German Of The Day: Rosinenbomber

That means raisin bomber. Or candy bomber, if you prefer.

Raisin Bomber

Dignitaries from around the world have gathered in Berlin to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Berlin airlift.

The Soviet Union entirely blockaded the western parts of the German capital in June 1948, when the country and the city were divided into US, UK, French and Soviet occupation sectors after World War Two.

“I did not ask permission.” – Gen. Lucius D. Clay, the U.S. commander in Berlin who started the airlift without clearance from Washington.

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Stop The Presses!

(Do they even have presses anymore?) This just in, folks: Some German industrial dynasties have a Nazi past!

Nazi

Holy freakin’ Scheiße! Once this leaks it’s going to ruin the reputation of all the other German industrial dynasties out there. With a Nazi past, I mean. You know, like every single German industrial dynasty that exists? Without exception?

I’m shocked. And stunned. Just like those dynastists in this particular German industrial dynasty who just found out about it themselves. For, like, the very first time. Honest.

A German industrial dynasty with big stakes in various international brands has admitted brutality towards slave labourers during Nazi rule.

A partner in JAB Holding, Peter Harf, said the Reimann family was shocked by links to Nazi abuses, discovered by the Bild am Sonntag newspaper in archives.

“We were ashamed and turned white. You cannot gloss over any of that. Those crimes are abhorrent.”

When’s The Next Whammy?

November 9 in Germany is kind of, I dunno, creepy or something. Is there a pattern developing here?

November 9

1918: On November 9, 1918 the Social Democrats’ deputy chairman Philipp Scheidemann rushed to the balcony of Berlin’s Reichstag parliament to announce the birth of what would become the Weimar Republic.

1923: Adolf Hitler, the then relatively unknown Nazi Party leader, and his cronies tried to seize power with a coup that started in a crowded Munich beer hall on November 9, 1923.

1938: Nazi thugs torched synagogues, smashed Jewish-owned shops and rounded up Jewish men across Germany on November 9, 1938, in what became known as “Kristallnacht” or the “Night of Broken Glass.”

1989: The fall of the Berlin Wall in a bloodless revolution on November 9, 1989 is a joyous milestone in German history, ending 28 years of Cold War separation.

2016: Donald Trump was elected President of the United States of America. OK, the election was on November 8 but the Germans didn’t get the results until November 9.

So are we overdue here again, Germany? Maybe the Merkel regime will be ousted later tonight in a bloodless coup. Maybe not. Maybe there might be a little blood, too. Hard to say for sure. Stay home, stay tuned and keep your doors bolted shut.

Coming This Fall?

The Fall of the German Empire.

Empire

The third German empire is a different animal altogether. Repudiating both militarism and racist mysticism, it has been built slowly and painstakingly across three generations, in cooperation with other powers (including its old enemies the French), using a mix of democratic and bureaucratic means. Today Germany bestrides its Continent, but German power is wielded softly, indirectly, implicitly — and when the fist is required, it takes the form of fiscal ultimatums, not military bluster or racial irredentism.

But still the system is effectively imperial in many ways, with power brokers in Berlin and Brussels wielding not-exactly-democratic authority over a polyglot, multiethnic, multireligious sprawl of semi-sovereign nation-states. And thinking about the European Union this way, as a Germanic empire as well as a liberal-cosmopolitan project, is a helpful way of understanding how it might ultimately fall…

Sounds great. Stay tuned or something. Netflix, right?

Facebook’s Behind It

Never having been a country with anti-Jewish sentiment issues before, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, aka Schlafmütze (sleepyhead), just did a little research and was shocked to discover that those awful American social media companies are the reason for the increased anti-Jewish sentiment in Germany today.

Facebook

“Social media often propagates the spread of hate messages and antisemitic provocation,” Steinmeier said, noting that the trend is growing across Europe. Except in Germany, of course, because trend isn’t really the right word for it here. Thanks to social media, he reiterated.

 

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.

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.

I Had No Idea Germany Used To Be This Fat

But that’s why places like the British Museum have exhibitions like this, I guess.

Map

Germany – memories of a nation. A 600-year history in objects. You know, objects like these:

VW

Uh, why don’t they have exhibitions like this here in Berlin?

This exhibition will examine elements of German history from the past 600 years in the context of the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago.

Accidents Do Happen

A German construction company has apologized to the city of Goslar after laying bricks in the shape of a swastika at a new shopping center there (this is the town that finally got up enough civil courage to revoke Adolf Hitler of his honorary citizenship last year, after all).

Swastika

The builders claim that the shape of the bricks was purely accidental but when trying to contact the particular worker responsible to ask him about some other shapes discovered at the shopping center (the Nazi party eagle, several pairs of SS bolts and a big “I Love Adolf” mosaic)  he could no longer be found for questioning.

“We have no leads, we are keeping our options open and investigating. We are speaking to the building firm responsible for the new footpath. They claim it was not deliberate but just an innocent mistake, and have already changed it.”

The Red Parts Is Where All Them There German-Americans Live

Germans

California still looks like a pretty safe bet.

It’s time to break out the bratwurst as the United States celebrates German-American Day on Oct. 6.

Commemorating the founding of Germantown, Pa. in 1683, the holiday celebrates America’s largest ancestry group, with 49 million people claiming part or full German heritage.