Innenminister brauchen Feinde. Wie sonst können sie sich als Schutzpatrone inszenieren? Terroristen eignen sich prima für dieses Theater, gegebenenfalls tun es auch Linke, notfalls müssen unpolitische Kriminelle herhalten. Thomas de Maizière nun hat sich eine neue Berufsgruppe ausgesucht: Die Schlepper.
Das ist ungewöhnlich, aber zeitgemäß. Immerhin machen ertrinkende
Flüchtlinge neuerdings Schlagzeilen, und der Innenminister muss sich fragen
lassen, was er gegen das Massensterben im Mittelmeer
zu unternehmen gedenkt.
Kein unausweichliches Schicksal
Das aber wollen Europas Sicherheitspolitiker nicht. Und de Maizière als Sprachrohr der deutschen Konservativen will es schon gar nicht. Schließlich: Wenn die Leute nicht ertrinken, stellen sie in Europa Asylanträge, zum Beispiel in Deutschland. Darauf ist die deutsche Verwaltung nicht eingestellt (auch ein Ergebnis einer politischen, nämlich personaltechnischen Entscheidung).
Blöd nur, dass mangels Kapazitäten und Kompetenzen darüber diskutiert
wird, Flüchtlinge nicht nur in Containern, sondern auch in ehemaligen KZs
unterzubringen. Das übersteht kein guter Ruf unbeschadet. Also schien es
opportun, das Programm zur Rettung durch eines zur Kontrolle zu ersetzen: „Triton“ (passenderweise
heißt so ein griechischer Meeresgott) soll daher nicht mehr Leben, sondern
Die wirklichen Kosten
Sein Ärger, dass Frankreich oder England so gut wie niemanden aufnehmen,
ist aber natürlich berechtigt. Doch würde das mächtige Berlin
auf eine menschenwürdige Flüchtlingspolitik dringen, würde diese
auch auf den Weg gebracht. Das tut Berlin aber nicht. Denn: Was ist mit den Kosten?
Und es stimmt ja: Menschenrechtsschutz sind nicht billig. Trotzdem ist der eigentliche
Preis der Verrohrung ein anderer, und er ist höher.
In the mid-1990s, near the end of the period during which she lived in Israel, Jennifer Teege watched Steven Spielberg’s film “Schindler’s List.” She hadn’t seen the film in a movie theater, and watched it in her rented room in Tel Aviv when it was broadcast on television.
“It was a moving experience for me, but I didn’t learn much about the Holocaust from it,” she tells me by phone from her home in Hamburg, mostly in English with a sprinkling of Hebrew. “I’d learned and read a great deal about the Holocaust before that. At the time I thought the film was important mainly because it heightened international awareness of the Holocaust, but I didn’t think I had a personal connection to it.”
Indeed, it was not until years later that Teege, a German-born black woman who was given up for adoption as a child, discovered that one of the central characters in the film, Amon Goeth, was her grandfather. Many viewers recall the figure of Goeth, the brutal commander of the Plaszow concentration camp in Poland – played in the film by Ralph Fiennes – from the scenes in which he shoots Jewish inmates from the porch of his home. But Teege, who had not been in touch with either her biological mother or biological grandmother for years, had no idea about the identity of her grandfather.
The discovery came like a bolt from the blue in the summer of 2008, when she was 38 years old, as she relates in the memoir “Amon,” which was published in German in 2013 (co-authored with the German journalist Nikola Sellmair), and is due out in English this April under the title “My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past.”
Teege is scheduled to visit Israel next week to take part in events marking the book’s publication in Hebrew (from Sifriat Poalim), at the International Book Fair in Jerusalem, the University of Haifa and the Goethe Institute in Tel Aviv.
She opens her book by describing the 2008 visit to a library in Hamburg to look for material on coping with depression. While there, she happened to notice a book with a cover photograph of a familiar figure: her biological mother, Monika Hertwig (née Goeth). She immediately withdrew the book, titled “I Have to Love My Father, Right?” and which was based on an interview with her mother.
“The first shock was the sheer discovery of a book about my mother and my family, which had information about me and my identity that had been kept hidden from me,” Teege says. “I knew almost nothing about the life of my biological mother, nor did my adoptive family. I hoped to find answers to questions that had disturbed me and to the depression I had suffered from. The second shock was the information about my grandfather’s deeds.”
Thus Teege embarked on a long personal journey in the wake of the unknown family heritage. But in the first half year after the discovery at the library, she relates, “I lapsed into silence, I slept a lot and I wasn’t really functioning. Only afterward did I begin to analyze the situation and try to understand the characters of my mother and my grandmother. I only started to learn more about my grandmother at the end. Today I understand that I went through the process step by step, peeling away layer after layer. But in the first months I had no idea what to do.”
Teege was born on June 29, 1970, in Munich, the offspring of a brief affair between her mother and a Nigerian man. At the age of one month, she was placed in a Catholic children’s home, and when she was three, she was transferred to a foster family, which adopted her formally when she was seven. That also marked the end of the loose ties she had had until then with her mother and her grandmother.
The only black girl in the Munich neighborhood where she grew up, she was often the butt of insulting remarks about her skin color. In 1990, after graduating from high school, Teege went to Paris, where she became friends with a young Israeli woman, Noa Berman-Herzberg, now a screenwriter. Teege arrived in Israel the following year, toured around worked on a tourist boat in Eilat and had a brief affair with an Israeli man. After they broke up, she decided to remain in Tel Aviv. She learned Hebrew, received a B.A. from the Middle Eastern and African Studies Department of Tel Aviv University, and worked in the city’s Goethe Institute. She left the country in 1995.
“Germans who come to Israel never know what kind of reception they will get,” she says. “I was welcomed with open arms. My German origin generated interest – not because of the Holocaust or Nazism, but mainly because of [then] recent events, such as the toppling of the Berlin Wall and the unification of Germany. In any event, I didn’t represent the German stereotype.”
Her skin color served as camouflage, even if Teege didn’t yet know for what. Years later, when she discovered her actual roots, she recalled the many Holocaust survivors she had met at the Goethe Institute. They came because they wanted to speak and hear German, the language of their old homeland, she notes in her book. When she saw the numbers tattooed on their arms in the camps, she felt for the first time that there was something disadvantageous about belonging to the German nation – something that demanded an apology.
Teege shared her rented apartment in Tel Aviv with the actor and director Tzachi Grad, then at the start of his professional career.
“Jennifer seemed to me special and beautiful, a woman with European class,” he recalls now. “We got along very well in the apartment, we became friends and talked about many different subjects. The fact that it turned out years later that her grandfather was a sadistic Nazi is no reflection on her, even if some of the genetic matter and traits came from him. I do not attribute to the Nazis’ descendants the wrongs perpetrated by their forebears.”
Therapist in tears
Closing the circle
In her book, Teege describes her quest to learn about her grandparents, mother and biological father (whom she did not meet until adulthood). She also talks about the difficulty she had sharing her life story with her Israeli girlfriends. She remembered that relatives of two of her friends had perished in the Holocaust, although she did not know whether they had relatives in the ghettos and camps where her grandfather had served.
One of Teege’s Israeli friends, Anat Ben Moshe, now a nurse at Yoseftal Hospital in Eilat, recalls that she and Noa Berman-Herzberg had stayed in touch with Teege after she left Israel, and had even attended her wedding, but that suddenly, and over a period of two years, she stopped responding to their emails.
In 2011, when the Israeli film “The Flood” (for which Berman-Herzberg wrote the screenplay, together with the director, Guy Nativ, and which stars the former roommate, Tzachi Grad) was accepted by the Berlin Film Festival, Teege was invited to the screening. With some apprehension, she renewed the connection with her friends, and told Berman-Herzberg the whole story. Later that year, Teege visited Israel, and she and Ben Moshe met for a long talk.
“I wanted to understand all the details and to know that she was seeing the picture properly and coping with it. I supported her when she decided to make the story public,” Ben Moshe says. Later, she invited Teege to accompany her son’s high-school class on a visit to the Plaszow camp. Teege accepted the invitation, told the students her story and replied to their stunned questions. Her book ends with an account of the extraordinary ceremony that the teenagers from Israel conducted together with her, in memory of the victims in the camp of which her grandfather was commandant.
Teege is very excited about her upcoming visit to Israel. “I very much wanted the book to be translated into Hebrew, and I am looking forward to seeing how it’s received,” she says. “People ask me if I’m not afraid of the visit, but I have no fears. I lived in Israel for five years, I have friends there and I know the mentality a little.
“I am first of all Jennifer and not first of all Amon Goeth’s granddaughter. I am coming as a private person, even though I know that I am more than that. The survivors who were in contact with me see me differently. I am so different from the figure of my grandfather. Some of them, who were in touch with me after the book came out in German, responded very warmly and said that reading my story was a kind of closing of the circle for them.”
‘Drop of humanity’
BERLIN — I am a patriot. Being German, those words don’t come easily, particularly for a leftish, skeptical urbanite like myself. And particularly not now, just a few days before we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. But yes, I love my country.
The reason I say it out loud, now, is that I feel I have to defend Germany against those on the streets of Dresden who also call themselves “patriots” — “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West,” to be precise, which is the name of a loose alliance that brings thousands to the streets every Monday. Since the terror attacks in Paris, the movement has grown: The police counted 25,000 demonstrators on Jan. 12, the Monday after the attacks, a 7,500 jump from the week before. (It canceled its Jan. 19 protest over security concerns.)
Known by its German acronym, Pegida, the group has inflicted great harm on the country’s international reputation. Our neighbors and allies are asking whether Germany is stumbling back into the darkness of xenophobia, and rightfully so. Many Germans are asking the same question these days.
There are two ways to look at the situation. The optimistic take is to note that, for all the attention Pegida gets inside of Germany and abroad, Germany has never been as liberal, culturally diverse and open toward minorities as it is today.
Last year a biennial poll conducted by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a foundation associated with the left-wing Social Democrats (and thus unlikely to underestimate the problem), found that anti-foreigner attitudes were at a historic low. While its 2012 poll found that about a quarter of Germans reported hostile views toward foreigners, only 7.5 percent did in 2014. And anti-Semitism, which is on the rise elsewhere in Europe, has dropped significantly, to 4.1 percent from 8.6.
Apart from the polls, there is quite a bit of evidence for a new openness. On Jan. 12, 100,000 people went to the streets nationwide in counterdemonstrations against Pegida, showing their solidarity with German Muslims. In Leipzig, 4,800 pro-Pegida protesters were met by 30,000 counterprotesters.
Meanwhile, all over Germany, private initiatives are popping up to help refugees. In Duisburg, a local politician has collected 100 bicycles for refugee children. In Zirndorf, doctors are providing refugees with free medication. Even in Dresden, Pegida’s stronghold, groups are helping refugees with the hard tasks of getting settled, like providing translation services at appointments with authorities.
Still, the enormous support for Pegida requires us to consider another, darker reading of the situation, as evidence of troubling developments within German society.
One is the failure of mainstream politics. There is a tendency among the major parties to move toward the center of the political spectrum, creating an ideological void at its far right and left ends. The far right in particular has lacked political representation in the past years, which helps explain why a new populist party, Alternative für Deutschland, had such enormous success in European and state elections last year. While leaders of the Alternative, as it’s called, claim to be primarily anti-European Union, many have also expressed support for Pegida.
Another change revolves around the Internet. In this view, the Pegida people are just the usual frustrated lot looming at the edges of society. Now, emboldened by the reinforcement they find in like-minded communities online, they’re taking to the streets.
And a third is the persistence of regional differences. Though Pegida has drawn support in western Germany, it is strongest in the former East Germany. In the East, xenophobic attitudes are still more common than in the West, for a complex mix of reasons, including higher unemployment rates, but also because of feelings of inferiority.
We also have to ask what Pegida says about Germany, whatever its causes. It certainly indicates that the relative social peace we are experiencing right now is fragile. But it also shows how the country, still new to the multiethnic game, is struggling with its identity. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the first waves of immigrants arrived, the “Gastarbeiter” (guest workers) from Turkey and Italy who came to fill the labor gap in the country’s prospering postwar economy.
For decades, Germany was able to pretend that the guest workers were just that, guests. But the third generation of Turkish immigrants is now reaching adulthood. At the same time, immigration numbers are rising: Germany’s immigrant population grew by about 430,000 last year. Many came from the Southern European countries that still suffer from the euro crisis, but last year Germany also welcomed some 220,000 refugees, mostly from Syria, Eritrea, Serbia and Afghanistan.
The white face of German society is changing at a rapid pace. In this context, the Pegida protests are getting such attention because they act as a weekly checkup of German society. It’s as if every Monday, the news media are putting a trembling hand to the country’s forehead, checking its temperature, wondering whether our ugly, xenophobic past is taking over again. And we don’t have to look back to the 1930s to find that past; in the early 1990s, when the country last saw similar numbers of refugees, an irrational fear of foreigners taking the jobs of “real Germans” gripped the country, culminating in anti-immigrant riots in several cities, with several deaths, many wounded and thousands scared.
Last week, a 20-year-old refugee from Eritrea was found stabbed to death near his apartment in Dresden. Neighbors reported that swastikas had been painted onto the door of his apartment. Germans held their breath. Was this a neo-Nazi murder? Was there a connection to the Pegida rallies? Then, on Thursday, authorities arrested one of the victim’s roommates, another asylum seeker, who they say has admitted to the attack. Still, we don’t trust ourselves. Why should our neighbors? Why should you?
However the investigation turns out, I am an optimist, believing that we will not see history repeated. Germany has come a long way since even the early ’90s. And rather than causing violence, Pegida has set off a public debate on Germany’s national identity. This is long overdue. Prominent conservative politicians like Peter Tauber, the secretary general of the Christian Democratic Party, have demanded a new, clearer framework for immigration. Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that “Islam is part of Germany.” It was an assessment, rather than an ideological statement. It was the simple acknowledgment of a simple reality.
Germany has boomed in popularity in recent years. It's Europe's powerhouse. It's driven. It's inventive. It's hip. But it also has a sexist secret which is blemishing gender roles and representations in society.
Following the 2013 Brüderle-gate uproar, when the Free Democrats' then-leader Rainer Brüderle commented how well a female journalist could “fill out a dirndl,” it looked as though Germany could finally address one of the country's largely hidden pitfalls which had become embedded in its culture. However, the German media still leaves much to be desired in catching up in the fight to stamp out casual sexism.
In a country where married women have legally been allowed to accept a job against her husband's wishes only since 1977, it comes as little surprise that, particularly among the more conservative quota of Germany's older generation, I often have the impression that defending your opinion as a woman remains “improper” - to the extent that one woman once described it to me as “unladylike.”
Unlike the public sexism of lecherous stares and wolf-whistling which I'd unfortunately become accustomed to in daily life in Britain, in Germany it appears to be rooted much deeper in conservative traditions.
In similar fashion, as Merkel celebrated her 60th birthday in July last year, the German media went to town, providing the nation with a plethora of life accounts of the chancellor. Many chose to run similar headlines to that of the Stuttgarter Zeitung which read, “From Kohl's little girl to the nation's Mummy,” - failing to highlight any of her achievements prior to being appointed as Federal Minister for Women and Youth in 1991 under Chancellor Helmut Kohl, or any since for that matter.
The 'Wurst' in promotion
But it is by no means only women who are subjected to "passive sexism" in the promotion of products in Germany. German supermarket Edeka was one of the big names to come under fire after it launched a range of “his and hers” Bratwurst sausages, which critics claimed were promoting sexual stereotyping. The mens' sausages, marketed as “hearty and strongly-spiced” were not only larger, but also cheaper than the women's which were advertized as “lean.” In a parting shot to pull in the wurst-loving nation, the men's packaging also featured the image of a woman and the ladies' a pectoral-flexing male - leaving the poor man to be pulled apart like a piece of meat.
Who's the daddy?
But if it doesn't pick up the pace, Germany may soon be left behind with 20th century gender relations, while the rest of us pursue a life of gender equality.
What Happened to Mary Berg?
Ten objects that made modern Germany
|Volkswagen Beetle. Photograph: Tim Woodcock|
But there is more than that, and one of the ways that German history is not like other European histories is that Germans consciously use it as a warning to act differently in the future. As the historian Michael Stürmer says, "for a long time in Germany, history was what must not be allowed to happen again". This is very different from Britain or France, where most public engagement with history, in terms of monuments and memorials, is to honour valour and heroism, with little public recognition of any wrongdoing, or of follies that might have led to the wars in which the valour had to be demonstrated. What is striking about German war memorials is that they look forward not back—a characteristic clearly visible in their parliament building.
The historic Reichstag was burnt out in 1933, with the fire blamed on the communists and used to advantage by the Nazis. During the war it was badly damaged, then occupied by the Russians. After reunification the decision was made to restore it, but the marks of the 1933 fire, as well as graffiti made by Soviet soldiers, were left untouched, as a reminder to legislators that if you get things as wrong as Germany did then the consequences are unimaginably terrible. An MP travelling to the Reichstag today will pass not only the Holocaust memorial but also memorials to the killing of homosexuals, disabled people and Roma. When they get to the building, they find it topped by a huge glass dome, to which the public have access. So not only do you have an emblem of a transparent legislature, but the public can literally exercise oversight over their government—a direct reversal of the situation under both the Nazis and the Stasi.
In effect the building is a meditation on different aspects of history. I can't think of another country in the world that lives so closely with the acutely uncomfortable reminders of its past in order to help it act more wisely in future.
In making our radio series, British Museum exhibition and book we have tried to look at objects that evoke memories of which pretty well all Germans can say "this is part of me". Some are obvious, such as the Gutenberg Bible. Every German knows that Germany invented printing and, in that sense, made the modern world. But we have also tried to focus on elements that the British public might not be so familiar with, as well as areas of German history about which there is still a reticence in Germany. People talk about the Holocaust very honestly and fully, but subjects such as the huge civilian losses from allied bombing raids are little discussed, unlike in this country. Yet it remains a potent memory.
It has always been the British Museum's job to present the history we need in order to make sense of now. Germany is the European state we most need to understand if we are going to comprehend both Europe, and the world.
|Army tanks hold positions on an overpass in Beijing on June 6, 1989, two days after the crushing of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations. (Credit Vincent Yu/Associated Press)|
That was the gist of recent articles by Frank Sieren, a Beijing-based German media consultant and columnist for Deutsche Welle, a German state-run broadcaster, the first of which ran on the station’s website on June 4, the 25th anniversary of the killings in Beijing. They prompted outrage among Chinese political exiles and rights activists in Germany, and an impassioned exchange ensued on the broadcaster’s website between Mr. Sieren and Chang Ping, a Chinese journalist. The dispute raises questions that go to the heart of ideas of historical crimes and responsibility: Can a massacre and its aftermath — hundreds, possibly thousands, died in Beijing — ever be explained, even excused, in this way?
‘‘The massacre of June 4, 1989, was no one-off,’’ ran the headline of Mr. Chang’s first retort. Mr. Chang is a former editor at a Chinese newspaper, Southern Weekly, and his writings have been banned by the authorities.
Instead, the killings showed a ‘‘systematic continuity’’ in the nature of Communist Party rule that persists to this day, he wrote, citing the state’s vast ‘‘stability maintenance’’ program, which snares common criminals, justice-seekers and political dissidents alike. Censorship means Chinese are not allowed to remember what happened, Mr. Chang wrote: How can they have the right to forget, if they don’t even have the right to remember?
|A Nazi rally in Nuremberg, Germany, on Sept. 11, 1938. (Credit Associated Press)|
Germany is proud of how it has dealt with its own troubled history, a process known as ‘‘Vergangenheitsbewältigung,’’ or ‘‘coming to terms with the past.’’ Its historians track such issues closely. Some historians see in the debate over Tiananmen echoes of Germany’s struggles with fascism and Communism. Among them is Marion Detjen, an author and researcher who specializes in contemporary history at Humboldt University in Berlin. To her, to describe Tiananmen as a one-off is ‘‘outrageous.’’
‘‘It’s morally and intellectually totally unacceptable to describe crimes as ‘one-off’ events, to relativize and excuse them,’’ she wrote in an email.
‘‘The crime happened,’’ she wrote. ‘‘Why and how it came to that is remembered, and demands a historical coming-to-terms. The fact that it happened is enough to make clear it is a symptom and an expression of problems in the political culture.’’
Describing Tiananmen, which he made clear he views as a tragedy, Mr. Sieren used a historically loaded term used by some postwar historians to explain Nazism: Ausrutscher, or ‘‘one-off,’’ ‘‘lapse,’’ even ‘‘blooper.’’ China’s government, some Chinese and some foreigners, particularly those with business interests in the country, have long explained Tiananmen as a necessary response to an emergency.
It’s treacherous territory, Ms. Detjen said.
‘‘The idea of a ‘one-off’ has strong connotations in German history,’’ she said. ‘‘Until far into the 1960s, Hitler, the Nazis and the Holocaust were seen as a ‘one-off’ within Germany’s otherwise positive history and tradition,’’ she said, citing the historians Hans Rothfels and Friedrich Meinecke.
There was an expression for it: the ‘‘little man from Mars theory,’’ as if Nazism had occurred randomly, without connection to the German social or political context. That view changed only as society began to accept that there was more to it, that Germany had within itself certain elements that had made fascism, and the pogrom against Jews, possible. Mr. Sieren said he was unaware of such connotations of Ausrutscher, and had not heard of its use to describe the Nazi era. ‘‘If it were of any importance I would have heard about it,’’ he said in a telephone interview in Beijing. Instead, his aim had been to highlight that Tiananmen ‘‘happened only one time, in the 1980s. It never happened again, which is a fact. They never used tanks against their own people again.’’
‘‘I think it’s very bad that the government puts people in prison,’’ he continued. But it isn’t true to say, as Mr. Chang did, ‘‘that nothing has changed.’’
Die Idee für dieses Video hatte ich schon vor einiger Zeit, aber erst als ich das Video "Shit White Germans Say to Black Germans" von runshanerun gesehen habe, habe ich mich dazu entschlossen dieses Video zu machen. Alle in dem Video vorkommenden Fragen und Aussagen habe ich schon gehört - kein Scherz! Naja, alle abgesehen von dem "Massemba". Ich hoffe, dass euch das Video gefällt :)”
|Der Dalai Lama gilt als Weise|
Sie ist eine hochgeschätzte Tugend. König Salomo, Laotse, dem Buddha und den "weisen Frauen" wird sie zugeschrieben. Man spricht von "Altersweisheit". Und "Narrenweisheit".
Es gibt aber keinen Weisheits-Studiengang und keine Ausbildung zur Weisheitsfachkraft. Neuerdings versuchen Wissenschaftler, ihr auf die Spur zu kommen. Doch sicher ist bisher nur: Sie wird oft schmerzlich vermisst. Und so geht Lebenszeichen den uralten und brandaktuellen Fragen nach: Wer ist weise und warum? Was macht Weisheit aus? Und: kann man sie lernen?
“Wenn Marie Nejar geht, Straßen entlang, Treppen steigend, legt sie alle Eleganz, die ihr die elf Nägel im Rücken erlauben, in ihre Bewegung. Es ist der Disziplin abgerungene Schönheit. „Dieses Kind tanzt“, hätten Leute früher gesagt. Jetzt tritt sie über die Schwelle des Cafés Leonar in Hamburg, Grindelhof 87, nach links, nach rechts sich wendend, fast eine Pirouette drehend, aber so weit kommt es nicht, es ist nur eine Nuance mehr Hingabe an die Bewegung, wider den Schmerz.
„Ich wollte Tänzerin werden“, sagt Marie Nejar, 1930 geboren, bei der Großmutter aufgewachsen. Diese will, dass sie Musikerin wird. Wie Marie Nejars Mutter Cécile. Aber die Enkelin will tanzen. „Untersteh dich, Dinge zu wollen“, die Großmutter war sehr streng, forderte Ehrlichkeit, Zuverlässigkeit, Akkuratesse, Sanftmut – Tugenden zur Genüge. Mit Tugenden wollte die Großmutter das Mädchen schützen, denn die Nazis waren an der Macht und Marie Nejar fiel auf. Sie konnte sich waschen, wie sie wollte, ihre Haut wurde nicht weiß.
Jetzt sitzt sie, die jung aussieht mit den dunklen Augen, dem verschmitzten, weichen Lächeln, in diesem jüdischen Café in Hamburg. Ein Marzipanei liegt auf dem Tisch, ein Nougatosterhase. Sie sagt, ihr Leben sei ganz normal gewesen.
Über dreißig Jahre war sie Krankenschwester, schon mehr als zwanzig Jahre Rentnerin. Es sind Jüngere, die wollen, dass sie trotzdem erzählt, wie es war in der Nazizeit, die sie als schwarzes Mädchen in Deutschland erlebte. „Ich war doch nur ein Kind“, sagt sie. Sie habe nichts erlebt. Die jüdischen Leute, die hätten gelitten, sie nicht. Dieses eine Interview will sie noch geben, dann keins mehr.” (Marie Nejar 1950 an der Seite von Peter Alexander. Bild: dpa)
Clothing removed from the bodies of genocide victims hangs on the walls of the sanctuary at Ntarama Church, now a memorial site. “Male and female of every age group were killed here, from babies to old people, in almost every way you can imagine,” said Bellancilla Unitonze, a genocide survivor and memorial guide, “bullets, grenades, machetes, even smashing the children’s heads against the wall.”
“If you arrive in Rwanda today to witness ceremonies commemorating the genocide that began here 20 years ago, you might expect the country to be a mournful place. Up to a million people were murdered by their neighbors in roughly a hundred days, and you could reasonably expect that tragedy, guilt, shame, and rage continue to weigh heavily on the Rwandan people. The skeletons of genocide victims are still occasionally discovered, stuffed into sewers and under dense bushes. Fragments of bone and teeth still turn up in church parking lots. And by and large the country is still oddly devoid of dogs: During the genocide the animals acquired a taste for human flesh and had to be exterminated.
But today Rwanda bears few obvious scars of its cataclysm. Its rapidly modernizing capital, Kigali, is one of the jewel cities of Africa. A lacework of tree-lined boulevards and greenswards rises and falls over a cradle of verdant hills and valleys. New construction is transforming the city center, with upscale hotels, a grand shopping mall, and a state-of-the-art convention center. The airport bustles with tour operators picking up clients arriving to visit Rwanda's national parks, which hold the nation's famous mountain gorillas. Add to that Rwanda's rising standard of living, steady economic growth, and low incidence of corruption, and you have a country that in many ways is the envy of the continent.
Life here bears no relation to the darkness that descended over the nation beginning on April 7, 1994. To find evidence of that period, you have to look into the hearts of the people where those memories lie buried. During today's official events, Rwanda's leaders will urge its people, if not to forget, to set aside many of their bitterest memories to help sustain the country's impressive progress. (See “In Rwanda, Reconciliation Is Hard Won.”)
Remembering is a tricky thing. It can release a river of volatile emotions that can drown you in sorrow or shame, and it can also unleash a torrent of vengeful anger. But forgetting is equally treacherous, lest those who were lost died in vain or the crucial lessons learned are not passed on to future generations. Rwandans of all walks of life navigate this complex riptide of emotion every day, each in his or her own way. It is far more art than science.”
“In buddhistischen Zentren von Los Angeles bis München sieht man auffallend viele Frauen - auch in Leitungspositionen. Einige der angesehensten zeitgenössischen buddhistischen Lehrer sind Lehrerinnen. Ex-Berlinerin Gabriele Lessing von Freyberg (54), die als Yogini und Künstlerin am Atitlan-See in Guatemala lebt, sitzt am 07.03.2002 meditierend im Lotossitz vor Bambusstauden.
Und selbst die Nonnen revoltieren gegen ihren untergeordneten Status. All das ist neu und gilt vor allem für den Westen. In Asien ist die patriarchale buddhistische Welt noch weitgehend in Ordnung. Es gab aber schon immer Rebellinnen, weibliche Buddhas und hochverehrte Meisterinnen. Sie gerieten nur in Vergessenheit. Und werden nun wieder aus der Versenkung geholt.”
|Leo Mark Horovitz (left) with German Consul General Peter Rothen • photos/cathleen maclearie|
Seventy-five years after he fled Germany as a 10-year-old boy for safe haven in England, Leo Mark Horovitz had his German citizenship reinstated at the German Consulate General in San Francisco.
“My relationship with Germany has always been a big topic for me, but citizenship was a nonissue until recently,” the 85-year-old Horovitz said over lunch before the Feb. 25 ceremony the consulate arranged in his honor.
“This confirms that you have always been a German, because you were deprived of your citizenship by the Nazi regime,” said Peter Rothen, Germany’s consul general, as he handed the Antioch resident his citizenship papers. “I’m very honored and pleased to be able to hand over this naturalization document which reconfirms your German citizenship.”
At the end of World War II, it seemed inconceivable that Jews would ever want to return to Germany. Tens of thousands of them fled their homeland after Hitler came to power in 1933, and those who remained were stripped of their citizenship by the Nuremberg laws in 1935. Most were murdered in the Holocaust. At the end of the war, a Jewish population that had numbered 565,000 just 15 years earlier was reduced to about 37,000, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
In the past two decades, however, Germany has become a country that people flock to instead of flee from. In addition to the tens of thousands of Jewish émigrés who have streamed in from the former Soviet Union, Berlin’s reputation as an artistic, tolerant mecca continues to attract young Israelis — as many as 20,000, according to some estimates — as well as American Jews. Germany’s total Jewish population is estimated at 104,000, not including another 150,000 former Soviet émigrés who do not affiliate with the Jewish community.
Since 1949, Jews who fled Nazi Germany have had the right to reclaim their citizenship, according to Article 116 (2) of the German Basic Law, the country’s postwar constitution. And this right applies to their descendants as well. In recent years, more and more are actively doing so — last year, about 2,600 Jews from around the world were naturalized as German citizens. In the Pacific Northwest region covered by the German Consulate in San Francisco, five or six Jews reclaim German citizenship every month.
They do it for a variety of reasons, ranging from the practical — for example, the holder of a German passport is allowed to work legally anywhere in the European Union — to the emotional, or “to right a [historic] wrong,” according to one person interviewed. Horovitz falls into the practical camp: Having German citizenship will allow him to stay in Germany with the woman he loves, a German psychologist, without being restricted to the usual 90-stay tourist visa. “I never thought about citizenship before because the question always was ‘Would I use it or get something out of it?’ ” he said.
The vast majority of Jews who reclaim German citizenship under Article 116 are the children or grandchildren of Holocaust survivors or refugees from Nazi Germany. Horovitz is the rare example of a German-born Jew who lived through the Nazi era and is now choosing to reclaim his citizenship, according to Consul Antje Susan Metz, whose job it is to oversee such applications from the consulate’s region.
While citizenship documents usually are sent through the mail, Rothen wanted to handle Horovitz’s reinstatement in person. Not only was his case a rarity, but the two men hit it off when they met last November at a Lehrhaus event at the Jewish Community Library in San Francisco marking the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht. Horovitz relayed his personal story at the event, and Rothen acted as moderator; each was impressed with what the other had to say.
“We respect that many don’t want anything to do with Germany anymore,” Rothen said during Horovitz’s citizenship ceremony. “This is why Germany hasn’t forced it on anyone, but has made a provision that gives every such person the right to have it back, and I’m so glad to have a man like you as a fellow German citizen.”
|Leah Sharp (left) and Miriam Zimmerman|
The offer to become German citizens while maintaining their American citizenship has resonated for many in the Bay Area.
For Miriam Zimmerman, a 67-year-old Holocaust educator living in San Mateo, it was a way of connecting with her father, a doctor who attended medical school in Berlin and fled in 1937, settling in Terre Haute, Ind. Voicing a thought common to many Holocaust survivors and refugees, as well as their children, she said, “Without Hitler, I would be a different person. I would be a German Jew living in Germany.” Zimmerman, who identifies strongly with the Reform movement in which she was raised, noted that it was born in Germany. She is proud of her German roots and thrilled that her three grown children became citizens as well, which means all three of her newly born grandchildren will, too (the paperwork for new babies is minimal).
Zimmerman hopes to spend some of her retirement in Germany talking to high school students about her family’s history. While she’s taken up German several times already, she has yet to master the language. “I don’t want to have to use a translator,” she said. “I can see having a prepared script for 10 or 15 minutes and then having a Q&A with a translator. Although our friends are retiring left and right, I don’t want to retire now that I have this other very attractive goal.”
Zimmerman’s daughter Leah Sharp, 34, a physics professor at the College of Marin, applied for her German citizenship while living in Munich for five years with her husband, also an academic. “I fell in love with German culture and had a wonderful experience living there,” said Sharp, who lives in Alameda. A new mother, Sharp is already getting her daughter’s German citizenship papers in order. “This is an amazing opportunity she’s going to have with that document, being able to live in Germany or anywhere else in Europe. She can have her pick of European universities. That is the thing I’m especially excited about for her. “It’s purely practical,” said Sharp. “For my mother, it was much more personal.”
Oakland resident Rob Shapera’s maternal grandparents fled Germany around 1935. He remembers that when he was growing up, his mother had a distaste for all things German. But when he learned a few years ago that he was eligible for citizenship, he researched the matter and decided to do it.
“I like the idea of having citizenship in the EU if I ever want to live or work there,” said the 42-year-old massage therapist. “I’m not so much interested in living in Germany; it’s more access to the EU.” But “historically speaking, this was an opportunity to right a wrong that was done to my family. My grandparents were deprived of their citizenship, and this is getting something back that was taken away from our family: the right to be on European soil and live there if we want to, whether it’s in Germany or somewhere else.” To get a copy of his grandparents’ marriage certificate, Shapera traveled to Cuba, where the couple married before settling in the U.S. Though he later found out he had sufficient paperwork to prove his lineage, he was still glad to have found the old document.
Applicants must show proof of their relative’s citizenship, such as a birth certificate or restitution payment, and then marriage and birth certificates proving lineage. Metz said people should not get discouraged if they can’t locate the full set of documents. “We can help or give advice as to where to find the needed documents,” she said. “We cannot take over the search, but I can always help people get in touch with municipalities or other institutions that might have information.” While applicants are not required to state why they are applying, Metz said some do share their reasons as they go through the process.
Those interviewed who have had their German passport for a few years said it is an added convenience when traveling in Europe. Zimmerman once almost missed a flight to an educators’ conference in Israel; she didn’t realize her American passport was about to expire, and Israel doesn’t permit entry if passports are within six months of expiration. So she whipped out her German passport and made the flight. The ability to work in Europe was the reason two Bay Area–bred cousins decided to apply. Aaron Kaye, 31, from Los Altos and working for a technology company in London, and Moraga native Dan Aufhauser, 40, who works in Paris, share a set of grandparents who fled Germany. Their grandmother left in 1934, when she was prevented from studying medicine as a Jew, and their grandfather traveled back and forth to the U.S. Both were from wealthy banking families. The two were introduced while he was on a business trip, and it was she who convinced him to leave Germany and his seemingly promising banking career in Munich.
Kaye first heard about the possibility of citizenship reinstatement from Zimmerman, who is a family friend. Initially ambivalent, he decided to go forward when he prepared to attend graduate school in London and realized with a German passport he could stay longer and work there.
“At first I didn’t have a specific plan to live in Europe, but it did seem like an amazing opportunity, and I should take advantage of it given my family’s past,” Kaye said in a Skype interview from London. “On the one hand, I feel a bit of guilt I have this amazing passport to the world, and I can work in Europe, and I feel like I’m using it a bit, but then on the other hand, I can look at it like I have this opportunity because my grandparents lost everything, though obviously there are a lot of stories much worse.” Aufhauser studied in France and helped a European company open an office in San Francisco. Once he had his German citizenship, he was able to accept a job the company offered him in Paris with no additional paperwork. His wife can legally work in Europe as well through his German passport.
“This allowed me a very special opportunity to live and work legally in an area that is really connected to where I’m from,” said Aufhauser in a Skype interview from Paris. “I really feel I’m European, as I’ve always been drawn to Europe. I was always the one asking my grandmother questions, connecting with our story.” While his grandmother never took advantage of Germany’s offers to fly her back for a visit, and died in 2007 before knowing that her grandsons had reclaimed German citizenship, Aufhauser thinks she would have appreciated the opportunities offered to her grandsons, considering all that had been taken from her. “After having seen why I obtained the passport and how I was using the status,” he said, “she would have been absolutely thrilled for me.”
Rothen, the German consul general, understands how that is the case for some applicants: “It is clear that those who have been mistreated so badly cannot forget about what has happened, but we’re grateful that some choose to look ahead and accept that this nationality and that this culture is somehow a part of their personality despite everything that has happened.”
|Daniella Salzman (left) and Elana Levy|
Berkeley poet Elana Levy, 73, and her 44-year-old daughter Daniella Salzman of Oakland, a teacher, are among those who reclaimed citizenship for more emotional reasons. Levy’s parents fled in 1939, and many of her extended family members were killed. Levy grew up in New York, speaking German at home. Levy and Salzman, both of whom have made the healing process with Germany a big part of their lives, received their German citizenship last December and their passports in February. Salzman said it was definitely strange seeing her citizenship declared as “Deutsch” in her new red Reisepass.
Mother and daughter have traveled to Auschwitz as part of a “Bearing Witness” trip with Bernie Glassman and the Zen Peacemakers, in which people of many faiths sit on the tracks of Auschwitz-Birkenau, meditating and chanting the names of the dead.
“My visits to Auschwitz were key to my own healing,” said Levy, who has done the trip several times. “The first one changes your life, and the ones after that build on that.” Salzman added, “I found my mind just quieted down there to feel the experience of all of those who had been there, not just Jews but Nazis and Poles and Russian soldiers. I could relate to both prisoners and keepers of them. It was about going beyond ‘us and them’ or ‘victim and perpetrator’ [to think about] the human experience and both the mystery and catastrophe of it. [Taking German citizenship] is not only healing for me and for us, the Jews, but it’s really also for the Germans.”
Levy said that starting in the ‘50s, her parents took her along on vacations in Germany every chance they got, so she never developed anger toward the country like many other Jews did. Salzman said her mother’s decision to apply for German citizenship made her feel OK about doing the same, “but it was still hard to do, partly because it brings up the pain and sadness which I believe is inherited, or passed through our genes. There is a brokenness in me, even though I never lived it.
“Applying for citizenship is part of that healing process,” Salzman said. “I have always felt this conflict between my German self and my Jewish self internally. There are ways in which I’m very German, yet I’m much more American, but part of this process for me has been about creating peace between those aspects of who I am.”
|Klaus Seilwinder, a 57-year-old homeless man from Berlin, participates in a philosophy course.(© dpa)|
The homeless community of Berlin now has the option to go to back to school: the city has a new university launched solely to educate the homeless and help them get back up on their feet. Called the Obdachlosen-Uni (“Homeless-Uni”), courses are designed to help the homeless, but are open to anyone. They are primarily taught by volunteers – some of which were formerly homeless – and held in various rooms across the city. The courses give the homeless the option to study art, cooking, philosophy, music and a number of other subjects. These are also meant to instill confidence in their abilities to serve the community, as well as help incorporate them into society.
The project was initiated by Maik Eimertenbrink, a freelance communications specialist who was inspired by the Megaphon-Uni in Graz, Austria, which provides free courses to anyone, regardless of age or financial standing, the Handelsblatt reports. Eimertenbrink conducted a study in 2011, in which he examined the success of similar such institutions in Europe, as well as the interest homeless people in Berlin had in the idea. When asked what the homeless were most keen on learning, the majority expressed interest in computers, foreign languages and history. The program is led by an organization called Berlin Piloten, which organizes city tours, class visits to Berlin and education for the homeless.
Many of the courses at the Obdachlosen-Uni take place in the GEBEWO Social Services in Berlin-Schöneweide.
Turks make up Germany’s largest ethnic minority, and SPIEGEL reporter Özlem Gezer grew up in the port city of Hamburg as a part of this community. She describes herself as a “model immigrant,” but explains how Germans have made her feel she could never be one of them.
“Would you sleep with someone who isn't circumcized?” I was 14 and had just arrived at a party thrown by my friend Marie, and this was one of the first questions of the evening. Others followed: “Are you allowed to have a German boyfriend? Does your father talk to you about sex? Wouldn't you at least like to try a bit of the pork, after all?” New people, old questions.
They just wanted to get to know me, I thought. But it was always the same story, even years later. I was 23 and had just reached out to shake his hand. He was good-looking, and I didn't quite catch his first name—it was too loud at the party. "It's really great that you're allowed to stay out so late," he yelled. "Yeah, great," I said. You wacko, I thought. It was only 9:30 in the evening, but I didn't say anything. These were just normal party conversations—things Germans say to Turkish girls like me. More…
Die Integration und die innere Sicherheit in Deutschland bleiben nach wie vor eine der wichtigsten innenpolitischen Aufgaben und Pflichten der kommenden Jahre. Was versäumt wurde oder was gestern geschah weiß jeder, lassen Sie uns darüber reden, was morgen passiert und was getan werden muss.
Fakt ist, dass Deutschland in der Vergangenheit ein Zuwanderungsland war und in den nächsten Jahren auch bleiben wird. Fakt ist auch, dass ein spürbarer Teil der Migranten in Deutschland, besonders türkisch-muslimischen Ursprungs, in ihren frauenfeindlichen Lebensweisen, Bräuchen und Traditionen, ihrem islamischen Glauben und Kultur verhaftet geblieben sind. Mehr…
|A new Columbia Business School study highlights the expectation of favors from female workers. Photograph: UK Stock Images Ltd /Alamy|
From the article, “Women, Work and the ‘Girl Scout Tax’”: “Women were more likely than men to be asked for favors and were more likely to grant requests for help, Frank found. When the recipients of help were asked how ‘indebted’ they felt, they appreciated the help of women less than the help of men–it turned out that people felt entitled to female help. Worse, the more ‘agreeable’ the woman seemed, the value of her help was discounted by the person she assisted (as if they assumed ‘she just likes to help’). In fact, women who were rated as less agreeable were more appreciated when they provided help, and so were men.”
Great Expectations for Female Lawyers
Twelve years after being interviewed by The New York Times Magazine, five women, who all started their law careers at Debevoise & Plimpton, reflect on ambition, leadership and success.
Why Do Female Chefs Get Overlooked?
Many found Time magazine’s story on “The Gods of Food” notable for what was missing —goddesses. There were no female chefs among the list of deities or in a graphic of major culinary influences. Some chefs and food lovers were angered, others simply said, “So, what’s new?” Why do female chefs rarely win the adulation and recognition of male chefs?
Little surprise here: women expected to do more at home – and at work
A new study illuminates how ‘favors’ are expected of women at work, but they often go unacknowledged, keeping women down
“The people of Germany, with their reputation for having an industrial-strength work ethic, may not spring to mind as the happiest or healthiest people around. Yes, Germans are better known for their beer and brats than their wellness rituals. But at the same time, with their unique ways to relax, unplug, enjoy nature, and tap into the wisdom of their rich traditions, Germans have lot to teach the rest of the world about living the good life.
“In honor of the launch of HuffPost Germany, here are seven things that Germany can teach the rest of the world about living well.
They take time to slow down.
Gemütlichkeit, a German word without a clear English translation, indicates a state of coziness and intimacy, and an unhurried pace to counter the frenetic speed of modern life. And although the Germans are known to work hard and take their careers seriously, they also make plenty of time for this gemütlichkeit. The German “work, work, work” stereotype may actually be an outdated one—Germans actually take more vacation time than citizens of any other European country. In a 2010 European Union report on holidays, Germany tied with Denmark for the number-one slot, with 30 days of paid vacation a year. The UK, by comparison, has an average of 24 days of paid annual vacation.
They get back to nature.
In the German language, there's a word, wandervogel, which can be translated as “rambling, hiking, or wandering bird.” Wandervogel was also a German youth movement that started in the late 1800s with a group of young people who wanted to free themselves from the restrictions of society and return to the freedom of nature. The movement was reestablished in the mid-20th century and has several thousand members across Germany today. Wandervogel is closely tied to the German idea of naturmensch, or “natural man.” And in Germany, it’s easy to get back to nature: There’s no shortage of untouched natural beauty in the country, from the Black Forest to the romantic Rhine.
They ask the big questions.
Germany has a robust philosophical tradition that includes some of the world’s greatest thinkers, from Nietzsche and Marx to Hegel and Heidegger. The German idealism movement, which began with Kant and extended through Hegel, asked the big questions of human life and the meaning of existence. To this day, the German philosophical tradition stays strong at the country’s many top-notch universities. We could all stand to benefit from their timeless wisdom on happiness, morality and human nature. As Kant summed it all up with his three rules for happiness, seek “something to do, someone to love, something to hope for.”
They invest in holistic health care.
Germany has a strong tradition of holistic medical research and naturopathic healthcare. The “Father of American naturopathy,” Benedict Lust, was trained in hydrotherapy and natural medicine in Germany during the late 19th century before bringing his “nature cure” teachings to America. Naturopathic health care is readily available in Germany to this day. The alternative medicine industry is regulated by the government, and CNN reported in 1998 that the herbal mood-booster St. John’s wort was the most commonly prescribed anti-depressant in Germany, as opposed to Prozac in the U.S.
They harness the healing powers of water.
Spas throughout Germany use the power of water for healing, as they have since the birth of hydrotherapy in the early 1800s. Resorts and wellness centers across the country attract tourists by offering Kneipp hydrotherapy, a type of water therapy meant to strengthen and revitalize the immune system. If you're visiting, consider a stay at Göhren, a seaside hydroptherapy resort on the island of Rügen.
They support the arts.
Young and up-and-coming artists are well supported in Germany. Not only do the country's major cities (especially Berlin) have thriving art scenes, but the government also provides funding to support emerging artists. Many creative workers in Germany are eligible to receive financial support from the government.
They’re prioritizing happiness.
Happiness hasn’t always been Germany’s forte, but the government is working to change that. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said recently that gross domestic product (GDP) isn’t the only important marker of Germany’s success—individual and collective well-being also matter. Germany has recently been one of the lowest-ranked European countries in happiness and well-being, but Chancellor Merkel is determined to help Germany turn that around.
“We look at the stock exchange index or currencies on the news each morning and talk a lot about growth in terms of gross domestic product, but we often don’t prioritize what is really most important to people,” Merkel said at a recent forum, “What Matters to People: Well-being and Progress,” vowing to focus more on boosting well-being.”
BERLIN — When Karamba Diaby finished third in his party’s state primaries last February, the result catapulted him into the national spotlight. Now, after Sunday’s federal elections here, Mr. Diaby’s place in German history is guaranteed. And he is sharing the spotlight. For the first time, Germany has elected black lawmakers into the Bundestag, Parliament’s lower house. One was Mr. Diaby, a member of the Social Democrats, from Senegal, and the other is Charles M. Huber, a former actor with a Senegalese father and a German mother. Although both failed to secure direct mandates from their districts, they managed to get elected through Germans’ second votes, which are cast for so-called party lists.
“We were celebrating until 3 in the morning,” Mr. Diaby said in a telephone interview, adding that it was not until early Monday, when he looked at the Bundestag’s Web site and found a list of newly elected candidates, that he knew the results were official.
|Charles M. Huber|
That Germans had never elected a black member of Parliament, despite the presence of a large immigrant population, was often cited as an indication of the sometimes-rocky relationship between the country’s ethnic majority and minorities.
“It was a historic victory,” said Mr. Huber, who will represent an area that includes the city of Darmstadt. “I’ve often been confronted with being the first colored man to do something.”
Mr. Huber, 56, known for his role in a popular German crime series, is a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats. Born in Munich, he comes from a prominent Senegalese family — his father was a diplomat and his uncle, Léopold Senghor, a former president of Senegal.
“Politics is a tradition in our family,” Mr. Huber said. “Somehow it was meant to be.”
Mr. Diaby, 51, grew up in Senegal. The youngest of four children, he was raised by his sister after losing both of his parents by the time he was 7. In 1985, he came to East Germany to study chemistry in Halle.
|Lewis Otoo, 11, student, Berlin|
Last month, a newly opened shelter for asylum seekers in the Berlin neighborhood of Hellersdorf became the scene of heated protests by far-right demonstrators. But the controversy was only the most recent reminder that racism remains a serious problem in Germany. Far-right violence against immigrants has become endemic in parts of the country, while in the bigger cities, discrimination tends to be subtler if also widespread -- as seen with the recent scandals over racist door policies at nightclubs in Berlin and racial profiling by the Hamburg police.In the spirit of public debate, SPIEGEL spoke to 15 people with foreign roots living in Germany to find out how racism plays into their daily lives. From the German-born housewife who was told to "go home" and treated like a terrorist after she decided to start wearing a headscarf, to the 79-year-old retiree whose family was killed at Auschwitz and still regularly gets insulted as a "gypsy" -- their stories paint a complicated, disturbing picture of the state of multiculturalism in a Germany still rife with nativist tendencies.
There are plenty of success stories -- a professional soccer player, a city treasurer and a parliamentarian are among those given a voice here. But even they have faced their fair share of discrimination. Lincoln Assinouko, a forward for a regional team in Lower Saxony, has been peppered with racial epithets by members of an opposing team. And Green Party Berlin representative Omid Nouripour has staff who help him sort through the piles of racist and Islamophobic hate mail he continuously receives.
Click through to read their stories in their own words.
Mileva Einstein-Maric, student at the Zurich Polytechnikum, second woman to finish a full program of study at the Department VI A: Mathematics and Physics. Marries Albert Einstein, gives birth to three of his children, surviving childbed three times, is betrayed by him, discarded by him, dispatched from Berlin back to Switzerland with the children just before the First World War, divorced, brings up their two sons, cares for the schizophrenic son, dies.
…Mileva Maric was, both during their years of study and before the appearance of the 1905 papers (and from January 1903 on – the month of their marriage – for 24 hours a day), THE most important intellectual partner of Albert Einstein. He appreciated her genius:
“How happy I am to have found in you an equal creature, one who is equally strong and independent as I am.” (Albert to Mileva, October 3, 1900)
There were a few things the Stasi never found out about me. One was the mini-laboratory.
I was a Lutheran pastor and underground environmental activist in the German Democratic Republic, and I was desperate to develop independent data on the health of our heavily polluted rivers and drinking water. Such research, in East Germany before 1989, was a criminal act; all environmental data was classified.
So friends of mine from the West smuggled in a mini-lab for water testing—equipment that was handed over to me in a parking lot along the transit road to West Berlin. Those parking lots were heavily monitored by the Stasi, and I was terribly scared. We had planned the transaction over the phone using a code, and it worked. There is not one line about it in my Stasi files.
It is important to remember such times, especially today when the consequences of surveillance are being debated again in Germany and around the world. We all recall the fall of 1989, when thousands of people all over the German Democratic Republic (GDR) marched from the churches to the streets and squares. They demonstrated for the daily bread of democracy, for free and fair elections, and for freedom of the press and the right of free assembly. There were no counter demonstrations. It seemed that the entire people had agreed to get rid of the dictatorship. How had a state kept this population of 17 million in check for the 40 previous years?
The answer: through surveillance, incarceration, and terror.
The wheels of terror were implanted in every brain. The moment a critical thought took shape, the wheels of terror started turning. Who would be able to hear this and make note of it? Which file would it land in? What could the consequences be, what reprisals would be taken? Could there be an impact on the children’s schooling, their apprenticeship position, their college placement? Even preschoolers and kindergarten kids had internalized that. They were trained by their parents and grandparents to differentiate between the things that were public, and thus could be talked about at school, and the things that had better never leave the house.
The guarantor for terror and order was the “Stasi,” or State Security. The “Eavesdrop and Peek,” as it was known in the vernacular, was always and everywhere. By the end, in 1989, the Stasi had 91,000 official and 174,000 non-official employees, or IMs (Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter), working undercover and spying on their own people. In a village of 1,000 inhabitants, for example, 15 of them spied on the rest of them. Since nobody knew whom the Stasi had recruited, you had to be careful always, and you knew that an IM worked with you, monitored you at the village fair, shared a table with you at the local pub, or sang with you in the church choir. Hardly anything went undetected. Like a fungus, surveillance permeated all of social life in “the service of Socialism” and to protect the country from the “imperialistic class enemy.”
How much the Stasi had penetrated—and how deeply its power had been branded onto society—became apparent during the demonstrations leading to the revolution in the fall of ’89. A huge crowd of people marched through downtown Eisenach in the state of Thuringia, where I live, chanting. But the moment the train of protesters passed the headquarters of the Stasi, they fell silent. Nobody shouted anything.
Later, at another demonstration, I witnessed a worker scaling a fountain and addressing the crowd. He started out with: “My name is …”, “I live in …’’, “I work in …” By refusing to remain anonymous, by stating his name and address and workplace, he revealed, in front of everybody, that the Stasi had lost its power over him. And when the Stasi headquarters were occupied, the listening devices disarmed and turned off, and the files were secured, the curtain between the Stasi and the citizens was pushed aside, once and for all. Read more…
For a gay woman, it can often be a struggle to determine where exactly she fits in the spectrum of gender identity in both the lesbian and heterosexual communities. Many lesbians are faced with having their sexuality evaluated purely on the basis of their looks, as if sexuality is something that can be “seen” on the body to warrant approval, while others are not “accepted” for failing to act in a certain way. Such narrow-minded, misguided stereotypes create numerous social problems in advancing gay rights and raise an important question of what gender identity means for lesbians today.
Megan Evans agrees: “We have Portia De Rossi and Chely Wright, but there are not many high-profile celebrities that have come out to proudly say that they are a lesbian. Growing up I felt that I did not have a role model to look up to so that I knew I could be feminine, gay and happy,” she said.
In response, Evans launched the Femme Visibility Campaign to combat the invisibility of feminine lesbians and change lesbian stereotypes through encouraging fellow femmes to come forward and have a voice. The campaign was launched as part of Evans’ own website, What Wegan Did Next, a blog about her life with her wife, Whitey, as a loving feminine lesbian couple.
“What I strive for is the day that it will no longer be a shock to be feminine and gay. After all, ‘feminine’ is not a synonym for ‘heterosexual.’ I hope that with more lesbians coming out and living their lives proudly, that we will slowly but surely show both the straight and gay communities that our sexual orientation is legitimate and that we deserve to be treated that way,” Evans said.
Are distracting smartphones making us more stupid? New research suggests that could be the case: When Carnegie Mellon researchers interrupted college students with text messages while they were taking a test, the students had average test scores that were 20 percent lower than the scores of those who took the exam with their phones turned off. Another study found that students, when left to their own devices, are unable to focus on homework for more than two minutes without turning to Web surfing or e-mail. Adults in the workforce can make it to about 11 minutes.
Jennifer Roberts, a professor of the history of art and architecture at Harvard, thinks she has a fairly simple solution to help her American art history students appreciate the act of focusing: They must pick any painting, sculpture, or object made by an American artist and stare at it — for three hours.
“They’re usually skeptical at first,” she told me, “but afterward, they tell me the process was really astonishing, enabling them to see things, make observations, and develop original ideas about the work that never would have occurred otherwise.”
Roberts, herself, has seen the payoffs of strategic patience after her own close analysis of John Singleton Copley’s 1765 painting “Boy With a Squirrel” (inset). After spending an hour with the painting, she noticed echoing patterns in the shapes of the boy’s ear and the squirrel’s ruff. After two hours, she got a different insight: that Copley is likely to have thought about the impact that his work would have on the London art world when he was painting it.
“What I like so much about this assignment is that it goes right to the heart of the belief that you’ll feel bored if you pay attention to one thing for so long,” said Daniel Willingham, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. “A lot of time when we turn away from things, we’re missing stuff that will give us a richer understanding of the world.”
Achieving sustained focus on a regular basis is tough when many of us spend our days attending to various buzzing gadgets. Whether this has diminished the mind’s ability to focus has been debated by brain scientists.
“We know there’s plasticity in the brain,” Willingham said, “but we might be in big trouble if our environment could change the brain that dramatically.”
Brown University neuroscientist Dr. Cathy Kerr said studies indicate that we don’t stick with one activity for as long as we did in the past, and it’s likely to be causing subtle brain changes.
On the flip side, practicing sustained attention every day can also result in subtle changes to the brain — in a beneficial way. Formal meditation, where people learn to focus on their breathing, can lead to better control over “their attentional spotlight,” where it’s placed and how well it’s maintained, said Kerr who has conducted meditation studies. This can reduce negative ruminating thoughts in people who are depressed and help increase a sense of calmness when encountering ordinary stresses such as a delayed flight or broken household appliance. While you may not have time to stare at a painting for three hours every day — you should try it at least once — you can probably find 10 to 15 minutes to study an object of beauty.
It shouldn’t be an image on your computer but something you’re “really confronting in the flesh,” Roberts said, to examine its texture, color, smell, and how light plays off of it.
Willingham takes a walk outside every day, without any electronic devices, to observe the sights and sounds of his natural surroundings. Spending several minutes watching a woodpecker hack into a tree stump or water tumbling over rocks in a stream helps increase meta-awareness. “You develop a curiosity and tend to create a new story about the world,” Kerr said, that’s different from a quick dismissive glance.
Feeling the reward from the focused activity will likely encourage you to do it again. And you might be discouraged from grazing over the latest entertainment news or status updates from your friends if you recognize that it’s just a time suck yielding few real insights.
“One of the ways I’ve managed to reduce my distractions,” Kerr said, “is by asking myself each time I’m about to distract myself whether that particular activity is salient to me; 90 percent of the time it isn’t.”
Lieber Herr Professorin: Weibliche Bezeichnungen sollen an der Uni Leipzig künftig auch für Männer gelten. Doch führt das auch zu mehr Gleichberechtigung? Ein Interview mit der Linguistin Luise Pusch.
In der deutschen Öffentlichkeit wird seit 30 Jahren über das Thema Geschlecht und Sprachgerechtigkeit gestritten. In den 1980er Jahren wurden deshalb Doppelformen wie "Mitarbeiter und Mitarbeiterinnen" in Deutschland eingeführt. Die Uni Leipzig geht mit der geplanten Einführung des sogenannten generischen Femininums, also der jeweils weiblichen Form eines Begriffs, noch einen Schritt weiter. Ein Professor wird in der Uni-Satzung demnach künftig als Professorin bezeichnet.
Der Senatsbeschluss in Leipzig entstand eher zufällig: In einer Sitzung ärgerten sich Mitglieder über komplexe Schreibweisen mit Schrägstrich wie "Professor/in". Daraufhin beschlossen die Mitglieder, künftig nur die weiblichen Formen zu verwenden. Dass auch Männer gemeint sind, soll in der neuen Uni-Verfassung durch eine Fußnote erklärt werden. Dass die Änderung durchkommt, ist so gut wie sicher: Auch das Rektorat der Hochschule stimmte zu.
Die kämpferische Sprachwissenschaftlerin Luise Pusch freut sich über die Leipziger Entscheidung. Die DW hat mit der Mitbegründerin der feministischen Linguistik über den Einfluss von Sprache auf unsere Gesellschaft und die Signale aus Leipzig gesprochen.
DW: Sie forschen seit über 30 Jahren zum Thema Sprachgerechtigkeit. Welche Bedeutung hat der Beschluss für die Frauen an der Uni Leipzig?
Luise Pusch: Das ist auf alle Fälle ein Fortschritt, und zwar nicht nur an der Uni Leipzig, sondern bundesweit. Der Beschluss wird diskutiert, das regt die Leute zum Nachdenken an und jede Art von Nachdenken über unsere Männersprache ist für die Sprache insgesamt gut, denn diese Sprache ist sehr ungerecht.
Warum ist es denn so wichtig, in der Sprache gerecht zu sein?
Es hat viel mit Identitätspolitik zu tun. Frauen wollen, dass sie in der Sprache genauso sichtbar sind wie Männer, denn die Männersprache verdrängt jeden Gedanken an Frauen. Jeder Satz, der im Maskulinum über Personen spricht, erzeugt in unseren Köpfen nur männliche Bilder, und das ist ein ganz großer Nachteil für Frauen.
Wie genau beeinflusst Sprache denn unsere gesellschaftliche Realität?
Im Deutschen haben wir lauter Suggestivsätze, die dieses männliche Bild erzeugen. Wenn Sie zum Beispiel hören "Wer wird der neue Bundespräsident?", dann ist das eine Suggestivfrage. Da kommt das Bild einer Bundespräsidentin kaum noch in den Blick. Es gibt viele psycholinguistische Tests, die den Effekt nachgewiesen haben. Wenn solche Fragen im Maskulinum gestellt werden oder Geschichten im Maskulinum erzählt werden, dann sollen die Testpersonen die Geschichte vervollständigen und wählen meistens Personen mit männlichen Namen.
Campus an der Uni Leipzig: Die Hochschule plant eine revolutionäre neue Sprachregelung
Sie stellen sich also Männer vor. Wenn vorher die Doppelform gewählt wurde, ist es gleich, es werden Männer- und Frauennamen genannt. Und wenn jetzt das Femininum gewählt würde, dann würden sie sich wahrscheinlich mehr Frauen vorstellen. Und das ist der Sinn der Sache, dass die Frauen auch mal in die Köpfe der Gesellschaft hineinkommen.
Gegner werfen Ihnen vor, dass das generische Femininum inhaltlich nichts bringe und die Sprache nur unnötig verkompliziere. Ist die Verwendung nicht zu umständlich?
Es kommt auf die Werte an. Wenn wir sprachliche Gerechtigkeit wollen, brauchen wir etwas anderes als das generische Maskulinum. Die Doppelform, also zum Beispiel "Professorinnen und Professoren", ist allgemein als gerecht anerkannt, aber natürlich viel umständlicher als das generische Femininum. Die Doppelform ist eigentlich nur ein Entgegenkommen gegenüber den Männern, weil sie dadurch nicht so in ihrer Identität verletzt werden wie Frauen durch das generische Maskulinum, das wir schon seit Jahrtausenden haben.
Demgegenüber ist das Femininum erstens besser für Frauen, zweitens gerecht nach dem Rotationsprinzip - jetzt sind mal die Frauen dran - und drittens kürzer. Ich bezeichne das generische Femininum schon seit 30 Jahren als Empathietraining für Männer, damit sie mal eine Vorstellung davon entwickeln, was es eigentlich bedeutet, immer nur mitgemeint zu sein und eigentlich nie genau zu wissen, ob "Mann" mit "man" überhaupt gemeint ist.
In Ihren Publikationen schlagen Sie noch viel tiefgreifendere Änderungen in der deutschen Sprache vor.
Frauen sind an den Universitäten auf dem Vormarsch
Ich habe schon immer ein Stufenmodell vorgeschlagen. Erst mal müssen wir die Frauen in die Sprache hineinbringen, am besten mit dem generischen Femininum, aber das Ziel sollte später die Abschaffung der Endung "-in" sein. Eine solche Ableitung der Feminina aus den Maskulina gibt es zum Beispiel im Englischen kaum. Nach der Abschaffung des "-in" wollen wir zweitens das Neutrum für Personenbezeichnungen einführen. Wir hätten dann "die, der und das Professor". Das "-in" brauchen wir zum Beispiel auch nicht bei "die Angestellte", "die Abgeordnete". Deswegen ist "die Angestellten" dann im Plural geschlechtsneutral. Es gibt ganz viele Personenbezeichnungen im Deutschen, die bereits so funktionieren.
Systematisch ist die Endung „-in“ also eigentlich nicht nötig. Für Personen, deren Geschlecht nicht feststeht und die im Singular benannt werden müssen, da haben wir dann - anders als beispielsweise in romanischen Sprachen - das Neutrum. Also: "Gesucht wird ein Professor, das sich in feministischer Theorie auskennt." Warum sollen wir das Neutrum nicht aktivieren für diesen Mitteilungszweck, über Personen zu reden, deren Geschlecht nicht vorher festgelegt werden soll. Also: Wer wird das nächste Bundespräsident?
Inwiefern ist die Diskussion um die feministische Linguistik ein sehr deutsches Phänomen?
Der Staat Washington im Nordwesten der USA hat gerade etwas Ähnliches wie die Uni Leipzig gemacht. Dort wurde ganz gründlich die gesamte Verfassung des Staates umgeschrieben in eine geschlechtergerechte Sprache. Also alles, was da mit "-man" endete, wurde geändert. "Chairman" heißt jetzt durchgehend "chair" und "freshman" wurde zu "first year student". In der englischen Sprache gibt es nicht so viele Probleme wie im Deutschen, denn unsere Sprache ist besonders komplex und schwierig zu therapieren. Aber das Anliegen haben viele andere Länder auch und führen es auch durch.
In Leipzig wurde die Änderung von einem männerdominierten Senat verabschiedet. Ist das auch ein Signal für ein verbessertes frauenpolitisches Klima an den deutschen Hochschulen?
Das wäre zu hoffen. Es bleibt aber noch abzuwarten. Tatsächlich haben wir ja in den letzten 30 Jahren in vielerlei Hinsicht auch Fortschritte gemacht. Es geht jetzt nicht mehr nur um vier Prozent Professorinnen wie zu der Zeit, als ich studiert habe, sondern es sind immerhin 19 Prozent. Das ist eine Verfünffachung. Aber wir sind noch längst nicht am Ziel einer 50:50-Quote. Aus Leipzig hören wir, dass es dort auch mehr Studentinnen als Studenten gibt. Allein das statistische Prinzip legt also nahe, von Studentinnen zu sprechen.
Prof. Dr. Luise Pusch, 69, fordert seit 30 Jahren eine geschlechtergerechte Sprache. Die Sprachwissenschaftlerin gilt als Mitbegründerin der feministischen Linguistik. Sie lebt als freie Autorin in Hannover und betreibt das Institut für feministische Biografie-Forschung mit dem Webportal www.fembio.org. Ihre Aufsatz- und Glossensammlungen wie "Deutsch als Männersprache", "Alle Menschen wurden Schwestern", oder "Deutsch auf Vorderfrau" wurden zu Bestsellern.
|„Niemand würde ein Leben als Bettler wählen, wenn er Alternativen hätte“, sagt Richard Wilkinson. Bild: dpa|
Große Einkommensunterschiede sind das Grundübel der meisten Industriestaaten, sagt Richard Wilkinson. Sein Rezept: mehr Genossenschaften.
taz: Herr Wilkinson, Sie schreiben in Ihrem Buch „Gleichheit ist Glück“, dass die Wohlfahrt der Industriestaaten nicht vom Bruttonationaleinkommen abhängig ist. Wovon denn sonst?
Richard Wilkinson: In den meisten Industriestaaten sind die Lebenserwartungen in den letzten einhundert Jahren enorm gestiegen. Jede Dekade werden wir zwei oder drei Jahre älter. Auf medizinischen Fortschritt allein ist das nicht zurückzuführen, denn in Ländern mit einer geringeren Schere zwischen Arm und Reich geht der Anstieg der Lebenserwartung schneller. In Gesellschaften mit einer großen Einkommensungleichheit haben wir deutlich mehr soziale Probleme. Überraschenderweise hängt dies nicht davon ab, wie sehr die Wirtschaft wächst.
Warum überrascht Sie diese Erkenntnis?
Bislang haben wir Studien über den Zusammenhang von der Lebenserwartung und dem Wohlstand immer so interpretiert, dass die Lebenserwartung vom Vermögen abhängig ist. Das stimmt aber so nicht, dieser Zusammenhang ist zu einfach. Die Lebenserwartung ist vielmehr vom sozialen Status abhängig, für den Geld wiederum in vielen Gesellschaften ein wichtiger Schlüssel ist.
In den einhundert größten Unternehmen Großbritanniens verdient die Unternehmensspitze durchschnittlich 300-mal so viel wie der niedrig bezahlte Arbeiter. Gibt es eine mächtigere Art und Weise, jemandem zu zeigen, wie wertlos er ist? Diese Hierarchien führen zu sozialem Stress und tiefergreifenden psychischen Krankheiten.
Jahrgang 1943, ist ein britischer Gesundheitsökonom. Am Freitag wird er die Eröffnungsrede des Kongresses „Umverteilen. Macht. Gerechtigkeit“ in Berlin halten.Foto: privat
Wo steht Deutschland im Ranking der Ungleichheit?
Die Armutsschere in Deutschland ist zwar noch kleiner als beispielsweise in Großbritannien oder den USA. Sie ist aber trotzdem viel verheerender als in den skandinavischen Ländern. Deutschland lag zwar immer über dem Durchschnitt der OECD-Länder, nähert sich diesem nun aber an. Die relative Armut, die das Einkommen im Vergleich zum Durchschnitt in einem Land misst, steigt seit den achtziger Jahren.
Wie können wir dieser steigenden Ungleichheit begegnen?
Zunächst müssen wir etwas gegen die Steuerumgehung tun. Eine Angelegenheit, die mehr und mehr durch die Finanzminister der Europäischen Union entwirrt wird, allerdings könnten sie in ihrem Bemühen deutlich weiter gehen. In den sechziger und siebziger Jahren gab es sogar in den USA Höchststeuersätze von zum Teil über 90 Prozent. Heute werden Leute wild, wenn sie 50 Prozent abgeben müssen.
Noch sinnvoller als die Umverteilung durch Steuern und Boni wäre es jedoch, die Ungleichheit noch vor den Steuern zu reduzieren. Dass Topmanager inzwischen 400-mal so viel verdienen wie ihre Mitarbeiter, ist ein Mangel an Demokratie. Es braucht hier effektive Restriktionen und im gesamten Wirtschaftssektor mehr Alternativen, wie zum Beispiel Genossenschaften, in denen die Einkommensungleichheiten weitaus geringer sind.Geben Sie Bedürftigen auf der Straße eigentlich Geld?
Das tue ich manchmal, ja. Ich glaube, niemand würde ein Leben als Bettler wählen, wenn er Alternativen hätte. Wenn man diesen Leuten zuhört, merkt man allerdings, dass sie manchmal einfach nur jemanden brauchen, mit dem sie sprechen können. Einsamkeit hat bewiesenermaßen einen ähnlich großen Einfluss auf die Gesundheit wie Rauchen.
Price of Green Energy: Is Germany Killing the Environment to Save
By SPIEGEL Staff
The German government is carrying out a rapid expansion of renewable energies like wind, solar and biogas, yet the process is taking a toll on nature conservation. The issue is causing a rift in the environmental movement, pitting “green energy” supporters against ecologists.
Germany’s Energy Transition, Spiegel
Energy Transition : The German Energiewende, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung
U.S. Energy Policy Should Take a Lesson From German’s Energiewende, Bloomberg News, May 15, 2013
Im April 2006 wurde ein ‚Schwarzer’ Wissenschaftler am frühen Morgen an einer Potsdamer Bushaltestelle fast tot geprügelt. Schnell wurde ein rechtsradikaler Hintergrund der Tat vermutet, bald wurde dieser wieder in Frage gestellt. Von einer rassistischen Tat sprachen nur wenige. Rassismus ist kein Begriff, der für das heutige Deutschland benutzt wird. Rassismus wird in Deutschland in der Regel mit dem Nationalsozialismus in Verbindung gebracht. Heute von rassistischen Strukturen in der ‚deutschen’ Gesellschaft zu sprechen, erscheint als Tabu. Zum einen sollen die Verbrechen der Nationalsozialisten nicht verharmlost werden, zum anderen will sich das heutige ‚Deutschland’ von solchen Vorwürfen distanzieren. weiter…
Whom, I am thrilled to inform you, is dying. But its death, I am less thrilled to inform you, has been slow.
According to Google’s expansive collection of digitized books, the word has been on a steady decline since 1826. The 400-million-word Corpus of Historical American English records a similar slump. Articles in Time magazine included 3,352 instances of whom in the 1930s, 1,492 in the 1990s, and 902 in the 2000s. And the lapse hasn’t been limited to literature or journalism. In 1984, after all, the Ghostbusters weren’t wondering, “Whom you gonna call?”
Mit großer Traurigkeit teile ich euch mit, dass heute [28. Januar 2013] am späten Nachmittag Ceija Stojka im 80igsten Lebensjahr verstorben ist. Ceija Stojka wurde am 23. Mai 1933 in Kraubath, Steiermark, Österreich geboren. Ceija Stojka war Schriftstellerin und Künstlerin und gehörte den Lovara-Roma an, die besonders in Zentral- und Osteuropa beheimatet sind. Sie war die Schwester von Karl Stojka (Künstler) und Johann Mongo Stojka (Sänger, Gitarrist und Autor). Ihr Bruder Ossi starb an mangelnder medizinischer Hilfe und Hunger mit sechs Jahren im Konzentrationslager. Als Kind wuchs sie in einer Familie auf, die als Pferdehändler durch Österreich reiste. Nachdem ihr Vater im KZ Dachau ermordet wurde, wurde der Rest der Familie in das Konzentrationslager Auschwitz-Birkenau deportiert. 1944 wurde sie mit ihrer Mutter und Schwester nach Ravensbrück geschickt, wo Ceija in der Nähstube arbeiten musste. Kurz vor dem Ende des Krieges kamen alle drei nach Bergen-Belsen, wo sie befreit wurden.
Danach ließ sich Ceija Stojka in Wien nieder, wo sie zuletzt bei ihrem Sohn Hojda und der Schwiegertochter Nuna lebte. Von ihrer Familie (ca. 200 Personen) überlebten nur sechs den Völkermord der Nationalsozialisten.
Atsch Devleha, Ceija!
MIAMI — Hans Massaquoi, a former managing editor of Ebony magazine who wrote a distinctive memoir about his unusual childhood growing up black in Nazi Germany, has died. He was 87. His son said Mr. Massaquoi died Saturday, on his 87th birthday, in Jacksonville.
“He had quite a journey in life,’’ said Hans J. Massaquoi Jr. of Detroit. ‘‘Many have read his books and know what he endured. But most don’t know that he was a good, kind, loving, fun-loving, fair, honest, generous, hard-working and open-minded man.”
In an interview in 2000, the elder Massaquoi said that he credited the late Alex Haley, author of “Roots,” with convincing him to share his experience of being “both an insider in Nazi Germany and, paradoxically, an endangered outsider.” His autobiography, “Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany,” was published in the United States in 1999. Mr. Massaquoi’s mother was a German nurse, his father the son of a Liberian diplomat. He grew up in working class neighborhoods of Hamburg.
Bridge Markland: robbers in the box
Friedrich Schiller's: The Robbers for the Generation Pop Music
English Language Premiere! on January 24, 2013 at English
Theatre Berlin the performance is then
available for booking in German or English
- length of show approx 98 min. plus one intermission
Using puppetry and lip-syncing, Bridge Markland transforms Schiller's classic Sturm und Drang tragedy into a fast-paced, one woman show. Rebellion, envy, tragic love, stubbornness, hero-worship and desperation are all themes of the play. Markland underscores Schiller’s dramatic words with clips from 150 songs ranging from Wagner's “Ride of the Valkyries” to Lady Gaga’s “Pokerface,” from Ennio Morricone's hit Once Upon a Time in the West to the theme from Dallas. Schiller's text is spoken by actors from Berlin's English-language theatre community: Peter Scollin, from Platypus Theater, as the Old Moor; Jeffrey Mittleman as Spiegelberg; and many others.
The old Count von Moor adores his eldest son Karl. His younger son Franz grows jealous and plots to claim his father's fortune. “I will root up from my path whatever obstructs my progress towards becoming the master.” Rammstein roars: „Ich will jeden Herzschlag kontrollieren.” / “I want to control every heartbeat.”
With a forged letter, Franz slanders Karl to their father. “It’s Tragedy,” sing the Bee Gees, anticipating the outcome. In Leipzig, Karl waits in vain for a letter from his father to the strains of the Carpenters' "Please Mr. Postman." Instead a letter from his brother arrives telling him, “You may go, your father directs me to tell you, wherever your own vicious propensities lead.” Karl should not “entertain any hope.” Desperate, Karl organizes a band of thieves. “Robbers and murderers! As my soul lives, I am your captain!” Karl shouts.
And so the drama is set in motion.
Some quotes from Schiller's The Robbers in English language
Franz von Moor: Up then! and to your work manfully. I will root up from my path whatever obstructs my progress towards becoming the master. Master I must be, that I may extort by force what I cannot win by affection. [Frisch also! muthig ans Werk! - Ich will Alles um mich her ausrotten, was mich einschränkt. Herr muß ich sein, daß ich das mit Gewalt ertrotze, wozu mir die Liebenswürdigkeit gebricht.]
Robber Moor: Now we are free, comrades! I feel an army in my fist! Death or liberty! At the least they shall not take a man of us alive!
[Jetzt sind wir frei - Kameraden! Ich fühle eine Armee in meiner Faust Tod oder Freiheit! Wenigstens sollen sie Keinen lebendig haben!]
Amalia: Support me! for heaven's sake support me! It is growing dark before my eyes!
[Haltet mich! Um Gotteswillen, haltet mich! - es wird mir so Nacht vor den Augen.]
Cast, Voice-Over Artists, Puppets, Music
PRESS-VOICES for the German version
Kieler Nachrichten, Ruth Bender, 14 Nov 2012
“Bridge Markland is player and actor, mean guy and delicate woman. She strides and poses, she laments and rages herself through Schiller’s Drama. She plays the movies, TV-soap, musical and big opera.”
zitty, Tom Mustroph, 28 June 2012
“an enjoyable game of OneWomanSpinsTheWorld. It shows ... that Pop can transform the classics.”
Der Tagesspiegel, Katrin Gottschalk, 19 June 2012
“A female member of the audience confided to her neighbour: “First I thought it was a woman, then a man, but it's a woman after all.” ... Bridge Markland poses riddles to her audience.”
Berliner Morgenpost, Ulrike Borowczyk, 12 June 2012
“The most thorough way to dust down this 231 year old piece is with this pop-version.”
Die Diskriminierung und Verfolgung der Sinti und Roma hat eine lange Traditionen. Das NS-Regime machte sich die überlieferten rassistischen und sozialen Ressentiments zu eigen und stigmatisierte die Minderheit von Anfang an. Die Ausgrenzung mündete im Völkermord. Auch dieser Genozid wurde so systematisch wie der Judenmord geplant und ausgeführt. weiter lessen…(download the article)
|Preisträgerin Judith Butler. Foto: dapd|
Es ist mir eine große Ehre, heute hier den Adorno-Preis entgegennehmen zu dürfen. Ich möchte heute Abend über eine Frage Adornos sprechen, die uns auch weiterhin angeht. Ich werde auf diese sich stets neu stellende Frage wiederholt zurückkommen. Es gibt auf sie keine einfache Antwort und ihrem Anspruch an uns ist nicht leicht zu entgehen. In seinen „Minima Moralia“ sagt Adorno: „Es gibt kein richtiges Leben im falschen“ – aber das ließ ihn keineswegs an der Möglichkeit der Moral verzweifeln. weiter…
Ein taz-Radiowerbespot hat in diesem Jahr den “Radiostar” in der Kategorie “Publikumspreis” gewonnen. In dem Spot ist zu hören, wie ein Vorstandsvorsitzender eines Unternehmens eine Ansprache an seine Mitarbeiter hält und dabei die üblichen Floskeln von sich gibt. Seine Ansprache wird synchronübersetzt – aber nicht in eine andere Sprache, sondern in Klartext. Den Radiospot gibt es hier zum Download als MP3. Ein anderer sehr toller Spot, der den Preis in der Kategorie “Idee” gewonnen hat: “Absolutes Gehör” (MP3) von der Agentur Ogilvy & Mather für die Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover.
“…While the biggest crowds filled Philadelphia’s International House for screenings of nationally publicized works such as Brooklyn Boheme and Soul Food Junkies, lesser known films also attracted audiences. For me, the highlight was a German import, Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992.
Written, directed and produced by German feminist publisher and professor Dagmar Schultz, the documentary provides an intimate portrait of the poet, professor, activist and cultural organizer who died of cancer in 1992 at age 58. Through never-released video, photographs and (sometimes hilarious) interviews with Lorde, her partner, Gloria Joseph, and a tight-knit group of Afro-German activists and writers, The Berlin Years tells the story of Lorde the genius facilitator.
When Harlem-born Lorde arrived in Berlin in 1984 as a visiting professor, she immediately sought out Afro-Germans—who were then known only by pejoratives like “cross-breed,” “mulatto” and “brown babies”—and taught them how to see themselves outside of what she observed as “the pain of living a difference that has no name.”
The anecdotes are rich. For instance, at the end of a 1984 poetry reading, Lorde asked the white women to leave the room and the black women to remain until they had spoken to at least one other black woman. “Her intention was to make us feel: No matter what you do, you are not alone,” recalls one Afro-German activist who was in that room. “You must work together! Make yourself visible and raise your voice, each of you in her own way.”
Lorde’s seemingly simple act inspired an anti-racism movement tightly bound with feminism. Her gentle prodding, joke-cracking, party-throwing and speechmaking became the connective tissue between Afro-Germans who went on to found collectives such as ADEFRA (Afrogerman Women and Black Women in Germany) and the ISD (Initiative of Black People in Germany) and to produce anthologies, memoirs and poetry collections.
The Berlin Years also shows Lorde the social agitator. In a room full of visibly uncomfortable young white women, she explains, “Racism in Germany, in Switzerland, in Europe must become an issue for white feminists because it is part of your lives, it affects your lives in every way, and the fact that you are not people of color does not make you safe from the effects of it.” In another scene, a young black German man asks her if black women’s liberation struggles are a drain on “the overall movement.” Without sarcasm or condescension, she breaks down the basics of intersectionality.
The message of the Lorde film mirrors that of the BlackStar Film Festival, which Holmes says will return to Philadelphia next summer: To create change, folks need to gather in the same space, talk to one another and celebrate what we share. I’m looking forward to the alliances, the ideas and the work conceived and nurtured by this little festival that could.”
Nils Pickert lives in a small, traditionally religious town in Germany. He also has a five-year-old son who enjoys wearing dresses and skirts and painting his nails. Instead of discouraging his son from expressing himself, Nils decided to be a strong, supportive role model… by wearing skirts himself.
Nils explains how his decision has helped his son, in a translation from Buzzfeed:
“After a lot of contemplation, I had only one option left: To broaden my shoulders for my little buddy and dress in a skirt myself. After all, you can’t expect a child at pre-school age to have the same ability to assert themselves as an adult. Completely without role model. And so I became that role model. [...]
And what’s the little guy doing by now? [...] He’s simply smiling, when other boys (and it’s nearly always boys) want to make fun of him, and says: “You only don’t dare to wear skirts and dresses because your dads don’t dare to either.” That’s how broad his own shoulders have become by now. And all thanks to daddy in a skirt.”
[left] is a sweet photo of the father-and-son duo…
|The Roma children go a local school|
It seems unlikely but Berlin, the very city where the genocide of the Roma (Gypsy) peoples was planned 70 years ago, has become the city where they now find refuge.
In the suburb of Neukoelln, a large complex of run-down apartments is being done up to become comfortable homes for more than 100 families from a dirt-poor village near Bucharest in Romania. Where the Nazis planned the mass murder of Roma, modern Germans plan comfort and acceptance.
There is no doubt that Europe remains a continent where Roma still face widespread discrimination. A Swiss magazine recently ran the headline They Come. They Steal. They Go alongside a picture of a Roma boy toting a gun (which later transpired not to be a real one). And the human rights campaigners Amnesty International reported: “Roma are among the most deprived communities in Europe. They suffer massive discrimination and are denied their rights to housing, employment, health care and education. Roma communities are often subject to forced evictions, racist attacks and police ill-treatment.”
The German project aims to buck that trend. Read the rest of the article…
Christy Farr is a life coach and an empowerment agent who shows the Wild Ones how to show up in the world. More than anything, she wants you to know that ... it doesn't have to be this way! Get the tools to dig into your personal evolution, visit ‘The Greenhouse’ at SeedsAndWeedsCoaching.com and join the Wildflower Evolution on Facebook.