The Olympic torch is being welcomed this weekend in the UK as a symbol of the sporting spirit, uniting people around the world in peaceful competition.
But the idea of lighting the torch at the ancient Olympian site in Greece and then running it through different countries has much darker origins
. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Apr 5, 2008 -
The Dictionary of Coming to Terms with the Past (Wörterbuch der 'Vergangenheitsbewältigung'
) examines over 1,000 German words that have Nazi connotations, such as Endlösung
(Final Solution) and Selektion
, It is featured in a review
by der Spiegel. Such loaded words still constitute a minefield for Germans today, as the Archbishop of Cologne discovered
last year in a situation analogized
to Senator Biden's use of the term "articulate" when referring to Senator Obama. [more inside]
posted by Rumple
on Feb 17, 2008 -
So we've already learned how babies are made in Germany
. But we haven't seen Russia
. Could be NWS if you work with people who don't know where babies come from.
posted by Lord_Pall
on Jan 21, 2008 -
You probably thought all those wooden toys
from your local version of the KrisKindlMarkt
were made in Bavaria. But wooden toys from Germany were an economic engine that supported a large percentage of the population of the Deutsche Democratische Repulic. In fact, people in the DDR were not allowed to own these toys, they were all made for export to the west.
You can still find "Unter dem Tisch" (secret, illegal) collections in towns like Dippoldiswalde
in the Erzgebirge mountains on the Czech border.
posted by nax
on Jan 11, 2008 -
meticulously catalogs radio controlled and flywheel powered cars made by East German (DDR) toy makers such as Presu, Elmes, MSW, Anker, Piko, Gevo, Plasticart and Sommermeyer.
posted by riffola
on Jan 7, 2008 -
Nudism, in the modern, Western, sense seems to have started in Germany
(NSFW) back around the turn of the century, and despite the efforts of the Nazis
to eradicate the practice Free Body Culture (FKK), as the Germans call it, enjoyed great popularity in East Germany, the Communists thought it expressed solidarity, and everyone else thought it reflected West German freedoms they were being denied. After the reunification it turns out the West Germans
aren't so hot on FKK after all...
In Germany opponents say nudism is disorderly, in the USA they say its child porn in disguise
(SFW) Laws in the USA vary widely. In Arkansas
its not only illegal to be nude, but its also illegal
to talk about nudism, while in New York its legal for women to be topless
, as long as they aren't being paid for it. As usual the gods send mixed messages.
posted by sotonohito
on Oct 25, 2007 -
The Papalagi. "Then many of these thought-mats are tied into bunches and pressed together ('books' the Papalagi calls them) and sent to every part of that great country. Very soon, everyone who takes these thoughts into themselves is infected. They devour these thought-mats as if they were sweet bananas ... [Y]oung and old gnaw at them like rats gnawing at sugar cane. That is the reason why so few of them are still able to think reasonable, natural thoughts, like those that every honest Samoan has.'
posted by No-sword
on Aug 24, 2007 -
has a collection of glasses with pictures on them. Mainly from the countries of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the German Empire, but including some other countries too. A novel way to navigate history, architecture, people and landscape. Oh! and he needs help
with some of them too.
posted by tellurian
on Aug 5, 2007 -
On the cusp of DEVO's first tour of Europe since 1990
, it's become clear that, though largely cast aside after their 1980 hit "Whip It", DEVO's influence is finally being felt on modern audiences, around the world. DEVO has inspired tribute bands, some traditional
, some not
. They've also spawned new bands, domestic
[MySpace link], and Foreign like Japan's POLYSICS
[YouTube], and Germany's Mutate Now
[YouTube]. With musical inspiration like this, can't we forgive such missteps as Devo 2.0
posted by SansPoint
on Jun 15, 2007 -
The familiar story of 20th century philosophy is one of analytic
philosophies. In spite of this, behind the exaggerated differences
is the common history
that these two traditions often forget. In failing to remember this common history, it's easy to forget that for all its supposed universality, philosophy is so distinctly western. It's naive to think that this narrow-mindedness is due to western intellectuals being unable to hear the wisdoms of the world over the din of their own arguments. Rather, it is only that these wordly traditions don’t have that flavour
– that hardness of crystal
. [more inside]
posted by Alex404
on Apr 20, 2007 -
A 1993 documentary tracing the origins of modern trance music in East Berlin. Featuring interviews with many of the biggest names in trance, including a very young Paul Van Dyk
, now currently ranked
as the #1 DJ in the world.
posted by empath
on Apr 7, 2007 -
The Angora rabbit project
was an SS-administered program to breed rabbits for their soft, warm fur, one use of which was to line the jackets of Luftwaffe pilots. The rabbits were raised in luxury not far from the maltreated prisoners in 31 Nazi concentration camps in Germany, including Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau
is a photograph of the hutches taken by Lee Miller
posted by tellurian
on Mar 29, 2007 -
What should we get Erich for his birthday? How about a desk set
with a radio, a thermometer disguised as a TV mast, a clock topped with a tank, a calendar, and four ballpoint pens disguised as missiles. Iconographia socialistica
from the GDR.
posted by tellurian
on Feb 21, 2007 -
French Jewish writer Irène Némirovsky's
claim to fame rests on Suite Française, a novel that she wrote about the German occupation of France while awaiting death in Auschwitz but which was not published until 2004. Irène may also provoke interest because her early fiction was steeped in anti-semitic stereotypes and serialized in right-wing newspapers. [More Inside]
posted by gregb1007
on Feb 6, 2007 -
Since the Middle Ages, German craftsmen have gone 'auf der Walz'
(taken to the road) as part of a kind of working-pilgrimage that artisans make after completing an apprenticeship with a master craftsman. These travels are meant to teach them about work and life and takes precisely three years and one day; they are not allowed to return home before this time. The trip can take these young craftsmen and women (all must be under the age of 30) halfway around the world (and often does
) and they are allowed only a small rucksack. Other than that, they can bring along their uniform (a simple black and white affair that almost defies description
), their tools, undergarments, a sleeping bag, a book and their trademark walking stick.
Although today this is a dying tradition, and is often more traditionally known as being a Journeyman
today, it still exists and has inspired some to write about the strage travellers they see on the road
. Indeed, perhaps the most famous work this tradition inspired is Australian poet Banjo Patterson
, whose work Walzing Matilda
is believed to have been inspired
by this fascinating yet waning custom.
posted by Effigy2000
on Dec 14, 2006 -
Everyone by now has heard the story of Oscar Schindler
, but he wasn't the only one saving Jews
in the dark era of WW II. This story was kept secret for many years, until the last member of the Leitz
posted by pjern
on Nov 10, 2006 -
Winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Literature, a peace activist
who opposed reunification for fear Germany might once again war against its neighbors, ghost-writer of Willy Brandt's speeches, author
of the great fabulist history of World War II and postwar Germany, The Tin Drum,
and of My Century
, a novel of one hundred chapters, one for each year of the last century, a man considered part of the artistic movement known in German as "Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung" or "coming to terms with the past",
Günter Grass belatedly admits the history he expunged from his personal narrative: his service as a member of the 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg of the Waffen-SS
In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
, Grass explained
his service would stain him forever,
but that only after the war did he feel ashamed
of having been in the Waffen-SS
for me, because I am sure of my recollection, the Waffen SS was nothing frightful, but rather an elite unit that they sent where things were hot, and which, as people said about it, had the heaviest losses.
posted by orthogonality
on Aug 12, 2006 -
Secret agent Huub Lauwers was parachuted into occupied Holland
in 1941 to relay intelligence back to London. His capture by the Germans marked the beginning of the Englandspiel
, a deadly game of cat-and-mouse intelligence that cost the lives of over fifty agents. Lauwers frantically tried to inform the SOE
that he had been caught, but the Baker Street Irregulars
just didn't get it. Or did they? [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane
on Aug 6, 2006 -
work can be found all over the world. He is an artist that carves symbols on rocks and then leaves them at the site where they were created (sometimes burying
posted by tellurian
on Aug 2, 2006 -
On September 9th 2006, 112 of the world's writers, artists, activists, and social entrepeneurs (nominees here
) will gather for a Table of Free Voices
in Berlin, Germany, discussing questions about the important issues of today. Who provides those questions? You.
posted by divabat
on Jul 24, 2006 -
Mildred Fish Harnack
was the only American woman
executed for treason during World War II. Born
, raised, and educated
in Wisconsin, she moved to Berlin
with her German husband Arvid
. Arrested by the Nazis in September 1942 for their pivotal role
in the Communist Red Orchestra resistance movement
, they were tried in December 1942: Arvid
was hung and Mildred
received six years hard labor. Reviewing her case (during the humiliating German defeat at Stalingrad
), Adolph Hitler ordered her retried in January 1943. This time, she was convicted, sentenced to death, and beheaded
in Plötzensee Prison
on February 16, 1943.
[Mildred's life is detailed in the 2000 biography Resisting Hitler: Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra.]
posted by cenoxo
on Jul 24, 2006 -