When I first visited Dresden in the mid-1990′s, to my eyes it looked like the city had just stepped out of World War II, even though, in retrospect, it must have undergone a great deal of renovation by that time.
Dresden miraculously survived the first five years of World War II intact, having dodged the Allied bombings that destroyed much of Berlin, Hamburg, and other German cities. Many Germans felt that the …Read more
Today the UK and Germany remember the Holocaust of World War II when 6 million Jews were killed in concentration camps across Europe, along with untold numbers of Roma, communists, homosexuals, the mentally and physically handicapped, and political prisoners.
January 27th marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. It is estimated that as many Jews were slaughtered at this one camp than remain on the entire European Continent today.
To this day …Read more
About this time of year parents deliberately wait in long lines in overcrowded shopping malls so their kids can sit on the lap of a fat red stranger.
Some cultures might call this odd. We call it Christmas.
Though the Christmas season begins commercially on Black Friday, and religiously on Advent, tonight kicks off the season for children in Europe, including the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic, and Austria.
Saint Nicholas, 1838 – by …Read more
Today is the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
November 9, 1989 marked the end of an era and a new beginning for millions of Germans, who had been separated from their countrymen for nearly three decades by boundaries both tangible and intangible.
The original Wall was a far cry from the approximately 90-mile long concrete leviathan of 1989, parts of which still survive today. The original wall was merely …Read more
On this day in 1990 the great divide between East and West Germany, the front line between Soviet and Western ideologies for over four decades, was erased in an instant. Germany became one nation for the first time since 1945.
Fall of the Berlin Wall, Nov. 9, 1989
The reunification of Germany on October 3, 1990 followed the dramatic destruction of the Berlin Wall on November 9 the previous year.
A …Read more
Late September – Mid-October
This week starts off the world’s largest folk festival and bier-drinking extravaganza.
Oktoberfest takes place, as the name implies, in September. It lingers into October, but tourists arriving mid-month will be disappointed to find they’ve arrived just in time for the dregs. During Oktoberfest the center of Munich metamorphosizes into an amalgamation of Bier Tents, the largest of which–the Hofbrauhaus tent–holds up to 10,000 people.
Germans drink their beer by the liter, not the pint, and refer …Read more
Now to the Brocken the witches ride; the stubble is gold and the corn is green; There is the carnival crew to be seen, And Squire Urianus will come to preside. So over the valleys our company floats, with witches a-farting on stinking old goats.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust
Exactly six months before Halloween, the Germans and Scandinavians celebrate Walpurgis Night, May-Eve, Beltane, or Hexennacht, aka Witches’ Night.
According …Read more