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Music

A newly rediscovered song by Kurt Weill!  Listen to the Lied vom weissen Käse here.  (The New York Times, 11/6/17)

Blockflöte über alles: "Indeed, Germans have a different view of both national identity and patriotism than we do, and Kazim’s video manages to be a perfect demonstration of both."  (The Awl, 11/2/17)

The Berlin Staatsoper is reopening after a seven-year renovation.  (The New York Times, 9/3/17; The New York Times, 12/8/17)

"Wagner and Ludwig were many things to each other: provocateur and protector, composer and patron, wily old showman and deep-pocketed fanboy."  (Lapham's Quarterly, Fall 2017)

"But the Stasi were on to something. Even if they didn’t understand Zappa, they understood that people who liked Zappa were trouble."  (PRI, 8/9/17)

"In 1960, four years after the venerable Blue Note Records signed pianist Jutta Hipp, she stopped performing entirely." Here's a look back at the too-short career of Europe's "First Lady of Jazz."  (Longreads, 8/4/17)

At this year's Bayreuth Festival, Barrie Kosky presents a high-concept Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg that stars Richard Wagner himself.  (The Guardian, 7/27/17; The New York Times, 8/1/17; The New York Review of Books, 8/8/17)

The world's most powerful leaders just attended a performance of Beethoven's Ninth. How well did they listen?  (Los Angeles Times, 7/8/17; The New York Times, 7/9/17; The New Yorker, 7/12/17)

"Wim Wenders, Daniel Barenboim and Georges Bizet: when giants meet, the outcome should be huge." Alas, The Pearl Fishers earns only mixed reviews at the Berlin Staatsoper.  (The New York Times, 6/20/17; Financial Times, 6/26/17)

Beginning in September 1965, Beat Club brought the youth rock revolution to German television viewers. (Open Culture, 5/25/17)

The Protestant Reformation turns 500
"Through his hymns, Luther is grandfather of a musical revolution that shared and adapted, united in stomping change on the world through rousing melodies and simple words."  (BBC, 5/24/17; The Guardian, 8/8/17 The New York Times, 11/23/17)

Brahms's A German Requiem "has become something of an anthem for our time, with grand social and political reverberations."  (The New York Times, 5/12/17)

"Slowly but surely, Germany has played catch-up with Weill’s music — in particular through the Kurt Weill festival in Dessau, currently celebrating its 25th anniversary."  (The New York Times, 3/9/17)

"The Elbphilharmonie is the concert hall that Hamburg needs. The Pierre Boulez Saal is what the world needs."  (The New York Times, 3/3/17;  Los Angeles Times, 3/5/17; The New Yorker, 5/22/17)

The conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler was "naïve, vain, fatherly, occasionally high-handed and unstintingly devoted to his art."  (Gramophone, 3/1/17)

If I Think of Germany at Night, a new documentary by Romuald Karmukar, is an intimate portrait of techno DJs at work. (The Hollywood Reporter, 2/14/17; The Economist, 5/22/17)

In The Political Orchestra, Fritz Trümpi examines the experiences of the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras under National Socialism.  (Times Higher Education, 2/9/17; Literary Review, 3/2017; Commentary, 6/14/17)

Ute Lemper brings "Songs of Eternity" and an important message for today to Washington DC.  (The Washington Post, 2/3/17)

In memoriam: Jaki Liebezeit (1938-2017), "the rigorously minimal and quietly influential drummer for the 1970s German experimental rock band Can."  (The Guardian, 1/23/17; Rolling Stone, 1/23/17; The New York Times, 1/25/17)

Take a tour of Germany's grandest pipe organs with Akhil Sharma.  (Financial Times, 1/19/17)

The Konzerthausorchester Berlin pays homage to "the sweet sound of currywurst."  (The Local, 1/17/17)

"The €789m Elbphilharmonie is an astonishing building: unpredictable, unforgiving and not entirely beautiful, but also generous, open and profound in its relationship with the docks, the city and the sky."  (Financial Times, 12/2/16; Deutsche Welle, 1/9/17; The New York Times, 1/10/17; Los Angeles Times, 3/23/17)




Art & Design

Berlin's Haus der Kulturen der Welt delves into its own cultural history with an exhibition on "Parapolitics: Cultural Freedom and the Cold War."  (The Guardian, 12/4/17)

You know her notorious nephew, but Expressionist artist Cornelia Gurlitt appears to have been the real talent in the family.  (artnet, 11/13/17)

Jens Müller's Pioneers of German Graphic Design deserves a place of honor on your coffee table.  (The Verge, 11/12/17; Third Coast Review, 11/13/17)

ArtReview names Hito Steyerl the most influential person in contemporary art.  (The Guardian, 11/2/17; The New York Times, 12/15/17)

Four years after their rediscovery, works from the Gurlitt art trove are at last on display in Bern and Bonn—but questions of provenance remain.  (The New York Times, 11/1/17; artnet, 11/3/17; The New York Times, 11/19/17)

Election 2017

Oh, how I love German election posters!  (Deutsche Welle, 8/9/17; The Awl, 9/7/17; Buzzfeed, 9/20/17)

Don't worry about Betroffenheitskitsch, and take another look at the work of Käthe Kollwitz.  (artnet, 7/18/17)

Six caves in southwestern Germany, "home to some of the world's oldest art," have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.  (artnet, 7/11/17)

"A horde of zombies overtook Hamburg ahead of the G20 summit, for art's sake."  (Deutsche Welle, 7/5/17; artnet, 7/6/17)

"There is no difference between the beautiful sex and the strong sex,'" Bauhaus director Walter Gropius "once insisted in a somewhat self-defeating pronouncement."  (Open Culture, 6/29/17)

In Portraying a Nation: Germany 1919-1933, Tate Liverpool gives us the brilliant pairing of August Sander and Otto Dix, delivering "an evocation of a time and place that will stop you in your tracks."  (The Telegraph, 6/23/17; The Observer, 6/25/17; The Quietus, 7/2/17)

There's billowing smoke, horizontal piping, and an impressive Parthenon of banned books at Kassel's Documenta 14.  (Apollo, 6/19/17; The New York Times, 6/23/17; Deutsche Welle, 7/28/17)

Hello, Marlene Dietrich! "One of the most glamorous creatures ever to grace the silver screen is back in pictures at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C."  (CNN, 6/19/17; NPR, 6/19/17; The Washington Post, 8/5/17)

Meet Gerhard Steidl, printer extraordinare. His superlative craftsmanship has earned the regard of the world's best photographers and fashion houses.  (The New Yorker, 5/22/17)

Markus Lüpertz gets a double retrospective, at Washington DC's Phillips Collection and Hirshhorn Museum, opening in May.  (Apollo, 5/20/17; The Washington Post, 5/25/17; The Washington Post, 6/2/17)

In memoriam: A.R. Penck, "a leader in the German Neo-Expressionist movement of the 1970s and '80s, which brought a new sense of historical and political drama to figurative painting."  (ARTnews, 5/3/17; The Guardian, 5/5/17; The New York Times, 5/5/17)

Kassel's famed quinquennial has moved to Athens. "This Hellenized Documenta is sometimes forceful, often obscure, and in places exhaustingly proud of itself."  (The New York Times, 4/9/17; Hyperallergic, 4/10/17; Politico, 4/14/17)

Built as "an unmissable nomument to Communism's soaring future," the Berliner Fernsehturm "is still the tallest structure in Germany and the only European TV tower located in a metropolitan center."  (The New York Times, 4/6/17)

Congratulations to Wolf Erlbruch, winner of the Astrid Lindgren memorial award for children's literature.  (Deutsche Welle, 4/4/17; The Guardian, 4/4/17)

"Since 1991, with an interval between 1999 and 2006, photographer Herlinde Koelbl has met the German chancellor once every year, taken a portrait and interviewed her, often asking the exact same questions as the year before."  (The Washington Post, 3/29/17; The Guardian, 4/5/17)

Subway architect Rainer Rummler "could actually be one of the great unsung heroes of partitioned West Berlin." His stations from the early 1980s have just been named historical monuments.  (CityLab, 3/29/17)

Paul Scheerbart's "drawings, airy nothings composed of dotted ink, are as well-ventilated as his utopian novels."  (The New York Review of Books, 3/19/17)

The city of Trier agrees to accept a giant Karl Marx statue as a gift from China—but not without controversy.  (Deutsche Welle, 3/15/17; The Local, 3/15/17; NPR, 3/21/17; The New York Times, 5/21/17)

"The Elbphilharmonie is the concert hall that Hamburg needs. The Pierre Boulez Saal is what the world needs."  (The New York Times, 3/3/17;  Los Angeles Times, 3/5/17; The New Yorker, 5/22/17)

There's a lot of Vergangenheitsbewältigung going on in the top auction houses for contemporary art.  (The Guardian, 2/13/17)

In a new exhibition at the Tate Modern, Wolfgang Tillmans shows us the "dazzle and the muddle of our overloaded modern lives."  (The Economist, 2/9/17; The Guardian, 2/13/17; The Telegraph, 2/14/17)

Manaf Halbouni has erected a striking, 12-meter-tall memorial to the residents of Aleppo in the heart of historic Dresden.  (Deutsche Welle, 2/7/17; The Guardian, 2/7/17)

How, and why, should Britain memorialize the Holocaust? Rowan Moore raises important questions about the proposed designs for a new memorial.  (The Observer, 2/5/17; 1843, 2/9/17)

What did Heidelberg's castle look like before it was destroyed by lightning, war, and fire? Take a look for yourself.  (International Business Times, 2/2/17)

In 1920s Berlin, "modernists favored flat roofs, while conservatives preferred them pitched." Jeff Reubens recalls the roof war that divided a suburban neighborhood.  (Atlas Obscura, 1/19/17)

Katharina Grosse's colorful canvases will brighten your day. They're on display at NYC's Gagosian Gallery through March 11.  (Architectural Digest, 1/8/17)

Looking for a visual aid to illustrate Germany's "obsessive preoccupation with its past," Thomas die Maizière turns to Gerhard Richter's Betty.  (artnet, 1/10/17)

"The €789m Elbphilharmonie is an astonishing building: unpredictable, unforgiving and not entirely beautiful, but also generous, open and profound in its relationship with the docks, the city and the sky."  (Financial Times, 12/2/16; Deutsche Welle, 1/9/17; The New York Times, 1/10/17; Los Angeles Times, 3/23/17)

Terror attack in Berlin
Michael Kimmelman and Thomas de Monchaus unpack the layers of meaning at Breitscheidplatz, heart of western Berlin's city center and site of the December 19 terror attack.  (The New York Times, 12/20/16; The New Yorker, 1/5/17)




 
Books & Ideas

German is "a language that likes to invade from all sides. This means that Germans read and speak differently; we scan to the end of the sentence, then we go back and parse it....English speakers make it up as they go along; German speakers have to know where they're going."  (Literary Hub, 11/17/17)

Jens Müller's Pioneers of German Graphic Design deserves a place of honor on your coffee table.  (The Verge, 11/12/17; Third Coast Review, 11/13/17)

"Compromises compromise—they weaken your handshake," says the narrator of Sieben Nächte. "The only desire that counts is that for a beating heart." Simon Strauss is at the fore of a new, ultra-romantic literary movement.  (The Guardian, 11/10/17)

Happy birthday, little yellow books! The Reclam Universal-Bibliothek was founded 150 years ago, on November 10, 1867.  (Deutsche Welle, 11/10/17)

"The German novels to be excited about right now have no comedy moustaches and no young men wearing horn-rimmed spectacles. Instead, they're experimental and full of empathy."  (The Skinny, 9/18/17)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie revisits Albert Speer's Inside the Third Reich(The New Yorker, 8/1/17)

"Can German philosophy be consumed at a common, everyday level without being dumbed down or having its ideas stripped of their complexity?"  (Foreign Policy, 7/24/17)

The Protestant Reformation turns 500
"Reconciling the confusing, often paradoxical origins of Protestantism in Luther and his successors seems like a good project for a half-millennium retrospective." (The Nation, 7/12/17)

"Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther solves crimes for Nazi Germany. Why do we like him so much?" If Jane Kramer doesn't persuade you to read Prussian Blue, nothing will.  (The New Yorker, 7/10/17)

Historian Rolf Peter Sieferle continues to spark debate with his essay collection Finis Germania, published after his death.  (The New York Times, 7/8/17; The Guardian, 7/28/17)

John le Carré makes an eloquent case for studying German. "Those who teach language, those who cherish its accuracy and meaning and beauty, are the custodians of truth in a dangerous age."   (The Guardian, 7/1/17)

Alone in Berlin has a complicated backstory: "Historians in Germany allege that Fallada's fictionalised depiction of resistance to the Nazis has only helped to cover up a true story of collaboration with the communist regime that followed in East Germany."  (The Guardian, 6/17/17)

"Sebald’s work can put you in mind of Diderot selling his library to Catherine the Great: he seems to be downloading everything he has ever read."  (The New Yorker, 6/5/17)

Here's a double dose of book recommendations about 20th-century Germany, from Hester Vaizey and Chris Petit. (Five Books, 5/25/17; The Guardian, 5/31/17)

Meet Gerhard Steidl, printer extraordinare. His superlative craftsmanship has earned the regard of the world's best photographers and fashion houses.  (The New Yorker, 5/22/17)

Rüdiger Safranski's Goethe: Life as a Work of Art, translated by David Dollenmayer, "is aimed squarely at a German readership of Bildungsbürger, educated and tolerant of abstractions and paraphrases."  (The Washington Post, 5/17/17; Literary Review, 6/2017; The New York Times, 6/6/17; The Economist, 6/15/17; The New York Review of Books, 12/21/17)

"The fake anecdotes are just as good as the real ones, and sometimes a little bit better." Before he wrote Effi Briest, Theodor Fontane earned a living by concocting fake news.  (Ozy, 5/16/17)

Get ready to start hearing a lot about Martin Luther..." In advance of the Protestant Reformation's 500th anniversary, Lyndal Roper has written a thought-provoking biography of a difficult hero. (Literary Review, 6/2016; The Spectator, 6/11/16; The Weekly Standard, 5/5/17)

It's the Shortest History of Germany, if not the best informed. "No doubt many true scholars of German history will take issue with Hawes's book."  (The Observer, 4/24/17; The Oldie, 6/2017)

Congratulations to Wolf Erlbruch, winner of the Astrid Lindgren memorial award for children's literature.  (Deutsche Welle, 4/4/17; The Guardian, 4/4/17)

Walking in Berlin by Franz Hessel (first published in 1929 and newly translated by Amanda DeMarco) presents "a portrait of a city on the brink of irrevocable change."  (The Independent, 12/14/16; The Guardian, 3/26/17; Los Angeles Review of Books, 5/5/17)

Happy (?) 60th birthday, united Europe.  The Frankfurt School (via @NeinQuarterly) offers you "the necessity and urgency of critique and self-critique — with little to no assurance of making any difference."  (Foreign Policy, 3/24/17)

Dive into Stuart Jeffries' Grand Hotel Abyss, the witty history of the Frankfurt School that we've all been waiting for.  (The Washington Post, 9/28/16; The Guardian, 11/3/16; The New York Review of Books, 3/23/17)

The extent of narcotic consumption by Nazi soldiers and Hitler has surprised even those who have spent decades researching this era." (The New York Times, 12/9/16; The New York Review of Books, 3/9/17; The Guardian, 5/2/17)

"Early 20th-century America was the global leader in race law," writes James Q. Whitman in Hitler's American Model, reminding us that the National Socialists found much to admire in the United States' discriminatory legal traditions.  (Inside Higher Ed, 3/8/17; Tablet, 3/20/17; The New York Times, 5/22/17)

Welcome to Heligoland, "an apt location from where to rethink the Anglo-German past."  (The Economist, 2/18/17)

Danke, Rebecca Schuman, for bringing us Schadenfreude: A Love Story, a bildungsroman channeling "the weltschmerz of a former wunderkind rejected by the professoriat and exiled to the creative lumpenproletariat." The freude is ours!  (Slate, 2/16/17; Open Letters Monthly, 6/1/17)

Remember the girl who played with matches instead of listening to her cats? Here's a fun new translation of the classic Struwwelpeter poem. (The Paris Review, 2/15/17)

What better time to reacquaint yourself with the life and work of Jürgen Habermas? A new biography is here to help. (The Nation, 9/14/16; The Guardian, 2/15/17; The New York Review of Books, 3/23/17; Boston Review, 4/12/17)

Another Marx biography? Gareth Stedman Jones demonstrates an impressive command of his subject in Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion.  (Financial Times, 8/5/16; The New York Times, 10/21/16; The Nation, 2/8/17)

George Prochnik and Maria Schrader discuss the relevance of Stefan Zweig's The World of Yesterday today.  (The New Yorker, 2/6/17; Los Angeles Review of Books, 2/17/17)

In The Political Orchestra, Fritz Trümpi examines the experiences of the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras under National Socialism.  (Times Higher Education, 2/9/17; Literary Review, 3/2017; Commentary, 6/14/17)

You'll hear echoes of Robinson Crusoe and The Magic Mountain in Lutz Seiler's award-winning novel Kruso, now in English translation.  (The Irish Times, 2/4/17; The Guardian, 2/7/17; The Economist, 3/2/17)

"Germany has a soccer team made up entirely of writers."  (PRI, 1/24/17)

Skip Vincent Perez's new film Alone in Berlin and read Hans Fallada's novel instead.  (The Guardian, 2/15/16; Variety, 2/15/16; NPR, 1/12/17)





Film

"The problem is that Germans aren't really big with suspension of disbelief," says Jantje Friese, co-creator of Dark, Netflix's first original German-language series.  (The New York Times, 11/23/17)

A closer look at the history of German film dubbing: "It's a story of control, denial, a commitment to craft and the discovery of a German funny bone."  (PRI, 10/11/17)

On August 25, 1967, Willy Brandt introduced West Germans to color TV.  (Deutsche Welle, 8/25/17)

"There was nothing special about the Germans that predisposed them to become killers or, more often, to look away when the killings were done....A quiet-spoken young architect can end up with more blood on his hands than a Jew-baiting thug." Ian Buruma reviews Marcel Ophuls's The Memory of Justice.  (The New York Review of Books, 8/17/17)

Hello, Marlene Dietrich! "One of the most glamorous creatures ever to grace the silver screen is back in pictures at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C."  (CNN, 6/19/17; NPR, 6/19/17; The Washington Post, 8/5/17)

In Cate Shortland's new thriller, Berlin Syndrome, handsome German stranger meets cute with Australian tourist—and then he imprisons her.  (The Guardian, 4/19/17; The New York Times, 5/25/17)

In memoriam: Michael Ballhaus (1935-2017), "cinematographer who brought lyricism and light to films by Martin Scorsese, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and a string of other eminent directors."  (The Guardian, 4/13/17; The New York Times, 4/14/17; Goethe Institut, 4/2017)

"Shot in evocative black and white, 'Karl Marx City' is a sleek, absorbing detective story, a fascinating primer on mass surveillance in the pre-Snowden era, and a roving memoir of East German life."  (The New York Times, 3/28/17; NPR, 3/30/17; Los Angeles Times, 4/20/17)

Greg Gerke takes a closer look at Toni Erdmann's "anti-Hollywood ending."  (Los Angeles Review of Books, 3/17/17)

If I Think of Germany at Night, a new documentary by Romuald Karmukar, is an intimate portrait of techno DJs at work. (The Hollywood Reporter, 2/14/17; The Economist, 5/22/17)

"The dead are haunting We Were So Beloved, Manfred Kirchheimer’s personal documentary, from 1986, about the Washington Heights community of German Jewish people who escaped or survived Nazi Germany."  (The New Yorker, 2/13/17)

"Marx and Engels meet cute" in The Young Karl Marx, an intelligent communist bromance directed by Raoul Peck.  (The Guardian, 2/12/17)

"On the Firing Line With the Germans" gives us a rare glimpse of the Kaiser's army in 1915— through the eyes of American filmmakers.  (The Washington Post, 2/7/17)

George Prochnik and Maria Schrader discuss the relevance of Stefan Zweig's The World of Yesterday today.  (The New Yorker, 2/6/17; Los Angeles Review of Books, 2/17/17)

Skip Vincent Perez's new film Alone in Berlin and read Hans Fallada's novel instead.  (The Guardian, 2/15/16; Variety, 2/15/16; NPR, 1/12/17)




Theater

Young Marx, "a screwball comedy about socialism's founding father," is the opening production at London's brand-new Bridge Theatre.  (The Guardian, 10/26/17; Variety, 10/27/17; The Economist, 11/3/17)

"What does a dance company do when its sole choreographer and leader, a figure as charismatic and intense as Pina Bausch, dies, leaving her dancers without a clear path forward?" It keeps performing, of course.  (The New York Times, 9/12/17; The New York Times, 9/12/17; The New York Times, 9/15/17)

The Berlin Staatsoper is reopening after a seven-year renovation.  (The New York Times, 9/3/17; The New York Times, 12/8/17)

At this year's Bayreuth Festival, Barrie Kosky presents a high-concept Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg that stars Richard Wagner himself.  (The Guardian, 7/27/17; The New York Times, 8/1/17; The New York Review of Books, 8/8/17)

Lucie Pohl introduces us to her not quite German, not quite American existence in her one-woman show, Hi, Hitler.  (The New York Times, 7/16/17; The Broadway Blog, 7/17/17)

"Wim Wenders, Daniel Barenboim and Georges Bizet: when giants meet, the outcome should be huge." Alas, The Pearl Fishers earns only mixed reviews at the Berlin Staatsoper.  (The New York Times, 6/20/17; Financial Times, 6/26/17)

Berlin's Volksbühne has a new artistic director (farewell, Frank Castorf)—but Chris Dercon is unlikely to get a standing ovation from the local theater community anytime soon.  (dispositio, 5/20/17; Deutsche Welle, 5/17/17; Financial Times, 5/26/17; The New York Times, 9/12/17)

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui at the Donmar Warehouse: "Any suggestion of a correlation between the leader of a certain nation and the homicidal gangsters we depict is something that the management must strictly disavow.”  (The Guardian, 5/2/17; Financial Times, 5/3/17; The Independent, 5/3/17)

NYC's Segal Center hosted a preview of Elfriede Jelinek's new play, On the Royal Road: The Burgher King ("a provocative European perspective on Donald Trump's persona"), and you, too, can watch online.  (The New York Times, 3/24/17; Deutsche Welle, 3/28/17; YouTube, 3/29/17)




History

"Physical reminders of the crimes of Hitler and the Nazis confront Germans every day, and while a small minority may not like this, they have no choice but to put up with it. When it comes to accepting the sins of the past, there is, in the end, no alternative for Germany."  (Foreign Affairs, Jan/Feb 2018)

Berlin's Haus der Kulturen der Welt delves into its own cultural history with an exhibition on "Parapolitics: Cultural Freedom and the Cold War."  (The Guardian, 12/4/17)

In memoriam: Georg Iggers (1926-2017): distinguished scholar and author of The German Conception of History
—also a refugee from National Socialist Germany himself, and a passionate advocate for civil rights.  (The Buffalo News, 11/26/17)

In Germany, "new arrivals from Syria have awakened old memories about what it means to flee." 
(BBC, 11/19/17)

Prora was constructed (but never used) as a Strength Through Joy holiday resort. Now the nearly three-mile-long compound on the Baltic Sea hopes to attract a luxury clientele. (The Guardian, 11/6/17)

The Protestant Reformation turns 500
"Luther lived in that historical sweet spot between the invention of the printing press and the invention of the telegraph, when communication was not too fast nor quite too slow."  (The Washington Post, 10/26/17)

"Wagner and Ludwig were many things to each other: provocateur and protector, composer and patron, wily old showman and deep-pocketed fanboy."  (Lapham's Quarterly, Fall 2017)

"There was nothing special about the Germans that predisposed them to become killers or, more often, to look away when the killings were done....A quiet-spoken young architect can end up with more blood on his hands than a Jew-baiting thug." Ian Buruma reviews Marcel Ophuls's The Memory of Justice.  (The New York Review of Books, 8/17/17)

The Germans have helpful experience in dealing with neo-Nazis, too.
  (The New York Times, 8/17/17; The Conversation, 8/21/17; The New York Times, 8/23/17

"Countries without Holocausts on their history books can also learn from Germany's grown-up, vigilant and dutiful culture of remembrance."  (The Economist, 8/13/17; NPR, 8/16/17; Politico, 8/20/17)

A glass of block-ade, anyone? In January 1949, the American Women's Club of Berlin published a cheerful cookbook called Operation Vittles.  (Slate, 8/4/17)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie revisits Albert Speer's Inside the Third Reich(The New Yorker, 8/1/17)

The Protestant Reformation turns 500
"Reconciling the confusing, often paradoxical origins of Protestantism in Luther and his successors seems like a good project for a half-millennium retrospective." (The Nation, 7/12/17)

Historian Rolf Peter Sieferle continues to spark debate with his essay collection Finis Germania, published after his death.  (The New York Times, 7/8/17; The Guardian, 7/28/17)

Caroline of Ansbach, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz get their due in a new exhibition at Kensington Palace.  (The Economist, 6/29/17)

Decades of criminal convictions under Paragraph 175 have been overturned, "a milestone in Germany’s long-running effort to come to terms with the Nazi past."  (The New York Times, 6/23/17)

Germany's imperial government knew a thing or two about meddling in their enemy's domestic affairs.  (The New York Times, 6/19/07; The New York Times, 7/17/17)

In memoriam: Helmut Kohl (1930-2017), postwar Germany's longest-serving chancellor and architect of reunification.  (The Guardian, 6/16/17; Handelsblatt Global, 6/16/17; The New York Times, 6/16/17; Spiegel Online - International, 6/16/17; Foreign Policy, 6/18/17)

Scientist and activist Magnus Hirschfeld "founded what’s considered to be the first gay rights organization and established the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin." (PRI, 6/14/17)

"The myth of Nazi occultism is more than an amusing curiosity, a testament to the power of cinematic suggestion. It actively detracts from a historical understanding of the very themes it highlights."  (Aeon, 6/9/17)

Here's a double dose of book recommendations about 20th-century Germany, from Hester Vaizey and Chris Petit. (Five Books, 5/25/17; The Guardian, 5/31/17)

The Protestant Reformation turns 500
"Through his hymns, Luther is grandfather of a musical revolution that shared and adapted, united in stomping change on the world through rousing melodies and simple words."  (BBC, 5/24/17; The Guardian, 8/8/17 The New York Times, 11/23/17)

The "two Germanys" theory is back (with an extra helping of water metaphors!) to explain German attitudes towards Brexit. (New Statesman, 5/15/17)  

The Protestant Reformation turns 500
Get ready to start hearing a lot about Martin Luther..." In advance of the Protestant Reformation's 500th anniversary, Lyndal Roper has written a thought-provoking biography of a difficult hero. (Literary Review, 6/2016; The Spectator, 6/11/16; The Weekly Standard, 5/5/17)

"Within the space of six years," Henry Kissinger recalls, "Adenauer had moved his country from an outcast to an equal member in political and security arrangements unprecedented in European history."  (The Wall Street Journal, 4/28/17)

It's the Shortest History of Germany, if not the best informed. "No doubt many true scholars of German history will take issue with Hawes's book."  (The Observer, 4/24/17; The Oldie, 6/2017)

"Hitler and the Nazis still, for many obvious reasons, provide the grim benchmark for the worst of what politics and humanity can become. But the temptation to invoke him to score a political point is one best left alone."  (The Washington Post, 4/12/17)

"In Donald Trump we may have another Wilhelm II on our hands — someone who poses a danger, not because he is intent on evil, but because he is erratic, unpredictable, and totally oblivious to how others may interpret his words and deeds."  (The Spectator, 4/8/17; The Washington Post, 5/2/17; Handelsblatt Global, 7/10/17)

In the United States, "World War I inspired an outbreak of nativism and xenophobia that targeted German immigrants, Americans of German descent and even the German language."  (NPR, 4/7/17)

"The easy times of postfeminism are over," says Alice Schwarzer.  Her feminist magazine EMMA just turned 40.  (The New York Times, 3/31/17)

"Since 1991, with an interval between 1999 and 2006, photographer Herlinde Koelbl has met the German chancellor once every year, taken a portrait and interviewed her, often asking the exact same questions as the year before."  (The Washington Post, 3/29/17; The Guardian, 4/5/17)

"Shot in evocative black and white, 'Karl Marx City' is a sleek, absorbing detective story, a fascinating primer on mass surveillance in the pre-Snowden era, and a roving memoir of East German life."  (The New York Times, 3/28/17; NPR, 3/30/17; Los Angeles Times, 4/20/17)

"My grandmother heard what she wanted from a leader who promised simple answers to complicated questions. She chose not to hear and see the monstrous sum those answers added up to."  (The New York Times, 3/24/17)

Happy (?) 60th birthday, united Europe.  The Frankfurt School (via @NeinQuarterly) offers you "the necessity and urgency of critique and self-critique — with little to no assurance of making any difference."  (Foreign Policy, 3/24/17)

The city of Trier agrees to accept a giant Karl Marx statue as a gift from China—but not without controversy.  (Deutsche Welle, 3/15/17; The Local, 3/15/17; NPR, 3/21/17; The New York Times, 5/21/17)

"Up until the 1930s, there were some 400 human zoos in Germany." Theodor Wonja Michael, author of Deutsch sein und schwarz dazu, recalls the the pain of being put on display.  (Deutsche Welle, 3/10/17)

The extent of narcotic consumption by Nazi soldiers and Hitler has surprised even those who have spent decades researching this era." (The New York Times, 12/9/16; The New York Review of Books, 3/9/17; The Guardian, 5/2/17)

"Early 20th-century America was the global leader in race law," writes James Q. Whitman in Hitler's American Model, reminding us that the National Socialists found much to admire in the United States' discriminatory legal traditions.  (Inside Higher Ed, 3/8/17; Tablet, 3/20/17; The New York Times, 5/22/17)

Sabine Heinlein revisits the Jewish legacy and antisemitic past of Baiersdorf, her Bavarian hometown.  (Longreads, 3/2017)

Welcome to Heligoland, "an apt location from where to rethink the Anglo-German past."  (The Economist, 2/18/17)

"The dead are haunting We Were So Beloved, Manfred Kirchheimer’s personal documentary, from 1986, about the Washington Heights community of German Jewish people who escaped or survived Nazi Germany."  (The New Yorker, 2/13/17)

"Raised in East Germany, Jack Barsky abandoned his mother, brother, wife and son to spy for the KGB. In America, he started a second family. And then it all came crashing down..."  (The Guardian, 2/11/17)

In The Political Orchestra, Fritz Trümpi examines the experiences of the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras under National Socialism.  (Times Higher Education, 2/9/17; Literary Review, 3/2017; Commentary, 6/14/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
"West Germans of Senfft’s generation knew how fragile democracy was, and did the daily work of strengthening it."  (Financial Times, 2/8/17)

Another Marx biography? Gareth Stedman Jones demonstrates an impressive command of his subject in Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion.  (Financial Times, 8/5/16; The New York Times, 10/21/16; The Nation, 2/8/17)

"On the Firing Line With the Germans" gives us a rare glimpse of the Kaiser's army in 1915— through the eyes of American filmmakers.  (The Washington Post, 2/7/17)

How, and why, should Britain memorialize the Holocaust? Rowan Moore raises important questions about the proposed designs for a new memorial.  (The Observer, 2/5/17; 1843, 2/9/17)

What did Heidelberg's castle look like before it was destroyed by lightning, war, and fire? Take a look for yourself.  (International Business Times, 2/2/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
What does the decline of democracy look like? Ask a German historian.  (Die Zeit, 2/1/17; Los Angeles Review of Books, 2/5/17; Gothamist, 2/6/17; Slate, 2/10/17; The New York Review of Books, 2/26/17; The Nation, 2/28/17; The New York Review of Books, 4/20/17; The Globe and Mail, 7/6/17; The Guardian, 7/15/17)

Martin Niemöller's words continue to resonate. As a voice of moral conscience, his "strength may come because of his flaws. He indeed was complicit." His words (PRI, 12/9/15; The Atlantic, 1/29/17)

The massacre of the Herero and Nama people is widely recognized as the first genocide of the 20th century. How should Germans today work to heal this "colonial-era wound"?  (The Guardian, 12/25/16; The New York Times, 1/21/17)

In 1920s Berlin, "modernists favored flat roofs, while conservatives preferred them pitched." Jeff Reubens recalls the roof war that divided a suburban neighborhood.  (Atlas Obscura, 1/19/17)

Ciarán Fahey pays a visit to Wünsdorf, once the largest Soviet military compound outside the USSR.  (The Guardian, 1/11/17)

The Protestant Reformation turns 500
If you need a single explanation for every possible German national stereotype, Martin Luther is (still) the man.  (The Economist, 1/7/17)

Terror attack in Berlin
Michael Kimmelman and Thomas de Monchaus unpack the layers of meaning at Breitscheidplatz, heart of western Berlin's city center and site of the December 19 terror attack.  (The New York Times, 12/20/16; The New Yorker, 1/5/17)
 

Daniel Johnson traces the descent from integrity to ideology within the German university system of the 19th and early 20th centuries.  (The New Criterion, 1/2017)





Et Cetera

"It could still be awhile before Angela Merkel cedes power, but it's clear that we've entered the late phase of Merkelism."  (Spiegel Online - International, 12/15/17)

"It's the economy, stupid' simply does not apply to Germany's populist voters. Rather, it's the Kultur."  (The New York Review of Books, 12/7/17)

Election 2017
"The collapse of coalition talks bodes badly for Angela Merkel, and for democratic governments everywhere."  (The Economist, 11/20/17; German Marshall Fund, 11/20/17; The New Yorker, 11/20/17; Slate, 11/20/17)

"Kinder Eggs have finally arrived in America"—sort of. Kinder Joy eggs aren't the classic surprise eggs we've all been waiting for, but at least it's a start.  (Food & Wine, 11/13/2017)

Election 2017
Suddenly, German politics is all about Jamaica. There's nothing like a Caribbean island to make "stultifying governing coalition talks" a little more interesting.  (The Washington Post, 11/8/17) 

Prora was constructed (but never used) as a Strength Through Joy holiday resort. Now the nearly three-mile-long compound on the Baltic Sea hopes to attract a luxury clientele. (The Guardian, 11/6/17)

Blockflöte über alles: "Indeed, Germans have a different view of both national identity and patriotism than we do, and Kazim’s video manages to be a perfect demonstration of both."  (The Awl, 11/2/17)

Election 2017
"Perhaps it's a useful dose of realism: As it turns out, Germany is not so exceptional after all."  (Slate, 9/24/17; The Washington Post, 9/24/17; The Economist, 9/25/17; Spiegel Online - International, 9/25/17)

Election 2017
"Raw emotion, anger, last-minute legal skirmishes, plenty of controversy and a highly uncertain outcome"—the Tegel airport referendum has everything the general election lacks.  (Financial Times, 9/21/17)

Election 2017

"Aufgeschoben ist nicht aufgehoben." Yascha Mounk explains why Germany's upcoming election is actually not a meaningless snooze-fest.  (Slate, 9/13/17) 

Election 2017

From Genderwahn to merkeln, Simon Kuper brings us a helpful vocabulary guide for the German election.  (Financial Times, 8/31/17)

The Germans have helpful experience in dealing with neo-Nazis, too.  (The New York Times, 8/17/17; The Conversation, 8/21/17; The New York Times, 8/23/17

Election 2017
Oh, how I love German election posters!  (Deutsche Welle, 8/9/17; The Awl, 9/7/17; Buzzfeed, 9/20/17)

"Vorsprung durch Cheating
"? It seems that Daimler, BMW, Audi, Porsche, and Volkswagen have been secretly coordinated technical standards, pricing, and other matters for years.  (Politico, 7/25/17; Spiegel Online - International, 7/27/17; Financial Times, 8/1/17)

Election 2017
"Suddenly Merkel’s astonishing trajectory—from the ash heap of the failed Soviet Empire to becoming the West’s best hope—makes perfect sense: Endure, observe, listen, keep your own counsel, and work twice as hard as the men."  (Vogue, 7/18/17; The New York Times, 7/23/17; Handelsblatt Global, 8/4/17; Financial Times, 9/14/17)

Yes, there is a German Spelling Council, and it gets to create new letters and tell us how to use them. SCHEIẞE!  (The Awl, 7/5/17; The Local, 7/11/17; Quartz, 7/20/17)

Historian Rolf Peter Sieferle continues to spark debate with his essay collection Finis Germania, published after his death.   (The New York Times, 7/8/17)

A chance comment by Angela Merkel became her very own "Schabowski moment," leading to the legalization of same-sex marriage less than one week later.  (Politico, 6/30/17; The Washington Post, 6/30/17; The Economist, 7/1/17)

Business at the port is down, but spirits at the Elbphilharmonie are up. After the G20 summit is over, what will Hamburg's future look like?  (Spiegel Online - International, 6/26/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
"The times in which we could rely fully on others, they are somewhat over."  (The Economist, 5/28/17; The New York Times, 5/28/17; The Washington Post, 5/28/17; The American Interest, 5/29/17; The Berlin Policy Journal, 5/30/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
"The Germans are bad, very bad."  (Slate, 5/25/17; Bloomberg, 5/26/17; Handelsblatt Global, 5/26/17; Spiegel Online - International, 5/26/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
"So, in conclusion, Der Spiegel is hella good at headlines that mine the multivalence of the German language, and Barack Obama is somehow still supposed to save us all from an eternal fiery hell-scape where candidates for elected office can beat journalists up on camera and it helps their chances to win."  (The Awl, 5/25/17)

"Good institutions thwart radicalism": in praise of boring German politics.  (Foreign Affairs, 5/17/17)

The "two Germanys" theory is back (with an extra helping of water metaphors!) to explain German attitudes towards Brexit. (New Statesman, 5/15/17)  

Handshakes, not burqas? Thomas de Maizière reignites the German Leitkultur debate.  (The Guardian, 5/5/17; The New York Times, 5/10/17; German Joys, 5/11/17)

"What if a city"—let's say Berlin— allowed a huge regeneration project to be led, not by the wealthiest property developer, but by the club owners who put on the best parties in town?"  (The Guardian, 4/30/17)

German citizenship has gotten a lot more appealing for the U.K. and U.S. descendants of those who were once persecuted and fled Hitler's Germany.  (Handelsblatt Global, 4/28/17; NPR, 5/9/17)

"The storied city of Weimar, Germany (population 65,000) absorbed 900 refugees in a year."  Here's a compelling investigation of the new stories that are currently unfolding there.  (The New York Times, 4/28/17; The New York Times, 5/2/17)

"But it's increasingly clear that one country's allegedly evidence-based Besserwisserei is another country's intolerable smugness."  (Foreign Policy, 4/27/17)

"Hitler and the Nazis still, for many obvious reasons, provide the grim benchmark for the worst of what politics and humanity can become. But the temptation to invoke him to score a political point is one best left alone."  (The Washington Post, 4/12/17)

"In Donald Trump we may have another Wilhelm II on our hands — someone who poses a danger, not because he is intent on evil, but because he is erratic, unpredictable, and totally oblivious to how others may interpret his words and deeds."  (The Spectator, 4/8/17; The Washington Post, 5/2/17)

"The easy times of postfeminism are over," says Alice Schwarzer.  Her feminist magazine EMMA just turned 40.  (The New York Times, 3/31/17)

Berlin, of course: "Nowhere else outside Moscow and St Petersburg boasts so many Russian painters, musicians, composers and writers, drawn by the city’s cheap rents and alternative vibe."  (Financial Times, 3/24/17)

Yes, parts of SPD candidate Martin Schulz's "tune might sound like nationalism. But it might just be Social Democracy taken out of the freezer, where it had been placed by the neoliberal left in the 1990s."  (The New York Times, 3/23/17)

Are Germany's cybersecurity experts ready for the inevitable onslaught ahead?  (Politico, 3/21/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
When Merkel met Trump . . . low expectations were duly met.  (The Economist, 3/18/17; The New York Times, 3/18/17; AICGS, 3/22/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
Welcome to "the old German nightmare: the fear of being a large, isolated power at the centre of Europe." But this time "Germany's current loneliness has very little to do with the country's own malign behaviour."  (Financial Times, 3/6/17)

"While others saw refugees, this German professor saw human potential."  (NPR, 2/9/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
"West Germans of Senfft’s generation knew how fragile democracy was, and did the daily work of strengthening it."  (Financial Times, 2/8/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
What does the decline of democracy look like? Ask a German historian.  (Die Zeit, 2/1/17; Los Angeles Review of Books, 2/5/17; Gothamist, 2/6/17; Slate, 2/10/17; The New York Review of Books, 2/26/17; The Nation, 2/28/17; The New York Review of Books, 4/20/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
"For Germany, Trump poses a threat with no clear solution."  (Foreign Affairs, 1/29/17; German Marshall Fund, 2/3/17; Spiegel Online - International, 2/5/17; The New York Times, 2/6/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
Angela Merkel has been "outfoxing, outlasting, and outmaneuvering full-of-themselves male rivals" for a very long time.  (Foreign Policy, 1/31/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
"Sometimes," writes Malte Lehming, "being aware of the tragedy is enough to prevent the farce from happening. Thanks, Trump voters!"  (The Washington Post, 1/26/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
In Germany, it's no longer illegal to insult foreign heads of state.  (The Washington Post, 1/25/17)

"Germany has a soccer team made up entirely of writers."  (PRI, 1/24/17)

Germany, the United States, and the new world disorder
"The best anyone can say about German-American relations these days is that, for the time being, they are dangerously lost in translation."  (The New York Times, 1/20/17)

Just in time for an anxious election season, Germany's political fringe showcases its own charismatic xenophobe.  (The New York Times, 1/18/17)

Terror attack in Berlin
Michael Kimmelman and Thomas de Monchaus unpack the layers of meaning at Breitscheidplatz, heart of western Berlin's city center and site of the December 19 terror attack.  (The New York Times, 12/20/16; The New Yorker, 1/5/17)

From the vantage point of a small town on the Starnberger See, Renata Adler contemplates the prospects for Germany's unprecedented experiment in welcoming refugees.  (Lapham's Quarterly, Winter 2017)