Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How to become German, Part 2


 --  Introduction to Part 2 from RSB  Since Part 1 was fairly well received on this blog, I'll keep (most of) these jewels from Alex Fletcher coming.  They are, in fact, quite funny, written as they are by a young Brit, who is finding himself in rather unfamiliar surroundings, and proud to notice a few differences.  I hope that any reader of this blog will look at these comments with humor, rather than with a notebook.  


Sauerkraut lost its importance to the rest of the world once we were no longer at threat from scurvy. Germans absolutely hate the stereotype that they're a nation of obsessive sauerkraut eaters. Really hate it. Many have stopped eating Sauerkraut entirely in an act of nationalistic principle, or maybe they just don't like sauerkraut (who could blame them) and this offers a more profound excuse for its avoidance. But someone must love it, or sauerkraut is playing a large and elaborate practical joke on the German people because if you order a German meal, in a German restaurant, there is an 87% chance it will come with sauerkraut. It's there. It's always there. It's like a pact was made somewhere at a secret meeting no German was invited to, a referendum of one and now sauerkraut is the official, national side dish. If there's no smoke without fire, and there's no German "Hauptgericht" (main dish) without Sauerkraut, the stereotype has to be accurate. If you don't like it my dear Krauts, change that default side dish. May I suggest Baked Beans? It's a custom of my people and I must say, I find them to be delicious.  
Side note from RSB  who loves both Sauerkraut and Rotkohl and hope restaurants will continue serving them:  Both of these dishes continue to prove to be very healthy!  Unpasteurized, non-preserved sauerkraut has more great bacteria than yogurt.  It's positively awesome.


Good news Ausländer, the German economy is rocking. Employment is very possible, even in the East, where formerly abandoned cities like Leipzig have redeveloped themselves into logistics hubs. So armed with all those new qualifications and letters before your name, you'll have no problems finding work. 

But not all work is equally prized. There is an unspoken scale of careers, known, but not acknowledged by all Germans. Real jobs and not real jobs. For a profession to count in Germany, it should have existed for at least a hundred years, be vaguely scientific or at least dense enough that it requires half a life time of study and the opportunity to acquire 67 different academic qualifications. It should be impenetrable to outsiders, shielded in its own complex language. Ideally, it should also start with an "e" and in "ngineering". But other accepted professions are scientist, lawyer, doctor, teacher, something that involves organising things on a large scale, like logistics, or anything to do with cars. Otherwise when people ask you your job, the same will happen to you as happens to me, I reply "I'm a marketer", at which point someone says, "that's not really a job though, is it?"



English is not about what you say, but how you say it. German is both, but more the former. Since what Germans say tends to be direct and prepared with minimal ambiguity. Ruthlessly efficient, if you will.

In English, for example, if you want someone to do something for you, you do not merely go up to that person and ask them to do something for you. Oh no. That would be a large faux pas of the social variety. Instead you must first inquire about their health, their families health, their children’s health, the weather, the activities of the previous weekend, the plans of the upcoming weekend, the joy or ecstasy related to the outcome of the most recent televised football match, then, finally, you can say "by the way", after which you begin the actual point of the conversation, before reinforcing that you feel guilty for having to ask, and only if it's no trouble, but would they be so kind as to possibly do this little thing for you. You will be eternally grateful. 

Germans do not dance around the point in such elaborate, transparent displays of faux-friendship, they just say "I need this by this date... Alles klar”?  Then walk off. Once you've practiced regularly getting to the point, you may find the way to be short but very enjoyable.
As for saying what you mean, Germans have rightly realised that sugar coating is best reserved for cakes. If I'm having one of my momentary delusions of grandeur I know I can rely on my German girlfriend to bring me swiftly back down to reality by saying something like "get over yourself, we're all born naked and must wipe our own rear ends". 


The average German has a complex relationship to its Hauptstadt. Berlin is the black sheep of the German family. Creative, unpunctual, prone to spontaneous displays of techno, unable to pay its taxes, over familiar with foreigners. To many Germans, Berlin is not really their capital, it's more like a giant art project or social experiment ... in need of a hand out. To them, the true capital is probably somewhere more like Frankfurt. You know where you are with Frankfurt.  


Every pantomime needs its villain. For Germany, the wicked witch is Bavaria. Firstly it had the misfortune to be based right down there in the corner, far enough away that we can all say mean things about it and it won't hear, not central enough that it can claim real geographic importance. It then had the audacity to become the richest state, but not quietly and with humility, but in a gregarious, badly dressed, heavy drinking, God greeting, bumpkin sort of way. It's also a source of wider German mirth since, while only one part of this huge country, it's responsible for 91% of all wider held German stereotypes and 100% of the annoying, inaccurate ones.


It is a great joy to live in a society that deals with sex so frankly and without fuss. As if, oh I don't know, it was a completely normal part of life. An act so common there is even compelling evidence our lame parents engaged in it. Germans understand this. Sex, while perhaps dealt with a little clinically at times, is not a big deal and must not be treated as such. It's like walking the dog or taking out the trash. Nudity is extended the same perfunctory familiarity. Particularly around lakes in the East of the country, with their history of FKK ("Frei Koerper Kultur" = nude sun bathing). When I questioned one of my colleagues on the need for such overt nakedness when an East Germans spots any body of water larger than a puddle, this was the reply "if you've never swum naked with 5 of your best friends, you haven't lived!"
Side note from RSB:  Perhaps because of the prevalence of the "Frauenklinik," it is far easier for girls in Germany to receive birth control prescriptions, no questions asked, than it is in the clinics or doctors' offices here.   


(Rather than having) German men...(drawing physical comparisons) against the other men they meet.... they've evolved other ways to rank themselves, the favourite being:  cars. When my girlfriend told her father she had a new English boyfriend, his first question, before my name, job, interests, age etc "what kind of car does he drive?" Germans are serious about their cars. They're also pretty good at making them. Possibly those two are also related, but since I can't think of any jokes in the linking of them, I'll conveniently ignore that and just move on.


Picture the scene - an abandoned hospital. Someone wakes up in bed, in a locked room. They don't remember how they got there. They are groggy. It's quiet. Eerily quiet. They get up, and leave the room, stepping gingerly out into the hall. There are no humans around. It feels like the end of the world. They venture outside to try and find signs of humanity. There is nothing. They start to wonder if they are the only people left on earth. Maybe it was a killer virus. It's quiet, too quiet. Sound familiar? Yes, this is the start of most zombie movies. It’s also a description of the average Sunday in Germany. At least in catholic or rural areas. A day in which washing your car is considered an act of vigilantism against the sacred Sonntagsruhe (= restful Sundays).

Side note from RSB:  Besides taking a family hike,...  There is of course one exception though. One Sunday activity that is compulsory, and that is:


In my first WG ("Wohngesellschaft" = dorm) we had a TV attached to a skateboard that lived in a cupboard. It was only wheeled out once a week, for Tatort. Friends of my roommates would come by, the TV would be setup in the kitchen, elaborate meals would be cooked and shared, then silence would descend and Tatort would begin. If you dare to ask a German "is Tatort actually good?" the response is usually very amusing. You would think since they watch it with such rigid vigour, privately or as part of the public viewings in pubs, they must really love it? Yet, they usually don't say yes. They made a shocked face, as if that's a new question and they've not really thought about it before, like you asked them "do you believe in gravity?" then, usually, they'll conclude that whether Tatort is good or bad is utterly irrelevant.  Every culture has its inherited customs. For the Germans, it's Sunday Tatort.
Side note from RSB:  die Tat - the Deed;   der Ort = the Place.  Tatort is filmed in different locations around Germany, so there is different kind of incentive between them to keep the audience glued to the series.  It is also a way for Germans to pick up different dialects, and hear about other areas in Germany, as well as witness how one's own location is being broadcast to the viewers.  What kind of show is it?  It's a "Krimi,"  or crime-solving detective series, featuring different dectectives, depending on the host-network.

Thanks for reading, there is also now a part 3 here

How to become GERMAN the last 5 steps

Posted on November 19, 2012 by Adam Fletcher
Came straight here? That won't work. First check out steps 1-10 and steps 11-20
Oh boy, did I get some grief for not mentioning German bread in the first 20 steps. It's possible Germans can also insert yeast into emails, because all the angry ones kept rising to the top of my inbox. I get it. You like bread. But not all bread. Your bread. Just your bread. As an apology I'm going to make a German bread joke in nearly all 5 of my next steps. I hope that's enough for you to understand how sorry I am. 


Anyone who doubts how seriously Germans take their bread is either a fool, me, or both. Germans are serious about bread. This is reflected in their bread, which is serious. As opposed to that fluffy white English nonsense, which they see as an unforgivable waste of yeast. A child's finger painting masquerading as high art. It's true English bread is of the soft and cuddly persuasion. Sometimes I'm not sure whether to make a sandwich with it, or just sort of climb in and have a little nap. It's a bouncy castle for the taste buds. I can see how you wouldn't like that. Frivolous. In comparison when I see German bread, I have the urge to thump my chest and shout "Jawohl".  It packs quite the visual punch. Important is the weight (ideally more than an average new born baby), the colour (rich and dark, like, em, um...swamp mud) and the texture (slightly damp concrete). If dropped, there is an expectation that it should shatter into a thousand pieces. 


It's an accepted internet rule that you can say pretty much whatever you want, as long as you put :) at the end. LOL optional, but encouraged. This removes the option for the receiver (and joke's victim) to be allowed to be offended. After all, there was a smiley face, it was a joke. If you are offended, that's your fault, you should have a sense of humour. Germans have a similar rule for their communication, but they've substituted the smiley face for LG (lovely greetings/regards, crudely translated) or MFG (with friendly greetings), VG (many greetings) or the highly innovative, new, MVFLG (with many friendly lovely greetings), which I may or may not have just made up. You can be as mean as you want, as long as your message is gift wrapped in a parting LG or MFG. I'm not even going to question the logic of signing off with the greeting, an act traditionally saved for the beginning. 


With the exception of Oktoberfest, Germany is not famous for its excesses. It's actually rightly appreciated for its modesty and humility. Fine, fine traits. While us Brits where out living it up on bank sponsored credit, spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on these little boxes where we'd house ourselves, the Germans stayed in their rented homes, in their beloved kitchens, baking their
armories pantry full of yet more delicious German
crustbombs bread. There is however, one area where they really like to let their collective hair down though, where they can get really wild and flamboyant, and that's when saying the word tssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssschhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhüsssssssssssssssssssss I'm not exactly sure how many letters long the word tttttttttttttttttttttssssssssssssssssssssssssccccccccccchhhhhhhhhhüssssssssss actually is, but I'm pretty sure you can't lay it in the game of scrabble. It should take approximately five seconds to say and be delivered not in your voice, but in one you've borrowed from a slightly better, more musical, pitch perfect, you.  

Image credit: shirtarrest


You are probably aware of the eminent Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov and his work on the conditioning of dogs, who he trained to salivate on demand, just by his ringing a small bell. After finding dogs too easy and maliable to his whim, he set out to look for a tougher challenge, one that has until now, received less attention. Discarding the bell, and keen to work with people this time, he devised another ingenious experiment in conditioning only this time on the entire nation of Germany. You may not have heard about it, but if you've witnessed the effect. His goal was that when anyone said to a German "You're invited to a party" or "Let's have a BBQ" they would instinctively think "I'll make a Kartoffelsalat". Needless to say, if you've been to such an event and seen seven stacked tubs of Kartoffelsalat, you'll already know it was a perfect success.

25. PROST!! 

I imagine prosting or cheersing (if we translate it crudely) used to be fun. You're in a group, you've the luxury of enough money to buy this drink, enough time to devote to the drinking of it, enough friends that want to socialise and drink with you. Prosting is really an act of happy comradery. A short, sweet, clinky, fuck you to the world and its petty problems. When I first arrived here, I prosted as I would in England, maybe we touched glasses, maybe we just lifted them ever so slightly more than we would need to reach our mouths, in a short gesture, before lowering it again and drinking. This isn't acceptable here. Here all holders of a beverage must compete in a sort of awkward drinking dance, in which everyone must make very, very obvious eye contact with every one else, in turn, and all glasses MUST touch all other glasses. Then, like in Ice Skating, judges, who've been watching from the periphery, hold up scorecards for all participants, showing how successfully they've taken part across a range of criteria such as "did they clink against every glass, in a logical, clockwise manner" and "duration and intensity of eye contact". 

Some of these topics were suggested in the comments from the first articles. For everyone who suggested them, pat yourselves on your perceptive backs.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Borussia Dortmund

Champions League finalist Bayern Munich finally embracing its anti-Nazi past

If the form guide holds true, then Bayern Munich will be crowned as European champion Saturday, a title that would inevitably see the giant German club unanimously recognized as the current best in the world.

Yet while victory over Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium would cap a spectacular season, nothing it achieves in the Champions League final can overshadow Bayern’s greatest and most important triumph, one that took place more than seven decades ago.


Bayern Munich players celebrate after defeating Barcelona in the Champions League semifinal. (Getty Images)That triumph was survival itself, attained against all odds and in the face of the most terrifying of opponents – Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party.

During the years leading up to the second World War, Bayern had developed a strong tradition of having senior administrators, sponsors, fans and coaches … who were Jewish. That status put the club and its leaders directly in the crosshairs of the Nazis, who were determined to stamp out any sign of Jewish success or positivity.

As the tentacles of Hitler’s racist and anti-Semitic doctrine spread and the seeds of hatred that would ultimately result in the Holocaust grew, Bayern, having won its first German title in 1932, became a readily available and high-profile target.

“There was no desire from those in power to see what was known as the Judenklub [Jewish club] be successful,” said historian Dietrich Schulze-Marmeling, author of the 2011 award-winning book "FC Bayern and Its Jews." “The club was isolated amid all this anti-Semitism that was taking over the country.”

[Related: The Champions League final viewing companion]

The Nazis certainly tried their best to erase Bayern from its position of prominence within the game and from German soccer history. The party ordered Bayern to be demoted to a lower division despite its success, and Jewish members and supporters were forced to leave the club.

Club chief Kurt Landauer, the energetic Jewish businessman whose vision had been crucial to its growth, continued to run operations behind the scenes despite being stripped of his official duties before being arrested in 1938 and taken to the fearsome concentration camp at Dachau. More than 30,000 prisoners died at Dachau, either by execution or by being worked to death, but Landauer managed to escape and flee to neutral Switzerland, where he would see out the war before later returning to his post as club president.

Banners proclaiming him as the “father” of Bayern are often seen at the club’s matches and may again be on display at Wembley on Saturday as Bayern seeks its first European crown since 2001.
Club members Albert Beer and Berthold Koppel were not as fortunate as Landauer. They were deported and killed, according to Schulze-Marmeling’s book.

Bayern continued to operate and continued to defy the Nazis. In 1934, several of the team’s players were involved in a fight with Nazi “Brownshirt” enforcers following a dispute.

A Bayern player, Willy Simetsreiter, deliberately antagonized the Nazis by asking to have his photograph taken with Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics, according to the Guardian.

When the war was fully underway in 1939, a Nazi decree ordered that all spare metal be handed over and used as a resource – including any sporting trophies. Several teams obliged, but Bayern refused. Magdalena Heidkamp, wife of club captain Konrad, took the trophies and buried them at a nearby farm.

As a further insult to the Nazis, Bayern players symbolically waved to Landauer as they lined up for an exhibition game in Switzerland in 1943.Yet even after the Allies moved in to Germany and the Nazi regime crumbled, the brave resistance of Bayern and its members went unrecognized, seemingly destined to be lost in time.

The German people wanted to try to forget their horrific memories, and even until recent times it was thought best not to embrace this period of history.


Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is helping to usher in a new era and enlightened approach for the club. …A shift in policy has emerged over the last few years, thanks to the more enlightened approach of Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, a former two-time European footballer of the year and a Bayern star of the 1970s and '80s.

“We should be proud of our history, and all its aspects,” Rummenigge said recently.
Having grown slowly and steadily as Germany rebuilt after the war, Bayern is now a global soccer power, the biggest force in the German Bundesliga, which may currently be the strongest league in the world.

[Related: Bayern Munich heavily favored to beat Borussia Dortmund]

While it was once thought by Bayern chiefs that focusing on the struggles of yesteryear was not conducive to a vibrant modern image, Rummenigge bucked the trend and there is now a section in the club museum dedicated to its Jewish history.

Bayern is an overwhelming favorite on Saturday, primarily thanks to its ferocious 7-0 destruction of Barcelona in the semifinal. It ran away with the German title this season by a massive 25 points and has the painful memories of losing last year’s final to Chelsea – in its own stadium, no less – to spur it on.

Yet Dortmund, relishing the role of underdog, has been swift to point out that nothing can be taken for granted in soccer. For Bayern, with its tortured but ultimately triumphant past, there should be no need for such a reminder.

Berlin: 2009 Festival of Lights

Danke Heidi!  Diese Fotos sind echt schön. 

Dein Lieblingsfoto ist vom Brandenburger Tor. 
Mein?  Vielleicht vom Schloß Charlottenburg -- es gibt 3 verschiedene Farben davon!


Wer ist Stefan Raab?

Ein Privater Typ mit 2 Töchterchen . . .1996 mit 25 Jahren schrieb er ein Raplied für Die Sendung mit der Maus

Der Letterman-ähnliche Typ am Silvesterabend (New Year's Eve)  mit Angus Young aus AC/DC  VORSICHT (watch out):  Raab schreit (screeches) am Anfang

Ein Eurovision Song Contestant, 2000 (He didn't tank, despite his effort to mock the competition; finish: 15th place -- better than Cascada this year.)

Hier:  Raab im Gefahr...am McDrive Schalter


Hier:  Raab im Gefahr 2012  Stefan beim Springen (und Hochsprung):

Und hier -- mit Satellite, 2011  Schon wieder, beim Eurovision Song Contest

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Basel Switzerland's "TOP SECRET DRUM CORPS"


Das Cold Steel Drumline spielte doch im Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf, nachdem Lena den Erstenpreis (1st Prize) wieder nach Deutschland geholt hatte.

Wir kennen sie schon, nicht wahr?

Welche Teile sind bei dir am Liebsten?  Ich habe die Drama bei 5:05 und 5:35 sehr gern.  Auch nach 7 Minuten geht es um Fitness und Turnen (gymnastics).

Friday, May 24, 2013

Stoplersteine are historical (mind-jarring) "Stumbling Stones"

Künstler Gunter Demnig, aus Köln, bekommt 2005 im Schloß Charlottenburg vom Bundespräsident Horst Köhler den Verdienstorden der Bundesrepublik Deutschlands.

Wie viele Stolpersteine gibt es jetzt?


 iPHONE Ap:  2012

In Berlin, more and more victims of the Nazis are being remembered with Stolpersteine—brass plates, embedded in concrete, in the streets where they lived. Andreas Kluth traces the stories behind the stones

From INTELLIGENT LIFE magazine, May/June 2013

ON A HOT July evening in 2012, Menasheh Fogel, his wife and three children were returning from a favourite haunt, the sandy beach at Wannsee, one of the lakes on the western outskirts of Berlin. Fogel, still in his beach clothes, parked near their home on Bamberger Strasse, a charming street of old buildings with high ceilings. As he unloaded their beach toys, his wife started chatting with an older man on the other side of the street. "He was just talking in English to anybody walking by," Fogel recalls. "He came off as a bit loony, but he was just emotional." So Fogel, still in his flip flops, walked over and started to listen. The half-hour chat that followed changed the way he relates to his street and city, its past and his present.

The man outside Bamberger Strasse 3 turned out to be Howard Shattner, from Santa Rosa, California, about an hour from Berkeley, where the Fogel family had lived until a year earlier. Like Fogel, Shattner is American and Jewish. And this address was where his family had lived before the war. In 1938, Shattner’s father and two uncles fled Germany. But his grandfather Chaim and aunt Jente stayed. In September 1942, the Nazis came to this building and took them away.

Twelve days before he met Fogel, Shattner had commemorated his grandfather and aunt by embedding two Stolpersteine—"stumbling stones"—in the pavement at Bamberger Strasse 3. He had come back on this day to talk to residents and passers-by about them. They are brass plates sitting on concrete cubes of ten centimetres on each side. Printed into each plate are the details of one victim of National Socialism—Jewish, gypsy, homosexual or other—who had his or her last address at this spot. The information is deliberately kept terse.

The stone for Shattner’s grandfather reads:

                       BORN 1867
             DEPORTED 22.9.1942
          MURDERED 20.12.1943

There are now almost 40,000 such Stolpersteine in several European countries, most in Germany, thousands in Berlin alone. Some streets that used to be centres of Jewish life teem with them. My own street, in elegant Charlottenburg, is one. In front of my own front door are five Stolpersteine, and they were among the first things that my kids and I noticed when we first came to look at the place. We bowed down and I read the inscriptions out loud. My seven-year-old daughter wondered what this might be about. Since she asked, I began to tell them, for the first time, about the Holocaust. As I did so, some of our neighbours-to-be paused and joined us and an ad hoc conversation arose—all before we had even moved in.

In the same way, Fogel had also noticed Stolpersteine in the streets almost immediately after moving to Berlin. There were already several in his own neighbourhood, Bayerische Viertel (Bavarian Quarter) in Schöneberg, not far from Charlottenburg. Built by and for the bourgeoisie in the years just before the first world war, this was and still is a well-to-do area. Most of the streets are named after Bavarian cities, hence the name of the quarter. But so many Jews once lived there, Albert Einstein among them, that its other nickname was "the Jewish Switzerland".

Berlin, and all Germany, has many memorials and monuments to the Holocaust. But for Fogel these small blocks in the sidewalk made remembrance concrete and therefore more touching, immediate, even eerie. "You can go to the Holocaust Museum in Washington or to the Holocaust Memorial here in Berlin and it’s kind of impersonal and abstract. But this is one person, in one place, and you can imagine what his daily life was like."

At first I assumed that the Stolpersteine were a government project, organised by the city. Fogel had thought so too. Then, during one of his German lessons, his language teacher told him that they were a private initiative run by an artist, Gunter Demnig, who was born in Berlin and now lives in Cologne. "When I learned that the Stolperstein project was actually a private art project and not something done by a public agency," Fogel says, "I actually got a little upset. I realised that while there are quite a few Stolpersteine throughout Berlin, the streets would be literally covered in them if all of the victims were memorialised. It really made me realise how many people could easily be forgotten."

And so the Stolpersteine dredged up every conflicted feeling that Fogel, as a Jew, had about living in Germany. Nobody in his own family died in the Holocaust. On his father’s side, he is 4th-generation American; on his mother’s side, he is 5-generation. But he is still Jewish. And not only does he now live in Germany, but he works there – in information technology—for Bayer. Today, Bayer is known predominantly for Aspirin, which it invented. But during the Holocaust, Bayer was part of IG Farben, a chemical conglomerate that made, among other things, Zyklon b, the gas used in the death chambers.

Fogel had made a sort of peace with his mixed feelings about his career move. As a tech guy, he is the linear and logical type. "My left brain overrides my right brain," he says. "I have nuanced feelings because Germany has dealt with the Holocaust so openly and modern Germany has some of the most progressive politics in the world—environment, governance, companies and all that."

And yet, the past is always there, sedimented into every place. Take that sandy beach at the Wannsee, where the Fogel family had been swimming just before they met Shattner. On a warm day, there are kids splashing in the shallow safe area, bigger kids tumbling from the water slide farther out, and off to the right the nudists are enjoying themselves. But looking diagonally left from the beach, one can see, just across the water, a grey mansion. This is the Villa Wannsee, where 15 leading Nazis met on January 20th 1942—nine months before Chaim Shattner was deported—to decide the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question".

WHEN FOGEL TALKED to Shattner that day, he realised that sponsoring a Stolperstein was an uplifting way of acknowledging and embracing those unnerving links between past and present. Doing so is surprisingly simple, as Shattner explained. Private individuals—Germans who are curious about what transpired in their building, schoolchildren doing a project, surviving relatives of a victim, anybody who is interested—conduct their own research about a victim at a specific address. They submit this to the artist, pay him a small fee (€120) and then wait for their installation date. (Such is the demand, the wait is currently about 6 months.) Demnig usually lays the Stolperstein himself, often giving a talk as well.

But how to start? At Yad Vashem, the centre for Holocaust research in Israel, one begins with a name. But Fogel was starting with an address, and had to find out if any victims had lived there. He began by asking his landlord what he thought of the idea. The landlord, whose grandmother was deported by the Nazis, was enthusiastic, and they started their research together.

Registration records, old phone books, government databases—information started piling up but yielded little. Two things helped, says Fogel, who has a goatee and dark-rimmed glasses and would blend perfectly into Silicon Valley. First, he is methodical and tech-savvy. A Google Docs folder was soon up and running, keeping family trees and other records organised. Second, as he says, "I don’t give up that easily."

He compared address books from the years 1936-43. Any name at his address that did not appear in a following year could have been a victim. He then ran these names through the Memorial Book of the Federal Archives, a German database of victims. At last, this produced one match: Max Nartelski.
The victims’ archive also listed other Nartelskis at different Berlin addresses. Fogel’s search took him further. Slowly, an entire family began to emerge on his computer screen. It was a clan of victims, survivors and descendants. One day, a fortuitous Google search pointed Fogel to an American website raising funds for Alzheimer’s research, and thence to one Evelyn Nartelski. Now living in Michigan, she turned out to be Max Nartelski’s great-niece. This led to his first live conversation with a relative of the man who had lived in his house, who had perhaps slept in his own bedroom. Evelyn Nartelski’s recollections brought his database work to life.

Even so, Fogel says, "all I really know about Max is that he was unmarried and drove around in a big white car. I think he was a fabrics supplier for suits, in business with his brother, maybe gay, in one of these huge beautiful apartments, maybe mine." Fogel thinks he has identified Max in the one grainy family photo that he has come across. The picture shows a wedding party in a stately room with a high ceiling—the men wearing evening dress and sporting the moustaches fashionable in Germany at the time, the women in their finery, the tables well stocked with wine, the air one of bourgeois sophistication. The room could have been in Fogel’s flat.

MAX NARTELSKI, WHO turned 50 in 1938, was one of nine brothers and sisters, most of them born in Königsberg, East Prussia (today’s Kaliningrad). At some point, the family moved to Berlin, settling mostly around the Bayerische Viertel. An older brother, Jacob, lived around the corner on Regensburger Strasse, in a gorgeous building above what is now an Italian restaurant. It probably looked the same then as now, Fogel says. Most of the quarter was destroyed during two nights of apocalyptic bombing in March 1943 and another two nights in November of that year. Beginning in the 1960s, the streets were restored to their former style, with stucco colouring the stately arches and turreted windows. Today, middle-class families bustle about on the street, pushing prams in and out of courtyards. Fogel imagines the Nartelskis walking there in just the same way.

Jacob Nartelski, his wife and one son escaped Germany before they could be deported, and died in America. Two other sons, Lothar and Günther, were sent to Auschwitz but survived, and also died in America. Günther’s wife, Paula, and daughter, Rita, died in Auschwitz, but with his second wife he had Evelyn, who now lives in Michigan. And so it goes for every branch of the clan, as for millions of other families: some died, some survived, some now have living relatives. And of the living, many have lost their connection—to one another, and to the places they came from.

Set in stone: the Stolpersteine show the victims' date of birth, deportation and death

GUNTER DEMNIG REMEMBERS one installation where people from four countries came together, knowing nothing about one another, and found they were all related. Sometimes they come from as far as New Zealand or South America, to some particular spot where their family had once lived. At one installation near Bremen, where Demnig laid stones for a whole family, including two daughters who had survived, “those two daughters showed up for the ceremony, and were unbelievably happy to be reunited in this way with their parents.” They finally felt that they had closure and could come back to Germany in peace.

Demnig calls his project "a decentralised monument" or, alternatively, "a social sculpture". He looks like a middle-aged version of Indiana Jones, often wearing a Fedora and safari shirt that stretches slightly around the waistline. But his voice has no bravado; it is high, almost timid, like that of someone who spends his life questioning and thinking.

As the artist, he retains control over every part of the process. Each Stolperstein is handmade because, he says, any form of mass-manufacturing would remind him of the mechanised and bureaucratic murder at Auschwitz. But to grow, the project relies on the initiative of volunteers who grasp that, as a rabbi in Cologne once told Demnig, "a human being is only forgotten once his or her name is forgotten."

Remembrance has been one theme of his art career. Born after the war, in 1947, he remembers rummaging through his attic as a boy and finding a photo of his father, in Spain during the civil war, sitting in swimming trunks on a cannon that jutted out "like an erect penis" between his legs. Demnig had never really talked to his father about the war years, but now realised that he had fought for Franco. He was distraught. Like many in his generation of 68’er Germans, he sought outlets to express his complicated feelings, in rebellion and in art.

Demnig began laying Spuren—"traces" or "tracks" or "evidence"—of the past as art. In 1981 he drove from Kassel to London, printing on the street a 4cm-wide and 680km-long line of animal blood (250 litres, procured from butchers).

In 1990, on the 50th anniversary of the Nazis’ first mass deportation of gypsies, he walked with one of his strange printing-wheel contraptions through Cologne, chalking the words "May 1940—1,000 Roma and Sinti" on the pavement. When the chalk began to wash off, he tried to make parts of that Spur permanent with brass. And that’s when he had the idea for the Stolperstein project.

At first it was purely conceptual since, as he says, "laying 6m Stolpersteine in Europe seemed an absurd notion". Then he talked to a priest who said, "Well, you can’t lay 6m, but as a symbol you could start small." In 1996 he laid the first Stolpersteine in Berlin, illegally. Three months later, the plates—51 of them, all along one street—came to the attention of the authorities when the stones impeded construction work. They wanted to remove them, but the workers refused. Bureaucrats came to inspect the stones, and they were retrospectively legalised.

By 2000, Demnig was laying Stolpersteine legally. But they were never uncontroversial. Every now and then, he meets resistance from landlords who would rather not have remembrance thrust upon them. And right-wing extremists hate the very notion: Demnig says he has received three death threats.

Even among those who want to remember, not all like the approach. Most notably, Charlotte Knobloch, who was president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews between 2006-10, feels that the Stolpersteine are undignified because pedestrians are in effect trampling on a victim’s name. Knobloch still leads the Jewish community in Munich, where she survived Kristallnacht as a six-year-old girl, so that city is among the few that, so far, do not allow Stolpersteine in public spaces, though some residents put them in their private pavements.

Sometimes people suggest that Demnig should instead place plaques on walls. He never liked that idea. It would mean getting the consent of every landlord piecemeal, which would slow the project down. And he feels that people rarely look up to the plaques that are already on buildings (and there are many in Berlin), whereas they constantly look down at the ground.

He also perceives the act of stepping on a nameplate quite differently from Knobloch. "The more people walk over a Stolperstein," he argues, "the greater the honour to the person who lies there." His original vision was that pedestrians polish the brass plates just by walking over them, thereby "refreshing the memory each time". Instead, it turns out, people usually step around the plates, perhaps associating them with gravestones, which they are not. This means that the metal oxidises and turns brown or even black, which in turn, ironically, makes it look as though the Stolpersteine were left untended. Often, residents then polish them the old-fashioned way. A lady in my building regularly lights candles and strews white roses around the Stolpersteine in our street.

There is also the idea of stumbling across something unexpected, as implied in the name. Demnig feels this was put best by a boy aged about 14 or 15: "You’re not stumbling physically, you’re stumbling with your head and with your heart." For children especially, Demnig says, stepping over the name of a victim in their own street day after day makes the Holocaust concrete as nothing in their formal education could do. And, he adds, "one of the most beautiful pictures, I find, is this aspect that, when you want to read, you have to bow, before the victim." I sometimes look out of my own window and see pedestrians doing just that in front of my door.

THE DAY HOWARD SHATTNER'S stones came to Bamberger Strasse 3, Demnig was laying stones in another country, so two apprentices came to do the installation. Spontaneously, Shattner asked if he could lay the stones, took the hammer and did it. When Demnig returned to Berlin, Shattner was still there and asked to accompany him for a few days, with a cameraman, to make a documentary. He also brought along a rabbi, Walter Rothschild, and they went around Berlin, looking at one installation after another.

"My feeling about Germany changed completely after my experience this summer," Shattner says, on the phone from his home in Santa Rosa. "People were friendly and helpful. On the one hand I still have these fantasies—that the person on the train, the S-Bahn, at another time he could have killed me." But on the other hand, he found his actual contacts with Germans to be healing. In his documentary, he shows one installation where the tenants in a building had got together to sponsor a stone. "One of the most special moments for me was talking to that group of Germans. I was so moved by the fact that they had no connection to the person remembered, other than that he lived in their building, so they researched and wanted to have that memorial. It’s much more meaningful to me that people are doing this from their heart." Before he knew it, he was giving each of them a long, deep hug. There is little body contact in German culture, but these embraces came quite naturally.

So this is yet another connection that the Stolpersteine help to make: not only between residents and the places they live, between schoolchildren and a past that their ancestors were responsible for but that seems unfathomable to them now, or between random pedestrians pausing to reflect and striking up a conversation—but also between Germans and Jews.

"As a Jew living in Berlin," Menasheh Fogel says,  "I felt the need to connect personally to the Holocaust. Nothing felt any more personal than sharing the same space as someone who had been deported." His research is now nearing completion. Soon he will get a calendar date for the ceremony of laying the Stolperstein he is sponsoring.

It will say:
                          HERE LIVED 
                   MAX NARTELSKI
                           BORN 1888
                         DEPORTED 15.08.1942
                       MURDERED 18.08.1942

Andreas Kluth is the Berlin bureau chief of The Economist and author of "Hannibal & Me" 
Photographs Mustafah Abdulaziz 
Picture: Menasheh Fogel in his flat on Bamberger Strasse

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Most Popular Country in the World, Revealed

By Katie Holliday | CNBC   23 May 2013  
Europe's largest economy Germany, which has been criticized for not doing enough to help struggling euro zone countries, has topped a poll as the world's most popular country.
The survey carried out for the BBC, polled 26,000 people in 25 countries, and asked them to rate 16 countries and the European Union, as a whole, on whether their influence on the world was mainly positive or negative.
Germany came out on top, with 59 percent of the survey's participants awarding it a positive rating. The country moved up three percentage points from its 2012 position. It displaced Japan at the top of the table, which saw its positive rating fall from 58 percent last year to 51 percent, falling from first to fourth place.
The most negatively perceived country was Iran, with only 15 percent of respondents giving it a positive rating. Pakistan and North Korea also received low ratings.
Germany's increased popularity was helped by positive reviews from people in Spain, France, Ghana and Australia. But in debt-laden Greece a majority of people polled gave Germany negative ratings.  The German government's policy of tackling over indebtedness through harsh austerity measures has proven unpopular in peripheral euro zone economies.
Alastair Newton, political analyst at Japanese investment bank Nomura, said Germany's popularity in the survey is not surprising given the alternative choices.
"There are lots of reasons why Germany is admired. It is a large and important world economy, a world-class manufacturer and has a Chancellor who demonstrates genuine leadership," said Newton. "The question also is where else would it be? It is hardly likely to be the U.S., given their attitude to the Middle East, or China given Western and Japanese concerns on the country," he added.
The United States ranked eighth on the list, with 45 percent of respondents saying its influence is mainly positive. China ranked ninth, at 42 percent.
But Jennifer McKeown, European economist at research house Capital Economics, said the results of this survey were likely to be different if it was euro zone focused rather than global. "The big difference here is that this is a worldwide survey, rather than a euro zone focused one....In countries like Italy we are seeing people swaying towards parties with less focus on fiscal tightening and more on growth orientated policies," she said. "This is damaging for Germany's proposed vision of the euro zone where it gets more of a say in how things are run," McKeown added.
Other countries which also saw a boost to their popularity ratings included the U.K., which climbed to third place in the table, following its hosting of the 2012 Olympics.
China and India proved less popular however, after improving for a number of years, their ratings fell sharply in 2013. China sank to ninth position, with 42 percent of the respondents giving it a positive rating. India was ranked 12th, with 35 percent of those polled saying their perception of the country was negative, while 34 percent viewed it positively.
Views on the European Union's influence on the rest of the world improved slightly in 2013, after it dropped to its lowest level last year. In 2013, the EU's rating rose one percentage point to 49 percent. 
The survey was conducted for the BBC by international opinion research consultancy GlobeScan and Washington-based Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA), through face to face and telephone interviews with randomly selected people.
The survey has been carried out since 2005 and the current survey was conducted from January to March 2013.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

10 Small Things You Can Do Each Day to Learn a Language

Posted on at cps-sanjaknezovic.onmycalendar.com  by Guest: Lizzie Davey

Learning a language can seem like a lengthy, difficult process and, at times, it can feel like you’re wading through a sticky bog unable to get to the other side. Too many people focus on the end goal without thinking about – and acting upon – a series of smaller tasks that will help them reach that end goal. Whilst it’s good to practice every day to keep everything fresh in your mind, you don’t have to sacrifice other things. Taking ten minutes here or there throughout your day is enough, especially if you incorporate the language learning process into your every day routine.

1. Change the language on your phone

You probably already know your way around your phone pretty well, so why not change the settings so it’s in your target language? Seeing the language pop up every time you look at your device – which, let’s face it, is pretty often for most people – can help etch it in your memory, and the regular exposure will keep you thinking about it throughout the day.

Podcast2. Listen to a podcast

Most of us have some kind of daily commute, whether it’s to work or to the supermarket, which is the perfect opportunity to practice language learning. Download some podcasts or get a good audiobook to plug yourself into during this time and you won’t feel like you have wasted a single second of your day.

3. Read an article or news story

To familiarise yourself with the grammar and sentence structure of your target language, it is a great idea to read one or two articles in it each day. They don’t have to be long; just a current affairs piece or something on a topic that interests you. To take this a step further, try reading the article out loud to get used to the sound of the letters and to practice your intonation.

4. Flash cards and post-its

When I was learning to talk, my mum stuck post-it notes with the names of objects all around the house to familiarise me with how words look and to encourage me to learn more vocabulary. This is a great thing to do when learning a language, too. Of course, this method only really works for tangible objects – you can’t put a post-it on an abstract notion – but it is an effective revision technique as you will be looking at and using these objects on a daily basis.

5. Translate your shopping list

Talking of supermarkets, writing out your shopping list or your to-do lShoppingist in your target language is another great technique to incorporate into the language learning process. Practicing writing things out gets you used to the spelling and formation of words and, if you don’t know the word for something you need, you can look it up and add a new word to your ever-expanding vocabulary!

6. Listen to some music

If you’re a music fan, weaving songs in your target language into your daily routine can be hugely beneficial as well as fun. Most songs are written in a casual manner, giving you an insight into colloquial language. Plus, they are great tools for getting to grips with grammar and pronunciation, and they’re easier to memorise than dry blocks of text.

7. Have a dictionary on hand

DictionaryPick up a pocket dictionary and carry it with you at all times. So, if you have a spare moment, you can have a flick through or, if you’re desperate to know what a certain word or phrase means in your target language, you can quickly look it up and add it to your new-found dialogue.

8. Play a game

There are so many online language learning games now that there is bound to be one out there that suits your needs and you find fun. Alternatively, if you are a big gaming fan, you can change the settings on your favorite game to your target language. There tends to be a number of conversations to move games forward and it won’t feel like you’re doing any work at all!

9. Sign up to a forum

The vast majority of countries have a range of forums on a various topics, from relationships, to writing, to computer programming like forosdelweb. So, if you’re interested in technology and you’re learning Spanish, you might want to sign up to a site like this for a great way view interactions between native speakers, to get involved yourself, and to gain some industry-specific vocabulary - if this is what you are looking to learn.

10. Write about your day

This is one of my favorite daily techniques because you can easily Journalbegin to see the progress you have made after a couple of weeks if you keep all your ‘daily reviews’ in the same place. You only need to write a couple of sentences about what you got up to, things you saw, and things you read or heard and it will keep the creative juices flowing in your target language. If you do it quickly before bed you can review it the next morning to keep the language fresh in your mind for the rest of the day.

Author Bio

Lizzie writes for GEOS Languages Plus and other language school sites. Last year she went to LanguagesAbroad to learn Spanish in Spain where she realized that language learning has to become a part of everyday life if you want to succeed. In her spare time you can find her exploring Europe and further afield, watching nature documentaries, and drinking an obscene amount of tea.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bayern München v. Hamburg 30. März 2013

 Neun Tore????

Wer hat Tore geschossen?

1 Shaqiri
2 Schwinsteiger
3 Pizarro
4 Robben
5 Pizarro
6 Pizarro
7 Robben
8 Pizarro
9 Ribery

Heidi Klum bei Verstehen Sie Spaß

Könnt Ihr dieses Interview verstehen?  Frau Klum arbeitet mit Birkenstock.  Sie ist auch Designer dabei.

Betty Dittrich aus Malmø -- und jetzt auch Berlin!

Betty und der Mops sagen Guten Tag

Ihre Musik ist ihre Tagebuch.

Natalie aus Cascade hat das Eurovision Song Contest gewonnen.  Sie hat den geilsten Auftritt gehabt, und die meisten Pünkten bekommen.  Sie hat es verdient.
Alle sollen sie unterstützen, damit sie den Pokal wieder nach Deutschland holt.

Betty überlegt sich einen neuen Text zu ihrem Song, dass mit einem Keks etwas zu tun hat:

Ja, Cascade hat in Malmø nur 18 Pünkte gewonnen.  Bestimmt hätte Betty besser gemacht!  So glaube ich.

Aber war dieses Lied, OREO, von der Betty, nicht etwas gemein???  Was glaubt Ihr?
Copyright © Goethe-Institut San Francisco
Alle Rechte vorbehalten
Niveau: Anfänger (A1)
Das deutsche Finale
Das hat es noch nie gegeben — zwei deutsche Mannschaften stehen im Finale der Champions League,
dem wichtigsten und renommiertesten europäischen Wettbewerb für Clubteams. 
Juventus Turin gegen AC Mailand, Real Madrid gegen Valencia und Manchester United gegen FC Chelsea — die Topteams aus den Fußballnationen Italien, Spanien und England waren im Champions League Finale schon einmal unter sich. Jetzt kommt es zum Match zwischen den deutschen Giganten Bayern München und Borussia Dortmund.
Am 25. Mai ist es so weit. Bayern München, Gewinner von 4 Champions League Titeln, trifft im Londoner
Wembley Stadion auf Borussia Dortmund, die den Titel bisher einmal gewonnen hat. Beide Mannschaften
haben dieses Jahr in der Champions League berühmte Teams aus dem Weg geräumt. Gegen Bayern
München hatte selbst das Starensemble des FC Barcelona keine Chance. Und Borussia Dortmund schlug
Mannschaften wie Real Madrid, Manchester City und Ajax Amsterdam.
Der Favorit im Endspiel ist der FC Bayern München mit den deutschen Nationalspielern Bastian
Schweinsteiger, Thomas Müller, Philipp Lahm und Manuel Neuer und internationalen Stars wie dem
Franzosen Franck Ribéry und dem Holländer Arjen Robben. 
Der Favorit der Herzen ist allerdings die Borussia aus dem westfälischen Dortmund. Ihr sympathischer Coach Jürgen Klopp wird seine junge Mannschaft bestens vorbereiten — und der Außenseiter hofft, dass der polnische Top-Stürmer Robert Lewandowski auch im Endspiel treffen wird.