Michael Luick-Thrams

Ex-pat author Michael Luick-Thrams 

IOWA-BORN, AND NOW Dresden-based author and activist Michael Luick-Thrams, who is rapidly becoming one of Central Europe's most visible American ex-pats, in part for his role in his adopted city's struggle against the racist Pegida movement,Read full post »

NOVEMBER 8, 2014 5:11AM

Day of Destiny - Germany and November 9

In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall tomorrow, I'm reposting this article from November 9, 2009. 

  Berlin Wall
The Brandenburg Gate on November 9, 1989

FOR AS LONG AS there have been calendars, specific dates have marked significant historical and spiritu… Read full post »

Reposted from July 14, 2011. A note to readers: The Berlin inititative against alcohol in public transit has gone nowhere and is unlikely to be revived any time soon. Let freedom ring! 

 Berlin Subway
If a local initiative has any say in the matter,
this subway train and station could become an
Read full post »


A dictionary can be a dangerous thing in the wrong hands... 

IF IT'S JANUARY, THEN it's time for Germany'a annual Unwort of the Year announcement.

What is an Unwort, you might ask? The fact is, this untranslatable term is something of an Unwort itself. You could call it a bad/… Read full post »

Munich Airport

Just like home: Munich's Franz Joseph Strauss Airport 

GIANT BLACK-RED-GOLD flags fly above the Berlin Reichstag building, suggesting that Germany is a sovereign country - or at least that it has been one since the "2+4" treaty of 1990, which formally ended both World War II and the nati… Read full post »

 Marc Chagall
This previously unknown painting "of unusual artistic value"
was just one of the works recovered from Cornelius
Gurlitt's dark and messy Munich flat

(Source: AFP)

AT A PRESS CONFERENCE in Augsburg today, Bavarian officials revealed more details of their spectacular discovery of a vast looteRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 3, 2013 4:50PM

Search of messy apartment yields world's richest art trove

 Matisse Dance

Gurlitt's treasure trove may contain works on a par with Henri Matisse's La Dance from 1909/10 (in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg)

IT’S THE ANTIQUE ROAD Show on crack. As the German newsweekly

Read full post »
Obama as Big Brother
Everyone knows he's watching, but so what?

WHILE REPORTING THE REPERCUSSIONS of some of whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations on NSA spying activities in Germany in recent days, I couldn’t help wondering just how much

Read full post »
Snowden letter to Merkel
Edward Snowden's letter to Angela Merkel - click image to enlarge 
IN A BOMBSHELL PRESS release issued in Berlin this morning, it has been revealed that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has sent a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel in which he is offering his cooperation in a gov… Read full post »


Is nothing sacred? The NSA has been bugging Pope Francis since 2005

POPE FRANCIS PRIDES HIMSELF on being the most accessible pontiff in history, but this is getting ridiculous.  According to a report to be published in tomorrow’s edition of the Italian news magazine Panorama,/Read full post »

 Nokia 6260 Slide

What did the President know, and when did he know it? It seems the NSA has been bugging Angela Merkel's telephone (including her current model, a Nokia 6260 Slide) since 2002, when she was opposition leader

EUROPEANS ARE STARTING TO regard President Obama as a reincarnation of Pinocchio… Read full post »

 Tebartz-van Elst
Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst:
The mindset - but not the taste -
of a renaissance pope

(Source: dpa)

NOWADAYS, WHEN MOST SCANDALS surrounding Catholic bishops normally concern either demonizing gay people or hushing up child sex abuse – or both – it’s strangely refreRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 17, 2013 10:06AM

Mercedes-Hitler "commercial" rocks Internet

HITLER SATIRES ARE ALWAYS a touchy business, particularly here in Berlin, but sometimes they hit the spot. Take this submission to the First Steps Award for young film-makers held in the capital last night. Tobias Haase's entry entitled "MCP," a short film that looks for all the world like a commerci… Read full post »
AUGUST 26, 2013 8:03AM

Interview with a shaman

Shamanistic clothing 

“Siberian shamanism” has become a staple of Western New Age spirituality in recent years, but what does it really mean and what implications does it have for people today? I asked Siberian-born and now Berlin-based coach and therapist Tamara Altvater to tell us what shamanisRead full post »

I'M LOOKING AT A four-way split:

Edward Snowden

Whistleblower Edward Snowden


Bradley Manning

Whistleblower Bradley Manning


Glenn Greenwald

Journalist Glenn Greenwald


Julian Assange

Journalist Julian Assange


Is there anybody you'd like to add to this slate? Feel free to do so in the comment section belo… Read full post »

 Carolin Kebekus

Licking a crucifix and pressing some very hot buttons: German satirist Carolin Kebekus (Source: ddb)

THIS SORT OF THING really shouldn't happen. Article 5 of the German constitution clearly states that "Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by means of broadcasts and films shallRead full post »

 Mark Twain

He knew a thing or two about words...

EVER SINCE MARK TWAIN published his essay "The Awful German Language" in 1880, the language of Goethe and Mann has enjoyed a global reputation for the length of its nouns. As reported in today's edition of Spiegel Online, the state pa/… Read full post »

 Blockupy Frankfurt

Police halted some 7,000 protesters outside ECB headquarters in Frankfurt today

(Source: AFP)

Remember something called "Occupy"? Sometimes it was called "Occupy Wall Street," "Occupy Boston," "Occupy Amsterdam" or "Occupy Berlin." Well, it seems that reports of the movements demise are… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 8, 2013 8:39PM

Hitler's food taster breaks her silence after 68 years



Margot Woelk 

Margot Wölk finally tells her story

 IF YOU’RE ANYTHING LIKE me, the twentieth century, with all its blessings and horrors, seems like a long time ago. Even if – like me – you experienced your entire youth and more within it, and both yo… Read full post »


BULLYING SEEMS TO BE on everyone’s minds these days. Most people seem to have experienced it at some point in their school years, and still bear the scars today, and some experience it vicariously - and helplessly - through their own school-aged children. But what does it feel li

Read full post »
Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 11, 2013 9:37AM

Friends with benefits: Talking Quakerism with Claus Bernet

claus bernet

Historian and social worker Claus Bernet

IN AN ERA WHERE the mainline churches are losing their appeal and fundamentalism is growing increasingly authoritarian, alternative forms of religion are becoming more attractive to many spiritual seekers. One counter-cultural religious movement, the RRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 6, 2013 8:06AM

Berlin, Europe's surprising comedy capital

An interview with stand-up artist James Harris

 James Harris comedy

English stand-up comedian James Harris moved to Berlin in 2004 and is a rising star in the city’s English-language comedy scene. I caught up with him a while back at the Café Chagall near my office in central Berlin toRead full post »


Annette Schavan

German education minister "Dr." Annette Schavan 

THOSE OF US WHO always assumed that the German fixation on academic titles was based on a lie have been rubbing our hands ever since Baron “Dr.” Karl-Theodor von und zu Guttenberg was revealed as an intellectu/Read full post »

Madeleine L’Engles Jugendklassiker „Die Zeitfalte“ erscheint wieder auf Deutsch

 Madeleine L'Engle

Die amerikanische Autorin Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) (Photo: Wiki Commons)

„Wenn man etwas in Worte fasst, führt es zu so vielen anderen Gedanken…“ (The SRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 28, 2013 2:17PM

Swiss government revealed as knowing Nazi collaborator



 Emmental cheese

IT’S NOT EXACTLY BREAKING news that the Swiss government’s carefully cultivated image as a defender of liberty and human rights against the evil Nazis is about as solid as a wedge of bubbly Emmental cheese. Financial shenanigans, including the squirreling away/Read full post »