The BBC World Service has put together a special report on the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe (they also have a simpler portal). There is a wealth of material, including TV reports on key events from the BBC archives, interviews, a map timeline, a report on Catholicism's role in the 1989 revolutions, a first-hand report of what it was like to gather news in East Germany during that time and much more.
This year's Nobel Laureate in Literature is Romanian born author Herta Müller, who writes in German, as predicted yesterday by M. A. Orthofer of The Complete Review and Literary Saloon. Here's an interview with Herta Müller and a short bio.
On September 10th, to celebrate their initiation week, 172 communications students at the University of Quebec at Montreal decided to put on a show. After weeks of preparation, the costumed and prop-wielding crowd enacted an exuberant, complex, and flawlessly-choreographed performance of the Black Eyed Peas song "I Gotta Feeling" that sprawled through the campus's multi-story Judith Jasmin Pavilion... and they did it all in one continuous take (on their second try). The feat is just the most recent example of "lipdubbing" -- a video phenomenon where a single camera moves through a crowd of highly coordinated lip-syncers in a single seamless take, with the original recording dubbed over the finished product. [more inside]
September 22, 1939: In the Polish city of Brest-Litovsk (now Brest, in Belarus), "a monumental military parade took place.... What is unusual is that the parade was held not by the Polish army, but by the soviet Red Army and the Nazi German Wehrmacht – together." The excellent blog Poemas del río Wang (which usually features gorgeous illustrations from books) provides historical context, many photos, posters, and cartoons, even a five-minute official German newsreel (the parade takes up the first half). The event itself is a historical footnote, but in Russia, with the "cult of the victory of Soviet people and of the Soviet state in WWII," the very idea of it was anathema and it was denied until last year. [more inside]
Rammstein's Pussy (video, really NSFW, SLnYT) gets right to the point. Youtube has taken down uploads. Facebook has taken down links (though not Links). Here's a fan-created censored version (NSFW lyrics). [more inside]
Hitchcock's first in 1925. Kubrick in 1957. Sturges in 1963. Bergman, Huston, Ophüls, and Wilder. Sound of Music in 1965. Willy Wonka in 1971. Also, Monty Python made their Fliegender Zirkus specials there in 1971 and 1972. Film history and all that. Sure. But to my mind, the best part of the Bavarian Film Studios is being able to go inside the actual submarine from Das Boot. Or you can ride on that flying dog thing from Neverending Story... if that's how you roll.
Suvorov’s argument is simple. Stalin cleverly lured Hitler into war by offering to divide Poland. This act, Stalin knew, would prompt Britain and France to declare war on Germany. Stalin expected to pick up the pieces. - Eric Margolis [more inside]
Net Hoax Convinces Germany of Fake U.S. Suicide Bombing Attempt All of Germany was bamboozled Thursday by a bizarre scheme that tricked the country’s main wire service into reporting an attempted suicide bombing in a California town — an attack supposedly perpetrated by a non-existent rap group called the “Berlin Boys.” [more inside]
"Two hundred and fifty men were taken one day, another 250 the next, and a layer of earth was thrown in between," a policeman told a parliamentary inquiry in 1947. "They weren't all executed in a single night, but rather in stages." Often enough the condemned men were given a pick and shovel, and made to dig their own graves. The perpetrators didn't have many scruples. After all, they were sure they had high-level military backing...."The general told us, 'The fewer of them that remain, the fewer enemies we'll have.'"Czech Town Divided over How to Commemorate 1945 Massacre [more inside]
The day after Kristallnacht, Hitler said: "It was necessary not to make propaganda for violence as such, but to explain certain matters of foreign policy to the German people in such a way, that the inner voice of the people all by itself gradually would call for violence." Towards that end, Goebbels commissioned and closely supervised the production of a propaganda documentary titled Der ewige Jude - "The Eternal Jew". Few if any of the inhabitants of the Łódź Ghetto who appear in its footage survived the war. [more inside]
Photos recreating vintage video games and some other stuff.
The economy is abjectly terrible, right? It's so bad that nowadays, a picture is only worth 200 words. On the other hand, the recession is over in Germany and France, and in the United States, the unemployment rate dropped just a smidgen last month. [more inside]
The Guardian ran a series of articles looking at the state of high-speed rail travel today. France intends to double its length of track over the next decade, and China is planning a massive rail-building programme, including a high-speed line which will halve the travel time between Beijing and Shanghai to 4 hours. In Germany, domestic air travel is rapidly going extinct, and Spain's network has made day trips between Madrid and Barcelona a possibility. The USA, which has long neglected its rail network, is planning up to 10 high-speed lines. Meanwhile, Britain's only high-speed line goes to France, but there is talk of a 250mph line from London to Birmingham and beyond, possibly by the early 2020s. Meanwhile, the CEO of France's rail operator, SNCF, weighs in on what the UK should do.
Used as postcards and for advertising, phono postcards were a single-sided phonograph record stuck on a card with a hole punched through. The Weco cards stand out with their use of photography (with the clothes sometimes painted on) and see-through vinyl.
Escape and other tools made by inmates in German prisons, from the photographer Marc Steinmetz. My favorite is the functional battery-powered shotgun, although the hand-made toaster is a testament to the love of a decent breakfast. via.
Though the B-2 Spirit is perhaps the best-known of the flying wing designs, its creation came almost 50 years after the earliest attempts at creating fixed-wing aircraft with no definite fuselage. The first prototypes of Frenchman Charles Fauvel's flying wings followed the patent on his formula for the flying wing in 1929. Jack Northrop's newly formed Northrop Aircraft Co. created the first flying wing for the United States in 1940, dubbed Northrom N-1M "Jeep". But it was the Horten Brothers, German aircraft pilots and enthusiasts, who created the first fully-functional stealth flying wing: the Horten Ho IX. [more inside]
As of tomorrow a law will be in effect in Germany that allows the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation to block websites without any judicial approval. Both big parties voted favorably today - even in the face of protest and the most successful online petition in Germany so far. And while the original law states that only child pornography can be censored this way, politicians and music industry execs are already calling for the blocking of first person shooters and copyright-infringing content. (Last two links in German) [more inside]
On May 29, 2009, Stuttgart took home the Golden Bowling Shoe at the first Deutscher Eisfusßball Pokal (that's "German Ice Football Cup" for the English speaking folks). Yes, that's right - those are grown men playing soccer, on ice, in bowling shoes. [more inside]
DFG Science TV is back. Researchers documenting their work. If you missed the first series, it is still available for viewing.
Karl Junker House is just one of the locations on Atlas Obscura from Curious Expeditions. [more inside]
Heroes and Gay Nazis is a german documentary by Rosa von Praunheim that looks at gay men with hard-core right wing views. Part One. [more inside]
Moments in Time 1989/1990 - The Fall of the Wall and reunification. Films and photos from private collections. With woodpeckers.
NRW 1946—2006. Short articles chronicling North Rhine-Westphalia. The site has one rather large shortcoming though, the video clips cannot be accessed (only available on VHS within the State!).
Indeed, all three of Hitler’s prized leather whips were presents from high society ladies. : Christopher Clark reviews High Society in the Third Reich by Fabrice d’Almeida in the London Review Of Books.
Papaya is an... indescribable video by Alexander Marcus. Is it satire? Is he even a real person? [more inside]
Monopoly killer - how The Settlers of Catan redefined board games.
A German researcher accidentally jabbed her finger with a hypodermic loaded with the deadly Ebola virus. 48 hours later, she was injected with an untested, experimental vaccine, developed by an international team of virologists and biologists. Though she may never have been infected, she was certainly in danger; in 2004, a similar incident caused the death of a Russian scientist at a former Soviet biological weapons lab.
Thor Steinar, a German fashion brand, has run into heavy criticism recently due to the fact that their clothing was adopted by a number of far-right Neo-Nazi types. Much of the debate revolves around the question of whether or not founder Axel Kopelke intentionally designed the company's original logo to attract this particular demographic, leading to protests and vandalism at retail stores selling the brand. But will skinheads feel the need to change brands now that the company has been bought out by a Dubai-based Arab investor?
Inventor of the Döner has died. As anybody who has been drunk at 2 a.m. in Germany knows, the Döner is a staple of German fast-food cuisine. Although similar dishes have been around for a while, the modern version is believed to be invented in 1971 in West Berlin by Mahmut Aygün. From there it spread to many other cities and countries in Europe and beyond. Mahmut Aygün died at the age of 87 last month in Berlin. [more inside]
The manuscripts of David Kaufmann, Jewish scholar extraordinaire. Wonderful illuminations, inventive typography and even a little bit of naughtiness.
Cat wanders on stage during live weather broadcast. Judging from the reaction, this happens all the time in Germany.
Two German kids attempt to head to Africa and elope, bringing one's sister with them. They're five and six.
Now's the time in the 1974 Bundesliga new uniform unveiling presentation where we dance. Happy Monday! :)
Starting on Thursday Dec 4, 2008, Wikimedia Commons will witness a massive upload of new images. We are anticipating about 100,000 files from a donation from the German Federal Archive. These images are mostly related to the history of Germany (including the German Democratic Republic) and are part of a cooperation between Wikimedia Germany and the Federal Archive...
Join Devin Friedman at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, a city of broken men. During the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany has blossomed into the hub of one of the most amazing and miraculous wartime medical systems in modern history. Each week sees 14 flights into and out of the medical center, delivering dozens of war wounded from the battlefield and back out to the more specialized care centers back stateside; the rapidity of care and transit from the war fronts to stable medical care has decreased the mortality of serious wartime military injuries to just ten percent, from the high-20s/low-30s of previous wars. This is an incredibly nice look at the Landstuhl system from the perspective of a single planeload of injured soldiers.
"When you’re on your own in that pit with the bomb in the middle of a city, it’s strange how everything suddenly goes totally quiet..." Interview with one of Germany's most experienced bomb disposal experts as he retires. Photogallery.
Fire, brimstone & pee. (SLYT)
Though their cameras have produced some of the defining photographs of the twentieth century, Leica have struggled in the new digital age. However there are still some aficionados for the Leica's 'kiss'.
Sold all over the world but banned in the US in 1997 under a law passed in 1938. Kinder Surprise are now under attack in Germany. No magicodes for you!
book (design) stories: modernist book design in germany and switzerland 1925–1965 (and beyond)
Keith Thorne has stunningly colored pictures of decaying urban spaces on his Flickr stream, including some taken at an abandoned German military hospital that once treated Adolf Hitler. A few pictures feature himself. Via.
She robs, she injects herself with heroin, she flits across borders like a ghost, she seems to kill with almost professional precision, she leaves clues and bodies – and she has no identity. [more inside]
Medinat Weimar wishes to establish a Jewish state in Thuringia, Germany, with the city of Weimar as its capital. A land without a people for a people without a land! Oh, wait ... [more inside]
The Gerd Arntz Web Archive collects graphics from the career of the man who - in creating over 4000 Isotypes for social scientist Otto Neurath in 1930s Red Vienna - can make a serious claim to be the inventor of the modern stick figure. He attacked the corruption of German society as the Nazis rose to power, then joined Neurath in an attempt to create a transnational visual language that bore later fruit in Otl Aicher's 1972 Olympic pictograms and the AIGA passenger/pedestrian symbol signs. [via Mark Larson and Austin Kleon]
Playmobil Online Archiv - Playmobils archive of every toy they've ever produced, from it's start in 1974 onwards. It's only available in German, but even non-German speakers can appreciate gems like this awesome tiger tamer or these Mexican bandits, odd anachronisms like the chimney sweep or the figures for recreating the American civil war. [more inside]
Oops! Swiss national broadcaster SRG turned back time on Monday when, while broadcasting an Austria/Germany soccer match, it offered subtitles accompanying Germany's national anthem that mistakenly included the "Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles" lyrics, a verse popular under Nazi rule but ignored since the fall of the Third Reich. The melody, Das Deutschlandlied, comes courtesy of Joseph Haydn, who penned the ditty in 1797. [more inside]
Forgotten Architects: In the 1920s and early 1930s, German Jewish architects created some of the greatest modern buildings in Germany, mainly in the capital Berlin. A law issued by the newly elected German National Socialist Government in 1933 banned all of them from practicing architecture in Germany. In the years after 1933, many of them managed to emigrate, while many others were deported or killed under Hitler’s regime. Pentagram Papers 37: Forgotten Architects is a survey of 43 of these architects and their groundbreaking work. [more inside]