Tag Archives | Germany

Czech Town Upset That Porsche Museum Overlooks Namesake’s Nazi Past

PIC: Hitler and Ferdinand Porsche at right (PD)

PIC: Hitler and Ferdinand Porsche at right (PD)

Ferdinand Porsche may be celebrated as the designer of the Volkswagen and for the car line that still bears his name,  but there are some who would prefer to forget that the engineer joined Hitler’s SS in 1937 and served as the head of  the Fuhrer’s tank commissioner. He knew Hitler personally and used slave labor to build the Volkswagens requested by the dictator.

Veterans and Jewish groups say that an “exhibition” (formerly designated as a memorial) built in Porsche’s birth place (Vratislavice nad Nisouto, Czech Republic) to honor his legacy has brushed over his SS past and relationship with Hitler.

Via RawStory:

But not everyone in this modest locality of nearly 8,000 residents northeast of the capital Prague felt comfortable trumpeting their native son.

Last year, a new team voted into city hall could no longer ignore growing protests that Vratislavice — in an area annexed by Nazi Germany in the late 1930s — was “memorialising” a man who had worked for Adolf Hitler.

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93 Year-Old Former Auschwitz Medic Arrested For War Atrocities

PIC: Jochen Zimmermann (CC0

PIC: Jochen Zimmermann (CC0

Nearly 70 years after the liberation of the infamous Auschwitz death camp, Germany’s Central Office for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes continues its efforts to find and prosecute those who oversaw the deaths of millions of Jews, gays, Roma, Poles, political dissidents, and anyone else the Hitler regime considered immoral, defective or troublesome. The latest to be arrested is an 93 year-old former medic. In accordance with German privacy laws, his name has not been released to the public.

Via The Guardian:

The 93-year-old, who was arrested at his home near Neubrandenburg, north of Berlin, underwent a medical checkup before he faced a judge and was then taken into pre-trial detention.

The former SS member allegedly assisted in the mass murder of prisoners who arrived on eight transports from Germany, Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Slovenia in September 1944.

Of the arrivals, 1,721 were killed in gas chambers after they were deemed unfit for forced labour at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in Oswiecim, southern Poland, prosecutors said.

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Airline Flights In Germany Cancelled After UFO Sighting

ufo_skyVia TIME:

While flights across the US have been cancelled due to the deep freeze of the polar vortex, flights in Bremen, Germany were cancelled for an entirely different reason: a UFO.

On Monday night, an unidentified flying object showed up on Bremen Airport’s radar several times over three hours, causing one flight to be cancelled, one diverted and other delayed as police and airport officials investigated the UFO activity.

Bremen police were alerted to potential UFO activity when a patrol car apparently saw the object around 6:30 p.m. Witnesses report that “It looked like a plane. It had lights but was a lot louder.”

A police helicopter was sent off in pursuit, but was unable to track down the UFO. A Bremen police spokesman said, “We still don’t know what it was, but it was there.”

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German Police Officer Accused Of Cannibalism-Driven Murder

meat

An officer whose goal is to serve you. ABC News reports:

A German police officer may have seduced and murdered a man he met on a cannibalism fetish website. The suspect has been arrested.

Police on Wednesday found body parts on a property in the Ore Mountains that, according to German tabloid Bild, came from a murder carried out as part of a cannibal fetish act. The body parts are believed to belong to a 59-year-old man from Hanover, while the main suspect, who owns the property on which the remains were found, is a 55-year-old police officer.

The suspect allegedly invited the man to his property in Reichenau, a small town in the mountains. The victim had been cut into many small pieces some time in early November and many parts of the victim have yet to be found, leading to suspicions part of his body may have been eaten.

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An excerpt from ‘They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45′ by Milton Mayer

960002_267614923363550_993352090_nEchoes from the past to consider in the present.

via University of Chicago

But Then It Was Too Late

“What no one seemed to notice,” said a colleague of mine, a philologist, “was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.

“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security.

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Germany’s Feral “Forest Boy” Found Guilty As Fraud

forest boyThis is one way to start your life all over again. Via The Local:

The young man who became world famous as the “Forest Boy” when he claimed he had lived feral in German woods for five years – agreed to carry out 150 hours of community service on Thursday after admitting making it all up. Berlin authorities charged him with fraud after spending €30,000 looking after him before his identity and age were revealed.

“Ray” became a global story in September 2011 after turning up at Berlin’s city hall and asking for help. He told astounded officials he had been living in the woods for five years with his father, sleeping in huts and living off the land. He said he no longer knew who he was nor where he was from – and that after his father died in a fall.

“Ray” stuck to his story for months and even attracted the attention of one couple who said he was their long lost son.

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Germany Introduces Third Gender Option For Birth Certificates

third gender

Spiegel reports that German families can now opt out of gender (as a legal category) for their children:

Germany is set to become the first country in Europe to introduce a third, “indeterminate” gender designation on birth certificates.

The option of selecting “blank,” in addition to the standard choices of “male” or female” on birth certificates will become available in Germany from November 1. The legislative change allows parents to opt out of determining their baby’s gender, thereby allowing those born with characteristics of both sexes to choose whether to become male or female in later life. Under the new law, individuals can also opt to remain outside the gender binary altogether.

The law passed just six weeks after Australia became the first country in the world to introduce legal guidelines on gender recognition…individuals can select the third category irrespective of whether or not they have undergone sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy.

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Germany To Use Anti-Graffiti Drones

droneWill drones render petty crime a relic of the past? The BBC reports:

Germany’s national railway company, Deutsche Bahn, plans to test small drones to try to reduce the amount of graffiti being sprayed on its property.

The idea is to use airborne infra-red cameras which could then be used to prosecute vandals who deface property at night. The drones would have infra-red sensors sophisticated enough for people to be identified, providing key evidence.

German media report that each drone will cost about 60,000 euros and fly almost silently, up to 495ft above ground. A company spokesman said drones would be tested at rail depots soon.

It is not yet clear how Germany’s strict anti-surveillance laws might affect their use. Using cameras to film people surreptitiously is a sensitive issue in Germany, where privacy is very highly valued.

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Is Psychedelic Toad Licking Trending Among German Teens?

So claims an article in the country’s paper of record. The point is that fighting a war on drugs will become increasingly surreal as the ways in which people get high multiply. From Der Spiegel:

“Toad-licking, that’s the latest thing,” says Willi Stier, a police officer from Mannheim. He points to a photo of the toad he’s referring to, a stocky creature from America that can be ordered online.

The toad has glands that can be induced to secrete a psychoactive substance with squeezing. Young people pass the animals around at parties like joints. “Get high, have fun,” says the police officer.

Stier says that some 80 to 90 new drugs have spread in recent years. He believes that 28 new substances were classified under Germany’s narcotics law over the last year, but there are more than that.  “Drug users look for alternative products or modify the recipes, keeping themselves a step ahead of lawmakers,” says Stier.

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