What’s New

“There’s a reason why Adorno’s defenders might gravitate toward depression, unpleasantness, or both: his world is a huge bummer. But so is ours.”  (The Baffler, 11/22/19)

Heimat Is a Space in Time, a meditation on Germany and filmmaker Thomas Heise’s own family history, “is a dreadfully German piece of work. That is part of its power.”  (The Hollywood Reporter, 9/5/19; The Guardian, 11/21/19)

“Monsters lurk in the Nietzschean deep. It cannot be a random mishap that so many unpleasant people have taken pleasure in his work.”   (The New Yorker, 10/7/19)

Kudos to Heartbeat Opera in NYC for their new take on Der Freischütz: “A fantastic work about the end of the Thirty Years’ War, magic bullets, and winning women with violence has taken on, with remarkably little adaptation necessary, hot-button issues like gun culture, toxic masculinity and the plight of returning soldiers.”  (The New York Times, 11/28/19)

The jewel heist from Dresden’s historic Green Vault was one of the largest ever, and a blow to Saxon and German cultural pride.  (artnet, 11/26/19; The Art Newspaper, 11/26/19;  The Economist, 11/28/19)

“Strauss and Hofmannsthal operatically imagined in 1919 the possible relevance of a spiritually dedicated empress for the 20th century, her beauty embellished by harps and tuned to a solo violin in the key of E-flat.” You’ll want to see Die Frau ohne Schatten after reading this piece by Larry Wolff.  (The New York Times, 10/12/19)

Arts

Locally printed “emergency money” from World War I and the economic crisis thereafter combated cash shortages with artistic flair.  (The Observer, 9/28/19)

A colorful, GDR-era mural by Josep Renau celebrating “man’s relation to nature and technology” has been restored “in all its pixelated glory” in Erfurt.  (The Guardian, 11/3/19; The Art Newspaper, 12/2/19)

In memoriam: Ingo Maurer (1932–2019), “Promethean in his delivery of illumination—fashioning lamps out of shattered crockery, scribbled memos, holograms, tea strainers and incandescent bulbs with feathered wings.”  (The New York Times, 10/24/19; Azure, 10/29/19)

“Beyond Bauhaus: Modernism in Britain 1933–66” is now showing at the RIBA in London. “The show casts a necessarily broad net,” writes Oliver Wainwright, “given our introverted island wasn’t particularly receptive to the radical cocktail of machine-made functionalism, abstraction and socialism.”  (The Guardian, 10/1/19)

There’s still time to see “Point of No Return,” a survey of Wende-era work by GDR artists at the Museum der bildenden Künste in Leipzig. Then head to the Düsseldorf Kunstpalast for “Utopia and Demise,” among the few major surveys of GDR art mounted since the Wende.   (The New York Times, 7/24/19; The Independent, 9/19/19)

The Bauhaus may have never had a proper music department, but “musical thinking permeated the lives of its students and faculty.”  (The New York Times, 8/22/19)

The “stylishly straightforward” Bauhaus Museum Dessau opened on September 9. “Our maxim was ‘more with less,'” says architect Roberto Gonzalez.  The Wall Street Journal, 8/9/19; artnet, 9/9/19; The Economist, 9/18/19)

Berlin’s “rebuilt Stadtschloss has become a national monument, but an accidental one—not a legacy defining grand projet, but the product of a series of actions with unintended consequences. It is a German monument developed in a very un-German way.”  (Financial Times, 9/13/19)

“Thousands of artworks from the Nazi period lie hidden away in storage depots,” both in Germany and the U.S. Is it time for the public to see them?  (Spiegel Online – International, 8/14/19)

“Mounting an exhibition containing swastikas, propaganda posters, photographs of Nazi rallies and clips of Leni Riefenstahl…was bound to generate controversy.” By that measure, the Design Museum Den Bosch’s exhibition on “Design of the Third Reich” does not disappoint.  (artnet, 9/17/19; The New York Times, 9/17/19)

“They complain that they do not have enough money to do research on these objects to take proper care of them…but they had enough money to build a castle in the middle of Berlin.” The debate over the Humboldt Forum and the repatriation of African artifacts continues.  (The New York Times, 9/4/19)

German ambassadors in Buenos Aires almost got to live in a “house in the trees” designed by Walter Gropius and his colleagues at The Architects Collaborative. Alas, the late-1960s project never came to fruition.  (Deutsche Welle, 7/2/19)

Here’s a friendly reminder from the Bauhaus Archive that the art and design school was not all about clean lines, white houses and tubular chairs. Exhibit A: the eccentric Landhaus Ilse, constructed in 1924.  (The Economist, 8/3/19)

“With luck, the swimmers will get their way, and the gleaming acropolis will live up to its intention of being a truly welcoming civic space.” The James Simon Gallery on Berlin’s Museum Island is now open to visitors.  (The Guardian, 7/8/19; The Economist, 7/12/19)

An exhibition at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn aims to show us how Johann Wolfgang von Goethe transformed the world. (The Art Newspaper, 5/29/19; Art Critique, 6/12/19)

“Though her painting style harks back to the 19th century, Laserstein’s portraits look astonishingly modern.” See Lotte Laserstein’s work for yourself at the Berlinische Galerie, now through August 12.  (Art & Object, 6/10/19; Apollo, 6/20/19)

Practical and philosophical problems continue to plague the Humboldt Forum in Berlin’s city center. Its opening has been now been delayed until 2020.  (The New York Times, 6/13/19; The Guardian, 6/16/19)

Pioneering photojournalist Gerda Taro was killed in 1937, just days before her 27th birthday, while documenting the carnage of the Spanish Civil War.  (Open Culture, 6/11/19)

A new exhibition at the Kunsthalle Rostock recalls the Palast der Republik as “a kind of microcosm of the GDR as one would have wished it to be.”  (The Art Newspaper, 5/31/19; The New York Times, 6/7/19)

Berlin has become a go-to destination for Chinese artists, writers, performers, and filmmakers who are “up to no good by the standards of Beijing’s morality police.”  (The Atlantic, 5/25/19)

“There’s a reason why Adorno’s defenders might gravitate toward depression, unpleasantness, or both: his world is a huge bummer. But so is ours.”  (The Baffler, 11/22/19)

Thirty years later, David Hasselhoff is still looking for freedom in Berlin.  (The Guardian, 10/8/19; NPR, 11/8/19)

The Bauhaus may have never had a proper music department, but “musical thinking permeated the lives of its students and faculty.”  (The New York Times, 8/22/19)

It’s Clara Schumann’s 200th birthday—celebrate by listening to Isata Kanneh-Mason’s new recording of her best piano music.  (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/10/19; The New York Times, 8/28/19;  The Guardian, 9/12/19)

In praise of Richard Strauss’s Salome: “The score is at once staggeringly original, more than a little trashy, and unsettling in its sexual and racial politics. When the clarinet slithers up a disjointed scale at the outset of the piece, the curtain effectively goes up on twentieth-century music.”  (The New Yorker, 8/21/19)

“He does not give press interviews. He does not schmooze with artists. He releases hardly any recordings.” Meet the Berlin Philharmonic’s astonishingly shy new chief conductor, Kirill Petrenko.  (The Guardian, 8/25/19; The New York Times, 8/26/19; The New Yorker, 9/9/19)

The Magic Flute meets Weimar Berlin: “The sheer inventiveness of the staging, its fantastical mix of animation and live action, is hard to resist.”  (The New York Times, 7/18/19)

Rammstein was “a tough proposition for many people to get their heads around. But like most things relating to this deceptively enigmatic and frequently misunderstood band, there’s a method to the madness in everything they do.”  (The New Yorker, 5/20/19;  Louder, 7/4/19)

Brexit party MEPs turned their backs during the EU anthem at the opening of the European Parliament. Politicians of all stripes have happily associated themselves with Beethoven’s Ninth and “Ode to Joy” for nearly 200 years. But rejecting Beethoven? Not so much.  (The Guardian, 7/3/19)

In 1917, the Boston Symphony declined to perform “The Star-Spangled Banner” in concert— ushering in a brouhaha that led to the internment of its Swiss German music director, Karl Muck. Now Melissa D. Burrage has written a comprehensive history of the scandal.  (The New Yorker, 7/2/19)

“In the case of Stockhausen,” writes Alex Ross, “only the colossal will suffice. ‘Aus Licht’ turned out to be the kind of inexplicable marvel that one waits half a lifetime to see.”  (The New York Times, 6/4/19; The New Yorker, 6/17/19)

“I’m the operator with my pocket calculator,” Kraftwerk sang in 1981. That same year, the band commissioned a special version of Casio’s VL-80 that doubled as a musical synthesizer.  (Open Culture, 6/6/19)

 

 

Kudos to Heartbeat Opera in NYC for their new take on Der Freischütz: “A fantastic work about the end of the Thirty Years’ War, magic bullets, and winning women with violence has taken on, with remarkably little adaptation necessary, hot-button issues like gun culture, toxic masculinity and the plight of returning soldiers.”  (The New York Times, 11/28/19)

“Strauss and Hofmannsthal operatically imagined in 1919 the possible relevance of a spiritually dedicated empress for the 20th century, her beauty embellished by harps and tuned to a solo violin in the key of E-flat.” You’ll want to see Die Frau ohne Schatten after reading this piece by Larry Wolff.  (The New York Times, 10/12/19)

The far-right AfD party is turning up the pressure on Germany’s theaters and opera houses. They’re hitting back forcefully, with action and satire.  (Financial Times, 8/26/19; The Atlantic, 10/28/19)

In praise of Richard Strauss’s Salome: “The score is at once staggeringly original, more than a little trashy, and unsettling in its sexual and racial politics. When the clarinet slithers up a disjointed scale at the outset of the piece, the curtain effectively goes up on twentieth-century music.”  (The New Yorker, 8/21/19)

The Magic Flute meets Weimar Berlin: “The sheer inventiveness of the staging, its fantastical mix of animation and live action, is hard to resist.”  (The New York Times, 7/18/19)

It’s time for that strange, centuries-old tradition of passing on the Iffland Ring to the “most worthy” actor who performs in German. The new recipient is Jens Harzer.  (The New York Times, 6/12/19)

There’s just a few days left to see Anna at London’s National Theatre. Set in 1968 East Berlin, Ella Hickson’s play asks its audience to put on headphones and “spy on the lives of a nation gripped by revolutionary promise.”  (The Guardian, 5/16/19; The Arts Desk, 5/22/19)

 

 

Lotte Reiniger created more than 70 silhouette animation films in a career that spanned 60 years.  (The New York Times, 10/16/19)

“The question of how much and what kind of fun it’s permissible to have with Nazis never goes away, and the resurgence of right-wing extremism around the world makes the question newly uncomfortable.”  (Slate, 10/14/19; The New York Times, 10/16/19; The Washington Post, 10/20/19)

“Quick! There’s been a death on the dullest border in Europe!” Reviews of the new Austro-German thriller Der Pass may be more entertaining than the series itself.  (The Guardian, 7/31/19; The Telegraph, 7/31/19)

In memoriam: Artur Brauner (1918-2019), prolific film producer whose work ranged from the Winnetou films to Europa, Europa. “He did much to keep Germans entertained through the decades after the second world war—and also made sure that they did not ignore the dark realities of their history that he had experienced firsthand.”  (AP, 7/7/19; Financial Times, 7/11/19)

Did we really need a prestige TV reboot of Das Boot?  (The New York Times, 6/16/19; The New Republic, 6/19/19)

In All is Well (Alles Ist Gut) Eva Trobisch “has made a drama of tragic accommodation—limited not to one woman’s sexual assault, but to the everyday interactions that all women must navigate carefully.”  (The New York Times, 6/6/19)

Thomas Stuber’s In the Aisles (In den Gängen) “finds beauty and glimmers of hope in the drab and mind-numbingly symmetrical corridors of a German wholesale supermarket.”  (RogerEbert.com, 6/14/19; Los Angeles Times, 6/20/19)

The history of African-Germans in the Third Reich deserves greater attention—too bad the 2018 film Where Hands Touch seems to have missed the mark so widely.  (The Telegraph, 5/9/19; BBC, 5/21/19)

J. Hoberman recalls the NYC reception of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Fox and His Friends in 1975.  (The New York Times, 5/31/19)

“The Blue Angel is as fierce as ever.” Josef von Sternberg’s classic film, starring Marlene Dietrich and Emil Jannings, is in theaters again.  (The Guardian, 5/30/19)

At last we have Berlin Bouncer, a documentary about the “regular people that stand between clubbers and a weekend of debauchery.”  (The Guardian, 4/16/19)

 

 

 

History

“Strauss and Hofmannsthal operatically imagined in 1919 the possible relevance of a spiritually dedicated empress for the 20th century, her beauty embellished by harps and tuned to a solo violin in the key of E-flat.” You’ll want to see Die Frau ohne Schatten after reading this piece by Larry Wolff.  (The New York Times, 10/12/19)

Locally printed “emergency money” from World War I and the economic crisis thereafter combated cash shortages with artistic flair.  (The Observer, 9/28/19)

More compelling testimonials about November 9, 1989 and its aftermath.  (Brookings, 11/2019; Boston Review, 11/6/19; AFP, 11/6/19; The Guardian, 11/6/19; The Wall Street Journal, 11/7/19; Politico, 11/7/19)

“German unification was shaped by both the East and the West, and Helmut Kohl’s political skill and the trust he enjoyed with the allies played a significant role. But the peaceful revolution and Nov. 9, 1989, was the work of the citizens of the GDR.” (Spiegel Online – International, 11/7/19)

Julia Franck, Heike Geissler, Maxim Leo, Norman Ohler, and Bernhard Schlink look back on the opening of the Berlin Wall and its aftermath. (The Observer, 11/3/19)

Beyond Checkpoint Charlie: Avoid the tourists, and visit these lesser-known relics of divided Berlin.  (The Guardian, 10/29/19)

“Democracy is in trouble . . . A century after the founding of Germany’s Weimar Republic is a good moment to revisit the paradigmatic case of a democracy’s demise.”  (Prospect, 8/29/’19)

Whether we needed them or not, there are two new Hitler biographies out in 2019.  (The Guardian, 9/27/19; The New York Times, 9/29/19)

Berlin’s “rebuilt Stadtschloss has become a national monument, but an accidental one—not a legacy defining grand projet, but the product of a series of actions with unintended consequences. It is a German monument developed in a very un-German way.”  (Financial Times, 9/13/19)

In memoriam: Sigmund Jähn (1937–2019), the first German cosmonaut. “The first German in space always saw himself as a bridge-builder between East and West and for a peaceful use of space.”  (Deutsche Welle, 9/22/19; The New York Times, 9/24/19)

Luisa Beck recalls W.E.B. Du Bois’s formative experience as a student in 1890s Berlin and the complicated history of racism on both sides of the Atlantic.  (The Washington Post, 9/8/19)

“They complain that they do not have enough money to do research on these objects to take proper care of them…but they had enough money to build a castle in the middle of Berlin.” The debate over the Humboldt Forum and the repatriation of African artifacts continues.  (The New York Times, 9/4/19)

Promise Me You’ll Shoot Yourself, Florian Huber’s history of the suicide epidemic that accompanied the end of Nazi Germany, has now been published in English, in a translation by Imogen Taylor.  (The Guardian, 6/20/19; The Economist, 7/11/19)

Welcome to Oldenburg, Indiana, “where people are deeply proud of their German immigrant heritage and deeply conflicted about how to think about immigration today.”  (The New York Times, 8/1/19)

“German pacifism is here to stay, and there’s no use asking the country to be what it isn’t.”  (The New York Times, 7/23/19)

At first glance, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s “rejection of ‘analogies between the Holocaust and other events’ might seem like a laudable attempt to affirm the unprecedented character of the mass murder of the Jews of Europe. In fact, it makes conveying the weight of that atrocity impossible, and it releases us from any obligation, as a nation, to self-criticism.”  (The Washington Post, 6/19/19;  The New York Review of Books, 7/1/19; Slate, 7/12/19)

The “house by the lake” in Gross Glienicke has been beautifully restored. It’s now a center for education and reconciliation called the Alexander Haus.  (The Guardian, 6/16/19)

“The story of Ms. Landecker, whose Jewish father was murdered by the Nazis, and Mr. Reimann, whose fervent Nazism and abuse of forced laborers did not stop his family from attaining colossal wealth after the war, is a tale of death and devotion and human contradictions. It is also a tale of modern-day corporate atonement.”  (The New York Times, 6/14/19; The New York Times, 6/14/19)

“We’re witnessing a new intensity of discussions with our visitors”: Present-day anxieties are changing how visitors experience National Socialist concentration camp memorials.  (The Washington Post, 6/26/19)

“We won’t rebuild, we won’t restore, but we will conserve”: the city of Nuremberg has developed a plan for maintaining the ruins of infamous National Socialist rally grounds.  (The Art Newspaper, 5/20/19)

The history of African-Germans in the Third Reich deserves greater attention—too bad the 2018 film Where Hands Touch seems to have missed the mark so widely.  (The Telegraph, 5/9/19; BBC, 5/21/19)

Pioneering photojournalist Gerda Taro was killed in 1937, just days before her 27th birthday, while documenting the carnage of the Spanish Civil War.  (Open Culture, 6/11/19)

“Four elements—the U.S. security guarantee, the international free-trade regime, the democratic wave, and the suppression of nationalism,” writes Robert Kagan, “have together kept the old German question buried deep under the soil.” Ominously, all four are now up in the air.  (Foreign Affairs, May/June 2019)

A new exhibition at the Kunsthalle Rostock recalls the Palast der Republik as “a kind of microcosm of the GDR as one would have wished it to be.”  (The Art Newspaper, 5/31/19; The New York Times, 6/7/19)

A century has passed, and the Weimar Republic is as compelling as ever.  (The Guardian,  5/25/19)

Tim Bouverie’s new history of the road to World War II depicts the evolution of appeasement “from a reactive, fearful policy to an enthusiastic, idealistic project to what can only be deemed a strenuous exercise in willful denial.”  (The Guardian, 4/14/19; The New York Times, 6/4/19)

East Germany was “one of the first countries to allow gay men into its military, an achievement that the United States took twenty-three years to match.” Samuel Clowes Huneke takes a closer look at the pro-gay reforms of the GDR in its final years.  (Boston Review, 4/18/19)

 

 

 

Books & Ideas

“I didn’t want to learn tourist or business German, I wanted to read poetry.” Author Margaret Drabble explains why it’s never too late to appreciate a new language.  (The Paris Review, 11/14/19)

Julia Franck, Heike Geissler, Maxim Leo, Norman Ohler, and Bernhard Schlink look back on the opening of the Berlin Wall and its aftermath. (The Observer, 11/3/19)

“Inadvertently or not, most of today’s far right speak in Heideggerian terms: lamenting the rootlessness of modern life and the ravishing of national character by the liberal world order; longing for a lost social harmony between land and people.”  (New Statesman, 9/11/19)

“He is a fine writer, who combines great insight with shocking ethical blindness.” The world of arts and letters is stunned by the Swedish Academy’s decision to award Peter Handke the 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature.  (The Guardian, 10/10/19; The New Republic, 10/10/19;

Whether we needed them or not, there are two new Hitler biographies out in 2019.  (The Guardian, 9/27/19; The New York Times, 9/29/19)

In Thomas Mann’s War: Literature, Politics, and the World Republic of Letters, Tobias Boes retraces Thomas Mann’s journey from nonpolitical man to anti-fascist public intellectual.  (The National Interest, 8/14/19)

Every translation is also a reinterpretation. Here’s how German literary translators are dealing with the linguistic and political pitfalls in Huckleberry Finn, Gone with the Wind, the works of James Baldwin, and more.  (Deutsche Welle, 9/30/19)

Adorno was right—you can buy a t-shirt that says so. Peter E. Gordon  examines the Frankfurt School thinker’s legacy, fifty years after his death.  (The New York Review of Books, 8/5/19)

“Gabriele Tergit wrote Käsebier in 1931, but its depictions of fake news, sudden stardom, and bitter culture wars between left and right feel unnervingly contemporary.” So it’s very good news that translator Sophie Duvernoy has brought us Käsebier Takes Berlin in 2019. (The Paris Review, 7/30/19)

Empty Hearts by Juli Zeh (translated by John Cullen) “has the veneer of a thriller but it’s more accurate to call it a chiller: chilling in the accuracy of its satire and chilling in its diagnosis of our modern malaise.”  (The New York Times, 7/26/19)

Promise Me You’ll Shoot Yourself, Florian Huber’s history of the suicide epidemic that accompanied the end of Nazi Germany, has now been published in English, in a translation by Imogen Taylor.  (The Guardian, 6/20/19; The Economist, 7/11/19)

Else Ury’s ‘Nesthäkchen’ books for young readers “sold millions of copies from 1918 to 1933. Then, with the Nazis in power, she was barred as a Jew for publishing her work, even though her last book featured Adolf Hitler as a hero.” She died at Auschwitz in 1943.  (The New York Times, 7/10/19)

Dystopian fiction about Brexit Britain has become a German literary trend.  (The Guardian, 6/30/19)

Audre Lorde, the black feminist lesbian poet who “played a pivotal role in the birth of the Afro-German identity movement,” spent formative years in Berlin during the 1980s and early 90s, before her untimely death.  (The New York Times, 7/19/19)

“When people discuss together, in conditions free of domination, there is an assumption that it is possible to reach a consensus, by what Habermas calls ‘the pressureless pressure of the better argument.‘ That almost no arguments in real life are actually like this is part of Habermas’s point.”  (New Statesman, 6/26/19)

Fake news! In 1963, Hans Traxler concocted an elaborate literary hoax about the real Hansel and Gretel.  (Atlas Obscura,  7/3/19)

“Bachmann’s vision is so original that the effect is like having a new letter of the alphabet.” Ingeborg Bachmann’s 1971 novel Malina has a fresh translation by Philip Boehm.  (The Nation, 6/18/19; The Guardian, 6/29/19)

“In Elvia Wilk’s ‘Oval,’ Berlin is where the late capitalist apocalypse finally happens.”  (The Nation, 6/4/19; NPR, 6/7/19)

“Tell me who your enemy is, and I will tell you who you are”: The anti-liberalism of legal theorist Carl Schmitt is making a comeback.  (Financial Times, 1/11/19; New Statesman, 4/10/19)

Tim Bouverie’s new history of the road to World War II depicts the evolution of appeasement “from a reactive, fearful policy to an enthusiastic, idealistic project to what can only be deemed a strenuous exercise in willful denial.”  (The Guardian, 4/14/19; The New York Times, 6/4/19)

Now you, too, can hike vicariously with Nietzsche and philosophy professor John Kaag.  (The Atlantic, 10/2018; The Guardian, 4/10/19)

 

 

Et Cetera

“Merkeling along has not served the country poorly (not for nothing is the chancellor still its most popular politician) . . . But the practice of deferring many difficult decisions, taking others at the last-minute and wrapping the whole package in a soothingly apolitical vagueness has left behind a trail of unresolved tensions and challenges.”  (New Statesman, 11/21/19; The Guardian, 11/22/19)

“German unification was shaped by both the East and the West, and Helmut Kohl’s political skill and the trust he enjoyed with the allies played a significant role. But the peaceful revolution and Nov. 9, 1989, was the work of the citizens of the GDR.” (Spiegel Online – International, 11/7/19)

It’s November 2019. Germans are celebrating three decades of reunification with each other—and mourning three years of estrangement with the U.S.  (Bloomberg, 11/7/19)

Neues Deutschland, once the party newspaper of the SED, is now published by Die Linke. “Despite brutal circulation decline, heavy financial losses and massive job cuts, the paper survived the transition to capitalism and democracy.”  (Financial Times, 11/1/19)

“Germany’s Jews are increasingly a target of violence and aggression. Germany, of all countries, needs to protect them.”  (The Atlantic, 10/9/19; The New York Times, 10/10/19)

Walzwerk, a restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission District that specializes in East German cuisine, “is a portal to life behind the Iron Curtain and to a state that no longer exists.”  (Atlas Obscura, 9/17/19)

“It feels like more books about race have been published in the past two years in Germany than in the past two decades,” writes Mithu Sanyal. “Reading about all this can create the impression there is more racism than ever in Germany. Actually, the opposite is true. What’s happened is we are finally starting to talk about it.”  (The Guardian, 9/18/19)

Germans “have been getting naked in public for over a hundred years.” Katrin Bennhold investigates!  (The New York Times, 8/31/19; The New York Times, 8/31/19)

Nearly thirty years after German reunification, divisions between the country’s eastern and western voters are growing wider.  (Berlin Policy Journal, 8/29/19; Financial Times, 8/29/19; The New York Times, 8/29/19)

“In the summer of 2019, the political scene in Berlin is in greater flux than at any time since the Second World War.” Adam Tooze retraces the key turning points that brought Germany’s political parties to their current volatile alignment.  (London Review of Books, 7/18/19)

Welcome to Oldenburg, Indiana, “where people are deeply proud of their German immigrant heritage and deeply conflicted about how to think about immigration today.”  (The New York Times, 8/1/19)

Luxury renovation has become a tool for displacement in Germany’s capital city, but Berliners aren’t giving up without a fight.  (The New Yorker, 7/12/19; CityLab, 7/16/19)

“German pacifism is here to stay, and there’s no use asking the country to be what it isn’t.”  (The New York Times, 7/23/19)

The “house by the lake” in Gross Glienicke has been beautifully restored. It’s now a center for education and reconciliation called the Alexander Haus.  (The Guardian, 6/16/19)

“But, of course, honesty is only synonymous with Germany if you don’t know much about its storied history of prevarication.” No worries! Here’s Rebecca Schuman’s hilarious hot take on Otto IV, Luther, Nietzsche, Volkswagen, and the Miracle of Bern.  (Longreads, 6/2019)

Resettled refugees in Germany are participating in apprenticeship programs and filling needed jobs, and the benefits are mutual.  (The Washington Post, 5/5/19; Al Jazeera, 6/20/19; The Washington Post, 7/17/19)

“It’s only in Ms. Merkel’s absence that Germans realize how different she is from her party—an easy mistake, because she has led the center right since taking office 14 years ago. But Ms. Merkel did not stand for conservatism. In fact, she was the greenest chancellor Germany has ever had…”  (The New York Times, 6/19/19)

“Four elements—the U.S. security guarantee, the international free-trade regime, the democratic wave, and the suppression of nationalism,” writes Robert Kagan, “have together kept the old German question buried deep under the soil.” Ominously, all four are now up in the air.  (Foreign Affairs, May/June 2019)

About me

 

I’m a German-English translator with years of professional experience as a writer, teacher, and historian. To learn more about my work, please visit translatorplease.com.

I started kulturplease.com in 2009, when I was in between careers and craving a little more Kultur in my daily life. My life—and the world at large—has changed a lot since then. But I’m just as enthusiastic about following the latest developments in the German arts and culture, and celebrating the talented people who write about them.

I aspire to keep this site as up-to-date as possible, but sometimes life intervenes. If it looks like I haven’t updated things in awhile, stay tuned! I’ll be back. You can also look for me on Twitter.

Elizabeth Janik