German Of The Day: Wrack

That means wreck. No, not a wreck like the SPD. One like the battleship SMS Scharnhorst.

Scharnhorst

The wreckage of a World War I German armoured battlecruiser has been discovered off the coast of the Falkland Islands.

The SMS Scharnhorst, the flagship of Admiral Maximilian Graf von Spee’s East Asia Squadron, was sunk on 8 December 1914 during the Battle of the Falkland Islands, a crucial naval battle in the early days of the First World War.

The discovery is a major breakthrough in the quest to locate all of the German squadron’s ships lost during the battle.

“Suddenly she just came out of the gloom with great guns poking in every direction.”

Nobody Had Any Intention Of Building A Wall

Right. And nobody had any intention of tearing it down twenty-eight years later either.

Walter Ulbricht

But, you know, stuff happens.

In his lack of preparation, he mistakenly insinuated that the checkpoints in the Berlin Wall — which up until then were guarded by soldiers with orders to shoot anyone trying to cross — were now open. They weren’t, but that announcement was all East Berliners needed to storm the wall and demand they be allowed to cross into West Berlin. After that, the wall became obsolete, and soon fell.

German Of The Day: Disneyfizierung

That means Disneyfication.

Checkpoint

Just stop by Checkpoint Charlie sometime and see for yourself.

Authorities in Germany’s capital Berlin have banned local performers from wearing US army uniforms at Checkpoint Charlie, the iconic Cold War crossing between the east and west of the city.

They said the actors exploited tourists by demanding money for photos at the attraction…

People impersonating US soldiers have been at Checkpoint Charlie for nearly 20 years, working in rotation to pose with tourists.

But many Berliners are unhappy about the “Disneyfication” of the site, where fake Soviet Red Army fur hats, gas masks and pieces of the Berlin Wall can be found for sale.

Virtual Socialist Reality

Last call for boarding to Cold War Berlin. Don’t forget your VR goggles.

Berlin

Who says time travel isn’t possible?

30 years later, Berlin Wall comes back to life with virtual reality – German startup offering visitors and history buffs an ‘authentic’ and immersive Cold War-era tour of the divided capital.

A packed bus approaches Checkpoint Charlie, the Cold War’s most famous border crossing, as grim-faced East German guards whisper among themselves about whether to hold you for questioning.

After a few heart-stopping minutes, you and your fellow passengers are free to pass into the smog, soot and shadowy intrigue of 1980s East Berlin.

Das Ost-Berlin vor dem Mauerfall ersteht für Touristen wieder auf. Mit VR-Brille kann man eine Stadtrundfahrt vom Checkpoint Charlie zum Palast der Republik unternehmen, vorbei an Gendarmenmarkt und „Ahornblatt”.

If Only US-Amerika Had A Rate That Low

Of Antisemitism, I mean. Only one in four? Damn. Seriously, folks. That’s not bad at all.

Anti-Semitism

One in four Germans hold anti-Semitic beliefs, study finds – More than a quarter of Germans surveyed said they agreed with anti-Semitic statements, including that Jews have “too much power over the economy.” Over 40% said they thought Jews “talk about the Holocaust too much.”

Jeder vierte Deutsche hegt laut einer neuen Studie antisemitische Gedanken.

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Or Stalinallee, if your prefer.

Egon Krenz

Inexplicably, East Germany’s last communist boss thinks that the night the Berlin Wall came down (almost thirty years ago) “was the worst night of my life.

Happily for him, it is also something that he “wouldn’t want to experience ever again” because, well, he won’t.

BMW: Bring Me West

German engineering at its best.

Talk about a mother of invention…

In 1963, a man named Klaus-Günter Jacobi decided to help his best friend escape East Berlin and before being forced to report for duty in the East German army. To do so, he decided to modify his BMW Isetta to be able to hide a body.

Now, if you’re not especially familiar with the Isetta, it’s a tiny bubble car with a motorcycle engine at the back and barely enough room for two people to sit in the bench seat behind the front opening door. Space is at a premium, but Jacobi — who had trained as a mechanic — found that there was a dead space behind his seat and next to the Isetta’s tiny engine that could be used to smuggle a person.

The Small Escape

It’s Called Paranoia

Why is Germany a blank spot on Google’s Street View? See above.

Paranoia

There are good historical reasons why Germans are suspicious of surveillance — but is Google as bad as Gestapo or Stasi?

It’s to do with Germans’ curious sense of privacy: they’d rather flaunt their private parts than their personal data…

While public nudity is a big no-no in the United States for example, Germany has a long tradition with what is known as FKK – short for Freikörperkultur, or “Free Body Culture.” Certain beaches and areas of city parks are dedicated to nude sunbathing, and even Nacktwanderung (“nude rambling”) is a thing.

On the other hand, Germans are extremely possessive of their personal data — and are shocked by the readiness with which Americans (and others) share their names, addresses, friends’ lists, and purchase histories online.

According to research presented in the Harvard Business Review, the average German is willing to pay as much as $184 to protect their personal health data. For the average Brit, the privacy of that information is only worth $59. For Americans and Chinese, that value declines to single-digit figures.

King Kong Was Already Taken

King and Kong were, I mean.

Hong Kong

Berlin throws shade at China by voting to name panda cubs ‘Hong’ and ‘Kong’ – One of Berlin’s leading papers, Der Tagesspiegel, asked its readers to come up with name suggestions for the cubs, born Aug. 31 at the Berlin Zoo.

The cubs and their parents, Meng Meng, 6, and Jiao Qing, 9, belong to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a Chinese research center. The Berlin Zoo pays $1 million a year to house the popular bears.

Others in the newspaper poll also suggested naming the cubs “Joshua Wong Chi-fung” and “Agnes Chow Ting” after two prominent Hong Kong democracy activists.

Sheesh. Berlin residents certainly give Hong Kong more consideration than their government leaders do. But, then again, Berliners know how important it is to show solidarity “with a city fighting for survival.”

Germans Too Busy Killing Hitler To Help Allies

It’s another German oddity kinda thang. And one of my personal favorites.

Hitler

Germans hide from responsibility today by routinely ritualizing  how they hid from responsibility in the past. And don’t kid yourself. They are perfectly aware of what they are doing.

Germany will not join US naval mission in Strait of Hormuz – Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany will not be taking part in a US-led mission to secure oil tanker ships sailing near Iran. The US ambassador in Berlin slammed the decision, saying Germany has responsibilities.

“Hardly any other country is as dependent on the freedom of international shipping as export champions Germany.”