Friday, March 29, 2013

German-American Friendship Poster Contest

Deadline:  Postmarked by June 3 2013

Whether Western line dance or Bavarian Schuhplattler, both Germans and Americans love to dance!Enlarge imageWhether Western line dance or Bavarian Schuhplattler, both Germans and Americans love to dance!(© Tricentennial Foundation)On October 6, 1683, a group of 13 families from Krefeld, in present-day North Rhine-Westphalia, arrived at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The settlement they founded, Germantown, was the first community founded by Germans in what would become the United States of America.
To celebrate the nationalGerman-American Day, marking this historical event and over 300 years of German heritage in the United States, the Los Angeles-based Tricentennial Foundation presents a poster contest on the theme of German-American friendship.
Get out your art supplies!
The Foundation is looking for images that demonstrate friendship in a graphically attractive and dynamic message. The winning posters will be displayed in schools and other public settings, so please consider this when designing your poster.
Posters should:
  • Be original artwork, size 8.5" x 11"
  • Have artist's name, age, school grade, and phone on the back
  • Have copyright release
  • Be submitted by mail, postmarked by June 3, 2013: Tricentennial Foundation, 8628 Orion Ave, North Hills, CA 91343-5815
Cash Prizes:
  • $250 for Open competition (non-student) : Category I
  • $200 for college student (undergraduate) : Category II
  • $150 for high school student : Category III
  • $100 for elementary or middle school : Category IV
One of the four winning posters will be selected as the Grand Prize Winner, and will receive an additional prize of $100.
Please note:
Multiple entries from an artist for the same category are acceptable, if they are mailed together in the same envelope.
All submissions become the property of the Tricentennial Foundation and may be used for its purposes.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Philip Poisel: Mit jedem deiner Fehler --

--liebe ich dich mehr

Das Lied wärmt sich aus.

Wandergesellen auf der Walz

 Von der Sendung mit der Maus -- höchst interessant.

Wandergeselle =journeyman.

Why do they wear black?  Why, corderoy trousers?  Why the black hat?  Why the 6 bottons on the jacket, and 8 on the vest?  If there seems to be a reason for everything, this is one example of  "Ordnung."

Who are these Wandergesellen?  They are Zimmermänner (carpenters) who have each finished their apprenticeship. Thereafter, traditionally, they journey for three years-plus one day.  As I learned from Eckhard Kuhn-Osius of Hunter College, CUNY, "This was a way to spread information about techniques and tricks of the trade at an age when relatively few people could read and information was difficult to come by."  During the 3 years of journeying (auf der Walz), as this film shows, a journeyman is not allowed to come closer than 50 kilometers to his home town.   

Could you decipher the reason for the large gathering of Zimmermänner in this film?

Do you suppose we'll see a Wandergeselle on our GAPP visit this spring?  If you do see one, would you be tempted to ask to see his Wanderbuch?  And his Landkarte (mit seiner Heimatstadt umgekreist)?

"Jungs, alles Gute auf der Walz!"

Hier lernen wir den Sven aus Sachsen kennen, der noch ein Jahr auf der Walz sein wird.  Hier lernen wir auf Englisch über seine Zeit in Australien.

Hier ein paar Fragen:

     Sendung mit der Maus   …..der Zunft,- Zünfte   (guild /craft / union)
  1. Was bedeutet ,, auf der Walz” (gehen/sein)?……………………………………..……………………
  2. Warum brauchen diese Zimmerer einen Stab, und wo findet man ihn?
  3. Was tragen sie in ihrem Bündel?
  4. Warum tragen sie alle eine schwarze Cordhose / eine Schlaghose?
  5. (Was hat das mit Sägespäne zu tun? sägen = to saw)
  6. Was trägt man alles  in der Hosentasche?
  7. Das Tuch heisst ,,Charlottenburger”.  Was trägt man darin?
  8. Ausser eine Uhr, was trägt man sonst auf der Uhrkette?
  9. Was ist mit den Knöpfen?  Schreib 3 Fakten, in vollen Sätzen!
A. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………...………………………
B.  …………………………………...………………………………………………………...………………………………………………
C. …………………………………...………………………………………………………...………………………………………………
  1. Wo trägt man das Zünftzeichen der Zimmerleute?
  2. Die Krawatte hängt nur vorne, und geht nicht um den Hals.  Warum das?
  3. Was heißt ,,Schlitzohr”, und was hat das mit einem Zimmerer zu tun?
  4. Was dient als Regenschirm bei einem walzenden Zimmerer?
  5. #7?  ist 80cm x 80 cm.  Was passt darin?
  6. Wie viele Päckchen trägt man daneben?
  7. Genau was wird auf der Landkarte gezeichnet?  (Wie weit weg von zu Hause muss ein walzender  Zimmerer bleiben?)

  1. Was alles kommt in dem getragenen Buch?
  2. Von Sven, was lernen wir muss er zuerst tun, ehe er,,auf der Walz” gehen darf?
  3. Was lernt man auf einem Walz, das nicht mit dem Beruf zu tun hat?
  4. Kennst Du jemand, der sich für dieses Lebenstil interessieren könnte?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WWII wieder neu Lester Schrenk und Hans Hermann Müller

Dear family,

      this evening the documentary on the meeting in Heidelberg of Lester Schrenk and Hans Hermann Müller has been sent on the Regional Danish TVMidtvest.  It was the result of Lester Schrenk's wish to find the pilot, who shot down his plane Pot O' Gold on February 22, 1944, on family property in northern Jutland, Denmark.

I initially met Lester during his trip to Denmark in 2008, and then visited him in Bloomington Minnesota.  Although I had not been around during the war, I found myself quite eager to help him find this pilot, perhaps in gratitude for him having risked his life for the freedom of Europe.

For more than 3 years, I researched information on this pilot.  Quite soon, I learned from one of the pilot's successors in Köln, that Hans Hermann Müller had passed away- as most probably his wife had, too. But there were to have been at least 2 sons.  I wrote, emailed, and called a lot of places in Germany to try to find the grave of Hans Hermann Müller, often nearly giving up.  But then the thought came to me: They in the war never gave up, no matter how dark and comfortless it musts have seemed to them.  Nikolaj, the war is over- don't make a fool out of yourself:  Keep your promise, and keep looking for that pilot's grave.

I wrote to Lieutnant Dirk Dieling at Bürgerservice in Bundes Luftwaffe in San Augustin- only to learn that the answer was classified. Right after receiving this letter, I called Herr Dieling and told him that I respected his answer, but that he might be interested in why I was looking for this grave. Herr Dieling was very touched.  I heard his voice tremble as he promised his support.

It was Dirk Dieling who found the "widow," Lydia Müller.  When he asked for Lydia's help to locate her husband's grave, she was able to say, that this former pilot was sitting right there beside her, alive and well!  The circle was almost complete.

Here the documentary of the meeting in Heidelberg  on April 22, 2012 is:
 ( )

Yours sincerely,
Nikolaj Bojer

Host's Note:  Both Nikolaj B. and Niels M. (who hosted Lester's 2008 visit on his property in Denmark) are cousins on my mother's side.  I recall hearing details of this crash, along with many other reminiscences from my mother's family visit to Denmark in 1948.  It then also became major news in our family when we learned of Lester's desire to tour where his plane had crashed in Jutland, and the local schoolhouse, where the Germans had held him captive.  Yes, we were excited too when we learned of the continuing finds on the property during Lester's visit to the crash site.  When Nikolaj visited Lester in Bloomington, Minnesota, he took two other cousins along with him.  This story wouldn't have been put together without Nikolaj, and it all warms my heart.  It's now my privilege to share it here.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Swiss Music Awards: Hecht gewinnt: Tänzer

 Hecht gewinnen den Swiss Music Award
Sie haben sich durchgesetzt unter den drei «Best Talents»: Hecht aus Luzern.
Of the 3 nominated groups, Hecht (from Lucern) wins BEST TALENT award.

Hier:  Tänzer

2013 Style Award geht an Müslüm

Monday, March 25, 2013

Die Brüder Grimm : 10 Facts

Wilhelm und Jakob --


Detlev Cordes singt die Wochentage

 Das Lied der 7 Wochentage

Welcher Tag ist der Erste?

Auch hier ein traditionelles Lied. So kann man die Aussprache üben!

Drei Chinesen mit dem Kontrabass,
saßen auf der Straße und erzählten sich was.
Da kam die Polizei: ,,Ei, was ist denn das?"
Drei Chinesen mit dem Kontrabass.

Xavier Naidoo -- Alles soll besser werden

Alles kann besser werden.
Alles wird besser werden.

Schau die Schatzkiste am Anfang und am Ende mal an!

Hier den Songtext:

Alles kann besser werden
Holen wir uns den Himmel auf Erden   (holen = to fetch)
Alles soll besser werden
Holen wir uns den Himmel auf Erden
Alles wird besser werden
Wir holen uns den Himmel auf Erden
Und keiner muss sein Leben mehr gefährden
Einer der kostbarsten Schätze auf Erden   (Life=most valuable treasure)

Ich will raus aus dieser Scheiße hier
Doch ich weiß nicht, wie das gehen soll
Raus aus diesem scheiß Revier
Doch ich weiß nicht, wie das gehen soll
Man sperrt mich hier in diesen Bezirk
Weil ich den Rest der Welt nicht sehen soll
Ich werde aus diesem Knast heraus spazieren
Wenn ich weiß, wohin ich gehen soll

Strophe 1 wieder

Auch wenn du jetzt bitterlich weinst
Bitte gib nicht auf
Auch wenn du grad das Leben vermeinst
Bitte gib nicht auf
Auch wenn du dir verstorben scheinst
Bitte gib nicht auf
Auch wenn alles verdorben scheint
Gib nicht auf

Strophe 1 wieder

I can see beyond the borders of here
And I know there's more for me
I'm not afraid to face what they fear
If it means I can be free
Discourage me if you think you can
But I won't stop till I'm out of here
Yeah,I just don't give a damm
Not afraid to face what they fear

Strophe 1 wieder

Alles kann besser werden
(Alles wird besser werden)
Holen wir uns den Himmel auf Erden
Alles soll besser werden
Holen wir uns den Himmel auf Erden
Alles wird besser werden
Bitte gib nicht auf
Wir holen uns den Himmel auf Erden
Und keiner muss sein Leben mehr gefährden
Einer der kostbarsten Schätze auf Erden

Bitte gib nicht auf
Bitte gib nicht auf
Bitte gib nicht auf
Gib nicht auf

Culcha Candela VON ALLEIN -- Zeichensprache!

 Super!  Dieses Lied mag ich, und mit Zeichensprache?  Nur cool.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

In München feiert man OKTOBERFRST

Danke Heidi!   Heidi hat diesen Film gefunden. 

Es gefällt ihr die Lebkuchenherzen sowohl auch die Alpenhörner.
She is pleased by the decorated heart cookies as well as the long Alp horns.

Hast du eine Lieblingsszene?  Lass uns wissen!
Let us know what your favorite scene is here.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Beliebteste Deutsche Namen, 2012

Marie und Maximilian waren 2012 die beliebtesten Vornamen für Neugeborene in Deutschland. Das hat das Namenskundliche Zentrum der Universität Leipzig ermittelt.

Bei den Mädchen erfreuten sich auch die Klassiker Sophie und Maria großer Beliebtheit. Bei den Jungen schafften es noch Alexander und Paul unter die Top drei.

Damit habe sich der Geschmack der Deutschen bei der Namenswahl im Vergleich zu den Vorjahren kaum geändert, teilte die Universität Leipzig am Dienstag mit.

Die Forscher werteten für ihre Statistik die Vornamenslisten aus 250 Standesämtern aus. Sie machten jedoch keine Unterschiede zwischen Erst- und Folgenamen. Insgesamt wurden 232 498 Geburten mit 116 196 vergebenen Vornamen erfasst.

Zu einem anderen Ergebnis kam dagegen ein Hobbyforscher aus Schleswig-Holstein: Knud Bielefeld kürte im Dezember Mia und Ben zu den Favoriten. Emma und Hannah/Hanna landen auf Platz zwei und drei.

Bei den Jungs waren noch Luca/Luka und Paul in Bielefelds Spitzen-Trio. Dessen Ergebnisse basieren auf 165 979 Geburtsmeldungen. Das seien etwa 25 % aller in Deutschland geborenen Babys, berichtete der Hobbyforscher. Auf 430 Quellen - vor allem Geburtskliniken, aber auch Standesämter - stützt sich sein Ranking.

Die Namen schlagen sich aber auch im Leipziger Ranking nieder: Neben den drei Spitzenreitern entschieden sich die Eltern neugeborener Mädchen auch besonders häufig für Mia, Emma, Anna, Sophia, Johanna, Emilia und Charlotte.

Kleine Jungs erhielten auch öfter die Namen Luca, Ben, Leon, Elias, Felix, Jonas sowie Noah, hieß es. „Die jeweils zehn häufigsten weiblichen und männlichen Vornamen machen etwa 15 Prozent aller eingetragenen Vornamen aus“, erklärte die Namenberaterin Gabriele Rodriguez.

Vor allem bei den Jungen sei auch weiterhin ein Trend zu altdeutschen Vornamen wie Richard, Friedrich, Wilhelm, Leopold oder Bruno zu erkennen, verrät Gabriele Rodriguez vom Zentrum für Namenforschung der Universität Leipzig.

Bei Jungen und Mädchen seien außerdem nach wie vor englischsprachige Vornamen wie Maddox, Lennos, Joel, Jason, Liam, Patrick, Tyler, Justin, Kevin, Jamie, Dexter, Rocky, Milow, Lenny und Emily, Amy, Lucy, Liz, Alisha, Shania, Delenn, Cheyenne, Joyce, Melody, Summer sehr beliebt.

Die Exoten unter den Vornamen

Hauptsache ungewöhnlich war auch 2012 das Motto einiger frisch gebackener Eltern, die ihren Sprösslingen so ausgefallene Vornamen verpassten wie Hedi-Rocky, Smart, Ashton Phoenix, Aruba, Corleone, Versann, Maybee, Kenia, Raider, Amsel, Prince, Princess, Prinzio, Flonne, Lönne, Süske, Male, Eisi, Setzuna, La-Vie, Pazifik, Ducati, Skywalker, Peaches, Pepper, Buckminster, Ultraviolet
und Maradona.

Einige der wenigen langen Vornamen sind Chukwunazaekpere, Almontaserbellah sowie die meist weiblichen Doppelnamen Oluwajomiloju-Ajulo, Franziska- Magdalena, Elisabeth-Katharina, Elisabeth-Priscilla und Candice-Félicienne.


Is Germany too strong; too weak? New Statesman

Cracked heart of the old world

For centuries the Germans were at war with a shifting cast of hostile neighbours. Upheavals in the 19th century and two world wars brought about a settlement, but Germany today is both too strong and too weak to assume its rightful position in world politics.

For centuries the Germans were at war with a shifting cast of hostile neighbours. Upheavals in the 19th century and two world wars brought about a settlement, but Germany today is both too strong and too weak to assume its rightful position in world politics.

The German Reichstag in Berlin. Photograph: Getty Images 

You are invited to read this free preview of the upcoming New Statesman, out on 14 March. To purchase the full magazine - 
with our signature mix of opinion, longreads and arts coverage, plus an essay by Rafael Behr on the internet and sex, reportage 
by Michael Brooks on fracking and Richard J Evans on Michael Gove’s “pub quiz history curriculum” 
A spectre is once again haunting Europe – the spectre of German power. The past five years have coincided with a remarkable increase in the influence of Germany, which has so far weathered the world economic crisis well and has been reluctant to empower the European Central Bank to embark on the bond-buying spree that the countries of the bankrupt European periphery so crave, prescribing for them a diet of unpalatable fiscal “rules” instead.

It is not surprising, therefore, that this period has also witnessed a surge of political and popular Germanophobia across the continent. In Italy, Silvio Berlusconi has made a remarkable electoral comeback by attacking Berlin. In Ireland, long the home of a sneaking regard for Britain’s old rival, the conditions imposed during the bank “bailouts” have led to a surge in hostile media and political commentary. In Greece, which has been taken into financial care by the EU and International Monetary Fund, hatred of Germany – seen as the driving force behind Greek economic “enslavement” – has reached such a pitch that Chancellor Angela Merkel needed the protection of thousands of policemen on her last visit to Athens.

At the same time, there are many who worry that Germany is not using her power actively enough, due to the country’s historically based discomfort with exercising military force. Poland and the Baltic states were deeply unsettled by Berlin’s veto of Ukraine’s entry to Nato in 2008, which increased fears of a security vacuum in eastern Europe. They were further horrified by Merkel’s firm refusal to retaliate when an emboldened Russia invaded Georgia in August that year. The most open confrontation on security issues, however, came in 2011 when Germany abstained on the UN Security Council vote authorising Nato intervention in Libya.

Above all, over the past three years, there have been widespread calls for Germany to take the lead in resolving the escalating euro crisis. The foreign minister of Poland, Radek Sikorski, spoke for many when he remarked, in a speech in Berlin in 2011: “I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity.”

That is the dilemma of German power today – Germany is damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t.
To historians, none of this is new. The Germans have always been either too weak or too strong. Most people know that the German question goes back at least as far as the two world wars, and they are vaguely aware that its roots can be traced to 19th-century debates about German unification. There is a large and sophisticated scholarly literature on the subject. Very few, however, understand that the “German question”, in various guises, has dominated European history since the mid-15th century.
Towards the end of the Middle Ages, the Holy Roman empire of the German nation, which spanned the present-day Federal Republic, the Low Countries, Switzerland, Bohemia and Moravia and much of northern Italy, was the focus of furious political contestation. Internally, the emperor confronted the larger principalities, which in turn were fiercely divided among themselves. The German parliament (the Reichstag), representing the nobility and the towns, had long ceased to be an effective forum for the commonweal. Frantic appeals from the Croats and Hungarians for help against the advancing Turks after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453 went unheeded.

Despite all attempts by reforming emperors, bureaucrats and intellectuals, Germany remained a fragmented political space. The onset of the Reformation in the early 16th century divided western Christendom between the Roman Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed Churches, splitting the Holy Roman empire right down the middle.

The resulting strategic vacuum at the heart of Europe sucked in powers from all sides. This was partly because Germany lay at the very centre of the continent: more than any other territory, it was traversed by armies fighting for causes that sometimes concerned Germany only tangentially. The French were determined to prevent the Habsburgs from tightening the ring of encirclement around them in Flanders, Burgundy and Spain. England regarded Germany as the buttress of its position in the Low Countries, control of which would allow the French or the Span - iards to descend on the south coast by the shortest route. Spain used the Holy Roman empire as a sally port to attack both the French and the rebellious Dutch. The Swedes sought to establish a buffer in northern Germany to secure themselves from invasion from across the Baltic. The Turks, too, attempted to grapple with western Christendom in a final cataclysmic assault on Germany, until they were repulsed at the gates of Vienna in 1683.

Germany was renowned for its wealth and the quality of its fighting men, many of whom served as mercenaries abroad. For this reason, the European powers were anxious either to secure these resources for themselves or to deny them to their rivals. It became an axiom of European politics that, as one mid-17th-century Swedish diplomat remarked, the area “was a temperate and populous part of the world and . . . there was not a country under the sun in a better position to establish a universal monarchy and absolute dominion in Europe than Germany”. Moreover, the Holy Roman empire was the font of ideological legitimacy in Europe: the imperial crown took precedence over all other monarchies and, in theory at least, conferred the right to rally the resources of Germany and even the whole of the European continent in a common cause. In 1519, for instance, the German imperial election was contested by the three most powerful monarchs: Francis I of France, Henry VIII of England and the victor, Charles of Burgundy.

The quest for the imperial crown continued to drive European politics until the Napoleonic wars, when Bonaparte seriously considered crowning himself Holy Roman emperor. Even the Muslim Ottoman empire was obsessed with seizing the Holy Roman mantle for itself, having staked a claim through the capture of Constantinople.

For this reason, the principal European peace treaties were primarily German settlements. Central Europe was at the heart of the peace treaties of Westphalia signed in 1648, which have lent their name to the whole modern international order. Somewhat misleadingly, because, far from stipulating the sovereign inviolability of states, they constrained German princes from arbitrary action against their subjects in order to forestall another civil war that would invite outside intervention and ignite a European conflagration.

At Westphalia two states, Sweden and France, extracted for themselves a formal recognition as “guarantors” of the Holy Roman empire and thus of the central European territorial order; in the late 18th century, tsarist Russia was granted that privilege as well. This connection between the internal dispensation and the European balance of power also found expression in the Treaty of Vienna in 1815, which brought the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars to an end. It established a German confederation that was designed to be strong enough to keep the internal peace and deter foreign aggressors but was too weak to develop hegemonic ambitions of its own.

The struggle for Germany also drove internal politics across Europe. In England, Ireland and Scotland, the failure of the Stuarts to support the Protestant cause in Germany in effect delegitimised the dynasty and eventually led to the civil war that cost the English Charles I his head. Up to 100,000 Britons fought in the Thirty Years War, even at a time of intense fratricidal conflict at home (recent archaeological evidence has shown that their bones are scattered across central Europe). Throughout the 18th century there was no issue that made or broke more ministries, including those of Robert Walpole and Pitt the Elder, than the state of the Holy Roman empire; indeed, when Britons referred to “the empire” before about 1760 it was Germany they meant, not their overseas colonies. In France, the abject failure of the Bourbons to defend French national interests in the Holy Roman empire and eastern Europe precipitated the revolution that destroyed the country’s monarchy.

During the Thirty Years War, Germany was traumatised by civil conflict and humiliated by foreign armies – Spanish, Danish, Swedish and French, to name only the most prominent – marching back and forth across its territory. The population of the Holy Roman empire dropped from 21 million to just over 13 million people, one of the highest losses in any war ever. Its central European location had nearly become a collective death sentence. Thereafter, as the philosopher Gott - fried Wilhelm Leibniz lamented in 1670, Germany remained “the ball which [the powers] toss to one another . . . the battlefield on which the struggle for mastery in Europe is fought”. During the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, Germans were once again the main victims, fought over, partitioned and conscripted by both sides.

Most Germans resented this fate and many tried to overcome it. They looked with dismay at the haemorrhaging of imperial territories, especially to France; Alsace-Lorraine was the most obvious but by no means the only case. For hundreds of years, reformers struggled to give the Holy Roman empire a constitutional and military structure that would enable the Germans to coexist without outside tutelage. All of these attempts failed, from the activities of the imperial Austrian general Lazarus von Schwendi in the 16th century and Samuel von Pufendorf in the 17th century, through those of Johann Jakob Moser in the 18th century to the liberal nationalists of the early and mid-19th century. It was only when the Prussian chancellor Otto von Bismarck appropriated German nationalism for his own ends, and excluded Austria, that Germany finally found the internal unity that would enable it to deter aggressors, or so it was hoped. Instead, for both structural and behavioural reasons, the new central European state eventually unhinged not merely the continental but also the global order, and was twice crushed by a coalition of great powers.

The united Germany of 1871 was, as Henry Kissinger has put it, “too big for Europe, but too small for the world”. With a population of 41 million people, it was larger than France (36 million), Austria-Hungary (about 36 million) and Britain (31 million). Only the vast tsarist empire could boast an even greater number of subjects (77 million). (In com - parison, the population of Prussia in 1850 had been 16 million.) Moreover, unlike its stagnating French rival, the German population was rapidly increasing. Harnessed to this demographic motor was a rapidly industrialising economy, the best education system in the world and an army that was second to none.

The Reich was threatened on two sides, however: in the east by Russia, which was on the move again after a long period of passivity, and in the west by France, which remained completely unreconciled to her defeat in 1870-71. From the early 20th century, this fear was aggravated by naval rivalry with Britain and the United States. Moreover, while Germany was territorially static, the British, French and Russian empires and the United States were all huge and expanding empires. To make matters worse still, Germans were emigrating in their millions in search of a better life in the British settler colonies and especially the United States, not only depriving the Reich of their energies but “replenishing” the demographic reservoirs of her potential rivals.

There were different ways of dealing with these challenges and Germany tried all of them without lasting success. Bismarck sought to square the strategic circles through skilful diplomacy – isolating France by making sure that the Reich was always “one of two in a world of three” or “one of three in a world of five”. This tactic worked well for a while, but the strain of making contradictory commitments to her main allies, Russia and Austria-Hungary, was not sustainable in the long run, even if Wilhelm II had not opted so decisively for Vienna and thus driven Paris and St Petersburg together at Germany’s expense. Bismarck’s successor as chancellor, Leo von Caprivi, sought to secure Germany’s position in the world through manufacturing: “Export goods or people”, the slogan went. This strategy was vulnerable to external tariff barriers, however, not least because Germany, too, imposed all kinds of restrictions in deference to strong agricultural lobbies at home. The third option, territorial expansion to compensate that of her mighty rivals, failed most spectacularly of all. It provoked balancing coalitions such as the Triple Entente between Britain, France and the Russian empire, the Grand Alliance during the Second World War and the enmity of the United States, which turned against Berlin out of hemispheric concern over German penetration of Latin America, especially Mexico. Kaiser Wilhelm’s often clumsy Weltpolitik overseas around the turn of the century, imperial Germany’s large-scale territorial ambitions in western and eastern Europe during the First World War and Hitler’s racially driven quest for “living space” in the 1930s and 1940s all ended in disaster.

During this period, the German problem was also at the heart of European domestic politics. In France, the question of how society was to be organised against Germany underlay almost every domestic crisis, from the threat of boulangisme in the late 19th century, through the Dreyfus affair, to the bitter divisions of the 1930s. In Russia, the pan-Slavist movement took aim at German “dominance” from the third quarter of the 19th century. By the outbreak of the First World War, the determination to contain Berlin was so strong in Russian politics that military failure, and the general feeling that the dynasty was secretly pro-German, led to the first Russian revolution of 1917. After the second (Bolshevik) revolution, the question of how to promote a communist uprising in Germany and what to do when it failed to materialise was the central preoccupation of the new government. Only the victory of Stalin’s “socialism in one country” approach over Trotsky’s “world revolution” settled the matter. In Britain, fears of German ambition first surfaced during electoral debates about the “dreadnoughts” in the early 20th century and, as in France, appeasement was the defining issue of the 1930s.

After 1945, the postwar European and global settlement reflected the need to deal with the German question. The United Nations originated as a wartime alliance to defeat Adolf Hitler, a history that is still reflected in the structure of the Security Council, with its five veto-bearing permanent members. Germany lost swaths of territory, especially in the east; millions were either expelled or fled westwards. The rump was divided into four zones of occupation which consolidated as the Federal Republic of Germany in the west and the German Democratic Republic in the east. How to resolve the German question became the principal point of contention during the cold war between western democracies and the communist dictatorships led by the Soviet Union.

It was also the main driving force behind the process of European integration. The European Coal and Steel Community was established to ensure that France and Germany were structurally incapable of going to war with each other again. To Washington, European integration was intended not merely to contain German revanchism, but to mobilise the Federal Republic against the Soviet threat. For the Germans, the European project was a vehicle through which they could be rehabilitated politically without frightening either their western partners or themselves.

The political and military integration of the continent through the European Defence Community was blocked by the French parliament in the mid-1950s. Thereafter, the military integration of Europe – including German rearmament – took place within Nato. Economic, political and cultural integration devolved to the European Economic Community, which was founded in 1957 and grew into the European Union. Into the EU, the Germans brought not only their rapidly recovering economy but also much of their premodern political culture, especially a preoccupation with legality, interminable debate and due process, so that the EU increasingly began to resemble the Holy Roman empire.
For about 50 years, the European settlement worked well. Despite considerable anxieties at the time, it survived the collapse of communism, the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification in 1990, which greatly increased the Bundesrepublik’s territorial and demographic weight. It survived in part because it took much longer than expected for the German economy to sort out the mess left by communism, but mainly because the next stages of the European project –the Maastricht Treaty and the introduction of the euro, which superseded the mighty Deutschmark –were speeded up in order to embed the united Germany more firmly in a uniting Europe.

Far from breaking out on its own, the enlarged Federal Republic worked ever more closely with its partners, especially on security, in which it had long lagged. Berlin was a strong supporter of the initial eastern enlargement of Nato and the EU into Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. German forces participated at a late stage in the intervention against ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, they were there from the start in Kosovo, and after the 11 September 2001 attacks, Berlin sent troops to Afghanistan, proclaiming that “German security was being defended on the Hindu Kush”. And if the Germans briefly broke the “convergence criteria” for monetary union, they were far from alone in doing so. One way or the other, it seemed, the transformation in the German state’s behaviour since 1945 had neutralised the structural shift brought about by reunification.

Over the past five years, however, this arrangement has come under considerable strain, primarily for structural reasons. First of all, thanks to reforms by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the German economy – written off for a decade as the sick man of Europe – regained its competitiveness at the expense of southern Europe. Second, the critical and unrecognised shift after 1989 was the growth not in German size but in German security. With the collapse of communism and the enlargement of Nato and the EU, Germany is surrounded for the first time ever by friendly democracies only. This has diminished its interest in security matters, particularly the problem of Russian power further east. As such, Poland and the Baltic states appeal to Berlin for help today as much in vain as the Hungarians and Croats did under the Reichstag more than 500 years ago. They still have Nato, but, given President Obama’s defence cuts and his trumpeted turn towards the Pacific, they wonder for how much longer.

Finally there is a behavioural divide: although the origins of the economic and fiscal crisis vary across Europe, they stem from various forms of bad practice in which the Germans by and large did not indulge. Unlike the Irish and the Spaniards, they did not build huge housing estates for single ownership but were content to rent apartments as they had always done; unlike the Italians, they did not turn their political life into a circus that sapped confidence in state bonds; and unlike the Greeks, they have a political system based (for all its difficulties) on honesty and transparency. To be sure, these countries also suffered from a structural fault in the new European architecture, by which monetary union, designed to supersede the Deutschmark, flooded all member states with cheap credit and fuelled an asset bubble in some of them. So, the great irony is that the casualties of the sovereign and private debt crises on the European periphery are victims, first and foremost, not of German power but of the attempt to constrain it.

The German question has mutated over more than half a millennium. For four centuries Germany was too weak. The question was how to mobilise the Germans in defence of the balance of power, or to prevent them from falling into the hands of a hegemon. For roughly 80 years after unification, Germany was too strong, and either threatened world peace or appeared to do so. Then followed about half a century in which Germany was relatively weak in political terms, and contributed far less to the western cause than it could have done.

Today, Germany is both too strong and too weak, or at least too disengaged. It sits uneasily at the heart of an EU that was conceived largely to constrain German power but which has served instead to increase it, and whose design flaws have unintentionally deprived many other Europeans of sovereignty without giving them a democratic stake in the new order.

The question we face now is this: how can the Federal Republic, which is prosperous and secure as never before, be persuaded to take the political initiative and make the necessary economic sacrifices to complete the work of European unity?

One way or the other, the German question persists and will always be with us. 
This is because, whenever Europe and the world think they have solved it, 
events and the Germans change the question.

Brendan Simms is professor in the history of international relations at the University of Cambridge. His next book, “Europe: the Struggle for Supremacy – 1453 to the Present” will be published next month by Allen Lane

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Neu: Nur für Dich -- Herr der Ringe

Mach dir Freude auf! Coca Cola und Fußball Fieber

FDJ (Freie Deutsche Jugend) Lied

Song from the Free German Youth organization active in the DDR (Communist East Germany) at the time (until 1989, when the wall gave way)

Do you recognize any scenes?

The stadium shot is particularly interesting, as the seats were free if you had time to spend practicing the placard drills (slogan advertising) beforehand.

Die DDR wurde 50 Jahre alt.  Hier wurde es gefeiert.  (Celebration from the 50th anniversary of the DDR)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Learning German in Ireland

The Irish Times - Monday, March 4, 2013

An Irishman's Diary

Derek Scally
There’s a little-known link between the Irish economy and the German language – something I call (Willy) Brandt’s Law.
The former West German chancellor Willy Brandt once explained the laws of linguistic engagement thus: “If I am selling to you I will speak English, but if you are selling to me, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen.”
Brandt’s Law when applied to Ireland means that, when the Irish economy hits the skids, people start learning German to help find work and new opportunities. When the economy recovers, attitudes reverse and the Irish think Germans – and all others – should learn English.
Instead of seeing German as a language of culture, thought, or even love, many Irish view German as a  ... "rescue ring" to fling at schoolchildren to keep them afloat in choppy economic waters.
In the grim 1980s, German language classes boomed as emigrants headed off to the BMW plant or a beer garden job. Three decades on, as the economy follows fashion back to the 1980s, .... Irish eyes have once again settled their gaze again on Germany and German.
A new promotional campaign and website –– is an attempt by the German, Austrian and Swiss embassies to explain the benefits of learning Europe’s most commonly-spoken native tongue – spoken by almost 120 million people daily.
Conscious of its audience, however, the new website front-loads the economic benefits. At this minute there are more than 1,000 job vacancies for German-speakers in Ireland, with many more positions for skilled, German-speaking staff in continental Europe.
So is the “German Connects” website a clever attempt to tap the Zeitgeist...?  At the recent launch of the website, Dublin secondary school students presented their thoughts on the matter. Many gave unconscious nods to Brandt’s Law, saying they hoped learning German would improve their career prospects and earning potential. A few took the broader view, saying learning German “gives a better taste for Europe”.
“People think German is hard,” said Aindrias Ó hEachteirn, in fifth year at Coláiste Eoin in Booterstown. “But it’s actually a lot easier than Irish.”
Remarks like that might come as a surprise to many in Ireland, where stereotypes about the “hard” German language are stubbornly difficult to shift.
One of the greatest difficulties for Irish students learning German – or any other modern language – is facing a daunting crash course in grammar, thanks to the removal of English grammar teaching from the Irish school syllabus. Compulsory Irish lessons have caused further collateral damage.
Adding to the difficulties are special, German-only burdens. It has played second fiddle to French, which Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn suggested last month was linked to religious orders’ preference for Romance languages. Rather than learn French because the long-vanished nuns wanted to teach it, perhaps the time has come to look to German. If nothing else, it’s worth finding out what they think of us by learning their language, visiting their country and asking them directly.
Aindrias Ó hEachteirn already did that. At the website launch he brandished a well-thumbed, dual-language copy of Goethe’s epic tragedy, Faust. It’s a daunting read but, just back from a school exchange, Aindrias is anxious to learn German for more than just economic gain.
“With every language you learn,” he said, “you take off a pair of blinkers you didn’t even know you were wearing and suddenly see much more.” So is the German language hard to learn? It’s not easy but, then again, neither is watching monolingual children emigrate to far-flung English-speaking lands in search of work.
There is an emigration alternative to 23-hour flights to Sydney and watching grandchildren grow up on Skype. Learning German takes time but, long-term, the effort can open doors to new home and new opportunities just a two-hour flight from Ireland.
Before the shock of recent years passes, it’s worth learning one lesson of the economic crisis: speaking only English in a globalised world is as much a risk as it is a benefit.

Die Lorelei von einem Maennerchor gesungen

Erich Kunz


Schoen. Danke, Catherine!  Wir werden dieses Lied in unserer Klasse zuhoeren.
Leider gibt es jetzt kein "Embed Code" ...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Deine Freunde "Wie schön, dass du geboren bist"

Wir hätten dich sonst sehr vermisst....
Wie schön, dass wir beisammen sind!

Hoch sollst du leben --  dreimal hoch!

Lebensborn, 1935

Q:  Was Lebensborn a 'breeding station for Aryan women and SS men" or was it an orphanage?  It's hard to know just what to believe...(-CS)

A:  Lebensborn" was probably all of the above.... It was a program to increase the supply of 'nordic' types. As far as I remember there was a 'breeding' section as there was an attempt to 'Germanify' nordic-looking children from the conquered races in orphanage settings. The Nazis took some of the stigma away from single motherhood -- one of the many strange and unexpected ways in which the Hitler years and their aftermath modernized Germany by smashing traditional institutions.  (-- EKO)

Neugierig?  (Curious?)   Hier ist mehr:

SPIEGEL Online  November 07, 2006 – 05:01 PM

Nazi Program to Breed Master Race: Lebensborn Children Break Silence

By David Crossland in Wernigerode
After decades of hushed shame, the children of the Lebensborn program to create a blond, blue-eyed master race have started to speak out. Topic number one is the painful search for their true parents. And then that nagging question: "Was my father a war criminal?"
Guntram Weber, 63, found out his father was an SS major-general who escaped a death sentence for war crimes.

David Crossland
Guntram Weber, 63, found out his father was an SS major-general who escaped a death sentence for war crimes.
They were bred to be the elite of Hitler's 1,000-year Reich but ended up cowed by shame, alienation and uncertainty for decades.  Now aged over 60, the children of the Nazis' "Lebensborn" ("Spring of Life") program to create an Aryan master race are starting to go public with their plight and are renewing efforts to find out who their true parents were.
More than 30 Lebensborn children, by no means all of them tall and fair, met at the weekend in the sleepy eastern town of Wernigerode, site of one the program's birth clinics. The meeting was organized by a self-help group called "Traces of Life" which was set up last year to swap experiences, aid research and explode some of the myths surrounding the scheme.

Some 8,000 children were born in Germany and around 12,000 in Norway as part of Lebensborn, formed by SS leader Heinrich Himmler to encourage women of “pure blood” to bear blond, blue-eyed children.

Historians have refuted the public’s perception that it was a system of Nazi stud farms where SS zealots mated with each other. But it was an integral part of a murderous racial policy that stretched from the forced sterilization of people with hereditary diseases to the killing of 6 million Jews.

Founded in 1935, Lebensborn was designed to halt the high rate of abortions in Germany which rose as high as 800,000 a year in the inter-war years because of a chronic shortage of men to marry after World War I. Its aim was to prevent 100,000 abortions and its statute stated that it was to support "racially and genetically valuable families with many children."

It enabled unmarried pregnant women to avoid social stigma by giving birth anonymously away from their homes, often under the pretext of needing a long-term recuperation. About 60 percent of Lebensborn mothers were unmarried. Lebensborn ran children’s homes and an adoption service if the mother didn’t want to keep the child.
It even had its own registry office system to keep true identities secret. Most documents were burnt at the end of the war. That, together with the refusal of many Lebensborn mothers to tell their children about the program, has made it very difficult to find the truth.

Three-year-old "SS Bastard"
Father an SS officer, mother a Lebensborn secretary: family therapist Gisela Heidenreich.
David Crossland
Father an SS officer, mother a Lebensborn secretary: family therapist Gisela Heidenreich.
In many cases the fathers were married members of the SS who had obeyed Himmler’s instruction to spread their Aryan seed even out of wedlock.

Gisela Heidenreich, born in a Lebensborn clinic in the Norwegian capital of Oslo in 1943, realized that there was something wrong when she was three or four years old and overheard people referring to her as the "SS bastard."
Her mother, a secretary for the Lebensborn program, had become pregnant after having an affair with a married SS officer, and had travelled from Bavaria to Oslo to give birth discreetly in a Lebensborn clinic. She refused to answer her daughter's questions about the father, and Gisela didn't find out who he was until she was an adult.

Her own reaction to locating her father has helped her understand why so many Germans lived with the crimes and cruelty of the Nazi regime, she said. "When I first met him it was on a station platform. I ran into his arms and all I thought was ‘I've got a father,’" Heidenreich, strikingly tall with clear blue eyes and greying blond hair, told the Wernigerode meeting. "I accuse myself of shutting out who my father was. I never asked him what he did. My own reaction has helped me to understand how people in those days just put the blinders on and ignored the terrible things that were happening.”

Hitler believed the “Nordic race” was destined to rule the world. But many Lebensborn children struggled through life yearning for the truth about their family history, wondering if their father was a war criminal, feeling inadequate and alienated from their foster parents or mothers, or ashamed of their illegitimacy and association with a murky Nazi project.

"My father the war criminal"
Guntram Weber, 63, a creative writing teacher from Berlin, knew for decades that his mother was lying about his father. His mistrust was so great that he would pore over history books looking for photos of soldiers that could be his father, or of women concentration camp guards that looked like his mother.

"My mother told me my father was a truck driver for the Luftwaffe who had never fired a gun and died in Croatia when he drove over a landmine. She told me she had married him in 1938 on a beautiful sunny day and that they had driven to church in a horse-drawn cart. She said she didn't want to say any more about him because it was too painful," said Weber. "But there were no documents and no photos.”

A girl getting her face measured: the Nazis wanted "racially and genetically valuable children."
A girl getting her face measured: the Nazis wanted "racially and genetically valuable children."
Acting on a hint from his step-father, Weber started researching when he was 58 and found out that he was a Lebensborn child and that his father was an SS major-general convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death by a Polish court in 1949. He had escaped to South America and died peacefully in Argentina in 1970.

"From one day to the next I knew my father was a war criminal," said Weber, tall and quietly spoken. „He was a man who allowed himself everything. And the SS enabled him to live that way. I assume my mother fell in love with a powerful military man. And he obviously couldn't resist any woman. It gave me a feeling of low self-esteem, of loneliness, of uncertainty. But then I came to one of these meetings and found out that other Lebensborn children had gone through the same experience," he continued. "It was a huge relief for me, although I haven't been able to shake this feeling of inadequacy. Maybe in 10 years it will be gone. It's important that other children in Germany and abroad hear about this group because it could help them," said Weber.

There were 14 Lebensborn clinics in Germany and Austria, tucked away in small towns safe from Allied bombing, and nine in Norway where the Nazis had encouraged German soldiers to have children with women of “Viking” blood.

The children’s suffering was worst in Norway, where many never recovered from the stigma of having a German father. Some were put in mental asylums as Norwegians feared they spread German genes and create a hostile “fifth column.”
Clinics were also set up in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland and Luxembourg.

Tumbling through life
The alienation has left many children missing the security and warmth of family ties. Volker Röder, 62, a Lebensborn child living in Berlin, said: “I tumbled through life till I was 50 and met my wife.”

Given up for adoption by his mother, he was taken from a Lebensborn home in 1945 by foster parents. “They just wanted a kid to help them get through the Russian lines to the West,” said Röder. The parents later handed him to another children’s home. In 2001, his wife encouraged him to travel to Wernigerode and find his real mother.
“We immediately found out that she was living in an old folk’s home here. I went and the first thing she said was ‘There you are. I've been waiting for you!’ I was speechless. I see her occasionally but she still won’t talk about that time. I'm bitter and angry about it but my wife has helped me deal with it. At least I found out that my father wasn’t a war criminal, that was a relief. He was a policeman and even joined the Social Democrat party in 1936, which was unusual.”

The entry requirements for the Lebensborn clinics were as strict as for the SS itself. The women had to prove that both they and the father were of Aryan stock back to their grandparents. Modern equipment and qualified staff made the clinics popular with the pregnant wives of SS and Nazi officials as well.

The children were often christened in an SS ritual in which the SS dagger was held over them as the mother swore allegiance to Nazi ideology.

Gold medal for eight children
The Nazis offered incentives to German women to bear many children. Mothers with three and more children under 10 years old got "honorary cards" allowing them to jump shopping queues and get discounts on their rent payments. Cheap state loans were offered for parents, and there was the "Mother's Cross" medal: bronze for four children, silver for six and gold for eight.

It's common for the mothers of Lebensborn children to refuse to speak about the project. “They build a wall of lies and then someone comes along and threatens to tear it down. It's almost life-threatening to them. That's why they don't talk,” said Heidenreich, who wrote a book about her own search for the truth.

“Many women swore the SS oath ‘My honor is loyalty' which still seems to play a role in their lives. They'd rather die than say the truth.”

Tired of hearing lies, many children stopped asking and got on with their lives. But now as pensioners, the curiosity has returned, and they can look back on their past with more detachment.

"As you get older you get more interested in your youth. Being a registered association gives us a better chance to get information from archives and authorities," said Peter Naumann, chairman of Traces of Life. "A lot of us have only recently started to try finding out about where we came from."

Heidenreich said she wanted to keep younger German generations aware of their past and combat recent regional election victories for neo-Nazis. "I'm appalled how pupils listen to Nazi history with incredible distance these days. They know a lot about it but it doesn't touch them emotionally. It's like ancient Rome to them," said Heidenreich.
"It's our duty to tell our stories."