Nadja Drygalla

Scapegoat of history? Former Olympic rower Nadja Drygalla

THE CONTROVERSY OVER THE German women’s eight contestant at the London Olympics had every opportunity of turning into a bittersweet tale of guilt, love, and redemption. As I reported in my piece last week, rower Nadja Dryg

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 Ralf Schmidt Wiesbaden

 What would Martin Luther say? Introducing Ralf Schmidt, Germany’s very own “sex pastor” 

BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF for a moment: Have you ever walked into a church, with all those plaster saints and stained glass windows surrounding you, and felt… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 3, 2012 10:11AM

Nazis in London? An Olympic rower calls it quits

Nadja Drygalla

Winning one for the Führer? Ex-Olympian Nadja Drygalla (Source: Frauenachter)

“THE THOUGHTS ARE FREE“ says an old German folk song, but apparently these thoughts do not include thoughts of love. That is the experience of twenty-three year-old Olympic rower Nadja Drygalla, wh… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 31, 2012 9:02AM

Romney bombs in Poland

Faint praise and public profanity at a "holy site" leave blot on candidate's last foreign campaign stop 

 Obama in Berlin

Even if Obama's presidency has been a no-hitter in many ways, he sure scored at Berlin's Victory Column in 2008

I ALWAYS ENJOY A funny story, and yet I’m really gladRead full post »


Danes on the move: Our latterday Vikings will need some pretty high boots when they take possession of this new territory

CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOT only raising temperatures and tempers, it increasingly appears to be softening brains as well. The latest example: The Danish government has jRead full post »


The illustrated baritone: It looks as if Evgeny Igorevich Nikitin just might have two tattoos too many

WE ALL KNOW THAT tattoos make a statement. But one thing many of their wearers forget is that, since they are visual and not verbal, they also refuse to shut up. ThisRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 18, 2012 7:42AM

Is this the gravest threat to European Jews since 1945?

German circumcision ruling has rabbis comparing the Federal Republic with the Third Reich 


A court in Cologne ruled last month that circumcision is an ancient tradition whose shelf life has finally expired


No, the Germans didn’t literallyRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 12, 2012 7:00AM

The school did nothing: A teenager talks about bullying


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 liRead full post »

JULY 11, 2012 7:41AM

Sweden celebrates rare panda birth


NOW HERE'S SOMETHING YOU don't see every day. Two blind and helpless baby pandas have just been born at Nordens Ark, a refuge for rare and endangered animals in the western Swedish province of Bohuslän. 
"It's delightful to have gotten two little panda cubs," said Ewa… Read full post »

The Pontiff has suffered "injury to his moral rights," Vatican lawyers say 

 Titanic Papst

No sense of humor? Pope Benedict XVI vs. Titanic magazine

PEOPLE HAVE DESCRIBED HIS Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, in many ways over the years, but there’s one thing no one will ever say about h… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 9, 2012 7:41AM

Mitt Romney barred from speaking at Brandenburg Gate

Berliners have grown tired of seeing their most historic monument misused as an American political prop 


Nobody knows what trouble I've seen: The bronze Quadriga atop Berlin's Brandenburg Gate (source: wiki commons)

OVER THE WEEKEND THE German press reported that likely Republican… Read full post »


The Hautana brassiere (1920s)

WHEN LOOKING BACK AT nearly 2,000 years of Jewish history in Germany, it is really perfectly obvious why this religious minority has suffered so much persecution over the centuries: When it came to identifying and running with paradigm shifts, the Jews wer… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 3, 2012 8:13AM

We’ve become what we hate: Why I left America

 Michael Luick-Thrams

American emigré: Author Michael Luick-Thrams has gone "home"

MICHAEL LUICK-THRAMS, AN author, historian, and public speaker from Saint Paul, Minnesota, called it quits last year. AtRead full post »

An interview with Alexander Fromm 

 Third Generation Tour

The Third Generation East bus in Schwedt/Oder

THE BERLIN WALL FELL twenty-three years ago and the Germans who once lived behind it have been struggling to fill the void it left behind ever since. Systemic underdevelopment, unemployment, crime, xeRead full post »


Sunnet costume

A proud Turkish boy in his circumcision costume
IN A MOVE GUARANTEED to outrage millions of Jewish and Muslim citizens, a German court on Tuesday outlawed religiously motivated infant and juvenile circumcision. According to the decision of the Cologne State Court, the Bronze AgRead full post »
Editor’s Pick
JUNE 24, 2012 4:42PM

Nude Wagnerian army floods Munich's streets

 Spencer Tunick 1

Spencer Tunick's "Ring" installation in central Munich

MUNICH'S CENTRAL PARK, THE beautiful English Garden, has long been known for the full frontal nudity its visitors indulge in, particularly on warm summer days like these. But even this booming, swinging southern German metropolis h… Read full post »

 Kueka Stone

Stone of contention: The "Kueka Stone"

THE TIERGARTEN, A VAST public park in the center of the Berlin, which is otherwise known as the city’s “green lung” and an oasis of peace, has become a point of contention between the German government and the native PemónRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 21, 2012 2:44PM

Hermann Göring's art collection goes online

 Christ and the Adulteress

US troops unpack Jan Vermeer's purported "Christ and the Adulteress" in 1945. This painting was actually a clever forgery by a Dutch counterfeiter, who sold it to Göring as the real thing in 1942.

HERMANN WILHELM GÖRING, A demobilized World War I flying ace and last commanderRead full post »



Dissent can be a painful business (source: dpa)

WHILE WE IN THE West hear daily “lip service” about the wickedness of the current Iranian government towards its own people, most of it is spoken from the safety of government buildings or think tank ivory towers and isRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JUNE 18, 2012 7:28AM

Munich, 1972: Black September had neo-Nazi helpers

Black September

Munich, September 1972 

IT WOULD HAVE BEEN the crime of the century if there just weren’t so many others to compete with it. In the early hours of September 5, 1972, a group of Palestinian terrorists calling themselves Black September climbed over the fence surrounding the virtuallRead full post »

 Finning in Upper Bavaria

Time for a change? Finning, Upper Bavaria

I HAVE NO IDEA how many animals PETA (“People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals”) has actually saved from the butcher's knife, but the group is certainly skilled at getting its message into the media and the public discussion, as/Read full post »


Home at last: Felix the Cat

(Source: dpa)

FORTY-NINE YEARS AGO, President John F. Kennedy captured the world’s headlines with a speech in which he declared “Ich bin ein Berliner.” This week, a fuzzy tiger-striped tomcat is capturing headlines of his own, making his poRead full post »

Berlin-bound - the Pirate Party 
A BAND OF PIRATES sailed up the Rhine last Sunday. They proceeded to storm the state parliament building in Düsseldorf and effortlessly seized a respectable 7.8 percent of the seats. While that figure might not sound particularly impressive to Amer… Read full post »
 Occupy Netherlands
LAST NEW YEAR'S DAY I met up with my old acquaintance Niek* here in Berlin, where he regaled me with stories from the Occupy life in Amsterdam and other Dutch cities: House occupations, squatter camps, bank demonstrations, chaining himself to buildings and getting cut free by… Read full post »

 Gay Marriage

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S RECENT statement of support for gay marriage in the United States is touching off an avalanche of advocacy for equal marriage rights throughout Europe as well. No, nobody died and made him emperor. But his high-level announcement might just expedite a conRead full post »