of first-class-only international trains for business travellers. [more inside]
posted by Skeptic
on Oct 10, 2010 -
Postcards from Berlin
is a call from a Berlin (Germany) design studio for virtual postcards from all of the places in the US named Berlin.
posted by mkb
on Aug 20, 2010 -
A family traveled to France and Germany in 1938 and shot this footage
which features two appearances by Adolf Hitler. It's creepy seeing this Nazi spectacle shot by an amateur. It's a perspective I don't know if I've ever seen. The video opens in France and the Nazi footage starts around 1:45.
The collector writes: "The Basement Collection presents: An 8mm film bought at an estate sale back in the 90's. This reel is part of a series of a family vacation movies to Europe in 1938. On this reel the family visits France and then Germany. The footage of Hitler is from a celebration in the Berlin Stadium on what I think is a May Day celebration (May 2, 1938) then another celebration at Berlin's Lustgarten. (on May 1st). (I think the reel was edited together out of order)."
posted by zzazazz
on Aug 12, 2010 -
Poetry in Hell
contains a complete collection of poems recovered from the Warsaw Ghetto's Ringelblum Archives
. The project, which took ten years to complete, gives English translations of poems that are shown in their original Yiddish. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jul 23, 2010 -
Due to population decline, Detroit plans
on bulldozing roughly a quarter of the 139-square-mile city into semi-rural farmland. It is a worst case scenario in America, but pales to the problem of Eastern Germany, where demographic collapse in some towns is so severe, urban
are the new order of the day. The mayor of one town says: "You can't go into the forest without a knife anymore." [more inside]
posted by stbalbach
on Mar 19, 2010 -
In Germany, a Tradition Falls, and Women Rise.
The half-day school system survived feudalism, the rise and demise of Hitler’s mother cult, the women’s movement of the 1970s and reunification with East Germany. Now, in the face of economic necessity, it is crumbling: one of the lowest birthrates in the world, the specter of labor shortages and slipping education standards have prompted a rethink.
posted by msalt
on Jan 20, 2010 -
Metafilter's own JF Ptak
has an interesting post
on the Life magazine issue of March 2nd, 1942, readers of which were confronted by some startling maps detailing possible Axis invasion strategies for North America. There was invasion down the St. Lawrence valley
, there was invasion via Trinidad
, via Bermuda
, full frontal west coast
, and down the west coast
as well - note the mapping of the large "fifth columns". As Ptak notes, maps such as these with huge arrows pointed menancingly at the American homeland were very much not the norm of the day. [more inside]
posted by Rumple
on Jan 3, 2010 -
A digital clock
made of wood and operated by 70 workers for one continuous 24-hour period. "Even though the workers are trying hard to construct every single minute, they are constantly on the verge of failing."
posted by freshwater_pr0n
on Dec 27, 2009 -
"Heads were skinned and muscles removed from the brain case in order to remove the skullcap. Incisions and scrapes on jaws indicate that tongues were cut out." "Scrape marks inside the broken ends of limb bones indicate that marrow was removed." "Whatever actually happened at Herxheim, facial bones were smashed beyond recognition." - Neolithic mass canibalism in southern Germany
posted by Artw
on Dec 5, 2009 -
Germany is, for the first time, trying a non-citizen
for crimes committed as part of the Holocaust. John Demjanjuk, originally from Ukraine, is an 89-year-old man, retired US auto factory worker, and former US citizen who has been deported and charged with 27,900 murders
for the part he may have played in World War II. This is the second time
Demjanjuk has been tried. [more inside]
posted by brina
on Nov 30, 2009 -
Twenty years ago this month, the nearly 700 mile border between East and West Germany started to disappear. "The fence is long gone, and the no-man's land where it stood now is part of Europe's biggest nature preserve. The once-deadly border area is alive with songbirds nesting in crumbling watchtowers, foxes hiding in weedy fortifications and animals not seen here for years, such as elk and lynx. But one species is boycotting the reunified animal kingdom: red deer
." According to the Bavarian National Forest Park Service, scientists
[link in German] have recorded nearly 11,000 GPS locations for 'Ahornia," a red deer who appears to never enter the Czech Republic.
posted by webhund
on Nov 4, 2009 -