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Berlin Bulletin by Victor Grossman

Big shots in Hamburg

Years ago the 35th US president made a speech in Germany, four words of which, in American-accented German, remain famous: “Ich bin ein Berliner!”—“I am a Berliner!” That was John F. Kennedy. Will the 45th president, soon to visit Germany’s second city, emulate him and tweet “I am a Hamburger! Wow!”

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Berlin Bulletin by Victor Grossman

Curiouser and Curiouser

A story worthy of a mystery author—or dramatist—has been hitting German headlines. It began when police at the Vienna airport in Austria arrested a first lieutenant of the German Bundeswehr army when he picked up a pistol hidden some weeks earlier in a bathroom. He denied it was his and was released. But his fingerprints […]

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Martin Schultz

Miracles Can Happen

To follow German politics these days you have to like arithmetic. At first only up to six, for that many parties are now vying to get good grades, lots of votes, and more power in the September elections to the Bundestag, which will lead to a government ruling until 2021.

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Angela Merkel & the CDU

Bears and Musical Chairs

Those who, like me, grew up with the writings of A. A. Milne may recall not just Winnie the Pooh but two other little bears and how “one of them was Bad and the other was Good” and kept getting better.  In a way, that recalls German politics. The goodie in next September’s elections, it […]

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National Anthems in Germany

The debate about the US anthem echoes a debate about the German anthem.  The “Deutschland über alles” text goes back to 1841 but its meaning has been and still is easily misused.  When East Germany was annexed in 1990 many suggested adopting the GDR anthem, written in 1949 by the anti-Nazi poet (and minister of […]

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Who Is to Blame?

Back in 1963 Bob Dylan (soon to be 75) wrote a bitter song; Pete Seeger also sang it often.  It asks, after the death of a young boxer: “Who killed Davey Moore?  How come he died, and what’s the reason for?”  Then came the alibis of all those responsible, from the manager and media to […]

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Germany: Icy Times and Rays of Hope

  2016 began here with an icy chill, not only with the weather but far worse, with human relations.  It also offered some, like myself, at least a few warm rays of hope. First the larger scene.  The huge influx of immigrants and asylum seekers, over a million in 2015, saw Germany effectively split in […]

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A Wonderful Parade Against TTIP

It was a day to remember, a date for the record books!  It marked a surprising development in German politics!  And who said Germans don’t like protest marches or demonstrations?  The organizers counted 250,000, a quarter of a million.  Of course the police scaled that down — to 150,000.  But who’s counting?  It was definitely […]

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Immigrants, Welcome and Unwelcome

A silent three-year-old, lying drowned on a Turkish beach; the tearful protest of a Syrian man as he, his wife and baby are torn from the tracks next to a locomotive by Hungarian police; desperate families jammed into tiny, leaky boats, hoping to reach Europe alive or, if they do, facing ever new obstacles from […]

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German Know-Nothings Today

“I don’t know.”  Those words, often repeated 160-odd years ago in the USA, earned the gang of those using them the nickname “Know-Nothing Party.”  Those were no expressions of intellectual modesty; party doings were secret, so members were not supposed to disclose anything about them, but just say, “I don’t know.”   Their patriotic title was […]

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Berlin, July 1, 1990 — Athens, July 1, 2015

In a recent news video I watched people pushing and shoving at a bank entrance.  I immediately recalled another scene, also with people pushing at a bank entrance.  In the older scene people looked eager and gleeful, pushing so hard, I believe, that one man’s rib was broken.  In the recent pictures they looked very […]

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ΟΧΙ!

For some in other lands and continents Greece may seem distant and marginal, a few narrow peninsulas and scattered archipelagos jutting out of the sea.  Some may vaguely recall school knowledge about it.  “Didn’t some fellow named Prometheus steal fire from the gods?  Or was it Alexander the Great untying some “Gordian knot”?  Or a […]

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A Doctor’s Degree at 102

102-year-old Ingeborg Syllm-Rapoport receives diploma 77-years after Nazis denied it http://t.co/KBB4iyTPfo — Ruptly (@Ruptly) June 9, 2015 The frail, white-haired little lady stepping slowly up onto the stage of the Babylon cinema theater in Berlin — to giant applause — was not wearing a collegiate cap and gown.  But she had undoubtedly made academic history. […]

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