Travis Dustin Fretter played piano and guitar and sang songs in many languages. • Berkeleyside • July 23, 2021
Travis Dustin Fretter, 1940-2021
Travis Dustin Fretter passed away July 9 after a recent cancer diagnosis, with his family by his side. He was 81. Travis was known as an award-winning winemaker, a teacher of European languages, and an outgoing and welcoming Berkeleyan. He was fluent in English, French, Italian and German. He had a great sense of humor and was always available to friends and family members when they needed a helping hand.
Travis was loved and appreciated by many friends, relatives, acquaintances, and associates in California and around the world. He was witty, talented and sincere — always up for conversation with old friends and new, sharing a delicious meal and a glass of wine. He played piano and guitar and sang songs in many languages, much to the delight of loved ones and visitors. Fittingly, these were some of the last words he heard: Il y a longtemps que je t’aime; jamais je ne t’oublierai.
He will be missed by his mother, Grace; his sister, Gretchen; his daughters, Sophia and Xenia; his partner, Betsy; and by many dear friends from his boyhood days, his years living in Europe and his involvement in Bay Area communities.
Donations can be made in Travis’ name to his German group, the Gerlind Institute, online or by sending a personal check to:
Gerlind Institute for Cultural Studies
2128 108th Ave.
Oakland, CA 94603
This was Travis’ choice, as he had been on the board of directors for Gerlind.
Berliner Straße bekommt einen neuen Namen: Audre Lorde statt Manteuffel Die Bezirksverordnetenversammlung hat entschieden: Geehrt wird künftig eine amerikanische Dichterin statt eines preußischen Demokratiegegners.
Berliner Zeitung 15.6. 2021
Berlin- Schwarz, feministisch, lesbisch, Dichterin, Kämpferin, Mutter. So beschrieb sich die 1992 verstorbene US-Amerikanerin Audre Lorde gerne selbst. Damit vereint sie Eigenschaften, die im Berliner Straßenbild unterrepräsentiert sind. Der Bezirk Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg will das mit einer Audre-Lorde-Straße ändern.
Die Bezirksverordnetenversammlung (BVV) hat auf ihrer Sitzung am Mittwoch entschieden, den nördlichen Teil der Manteuffelstraße umzubenennen. In Kreuzberg verbrachte Lorde einen Teil ihres Lebens, sie lehrte als Gastprofessorin an der Freien Universität und engagierte sich für afrodeutsche Frauen.
Die BVV hatte bereits 2005 beschlossen, Straßen zunächst nur noch nach Frauen zu benennen und sich schon im Februar 2019 auf Audre Lorde festgelegt. Unklar war nur, welche Straße in Kreuzberg dafür erwählt würde.
Bei einer postalischen Umfrage und einer Onlineveranstaltung am 4. Mai konnten interessierte Anwohnende abstimmen. Auf den nördlichen Teil der Manteuffelstraße (ab Skalitzer Straße bis Köpenicker Straße) entfielen dabei 26 Prozent der 466 abgegebenen Stimmen. 16 Prozent hätten den nördlichen Teil der Wrangelstraße bevorzugt, 15 Prozent einen Teil der Adalbertstraße und 29 Prozent die Admiralstraße.
Die Beschlussvorlage des Queer-Ausschusses für Mittwoch lautete dennoch auf Umbenennung der Manteuffelstraße, benannt nach Otto Theodor von Manteuffel (1805–1882), der sich als preußischer Ministerpräsident gegen die Demokratiebewegung einsetzte. Der südliche Teil der Straße bis Paul-Lincke-Ufer bleibt nach ihm benannt.
The animals in a zoo in Germany were depressed and never left their dens. This happened during the pandemic. Nobody went there anymore, neither children nor adults. The zoo remained empty. So the zoo keeper called this pianist to play for them…. And see what happened.
Hey! :) Ich heiße Thelonious Hermann und spiele leidenschaftlich gerne Klavier. Mit meinem Projekt Stadtgeklimper bin ich mittlerweile durch 18 Länder gereist und habe in den Städten Europas hunderte spontane Open-Air-Konzerte mit meinem akustischen Klavier gespielt. Künstler und Zoo-Tiere haben momentan eines gemeinsam: Ihnen fehlt das Publikum. Daher hatte ich die Idee, für die Tiere des Kölner Zoos ein kleines Konzert zu spielen. Es war wirklich beeindruckend, wie die Tiere auf die Musik reagiert haben! Meine weiteren Reisen kannst Du auf Instagram unter @stadtgeklimper verfolgen. Viel Spaß beim gucken! Video by Julius Tyson (@juliustyson)
Can a Bill Have a Gender? Feminine Wording Exposes a Rift NYTimes | By Christopher F. Schuetze |
Oct. 15, 2020
BERLIN — A dispute over grammar between two federal ministries has reopened a front in Germany’s longstanding battle about gender equality, forcing officials to redraft a debt protection bill.
Last month, the Justice Ministry presented a draft of the bill, which aims to shield debtors and businesses from insolvency in the wake of the coronavirus. While the bill drew little attention at the time, the draft language was written employing “Femininum,” a grammatical device that includes the use of the feminine form of plural nouns to describe groups that include both men and women.
An equivalent in English would be to refer to a group of both male and female actors collectively as “actresses.”
On Monday, the Interior Ministry announced that the draft would be rejected based on its use of the generic feminine form, dealing a blow to those who say the usual masculine marginalizes people who do not identify as men. In a country like Germany, where gender norms remain entrenched, the dispute shows how the traditional norms of language can become an obstacle to equality.
Christine Lambrecht, the justice minister who rolled out the draft bill, ran into resistance from the interior minister, Horst Seehofer, who warned that the document’s language could, in legal terms, exclude men from its protections. Steve Alter, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said that Mr. Seehofer’s objections were focused solely on the question of whether it was legally valid to use such language in a bill.
“The generic feminine for use for female and male people has not yet been linguistically recognized,” Mr. Alter said. “This applies completely independently of whether a certain social state is desired.”
German has gendered nouns — masculine, feminine and neutral — but as in several other European languages, the masculine form takes precedence when referring to groups of men and women, especially on official and legal documents.
Read the article here. Download it here. (Photo: Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, left, Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht, center, and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany in Berlin on Wednesday.Credit...Pool photo by Henning Schacht)
Meet Denmark's school where education is all about sustainability DW | April 27, 2020 | Download article
At the Green Free School in Copenhagen, you're more likely to find pupils repairing a bicycle or doing urban farming than sitting in front of a blackboard. Could a different approach to learning spark a green transition?
A dozen children are sitting in a circle when the bell rings. Instead of rushing to their next class, the children close their eyes. “Raise your hand when you can no longer hear a sound,” says their teacher, holding a pair of bronze cymbals — the kind you might find in a Buddhist temple. One by one, their hands go up.
At the Green Free School (Den Gronne Friskole), in Copenhagen, educating children for a world affected by climate change begins with putting them in the right frame of mind — literally. Classes here include urban farming and often start with mindfulness training.
“We thought about what kids need to learn to take part in the green transition we're going to go through,” says Phie Ambo, a Danish filmmaker who founded the school in 2014 with American translator Karen MacLean. “They need to learn to be courageous and take risks. And they need to learn some basic things about the planet and how we as human beings exist together. I couldn't really see that happening in the Danish school system.”
(right photo: Pupils at the Green Free School spend much of their time studying outdoors.)
Rethinking the syllabus Unlike the country's regular state-funded schools, the Green Free School — which has 200 pupils aged six to 15 — puts sustainable living at the heart of its syllabus. At first glance, there's nothing unusual about the Green Free School. It occupies four inconspicuous buildings in a post-industrial neighborhood southeast of Copenhagen's center. Only a woodshed flanking a paint-daubed playground hints at a different kind of institution. Its main building — made entirely of sustainable materials — houses a workshop where pupils learn to sew and use materials such as wood, clay, wax, felt, metal, and plastic. They also learn to compost, repair bicycles, and collect rainwater.
In shaping the syllabus, founder Ambo drew inspiration from “systems thinking” — a way of looking at the world in terms of its underlying patterns and interrelated systems. Pupils are encouraged to think about these systems through time spent outdoors exploring the world and gaining hands-on experience growing vegetables, while learning about edible plants and climatic conditions. One 12-year-old pupil said she was “a little nervous about the future” because of the climate crisis, but felt she learned a lot at the school.
According to deputy principal Suzanne Crawfurd, the school’s teaching method combines “project-based learning and design thinking.” In other words, you won't see teachers at blackboards or children in front of screens. Instead they do hands-on projects that are supervised by several teachers and span different subjects. For example, the children might learn how to forage edible mushrooms, then practice drawing them, before heading into the kitchen to make mushroom soup.
(left photo: Lessons at the Green Free School often begin with mindfulness practice. right photo: Children at the school take part in hands-on projects that span different subjects.) Despite its alternative approach, setting up the school was easy, Ambo says. While most schools in Denmark are publicly run, anyone can set up a private “free school,” with the state covering about three-quarters of its costs and the rest being made up by fees.
Eco-friendly lessons Tuition at the Green Free School costs 2,600 DKK a month (about €350, $380) — and it sets aside at least 5% of its budget to provide bursaries to children whose parents can’t afford the fees. That means its pupils come from “a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds” in Copenhagen, says Ambo.
By law, a “free school” must follow the national curriculum. In addition to learning to read and write, they study history, maths, and science. But otherwise it’s permitted to devise its own syllabus, allowing the Green Free School to teach subjects like urban farming and greenwashing. “They [the pupils] need to learn to grow their own food and they need to be able to see through companies that claim they are sustainable — because we don’t have time for that,” Ambo says.
The Danish Green Free School isn't the only educational institution in Europe with an “eco-friendly syllabus.” Berlin's Hagenbeck high school, for instance, teaches students about the importance of species and ecosystems, successfully incorporating biodiversity throughout its hands-on curriculum. Ambo says she hopes the Danish school will inspire young teachers to apply its approach in other schools in a country where climate change is becoming a growing political focus. Last December, the Danish parliament passed a climate law committing the country to reduce carbon emissions to 70% below 1990 levels by 2030.
(right photo: The school tries to encourage children to think critically about sustainability.)
Green transition and its challenges Still, the school's founders have faced hurdles. The site that Ambo and MacLean chose for it was polluted with chemicals used to clean ships — a drawback they turned to their advantage. "It used to be one of the most toxic places in Copenhagen, but we decided to make it part of the curriculum," says Ambo. The school's inaugural intake of 43 pupils duly learned "what kind of trees and plants can remove chemicals from the earth and how to live in and transform places that are tainted by the old industrial way of thinking."
While the school provides more structure in its teaching today, Ambo admits it isn’t ideal for children with severe learning difficulties. Moreover, its students don’t sit exams. “It’s definitely not for everyone,” Ambo concedes. “Some parents think it sounds good and then they realize there won’t be any tests or exams and withdraw their kids.” At 15 pupils move on to further education at other schools, where they usually gain formal qualifications.
Freed from learning geared toward telling examiners what they want to hear, the school aims to equip students to draw their conclusions about the world. But it does have a clear aim of where those conclusions should lead. “We're saying to the students, ‘Be critical, think for yourself, and do what you want — but we want you to make the green transition,’” says Dorthe Junge, principal of the Green Free School. “That's a challenge.”
Blacks are Germany's most visible minority. But how they experience racism and discrimination remains largely unknown. The Afrozensus, or “Afro Census,” wants to change that by asking about their experiences.
After grocery shopping at Arnimplatz in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg district recently, I saw a scene that is not uncommon in the German capital. A man had passed out. And the cops were trying to move him from the pavement after what was probably a bad case of daytime drinking or drugs. As I walked by, I noticed the third policeman. He was black. I smiled slightly as I did a double take. Fortunately, he returned my smile, so it wasn't awkward. This was the first time I'd seen a black police officer in Berlin.
I see black people in many places in the German capital, but I rarely see them working in client-facing roles, in jobs that allow them to engage directly with the public. Their roles tend to be less visible — confined to restaurant kitchens or worse. “Why do bathroom attendants have to be African?” a good friend from Kenya, who also lives here, once asked me.
That black people are overrepresented in menial jobs is an example of structural and institutional racism, says Poliana Baumgarten, a German Afro-Brazilian filmmaker whose work deals with racism and discrimination. “It just shows there’s not even a chance for black women to get jobs where they would experience some form of dignity,” she adds.
Lack of data hampers anti-discrimination efforts Racial discrimination has been rising in Germany. The absolute numbers of reported racist incidents have increased, and they are growing faster than other forms of discrimination, according to the country’s Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency. There were nearly 20% more racist attacks in 2018 than in 2017, based on official crime statistics. However, the data that would allow the anti-discrimination agency to see just how racism affects specific groups of people is missing. Germany doesn't collect information on race and ethnicity.
That's a problem, says Daniel Gyamerah, an expert on anti-discrimination. He believes that the data needs to be more targeted to help fight discrimination against people of African descent. “They are seen as blacks and experience racism against black people, but there's no research about that,” he explains.
Daniel Gyamerah is chairman of Each One Teach One, an empowerment organization by People of African Descent and Division Lead at Citizen For Europe, one of the project partners of the Afrozensus. “Politicians look at numbers,” he says, noting that more evidence of racism is needed to get policymakers to act.
More than 1 million people of African descent live in Germany, according to estimates. And anti-discrimination advocates want to better understand their lives and experiences of racism. Gyamerah came up with the idea that will now result in Germany’s first Afrozensus. The survey could help shed light on what it's like to be black in Germany today.
“Our aim is not to differentiate blacks from other ethnicities or communities, it's to show that there are intersections,” he says, noting how other social categories, such as gender or religion, can change how a black person experiences discrimination.
The Afrozensus, which is funded by the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, will collect standard demographic data — age, gender, disability — and discrimination experiences. It will also ask respondents about their economic participation, civic engagement and expectations from lawmakers.
“The data would allow us to broach the issue of discrimination in public discourse in Germany, because it becomes more visible,” says agency spokesperson Sebastian Bickerich.
Legacy of the Third Reich It’s impossible to discuss racism in Germany without mentioning National Socialism. The effects of the Nazi period on German society still linger. And some experts attribute the country's inability to adequately tackle racism in public discourse today as a response to the understanding of race during the Third Reich.
There is an idea that “by acknowledging racial differences, you are promoting them,” says Sarah Chander, a Brussels-based social justice advocate. She believes politicians need to adopt an understanding that comes from anti-racist organizations to deal with discrimination. “We need to recognize the social differences that you ascribe to us with race,” says Chander, whose work has given her an overview of the problem across Europe. “We can't just hope that those differences won’t exist if we don't talk about them.”
Daniel Gyamerah would agree. “Because of National Socialism and the unfathomable responsibility of the entire society, in relation to Nazism and what our forefathers did, it often means that the consequences of German colonialism are neglected,” he says.
Thousands died in the genocide in German South West Africa — in concentration camps and from starvation. Gyamerah points to colonialism and National Socialism as elements of a “racist continuity.” The first genocide in the 20th century is linked to Germany. Tens of thousands of Nama and Herero were killed in German South West Africa (now Namibia) after they rebelled against colonial rule. And while several German politicians have acknowledged the genocide, an official apology is still pending. Numerous streets in the country still bear the names of individuals many would consider mass murderers.
“The focus is on National Socialism because the collective responsibility there is so big that it's difficult for society to recognize other events in German history,” says Gyamerah. “Colonialism and anti-black racism have no place in the country's public discourse.”
Is Germany changing how it talks about race? Speaking at the country’s integration summit last month, Chancellor Angela Merkel used the term schwarz (black) to question why people of African descent have to prove they are German even when they were born and raised here. This was the first time in years a high-ranking government official used the word. Some saw her statement, in the aftermath of the most recent racist attack in Hanau, as a direct reference to discrimination that targets blacks or other people of color.
“It's a huge relief that groups of people who are more likely to suffer discrimination are actually being named,” says Maureen Maisha Auma, professor of childhood and diversity studies at the University of Magdeburg. “For a long time, it was a taboo because [racism] was lumped together with xenophobia, which in a sense also places the blame on the person who is being discriminated against,” she explains.
The German chancellor’s recent viral sound bite gives more weight to the calls from scholars like Auma who have repeatedly spoken about anti-black racism. “The way we see the world, because we navigate it in a black body, has started to take on a meaning [in Germany],’ Auma says. While Germans have recognized that racism is an issue, “they still have reservations about having certain groups of people in their proximity,” according to Sebastian Bickerich. Examining how those reservations affect blacks in the country could begin with the Afrozensus, which will be launched in May in three languages — German, English and French. People can already sign up to receive the online survey. Its initiators want the results, which are slated for publication at the end of the year, to spur policymakers into action.
But for Germany's black population and people of color, it will be about more than just numbers. It will also be an opportunity to get insights into how to deal with discrimination, says Daniel Gyamerah.
‘I Will Never Be German’: Immigrants and Mixed-Race Families in Germany on the Struggle to Belong Thirty years after Germany’s unification, nearly 500 readers shared with us what it means to be German.
By Lara Takenag, New York Times online • Nov. 8, 2019
Three decades since the Berlin Wall fell, Germans remain deeply divided over the question of what it means to be German. In an article marking the 30th anniversary of Germany’s unification, Katrin Bennhold, The Times’s Berlin bureau chief, examines the renewed debate over German identity. The most vocal participants have been members of Germany’s far-right, anti-immigrant party, who draw a sharp line between “bio-Germans,” with German blood, and “passport Germans.” We asked Germans and immigrants to Germany how they think about their identity — and how they navigate the simmering tensions in their country.
Nearly 500 people responded, including many whose lives straddle two national identities: Germans married to immigrants, and vice versa, and the children of intermarried couples.
30 Years After Reunification,
Germany Is Still Two Countries Why Eastern Germans are embracing the far right. By Anna Sauerbrey
Ms. Sauerbrey is an editor and a writer at the German daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel
and a contributing opinion writer.
BERLIN — Nov. 9 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. There will be no lack of commemoration— but there will also be very little celebration. Today the country is once again divided along East-West lines, and growing more so. As it does, the historical narrative of what really happened in the years after 1989 is shifting as well. Only a few years ago, when my country consecutively celebrated the 25th anniversary of the wall’s demise and of German reunification in 1990, the official mood was one of victory and hope.
President Joachim Gauck, a former East German pastor who had played a role in the Communist regime’s demise, then later oversaw the declassification of the archives of the Stasi secret police, praised the East German masses who, in their “desire for freedom,” stood up to “overwhelm” the “oppressor” — an uprising, he said, in the tradition of the French Revolution. A year later, he spoke optimistically about German reunification, stressing the dwindling differences between eastern and western Germans.
He wasn’t entirely wrong: After the mass unemployment and deprivation following the breakdown of the socialist state economy during the transition years of the 1990s, the economy in eastern Germany has been on a slow, steady recovery. Regional identities, once solidly split between East and West, were softening — the Allensbach Institute, a polling organization, found that since 2000, more people on both sides of the old border were identifying as simply“Germans.”
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Audre Lorde’s Berlin NYTimes • July 21, 2019 • By Charly Wilder Following in the footsteps of the self-described “black feminist lesbian poet,” whose ideas caught fire in a city she cherished and criticized.
“I come here to read my poetry tonight as a black feminist lesbian poet,” said Audre Lorde, standing onstage in a dashiki and head wrap, to a mesmerized West Berlin audience at the Amerika Haus in June 1984.
At the time, the Wall was still standing, and the western part of the divided city was a hotbed of radical politics, Cold War angst and scrappy, state-subsidized bohemia. But it had never seen anything quite like Lorde, the poet, essayist and activist born in New York City’s Harlem to Caribbean parents in 1934, whose ideas about female rage, intersectional feminism and the political dimensions of self-care have perhaps never been as relevant or embraced as they are today. During Pride month in June, Lorde and her politics were frequently invoked, from acknowledgements at the Stonewall Inn rally in New York City to the official landmarking of her Staten Island home.
The 1984 trip was the first of many extended visits Lorde would make to Berlin, a city she depicted in poetry and prose, where she played a pivotal role in the birth of the Afro-German identity movement in the years before she succumbed to liver cancer in 1992 at age 58. Since her death, Lorde’s momentous influence on the American left has become clear. But she also lives on in today’s Berlin, now a truly international city grappling with what it means to be pluralistic and humane.
“The city itself is very different from what I’d expected,” Lorde wrote in her journal in June 1984. “It is lively and beautiful, but its past is never very far away, at least not for me.” She went on: “The silence about Jews is absolutely deafening, chilling. There is only one memorial in the whole city and it is to the Resistance.” The past is still close in Berlin, but Lorde’s second observation seems almost inconceivable today. The Resistance memorial at Plötzensee, which inspired her 1984 poem, “This Urn Contains Earth from German Concentration Camps,” is now one of the least known Holocaust memorials in a city full of them — most notably the Stolperstein project and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe by Peter Eisenman. What would Lorde have thought to see the Amerika Haus, where she gave that first public address, on a recent night, as visitors filed into the modernist structure to view photographs of Holocaust atrocities, part of an exhibition on images of death? Since 2014, the Amerika Haus has been home to C/O Berlin, one of innumerable local venues now featuring the kind of culturally diverse, socially engaged material that Lorde often found lacking.
Where to find Lorde today The best starting place for any Lorde pilgrim is audrelordeberlin.com, a comprehensive English-language website created by Dagmar Schultz, a German sociologist and publisher who helped secure Lorde a visiting professorship at the Free University of Berlin in 1984. The two women would become close friends, and Ms. Schultz recorded copious footage of Lorde’s time in Berlin, which eventually became a 2012 documentary, “Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984-1992,” screened regularly in art house cinemas in Berlin and beyond. The film and its supporting material, including photographs, interviews, letters and posters, now form the basis of the Free University’s Audre Lorde Archive, which can be viewed by appointment at the campus in Lankwitz. Much of this material is also on the website, as is an interactive map of significant locations.
During her first stay, Lorde lived in a red apartment building that still stands at Auf dem Grat 26, overlooking Thiel Park, a sloping stretch of green marshland near the university in the lush, villa-laden western district of Dahlem. The yellow phone booth that used to stand on the park’s edge figures in her haunting 1984 poem, “Berlin Is Hard on Colored Girls,” which mixes the language of border crossings with imagery evoking the African diaspora: “I cross her borders at midnight / the guards confused by a dream / Mother Christopher’s warm bread / an end to war perhaps … A nightingale waits in the alley / next to the yellow phone booth...”
Through her lectures and workshops in 1984, Lorde began to connect with young German women of African descent — women like May Ayim and Katharina Oguntoye — who would later play important roles in what became known as the Afro-German movement. It was Lorde who coined the term, “Afro-German,” as she encouraged the women to tell their stories and forge an identity. The resulting co-authored 1986 book, Farbe Bekennen, translated into English as Showing Our Colors, tells the story of black German women reaching back to the Middle Ages, a story that had largely been ignored in the national discourse up to that point.
first thing you have to know
is that Germans love America. They love the country
and they call it Amerika in conversation even though
they know one is supposed to say Vereinigte Staaten,
United States. During my Berlin childhood, the word
Amerika cast a powerful force field; it rang with possibility
AP Photo/dpa, Soeren Stache AP Photo/dpa,Soeren
Germans have felt the
tug of the American Dream, for
a long time. Since the eighteenth century, seven million
Germans have immigrated to North America. They left
their homeland looking for economic opportunities and
religious and political freedom.
But the love for Amerika got its strongest boost at
the least likely moment: after
the Americans (with British, French and Russian allies)
defeated Germany in World War Two.
I learned as a child
that Germans were grateful to
the Americans because of the role they played in liberating
Germany from the nightmare of National Socialism. My
relatives admired the GIs who occupied the country after
1945 - the young men embodied what Germans then lacked:
- a mix of cool, easy, casual. American music soothed wounded
hearts and Hollywood movies sprouted fantasies of peacetime
prosperity in Deutschland.
But it was more than that. Amerika
was the mightiest country in the
world and instead of punishing Germany, the US government
rebuilt and protected the country they’d just defeated.
The American Marshal Plan jump-started
West German reconstruction. American
troops saved the city of West Berlin when the Soviets
imposed a blockade, by airlifting basic supplies to
the besieged population for an entire year. Most West
Germans were grateful for NATO, with the US at its helm.
Perhaps most importantly – and lastingly
- the values of the US Constitution shaped the West German
Verfassung which is one of the most democratic constitutions
in the world.
Of course, Germans know that it wasn’t
altruism – it was political strategy. The Cold War
was very hot back then and it played out most immediately
in Germany when the country was divided by the infamous Wall.
West Germany’s economy would be capitalist, its growth
would create a reliable market for American goods. Its geographic
location made West Germany a perfect base for the US military,
allowing for quick retaliation against the Soviet enemy.
Germans have always known they played an important role
for the United States and for the most part, they didn’t
mind. They were Amerika’s loyal and steadfast partner.
But since they have strong opinions and believe in open political
discourse, Germans spoke out against the Atom bomb, against
McCarthyism, against the Vietnam War. Today, they speak out
against racism and mass incarceration. They do not support
US military involvement in Iraq and other countries. They
wonder about homelessness and mass shootings and America’s
anti immigration policies.
Most of all, they wonder about
“What’s going on over there?” my
friends in Germany ask me. “How can this be happening?” Young
Germans are dismayed and angry at being called ‘bad,
very bad’ by the US head of state. Older Germans are
disappointed. Weren’t they the favorite friend, the
Musterschüler - star pupil- of the country they admired?
Bad? Just because they are really good at making and selling
cars? That’s what they were taught to do.
they take in hundreds of thousands
of refugees and try to work out the ensuing challenges?
That’s what they were
taught to do. Bad? Inevitably that adjective conjures up
a time when Germans were known throughout the world as evil,
trampling on rights and democratic values, unleashing a world
war that devastated Europe, and organizing a Holocaust that
killed 6 million Jews and forever transformed our thinking
That, however, is not contemporary Germany.
Today, Deutschland is a democratic,
prosperous, conscientious country. Its politicians are
aware that they have global responsibilities.
know this is a different Amerika
from the one they grew to love in the fifties. They
understand that their love was always based partially
on a fantasy, a myth. The current reality has not eclipsed
the ideas of liberty and equality, not yet.
every German knows today that
the real United States are no longer the promised land,
the word Amerika still vibrates with the possibility
of there being a promised land – if not now, perhaps
in the future?
It is possible to love someone and still hate
what they do and the choices they
make - I have experienced this with my parents, my spouse,
even my children. When this happens, you have to make
boundaries, limit contact, go your separate way for
a while - maybe a long while.
It looks like that’s what Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel
is proposing to do with Amerika.
of the Bauhaus School ARTSY
EDITORIAL BY ALEXXA GOTTHARDT APR 3RD,
The male icons
of the early-20th-century Bauhaus
school, like Josef Albers, László Moholy-Nagy,
and Paul Klee, are some of the most
celebrated pioneers of modern art. But the women artists
who taught, studied, and made groundbreaking work with
them are often remembered in history books as wives
of their male counterparts or, worse, not at all.
While women were allowed into the German school—and
its manifesto stated that it welcomed “any person of
good repute, without regard to age or sex”—a
strong gender bias still informed
its structure. Female students, for instance, were encouraged
to pursue weaving rather than male-dominated mediums like
painting, carving, and architecture. Bauhaus founder Walter
Gropius encouraged this distinction through his vocal belief
that men thought in three dimensions, while women could only
The year 2019 will mark the 100th birthday of the Bauhaus.
As that date approaches, this bias toward the school’s
male students is being revised, and its many integral
female members recognized by scholarship and institutional
exhibitions. Weavers, industrial designers, photographers,
and architects like Anni Albers, Marianne Brandt, and
Gertrud Arndt not only advanced the school’s historic
marriage of art and function; they were also essential
in laying the groundwork for centuries of art and design
innovation to come after them.
Below, we highlight 10
female Bauhaus members who contributed
fundamental work, instruction, and innovation to the
school over the course of its relatively short existence,
between 1919 and 1933, and bolstered its lasting legacy.
Grapples With Its African Genocide By NORIMITSU ONISHIDEC. 29, 2016 | NYTimes.com
Namibia — In this faraway corner of southern Africa,
scores of German soldiers lie in
a military cemetery, their names, dates and details engraved
on separate polished tombstones. Easily missed is a single
small plaque on the cemetery wall that gives a nod in German
to the African “warriors” who
died in the fighting as well. Nameless, they are among the
tens of thousands of Africans killed in what historians have
long considered — and what the German government is
now close to recognizing — as the 20th century’s
A century after losing its colonial possessions
in Africa, Germany and
its former colony, Namibia, are now engaged in
intense negotiations to put an end to one of the
ugliest chapters of Europe’s past in Africa.
During German rule in Namibia, called South-West
Africa back then, colonial officers studying eugenics
developed ideas on racial purity, and their forces
tried to exterminate two rebellious ethnic groups,
the Herero and Nama, some of them in concentration
“It will be described
as genocide,” Ruprecht Polenz, Germany’s
special envoy to the talks, said of a joint statement
that the two governments are preparing. Negotiations,
which began this year, are now also focusing on
how Germany will compensate and apologize to Namibia.
The events in Namibia between 1904 and 1908 foreshadowed
Nazi ideology and the Holocaust. Yet the genocide
in this former colony remains little known in Germany,
the rest of Africa and, to some extent, even in
Namibia itself. Throughout
Namibia, monuments and cemeteries commemorating
the German occupiers still outnumber those honoring
the victims of genocide, a concrete reminder of
the lasting imbalance of
“Some of us want to
remove that cemetery so that we can put our own people there,” said
Magic Urika, 26, who lives about an hour away from the cemetery
here in Waterberg. “What they did was a terrible thing,
killing our people, saying all the Herero should be eliminated.” While
Germany’s efforts to atone for crimes during
World War II are well known, it took a
century before the nation
began taking steps to acknowledge that genocide
happened in Namibia decades before the Holocaust.
About 80 percent of all Herero, who numbered as
many as 100,000, are believed to have eventually
died. Many perished after
the battle of Waterberg: They were shot, hanged
from trees or died in the desert, where the Germans
sealed off watering holes and also prevented survivors
Even after the centennial of the Namibian genocide
in 2004, Germany’s willingness to acknowledge it officially
has proceeded so slowly — and, to critics, grudgingly — that
it has set off accusations of racism in how the victims
in Europe and Africa have been treated. “The only
difference is that the Jewish are white in color and
we are black,” said Sam Kambazembi, 51, a traditional
Herero chief whose great-grandparents fled during the
genocide. “The Germans thought they could
keep this issue under the carpet and the world
would never know about it. But now we have made
why Berlin is now known as ‘the failed
Aug 2016 | By Max Bringmann and Verity Middleton
With state elections around
the corner, The
Local looks at the
poor side of Germany's “poor
but sexy” capital city.
Tourists flock to this grungy vibe too, with nearly
six million visiting in the first six months of
this year alone. But the reality is that the city
is struggling with poverty, unemployment, poor
infrastructure, a floundering education system,
debt, the refugee crisis and crime. Its chronic
problems led national newspaper Die Welt to label
it a “failed
state” in 2014. Here are a few reasons why Berlin has
earned this uncomfortable moniker.
1. Six years behind schedule,
the airport still hasn’t been opened.
is hardly unique in Germany when it comes to embarrassing
mega projects. Anyone acquainted with Stuttgart's
underground central station or Hamburg's new concert
hall knows that cliches about German efficiency
hold little water. But there is something spectacular
about how Berlin has failed to open the Berlin-Brandenburg
airport. Its launch has been postponed repeatedly
since 2011 due to planning failures and amid corruption
accusations. Few people believe the city's claim
that it will open next year.
Upon his resignation
in 2014, former mayor Klaus Wowereit described
the fiasco as the biggest failure of his 13-year
term in office. The original projected costs of
the airport have more than doubled. By 2017, some
estimate the taxpayer will have forked out over €5 billion for it.
To pick just the most recent of years of negative
headlines, this week a former senior employee admitted
to taking €150,000 in bribes from a subcontractor.
Fights break out as refugees clamour to
receive an appointment at Berlin's asylum
seeker registration centre. Photo: DPA.
2. In comparison to Germany as a whole, Berlin
is swimming in debt.
debt is increasing in other Bundesländer - with Hamburg's debt rising
from €26 billion in 2014 to €26.7 billion
in 2015 - it is decreasing in Berlin, with the
capital's debt dropping from €59.8 billion
in 2014 to €59.2 billion in 2015. Despite
this, Berlin's debt still overshadows that of other
states, towering above Bavaria's €36.9 billion.
While capitals are often the economic power houses
of their respective countries, Berlin is heavily
reliant on the rest of the Bundesrepublik. In fact,
it is the only European capital which is a drain
on its country's overall economy, a study by the
Cologne Institute for Economic Research demonstrated.
Germany has a system of fiscal equalisation which
tries to eliminate financial inequalities between
states. Berlin is the largest recipient of payments,
receiving over €3.6 billion last year. By
contrast, Bavaria is the biggest contributor to
the scheme, providing over €5.4 billion.
3. Berlin is struggling to provide adequate care
At the height of the refugee crisis last year, 500
asylum seekers were arriving daily at the capital’s
main registration centre, known as LaGeSo, but only
200 could be given an appointment on a given day,
an employee told the Berliner Zeitung last December. “Our
leadership is completely overwhelmed”, the
employee said. “The files we’ve put
on hold are mounting up in boxes. We store them
in several rooms. There is no system to it, which
is why we have come up with a job called 'the seeker'
- someone whose only task is to find the necessary
file,” said another. Refugees have queued
outside LaGeSo in temperatures as high as nearly
40C and as low as -8C in recent years. Antje Kapek,
leader of the Green Party in Berlin, talking to
the city parliament in June described the situation
crime rate is higher than in
all the other German states.
In 2015, Berlin experienced the highest
crime rate of all the Bundesländer, according
to the Federal Interior Ministry’s crime statistics.
The capital reported 16,414 cases per 100,000 people,
above Hamburg’s 13,839, Bremen’s 13,784,
Saxony’s 8,893, and the national average of
7,797. Berlin’s overall crime rate increased
by 4.9 percent between 2014 and 2015. During this
period, while murder and manslaughter decreased
by 14.5 percent and robbery fell by 5.1 percent,
shop theft increased by 14 percent, bag theft rose
by 25.8 percent and basement break-ins increased
by 34.6 percent, police crime statistics for the
5. Unemployment and poverty are
very real issues.
In 2015, the capital had the second-highest unemployment
rate of all the German
states, with 10.7 percent of the working-age population
jobless, while the overall national rate was 6.4
percent. In Hamburg the rate was 7.4 percent of
Hamburgers and in Bavaria it was 3.6 percent.
While only 4.3 percent
of people in Baden-Württemberg and 3.6 percent of people
in Bavaria receive Hartz IV welfare benefits, 16.4
percent of Berliners receive this funding.
But not only that: 20 percent of Berliners are classified
as "in danger of poverty" (receiving less
than 60 percent of the median national income for
private households), compared to Bavaria’s
11.5 percent and Baden-Württemberg’s
11.4 percent. A Berlin branch of the Catholic welfare
organisation Caritas e.V. reported that between
2014 and 2015, the number of treatments given to
homeless people and people without insurance increased
by a third at their local treatment centre. And
those who aren't sleeping on the streets of the
capital still earn less than people in many other
In 2014, the disposable income in
private households per inhabitant was €18,594
in Berlin, in comparison to Bavaria’s €23,080
and Hamburg’s €23,596.
6. The capital has the worst education system in
One of the reasons behind
the city's plight may just be its poor education
system. Berlin's education system trailed in last
place in the Bildungsmonitor 2016, an analysis
by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research
for the think tank New Social Market Economy Foundation.
Saxony and Thuringia took
the top spots in the survey. In 2014, the dropout
rate in Berlin schools was 8.1 percent compared
to the national average of 5.5 percent, and 39.7
percent of students did not complete their vocational
training compared to the national average of 27.7
percent, the survey demonstrates.
of German slang you'll never learn
in class 01
Aug 2016 10:20
You can bet your bottom
dollar that your teachers didn’t tell you these colloquial
words and phrases when they taught
you how to speak Hochdeutsch (Standard or High German) perfectly.
“Krass”, “Hammer”, “Wahnsinnig” and “Geil” Do
you have strong feelings about anything
and everything? “Krass” can
be used whenever you have
an extreme emotional
reaction towards something. If you love it,
it’s krass. If you hate
it, it’s krass. If it makes you roll around
on the floor laughing,
it’s krass. If it
makes your hair stand on
end with fear, yes you’ve
guessed it, it’s
The phrase “Das ist der Hammer!” in
fact has nothing to do
with hammers, but actually
implies that something
is completely extraordinary.
quite a similar meaning. Feeling the adrenaline pump through
your body as you plunge down a crazy rollercoaster? “Das
ist ja wahnsinnig!” will convey that you think it’s
insanely fun or even exhilarating.
Do you think something’s
cool, awesome, great or amazing? Don’t stick with your
textbook classics of “toll”, “spannend” or “ausgezeichnet” -
why not try the less standard “geil” instead?
The adjective “geil” gained superstar status
in Germany when “Supergeil”, a promotional music
video by supermarket giant Edeka, went viral. But just a
word of warning: be careful as to when you use this word,
as in some contexts it can mean “horny” instead.
“Quasi”, “sozusagen”, “naja” and "halt" If
you want to avoid umming and ahhing when lost for words,
these fillers are your go-to. “Quasi” and “sozusagen” are
the equivalent of “so to speak”, and “naja” (“well…”)
can be used if you’re a bit hesitant about a statement.
Have you heard British and American teens throwing the word “like” into
sentences as if a phrase is utterly incomplete without it?
It’s exactly the same here in Germany, where “halt” is
sprinkled into phrases like there's no tomorrow. So next
time you chat to your German friend, try throwing in a few
fillers - you might end up with a bizarre sentence like “Naja...es
war denn...halt...quasi schrecklich, sozusagen”.
“Bescheuert” While you were
probably taught the adjectives “schlecht” and “schrecklich” over
and over again until you could say them standing on your
head, you probably haven’t heard of the more colloquial “bescheuert”.
Whether something’s rubbish, annoying, or depressing
- if it brings you down, it can be described as “bescheuert”.
But when you get to Germany, you’ll hear anyone and
everyone uttering the phrase “das ist
total bescheuert!” as
they dash onto the station
platform only to have missed
the train by a few seconds.
“Na?” Forget “Wie
geht es Ihnen heute?”, “Wie
or even “Was geht ab?”. Why trot out all those
long phrases when you can stick to the one-syllable word “Na?” to
ask how someone is? You can also use “Na” to
ask how something went. When your friend comes back from
a date, no lengthy question is required, just a simple “Naaaa?” will
get across that you want to know all the details. But try
not to confuse it with the rather more sarcastic “Na
und?” (“so what?”).
“Alter” In America you’d say “buddy”,
in England you’d say “mate” and in Scotland “pal”.
But how do you refer to a male friend very casually in German? “Alter” or "Alta" is
the way. “Alter, was geht ab?” (“Dude,
what’s up?”) is often heard among German teens.
As you can tell, this kind of slang is very colloquial, so
it’s generally only used by younger people.
ist totaler Quatsch”, you might think when someone
shamelessly declares that they are an authority on a particular
subject when they clearly don’t know the first thing
about it. If you say that something is “Quatsch”,
it means that it’s utter nonsense or complete
“Bock auf etwas haben” If
you know the expression “Lust haben” (“to
want to do something” or “to be up for doing
something”), the phrase “Bock haben” means
roughly the same thing. Not really up for the day trip that
your German friends are organising? “Ich
habe keinen Bock darauf” will convey your lack of enthusiasm. Completely
down for a night out, though? “Ja, ich
hab' Bock drauf” will
show that you’re interested.
jeden Fall” “Bock haben” and “auf
jeden Fall” go hand in hand on the enthusiasm scale.
Instead of using “natürlich” (“of
course”), a piece of vocab which was probably drummed
into you at school, try out the more casual “auf
jeden Fall” (“definitely” or “for sure”).
And if you want to be really
down with the kids, you
can shorten it to a simple 'auf jeden'.
way of expressing uncertainty, “jein” is a mashup
of, yep you’ve guessed it, “ja” and nein”.
So if you want to express that you’re quite doubtful
about something, or you just don’t want to come down
really strongly on one side or the other, “jein” is
the one to use.
“Mach’s gut!” Forget
the textbook ways of saying goodbye - the
casual “Tschüß” and
the more formal “Auf Wiedersehen” - by throwing
in a “Mach’s gut!” to your friends instead.
Literally translated as “Make it good!”, the
phrase is the equivalent of “Have a good one!” in
Syrian refugee in Germany: war
fears taken to the stage. Aziz Dyab brings his recollections
of fleeing Idlib to German community theatre Financial
Times | Guy Chazan, Berlin |
October 25, 2016
welcomed nearly a million migrants last year, an
immigration wave that has changed
economy for good. But what is known
about the individuals who make up this massive
The FT has spoken to three of them,
Ahmad al-Soliman, Abdulaziz Dyab
and Nazir Wakil, all Syrians
who fled civil war in their home country to make
a new life in Germany. The three men’s stories
are a work in progress: the FT is following how they
integrate into German society and returning to them for
regular updates. Their journey will unfold in the telling:
this is the second instalment.
Aziz Dyab has good news. The young Syrian has just heard
he was awarded the top score in his last German language exam — a “DSH3”.
It could be the key to a bright future in his adopted homeland. The exam was
a crucial rite of passage, and a sign that, for at least some refugees, the
pieces of the German jigsaw can occasionally — magically — fall
Aziz, who has lived in the eastern city of Frankfurt-an-der-Oder
since September last year, is now free to take up his place at Karlsruhe University
in south-west Germany, which was contingent on the outcome of the language exam.
The 21-year-old will be studying mechatronics — a hybrid of mechanical
engineering and computer science. His dream is to work at a space agency like
Nasa, or for SpaceX, the exploration company founded by Elon Musk. It’s
an exciting time for him, but he’s also wistful. “The last hurdle
for me will be leaving this city and the people I know here,” he says.
Karlsruhe is a seven-hour train journey away.
The last few months have been intense. He had three hours
of language lessons every morning, paid for by the University of Frankfurt,
then revised in the local library till 5pm. In the evening he went to rehearsals
of a play, a documentary work based on the experiences of six refugees to Germany,
called: Fear: the Story of Ruthlessness.
Performed last month in a Frankfurt community theatre,
it is a moving and disturbing work. In it, Aziz reminisces about his former
life in Idlib, while jerky video footage shows anti-government demonstrations
in the town, a police crackdown that leaves dozens dead, and the slide into
civil war. “Destruction became normal,” he says. He describes hunkering
down with his family while Syrian troops occupy the city. “We hear only
bangs and shots.” After a traumatic journey across Europe he finds himself
in a village in Brandenburg, sharing a tent with 20 other people. “I thought — have
I done something wrong? I wondered what would happen to me here, I thought about
But the play ends on an optimistic note, as all six actors
speak warmly of their new lives, the generosity of German volunteers who have
helped them, and their hopes for the future. “This is a fulfilment of
a dream — peace,” Aziz says.
In a podium discussion with the audience,
he admitted it was hard to relive his memories of war. But through the
became a lot easier to accept these experiences and to talk about them — it’s
therapeutic”. And he felt the message of the play, which was seen by more
than 500 people, was important. “We had to explain why we came here,” he
It has become even more important in recent months as
scepticism about the refugee influx grows. Two terror attacks carried out
by migrants over the summer rang alarm bells: will Germany succeed in properly
integrating its hundreds and thousands of newcomers? Aziz says the attacks “angered me — we
left our homeland because of people like that and now they’re here
too. They came here as terrorists, not as refugees.”
He has also noticed some subtle changes in the way he’s
treated by locals. He recalls an incident on his birthday when he and some German
friends tried to go to a local disco. The bouncer looked at his ID and refused
him entry. The whole group ended up leaving. “I felt guilty that I’d
spoilt the evening for everyone else,” he says.
Aziz has also virtually
given up hope of being able to bring the rest of his family to Germany.
They want to leave Idlib, but don’t know where to go. “All paths are
closed now,” he says. Aziz has a residence permit for three years: after
that he will probably be given leave to remain for a further five years. He
is entitled to citizenship after seven years. But he finds himself dogged by
a lingering fear that his status hangs in the balance. “It was a political
decision to let us in, and that can change,” he says. “I could still
be deported.” “If I study, if I’m active, I won’t be.
But I can’t guarantee that.”
number of people in Germany
from foreign backgrounds has
reached a new high of 21 percent,
a recent study suggests. Migrants
who came to Germany in and after
2015 were not included in the
statistics, however. Germany’s
Federal Statistical Office (Destatis)
has released data which shows
every fifth person in Germany
(21 percent), has some kind
of migrant background – meaning
that out of a population of
82.2 million, 17.1 million people
are not exclusively of German
however, didn’t include
hundreds of thousands of refugees
from Syria, Afghanistan, Northern
Africa and elsewhere, who came
to Germany in and after 2015,
Destatis pointed out. A person
is considered to be of migrant
background if they didn’t
have a German passport at birth,
or if one of their parents is
not a German citizen. A total
of 6.4 million people out of
the 17.1 million with foreign
backgrounds migrated to Germany.
Some 5 million others were of
German descent, but were born
conducted in 2015 showed an
increase of 4.4 percent compared
to 2014, the report says. Most
of the migrants mentioned in
the report have links with Turkey,
Poland or Russia. A total of
6.3 million people had relatives
in Greece, Italy or Turkey who
came to Germany as guest workers
in the 1960s or 1970s. Among
the population under 18 years
old, one in three comes from
an immigrant family. People
with immigrant backgrounds are
usually less well-educated,
according to Destatis. Non-German
citizens between the ages of
25 and 35 usually don’t
have a high school diploma,
and only some have a vocational
high school degree. If a person
with an immigrant background
enters university, however,
they achieve about the same
results as non-migrants, the
The data also
showed that migrants were less
likely to obtain a job and were
twice as likely to be engaged
in manual labor. There are also
significant wage differences
between people of different
backgrounds. One example the
study lists is that of young
professionals with French roots,
who usually earn about twice
as much as those from Bulgaria
do – €2,622 (US$2,930)
compared with €1,352 ($1,500),
respectively. The census explores
the trends common in various
ethnic communities. Chinese
students living in Germany are
more likely to continue their
education at university after
they finish school than those
who came from Turkey. In 2015,
Germany was named as the country
hosting the second-highest number
of international migrants worldwide
by the Population Division of
the United Nations Department
of Economic and Social Affairs.
As of 2014, the largest number
of immigrants had arrived from
Turkey (2.85 million), followed
by Poland (1.61 million), Russia
(1.18 million), and Italy (764,000),
an earlier Destatis microcensus
showed. In addition, since the
end of 1980s, nearly 3 million
ethnic Germans have exercised
their right of return and come
back to their ancestral homeland.
Muttermilch 16.03.2016 | 29 Min. | UT | Verfügbar
bis 16.03.2017 | Quelle:
documentary on formula marketing
in the Philppines by Nestlé.
auf Neue versucht die philippinische
Stillberaterin Tintin Cervantes
Leben zu retten, indem sie Mütter
von der Flasche wegbringt. Der
Flasche mit Baby-Pulvermilch,
zu der fast 70 Prozent aller
Mütter im Land greifen:
Hier auf den Philippinen sterben
täglich 13 Babys an Durchfall.
Promise of Meritocracy Managers who believe themselves to be fair and objective
judges of ability often overlook women and minorities
who are deserving of job offers and pay increases. The
Atlantic | Marianne Cooper | December 1, 2015
THE AUTHOR MARIANNE
COOPER is a contributing writer at
The Atlantic, a sociologist at the Clayman
Institute for Gender Research at Stanford
University, and an affiliate of the Stanford
Center on Poverty and Inequality. She
is the author of Cut Adrift: Families
in Insecure Times and was the lead researcher
for Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.
Americans are, compared with
populations of other countries, particularly enthusiastic
about the idea of meritocracy, a system that rewards
merit (ability + effort) with success. Americans
are more likely to believe that people are rewarded
for their intelligence and skills and are less likely
to believe that family wealth plays a key role in
getting ahead. And Americans’ support for
meritocratic principles has remained stable over
the last two decades despite growing economic inequality,
recessions, and the fact that there is less mobility
in the United States than in most other industrialized
This strong commitment to meritocratic
ideals can lead to suspicion of efforts that aim
to support particular demographic groups. For example,
initiatives designed to recruit or provide development
opportunities to under-represented groups often
come under attack as “reverse discrimination.” Some
companies even justify not having
diversity policies by highlighting their commitment
to meritocracy. If a company evaluates people on
their skills, abilities, and merit, without consideration
of their gender, race, sexuality etc., and managers
are objective in their assessments then there is
no need for diversity policies, the thinking goes.
But is this true? Do commitments to meritocracy and objectivity
lead to more fair workplaces?
Emilio J. Castilla, a professor
at MIT’s Sloan School
of Management, has explored how meritocratic ideals and
HR practices like pay-for-performance play out in organizations,
and he’s come to some unexpected conclusions.
In one company study, Castilla examined almost 9,000 employees
who worked as support-staff at a large service-sector
company. The company was committed to diversity and had
implemented a merit-driven compensation system intended
to reward high-level performance and to reward all employees
But Castilla’s analysis revealed some very non-meritocratic
outcomes. Women, ethnic minorities, and non-U.S.-born
employees received a smaller increase in compensation
compared with white men, despite holding the same jobs,
working in the same units, having the same supervisors,
the same human capital, and importantly, receiving the
same performance score. Despite stating that “performance
is the primary bases for all salary increases,” the
reality was that women, minorities, and those born outside
the U.S. needed “to work harder and obtain
higher performance scores in order to receive
similar salary increases to
These findings led Castilla to
wonder if organizational cultures
and practices designed to promote meritocracy actually
accomplished the opposite. Could it be that the
pursuit of meritocracy somehow triggered bias? Along
with his colleague, the Indiana University sociology
professor Stephen Bernard, they designed a series
of lab experiments to find out. Each experiment
had the same outcome. When a company’s core values emphasized
meritocratic values, those in managerial positions awarded
a larger monetary reward to the male employee than to
an equally performing female employee. Castilla and Bernard
termed their counter intuitive result “the
paradox of meritocracy.”
The paradox of meritocracy builds
on other research showing that those who think they
are the most objective can actually exhibit the
most bias in their evaluations. When people think
they are objective and unbiased then they don’t
monitor and scrutinize their own behavior. They
just assume that they are right
and that their assessments are accurate.Yet,
studies repeatedly show that stereotypes of all
kinds (gender, ethnicity, age, disability etc.)
are filters through which we evaluate others, often
in ways that advantage dominant groups and disadvantage
lower-status groups. For example, studies repeatedly find that the resumes
of whites and men are evaluated more positively
than are the identical resumes of minorities and
This dynamic is precisely why
meritocracy can exacerbate inequality—because being committed to meritocratic
principles makes people think that they actually are
making correct evaluations and behaving fairly. Organizations
that emphasize meritocratic ideals serve to reinforce
an employee’s belief that they are impartial, which
creates the exact conditions under
which implicit and explicit biases are unleashed.
“The pursuit of meritocracy is more difficult than
it appears,” Castilla said at a recent conference
hosted by the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at
Stanford, “but that doesn’t mean the pursuit
is futile. My research provides a cautionary lesson that
practices implemented to increase fairness and equity
need to be carefully thought through so that potential
opportunities for bias are addressed.” While companies
may want to hire and promote the best and brightest,
it’s easier said than done.
GapJumpers, a Silicon Valley
start-up, is focused on making meritocracy a reality
by taking a skills-first approach to identifying
the highest-performing talent. Modeled after research
showing that blind auditions block biased evaluations,
GapJumpers developed an online technology platform
that enables hiring managers to hold blind audition
challenges. In the challenges, job
applicants are given mini assignments that are designed
to assess the applicant for the specific skills
required for the open position. All submissions
are evaluated and ranked, and the top-performing
submissions (minus any applicant
identifiers) are then reviewed by the hiring manager
who selects candidates to bring in to interview.
The result: About 60 percent of the top talent identified
through GapJumpers’ blind
audition process come from underrepresented
Hiring managers do not expect
this outcome. “The
high percentage of underrepresented applicants that make
it through the skills-first screening process is often
met with suspicion,” says Sharon Jank, a social
psychologist and Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University,
who is conducting her doctoral research with GapJumpers.
In her work, Jank has observed that “hiring managers
tend to be surprised that the top
performing submissions they pick to advance very often
come from applicants without an elite education, training,
or experience. This suggests blind performance auditions
are a powerful tool to manage bias and address the pervasive
and incorrect assumption that elite pedigree best predicts
performance of on the job skills."
“Our biases lead to sub-optimal talent selection
decisions when evaluating resumes,” says GapJumpers
cofounder Kédar Iyer. “By scaling the successful
and proven method of blind performance auditions, GapJumpers’ results
show that real work performance
trumps labels on a resume.”
In addition to blind auditions,
transparency and accountability also support more
meritocratic outcomes. Recently, Castilla published
the results from a longitudinal study he conducted
with the same large service-sector
company that he had studied years earlier. After
learning from Castilla’s
analysis that there were pay disparities
in their organization (white men received more compensation
than equally performing women, minorities, and non-U.S.-born
individuals) the company asked Castilla to recommend
practices to close the pay gap.
Drawing on research showing that transparency and accountability
reduce bias because, among other things, transparency
provides the information needed to track inequity and
accountability puts people on notice that their decisions
will be monitored, Castilla counseled the company on
actions they could take.
The company then made many changes such as creating a performance-reward
committee to monitor compensation increases and sharing
information with top management about pay broken down
by gender, race, and foreign nationality. When Castilla
analyzed the data five years after these changes were
introduced he found that the demographic pay gap had
American beliefs about the rightness
of meritocratic ideals often leads to the belief
that those ideals are what guides society. But
research shows that a real commitment to meritocracy
requires understanding that America hasn’t
gotten there—at least not yet. It is this insight
that leads to the adoption of practices
that will ultimately result in a society where merit
truly does equal ability + effort.
Harry: Liebeserklärung an den Norden Published on Nov 12, 2015
Diese junge Frau aus Hamburg traut sich
was: Mona Harry trug beim Poetry Slam
2015 im Medienatelier Deggendorf
(in Bayern) dieses Liebesgedicht an den Norden vor - authentisch,
klar, schnörkellos und offensichtlich mit vielen Glückshormonen
- aber sehen und hören Sie selbst...Bei diesem Video handelt
es sich um einen Zuschnitt, der um die
Anmoderation gekürzt wurde. Und hier geht es zur Facebook-Seite
von Mona Harry:
Wendy Lower, 2015 Yom HaShoah
Scholar, Exposes German Women's Role in Holocaust May 6, 2015 | USC Shoah Foundation
Professor Wendy Lower began her 2015 Yom
HaShoah Lecture on Thursday by admitting that, like many scholars,
she found her research topic by accident. In 1992, she
was a PhD candidate at American University on a research trip to Ukraine.
At the time, Holocaust scholars were mainly interested in researching
the decision-making behind the Holocaust – how
Adolf Hitler and other top Nazis actually directed
the Final Solution to take place. So, Lower, too, was looking for key
documents at archives in Ukraine that might shed light on this question.
She didn’t end up finding the crucial materials
she was looking for, but she did find something
else: personnel lists showing that a significant number of young German women were stationed
in Ukraine during World War II. As she began digging
further, she found countless other files indicating that women did indeed play active roles
in the German war effort in a variety of ways. Lower
said that this raised the question in her mind of why German women’s
roles in the Holocaust had never been truly exposed or discussed before.
Most depictions of German women during the Holocaust were “caricatures,” Lower
said: either they were demure housewives whose only job
was to produce Aryan babies, or they were fanatics, screaming
and waving flags at Hitler rallies. Lower set out to create a more realistic
portrait of these women, one that is just as nuanced and detailed as the
study of male Nazis, and discover how women got involved in the war effort,
why, and what they did.
She has performed her research with the help of USC
Visual History Archive. Lower said that the testimonies have enabled her
to add victims’ and survivors’ voices into her research, particularly
to provide context for historical photographs.
Her project has taken shape as the book Hitler’s
Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields, which
focuses on 13 women who represent a “spectrum” of how
women participated in the Nazi party during
World War II. In her lecture, Lower told the stories of three women
featured in the book.
The first, Erna Petri, was tried and convicted along
with her husband for crimes perpetrated during the
Holocaust. She admitted to shooting six Jewish children
on her farm, and said she did it because she was living surrounded by Nazi
officials and had become “hardened” and
wanted to prove herself to them. Another young woman
went to Ukraine to work with the German Red Cross, entertaining
German soldiers who were stationed on the Eastern front.
Lower said that for many young women, going east felt like an adventure and
was an opportunity to leave their hometown for the first time in their lives.
Finally, a large number of the women perpetrators were secretaries who performed
administrative work for SS commandants. They would maintain
lists of Jews who were to be killed, destroy documented evidence of crimes,
and control safes that contained secret orders.
Lower explained that these young women were part
of a unique generation – a “lost
generation.” They were born right after World War I and came of age
during the rise of the Nazi Party. They were active politically, but they
were not feminists; rather, they became “agents of a conservative,
racist revolution.” One photo Lower found in archives depicts the wife
of an SS commandant straddling a motorcycle, wearing
an apron and with her hair pulled back into a conservative bun: a perfect
combination of housewife and radical.
Learning the stories of these women has made it even more important for Lower
to further investigate the role of German women in the Holocaust and share
these stories with the public so that we can finally view female and male
perpetrators and bystanders equally. Other scholars have stated that genocide
cannot happen without the broad participation of society, Lower noted.
“And yet nearly all histories of the Holocaust leave out half of the
population of that society as if women’s history happened somewhere
else,” Lower said. “It is an illogical approach and
Women like Erna Petri and her contemporaries reveal the
darkest side of female activism, she added. “They show us what could happen when women are mobilized for war and
acquiesce in genocide,” she said.
How US students get a university degree for free in Germany By
Franz StrasserBBC News, Germany | 3 June 2015 BBC Magazine
While the cost of college education in the US has reached
record highs, Germany has abandoned tuition fees
altogether for German and international students
alike. An increasing number of Americans are taking
advantage and saving tens of thousands of dollars
to get their degrees. (download this article)
I had never liked small talk; for me, it seemed
to be directionless chit-chat about nothing
in particular. Invitations to small talk
were everywhere, invited by neighbors,
friends, guests, my assistant at the office.
It was there at dinner parties, on train rides,
and on planes—should I ever give an opening to the person sitting
next to me to talk. My concerns were elsewhere—to
things in life,” solving
problems, making progress, and reaching goals.
Those were matters truly worthy of conversation.
In recent years, however, I have changed
my mind about small talk. There is another
story to be told about its value, and its special
importance as we grow older.
For me the story began when I was giving a
month of lectures at a university in St. Gallen, Switzerland.
Because there was no guest-house for professors,
I was quartered in the spacious apartment of an 86-year-old widow.
I didn’t look
forward to my tenure in the household, because
Frau Ferlein seemed introverted and spoke only German. At the same
time, I was trying to better my fluency in
the language, so a little conversation with her seemed a good idea.
I began to notice, however, that as I asked her questions about her
life, and intensely sought to comprehend her replies, a transformation
began to take place. Her reticent voice acquired volume; her timidity
gave way to humorous story telling. As the days went by, I too began
to change. I found myself listening not to improve my language
skills, but because she was simply fun to be
with. I became animated by the exchanges, and by the end of two weeks
we were rollicking good friends. At the end of my stay, parting was
indeed sweet sorrow. When I returned to visit her the following year,
much of her buoyant energy had sadly disappeared.
So, where lies the magic power of small talk?
Consider this: Mary and I are taking a walk, and I casually
say, “Hmm, seems to
be clouding up.” Now contrast two possible responses, the first
just a simple “hmm” as she stares straight ahead. The second
is an energetic, “Oh
well, at least we won’t be sunburned.” With the first response,
something in my world also turns grey. I trudge
onward in silence. With the second, the clouds now gain a new and more
positive meaning. I may even chuckle. And what’s
more, I myself take on significance. My step
becomes lighter. For in her humorous response,
Mary injects importance into the otherwise mundane. My interest is
heightened. At the same time, she affirms my significance to her. I
am brought into being as a person whose words—even if otherwise trivial—hold
value. In small talk we hold our worlds together,
we give these worlds color and dimension, and
we affirm each other’s
significance. Sometimes we also learn things
we didn’t know or
didn’t even know we wanted to know!
And so it is, as we grow older, as the ranks of our age-mates
begin to thin, and the demands of working life are lessened, that we can appreciate
anew the life-giving potentials of small talk. In the cheery greetings, a brief
chat with neighbors, trading stories on the telephone, or sending small notes
by email, text or mail, we animate the world about us. And in our daily lives
with our partners, the small acts of appreciation, the attention we give to their
well-being, the sympathetic gaze, or just the way we are energized when they
enter the room, is significant. With small talk we affirm the significance of
the realities we have created and enrich the world in which we live.
Dörrie geboren am 26. Mai 1955 in Hannover deutsche
Regisseurin, Produzentin und Schriftstellerin
60. Geburtstag am 26. Mai 2015
Biografie • Literatur & Quellen „Der
blaue Rock ist zu blau und der rote Pullover ist
zu rot”, sagt Lotta, „ich will das Prinzessinnenkleid
anziehen.” In ihrem ersten Kinderbuch (1998) – übrigens
zauberhaft bebildert von Julia Kaergel – läßt
Doris Dörrie Mutter und Tochter in prächtigen
Kleidern mit einer Krone auf dem Kopf mit der Straßenbahn
zur Arbeit und in den Kindergarten fahren. Diese
Szene kann als exemplarisch für Dörries
Philosophie gelten: spielen, sich verkleiden, querdenken,
Grenzen überschreiten, Ernstes in Leichtfüßiges
verwandeln, eigenwillige Wege suchen, unterwegs
Doris Dörrie trampte in der Sowjetunion, fuhr
durch Südamerika, war häufig in Asien
unterwegs („Rucksack habe ich immer abgelehnt”).
Es sind auch Reisen zu sich selbst, die dann in
ihren Filmen und Büchern wiederkehren.
wuchs in Hannover als Tochter einer Arztfamilie
auf und studierte nach dem Abitur von 1973 -1975
Theaterwissenschaft und Schauspiel in Kalifornien
und New York. Von 1975 bis 1978 studierte sie an
der Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen in München. Der
erste Walzer heißt ihr erfolgreicher
Abschlußfilm dort. Doris Dörrie dreht
Kinderfilme (z.B. Paula aus Portugal)
und Dokumentarfilme, u.a. das Porträt einer
jungen Schäferin: Von Romantik keine
Spur. Ihr dritter Kinofilm, die KomödieMänner (1985),
wird im In- und Ausland ein überragender Publikumserfolg
und macht Doris Dörrie weltweit bekannt.
1989 gründet Dörrie
mit FreundInnen die Cobra Filmproduktions GmbH,
die ihre nächsten
Filme herstellt. Seit 1987 schreibt sie auch, unter
anderem Kurzgeschichten, die mehrfach ausgezeichnet
werden. Filme und Bücher ergänzen sich
nun. So wird aus dem Drama Happy der
Film Nackt (2002), aus den Kurzgeschichten Für
immer und ewig der Film Keiner
liebt mich (1993).
Während der Dreharbeiten
zu Bin ich
schön? (1996) stirbt ihr Mann, der
Kameramann Helge Weindler. Erst sechs Jahre
später ist Doris Dörrie in der Lage,
diesen Verlust in ihrem Roman Das
blaue Kleid zu formulieren. Es
ist kein Trauer-, sondern ein Trostbuch geworden:
Witz und Fantasie führen aus dem Labyrinth.
Die Trauerzeremonie auf Bali geht trotz Platzregen
unbeirrt weiter … Dieser Blick auf fremde
Rituale gibt dem Tod sein Gesicht zurück,
durchbricht ein Tabu unserer Gesellschaft.
der Inszenierung der Mozart-Oper Cosi fan
tutte in Berlin (2001) wagt sich Doris
Dörrie auf fremdes Terrain. Maestro Daniel
Barenboim ist begeistert von der Präzision
ihrer Arbeit; auch er liebt es, ausgetretene Pfade
zu verlassen. Im Januar 2003 nimmt Doris Dörrie
den Kulturellen Ehrenpreis der Stadt München
entgegen. Es ist ihre neunte Auszeichnung. Sie erhält
sie für ihr filmisches Schaffen, ihren Erfolgs-Film Nackt,
der bei den Internationalen Filmfestspielen in Venedig
zu sehen war. Gleich darauf folgt im März der
Deutsche Bücherpreis für Das
Doris Dörrie lebt mit ihrer
1989 geborenen Tochter Carla in München. „Humor
sagt sie, „sind absolut notwendig, um zu überleben.” ~ Birgit-E.
der heiligen Geistkraft oder Verzückte Zungen Luise
F. Pusch, FemBio | am
machen uns unsere Sprache selber: Ein Feminar. Zweiunddreißigste
Lektion. Text von 2009.
Heute meldete die dpa:
Nur etwas mehr als die Hälfte der Deutschen kennt die Bedeutung
des Pfingstfestes. Das ist das Ergebnis einer Umfrage für die «Bild
am Sonntag». Demnach wissen 49 Prozent nicht, dass an den beiden
Feiertagen der «Ausgießung des Heiligen Geistes» und
der Gründung der Kirche gedacht wird.
Was hingegen die dpa und “Bild am Sonntag” nicht wissen: “Der
Heilige Geist” ist aus der Mode, heute reden wir stattdessen von der “Heiligen
in gerechter Sprache). Andere sagen wohl auch “Heilige Geistin”.
Gemeinsam ist den Neufassungen, dass sie die Weiblichkeit des Originals,
des hebräischen (ruach) wie des griechischen (sophia),
in der deutschen Übersetzung wiedergeben wollen. Schließlich
ist eine rein männliche Hl. Dreifaltigkeit nicht mehr zeitgemäß;
außerdem wird die Heilige Geistkraft durch eine Taube symbolisiert
und nicht durch einen Täuberich!
Das eigentümliche Wort Pfingsten leitet sich von griech. πεντηκοστ?
[?μ?ρα] (pentekost? [h?mera]) her und bedeutet „der fünfzigste
Tag“. Am 50. Tag nach Pessach / Christi Auferstehung waren die Jünger
und Jüngerinnen versammelt - und erlebten also die “Ausgießung
der heiligen Geistkraft”: Flammen züngelten über ihren Häuptern,
und plötzlich konnten sie “in Zungen reden”, so dass auch
Anderssprachige sie verstehen konnten. Bei Luther liest sich “das
Pfingstwunder” so (Apostelgeschichte 2, 1-6):
Und als der Pfingsttag gekommen war, waren sie alle an “einem” Ort
beieinander. Und es geschah plötzlich ein Brausen vom Himmel wie
von einem gewaltigen Wind und erfüllte das ganze Haus, in dem
sie saßen. Und es erschienen ihnen Zungen, zerteilt wie von Feuer;
und er setzte sich auf einen
jeden von ihnen, und sie wurden alle erfüllt von dem
Heiligen Geist und fingen an zu predigen in andern Sprachen,
wie der Geist ihnen gab auszusprechen. Es
wohnten aber in Jerusalem Juden, die warengottesfürchtige
Männer aus allen Völkern unter dem Himmel.
Als nun dieses Brausen geschah, kam die Menge zusammen und wurde bestürzt;
denn ein jeder hörte sie inseiner eigenen
Frauen gab es damals anscheinend noch nicht. Und das Wunder hielt auch nicht
lange an, sonst bräuchten wir nicht so viele Bibelübersetzungen.
es allein acht (!) verschiedene Bibelübersetzungen in deutscher Sprache,
4 in englischer, außerdem Übersetzungen in 30 andere Sprachen.
All diesen Übersetzungen gemeinsam ist das eifrige Bemühen, die
Und so fehlt denn auch bei bibleserver.com die schöne neue Übersetzung
in gerechter Sprache, in der der obige Passus wie folgt aussieht:
Als der 50. Tag, der Tag des Wochenfestes, gekommen war, waren sie
alle beisammen. Da kam plötzlich vom Himmel her ein Tosen wie von einem
Wind, der heftig daherfährt, und erfüllte das ganze Haus,
in dem sie sich aufhielten. Es erschienen ihnen
Zungen wie von Feuer, die sich zerteilten, und auf jede und jeden von
ihnen ließ sich eine nieder. Da wurden sie alle von heiliger
Geistkraft erfüllt und begannen in anderen Sprachen
zu reden; wie die Geistkraft es ihnen eingab,
redeten sie frei heraus. Unter den Jüdinnen und Juden,
die in Jerusalem wohnten, gab es fromme Menschenaus
jedem Volk unter dem Himmel. Als nun dieses
Geräusch aufkam, lief die
Bevölkerung zusammen und geriet in Verwirrung, denn sie
alle hörten sie in der eigenen
Was fällt der frauenbewegten Frau sonst noch zu Pfingsten ein? DasLesbenpfingsttreffen,
eine ehrwürdige Einrichtung, die es schon in den 20er Jahren gab. 1992
wurde sie der nichtchristlichen Mehrheit zuliebe inLesbenfrühlingstreffen
(LFT) umbenannt. Vom Pfingstwunder des Zungenredens können
trotzdem die meisten Lesben auch beim LFT schöne gefühlvolle Lieder
Der Preis der Verrohung
Menschenrechte sind nicht billig. Der Preis für eine menschenverachtende
Asylpolitik wird aber noch viel höher sein. KOMMENTAR
VON INES KAPPERT • Ressortleiterin Meinung| der
Taz | 17. April 2015
Menschen zahlen mit ihrem Leben (Streetart in Bamberg).
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.
Seine Antwort zwischen den Zeilen lautet: Nichts. Gut
vernehmlich sagt er: Wir stecken in einem Dilemma. Denn
wir können die Menschen
nicht einfach ertrinken lassen. Doch wenn wir sie alle retten, dann hilft das
vor allem den „kriminellen Schleppern“. Die verdienen Tausende Dollar
damit, Menschen auf unsicheren Booten nach Europa zu bringen. Das müsse
ein Ende haben, weshalb ein neues Seenothilfeprogramm
nicht infrage komme.
Im Moment finden Tausende von Menschen den Tod. Weswegen
in der Presse vielfach von einer „Tragödie“ gesprochen wird.
Doch dieser Begriff geht fehl.
Kein unausweichliches Schicksal
So ist Tatsache, dass in den ersten vier Monaten dieses
Jahres bereits schätzungsweise 900 Menschen ertrunken sind – im letzten
Jahr waren es im selben Zeitraum 50 –, kein unausweichliches Schicksal.
Es ist das Ergebnis einer politischen Entscheidung, nämlich der, das europäische
Rettungsprogramm „Mare Nostrum“ einzustellen. „Mare Nostrum“ war
von Oktober 2013 bis Oktober 2014 aktiv und rettete in
dieser Zeit rund 100.000 Vertriebenen das Leben. Man kann dieses Programm jederzeit
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
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
Über diese Fakten aber geht de Maizière hinweg. Und der ihn zur jüngsten
Katastrophe interviewende ZDF-Journalist trägt sie auch nicht an ihn heran.
Weshalb der Minister unwidersprochen Flüchtlingshelfer zum eigentlichen
Problem erheben kann.
Die wirklichen Kosten
Ohne diese Helfer also blieben die jungen Männer und die vielen Kinder in
Syrien oder in Libyen? Auch dafür fehlt dem Minister der Beleg. Doch wieder
muss er keine Nachfrage befürchten. Weshalb er nahtlos zur Schelte der EU-Länder übergeht.
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.
Eine EU, die es zulässt, dass Tausende vor ihren Küsten ertrinken,
wird sich auch intern der grassierenden Menschenverachtung nicht erwehren können.
Der Aufstieg der Rechten (wie hierzulande der AfD) ist Vorbote einer solchen
Entwicklung. Was nämlich könnte ein de Maizière der Fremdenfeinden
entgegenhalten? Nichts. Genau. Eine gerechte Flüchtlingspolitik ist daher
vor allem eine Frage des Selbstschutzes.
When a black German woman discovered her grandfather
was the Nazi villain of 'Schindler's List' An odd series of events led Jennifer Teege to discover
that her grandfather was none other than the notorious Nazi Amon Goeth By Avner
Shapira | Feb. 6, 2015
Jennifer Teege / Amon Goeth
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
“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
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
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
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
After leaving Israel, Teege moved to Hamburg and started to work in an ad agency,
where she met her partner, Goetz Teege. They have two children. When she
found out that Amon Goeth was her grandfather, she entered psychotherapy.
The therapist himself burst into tears when he heard her story at their first
meeting, but afterward helped her cope with the questions that hounded her.
Digging into the past brought
her face to face with many of the atrocities perpetrated
by her grandfather, who was known as the “butcher of Plaszow.” He
shot inmates from his porch every morning and had
two dogs that were trained to attack prisoners at
the war, Goeth faced trial in Krakow on after being
accused of genocide, including responsibility for
the death of 8,000 people in Plaszow and the murder
of some 2,000 more during the evacuation of the
Krakow Ghetto. He denied responsibility for the
crimes, and said he had only been following orders.
He was hanged in September 1946. His last words
Goeth never saw Monika, the daughter he had fathered a year earlier during
an extramarital affair he had with Ruth Irene Kalder, a young German woman
who worked as a secretary in the Wehrmacht; Goeth's wife had remained behind
The couple were introduced by
Oskar Schindler – who needed to have good
ties with Goeth so as to obtain Jewish workers for his factory – at
a dinner in Goeth’s villa. Kalder became Goeth’s
lover, moved in, raised two dogs of her own and
lived a life of wanton luxury. His plan to divorce
his wife and marry Kalder was dashed when he was
arrested and executed.
Teege, who remembers her grandmother
as a central figure in her early childhood, who
showed her more warmth and love than her mother,
also delves into her grandmother’s attitude toward Goeth’s
deeds. For years Kalder denied his crimes and claimed
she knew nothing about them; she and Teege never
discussed the subject.
In a conversation in 1975 with
the Israeli journalist and historian Tom Segev (who
spoke to her while he was reporting his 1988 book “Soldiers
of Evil”), she said, “It was a beautiful time. We enjoyed being
together. My Goeth was the king, and I was the queen. Who wouldn’t
have traded places with us?”
In 1983, when Teege was 13, her
adoptive parents told her they had seen mourning
notices in the paper for her biological grandmother.
They did not know that Ruth Irene Goeth (she had
changed her surname after the war) had committed
suicide in the wake of a serious illness – and
also, apparently, because of belated regret for
her moral blindness during the Holocaust.
After learning about Goeth’s deeds and the life her grandmother led in
Krakow during the war, Teege decided to go see the place where her grandfather
had murdered people – to get very close to
him in order to distance herself from him afterward,
as she writes in the book. I ask her whether she
succeeded in her mission.
“At the beginning I didn’t know that it was important to be close
to Amon,” she replies. “I felt a powerful need to be done with
this part, and I decided to visit Krakow and the memorial monument for the
Plaszow camp, to place flowers there and honor the victims, so that I could
resume a normal life. When I returned to Germany after the visit, I felt
a certain release. I wanted to let go of the past but not to make it disappear.
I didn’t want to be like my mother, who felt so tied to the family
past and couldn’t disconnect herself from
it. I managed to achieve distance.”
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
“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’
One of the survivors who contacted Teege was Rena
Birnhack, 88, from Haifa, one of the Schindler’s list survivors.
She expects to meet with the younger woman during
her visit here next week.
“Goeth was even worse than he is described in Teege’s book, but
it was important for me to contact her, because I am perhaps the only Jew
who was left alive and survived because of her grandfather,” Birnhack
says, in an interview with Haaretz.
She was born in Krakow and sent to the city’s ghetto with her family
as a girl. She relates that she took the family’s dog with her to the
ghetto. The dog gave birth to two puppies, and when the ghetto was liquidated,
in March 1943, and the residents were summoned for a “selection” process – to
decide who would be deported to Auschwitz and Belzec, and who would do forced
labor in the Plaszow camp – Birnhack had to abandon the older
dog but took the two puppies, wrapped in a small coat.
“It was the first time I saw Amon, a huge, frightening person,” Birnhack
recalls. “In the selection he indicated with a finger movement who
should go to which side. When he saw me holding the coat, he shouted, ‘What
do you have there?’ But when he saw the two puppies, a drop of
humanity came into his eyes for a few seconds. He asked me what
I intended to do with them, and I offered them to
him as a present. He ordered one of the soldiers to take the puppies,
and sent me to the side with those who would remain alive.”
From reading Teege’s book, Birnhack learned that Goeth gave the puppies
to Irene, who raised them in the villa. During her time in Plaszow, Birnhack
saw Goeth only at camp roll-calls – or when he shot inmates from
the porch. She, her sister and her parents were among the
Germany Isn't Turning Backward:
What Does Pegida Say About Germany? New
York Times Online | By ANNA SAUERBREY | JAN. 22, 2015
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
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
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.
Anna Sauerbrey is an editor on the opinion page of the
daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. Updated: This Op-Ed
has been updated to include developments in the news.
Sexism is Germany's
hidden secret January 2015: Casual sexism has become a hidden part
of German culture, says DW's
Kate Brady. She takes a look at the country's stereotyped
gender roles - from Mummy Merkel, to glib dirndl
comments, and even gender-specific sausages.
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
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.
Mummy Merkel As the country with the longest-serving female leader currently in office,
it would be logical to think that Germany would have come on in leaps and
bounds in accepting women in roles of leadership and power.
But the press couldn't even give Angela Merkel her
credit where it was due. Since coming to power in
2005, she has been dubbed as “Mutti” - Germany's “Mummy.” Despite all the positive
connotations associated with motherhood, I doubt very much that Germany
would have referred to former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder as “Vati” or “Daddy.”
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.
Television, as the number one mass media outlet,
has without doubt the greatest influence on impressions
and misconceptions of gender representations in
Germany. But earlier this month, when Katja Suding
- leader of the Free Democrats in the city state
of Hamburg - appeared on television show "Tagesschau," German
broadcaster ARD chose to transport the nation to
a largely bygone era of 1980s television production.
From behind the scenes, one camera man decided to treat Germany's viewers
to a panning shot over the politician's legs - a perspective of Suding which
many viewers deemed as sexist. Apologizing
to Suding on the “Tagesschau” blog, ARD-aktuell's
chief editor Kai Gniffke, admitted: “I assume that camera shot was
produced by someone from the school and
spirit of past decades, who found this portrayal
The 'Wurst' in promotion
Advertisement in Germany has also been a top contributor
to categorizing gender image in recent years.
“Sex sells,” as advertisers and consumers are seemingly never allowed
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
and hers” Bratwurst sausages, which critics claimed were promoting
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
Ferrero Deutschland, the offspring of the Italian
chocolate giant of the same name, has also caused
a stir on numerous occasions since launching its “gender-specific” Kinder
Surprise eggs back in 2012. The pink “girl” egg, with the slogan “only
for girls” was later followed
up by a series of confectionary eggs which included
a “World Cup footballer” egg and a “Footballer's
wife” egg. The company's
Facebook page was inundated with complaints that Ferrero was categorizing
what was deemed as suitable for boys and girls.
Who's the daddy?
Another recurring offender of gender role stereotyping
in Germany is Aptamil, which continues to launch
a string of television adverts for baby formula
milk, showing a mother at home, feeding her baby. According
to the chain of adverts, at least, German fathers are incapable of bottle
feeding a baby. As Germany continues to encourage new fathers to
take advantage of their paternity leave, the somewhat
elusive father figure across the adverts is hardly
doing anyone any favors.
When the employment discrimination law was enforced
upon the European Union in 2000, several German
lawyers rejected the two directives, claiming that
there was no sexism in Germany. Day-to-day tell-tale
signs, however, show that the widespread tradition
of specific gender roles remains very much an issue
in Germany's media outlets. The largely hidden attitude
of casual sexism, which has become a subtly engrained
part of Germany's culture, appears to be being drip-fed
into society and remains ignored in many quarters.
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? A young girl’s account of the Warsaw Ghetto was a big success. Then the
diary—and its author—disappeared.
By Amy Rosenberg • July 17, 2008• The
Mary Berg, born and raised in Poland, was nineteen in March 1944, when she
stepped off a prisoner-of-war exchange ship from Lisbon and onto a dock in
New York. She stood with her American-born mother, her Polish father, and
her younger sister, clutching a suitcase that contained her U.S. passport
(thanks to her mother’s citizenship) and a set of twelve diaries describing
her experiences in the Warsaw Ghetto. Before she cleared immigration, she
met Samuel L. Shneiderman, a journalist who had come from Poland a few years
earlier. Thirty-seven at the time, Shneiderman had worked as a reporter in
Warsaw, become the Paris correspondent for a few Polish dailies, and covered
the Spanish Civil War until he left Europe in 1940. In New York, he made
it his mission to spread the news of Poland’s pain, and in particular
the pain of its Jews. It’s not known quite how he and Berg met on the
dock after her ship anchored; it seems he was milling about, seeking stories,
and she captured his attention. (Judging from pictures, she cut a striking
figure, tall and sturdy, with dramatic dark looks and gigantic eyes.) However
it happened, he learned about her journals and convinced her to let him edit
The two worked together closely, Berg growing close
to the journalist’s
family as she spent weeks turning her Polish shorthand into actual narrative
at Shneiderman’s kitchen table, his wife and two children looking on.
After advising her about clarifications and additions he thought she should
make, Shneiderman translated the narrative into Yiddish, and two months later,
not long before D-Day, an excerpt appeared as the first in a series of ten
monthly installments in one of New York’s leading Yiddish newspapers,
the politically and religiously conservative Der morgen
The grim facts Berg described are familiar to us
now—all too familiar;
we can easily fail to register their horror—but American readers in
1944 did not know them. A few other articles and pamphlets offering eyewitness
testimonies emerged around the same time, but none did what Berg’s
did: chronicled day-to-day life in the ghetto from its initial days through
to the eve of residents’ first armed resistance, more than two years
Here, in brief outline, is the story the excerpts
told: Berg was fifteen in the autumn of 1939, when the German army invaded
her native city of Lodz. She and her family fled, walking and bicycling
the seventy miles to Warsaw. The ghetto was officially established about
a year after the family settled in. As part of the moneyed class—her father was a respected art dealer
and they’d managed to escape with some funds—they had it easier
than many around them. (Berg felt guiltily aware of her advantages. “Only
those who have large sums of money are able to save themselves from this
terrible life,” she wrote, describing the hunger and sickness she’d
seen in others.) In some ways, her accounts of daily life are astonishing
for the normality they portray: relatives getting married, people going to
work, friends chatting in cafés, students—herself included—working
toward graphic arts degrees, theatre aficionados attending cabarets. But
all that was short lived, and her accounts of the outrages she saw on the
street are equally astonishing: “Sometimes a child huddles against
his mother, thinking that she is asleep and trying to awaken her, while,
in fact, she is dead.” In July 1942, Berg and others with foreign passports
were put into the Pawiak prison, near the center of the ghetto, while most
of the rest of the inhabitants were deported to their deaths. She watched
them leave from the prison windows. “The whole ghetto is drowning in
blood,” she wrote that August. “How long are we going to be kept
here to witness all this?”
After its initial appearance in Der morgen Zshurnal,
translations of Berg’s
tale landed on the pages of several other papers—the leftist (and nonreligious)
English-language P.M., Aufbau, a German-language paper aimed at a Jewish
readership, and Contemporary Jewish Record, a precursor to Commentary. Soon
after, in February 1945, L.B. Fischer—a German press that fled Europe
and established temporary wartime headquarters in New York in 1942—published
the diary in book form with a dust jacket Berg herself had drawn, an image
of the brick wall that marked the ghetto boundary. Laudatory reviews appeared
in the Saturday Review and The New Yorker. In The New York Times Book
Marguerite Young wrote, “Without qualification, this reviewer recommends
Mary Berg’s Warsaw Ghetto to everybody.” Fellow Poles realized
the significance of the books as well.
Renowned poet Julian Tuwim, also a native of Lodz
and an occasional customer of Berg’s father, called the book “a Baedeker of our misery.” Over
the next two years, translated versions appeared in five
countries, and Berg became widely enough known that she was considered
a New York celebrity. She marched on City Hall with signs demanding
action to save Jews still alive in Poland. She gave talks before audiences
and interviews on the radio. And then she, along with her book, disappeared.
In fact, if you’re not a Holocaust memoir buff, you’ve probably
never heard of Berg’s wartime account, whereas you surely learned of
Anne Frank’s diary before you were old enough to be a buff of anything.
That’s in part because Berg’s book fell out of print in the early
1950s, right around the time the English-language edition of Frank’s
diary was issued. (Frank’s has been in print continuously ever since.)
On the surface, the two teenage diarists had a lot in common. Both were from
well-off families, both wrote about the hardships they suffered. Both began
their diaries on their birthdays (or, in Berg’s case, on her adopted
birthday, because her actual one coincided with Hitler’s, and Jews
weren’t allowed to be born on the same day as the Führer). But
Frank was hidden from the full horror of the war while she wrote her diary;
her entries necessarily focus on her own emotional development and the quotidian
aspects of life in a small space. Berg stepped out into the streets and saw
atrocities every day. Her words bear witness to the suffering and violence
all around her and make her tale harder to take. Lawrence Langer, author
of the landmark study Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory, puts it
this way: “Anne Frank’s diary was and is more popular because
it records no horrors; the horrors came after she stopped writing, so readers
don’t have to confront anything painful.”
Last year, Susan Pentlin helped usher into publication
new edition of Berg’s
diary—sixty-two years after its initial release. Pentlin, a professor
emerita of modern languages at the University of Central Missouri, suggests
that Berg’s withdrawal from the public eye played a big part in the
forgetting of the book. Pentlin interviewed Shneiderman in the early 1990s,
a few years before he died, and he told her that Berg walked away from the
book at some point in the early 1950s. She wanted nothing more to do with
it and hoped to forget the life she’d led in Europe, Berg had told
him, as she broke off contact with him and his family. Sometime earlier,
in 1950, L.B. Fischer disbanded its American outpost and returned to Germany.
The company sold the rights to Berg’s diary to A.A. Wyn, publisher
of Ace Books, an imprint famous for its paperback genre
novels and, at the time, for its stinginess toward authors. Wyn sat on the
rights. After he died in 1967, his widow sold them back to Shneiderman. Berg
still refused involvement.
Until the diary was republished last year, interest
in it had been scarce. Historians and researchers knew of it, certainly,
as it appeared frequently in bibliographies of Holocaust studies, but
it was only in the mid-1980s, when a Polish version was published for
the first time and a Warsaw theater staged a dramatic reading, that
public attention rekindled briefly. The play’s
director contacted Berg to invite her to the show, but
she responded through friends, refusing to return to Poland to watch
it, according to a New York Times article at the time. And when Pentlin
contacted her in 1995 about the possibility of reprinting the book,
Berg responded bitterly.
“Instead of continuing to milk the Jewish
Holocaust to its limits,” she
wrote, “do go and make a difference in all those Holocausts
taking place right now in Bosnia or Chechin….Don’t tell me this
is different.” Berg wanted nothing to do with any revival. “She
told me to ‘bug off,’” Pentlin says. “I also
understand that she has denied being Mary Berg on several occasions.” At
the time, she was seventy-one years old and still living in the United
States; if she knows where, Pentlin isn’t saying. Pentlin also
says she doesn’t
know if Berg is alive today, and there is no obituary
It goes without saying that Berg was one of the lucky
ones. Unlike Anne Frank, she escaped Europe alive. Her family escaped
with her, and she saw her story published. She heard critics, reviewers,
and readers call her a hero, her story evidence of, as The New York
Times put it, “the dignity of man.” But
perhaps this reception was what eventually drove Berg away from her story. “Dignity,” says
Langer, “is the last word I would use to describe the anguish of the
ill and starving Jews in the ghetto. If you check some of the early reviews,
you will see how eager most of them were to transform this into a heroic
story.” Berg did not want to be a hero. As she wrote from the Vittel
internment camp in France, where she was sent after her ghetto imprisonment, “We,
who have been rescued from the ghetto, are ashamed to look at each other.
Had we the right to save ourselves? Here everything smells of sun and flowers
and there—there is only blood, the blood of my own people.” The
account in Der morgen Zshurnal was published before the war ended, before
the Jews of Hungary were decimated, while it was still possible to hope some
people might be rescued. Berg published her diary as a call to action. “I
shall do everything I can to save those who can still be saved,” she
wrote. “I will tell, I will tell everything, about our sufferings and
our struggles and the slaughter of our dearest, and I will demand punishment
for the [Germans]….who enjoyed the fruits of murder….A little
more patience, and all of us will win freedom!”
But not all of them did, of course, and Berg’s disappearance suggests
that even those who escaped were never free. Is it grim to wonder what would
have become of Anne Frank had she survived Bergen-Belsen, what would have
become of her book? Philip Roth does so in his first Zuckerman novel, The
Ghost Writer. Alive and in hiding (according, at least, to Zuckerman’s
imagination), Frank, under her assumed identity, explains why she could not
reveal herself after learning about the publication of her diary: “I
was the incarnation of the millions of unlived years
robbed from the murdered Jews. It was too late to be alive now. I was a saint.”
With memoir, it is the fact of a life outside the
pages that gives the book its aura. If that life
has a tragic end, like Frank’s, it’s possible,
as Roth suggests, to feel a kind of catharsis—often a desperately needed
one. If the life that comes after is one of triumph over
adversity (like, say, Elie Wiesel) we derive something
sense of hope, perhaps, or at least satisfaction. Mary
offers neither catharsis nor satisfaction. The story
that comes after it is not tragic or triumphant; there
is, in fact, no story. A terrible, true event took place,
and someone lived to tell about it, and the world responded
either indifferently or with misguided sympathy, and
many hundreds of thousands more died despite the truths
that had been told. After that there was nothing left
to say. (download
Ten objects that made modern Germany To mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall
and ahead of a British Museum exhibition, Neil MacGregor
chooses the icons that shaped the memories of the new
Guardian, Friday 26 September 2014
It is 25 years since the Berlin Wall fell and a new Germany
was born. In the last quarter of a century the country has seen an unprecedented
opening up of archives and a programme of national education and much public debate
about the different inheritances of East and West Germany. There has also been
an unprecedented building of monuments marking the horrors of the recent past.
But what are the memories that German citizens bring to their new state? What,
in short, does the world look like if you are German?
At the forefront of that memory is the Third Reich and
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
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
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.
LETTER FROM CHINA A Debate Over Tiananmen Finds Echoes in Germany’s Fascist Past By DIDI KIRSTEN TATLOW AUGUST 27, 2014
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)
military suppression of the Tiananmen Square democracy
protests in June 1989 was a ‘‘one-off’’ in China’s
recent history. Its leaders lost control of the situation.
China is freer today than in 1989. Its people have the
right to forget.
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
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.’’
Shit some white Germans
say to Black Germans Published on Jun 27, 2012|
YouTube Channel von Sidney Frenz
“In diesem Video präsentiere ich euch den
Schwachsinn, mit dem viele Schwarze Deutsche immer
wieder konfrontiert werden.
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
Sie ist eine hochgeschätzte Tugend. König Salomo, Laotse, dem Buddha
und den "weisen Frauen" wird sie zugeschrieben. Man spricht von "Altersweisheit".
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?
Das Mädchen, das „Leila
Negra“ war Nichts war normal Als schwarzes Kind in Nazi-Deutschland musste Marie Nejar
in NS-Propagandafilmen mitspielen. In der Nachkriegszeit
tingelte sie als „Leila
Negra“ durchs Land. taz.de
“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
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)
Rwanda: The Art of Remembering and Forgetting Two decades after the genocide, Rwandans navigate
the way forward.| PUBLISHED APRIL 7, 2014
Photographs and videos by David Guttenfelder
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.”
Bay Area Jews reclaim citizenship the Nazis stole Thursday, April 3, 2014 | by
Leo Mark Horovitz (left) with
German Consul General Peter Rothen •
of our Oral History presenters are featured in this article
by Alix Wall (jWeekly).
You can download the article here.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
“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
The offer to become German citizens while maintaining
their American citizenship has resonated for many in the
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
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
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
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
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
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.”
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.
'Turkified': Why I Can Never Be a Proper German By Özlem
Gezer| November 7, 2013
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
“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…
50 verlorene Jahre der Integrationspolitik Serap-Cileli| Veröffentlicht
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
Women in the Workplace
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 BY FLORENCE MARTIN-KESSLER, November
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? New
York Times, November 11, 2013 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 The
Guardian, November 1, 2013
A new study illuminates how ‘favors’ are expected of women at work, but they often go unacknowledged, keeping women
What German Wisdom Can Teach The Rest Of The World About
The Good Life October 10, 2013| Huffington
“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
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
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.”
2 Black Lawmakers Voted to Parliament in Germany
COTTRELL | Published: September 23, 2013
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
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.
Multicultural Germany: How We Experience Racism By SPIEGEL
Staff| September 19, 2013
Several recent controversies in Germany -- from the treatment of refugees to the obstacles
faced by immigrants in the job market -- have thrown the issue of racial discrimination
into the limelight. SPIEGEL spoke to 15 people of foreign descent to find out how racism
affects their daily lives.
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.
mathematician and physicist born December 19, 1875 in Titel, Serbia
died August 4, 1948 in Zurich, Switzerland
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.
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)
The Wounds Left By Surveillance The Stasi
Has Been Gone Over Two Decades. Germans Still Haven't Come To Terms With It. BY
RALF-UWE BECK | JULY 15, 2013
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
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…
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.”
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.”
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
“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.”
Weibliche Bezeichnungen sollen an der Uni Leipzig künftig auch für Männer gelten.
das auch zu mehr Gleichberechtigung? Ein Interview mit der Linguistin
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
Wie genau beeinflusst Sprache denn unsere gesellschaftliche
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Wie können wir dieser steigenden
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
“Clean Break : The Story of Germany's Energy Transformation and What Americans Can Learn
from It” by Osha Gray Davidson Slideshow • E-book ($0.99)
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
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…
For Whom the Bell Tolls The inexorable decline of America’s least favorite pronoun Megan
Garber| March 20, 2103
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.
Hans Massaquoi, at 87;
was editor of Ebony magazine Boston
| January 24, 2013
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.
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
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
Cast, Voice-Over Artists, Puppets, Music
by and with: Bridge Markland,
directed by: Bridge Markland, co directed by: Heike Gäßler
Soundtrack concept: Bridge Markland, Sound edit und creative collaboration:
Voices: Ric Oquita (Franz von Moor), Simon Newby (Karl von
Moor / Robber Moor), Peter Scollin (The old Moor), Melissa Holroyd (Amalia),
Jeffrey Mittleman (Spiegelberg), Oskar Brown (Hermann), Neal Wach
(Daniel), Patrick O’Beirne (Razmann),
Erman Jones (Roller), Kevin Mc Kinnon (Schweizer), Jonathan Toby
Burdon (Schwarz), Brian Bell (Grimm), Patrick Scully (Pastor Moser),
Patrick Lanagan (Father Dominic), David Cassel (Schufterle)
The puppets and their roles: Captain Li Shang from the Disney
movie Mulan from 1997 as Ken doll (Robber Moor), Baby doll with Bridge
Marklands face (Franz von Moor), 1960’s Nutcracker from the Erzgebirge/DDR (Hermann),
copy of Barbie from 2005 (Amalia), Ken doll from 1991 (Spiegelberg),
Barbie Beach Ken from 2012 (Kosinsky), Taylor Lautner as Jacob
from the Twilight Saga as Ken doll (Schweizer), Robert Pattinson
as Edward from the Twilight Saga as Ken doll (Schufterle), US Skateboard
Legend Tony Hawks (Roller) and others.
Bridge Markland plays the following roles: Franz von Moor, Karl
von Moor, The old Moor, Amalia, Hermann, Daniel, Roller, Spiegelberg,
Film-Music and Film-Quotes: Disney Film - Prince of
Egypt, Céline Dion (Titanic),
Ennio Morricone (Once Upon a Time in the West and others), Elmer
Bernstein (The Magnificent Seven), Krzysztof Penderecki (The Shining),
quotes from Charlie Chaplin - The great Dictator, Songs from the
TV Series: Bones, Dallas, M.A.S.H. and many others.
from:Black Sunday (1960’s Horror film by Mario
Brava), Lord of the Rings and others.
More Music from: The Beatles, Bee Gees,
Bloodhound Gang, David Bowie, Jeff Buckley, Prince Buster, Mariah Carey, The Carpenters,
Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Faithless, Lady Gaga, Lorne Greene, Gotye, Diamanda Galás, Whitney Houston, Human League, Led Zeppelin,
Brenda Lee, Barrington Levy, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Marilyn Manson, Metallica, The Moody Blues,
Elvis Presley, Public Enemy, Queen, Radiohead, Rammstein, Scooter, Simon & Garfunkel, Richard
Wagner, Amy Whinehouse and many others.
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
Berliner Morgenpost, Ulrike Borowczyk, 12 June 2012 “The most thorough way to dust down this 231 year old piece is with this
für den Genzoid an Sinti und Roma (taz.de) Befehl zum „Ausrotten“ October 24, 2012
Auch nach 1945 wollte niemand etwas von der Verfolgung
der Sinti und Roma wissen. Erst jetzt werden sie in
die Gedenkkultur aufgenommen.
VON WOLFGANG BENZ
Die Diskriminierung und Verfolgung
der Sinti und Roma hat
eine lange Traditionen.
Das NS-Regime machte sich
rassistischen und sozialen
Ressentiments zu eigen
und stigmatisierte die
Minderheit von Anfang an.
Die Ausgrenzung mündete
Auch dieser Genozid wurde
so systematisch wie der
Judenmord geplant und ausgeführt. weiter
the biggest crowds filled
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
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
Harlem-born Lorde arrived
in Berlin in 1984 as a
visiting professor, she
immediately sought out
were then known only by
pejoratives like “cross-breed,” “mulatto” and “brown
taught them how to see
themselves outside of what
she observed as “the
pain of living a difference
that has no name.”
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.”
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.
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
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
are a drain on “the
overall movement.” Without
sarcasm or condescension,
she breaks down the
basics of intersectionality.
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.”
Pickert lives in a small,
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.
how his decision has helped
his son, in a translation from Buzzfeed:
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. [...]
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 sweet photo of the father-and-son
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.”
Martin’s Death: This White
Reality Check by Christy Diane Farr
• March 22, 2012
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.
Weg nach oben:
Das Elternhaus entscheidet über den Bildungserfolg – unabhängig
von der Schulform. “Die hier vorgestellte, noch unveröffentlichte
Studie zur Wirksamkeit von Gesamtschulen birgt Sprengstoff
für die Debatte
um das richtige Schulsystem – und die Möglichkeit der Schulen,
zur sozialen Gerechtigkeit beizutragen. Der kürzlich emeritierte Pädagogikprofessor
Fend, der in Konstanz und Zürich lehrte, hat bereits in den siebziger
Jahren in Hessen die größte Studie zur Wirksamkeit dieser Schulform
durchgeführt (»Gesamtschule im Vergleich«; Beltz Verlag,