A German film entitled “Die Fälscher” premiered at the 2007 Berlin Film festival – “The Counterfeiter” examines a little-known but rather fascinating episode in the Second World War. The Nazis thought they could cause the collapse of the American and British economies by flooding them with counterfeit banknotes. The Jewish printers making the fake money survived the Holocaust. Adolf Burger was one of them. Radio Prague’s Ian Willoughby brought us his incredible story.
One phenomenon Network Europe looked into during 2007 was “Yugonostalgia.” When Yugoslavia fell apart in the 1990’s the Balkans experienced Europe’s bloodiest wars since the end of the Second World War. While relations are still strained between the six independent republics that were created, “Yugonostalgia” has been visible from Ljubljana, to Sarajevo and Belgrade. It’s a cultural and psychological phenomenon – nostalgia for the former Yugoslavia, its customs, traditions and its former leader Marshall Josip Broz Tito ... who, as it turns out was a train enthusiast. Seeing a golden opportunity, The Serbian Rail Company dusted down and wheeled out Tito’s luxurious private train. In the past, it only carried VIP’s and heads of state – but times have changed and Deutsche Welle’s Barbara Gruber simply queued with a few tourists to get on board the Blue Train.
Twenty five years ago Yugoslavia was a model of nation-state stability. Yugoslavia kept the Balkans in one peaceful piece for over 70 years. It was a feat attributed to the skills of the country’s benevolent communist dictator, Marshall Tito. Now, Mr Tito’s favourite thing was his private, Blue train. After his death it was packed away in mothballs and hasn’t been seen much since. But now after the bloody wars of the 1990’s and the break-up of the country the former Yugoslav states are riding a wave of nostalgia, known now as Tito-mania. What a great time thought the Serbian Rail company, to dust off and wheel out the Blue train.
Nicolas Sarkozy will take office next week, on the 16th of May. He returned just in time from his expensive two day retreat to attend the Paris commemoration of France’s abolition of slavery. Last year President Jacques Chirac chose May the tenth as remembrance day for the victims of slavery. This was hailed by friends and foes alike, as a breakthrough in France’s efforts to come to terms with its colonial past. Interestingly last year Nicolas Sarkozy supported a controversial law which acknowledged the “positive role of colonialism”, and he said on numerous occasions during his campaign that he hated remorse. More on the issue with Radio France International’s Yan van der Made.
A new German film examines a little-known but fascinating episode in the Second World War. The Nazis had the amazing idea of causing the collapse of the American and British economies – by flooding them with counterfeit banknotes. The Jewish printers who made the fake money survived the Holocaust. Adolf Burger was one of them. Radio Prague’s Ian Willoughby has his incredible story.
Now, Europe's Arab heritage is not something we hear a lot about these days. Since 9/11 and the international war on terrorism - many observers would have us believe that Europe and the Arab world occupy opposing ends of the ends of a cultural, social, and religious spectrum. But as Ingemar Karlsson, a Swedish diplomat in Turkey, advocates in his recently published book Europe should reconsider its Arab Heritage.
From an idea that may not work to a German car that's famous for not working. To many, Germany's the home of the high-performance car: the much coveted BMW's and Mercedes. But don't forget the Trabi, or Trabant - the small, two-cylinder East German cold war car with no heater. It looked like a cross between a golf cart and a bumper car and the GDR produced it for three decades. It's even gained cult status in today's unified Germany. And this year the car turns 50, and some will be fondly celebrating.
It's two hundred years since Great Britain abolished the Slave trade. But there were countries at that time which instead of following this fine example, took advantage of it and expanded their transatlantic slave operations - one of those, you might be surprised to read, was Sweden. It didn't abandon the practice until nearly 40 years later, but how much do the Swedes of today know about their country's shameful past
You might not automatically link the Swedish super-troopers Abba with German-occupied Norway, but there is a link, and it's group-member Frida Lyndstad. She was the dark-haired one. She was also the illegitimate daughter of a German officer stationed in Norway during the war. And is just one of thousands of Norway's so-called 'war children'. More than 150 such off-spring say they suffered discrimination and abuse after the war purely because they had German fathers. But now they're taking Norway to the European Court of Human Rights in search of recognition for their suffering.
A former member of the left-wing extremist Red Army Faction, which terrorized pre-unification West Germany in the 1970s, is slated for an early release from prison after serving 24 years of a life sentence. But, as DW's Gregg Benzow reports, the German court ruling that Brigitte Mohnhaupt can be let out for good behavior has unleashed a storm of protest across the country.
World War II is taboo in Europe, particularly in Germany. But a movie released this month breaks the long-standing German taboo against laughing at Adolf Hitler. Making fun of the Nazi Dictator is nothing new in the English-speaking world. Charlie Chaplin did it in "The Great Dictator", as did Mel Brooks in the Producers. Deutsche Welle's Sabina Casagrande has this report about "My Führer--The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler", the new comedy that has sparked a national debate in Germany.
Formerly secret documents, brought to light by a recent radio documentary in Britain, have revealed that in the 1950's, Paris took the extraordinary step of proposing to merge France with Britain. It w as the initiative of the then Prime Minister Guy Mollet. But this was no marriage of equals: the offer was that the British monarch become the French head of state, and that France be integrated into the British commonwealth.
Sighisoara a small town in the heart of Transylvania is one of Europe's best preserved medieval fortresses attracting many tourists - especially during summer. The annual Medieval Festival is perhaps one of the best times to visit - and to enjoy three days of historic celebrations, open air theaters, folk concerts and knight parades.
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