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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

“...but the numbers are unbelievable.”

"The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking" [NYTimes.com]
"The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945."

posted by Fizz on Mar 2, 2013 - 61 comments

Bowie: "Get your own pig!"

"There are reasons why this film is obscure. It is, in the most charitable possible evaluation, a mess: Bowie has described it as "my 32 Elvis films rolled into one." And yet life on that ever-dwindling island of not-on-region-one DVD films is a harsh fate for any film and particularly for this one, which is at least as interesting as its cast suggests and a good deal more. You don't need to dig out the VHS player to watch Mick Jagger run an agency of gigolos in The Man From Elysian Fields—you shouldn't have to do so to watch Bowie play one. " David Bowie's Lost 70s-era Weimar Berlin Movie: Just a Gigalo.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 2, 2013 - 17 comments

iDon't Believe It

A German store hires an ace salesman to sell its iPads (SLYT)
posted by MuffinMan on Jan 29, 2013 - 32 comments

A German take on IRL Gaming

Camover is a new game from Germany.

The rules are simple: First, organize a crew starting with "Command", "Brigade" or "Cell", followed by the name of a historical figure. ("Van Der Lubbe") is one of many currently in use.) Next: Destroy as many CCTV cameras as possible! [more inside]
posted by dunkadunc on Jan 28, 2013 - 45 comments

It's not easy being meme: Techno Viking sues creator

You may dance like nobody's watching, but what if your dancing is videoed and becomes the base of an internet meme and subsequent cottage industry, all without your knowledge and without you receiving any compensation for it? Should you have the right to stop this exploitation, or was the artist who first popularised you in his rights to create new artwork based on the original video? That's what's at stake in the lawsuit of the Techno Viking against Matthias Fritsch. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Jan 27, 2013 - 69 comments

Copy Culture in the US and Germany

The American Assembly has released their much-anticipated and well-presented study on Copy Culture. The random phone survey of 2303 Americans and 1000 Germans answers many questions about the demographics and public perception of file sharing and piracy. TorrentFreak pulls out some highlights.
posted by gilrain on Jan 15, 2013 - 17 comments

The Brutality of Experience

Brutal Baroque: An Ode To Midcentury Modern Churches: French photographer Fabrice Fouillet traveled across Europe photographing some of the most important examples of postwar churches, creating a catalogue of the spaces called Corpus Christi. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Dec 13, 2012 - 18 comments

Conservative politics, German-style

Jens Spahn is a parliamentarian in Germany's centre-right party, the Christian Democrats (CDU) and a committed Catholic. He is also gay, and has been openly so throughout his 11-year political career. While he does not focus specifically on gay issues, he advocates equal civil rights for gays and lesbians (including gay marriage, tax parity and adoption rights) from a conservative position. He does not regard this to be a contradiction.
posted by acb on Nov 24, 2012 - 32 comments

Prison of Debt Paralyzes West

Be it the United States or the European Union, most Western countries are so highly indebted today that the markets have a greater say in their policies than the people. Why are democratic countries so pathetic when it comes to managing their money sustainably? This clear, well-written essay in Der Speigel lays out the current debt crisis - along with current, proposed solutions - in an understandable manner. Not included among the so-far-proposed solutions is one other that has opened up a veritable financial market and debt Pandora's Box - i.e. a central bank debt jubilee.
posted by Vibrissae on Nov 19, 2012 - 118 comments

Memories of Amikejo

In the first decade of the 20th Century, a German Chief Justice was asked to hear the case of a man who had recently been found guilty according to a law code enacted in the last years of Napoleon's short-lived empire. No state in Europe still used that exact set of laws, but in one small part of the continent, there was an 850 acre plot of land which no state had claimed since the final defeat of Napoleon: Neutral Moresnet, also known as Kelmis, La Calamine or Amikejo. In To Govern, or Not to Govern: Prussia, Neutral Moresnet [pdf, click 'Download This Paper'] Steven Michael Press explains how Neutral Moresnet came to be, and how the Chief Justice ruled in the case. For more information, visit the Neutral Moresnet website. For an account by a visitor, read Unvisited Places of Old Europe by American travel writer Robert Shackleton [starts on page 157]. Finally, here's a podcast lecture by journalist and historian Neal Ascherson called Memories of Amikejo [iTunes link] reflecting on Neutral Moresnet's short existence and whether it tells us something about modern Europe. [Neutral Moresnet previously on MetaFilter]
posted by Kattullus on Oct 24, 2012 - 21 comments

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