No to cannabis, American commies in East Germany, and the best of October
This newsletter is a 2-minute read
November is here and, starting tomorrow, there’ll be a four-week lockdown on much of public life. So here’s some other news to help take your mind off things.
Jörg & Axel
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What you might have missed…
The creators of the hit TV series Deutschland 83 have made the third and final season, Deutschland 89. The married couple behind the highly entertaining show told NPR radio about their memories of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Husband Jörg was a Bundeswehr soldier spying on Russian radio transmissions on the evening of November 9th, but learned about the events on television as the Russians were caught completely cold. You can listen to the interview here.
Some bad news for stoners. Since the Bundestag is being bypassed by Merkel during the pandemic, it has had plenty of time to debate a Green proposal on legalizing cannabis. Only Die Linke supported the bill, meaning any liberalization for the psychoactive herb is off the table for the foreseeable future. Marijuana Business Daily has taken a particular interest in this debate.
The New York Times has an article on East Germans’ “love affair” with the African American activist Angela Davis. The article strangely doesn’t address the elephant in the room of state propaganda playing a role in organizing this worship of a US communist campaigner. But it is an interesting read nonetheless.
Valentina Tereshkova (Soviet Cosmonaut) and Angela Davis (American communist and social activist) at the World Festival of Youth and Students in East Berlin, 4th of August 1973
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As we have so many new readers who might have missed some of our previous stories, here’s a recap of our best long reads from October.
The best of October
“The last macho of German politics”: Cigar toting, hair-dying machos like Gerhard Schröder are a dying breed at the top of German politics. But the slow change to more femininity at the top of the political pile is hardly reflective of gender equality in the Bundestag or state parliaments. We asked why women still haven’t broken through in German legislatures.
Gerhard Schröder - the last macho of German politics? © imago images / teutopress
“The phantom pains of Saxony”: If history had turned out differently, East Germany could now be the booming heartland of German industry. Siemens most famously reallocated to Munich from Berlin at the end of the war. But the less known story of a car manufacturer poised in the 1930s to dominate Europe tells of how damaged smaller towns were too.
“The glock, the bicycle and the wig” A court case started in Berlin this month in which the persecution’s case reads like a film script. An assassin, wearing a wig and carrying a silenced pistol, cycled through a central Berlin park at midday, where he shot a fugitive who’d once fought Russia in the Caucasus. We describe how a small British website uncovered the plot behind the murder.
The bicycle… © imago images / Olaf Wagner
On Tuesday the three men who want to become the next leader of the CDU will be answering questions during a live debate in Berlin. Given the explosive statements Friedrich Merz made last week about a conspiracy to stop him from becoming leader, it should be a pretty tasty affair.
Next Saturday there is going to be an anti-lockdown demo in Leipzig. After protests in Spain and Italy turned violent this weekend, there is likely to be an even heavier police presence than usual.
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Who we are:
Jörg Luyken: Journalist based in Berlin since 2014. His work has been published by German and English outlets including der Spiegel, die Welt, the Daily Telegraph and the Times. Formerly in the Middle East.
Axel Bard Bringéus: Started his career as a journalist for the leading Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet and has spent the last decade in senior roles at Spotify and as a venture capital investor. In Berlin since 2011.