Tag Archives: Germany

A Very German Idea of Freedom: Nude Ping-Pong, Nude Sledding, Nude Just About Anything

The first time Michael Adamski saw his mother-in-law naked it was awkward.

But it wasn’t as awkward as seeing his boss naked.

Mr. Adamski, a police officer in Berlin who investigates organized crime, first started going to a nudist camp at a lake outside Berlin after he met his wife, whose family owned a cabin there.

One weekend, when he had just about gotten used to stripping in front of his in-laws, he bumped into the highest-ranking colonel in his precinct — who promptly challenged him to a game of table tennis.

They have been on first-name terms ever since.

“Once you’ve played Ping-Pong with someone naked, you can’t call them ‘colonel’ anymore,” Mr. Adamski said as he prepared to join a triathlon where the swimming and running portions of the race were naked. “Nudity is a great leveler.”

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Posted by on November 22, 2019 in European Union


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The girl in the box: the mysterious crime that shocked Germany

In the Alpine foothills in the far south of Germany is a vast lake called the Ammersee. Its shores are dotted with centuries-old villages where wealthy families from Munich buy large second homes and tourists drink beer at waterfront restaurants. At the north end of the lake is a pair of such villages, Eching am Ammersee and Schondorf, less than two miles apart. Separating them is a block of spruce forest that attracts hunters, joggers, mountain bikers and in the late summer 38 years ago, kidnappers preparing to commit what would become one of the country’s most notorious postwar crimes.

After class on Tuesday 15 September 1981, the first day of the new school year, a 10-year-old girl named Ursula Herrmann returned to her house in Eching. Ursula, the youngest of four siblings, practised piano with her oldest brother Michael, and then headed off to her late afternoon gymnastics lesson in Schondorf, cycling through the forest along the lakeside path. When the gym class was over, she went to her cousin’s house in Schondorf, where she ate dinner. At 7.20pm, Ursula’s mother phoned the aunt to say her daughter needed to come home. The shadows were lengthening but it was still light, and the cycle ride would only take 10 minutes.

Half an hour later, she was still not home. Her mother again called the aunt, who said Ursula had left 25 minutes before. Both of them immediately knew something was wrong. Ursula’s father rushed into the forest from Eching, and her uncle did the same from Schondorf. They met in the middle, along the path. Ursula’s name rang out through the darkening wood. But there was no reply.

Within an hour neighbours, police and firemen had joined the search, torch beams raking the water and struggling to penetrate the thick undergrowth. With midnight approaching, and rain falling, a sniffer dog led its handler away from the lake, into the brush. There, 20 metres from the path, was Ursula’s little red bike. But she was nowhere to be seen.

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Posted by on November 15, 2019 in European Union


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Türkei – Europa muss aus seiner Ohnmacht herausfinden

Hat die EU Mittel und Wege, um Erdoğans Krieg in Syrien zu stoppen? Ja. Sie darf sich nicht mit dem Flüchtlingsdeal erpressen lassen und muss ihre wirtschaftliche Stärke nutzen.

Auf die Frage, warum der türkische Präsident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seine Truppe in den Norden Syriens hat vorrücken lassen, lautet die ausschlaggebende Antwort: Weil er es konnte. Das liegt zum einen daran, dass ihm ein intellektuell und charakterlich überforderter US-Präsident freie Hand gelassen hat, zum anderen aber auch daran, dass es keine andere Macht gibt, auf die Erdoğan glaubt, Rücksicht nehmen zu müssen. Die USA hätten die Türkei stoppen können, wollten es aber nicht. Die Europäer hätten die Türkei gerne gestoppt, konnten es aber nicht. Insofern sind die Menschen im syrischen Grenzgebiet zur Türkei nicht nur Opfer Erdoğans, sondern auch der Ohnmacht Europas.

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Posted by on October 19, 2019 in European Union


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Carola Rackete and Europe’s Troubling Refugee Policies

It’s been four days since Isaac, Fréderic and their friends arrived in the port of Lampedusa on board the Sea-Watch 3, captained by Carola Rackete. They can hardly believe they’re really here. The sun is setting and the temperature has become a bit more bearable as they sit on the steps of the San Gerlando church.

It is shortly after 9 p.m. on this Tuesday and they have just received a message on their smartphones: “Carola libera.” Carola is free.

The reference is to Carola Rackete, the 31-year-old German captain of the Sea-Watch 3 who has become a rival to Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini — and a figurehead for a less restrictive migration policy.

But the migrants standing in front of the church merely see her as the woman without whom none of them would have made it to Europe. They cheer when they read the news that she has been released.

“Carola Rackete saved our lives. Without her, we would all be dead,” says Fréderic Samassi, a 24-year-old from Ivory Coast. He says he spent three years in Libya, most of it behind bars, an ordeal during which he says he saw many terrible things. Now, he has reached the goal that he had imagined when he left his home in 2016: Europe.

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Posted by on August 7, 2019 in European Union


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Danke, Bayern!

Diese Wahl war eine der wichtigsten in der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik. Denn das, was die CSU den Wählerinnen und Wählern da zur Abstimmung vorgelegt hat, stellte nicht mehr und nicht weniger dar als den Abschied von wesentlichen Grundprinzipien unserer Demokratie.

Diese Partei hatte zwischenzeitlich das hetzerische Vokabular der AfD übernommen und damit den humanitären Minimalkonsens dieses Landes verlassen, sie hat mit dem Kreuzerlass die christliche Religion zum Instrument im Wahlkampf herabgewürdigt und damit die Trennung von Staat und Kirche aufgeweicht. Sie hat die Stabilität ihrer eigenen absoluten Mehrheit mit der Stabilität der Demokratie gleichgesetzt, sie hat in Gestalt von Horst Seehofer beim Masterplan Migration Staat und Partei in eins gesetzt und das eigene Mandat auf Zeit als hoheitliche Ermächtigung verstanden, sich über die im Grundgesetz verankerte Richtlinienkompetenz der Kanzlerin hinwegzusetzen.

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Posted by on October 23, 2018 in European Union



Anarchy in the GDR

Burning Down the Haus, a new book by journalist Tim Mohr, details how a small group of East German teens kick-started a movement that contributed to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The 1970s were oppressive years in the German Democratic Republic; there was no space, literal or philosophical, to live outside the system, let alone criticize it. Upon hearing The Clash and the Sex Pistols via forbidden British military-radio broadcasts, a handful of young people began to embrace the punk mentality, dressing differently, and shaking the foundations upon which authority had been built. And despite the best efforts of the East German secret police, aka the Stasi, the movement grew throughout the 1980s, as punks developed their own little world, disconnected from society. Punk was the soundtrack to the million-person demonstration on November 4, 1989. A few days later, the Wall came down.


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Posted by on October 12, 2018 in Reportages


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Germany’s crisis means uncertainty for Europe. But it won’t be fatal

The collapse of Germany’s coalition talks is the latest shock to hit Europe. No one saw it coming. Of course the blow is of a different nature from the banking crisis, the war in Ukraine, the refugee crisis, Brexit, Trump, Poland and Hungary’s democratic backsliding, or Catalan secessionism. Germany’s politics look upended but the fundamentals are still in place: the postwar democratic set-up is hardly under threat. Still, this is rattling stuff. Europe’s powerhouse is in unknown political territory at a time when so much remains unresolved across the continent. And Germany’s political uncertainty means yet more uncertainty for the EU. Yet doomsayers shouldn’t assume that this crisis has to be fatal.

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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in European Union


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The End of the End of History

Sometimes we in the West forget that our view of the world is just one among many that are possible. And that neither our understanding of human rights nor our adherence to liberal democracy are attractive across the globe. Is the Western way of life morally superior? And even if it were, is it the most constructive or effective way of organizing human societies?

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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in European Union


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AfD im Bundestag – Heulen ändert nichts

Der Wahlsonntag zeigt: Es war und ist nicht damit getan, dass ein Bundespräsident – es war vor 32 Jahren Richard von Weizsäcker – den Tag des Endes des Zweiten Weltkriegs zum “Tag der Befreiung” erklärt. Die Befreiung von der Gesinnung, die vor achtzig Jahren in die Katastrophe geführt hat, ist nicht Aufgabe eines Tages, sondern Daueraufgabe. Sie ist ein Auftrag, kein Ritual. Und der Befreiungsauftrag darf nicht, wie das die AfD tut, umgedeutet werden in eine Befreiung von der Befreiung.Der Einzug der AfD als drittstärkste Kraft in den Bundestag ist ein historischer Rückschritt für die deutsche Gesellschaft. Sie kommt nach Auszählung aller Wahlkreise auf 12,6 Prozent. Bitter für die demokratische Kultur; ein Schlag gegen Artikel 1 Grundgesetz, der die Würde aller Menschen schützt, auch die der Flüchtlinge. Gewiss: Die große Mehrheit der Wähler steht anderswo, hat nicht AfD gewählt. Gleichwohl sind die AfD-Stimmen eine Niederlage für die Zivilität des Gemeinwesens.

Source: AfD im Bundestag – Heulen ändert nichts – Politik – Sü

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Posted by on October 3, 2017 in European Union



Who’s the world’s leading eco-vandal? It’s Angela Merkel

Which living person has done most to destroy the natural world and the future wellbeing of humanity? Donald Trump will soon be the correct answer, when the full force of his havoc has been felt. But for now I would place another name in the frame: Angela Merkel.

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Posted by on September 20, 2017 in European Union


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