The End Of An Aura

It’s amazing these sleeper trains have lasted as long as they have, if you stop and think about it.

Night Train

Saturday marked the end of the line for this Paris-Berlin sleeper, at any rate. Slow food might be able to make a stand here and there but it looks like slow travel is definitely out.

Deutsche Bahn, the German rail network which operates the sleeper said the service was incurring debts over €20 million a year and losing out to cheap bus connections and easyJet which offers a regular service between the two capitals. Along with the Paris-Berlin sleeper, overnight train services linking Berlin with Copenhagen and Amsterdam are also being axed.

Germany A New Nation Of Immigrants?

I think you may have overshot the mark here, Christian Science Monitor. But nice try.

Arson

The reality here is still another one.

Far-right arsonists are believed to have caused fires which damaged three buildings earmarked for asylum seekers near Nuremberg in southern Germany.

“Es spricht einiges dafür, dass es sich um Brandstiftung handelt.”

PS: Oddity 325. Germans really do tend to equate nationality with ethnicity.

Red Friday

When Red Friday comes, I’m gonna dig myself a hole

Linke

Germany’s Left Party, descended from East Germany’s Communist SED in an unbroken line, now heads a “red-red-green” coalition government in Thuringia with boss Bodo Ramelow as the new state prime minister.

This truly is historic. No, not so much because the good folks at the Linke have gotten this far (Thuringia is about as East in East Germany as East in Germany can get). It’s historic because the good folks at the SPD (currently partners in the federal government‘s grand coalition) have proven that their promises to never-ever-ever-never work together with the Linke are now history.

If they could help the Left Party enough, the SPD wouldn’t hesitate to form a coalition at the national level with these people and now everybody in Germany knows it – who didn’t know it already, I mean.

Good News: Communists Are Back in Germany

Bad German Historian Woman Points Out Trümmerfrau Myth

… Every time another memorial goes up in the “rubble woman’s” honor, German politicians look to what former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl said in Munich in 2005. The rubble-clearing women in the aftermath of WWII are “a symbol of the German people’s wish to rebuild and of their powers of survival,” he said, adding that the Munich monument “commemorates the large number of women who volunteered to clear the ruins.”

Wrong, says historian Leonie Treber. Neither was there a great number of women, nor did most of them volunteer to clear the rubble, the researcher says. “The Trümmerfrau is a German legend.”

Rubble Women

Yet it wasn’t just the women who were reserved when it came to clearing the war debris; men weren’t crazy about the task, either. In the eyes of the Germans, it was anything but honorable for people to show their “willingness to rebuild.” In fact, most Germans regarded clearing rubble as punishment – and for a reason.

During the war, the Nazis made soldiers, the Hitler Youth, forced laborers, prisoners of war and concentration camp prisoners clear the bombed cities after Allied air raids. In 1945, after the end of the war, prisoners of war and former members of the NSDAP Nazi party took their place. When that turned out to be insufficient, the population was asked to help – on a voluntary basis in the West, but usually against their will in the Soviet occupation zone.

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.

Anybody Can Land On A Comet

10 years and 6.5 billion kilometers later (give or take a few inches)…

The spaceship Rosetta’s landing probe Philae will be landing on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Tomorrow. We hope.

The comet is currently hurtling through space at 24,600 miles per hour and its nucleus is only 2.5 miles wide. Scientists compare the task to a fly trying to land on a speeding bullet.

PS: Why couldn’t they have scheduled this thing to land on 11.11 at 11 o’clock 11 in the morning?

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.

Once An Ex-Communist Always An Ex-Communist

Another Ex-cellent chance to ex-ceed, I’d say. And a great way to celebrate the coming 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall!

Communist

Well isn’t this special. Germany’s main center-left party, the Social Democrats (SPD) – currently in power in Berlin with Merkel & Co. – said Tuesday a party ballot in eastern Thuringia state showed 70 percent favoring negotiations to join a regional government led by Left Party candidate Bodo Ramelow. The Left Party used to be the PDS which used to be the SED (the East German communist party), of course, but nobody with any manners likes to put it that way so I figured I would.

Do you think this coming ex-communist coalition with the SPD upsets anyone over here? Of course not. The only thing that ruffled a few folks’ feathers was the audacity Germany’s president Joachim Gauck had – a former East German pro-democracy activist – by openly questioning whether a party with communist roots like the Left Party could really be trusted or not. Can you imagine that? Who does this president of Germany think he is anyway? The president of Germany?

“There are parts of this party where I, like many others, have problems developing this trust (he means like the openly Stalinist folks).

Hitler Coffee Creamer?

We’ve replaced their regular coffee creamer with Hitler Creamer. Let’s see if they notice!

Hitler Coffee Creamer

Some coffee drinkers in Switzerland have been startled to find images of Hitler or Mussolini on their packages of coffee creamer. The faux pas has yielded embarrassed sputters from the vendors involved.

Well… Taste the Fascist Freshness! It’s Good to the Last Bullet!

Geschmacklose Kaffeesahne: Ein Zulieferer der Schweizer Supermarktkette Migros hat faschistische Diktatoren auf Plastikbecher gedruckt. Mittlerweile distanzierte sich Migros vom Hersteller.

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