Tag Archives | Berlin Bulletin

  • 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 somehow matched those of a refugee who had applied for German asylum two years earlier

  • 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.

  • 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 […]

  • Spanish Recollections: the 80th Anniversary of the International Brigades

    In one hurrying day, eighty years ago, in Albacete, a center of Spain’s La Mancha region, a few officers somehow created quarters for five hundred men arriving the following day, then five hundred more, and more.  Soon three or four thousand, somehow organized in units despite a mad variety of languages, were issued a motley […]

  • Berlin: An Omen for the 2017 German Federal Elections?

    There is currently too much dramatic news abroad in the world, mostly bad.  What can an election in one single city mean, far from most fronts?  Yet the voting in Berlin last Sunday (September 18th) was full of drama and meaning, also outside Germany.  The results caused some to grieve, some to applaud, and analysts […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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. […]

  • Changing Captains on the Left

    Wealthy, powerful heads of state and other bosses high up in the Bavarian Alps, and the vigorous protests from opposing crowds kept out of earshot downhill, largely stole media thunder this past weekend.  Far lower in altitude and attention, with almost no thunder from the media or otherwise, another meeting was held in less scenic […]

  • Blockupy the ECB, Blockupy the NATO

    I defied my advanced age to board a special train, with a thousand mostly young people, and join in the big “Blockupy” demonstration in Frankfurt am Main, Germany’s big banking city.  The trip, though not the usual four and a half but seven hours, retained till well into the night a spirit of happy anticipation. […]

  • After the Carnival

    Tsipras-Schleuder #Rosenmontag #Helau #Düsseldorf #Merkel pic.twitter.com/EiRvyRvf7k — Christoph Ullrich (@ullrich001) February 16, 2015 Every year the Rhine region and southern Germany go crazy.  Carnival or Fasching, a cousin of Mardi Gras, officially beginning at 11:11 AM on 11/11 and ending with the Lent period, has been celebrated in Catholic areas since the 1820s — with […]

  • Europe Between the Pit and the Pendulum

    If you have ever read Edgar Allen Poe‘s gruesome stories you may recall feelings of horror like those which made me, still a youngster, cringe and shudder.  I have similar feelings when I hear of bloodthirsty, barely-hidden “concerts” by German Neo-Nazis, which too often lead to violence against subjects of their hatred: hippy-type leftist youngsters […]

  • PEGIDA, SYRIZA, and the Future of Europe

    Recent events here in Germany remind me of a playground seesaw, with constant ups and downs of one side and the other. All autumn we watched the upward swing of PEGIDA, “Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West,” most rapidly but not only in Saxony’s capital Dresden.  Its main features were a fast-talking, shady leader […]

  • Je Suis Charlie — But I Have Other Names as Well!

    Monday evening I had planned to write about the PEGIDA movement in Germany.  Although in Dresden, their city of origin, the number of bitter marchers protesting the “Islamization” of the West had increased stubbornly to 18,000, I began to report happily that everywhere else in Germany they had been greatly outnumbered.  In Berlin, only 300 […]