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Music

In memoriam: Udo Jürgens (1934-2014). The immensely popular singer and songwriter "helped define postwar popular music in the German-speaking world." (Deutsche Welle, 12/21/14; The New York Times, 12/22/14)

"Not quite a narrative, not quite a concept album, and not quite performance art but a theatrical mélange of the three": Einstürzende Neubauten's Lament commemorates the WWI centenary as you've never heard it done before.  (The Quietus, 11/20/14; Financial Times, 11/21/14)

"Beethoven is a singularity in the history of art—a phenomenon of dazzling and disconcerting force."  (The New Yorker, 10/20/14; New Statesman, 1/15/15)

"For those of you, ladies and gentlemen, who aren't so fond of beat music, we ask for your understanding - this is a live show made by young people, for young people. Let's go!"  (Deutsche Welle, 9/7/14)

Jeremy Eichler peers into "the dense fog of history, politics, biography, and musical fashion that has always clouded the fascinating, enigmatic career of Erich Korngold."  (The Boston Globe, 9/6/14)

"This is not just Beethoven revealed, but Beethoven hyped -- the great anecdotes related and embellished by an enthusiastic raconteur."  (The Weekly Standard, 6/2/14)

Free the Karlheinz Stockhausen recordings! "For the past thirty years, most of Stockhausen’s music has been all but impossible to hear, and a generation or more has come of age without the slightest understanding of what he once meant to young composers and musicians..."  (The New York Review of Books, 5/23/14)

The Welsh National Opera is taking on Arnold Schoenberg's Moses und Aron -- the first staged production in Britain since 1976.  (The Guardian, 5/15/14;The Arts Desk, 5/25/14)

They paved the site of Bach's house in Weimar and put up a parking lot. With the Hotel Elephant.  (Spiegel Online - International, 4/3/14)

In memoriam: Gert "Kralle" Krawinkel (1947-2014), Trio's guitarist and songwriter, composer of "Da Da Da".  (The Independent, 3/9/14)

In memoriam: Alice Herz-Sommer (1903-2014): classical pianist, Holocaust survivor, subject of the Oscar-winning short documentary The Lady in Number 6.  (The New Yorker, 11/26/13; The Guardian, 2/23/14; Slate, 2/28/14)

Berlin and its discontents
Berlin isn't as cool as it used to be, 2014 edition.  (Rolling Stone, 2/6/14; The New York Times, 2/21/14; Gawker, 2/24/14; The Atlantic Cities, 3/7/14)

Mix together the influences of krautrock, Motown, and techno, and what do you get? The "kraut-groovy" sounds of Circuit Diagram -- listen here!  (The Guardian, 2/10/14)

"In Berlin, Bowie made his journey from addiction to independence, from celebrity paranoia to radical, unmasked messenger..."  (Financial Times, 1/31/14; The Economist, 5/22/14)

Composer Richard Strauss was born 150 years ago, in 1864. As a senior citizen, he "was wooed, rejected and then hounded by the Nazis." How should we regard his musical and political choices today?  (New Statesman, 1/23/14; Standpoint, 4/2014)

Too much of a good thing? "Today, cycles of Beethoven's quartets, symphonies, and piano sonatas are ubiquitous." (The New Yorker, 1/17/14)

In Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven, John Eliot Gardiner "has done a masterly, monumental job of taking the measure of Bach the man and the musician."  (The Guardian, 10/30/13; The New York Times, 12/3/13; On Point, 1/7/14; The New York Review of Books, 2/20/14)




Art & Design

The Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt goes pop! Gain a new appreciation for German pop art of the 1960s and 1970s, now through February 8. (BBC Arts; The Economist, 12/12/14)

What to give the aficionado of East German visual culture on your holiday list? Here are two inspired suggestions.  (The New York Times, 12/5/14; Metropolis, 2/2015; The Atlantic, 2/19/15)


"For German national identity, winter is a metaphor that keeps on giving."  (History Today, 11/14/14)

There's still time to take in 600 years of German history, from Gutenberg to Gerhard Richter, at the British Museum. "Germany: Memories of a Nation" is on display until January 25. (The Telegraph, 10/14/14; The Guardian, 11/7/14; The New Criterion, 12/15/14; Financial Times, 1/7/15; The New York Times, 1/14/15)

"For over 40 years, Bernd and Hilla Becher photographed the architecture of industrialisation: water towers, coal bunkers, blast furnaces, gas tanks and factory facades." See their work at Sprüth Magers London, now through October 3.  (The Guardian, 9/3/14)

Resurrecting Königsberg: An ambitious urban renewal project emphasizes Kaliningrad's German past (and European future?).  (Spiegel Online - International, 7/25/14)

The looting of art and antiquities in Germany didn't end in 1945. In the GDR, "officials systematically stole from the country's art collectors and sold their possessions to raise hard currency."  (Spiegel Online - International, 7/24/14; The New York Times, 11/27/14)

In memoriam: Otto Piene (1928-2014), "known for his experiments in kinetic art and for working at the junction of art, nature and technology."  (The New York Times, 7/18/14; The Huffington Post, 7/22/14; The Guardian, 7/24/14)

World Cup Champions
The World Cup of Modern Art? Germany would win that too, writes Jonathan Jones.  (The Guardian, 7/14/14)

The Nazi-era catalogues of auctioneer Adolf Weinmüller are now available online. "In some cities, the artworks seized from Jewish owners after 1938 were auctioned by his house, nearly without exception."  (The Art Newspaper, 5/29/14; Deutsche Welle, 6/4/14)

The Bauhaus Meisterhäuser are back -- in Dessau, the homes of Walter Gropius and László Moholy-Nagy have been newly reconstructed. (The Guardian, 5/15/14; ArchDaily, 5/23/14)

Rounded forms, brilliant colors, hard edges -- check out Georg Karl Pfahler's Tex Series, on display at Berlin's Galerie Crone. (artnet, 5/13/14)

Looted art from the Nazi era: new discoveries and new questions
In memoriam: Cornelius Gurlitt (1932-2014): reclusive art collector whose holdings astonished the world -- and created an ethical and legal thicket -- in the final months of life.  (The Guardian, 5/6/14; The New York Times, 5/6/14; Financial Times, 5/9/14)

"He was the catalytic director of potentially explosive situations in conventional theaters and in nontraditional settings." Check out the Christoph Schlingensief retrospective at MoMA PS1, now through September 1.  (The New York Times, 5/1/14; The New York Times, 7/25/14)

"Six years in the making, filling a dozen galleries, drawing on nearly all the museum's departments, Alibis: Sigmar Polke, 1963-2010 -- which travels to Tate Modern in London this October -- is one of the largest shows" ever mounted at MoMA.  (The Guardian, 4/17/14; The New Republic, 6/12/14; The New York Review of Books, 6/19/14)

"Art flourishes in 21st-century Berlin, but does it matter as much as it did when the city was a cold-war danger zone? Thierry Noir reminds us of Berlin's faded lipstick traces of dissent."  (The Guardian, 4/3/14; The Guardian, 4/3/14)

Question your assumptions about "degenerate art" at NYC's Neue Galerie
, now through September 1.
(The New York Times, 3/13/14; The New Yorker, 3/24/14; The Washington Post, 5/23/14; The New York Review of Books, 6/19/14)

"Two versions of Dürer’s Hare are emerging, quite by chance, at the same moment -- although only one is the real thing. For over four centuries, two watercolours have shared the limelight, each regarded as an original by Dürer at different times."  (The Art Newspaper, 3/13/14)

Who could have guessed -- controversy and technical difficulties are delaying the construction of historic memorials in Leipzig and Berlin.  (Spiegel Online -- International, 3/6/14)

Strange beauty: It's taken awhile, but German Renaissance art gets its due at London's National Gallery.  (The Guardian, 2/18/14; Financial Times, 2/21/14; The Observer, 2/22/14; The Arts Desk, 2/26/14; The Spectator, 3/22/14)

Beautiful -- the photographs in Kilian Schönberger's series Brothers Grimm Homeland "look like they were smuggled out of a dream."  (Wired, 2/5/14)

"Germany Divided: Baselitz and his Generation" showcases the work of six artists who were born in eastern Germany and later moved west. Now showing at the British Museum!  (Financial Times, 1/31/14; Deutsche Welle, 2/6/14; The Spectator, 3/22/14)

Looted art from the Nazi era: new discoveries and new questions
There's only one full surviving copy of the Nazis' "degenerate art" inventory of 1941-42.  Thanks to the Victoria and Albert Museum, you'll soon be able to examine it online.  (The Art Newspaper, 1/16/14; Deutsche Welle, 1/17/14)

At London's Whitechapel Gallery, "a new exhibition reveals Hannah Höch as a pioneer of photomontage and a feminist icon who took a kitchen knife to the glass ceiling."  (The Guardian, 1/9/14; The Telegraph, 1/14/14)

In the decade after he left the Bauhaus in 1928, Herbert Bayer "produced posters, brochures and other promotional material for a succession of government projects." A new exhibit in Berlin takes a closer look at the years Bayer called his "advertising purgatory". (The New York Times, 1/7/14)

Now the Bauhaus can be your house (for €35 a night)!  (The Guardian, 1/5/14)

Looted art from the Nazi era: new discoveries and new questions
Before you see the Hollywood movie, read up on the real "Monuments Men" who saved European cultural treasures from looting and destruction at the end of the Second World War.  (Spiegel Online - International, 12/5/13; Smithsonian, Jan. 2014)

"Rolf Sachs' mother is French, his father is German, his wife is Iranian, and he lives in England." Typisch deutsch? Und wie! Savor the stereotypes at the Museum of Applied Art in Cologne, now through June 9.  (Monocle, Jan. 2014; Financial Times, 1/15/14; Deutsche Welle, 3/24/14)




 
Books & Ideas

Catholic philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand "was keenly aware of the grievous failures of Christians under Nazism. Yet he never wavered in his conviction that Christianity was the only spiritual force powerful enough to contend with humanity’s capacity for evil."  (The Daily Beast, 12/26/14)

Remember the fairy tales that were rediscovered in a Regensburg archive in 2012? A collection is soon to be published in English translation. Sample "The Turnip Princess" here.  (The Guardian, 12/26/14)

Germany: Memories of a Nation
is a great read, and beautifully illustrated, too. But does it successfully resolve the “painful difficulty of constructing a German history"?  (The Guardian, 12/23/14; The Wall Street Journal, 10/16/15)

Ten notable books by German authors, published in English translation in 2014.
Have you read them all?  (Deutsche Welle, 12/16/14)

What to give the aficionado of East German visual culture on your holiday list? Here are two inspired suggestions.  (The New York Times, 12/5/14; Metropolis, 2/2015; The Atlantic, 2/19/15)


Jonathan Petropoulos investigates the careers of ten prominent artists in Nazi Germany: Gropius, Hindemith, Benn, Barlach, Nolde, Strauss, Gründgens, Riefenstahl, Breker, and Speer.  (The Daily Beast, 11/30/14; Open Letters Monthly, 12/1/14; The Jewish Daily Forward, 12/5/14)

Leaving Berlin, set in the earliest days of the Cold War, is "an enjoyable thriller, high-class entertainment, one that moves fast enough to allow you to suspend disbelief as Kanon skates elegantly over the improbabilities of his plot."  (The Scotsman, 11/29/14; The Wall Street Journal, 2/27/15; The New York Times, 3/24/15)

Stay cool, Frankfurt School
Fifty years after Herbert Marcuse tried to warn us, we're still one-dimensional: "There is no meaningful opposition in the political, social, and media worlds; all new forms of opposition become paralyzed before being formed; cynicism infects all politics; even imagining an alternative seems futile." (Boston Review, 11/17/14)

"After their return to the homeland that had expelled them, Jewish emigrants became irreplaceable teachers for a younger generation." Jürgen Habermas recalls the exiled Jewish scholars who returned to the Federal Republic of Germany.  (Tablet, 11/12/14)

Walter Benjamin: "apocalyptic Marxist theorist and literary critic, student of mystical Judaism and Kabbalah, mentor and friend to Hannah Arendt, Theodor Adorno, Bertolt Brecht, and Herman Hesse, and children’s radio host." Thank you, Lecia Rosenthal and Verso Books, for publishing Radio Benjamin.  (Open Culture, 11/1/14; berfrois, 12/18/14; The Irish Times, 1/10/15)

"My novel is about how man survives in a hostile environment." Read Uwe Tellkamp's The Tower: Tales From A Lost Country, translated by Mike Mitchell.  (Standpoint, 11/2014; The Telegraph, 11/5/14; The Mookse and the Gripes, 2/17/15)


"Since the fall of the Berlin wall, a rich literary culture has emerged that grapples not only with Germany's past but also the multilayered experiences of the present and struggles over German identity."  (World Literature Today, 11/2014)

In Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity, Robert Beachy shows "how nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century German thought and culture helped to shape the way we think about homosexuality and sexual identity."  (The New York Times, 10/31/14; The Barnes and Noble Review, 11/17/14; NPR, 12/17/14; The New Yorker, 1/26/15)

Hermann Hesse and Thomas Mann: "bound by a shared commitment to humanism and an unflinching belief in the integrity of the individual, they stood by one another’s work, both privately and publicly, through war and exile, through harsh criticism, even through their own philosophical disagreements." (Brain Pickings, 10/8/14)

During his confinement in a state psychiatric prison in the fall of 1944, Hans Fallada secretly recorded his reflections on life under National Socialism. Now A Stranger in My Own Country: The 1944 Prison Diary has been published in English.  (The Brooklyn Rail, 10/3/14; The Economist, 1/3/15)

"Some death or other will eventually be her death." In The End of Days, author Jenny Erpenbeck tries out five different endings for her protagonist's life, spanning the tumultuous history of 20th-century Europe.  (Bookforum, 9/15/14; NPR, 11/9/14; The New Republic, 12/1/14; Los Angeles Review of Books, 12/5/14; The Quarterly Conversation, 12/15/14)

Alex Ross takes on Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and their critique of pop culture.  (The New Yorker, 9/15/14)

You know Theodor Adorno, the legendary sociologist, philosopher, musicologist, and media critic. But have you read his 1956 essay on punctuation marks?  (Brain Pickings, 9/11/14)

In Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of a Mass Murderer, Bettina Stangneth sheds new light on the "banality of evil" and Eichmann's undeterred ideological convictions.  (Jewish Review of Books, Fall 2014; The New York Times, 9/4/14; The New York Times, 9/21/14; The Atlantic, 10/8/14; The Guardian, 10/17/14)

"There are no more issues in the warehouse." It's the end of an era for the Brockhaus encyclopedia -- now available only online.  (Deutsche Welle, 8/17/14)

Rainer Maria Rilke's "question is basically this: Can we exist without the aid of angels, gods, myths, or spirits?"  (The American Reader, Aug. 2014)

Fifteen more years of explaining Hitler: Ron Rosenbaum on the Downfall parodies, Godwin's Law, and how functionalism "has been cast into the dustbin of history along with 'the banality of evil.'"  (Los Angeles Review of Books, 7/10/14; The Daily Beast, 7/26/14)

Listen in on the poetry of a complicated relationship -- Brecht & Steffin: Love in a Time of Exile and War, at London's Southbank Centre on July 19. (The Guardian, 7/10/14)

Attention, U.S. readers: now you can catch up with Andrea Maria Schenkel's best-selling thriller Tannöd (translated as The Murder Farm by Anthea Bell).  (The New York Times, 6/10/14)

Kurt Tucholsky -- brilliant, prolific, witty, and newly available in English, too. Thank you, Berlinica!  (The New York Times, 6/6/14)

"This is not just Beethoven revealed, but Beethoven hyped -- the great anecdotes related and embellished by an enthusiastic raconteur."  (The Weekly Standard, 6/2/14)

One more thing East and West Germans disagreed about: Mao's Little Red Book.  (Imperial and Global Forum, 5/27/14)

John Röhl brings you everything you wanted to know (and more) about the last 41 years in the life of Kaiser Wilhelm II.  (The Wall Street Journal, 5/2/14; The Spectator, 8/2/14)

Heil Heidegger? A new round of debate on the philosopher and his politics
The Black Notebooks "make it harder to care about -- and, therefore, to really know -- Heidegger’s ideas. Even if his philosophy isn’t contaminated by Nazism, our relationship with him is."  (The New Yorker, 4/28/14)

In Red Love: The Story of an East German Family, Maxim Leo "honours the complicated motivations of real people, resulting in a humane, enlightening history of a collapsed country and a lost home."  (New Statesman, 9/26/13; The New York Times, 4/13/14; The Guardian, 4/25/14; Publishing Perspectives, 5/22/14)

'Who, for instance, is exercised by the absence in their iBooks library of the German poet Gottfried Benn? And yet Benn -- along with Brecht, Celan, and Rilke -- is one of the great German poets of the twentieth century, the equal of Eliot or Montale. And the reason for this absence, as usual, is not the work but the life."  (The New Republic, 4/5/14)

Look who's been translated into English.  (The Independent, 4/2/14; The Guardian, 4/30/14; Financial Times, 5/2/14)

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) "strove to unify his kaleidoscopic interests into a single whole that deeply integrated faith and science, philosophy and politics, and shaped both his public and private life."  (The New Atlantis, Spring 2014)

"We don't do proofreading." Meet VDM Publishing Group, which would be happy to publish your academic thesis, blog, Wikipedia article, or anything else. (Slate, 3/23/14)

"To imitate another person’s style is like wearing a mask," wrote Arthur Schopenhauer. "However fine the mask, it soon becomes insipid and intolerable because it is without life; so that even the ugliest living face is better."  (Brain Pickings, 3/20/14)

Sixteen years after her death, Untergetaucht tells the remarkable story of Marie Jalowicz Simon, who survived as a "U-boat" in Nazi Berlin—now translated into English by Anthea Bell.  (The Observer, 3/15/14; The Independent, 2/26/15; Smithsonian, 9/8/15)

It's probably time for the Karl May Museum to rethink what it's obliged to "preserve and protect."  (The Guardian, 3/10/14; The New York Times, 8/21/14)

Heil Heidegger? A new round of debate on the philosopher and his politics
We hardly need the Black Notebooks to tell us that Heidegger was anti-Semitic, says Jonathan Rée. But, "like the best of what Heidegger wrote -- indeed the best of philosophy in general -- they are full of sharp observations: observations that we should respond to not as opinions we might like to fall in with, but as incentives to think again, and to think more thoughtfully."  (Prospect, 3/12/14; The Guardian, 3/19/14)

"'August' is a story about August, the boy as he was and the man as Christa Wolf imagined him; it's a story about childhood and aging and a calm kind of love that lasts a long time." -- Katy Derbyshire on the translation of one of Christa Wolf's final stories.  (The Quarterly Conversation, 3/10/14)

It's probably time for the Karl May Museum to rethink what it's obliged to "preserve and protect."  (The Guardian, 3/10/14; The New York Times, 8/21/14)

John Röhl brings you everything you wanted to know (and more) about the last 41 years in the life of Kaiser Wilhelm II.  (The Wall Street Journal, 5/2/14; The Spectator, 8/2/14; London Review of Books, 4/23/15)

Look who's been translated into English.  (The Independent, 4/2/14; The Guardian, 4/30/14; Financial Times, 5/2/14; The New York Times, 4/26/15; The New York Times, 5/10/15)

Author interviews in Der Tagesspiegel just got a lot more interesting! Katy Derbyshire goes Dutch with Felicitas Hoppe, Thomas Meinecke, Eugen Ruge, and more.  (Der Tagespiegel, 3/7/14)

Find out what Sally Bowles, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Frank Lehmann, and Timothy Garton Ash all have in common.  (The Guardian, 2/26/14)

"This is a good year for those interested in Brecht," beginning with the publication of a new biography by Stephen Parker.  (The Independent, 2/14/14; The Washington Post, 5/16/14; The Times Literary Supplement, 8/13/14)

"Admirers of the late WG Sebald's inimitable blend of essay, memoir, novel and found images...will be grateful for A Place in the Country," a collection of six essays on artists whom Sebald himself admired.  (The Guardian, 4/20/13; Financial Times, 4/26/13; The Guardian, 4/27/13; Slate, 2/5/14; The Quarterly Conversation, 3/10/14; The New York Times, 3/21/14; Bookforum, Apr/May 2014)

Heil Heidegger? A new round of debate on the philosopher and his politics
"The upcoming publication of the Black Notebooks -- three never-before-seen volumes by the legendary German philosopher Martin Heidegger -- may reveal a direct link between Heidegger's lengthy dalliance with Nazism and his landmark treatise Being and Time."  (Prospect, 1/28/14; The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2/24/14; Slate, 3/10/14; The New York Times, 3/30/14)

Calm down, Internet -- Adam Kirsch explains why you should be wary of all those reports about Mein Kampf's bestseller status.  (New Statesman, 1/27/14)

There's no shortage of WWI histories to choose from in 2014. "Intensive mining of the sources (by the authors and sometimes their amanuenses) has unearthed nuggets of new information, but mainly they sift through the existing store of knowledge."  (The Times Literary Supplement, 11/13/13; Financial Times, 1/17/14; The New York Review of Books, 2/6/14)

"The university is simply not the place to study," wrote Walter Benjamin in 1914. One hundred years later, everyone at the university is studying him. (The Smart Set, 1/13/14; The Chronicle Review, 3/17/14; Mosaic Magazine, 4/3/14; Los Angeles Review of Books, 5/14/14; The Guardian, 8/7/14; City Journal, Summer 2014)

Here's why there's a lot to love about Why We Took the Car, Wolfgang Herrndorf's last novel.  (The Washington Post, 12/31/13; Kirkus, 1/9/14; The Guardian, 5/23/14)

Looking for critically acclaimed foreign fiction, full of anguish and brutality? Julia Franck's Back to Back, translated by Anthea Bell, is the novel for you.  (Vogue, 12/9/13; Washington Independent Review of Books, 1/8/14; Words Without Borders, 2/2014; The Independent, 3/7/14)

In Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven, John Eliot Gardiner "has done a masterly, monumental job of taking the measure of Bach the man and the musician."  (The Guardian, 10/30/13; The New York Times, 12/3/13; On Point, 1/7/14; The New York Review of Books, 2/20/14)

"When Gregor Samsa woke one morning from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed right there in his bed into some sort of monstrous insect.” Thanks to translator Susan Bernofsky, you'll want to (re)read The Metamorphosis.  (Slate, 1/7/14; The New Yorker, 1/15/14; World Literature Today, 1/2015)

"German, Jewish, and Neither." Born in (West) Germany in 1982, Yascha Mounk explains why he decided to leave: "If there was one thing that made me feel I would never truly belong, it wasn’t hostility: It was benevolence." (The New York Times, 1/3/14; Tablet, 1/9/14; The New York Times, 1/14/14; The Atlantic, 1/22/14; Boston Review, 1/24/14)





Film

Beloved Sisters, Germany's candidate for the best foreign-language Oscar, depicts poet Friedrich Schiller "and the two sisters who agree to share him, body and soul." Spoiler alert: it's more about the sharing than the poetry.  (The L Magazine, 12/31/14; The New York Times, 1/8/15; Los Angeles Times, 1/8/15)

Ten classic German expressionist films at your fingertips—what's not to love about that?  (Open Culture, 12/11/14)

Cinematically strong, if historically flawed: "In his new film Diplomacy, Volker Schlöndorff has expertly created the creepy, almost surreal atmosphere of two men discussing the ruination of Paris while sitting in Louis XVI chairs, a fine claret readily at hand..."  (The New York Times, 10/14/14; The New York Review of Books, 10/15/14; Los Angeles Times, 11/6/14)

Rüdiger Suchsland's documentary From Caligari to Hitler: German Cinema in the Age of the Masses may not be groundbreaking, but its vintage film clips "look glorious."  (Deutsche Welle, 9/4/14; Variety, 9/5/14)

A complete retrospective of Fritz Lang's silent and talking feature films! At the Harvard Film Archive, now through September 1.  (WBUR, 7/16/14; Harvard Gazette, 7/17/14)

"The nineteen-twenties were a time of unrestrained cinematic audacity." See F. W. Murnau's Faust, among the decade's audacious best.  (The New Yorker, 6/24/14)

In memoriam: Karlheinz Böhm (1928-2014).  He played Emperor Franz Joseph, Beethoven, and a creepy serial killer on film. In real life, he helped to raise millions for a country in need. (Deutsche Welle, 5/30/14; The Guardian, 5/30/2014; The Washington Post, 5/30/2014)

In Christian Petzold's "Ghosts" trilogy, money "is the fuel that keeps the narrative of the engine running and the obstruction that makes it stall, an object that corrupts those who have it and cripples those who don't."  (Film Comment, 2/25/14)

In memoriam: Alice Herz-Sommer (1903-2014): classical pianist, Holocaust survivor, subject of the Oscar-winning short documentary The Lady in Number 6.  (The New Yorker, 11/26/13; The Guardian, 2/23/14; Slate, 2/28/14)

Writer-director Feo Aladag takes on the German military in Afghanistan in Inbetween Worlds.  (Variety, 2/11/14; ScreenDaily.com, 2/12/14; The Economist, 2/21/14)

In memoriam: Maximilian Schell (1930-2014). "Austrian by birth, Swiss by circumstance and international by reputation...a distinguished actor, director, writer and producer."  (The New York Times, 2/1/14; The Guardian, 2/2/14; The Smart Set, 3/15/14)

The first English-language reviews are in for the film adaptation of Charlotte Roche's Wetlands: "Director David Wnendt and breakout star Carla Juri leave no bodily orifice unexplored in this spiky, smartly packaged commercial enterprise."  (Screen, 8/11/13; Indiewire, 8/15/13; Variety, 8/19/13; The Daily Beast, 1/17/14; Slate, 8/20/14)

Billed in the U.S. as "a German Band of Brothers," Generation War receives mixed reviews.  (The New York Times, 1/14/14; NPR, 1/14/14; The Village Voice, 1/15/15; The New Yorker, 2/3/14; The New Republic, 2/3/14; The New York Times, 2/4/14; The New York Review of Books, 2/19/14)

Oh Boy, Jan Ole Gerster's "black-and-white indie film about late-twentysomething urban ennui has touched a nerve in Germany, where it won six German Film Awards." Now it's in limited release in the UK.  (The Arts Desk, 1/13/14; Electric Sheep, 1/16/14)

"Terrible and brilliant at the same time." Memory of the Camps, a rarely seen 1945 documentary from the British Army Film Unit, is being restored for release later this year.  (The Independent, 1/8/14; The New Yorker, 1/10/14)

The Book Thief "tries so hard to warm our hearts amid grotesque suffering, it goes a bit mad under the strain. It relays an uplifting story that, ill-advisedly, is not so much Holocaust-era as Holocaust-adjacent, determined to steer clear of too much discomfort."  (Chicago Tribune, 11/14/13; The Atlantic, 11/15/13; Boston Review, 1/6/14; The Guardian, 2/7/14)





Theater

"Anti-Brechtians charge Mother Courage and its creator with being irritatingly didactic, insufferably self-important, and full of maddening contradictions. It’s all true, of course. And it’s this very spirit -- irascible, indomitable -- that makes the play (and Mother C.) so irresistible."  (The Daily Beast, 9/10/14)

The latest productions at Berlin's Maxim Gorki Theater "stick out a playfully defiant tongue at German assimilationism's wagging white finger." (n+1, 8/29/14)

Tanztheater Wuppertal is alive and well, reports Roslyn Sulcas, with an ambitious 40th anniversary season.  (The New York Times, 5/15/14)

The Welsh National Opera is taking on Arnold Schoenberg's Moses und Aron -- the first staged production in Britain since 1976.  (The Guardian, 5/15/14;The Arts Desk, 5/25/14)

"This is a good year for those interested in Brecht," beginning with the publication of a new biography by Stephen Parker.  (The Independent, 2/14/14; The Washington Post, 5/16/14; The Times Literary Supplement, 8/13/14)

1980 is the talk of 2014: "Pina Bausch's classic collage of dance, spoken monologue and theatrical vignette is shot through with sadness, but also delicious comedy."  (The Guardian, 2/7/14; The Arts Desk, 2/9/14; The Guardian, 2/9/14; The New York Times, 2/17/14)





History

Catholic philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand "was keenly aware of the grievous failures of Christians under Nazism. Yet he never wavered in his conviction that Christianity was the only spiritual force powerful enough to contend with humanity’s capacity for evil."  (The Daily Beast, 12/26/14)

Germany: Memories of a Nation is a great read, and beautifully illustrated, too. But does it successfully resolve the “painful difficulty of constructing a German history"?  (The Guardian, 12/23/14; The Wall Street Journal, 10/16/15)

One century later, here's how we remember the Christmas Truce of 1914.  (OUPblog, 12/17/14; The Guardian, 12/23/14; The Nation, 12/23/14; Deutsche Welle, 12/24/14; NPR, 12/25/14)

Can an unfinished Strength Through Joy resort on the Baltic Sea become a luxury vacation destination today?  (The Washington Post, 12/15/14; The Daily Beast, 5/24/15)

What to give the aficionado of East German visual culture on your holiday list? Here are two inspired suggestions.  (The New York Times, 12/5/14)

Jonathan Petropoulos investigates the careers of ten prominent artists in Nazi Germany: Gropius, Hindemith, Benn, Barlach, Nolde, Strauss, Gründgens, Riefenstahl, Breker, and Speer.  (The Daily Beast, 11/30/14; Open Letters Monthly, 12/1/14; The Jewish Daily Forward, 12/5/14)

"For German national identity, winter is a metaphor that keeps on giving."  (History Today, 11/14/14)

In Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity, Robert Beachy shows "how nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century German thought and culture helped to shape the way we think about homosexuality and sexual identity."  (The New York Times, 10/31/14; The Barnes and Noble Review, 11/17/14; NPR, 12/17/14; The New Yorker, 1/26/15)

There's still time to take in 600 years of German history, from Gutenberg to Gerhard Richter, at the British Museum. "Germany: Memories of a Nation" is on display until January 25. (The Telegraph, 10/14/14; The Guardian, 11/7/14; The New Criterion, 12/15/14; Financial Times, 1/7/15; The New York Times, 1/14/15)

Cinematically strong, if historically flawed: "In his new film Diplomacy, Volker Schlöndorff has expertly created the creepy, almost surreal atmosphere of two men discussing the ruination of Paris while sitting in Louis XVI chairs, a fine claret readily at hand..."  (The New York Times, 10/14/14; The New York Review of Books, 10/15/14; Los Angeles Times, 11/6/14)

During his confinement in a state psychiatric prison in the fall of 1944, Hans Fallada secretly recorded his reflections on life under National Socialism. Now A Stranger in My Own Country: The 1944 Prison Diary has been published in English.  (The Brooklyn Rail, 10/3/14; The Economist, 1/3/15)

"The first to be singled out for systematic murder by the Nazis were the mentally ill and intellectually disabled...Now, they are among the last to have their suffering publicly acknowledged."  (The New York Times, 9/2/14)

In Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of a Mass Murderer, Bettina Stangneth sheds new light on the "banality of evil" and Eichmann's undeterred ideological convictions.  (Jewish Review of Books, Fall 2014; The New York Times, 9/4/14; The New York Times, 9/21/14; The Atlantic, 10/8/14; The Guardian, 10/17/14)

Behold the Schmiedhammer Fritz, weighty symbol of Prussia's burgeoning industrial and military might. (History Today, 9/2014)

Schlössernacht in Potsdam: "the magic of Disney, seasoned by the pomp and circumstance of imperial Prussia."  (The Economist, 8/22/14)

Resurrecting Königsberg: An ambitious urban renewal project emphasizes Kaliningrad's German past (and European future?).  (Spiegel Online - International, 7/25/14)

In memoriam: Hans-Ulrich Wehler (1931-2014). He sought the roots of Nazism in failed 19th-century modernization. "Few historians of any era have written so much, of such high quality, about so many different subjects."  (The Guardian, 7/18/14; H-Net, 7/21/14)

Fifteen more years of explaining Hitler: Ron Rosenbaum on the Downfall parodies, Godwin's Law, and how functionalism "has been cast into the dustbin of history along with 'the banality of evil.'"  (Los Angeles Review of Books, 7/10/14; The Daily Beast, 7/26/14)

One more thing East and West Germans disagreed about: Mao's Little Red Book.  (Imperial and Global Forum, 5/27/14)

In memoriam: Friedel Nussbaum (1916-2014), among the very few "native German Jews born before the Hitler era and still living in Germany in the year 2014."  (The Daily Beast, 5/25/14)

For all the differences between the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide, Nicholas Kulish "found the echoes impossible to ignore."  (The New York Times, 5/9/14)

"Conspiracy theories aren’t necessarily wrong, and in some cases there is compelling evidence that conspiracies did lie behind major historical events. But not this one." Richard Evans makes the case that Marinus van der Lubbe acted alone.  (London Review of Books, 5/8/14)

Revisiting the origins of the First World War
"Clearly we had a longing for a more ideal history," says historian Gerd Krumreich, "and Christopher Clark has satisfied this longing with bravura." The Sleepwalkers is Germany's top-selling WWI history in 2014.  (The Irish Times, 5/7/14)

John Röhl brings you everything you wanted to know (and more) about the last 41 years in the life of Kaiser Wilhelm II.  (The Wall Street Journal, 5/2/14; The Spectator, 8/2/14; London Review of Books, 4/23/15)

In Red Love: The Story of an East German Family, Maxim Leo "honours the complicated motivations of real people, resulting in a humane, enlightening history of a collapsed country and a lost home."  (New Statesman, 9/26/13; The New York Times, 4/13/14; The Guardian, 4/25/14; Publishing Perspectives, 5/22/14)

In January 1945, German prisoners of war constructed a brick chimney in Charleston, South Carolina. Should it be preserved or torn down? (The New York Times, 4/1/14)

Sixteen years after her death, Untergetaucht tells the remarkable story of Marie Jalowicz Simon, who survived as a "U-boat" in Nazi Berlin—now translated into English by Anthea Bell.  (The Observer, 3/15/14; The Independent, 2/26/15; Smithsonian, 9/8/15)

It's probably time for the Karl May Museum to rethink what it's obliged to "preserve and protect."  (The Guardian, 3/10/14; The New York Times, 8/21/14)

Revisiting the origins of the First World War
What's the most apt historic parallel to today's crisis in Ukraine? Alec MacGillis explains why "Germany looks at Russia and Ukraine and sees 1914."  (New Republic, 3/13/14; Spiegel Online - International, 3/14/14)

It's probably time for the Karl May Museum to rethink what it's obliged to "preserve and protect."  (The Guardian, 3/10/14; The New York Times, 8/21/14)

Who could have guessed -- controversy and technical difficulties are delaying the construction of historic memorials in Leipzig and Berlin.  (Spiegel Online -- International, 3/6/14)

A new round of war crimes investigations against suspected accomplices to murder at Auschwitz: "It might provide some with a sense of satisfaction, but it will likely be small and it comes very late."  (Spiegel Online - International, 2/21/14; The New York Times, 5/5/14; Spiegel Online - International, 8/28/14; Spiegel Online - International, 8/28/14)

Revisiting the origins of the First World War
"History is not just history, but also a part of the present. This is especially true of Germany."  Dirk Kurbjuweit revisits the Fischer controversy and the Historikerstreit with Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Ernst Nolte, and other key actors.  (Spiegel Online - International, 2/14/14)

Paula Kirby remembers the GDR, "where, it is true, there were few luxuries and many frustrations, and where non-conformity could be dangerous, but where people also tried to get on in their careers, raised families, had friends round for supper, built sandcastles, swept the front path and baked cakes..."  (The View East, 2/14/14)

"A century before there was the drone, there was the zeppelin." Bertrand Patenaude looks back at how Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin's innovation helped usher in a new era of total war.  (Hoover Digest, 2/2014)

We get to choose what stories we tell, and how, points out Robinson Meyer. "And we are captivated, again and again, by a mass-murderer's toilet."  (The Atlantic, 1/23/14)

Revisiting the origins of the First World War
There's no shortage of WWI histories to choose from in 2014. "Intensive mining of the sources (by the authors and sometimes their amanuenses) has unearthed nuggets of new information, but mainly they sift through the existing store of knowledge."  (The Times Literary Supplement, 11/13/13; Financial Times, 1/17/14; The New York Review of Books, 2/6/14; Commonweal, 4/19/14)

"Terrible and brilliant at the same time." Memory of the Camps, a rarely seen 1945 documentary from the British Army Film Unit, is being restored for release later this year.  (The Independent, 1/8/14; The New Yorker, 1/10/14)

Revisiting the origins of the First World War
German war aims, British patriotism, Blackadder, and more: Are you caught up on the year's first "intellectual battle over the myths of the First World War"?  (H-Net, 1/6/14)

"German, Jewish, and Neither." Born in (West) Germany in 1982, Yascha Mounk explains why he decided to leave: "If there was one thing that made me feel I would never truly belong, it wasn’t hostility: It was benevolence." (The New York Times, 1/3/14; Tablet, 1/9/14; The New York Times, 1/14/14; The Atlantic, 1/22/14; Boston Review, 1/24/14)

Revisiting the origins of the First World War
It's 2014 -- let the commemorations of milestones in 20th-century German history begin!  (The Guardian, 1/2/14; AICGS, 1/6/14)

Looted art from the Nazi era: new discoveries and new questions
Before you see the Hollywood movie, read up on the real "Monuments Men" who saved European cultural treasures from looting and destruction at the end of the Second World War.  (Spiegel Online - International, 12/5/13; Smithsonian, Jan. 2014)




Et Cetera

"For almost 70 years, people in Herzogenaurach, Germany, have been fighting a civil war over Adidas and Puma shoes. But peace may be at hand."  (The Wall Street Journal, 12/30/14)

"A humble German fruit cake, which first emerged in the 14th century, became a formidable cultural and political force—and conquered the world."  (The Daily Beast, 12/24/14)

"Has Britain revised the postwar image of Germany, its favorite enemy, as that nation’s dozen years of Nazi rule recede in the collective memory?"  (The New York Times, 12/23/14)

"In Bavaria, a centuries-old tradition is being revived. There are no reindeer. No elves. Just terrifying creatures called Krampus."  (National Geographic, 12/17/13; The New York Times, 12/21/14)

In appreciation of Jakob Maria Mierscheid, "guided by a consistent moral compass and yet open to compromise. Through his very being he has humanised and enlivened German democracy."  (The Economist, 12/12/14)

Germany, global leader?
"The world's most powerful leader isn't Obama or Putin—it's Angela Merkel." (The New Yorker, 12/1/14; The Guardian, 12/22/14; Vanity Fair, 1/2015; The Guardian, 1/7/15; The Globe and Mail, 2/12/15; The Guardian, 2/15/15)

"'Uber' has traveled a long way in English, starting with Nietzsche and along the way touching Superman, the outsize ambitions of the 1980s, and online gaming."  (The Boston Globe, 7/27/14)

World Cup Champions
"Whatever its roots, German success is important and instructive."  (The New York Times, 7/17/14; Newsweek, 7/17/14)

World Cup Champions
"Germany has a habit of winning the World Cup at symbolic moments." Gideon Rachmann explores 2014's golden moment (and why it may not last).  Financial Times, 7/14/14

Can this relationship be saved? On Germany, the U.S., and mismatched expectations in the post-Cold War era.  (The Daily Beast, 7/9/14; Spiegel Online - International, 7/10/14; Los Angeles Times, 7/10/14; The New York Times, 7/10/14; The New York Times, 7/13/14; The Daily Show, 8/29/14)

World Cup Champions
7:1!  Time to start casting Das Wunder von Belo Horizonte.  (Slate, 7/8/14; The Guardian, 7/9/14; The New York Times, 7/9/14; Spiegel Online - International, 7/9/14)

"Does Germany need a new flag?" No, but Jochen Bittner says the German flag could use some hipper branding.  (The New York Times, 6/19/14)

World Cup Champions
This could be the only World Cup article you read that features Klaus Kinski and Werner Herzog.  (Slate, 6/11/14)

Ampelmann seeks self-assured Ampelfrau -- candidates with miniskirts and ponytails need not apply.  (The Local, 5/16/14; Deutsche Welle, 5/30/14)

"You thought that Germans were the champions of international law and a rules-based world order?" Look at German-Russian relations and think again, writes Clemens Wergin.  (The New York Times, 5/5/14; The Economist, 5/10/14)

Business is picking up at the Berlin Brandenburg airport!...Sort of.  (The New York Times, 4/9/14)

Alas, poor "Wetten, dass...?"! If you've watched German TV in the last 33 years, you knew it well.  (The Local, 4/7/14)

"How do you know when to go naked in Germany?" Nathan Englander poses a timeless question. (The New York Times, 3/28/14)

Das Bundeskanzler? Der Professorin? "Germans try to get their tongues around gender-neutral language."  (The Guardian, 3/24/14)

"Trust is the basis for peace and friendship between peoples. Even more, trust is the basis for the cooperation of allied nations. When we proceed as if the ends justify the means, when we do everything that is technologically possible, we damage trust; we sow mistrust. In the end there is less, not more, security."  (The New York Review of Books, 3/20/14)

"Sogh-ee," language purists, the Americanization of the German language marches on.  (NPR, 3/14/14)

"The paternoster is the VW-beetle of elevators. Not many people use it, but many love it.” (Notes of Nomads, 3/7/14; The Washington Post, 6/1/15; The Wall Street Journal, 6/25/15)

Supergeil!  If this doesn't make you want to shop at Edeka, what will?  (Slate, 2/24/14; The New York Times, 7/25/14)

"First as tragedy, then as farce, then as interview" with Eric Jarosinski, the man behind the monocle of @NeinQuarterly.  (Strollology, 6/27/13; Little Utopia, 8/6/13; The Wall Street Journal, 9/16/13; The New Yorker, 2/12/14)

Berlin and its discontents
Berlin isn't as cool as it used to be, 2014 edition.  (Rolling Stone, 2/6/14; The New York Times, 2/21/14; Gawker, 2/24/14; The Atlantic Cities, 3/7/14; The New Republic, 9/12/14; CityLab, 12/16/14; The Guardian, 12/19/14)

"'Yes, she’s a cliché, but much more than a cliché,' says Winfried Kretschmann with some pride, because 'the Swabian housewife represents the starting point' in German thinking on the euro and fiscal management."  (The Economist, 2/1/14)

President Joachim Gauck at the Munich Security Conference: "This is a good Germany, the best we've ever known...However, it's precisely because these are good times for Germany that we have to consider what we have to change today to protect what is important to us."  (Bundespräsidialamt, 1/31/14; The New York Times, 2/1/14; Reuters, 2/4/14; The Economist, 2/8/14)

"Every time a Volkswagen hits 100,000 miles, a German engineer gets his wings."  (German Pulse, 1/30/14)

"German beer is facing an existential crisis," reports Michael Filtz.  (The New Yorker, 1/14/14)

"Lebensraum in reverse" -- one of the 20th century's most contested borders, between Germany and Poland, is disappearing faster than you might think.  (Newsweek, 1/10/14)

"Does the world need the idea of 'bad' Germans?" (The Wilson Quarterly, 2014)