Miscellaneous: April 28th, 2008 by JS
Many readers of The Local certainly know this already, but now the International Herald Tribune has cottoned on: Berlin is a red-hot destination for expats.
Some 13,000 Americans living in the German capital, moving there in their droves as Germans leave in search of jobs. They are drawn by the fact that the city is cool, cheap and international, the article says.
“The whole of Berlin’s bohemia – expatriate and German, arty and punk – share a similar attitude. Things are always provisional, experimental, cerebral. But what could have been a Teutonic bore is leavened with a comic exuberance.”
Miscellaneous: April 25th, 2008 by JS
Twenty-five years ago this week, journalists in Germany and Britain believed that they had come across the scoop of the century. What appeared to be the wartime diaries of Adolf Hitler had come into their possession. In fact, the diaries appeared to cover the whole period from 1932 to 1945.
Unfortunately for Stern magazine, for Britain’s Sunday Times and Newsweek, which had all bought the rights to serialize the diaries, it turned out that they had been written on school notepaper. The paper had been ‘aged’ using the embarrasingly crude technique of dipping it in tea – a technique very familiar to veterans of primary school art projects.
Britain’s Daily Telegraph, keen, no doubt to remind its arch rival of an inglorious epsiode in its past, has been marking the anniversary by running this article by the man who was deputy editor of the Sunday Times at the time. However, while it was embarrasing for the newspapers involved, it was a body blow to historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, the British Hitler expert who had told the papers that the diaries were credible.
Miscellaneous: April 22nd, 2008 by MY
It seems almost every week the New York Times has some sort of article on Berlin. Most appear to be written by some Manhattan journo parachuted in for a few days, who usually ends up praising how much the city is “like New York in the 1980s.” But occasionally the Gray Lady does have some copy from a local hack, who actually lives in Germany’s capital. If you’re tired of hearing about how hip Berlin is, you might want to check out this article on Clärchens Ballhaus – the epitome of anti-hip in the city. In fact, the former East German dinner club and dance hall is so untrendy it’s become wildly popular again:
There is no door policy at the nearly 100-year-old Clärchen’s Ballhaus, no bored-looking blond Berlin fashion design student dressed like an American Apparel ad surveying the late-night crowd. There is a coat check, run by the same nattily dressed mustached gentleman who’s been running it since the 1960s, when Clärchen’s was a dance hall in Communist East Berlin.
Miscellaneous: April 18th, 2008 by JS
An odd, suphurous smell wafting over large parts of southern England is being blamed by British meterologists on the Germans. The ‘Euro-whiff’ puzzled residents as they got up for work on Friday morning in an area stretching from the country’s south east to Devon county in the west.
The Times explains:
The ‘Euro-whiff’, as the Met Office is calling it, has been smelt in East Anglia, right across the southern counties and as far west as Devon since drifting across the Channel in the early hours of this morning.
Factories in areas of northern Germany and the Netherlands were the most likely cause of the whiff, which has described variously as like manure or sulphur, the cause of ‘rotten egg smell’. There had been no increase in air pollutants, the Met Office said.
Miscellaneous: April 17th, 2008 by JS
Germany’s a big exporting nation, with BMWs and Siemens electronics a big hit around the world. The country can now add anew class of export to this illustrious list: the unemployed.
But according to this article from Reuters, paying Germans to leave the country is controversial.
Economists and industry leaders say paying people to leave a country with a shrinking population and one of the lowest birth rates in the world is a recipe for disaster.
The Telegraph reports that Gordon Brown may repeal the 1701 Act of Settlement, which banned Catholics from taking the British throne, because it has recently been criticized by church leaders and mainly Scottish MPs for being discriminatory against the religion.
But a repeal would mean that the 74-year-old Duke of Bavaria would become the the new King of England and Scotland. He is a blood descendant of Charles I in the Stuart line. But his representatives say that Franz Herzog von Bayern, who lives a quiet life at the Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, is indifferent to the possibility.
Baron Marcus Bechtolsheim, the president of the administration of the Duke of Bavaria, said: “The Duke generally does not comment on this issue because he sees it as an entirely British question which does not concern him. And he regards it as a purely hypothetical issue.
“Even if this change in Britain happens, it won’t change his attitude. All this interest in his opinion makes him smile because, really, he is very happy and satisfied with being the Duke of Bavaria.”
Maybe the Duke is indifferent because it’s no longer appropriate for Germans to get excited about British domination, or maybe it’s because he lives here:
Pope Benedict XVI is often referred to in the English-speaking world as the ‘German Pope’, but as this article points out, he is first and foremost a Bavarian.
The article goes on to talk about how Benedict, who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was frequently dubbed ‘God’s Rottweiler,’ is actually a bit of a softie at heart. Indeed, one journalist quoted in the article describes him as “among the most kindhearted, understanding, cordial, even timid men that I have known.”
Benedict’s image as rule-bound and severe might have more than a little to do with perceptions of Germans in general. But the article points out that Bavarians view themselves as rather more fun than their northern counterparts. For his part the Pope has put up a strong defence of his countrymen as a whole: “Germans aren’t just reserved, punctual and disciplined,” he has said, “they are also spontaneous, happy and hospitable.” Quite right too.
Miscellaneous: April 4th, 2008 by JS
Germany’s perception of its immigrants is pretty different to perceptions in other European countries. This article in the Economist outlines how the country’s large Turkish community is still struggling to integrate. With two thirds of Turks in Germany not German citizens, there is a long way to go, and resistance to integration exists both among the immigrants and among Germans. Among some immigrants there is a resentment of strictures requiring immigrating spouses, for instance, to learn German. For many Germans, there are fundamental questions of what nationality means:
Even six decades after Hitler, Germany has not sloughed off the idea that Germanness is a matter of blood rather than of culture or allegiance.
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