I Love A Parade

For decades, neo-Nazis have traveled to the southeastern German town of Wunsiedel, where Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler’s deputy, was buried until 2011. The right-wing extremists march through the town in commemoration of Hess year after year, glorifying the horrors of the Third Reich.

This time, however, everything was different: Although Wunsiedel’s inhabitants had observed the march from a distance over the past years, this Nov. 15, some of them welcomed the neo-Nazi protesters effusively with rainbow confetti and even cheered for them. What had happened?

No, the residents of Wunsiedel — most of them skeptical and critical of the neo-fascists — had not suddenly turned into Nazi sympathizers.

Instead, the group Rights versus Rights (Rechts gegen Rechts) had come up with a new way to protest the annual neo-Nazi march: For every meter the neo-Nazis walked, local businesses and residents would donate $12.50 to a nongovernmental organization devoted to making it easier for neo-Nazis to leave behind their hateful politics.

Why Germans Are Desperate To Ignore A Dangerous World?

Desperate? I think determined is the better word. Why? Because they can. And this is just what Germans do. It’s never been any different here (not in our lifetimes).

Disneyland

Imagine being born and raised in a place that is cut off from the rest of that yucky world “out there,” just like your parents before you. In an amusement park kind of way, I mean. You know, kind of like Disneyland? Only they call it Deutschland instead.

I spoke about the relative weakness of NATO, about the failures of European foreign policy, about Russia’s use of money and disinformation to divide Europe and the United States. The crowd and the other panelists nodded—and then almost immediately changed the subject. Instead of NATO, the German audience wanted to discuss genetically modified food and chickens washed in chlorinated water.

“When I think of politics I think about my neighborhood, street lights and construction permits.”

Well There Was No More Wall To Take

So we’ll just steal the balloon stands from last night’s show!

Balloons

They’re going like hotcakes, folks. Or they went like hotcakes, I should say, before the organizers had a chance to clear all of the 7000 away. And the first ones have shown up on eBay, for crying out loud.

Die Ballon-Halter der Lichtgrenze werden offenbar zum Sammlerobjekt. Einige verschwanden nach der Aktion zum 25. Jahrestag des Mauerfalls noch in der Nacht. Der erste war bei Ebay aufgetaucht.

German Of The Day: Der Elende Rest

That means “the miserable remnants” and that’s what singer-songwriter and former East German dissident Wolf Biermann just called SED leftovers the Left Party today at a ceremony commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall. To their faces. In the Reichstag itself.

Somebody’s got to remind folks about this now and then. Not that anybody here cares…

Eure Sprüche, die habt ihr drauf … ihr müsst mir gar nichts erzählen.”

Let There Be Wall

I mean Lichtgrenze.

The LICHTGRENZE is the light installation along the former path of the wall through the city center. It will trace the division of the city over a stretch of approximately 12 kilometers and with thousands of illuminated balloons as an impressive installation in Berlin from 8 to 9 November, 2014. At once emotional, poetic, and serious, this installation remembers the recent historical event, the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.

Squealer Mania!

Cult: A religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.

Squealer

His story has popped up in advertisements for lingerie and a travel agency. His face appears on merchandise ranging from T-shirts to skateboards. His deeds are celebrated in works by artists and musicians.

Meet Edward Snowden, Germany’s latest pop culture icon...

To find parallels for Mr. Snowden’s current cult-hero status in Germany, you have to go back to Che Guevara or Ho Chi Minh, said Johannes Krempl, an advertising executive in Berlin.

GedächtnisEsser?

You say ‘tomato’, I say ‘tomato’… You say ‘Wesen‘, I say ‘vessen’…

The stupid creature names are fine. What isn’t, however, is that for the entire duration of the show, every single actor on it has mispronounced the very easy German word for creature…

I kept hearing “vessen” this and “vessen” that, and I had no idea what the characters were talking about, until I saw an episode summary on Hulu with what I surmised was that word written out: Wesen, which literally translates to being or creature (from gewesen, of one of the past-tense forms of the verb to be, sein)…

Trouble is, any German 5-year-old will tell you that word is pronounced VAY-zen, with a V sound (which Grimm gets right), a long E (in the German sense—pronounced like in dreidel), and a soft S (that approximates the English Z).

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