Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Be Mark Twain in Berlin

Be a Mark Twain scholar! Help to bring never-before published stories of the great American writer and humorist to light, for all to appreciate! It is a little known fact that Mark Twain spent half a year of his life in Berlin, Germany, in winter 1891-1892, together with his wife, Olivia, and his three daughters, where he wrote various articles. Now, Berlinica will publish the first book to tell of this journey and to print these stories.

And you can help. We are launching a fundraiser for this book, and you can get valuable prizes, including a day-long tour in Berlin to all the places Mark Twain has visited, did research on (or in), or had lunch with famous people. The fundraiser takes places at Kickstarter; there is also a little movie that will tell you more of the book.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/919476212/mark-twain-in-berlin-be-a-researcher


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Contest: Ten Free Ebooks for Berlin-Lovers!

Berlinica is now selling ebooks on Amazon and Barnes&Noble, for the Kindle, the Nook, the Sony and Kobo Readers, the iPad, and all other devices. The first ebooks are Wallflower, a love story set when the Wall fell, the history book Berlin in the Cold War, Berlin for Free, a guide to everything free in Berlin, and The Berlin Wall Today.

The latter three are enhanced ebooks with live links to the websites of the venues and the historical sites mentioned, as well as Google Maps links to their addresses. The Berlin Wall Today also links to a three-dimensional map of the area where the Wall once stood, and to detailed maps of memorials, border crossings, and cultural sites.

To celebrate this, Berlinica is raffling off ten ebooks! All you have to do is to answer those five questions about Berlin and send the answers to info (at) berlinica (dot) com before March 1, 2012. Good luck!

Here are the questions:

In Wallflower, Molly and Mick are taking a trip to the Friedrichstrasse S-Bahn Station in Berlin, which was divided right in the middle by the Wall. But when our two heroes meet, the Wall is just about to fall. In what year did the Wall come down?

Berlin for Free: One of the places you can visit for free in Berlin is a famous historic building that was burned by the Nazis but restored with a glass dome after the Wall came down. What is the name of this building?

The Berlin Cookbook: What is a “Berliner” (or, as they are called in Berlin, "Pfannkuchen"), and what is it filled with?

The Berlin Wall Today: The longest piece of the Berlin Wall that still exists is also the world’s longest outdoor gallery. What is the name of this gallery?

Berlin in the Cold War: During the Cold War, American, British, French, and Soviet spies were constantly fighting each other, in secret. What is the name of the American government agency concerned with foreign espionage?


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Meet the President

Today, I‘ve met the President. Not Barack Obama, the German President, Christian Wulff. For those of you who have not being paying attention, probably pretty much everybody, Wulff is in trouble because he got a lot of perks from his rich friends, respectively their loving wives, starting with a 500.000 € dirt cheap loan and not ending with a toy car for his young son. Well, at least he neither took money from Fannie and Freddie nor had Brangelina over in the guest bedroom of Schloss Bellevue.

Wulff was in the Berliner Ensemble, the former theater of Bertold Brecht in Berlin, and he was interviewed by Joseph Joffe, the publisher of Die ZEIT (full disclosure: a paper I also work for). Joffe, the full-blooded transatlantic politician he is (he graduated in Harvard, teaches in Stanford, and is a member of the Aspen Institute, the Hoover Institute, the Atlantic Bridge, the American Academy and the Leo Baeck-Instititut), defended Wulff, sort of. So, evidently, the State Department still likes Angela Merkel, because Wulff has been handpicked by her, and if he has to go, she's in trouble.

The most astonishing thing, however, was the near-total lack of security. Sure, you had to sign up per email, but there was no scanner, no handbag-searching, no bringing of passport. I was sitting thirty feet away from the President. I could have thrown my shoes at him, then again, how would I‘ve gotten home? After the event, I finally saw one security guy who assured me that he was not alone. I have seen a higher level of security for Mamma Mia at the Winter Garden on Broadway.

A few of the older ladies in the audience snickered, but other than that, people were polite. Wulff pointed out that he does not want to be judged by the media (you betcha!) but by the people, but sadly, they did not have a Q&A afterwards.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Red Orchestra

Stefan Roloff, who made the movie The Red Orchestra (distributed by Berlinica), will speak in New York City on January 12 about the famous Anti-Nazi resistance group together with Anne Nelson, who wrote the book The Red Orchestra: the Story of the Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler. Anne Nelson will present slides on the topic. The event takes place at the German Consulate at 6pm, it is free, but reservation is required at germanconsulatenyc[at]gmail.com.

Here is the website, and here is more:

The Red Orchestra was a major resistance group that opposed the Third Reich within Germany from 1933 to 1942. The Gestapo labeled them as Communists and traitors for their efforts to overthrow the Nazi regime, a myth that was perpetuated by Allied Secret Services until recently. Historians now officially recognize their work as that of one of the largest and most efficient anti-Nazi resistance groups.

The participants represented a broad range of political and religious beliefs. Forty percent of the members were women. Together, the resisters represented many facets of German society. Many artists were among them. Putting an end to the Third Reich was their common goal.

Anne Nelson is the author of Red Orchestra: the Story of the Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler (Random House 2009; C. Bertelsmann 2010). She will present a slide lecture of archival photographs dealing with the fine arts in Nazi Germany and the many ways artists opposed the regime, operating in the heart of Berlin through networks of painters, sculptors, photographers, filmmakers, and art students.


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