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Santa Claus faces tough times in the age of coronavirus

Via Deutsche Welle In late October, with COVID-19 cases on the rise and Germany slowly coming to the realization that the pandemic’s second wave was bitter reality, a bearded man — who lives not in the North Pole but in the Lower Saxony town of Celle — despairingly reaches for his razor.  Willi Dahmen, who...

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Coronavirus: No Christmas markets — but some mulled wine ‘to go’

Via Deutsche Welle It’s been a pretty grim year for event organizers and hospitality businesses, with the crucial Christmas period looking little better amid continued lockdowns and high coronavirus caseloads in Germany heading toward December. Nevertheless, entrepreneurs are trying to find ways to do what they can in these difficult times. In the Lindenthal district of Cologne...

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German ‘Wild West’ museum to repatriate Native American scalp

Via Deutsche Welle A museum in eastern Germany dedicated to the work of legendary German “Wild West” writer Karl May has agreed to repatriate a Native American scalp after a six-year struggle. The diplomatic struggle began with a complaint by the Chippewa tribe in Michigan, which led to a specially-commissioned study, a new ethnographic specialist at...

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Poland and Germany: 50 years since Willy Brandt’s historic gesture

Via Deutsche Welle On the morning of December 7, Chancellor Willy Brandt laid a wreath at the memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto. It commemorates the courage of the thousands of Jews who lost their lives in the ghetto in a desperate bid to free themselves from their German oppressors. Brandt straightened the ribbon attached to the black-red-gold...

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Antifa drama ‘And Tomorrow the Entire World’ is Germany’s pick for the Oscars

Via Deutsche Welle And Tomorrow the Entire World, a political drama directed by Julia Heinz, tells the story of a young girl who gets involved with antifa activists to oppose the uprising neo-Nazi movement. The film was revealed on Wednesday as Germany’s pick for the best international feature film category at the 2021 Academy Awards next April. The selection was...

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Men as victims of domestic violence: ‘I was paralyzed’

Via Deutsche Welle Tami Weissenberg’s story as a victim of abuse began with a familiar male misconception: “I can be her savior!” That was what he thought when he first met the woman who would become his girlfriend. She told him about how she had in the past experienced violence. She told him about how she...

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Auschwitz survivor Zilli Schmidt: Fearing new Nazis today

Via Deutsche Welle It is September 2020 when Zilli Schmidt walks into Kulturhaus RomnoKher in the western German city of Mannheim, to attend a reading of her book about her memories as a survivor of the Auschwitz death camp. “Your visit is a gift,” is a common expression of gratitude among the many people who turn...

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Traveling to Germany: Coronavirus restrictions — questions and answers

Via Deutsche Welle All potential travelers are strongly advised to seek the latest information before packing their bags. What applies to the EU does not necessarily apply to Germany. Quarantine regulations are not only applied differently within the EU, but also within Germany. The plethora of regulations, rules and exceptions to the rule is confusing. It makes...

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What’s behind Germany’s far-right AfD party slump in polls?

Via Deutsche Welle German media were abuzz this week after the latest poll by the Kantar research institute suggested that in just a year, the far-right populist AfD had dropped from first to third position in eastern Germany — the party’s longtime stronghold. Compared to October 2019, support for the AfD in eastern states had fallen...

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How German police cadets learn to confront racism

Via Deutsche Welle “What color eyes do you have?” Seyda Buurman-Kutsal asks. “Brown.” “Oh, you’re ok, then.” And the lesson on racism starts. Buurman-Kutsal is an instructor for Diversity Works, an organization that offers racism awareness training, which in recent months has been getting more calls from German police forces. Just being asked a question about your...

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Artworks vandalized on Berlin’s Museum Island

Via Deutsche Welle The discovery of extensive damage to artworks and artifacts on Berlin’s Museum Island — the city’s cultural center —  is yet to be explained as a senseless act of vandalism, or a crime meant to send a message.  On Wednesday morning, police confirmed reports by German media, including newspaper Der Tagesspiegel and broadcaster Deutschlandfunk, that unknown perpetrators sprayed oily...

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Is the coronavirus pandemic undermining German democracy?

Via Deutsche Welle Repeatedly Chancellor Merkel met with all 16 premiers of Germany’s powerful federal states to decide on measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic. After the latest one, last week, politicians across the spectrum began complaining that, for months now, such measures were all decided behind closed doors and without due parliamentary debate or...

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Street name change major step in struggle to decolonize Berlin

Via Deutsche Welle “Decolonization does not happen by changing a few street names,” Joshua Kwesi Aikins told DW after it was announced that a central city street whose name many regard as racist will now honor Anton Wilhelm Amo, an Afro-German Enlightenment philosopher who in 1734 became the first African-born scholar to receive a doctorate...

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Refugees in Germany: Lama Suleiman feels more German than Syrian

Via Deutsche Welle “Noooo,” Joud screams as his sister splashes his feet with cold water in the bath. “Joud doesn’t like cold water, even in the summer,” Lama explains and opens the tap a bit more to be able to wash off the sand between Joud’s toes. They both laugh, and Joud quickly jumps out...

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German synagogue attack trial reveals police failures

Via Deutsche Welle Jewish survivors of the attack on the Halle synagogue have accused the police of failing to properly investigate the online far-right scene that is believed to have inspired last October’s deadly attack in the eastern German city. 28-year-old Stephan B. is on trialfor attempting to commit what would have been the worst...

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Coronavirus: Merkel’s bid for unity hampered by Germany’s federal system

Via Deutsche Welle It’s entirely possible that you have heard or read something about masks becoming mandatory in German secondary school classrooms. Or you might have heard the exact reverse, that this rule was being lifted. Well, both these claims are accurate.  Germany’s two most populous and influential states are moving in opposite directions on...

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How a church in Germany posthumously reinstated a gay clergyman

Via Deutsche Welle At Berlin’s Immanuelkirche church, the evening’s ceremony is primarily dedicated to one long-deceased Protestant pastor. “Revoking the ordination rights of Reverend Friedrich Klein on January 20, 1943, has been recognized as an injustice and is declared null and void,” Protestant Berlin Bishop Christian Stäblein tells the congregation. Read more: Gay Nazi victim dies...

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Berlin bans large weekend protests against coronavirus restrictions, citing health grounds

Via Deutsche Welle The interior minister for the city-state of Berlin, Andreas Geisel, said the ban was prompted by coronavirus skeptics “deliberately” breaking hygiene safety rules agreed with police during a previous mass Berlin event on August 1 (pictured above). Many attendants did not wear face masks or seek to uphold social distancing measures as requested. Berlin would...