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)

“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)