Konrad Adenauer, who served as the Federal Republic’s first chancellor between the ages of 73 and  87, “shaped West German politics and Germany’s relationship with the wider world more than any other single person.”  (The Washington Post, 3/9/20)

Did the Hohenzollern family “substantially abet National Socialism”? Millions of euros, and the fate of important cultural treasures, depends on the answer.  (Berlin Policy Journal, 2/20/20; The New York Review of Books, 2/26/20)

“The gulf between America’s ideals and its realities hit home particularly hard for one group: the thousands of black occupation troops sent to a defeated Germany to promote democracy.”  (The New York Times, 2/19/20)

Sinclair McKay has written a new history of the firebombing of Dresden on February 13, 1945.  (The Spectator, 2/1/20; The Economist, 2/6/20)

Donna Rifkind shines an overdue spotlight on Salka Viertel, “a destroyer of walls, a builder of bridges, a welcome among strangers,” in a new biography, The Sun and Her Stars.  (Harper’s, 1/2020; Time,  1/2/20)

Sheindi Miller’s diary, which documents her ordeal as a 14-year-old prisoner and forced laborer at Auschwitz, is now on display at the Deutsches Historisches Museum. Seventy-five years after the camp’s liberation, she attended the opening of the exhibition with her extended family.  (The Wall Street Journal, 1/24/20)

Mietskasernen, or “rental barracks,” have shaped Berlin’s culture and counterculture for more than a century.  (Citylab, 1/13/20)

“But even as Germany is regularly commended as a nation that has faced and taken responsibility for dark periods of its history, it is struggling to reckon with its colonial role.”  (The Washington Post, 1/3/20; Deutsche Welle, 1/19/20)

“Neither scientific study nor psychoanalytic text, ‘The Third Reich of Dreams’ is a collective diary, a witness account hauled out of a nation’s shadows and into forensic light.”  (The New Yorker, 11/7/19)

Anna Funder looks back on Stasiland, seventeen years after it was first published: “My great mistake was to imagine that the stories I was finding would be well received by Germans.”  (The Monthly, Dec. 2019/Jan. 2020)

Charlotte Salomon’s Life? or Theatre? is “one of the most astonishing autobiographical documents of the 20th century . . . an open book that makes more sense today than when it was found because it is, in fact, that most contemporary of things: a graphic novel.”  (The Guardian, 11/6/19; Smithsonian, 11/15/19; Apollo, 2/4/20)

“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)