Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Dear friends, colleagues, authors, editors, and readers! Berlinica Publishing wishes you all a very merry Christmas and a wonderful and successful New Year!

Berlinica will be introducing four new books in 2014; beginning with Rheinsberg, a love story by Kurt Tucholsky, one of the most famous authors of the Weimar Republic. This will be the first time Rheinsberg comes out in English. It is our second Tucholsky-book, after Berlin! Berlin! Dispatches from the Weimar Republic, which appeared in 2013. Also in the 2014 program is Rennefarre. Dott's Wonderful Travels and Adventures, a famous German children classic by the late Tamara Ramsay, translated by Malve von Hassell. The book will come out as a hardcover.

Erik Kirschbaum, the author of Rocking the Wall. Bruce Springsteen: The Berlin Concert That Changed the World, will be doing another book with Berlinica; it is about German-Americans in World War I. And we will also publish a book with black-and-white pictures from 1945s Berlin, taken by Russian soldiers and shown for the first time in the United States. 

And finally, for everybody who is still looking for a Christmas gift, we recommend Lothar Heinke's book  Wings of Desire - Angels of Berlin





by Eva C. Schweitzer


Friday, December 6, 2013

Own a Piece of The Berlin Wall

What happened to the Berlin Wall? It has been pecked, dismantled, torn down, chopped into little pieces, and now you can buy those. Not only a real piece of the real Wall, no, a piece of the real Wall inserted into a postcard of Bruce Springsteen, singing in 1988 in the East Berlin district of Weissensee, in front of more than 300,000 delirious young Germans. It was an event that started the revolution that eventually brought down the Berlin Wall, a little more than a year later. Berlinica has a limited—a very limited—edition of those postcards, sold by Amazon, an amazing deal for $6 only.





So, if you are a big Springsteen fan, that is the Christmas gift to go with. And if you are interested in how Bruce brought down the Wall, Rocking the Wall, by Berlin-based Reuters correspondent Erik Kirschbaum, is the book to read. It is available as a hardcover, a softcover, and an enhanced ebook, with links to Springsteen music and pictures of the concert.




by Eva C. Schweitzer


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Eight Days of Hanukkah Gifts

Happy Hanukkah — happy Thanksgiving. This is the beginning of the holidays, and Christmas is just around the corner. So Berlinica Publishing is offering gifts (sort of): 20 copies of Jews in Berlin, the landmark book about 750 years of Jewish life and history in the German capital, by Andreas Nachama, Julius H. Schoeps, and Hermann Simon, updated in 2013 by Judith Kessler and André Anchuelo, will be for sale. The copies come new from the publisher, sent to you by Amazon.com, for only $18.00 (regularly $23.95). This sale will go on for all of Hanukkah and end in eight days (or, when all books will be sold sold).

Here is the link:

Here is Hanukkah in Berlin (from the book), with the menorah at the Brandenburg Gate.



Jews in Berlin has been reviewed by the Jewish Book Council, by Ira Wolfman. Here is what he wrote:

This is an updated edition of Juden in Berlin, published in 2001. All of its multiple authors have personal connections to the city. The book offers well over 100 images – some in full color, including photos, paintings, postcards, and documents. They add immeasurably to its value. 
Seven chapters review Berlin Jewish history. During the late middle ages, Jews are tolerated, taxed, exploited, murdered, burnt at the stake, and expelled. Despite the ongoing mayhem, a select few Berlin Jews serve as influential physicians and financial advisers. More Jews gain rights in the late 1700s and 1800s. Barriers fall; by World War I, Jews have become German army officers. Astonishing affluence emerges: Twelve of Berlin’s twenty most prosperous individuals in 1911 are Jews or of Jewish heritage.
Then calamity slithers in. The harrowing chapter, “Jews During the Period of National Socialism,” sensitively examines how Jewish Berliners tried to navigate the encroaching inferno. And chapters on the post-war years and life after reunification never ignore the shadow of the Shoah: “Nearly every street, building, and stone in Berlin is linked to the Holocaust in some way.” 
Now Berlin is again a world cultural center, and appealing to Jews: “Since the wall fell in November 1989, Jewish life in Berlin has experienced a veritable quantum leap.” Israelis and Russian Jews are bringing energy to the tiny, damaged Berlin Jewish community. And, as the foreword’s author, Carol Kahn Strauss, points out, Berlin is now a major destination for American Jewish tour groups. 
Jews loved Berlin – a city that alternately freed and destroyed them. In carefully recounting this confounding tale, Jews in Berlin honors the complexity of an unfathomable relationship. Appendix, bibliography, index.


Keep tuned for more sales to come. Next item: A postcard of Bruce Springsteen with a piece of the Berlin Wall.

by Eva C. Schweitzer


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Kristallnacht Redux: Broken Glasses in Berlin

Seventy-five years ago, Synagogues burned, and Jewish-owned stores in Austria and Germany were smashed by SA thugs; the owners threatened and beaten, some of them hauled off to camps. About a hundred were killed. The night came to be known as "Kristallnacht", the night of the broken glasses. It was the beginning of the end.

This year, the Handelsverband Berlin-Brandenburg, the main association of Berlin and Brandenburg retailers in collaboration with the city government of Berlin has called for an unusual commemoration of the anniversary of Kristallnacht: On Saturday, stores at Kurfürstendamm and other major streets and places in Berlin will cover their storefront windows with specially prepared black foil. It will look as if they had been smashed, from the outside. Kurfürstendamm, the main shopping mile with a lot of Jewish-owned businesses, was the center of Kristallnacht in 1938. So this is apt.

KaDeWe at Wittenbergplatz, Berlin's biggest department store, will participate, Kaufhof at Alexanderplatz, the giant book store Dussmann at Friedrichstrasse, and probably also H&M, as well as bakeries and drug stores at Hackescher Markt, another center of Jewish-owned retail in Berlin before 1938. Kulturprojekte Berlin, the organization in charge of the commemoration, wants to reach out to passer-bys and tourists, as well as store clerks, to inform them, and to set a visible sign. The action is endorsed by the representatives of the Jewish Community in Berlin.

Today, the Jewish Community in Berlin is coming back. Berlin has a dozen synagogues from liberal to conservative, Israeli-owned hummus shops and old-fashioned kosher restaurants, Jewish Film Festivals and Cultural Days; organizations like the American Jewish Congress and the Lehrhaus of the Lauder Foundation have offices in the German capital. Jewish immigrants like Wladimir Kaminer are writing bestselling books about Berlin. The Jewish community is now nearly a third of what it used to be before World War II, between 30.000 to 50.000 people, mostly from Russia, among them about 18.000 Israeli immigrants—and quite some infighting is going on. And institutions like the Jewish Museum are making headlines when they are telling you, "Everything you always wanted to know about Jews".

You can read this, and more, in the Berlinca book Jews in Berlin, written by three famous Jewish Berliners, Andreas Nachama, Julius H. Schoeps, and Hermann Simon, and updated in 2013.




by Eva C. Schweitzer


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Forbidden Art, the Topography of Terror, and Karaoke: The Berlin Wall Today

Twenty-four years ago, on a cold and foggy night, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. It was 7:30 p.m. that day when Günter Schabowski, an operative of the Communist Party told two dozen reporters live on camera that citizens of the GDR would be permitted to leave the country. Right away, hundreds and soon thousands of people went to the checkpoints and demanded to cross the border, louder and louder.

Finally, at 10:30 p.m., a nervous guard at the Bornholmer Bridge checkpoint made the call: he opened the gates, and droves of happy people, along with a lot of honking cars, poured into West Berlin. Berliners from the West and the East hugged each other. During the next hour, all checkpoints opened. Berlin celebrated one long, happy night.

If you are wondering what's left of the Wall, read The Berlin Wall Today, by Michael Cramer, an Green Party representative and bicycle activist. The book, which features more than one hundred color and black-and-white pictures, showcases Wall memorials and remnants in back yards, along train tracks, at churches, and in cemeteries. It takes you to Mauer Park, where people from all over world meet for Karaoke and parties; a guard tower that became the Museum of Forbidden Art; the Topography of Terror Museum, with the former Gestapo headquarters, the Reichstag, the East Side Gallery, and Checkpoint Charlie.

The Berlin Wall Today is also available as an enhanced e-book with maps and hyperlinks to websites of the memorials, former border crossings, and the other important sites along the Wall, including a 3D simulation of where the Wall once stood. To celebrate the anniversary, Berlinica participates in Amazon's Matchbook program; if you buy the printed book, you will get the enhanced ebook for less than half-price—for $2.99 only. Click on the picture, it will take you to the Amazon page.




by Eva C. Schweitzer

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Criss-crossing the United States: Erik Kirschbaum on Tour


Erik Kirschbaum in Tucson, Arizona, talking about Rocking the Wall

For the last ten days, I've had the chance to talk to large and small groups of Americans interested in Germany and German expatriates in the United States. It's been great to engage in many exciting and stimulating discussions about my book Rocking the Wall and exploring the question whether Bruce Springsteen's record-breaking four-hour long concert in 1988 East Berlin helped spark the fire that led to the revolution that brought down the Berlin Wall sixteen months later. The grueling eight-city tour also gave me the chance to see what it might be like to be on a rock 'n' roll tour with eight different hotel rooms, four time zones, fifteen flights and nearly forty hours in the air and almost as much time standing in airport security lines—it made me glad that I went into journalism and never even dreamed of becoming a rock star.

The tour to talk about Rocking the Wall, which has been generously sponsored by the American Council on Germany at its Eric M. Warburg Chapters,  included stops in Nashville, Charlotte, Davidson, Madison, Minneapolis, Nashville, Flagstaff, Tucson and Minneapolis/St Paul. The gatherings ranged from about ten people to as many as fifty-five. And most of the people in America who came to the talks—everybody from students to lawyers, accountants, local business leaders interested in all things German and a few German consulate officials—seemed to be really excited by the notion that the power of Springsteen's music may well have helped influence the course of history twenty-five years ago.

The Rocking the Wall tour began on October 16 in Nashville with a 'klein aber fein' luncheon gathering of ten local German professors, students, lawyers and even a retired federal judge that was organized by Douglas Berry, the Nashville ACG chapter leader. I tried to keep my speech short and sweet at about thirty minutes and spent the next forty-five minutes fielding their thoughtful questions. German audiences tend to expect longer speeches while Americans seem to relish the chance to ask questions so it worked out well in Nashville and everyone seemed happy. Douglas, who is also the honorary German Consul in Nashville, said the approach was "just perfect" for American audiences and so the Nashville speech became the basic template for the rest of the tour.

The next stop on October 17 was in Madison, Wisconsin, a return to the college campus on Lake Mendota where I was once an undergraduate student in history and German. It felt a little strange suddenly being a guest speaker in the Van Hise Languages Building that towers over the campus some three decades after I sometimes struggled there to memorize irregular German verbs and the genders of nouns. But any awkward memories quickly vanished thanks to the warm embrace from the German professors, especially Coralee Kluge and Marc Silberman, and their urging to do my talk auf Deutsch because the thirty-five or so students, faculty and alumni at the gather all understood German. So we did it all in German—even though my book is in English (as well as in German). The lecture and discussion, co-sponsored by the Center for German and European Studies at the UW German Dept., was quite lively. There was one graduate student in the audience who had actually been at the 1988 Springsteen concert and he asked some challenging questions and had his doubts about my thesis. Earlier that day in Madison, I gave a forty-five-minute version of the talk to a high school history class at West High that was studying the Cold War and whose teacher had read about my book in a story online. The high school history teacher, David Holtan, had also been at the concert and proudly showed me the 'Konzert fuer Nikaragua' ticket stub. He found the spirit at the concert incredible.

The next stop on October 18 began in Charlotte, North Carolina, where an early morning meeting of about twenty lawyers, accountants, local business leaders and friends of Germany (and a few big Springsteen fans) gathered in the board room of Parker Poe, one of Charlotte's top law firms (with a spectacular view of the fast-growing city), organized by Albert Guarnieri. At noon, I meet a group of about 10 Davidson College "American Pop Culture" students who were fascinated even though they were all born about five years after the concert in the early 1990s. Later in the afternoon, about forty-five students, faculty and the general public came to an hour-long lecture on the concert warmly organized by German professor Caroline Weist.

The fifth stop was in Atlanta on October 20 at the German American Chamber of Commerce. It was exciting to see how many young Germans there are hard at work helping German companies get in-roads into the United States—no wonder half of Germany's GDP is exports. Organized by Martina Stegmeier, the head of the German American Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta, there were about twenty-five local business leaders, German expatriates and even the head of the German consulate gathered in the evening for the chat and to ask engaging questions about the concert. Several German expats had some helpful ideas on how to help more people in the United States hear about the book—always welcome!

The sixth stop was Flagstaff, Arizona on October 21. The indefatigable Helge Jordan, head of the ACG chapter and Germany's honorary consul for Arizona, accompanied me on the forty-eight-hour driving marathon from Phoenix to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and then down to the University of Arizona in Tucson. In Flagstaff there were about fifty German students, faculty and friends of Germany who stayed on the campus late on Tuesday evening for the talk and kept me on my toes with vibrant, probing questions. Organized by German professor Marilya Veteto Reese, the lecture hall was packed, the questions were excellent and the talk was a success—topped off with a superb dinner in downtown Flagstaff with a group of enthused German speakers.

The seventh stop was in Tucson, Arizona—at the southern end of the state and about forty degrees hotter than chilly Flagstaff. Barbara Kosta, the head of the U of A German Dept., didn't seem at all concerned when there were only two young students in the lecture hall about five minutes before the talk was supposed to begin. And she knew the student body well because in the next few minutes the room was full with about forty students and faculty. After a lively discussion, a smaller group tried out a tasty Mexican restaurant nearby and enjoyed the warm evening outdoors under the stars in Tucson.



Erik Kirschbaum and the Tucson Students after the talk

The eighth and final stop was in St. Paul, Minnesota, where there were snowflakes in the air, at the stately Germanic-American Institute building perched high on a high overlooking the city. GAI executive director Aline Anliker and board member R. Don Keysser brought together an eclectic audience of about forty-five—and they kept me talking for more than ninety minutes answering their questions. There were several people in the crowd who had not only read Rocking the Wall already, but brought their copies along for me to sign, which was a special treat. Making the final evening even more special was a guest appearance by a former East German air force officer who had six tickets to the Springsteen concert but had to give his away because he was called into duty on the night of the concert. He lives in Minnesota now, but his recollections of life in Communist East Germany before and after the Springsteen concert helped give the audience a feeling for what life was like under the Communist regime that Springsteen's concert helped bring down.

All in all it was a fantastic (yet draining) fortnight on the road in America, talking about Springsteen's '88 East Berlin concert and the power of rock and roll with Americans and Germans in America—some of whom weren't born until well after the concert happened and some of whom had never before heard about it. It was a great opportunity to meet young and not-so-young Americans and German expatriates who are intensely interested in German and Germany.

- By Erik Kirschbaum



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ten Reasons Artists and Authors Should Still Get Paid in the Age of the Internet

We live in the age of the internet, and the age of free content. And free music. And free books. Free blogs. Free news. Why should artists, musicians, authors, and journalists be paid at all, even less so since what they produce is invisible, immaterial, and ubiquitous? Or should they? Here are ten arguments why they should:
1) In former times, there was no copyright. Artists had sponsors, and wonderful art was produced -- think of Mozart and Bach. Why not go back to these times? 
Mozart died fairly young and in debt, since his royal sponsors lost money in the Austro-Turkish war. Bach was full-time employed by various churches. But sure, lets go back to these times. We already have a society where 1 percent own most of the money, so these are the sponsors right here! However, during Bach's times, not only was copyright unheard of, pretty much nobody was guaranteed payment for work. Farmhands worked as indentured servants, maids slaved for food and lodging. Peons owned squat. Doctors were paid with chickens. If artists and writers have to go back to feudalism, everybody should. Then at least I'd have a free maid. Or two.
2) It costs nothing to produce an ebook, or a MP3 file, as opposed to a printed book or a CD. Why should I pay anything to get one?
Really, it costs nothing? A book just pops out of nowhere? Writes itself? Here is a great business model for you: Produce 100 e-books a day and sell them for 10 cents a copy, you will be a millionaire in a few weeks. Whoever thinks like this confuses the production of the actual art with the conversion to a format suitable for e-readers or MP3 players. The expensive part of ebook or CD creation is the writing/editing/music making part, not pressing the finished product on paper or plastic. Plastic is cheap. This is the reason Windows 8 costs the same as a download than as a CD. The plastic the CD is made of has the same value than the plastic bag it's wrapped into.
3) I'm only downloading stuff I would not have purchased anyway. If an ebook is downloaded illegally, the author does not suffer any actual material loss.With that logic, you can ride the subway for free, because it is running anyway. Or an airplane, for that matter. Problem is, every system can sustain a certain number of freeloaders, but not unlimited. If everybody downloads books for free, then nobody is paying the author, the editor, the designer, the publisher, and whatnot. So you are either ripping off the artist, or freeloading on paying customers. By the way, as an author, I much prefer people who steal paper books to people who steal e-books. With paper, I still get paid by the store. And nobody is deprived of his copy, because since Gutenberg, every book can be reproduced in unlimited numbers. Of course, if you steal a paper book, you deprive the store owner of his income, but otherwise it would be me. If it's any consolation, if a lawyer comes after you, you won't suffer a material loss as well. It's only virtual digits on your credit card account.
4) Why can't musicians make a living from concerts instead from CD sales, or authors make a living from paid appearances?Why do I have the feeling that the people who are arguing this are the same people who used to sneak into a concert for free because the artist was supposed to make a living from his albums and not from live concerts? Seriously, how much money have you spent on concerts or readings lately? Nada?
5) How about selling T-shirts?I tried, really. Sadly, some Hollywood lawyers cracked down on my collection of Mickey Mouse in bed with Princess Leia. Also, if I would want to make a living by selling stuff, I'd sell used Macbooks on eBay.
6) Journalists don't need to be paid; there is a ton of stuff on the internet you can read for free, mostly blogs, and, of course Facebook and other free sites.
Sure. However, those sites thrive by letting folks comment on news stories that derive from actual, paid journalists. If the New York Times would fold, the blogosphere would fold twelve hours later. News costs money. Just look at the last venture, Al Jazeera, a news TV program sponsored by the Emir of Qatar. He spent hundreds of millions of dollars to get Al Jazeera to America. The BBC is free to watch as well, but only courtesy of the British taxpayer. And there is a new feature, run by Glenn Greenwald, financed by an Iranian-American whose name just escaped me. And I'm sure we can find some Koch brothers-financed news someplace. So, there is a free lunch after all!
7) There are so many free ebooks, videos, or music on the net -- why should I pay?Absolutely. There is so much free stuff to watch, hear, and download, I have no idea why people still need to knock down prices on the rest. You can spend your whole day watching free cat videos, why would you need free HBO shows?
8) Most of the stuff in the mainstream media is dictated by Wall Street/controlled by the government/written by run-amok Pinkos. I'm not paying for that.
Bro, I can feel your pain! I'm just not sure what the problem is. If you don't want to pay for, say, the Washington Post, because you believe it's filled with communist/corporate/fill-in-the-blanks-drivel, just don't. But why would you want to read it in the first place? I firmly believe that Twinkies are fattening toothkillers. So I'm not buying them. But I'm not asking Hostess to give them away for free either.
9) I would pay for well-researched stories, but not for gossip about Lindsay Lohan
As you should. However, sadly, this gossip is what people tend to click on, hence it's pulling in eyeballs. And eyeballs attract ads. This is why you find lots of Lindsay Lohan on the internet. In the good old times, those ads also used to pay for those well-researched stories, since everything was bundled in the same newspaper. But not any more. This is the age of the internet. Nowadays, if you want well-researched stories, you have to fund the whole bill. But Lindsay Lohan will always be free.
10) Isn't being on the internet and being read PR for the writer already?Yes, kind of like it's PR for a restaurant if people eat there and talk about it. But it still costs money to operate, so at some point, they have to make some cash.
by Eva C. Schweitzer

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Rocking the Wall - The Tour Goes On

Erik Kirschbaum, the author of  Rocking The Wall: Bruce Springsteen: The Untold Story of a Concert in East Berlin That Changed the Worldis still touring America. Erik had a great talk in Charlotte, North Carolina, yesterday, now he is on his way to Atlanta and Minneapolis. He will speak about the impact Bruce Springsteen had on bringing down the Berlin Wall, there will also be an opportunity for questions.

Here are the tour dates for Arizona later next week:

October 22 
4:00 pm. to 5:30 p.m.
NAU Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, German Department

October 23
4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, Department of German Studies, Education Building 353

The reading is free; the tour is generously sponsored by the American Council on Germany at its Eric M. Warburg Chapters in Atlanta, Charlotte, Madison, Minneapolis, Nashville and Phoenix. In Arizona, the Phoenix Chapter has arranged events in Flagstaff and Tucson.

Arizonians, we hope to see you all there. It will be a one-of-a-kind event.



Picture: Herbert Schulze


by Eva C. Schweitzer





Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rocking the Wall — Springsteen-Author Erik Kirschbaum Tours America

Erik Kirschbaum, the author of Rocking the Wall. Bruce Springsteen: The Berlin Concert That Changed the World is touring America. For this book, Kirschbaum spoke to scores of fans and organizers, including Jon Landau, Springsteen's long-time friend and manager. This gripping book gives you a front-row spot at one of the biggest and most exciting rock concerts ever, anywhere. It takes you to an unforgettable journey with Springsteen through the divided city, to his hotel, and his dressing room at the open air grounds in Weissensee, where The Boss, live on stage, delivered a courageous speech against the Wall to a record-breaking crowd of more than 300,000 delirious young East Germans.

The book has garnered raving reviews in Rolling Stone, ABC, the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, The Irish Times, and the New Jersey Star Ledger, Springsteen's home town paper, and many other papers. Michelle Martin called the book in the Washington Post "a glorious example of the influence that rock ‘n’ roll can have on people who are hungry and ready for change."

Now you can meet the author himself — here are the tour dates:

October 16
12:00 - 2:00 p.m.: Nashville luncheon event on Rocking the Wall
                           Venue: The University Club of Nashville
                           2402 Garland Avenue, Nashville TN 37212

October 17
2:30 - 4:00 p.m.: The Center for German and European Studies, German Department,
                          University of Wisconsin-Madison
                          Venue: 1418 Van Hise
                          1220 Linden Dr., Madison, WI 53706

October 18
8:00 - 10:00 a.m.: Charlotte breakfast event on Rocking the Wall
                  Venue: Parker Poe
                  101 North Tryon Street, Suite 1900, Charlotte, NC 28246

October 21
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.: Atlanta meet and greet with Erik Kirschbaum
                          Venue: GACC South
                          1170 Howell Mill Road, Suite 300, Atlanta, GA 30318

October 24
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.: Minneapolis evening event as part of the GAI's Cultural Series Events
                          Venue: Germanic-American Institute (GAI)
                          301 Summit Ave, St. Paul, MN 55102


The tour is generously sponsored by the American Council on Germany at its Eric M. Warburg Chapters in Atlanta, Charlotte, Madison, Minneapolis, Nashville and Phoenix.

There will also be appearances in Flagstaff, and Tucson. We will keep you posted.




by Eva C. Schweitzer

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mark Twain in Berlin

Mark Twain in Berlin: Tagesspiegel, Berlin's leading daily, reported on the new Berlinica book about a 1891-92 journey of America's most famous author to the German capital, Twain's search for an apartment, his dinner with the Kaiser, and his observations on Berlin landmarks and other things. The book, by Andreas Austilat, is in English, it has all of Twain's stories on Berlin, and interviews with Twain himself in Berlin papers.

http://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/mark-twain-in-berlin-die-siegessaeuleein-schandfleck/8922422.html

And here is the book:




by Eva C. Schweitzer

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Frankfurt Book Fair - Here I Come!

Off to the Frankfurt book fair! Tomorrow I will be boarding the plane to the biggest book event on the planet. Pretty much every publisher is there, including small ones like myself. It is an event crammed with meetings, talks, industry panels, appearances of famous (and less famous) authors, sightings of agents, end-of-day parties between the aisles and nightly parties in Frankfurt. Brazil is the guest of honor, and also American publishing companies will be present (in the only hall where your bag gets searched — what a surprise!). Food is usually limited to cookies, chocolate, gummy bears, and plastic glasses of wine, albeit a lot of those. To quote another great Frankfurter, you can eat (or sleep), when you're dead.

Funny things happen at the book fair. I once ended up at a brunch at a Frankfurt hotel where a Berlin-based journalist from Austria was running his mouth so sharply that I missed my train, because I couldn‘t leave. Not so much because it was so interesting, but because I was afraid that he‘d talk about me likewise as soon as I was gone! I also once stole a cat book, my apologies, I was drunk. And Frankfurt is a great place to meet people you could see in New York and Berlin as well, but don't.

So why am I there? I will be covering the fair, and I am also hoping to find a German publisher interested in the German version of, "A Tramp in Berlin. New Mark Twain Stories." There will also be talks about a book of travels into Native American territory. I will, of course, keep everybody posted. I will be taking my new Nook with me, love, love, love the Nook. Let‘s see how it works on a 24/7 basis.

by Eva C. Schweitzer


Speaking of Berlin, by the way, here is the newest story.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mark Twain on Congress

Exciting times! So, this is how Congress works. Of course, this is nothing new; Mark Twain knew already that the body of representatives could be a bit ... difficult? Anyway, for those of you who want to delve in, here is our signature T-shirt with the famous quote, "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Soon as a mug, and a baseball cap. Check it out:



Saturday, September 21, 2013

Steuben in New York

Off to the Steuben Parade! Your publisher will be at the annual German-American parade in New York City on Saturday, September 21, marching from 68th to 86th Street upwards Fifth Avenue, distributing wrapped chocolate candy, and postcards (for free). The parade starts at noon. Berlinica has formed a mutual band with German Pulse, the German-American online community from Chicago, but I believe there is no singing involved. Nevertheless, the Steuben Parade and even more the following Octoberfest in Central Park are a lot of fun, as seen in last year's pictures.





So, see you there!
by Eva C. Schweitzer


Monday, September 2, 2013

Tucholsky on Ragazine

A review of Kurt Tucholsky's Berlin! Berlin! Dispatches from the Weimar Republic, by Fred Roberts, for Ragazine CC - The Online Magazine of Art, Information & Entertainment

When I was in high school in the 70’s, I had a book called “Prelude to War”, the first in a Time-Life series about World War II. The most fascinating chapter of the book was a collage of photos documenting the Weimar 
Tucholsky_PortraitRepublic days of Germany’s capital, “Dizzy, Decadent Berlin”. The collage of photos, many of them rather risqué, portrayed the gaiety and wildness of Berlin’s nightlife. My newly found interest led me to two films of the era. “Der blaue Engel” (1930) with Marlene Dietrich captured the decadence and perhaps cold-bloodedness of that cabaret scene. Fritz Lang’s “M” (1931) showed another side of Berlin, as the police and the underworld raced against each other to capture a child murderer. These ran on PBS at the time, and both left lasting impressions on me. A pair of silent movies “Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt” (1927), a film collage of one day in the life of that metropolis and “Menschen am Sonntag” (1930) – co-written by Billy Wilder, showing the typical Sunday pastimes of Berlin’s residents, complete a well-rounded cinematic documentation of 1920s’ Berlin. Add to that Berthold Brecht’s film “Kuhle Wampe” (1932) which is more political and portrays the working class experience of that era. If you never felt a fascination for this unique period in history a viewing of these films will whet your appetite for an important English-language book release “Berlin! Berlin! Dispatches from the Weimar Republic”, writings of Kurt Tucholsky in Berlinica, translated by Cindy Opitz and edited by Eva C. Schweitzer.
It is surprising that someone as brilliant as Kurt Tucholsky (1890-1935) could be virtually unknown in the English language. Tucholsky, a Berliner himself, was a leading satirist in Germany whose keen cultural, social, and especially political observations were unparalleled for the time, and maybe even today. His political satires, compelling and prescient warnings against the right wing tendencies of the time, would be enough to cement his reputation. The statements he made are so honest that they somehow set themselves above agenda, they are more in service to justice and democracy than to a transient political whim. It is not about preaching to the converted but rather making the guilty uncomfortable. Perhaps that is why the Nazi’s hated him so much. The Berlinica collection establishes that feeling early on in the piece “Three Biographies”:

(....)
Read more here, and here
And here is the book  (and the ebook):

             

Friday, August 30, 2013

White Spots - from the Huffington Post

Eva Claudia Schweitzer

GET UPDATES FROM EVA CLAUDIA SCHWEITZER

White Spots

Posted: 08/28/2013 4:57 pm


Sometimes, if only rarely, a political author stays fresh over time, over a long time. One of those is Kurt Tucholsky. Tucholsky was a German Jew born in 1890s Berlin who took his own life in 1935, in Sweden. He would have been a standup comedian in different times; he covered the theatre, the cabaret, wrote poems, went on dates with actresses and liked to have fun with friends. He was a Liberal in the best sense.
The time between WWI and WWII in the Weimar Republic was different, though. He became an early, very early warner of what was lying ahead and what many people did not want to see. Here is one of this stories, written in the aftermath of WWI, about the war and what it does to families. It is a story that is still valid now, more than ever. The story White Spots is from his book Berlin! Berlin! Dispatches from the Weimar Republic,only now newly translated into English.
On Dorotheenstrasse in Berlin, there's a building that once housed the Prussian War Academy. A strip of granite blocks runs around the base of the building, one after another, about as tall as a man.

There's something strange about those blocks; the brown granite looks lighter in many places, as if smudged with white. . . What could this be?
Are they whitish spots? If they're spots, they should be reddish. During the Great War, the lists of German casualties were posted there.
They hung there, changed almost daily, those terrible pages, endless lists with name after name after name. . . I have the very first one of those documents; the military units were still carefully noted on it; that first one listed very few dead; it's very short, list No. 1. I don't know how many appeared after that--just that there were a great many, over a thousand. One name after another, each one signifying a human life snuffed out, or someone "missing"--crossed out for the time being--or injured, or gravely maimed.
There they hung, where the white spots are now. There they hung, and hundreds of people crowded silently around them, people whose loved ones were out there somewhere, trembling, afraid to see that one name among the many thousands. What did they care about the Müllers or Schulzes or Lehmanns posted there! Let them perish, one thousand after another--if only his name doesn't appear! The war thrived on that attitude.
And it was because of that very attitude that the war could go on like that for four long years. If we had all stood up as one man--who knows if it would have lasted so long. Someone once told me that I didn't know how a German man could die. I know very well how. But I also know how a German woman can cry--and I know she's still crying today, because slowly, excruciatingly slowly, she's beginning to understand what it was that he died for. For what. . . ?
Am I rubbing salt in old wounds? I'd rather burn holy fire in those wounds; I'd like to shout at those who are grieving: He died for nothing, for sheer madness, for nothing. . . for nothing. . . for nothing.
As the years pass by, the rain will gradually dissolve those white spots, until they disappear. But there are others that can't be erased. Engraved in our hearts are vestiges that will not fade. And every time I pass by the War Academy, with its brown granite and white spots, I say silently: Promise yourself. Take a vow. Take action. Get to work. Tell people. Liberate them from this national delusion, you, with your modest strengths. You owe it to the dead. Those white spots are screaming. Can you hear them?
They're shouting, "No more war!"
See more on Tucholsky at www.berlinica.com

by Eva C. Schweitzer

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Berlin - The Chicago of Europe

Just a quick update: Here is the newest Mark Twain ebook on the Amazon Kindle, "Berlin — the Chicago of Europe". It's an excerpt of "Six Travel Letters from Europe" and "A Tramp in Berlin. New Mark Twain stories," with a lot of bonus material, including an interview with Twain (conducted in 1891 by a Berlin reporter), a video and some cut kitty pictures. Only 99 cents! Soon also on the Nook and at Apple.

Here is some info from the description:

Get a preview of the printed book, see the video! In fall 1891, Mark Twain headed for Berlin, the “newest city I have ever seen,” as America’s foremost humorist would write. He was accompanied by his wife, Olivia, and their three daughters, Susy, Clara, and Jean. It was a foray of six months that is little known today, done for health reasons, to frequent German doctors, and to save money by living in Europe. For Twain, it was an adventure he would remember for a long time. Twain wrote six travel letters from Europe, commissioned by the McClure Syndicate; they have been printed in the Chicago Tribune, the long-gone New York Sun, and other papers in 1891 and 1892. One of those letters was written from Berlin, titled "The Chicago of Europe". It is reproduced here, together with a newspaper feature story by reporter Horwitz on Twain an a short video on the book.

And here is the book:



by Eva C. Schweitzer



Monday, August 12, 2013

Special Kindle Sale for Rocking the Wall

Here is your chance to get a bargain on Rocking the Wall. Bruce Springsteen: The Berlin Concert That Changed the World. For three days only, the Kindle ebook will be available at a reduced price of $1.99, available at Amazon.com. Here is more at Kindlenation


“Rocking the Wall. Bruce Springsteen: The Berlin Concert That Changed the World,” is about the famed Springsteen concert in 1988 East Berlin. Erik Kirschbaum spoke to scores of fans and concert organizers including Jon Landau, Springsteen’s long-time manager. With lively behind-the-scenes details from eyewitness accounts, newspaper clippings, and even Stasi files, this book takes you to an unforgettable journey with Springsteen through the divided city; it also offers links to the Boss’ classic hits on Vevo, powered by YouTube. You will not only read the story, but see the pictures of Bruce and the crowd, and hear the music.

by Erik Kirschbaum
4.7 stars – 27 Reviews
Text-to-Speech: Enabled
Don’t have a Kindle? Get yours here.

“…as clear a statement of the power of this music as anyone, ever, has come up with.” –Dave Marsh, Rolling Stone music critic 

“An illuminating and impressively detailed examination of a frequently overlooked moment in the nexus of rock music and political liberation. I learned a great deal and enjoyed doing so.”–Eric Alterman, author of The Promise of Bruce Springsteen

“…a glorious example of the influence that rock ‘n’ roll can have on people who are hungry and ready for change.”—Michelle Martin for The Washington Post

Guest Post By Eva Schweitzer:
“Rocking the Wall” was written by Erik Kirschbaum, a native of New York City and long-time Springsteen fan, who has lived in Germany for more than twenty-five years. He is a correspondent for the Reuters news agency and is based in Berlin since 1993. Here is how he came up with the idea:
After a riveting Bruce Springsteen concert in Berlin in 2002, I was riding home in a taxi when the driver suddenly started chattering on about another Springsteen performance—in Communist East Berlin, back in 1988. He said that July ’88 show was the most amazing thing ever, anywhere.  The concert behind the Iron Curtain happened more than fourteen years before our chance encounter on that cold October night, but the heavyset taxi driver with the thick gray beard and long scraggly hair couldn’t stop raving about it.
“Yeah, I know,” I said, trying to close my eyes and relax. “I’ve seen lots of Springsteen concerts too, and they’re always amazing.”
“Nein, nein, nein!” the driver replied. “No! You don’t understand.” That East Berlin concert was really different. More than 300,000 people watched it live, and millions more saw it on television. The whole country was shaken up. “It was the most incredible thing that ever happened in East Germany,” he said.
For millions of baby boomers, Springsteen’s music has been the soundtrack of our lives. Four decades of song lyrics are lodged in our collective memory. The Berlin taxi driver’s uncontainable enthusiasm about that concert was contagious, and he got me wondering: Had there been something really special about that Springsteen show in Communist East Berlin?
And then it dawned on me—what made that particular concert so extraordinary was its date: July 19, 1988. That was less than sixteen months before the Berlin Wall fell. Could there have been a connection between the Springsteen concert, the ensuing rebellion in East Germany, and the Berlin Wall falling that no one had seen before?

Berlinica ist a New York-based publishing company that specializes on English-language books from Berlin, Germany.  As of now, Berlinica offers six books on Kindle, among them “The Berlin Wall Today,” a color picture guide with interactive maps (http://www.amazon.com/Berlin-Wall-Today-Berlinica-ebook/dp/B006RNNYUM/), “Berlin for Free”, a guide book to all free leisure activities, linking to a map of the venue, (http://www.amazon.com/Berlin-for-Free-Berlinica-ebook/dp/B006S5CTBE), “Berlin in the Cold War”, with links to the key places of the Cold War (http://www.amazon.com/Berlin-Cold-War-Berlinica-ebook/dp/B006H87KT8), Wallflower, a novel set in the time when the Wall came down (http://www.amazon.com/Wallflower-Berlinica-ebook/dp/B006QY12MY), and “The Times Are Screaming for Satire”; two short stories by the famed Weimar author Kurt Tucholsky, for only 99 cents (http://www.amazon.com/Times-Screaming-Satire-Berlin-ebook/dp/B00CRNPL48)
Dr. Eva C. Schweitzer
Berlinica Publishing LLC

by Eva C. Schweitzer





Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Tramp in Berlin

Our new book "A Tramp in Berlin. New Mark Twain Stories & an Account of his Adventures," is now out. Here is an interview with the author, Andreas Austilat, in the Hartford Courant.
"In Germany, many people are thinking Mark Twain is a youth author. In the United States, he is known also for writing for grown-ups as well," Austilat said in a phone interview from Berlin. "When I got a little bit older and learned that he was in Berlin he became fascinating for me." 
Austilat was inspired to write this book by his commute to work."Körnerstrasse is just behind the Tagesspiegel when I walk there. It still is today. Every day I was going to work I would pass Körnerstrasse," Austilat said. "That's why I started to research Mark Twain in Berlin. He lived on Körnerstrasse."
Read more here in the Hartford Courant

And here is the book:




by Eva C. Schweitzer

Friday, June 28, 2013

Rocking the Wall Around the World



Rocking the Wall. Bruce Springsteen: The Berlin Concert That Changed the World, now actually goes around the world! We had reviews in papers from Germany to China and, of course, the USA. This is the story the Rolling Stone magazine did today:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/bruce-springsteen-helped-breach-berlin-wall-book-20130627


And here are some links to the Winnipeg Free Press, the Portuguese paper Publico, the French magazine Les Echos, the Independent Online from South Africa, La Stampa from Italy, Svenska Dagbladet from Sweden, the British BBCGermany's Der Spiegel, the Chinese CNYes, the China Daily, the Times of Malta, and the Global Post. Also the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and ABC News have covered it.

Naturally, there are some sceptic folks. Did Bruce really bring down the Wall? Well, we don't claim that. What Springsteen did, however, was to play to an enthusiastic crowd of more than 300.000 (and the GDR had only about 16 million people), and behind the Wall, giving them the feeling of freedom, and the experience that they could rebel against orders from above, starting with going to a concert without a ticket and trampling down fences on the way into the concert grounds. And Springsteen spoke against the Wall INSIDE of East Germany, something much more courageous and less heard of than politicians speaking from the West side, using the Wall as a backdrop.

Of course, this was only one event in a whole chain of upheavals in Eastern Europe, acts of rebellion against the Soviets. There was the Polish Solidarnosc movement, people who protested in the Baltics, Romanians, who were standing up to Ceausescu, Hungarians opening the border, in the end  ... it was we, the people, moving our feet.

So, what about Ronald Reagan? Reagan asked Gorbachev to tear down the Wall, but in West-Berlin, not in his face. And while you could argue that arming the Afghani resistance against the Soviets helped to dissolve the Soviet empire (you also could argue that arming the Taliban was not such a smart move in the long run), the speech did nothing. And when the Wall fell, it was Reagan's staunch ally Maggie Thatcher who just stopped short of offering troops to Gorbachev to keep Eastern Germany under Soviet occupation.

And what about Hasselhoff? ... Puleeeaase .. I don't even know where that comes from (and neither does anybody else in Germany, for that matter). Hasselhoff did a concert  in WEST Berlin months AFTER the Wall fell. He must have a hell of a PR team, though!



by Eva C. Schweitzer




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