Friday, August 14, 2020
Arts & Life

Berlin’s clubs have been slowly dying

By Marusha

The Berlin Wall came tumbling down in 1989, yet was not torn apart and pulverized in its entirety. Large sections of the Wall were sawed into pieces, painted and transformed into art. The global symbol for division, espionage, permanent surveillance, constraint, dogma, captivity and death was symbolically liberated through art. Countless segments of the Wall still stand today all across the world as monuments to (very) recent history.

Since time …

Our responsibility: Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s speech at Yad Vashem

By Frank-Walter Steinmeier

What a blessing, what a gift, it is for me to be able to speak to you here today at Yad Vashem. Here at Yad Vashem burns the Eternal Flame in remembrance of the victims of the Shoah. This place reminds us of their suffering. The suffering of millions. And it reminds us of their lives – each individual life.

This place remembers Samuel Tytelman, a keen swimmer who won …

History is not a weapon

History is not a weapon
By Wolfgang Benz

The speech given by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in the Bundestag on the 2020 Day of Remembrance for the Victims of National Socialism was notable for three reasons: it was moving, it represented the very best of what statesmanship can achieve and it delivered rhetoric that was entirely fitting for the occasion. Instead of limiting himself to the well-worn ritual of uttering the words “Never again!,” Steinmeier spoke of Germany’s …

A war’s end and a fresh start

A war’s end and a fresh start
By Theo Sommer

At 2:41 in the early morning of May 7, 1945, Chief of the German General Staff Alfred Jodl, Commander in Chief of the German Navy Hans-Georg von Friedeburg and Luftwaffe General Wilhelm Oxenius fixed their signatures to the German Instrument of Surrender in a little red school house in Reims, the headquarters of US General Dwight D. Eisenhower. The ceremony was then repeated the next day, with greater fanfare, in …

Victory and liberation from the Nazis in Ukraine

By Tanja Penter

The fascists are facing their final hour. Our hearts are filled with joy,” wrote Ukrainian scientist Mikhail Usyk in his diary as the Red Army’s liberation of the city of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine grew near. “Our own people are close. We are waiting impatiently for them, the liberators.”

Usyk had lived through the German occupation and was full of happy yet fearful anticipation. “But how are you going to …

Home-sickness: Soviet forced laborers under the Nazis

By Klaus Grimberg

We worked 12 hours every day,” recalls Larissa Shvydchenko. “After the night shifts, you just went back to your bunk and collapsed. Even when they shouted ‘There’s food, get up!’ you simply could not open your eyes.” Pavel Mikhailov writes, “We were nothing but skin and bones. We weren’t even people anymore, just mummies. No idea how we managed to stay on our feet. It was only because we were …

Evangelical megachurches are coming to Germany

By Nana Brink

Considering the ecstatic faces and exhilarated cheers emanating from the masses of people gathered in front of the Zoo Palast, one would be forgiven for thinking a movie star were visiting the venerable old cinema and hot spot of the Berlin International Film Festival. “Rick! Over here! We love you! Rick!” Rick Warren is indeed a superstar. Even Barack Obama once offered the Evangelical Christian pastor a chance to say …

Game changer

By Inge Kloepfer

Beethoven was more than just a composer; even today, he can teach us much about business, obstinacy and freedom

It took Ludwig van Beethoven only four resounding notes to erect an everlasting monument to himself during his own lifetime. The intractable start to his Fifth Symphony, which he wrote between 1804 and 1808, more or less exploded everything anyone had ever heard in classical music prior to that moment. The …

Lutz Lichtenberger’s Trans-Atlantic Book Review

Lutz Lichtenberger’s Trans-Atlantic Book Review
By Lutz Lichtenberger

All the others

According to Immanuel Kant, a very German philosopher, “Words without perception are empty, for they are mere formal thoughts devoid of purpose.”

Alexander Grau’s essay on what he calls “a German specialty” offers plenty of definitions of what political kitsch is at its core, namely “sentimental empty phrases, obtrusive touchy-feely-ness and overblown gestures of concernedness.”

The sacralization of everything worldly is kitsch, he claims. The basis of …

Zee Germans and their Karneval

By J. J. Hagedorn

In this era of global pandemics, it’s hard to imagine anyone having any interest in a folk tradition that involves repeatedly being pecked on the cheek by a steady flow of complete strangers. And the tradition is made even more inconceivable if we add packs of tipsy women roving the streets, sharp scissors in hand, intent on snipping off the tips of men’s ties.

But no worries if you can’t …