Archives for category: Berlin news
Setting-up Before
the Official Opening

Berlin’s International Beer Festival is taking place this weekend (August 2nd-4th, 2013) in Friedrichshain. About 320 breweries from 86 countries will present more than 2,000 beer specialties. The festival claims to be the longest Beer Garden in the world, and it’s free. Festival organizers are anticipating 800,000 visitors

Beer Stands
Line Karl-Marx-Allee


The mile-long event will be held along Karl-Marx-Allee between Strausberger Platz and Frankfurter Tor. Luckily, I live a few minutes away by foot and can sample without the need for a designated driver.  

Food is also on the Menu
Including Horse


Setting-up Before
the Official Opening

Berlin’s International Beer Festival is taking place this weekend (August 2nd-4th, 2013) in Friedrichshain. About 320 breweries from 86 countries will present more than 2,000 beer specialties. The festival claims to be the longest Beer Garden in the world, and it’s free. Festival organizers are anticipating 800,000 visitors

Beer Stands
Line Karl-Marx-Allee


The mile-long event will be held along Karl-Marx-Allee between Strausberger Platz and Frankfurter Tor. Luckily, I live a few minutes away by foot and can sample without the need for a designated driver.  

Food is also on the Menu
Including Horse


Anna Lehnkering

Anna Lehnkering’s story is not unusual. It’s just one among many that documents the Nazi’s so called “euthanasia” program of the 1930/40s. Anna was a normal young girl who had difficulty with reading and writing in school. Today, she would likely be diagnosed as dyslexic, but to the Nazis, she was considered “unworthy of life,” a “useless eater.”

At the end of 1935, the Hereditary Health Court ordered that Anna be taken from her home, sterilized, and transferred to a mental institution. At the institution, Anna suffered from neglect and malnutrition. She was described in medical documents as “longing to go home” and “sad.” Ultimately, she was sent to Berlin’s “T4” euthanasia facility where she was murdered  She was 24 years old.


According to the law, anyone who suffered from a mental or physical disability, or labeled as “anti-social,” was not allowed to procreate and deemed “eligible” for institutionalization. It was all part of a systematic eugenics program that was administered with stereotypical German precision and efficiency. 

As many as 300,000 people fell victim to one of history’s first planned mass exterminations. There were six euthanasia facilities in Germany and Austria. The best known was “Tiergartenstraße 4” or “T4” in Berlin, which extinguished the lives of 70,000 people. In nearly all the cases, the inmates were killed with drugs or starved to death. 

Located where the Berlin Philharmonic stands today, the T4 facility was demolished after the war and its past nearly forgotten. Last week, construction began on a monument to commemorate those who perished at Tiergartenstraße 4. The monument is scheduled to be completed in 2014, and will join existing Berlin monuments commemorating Jewish, Homosexual, and Gypsy victims who died at the hands of the Nazis.


For more information about Anna’s fate and the fate of other T4 inmates, visit the Tiergatenstraße 4 Open Air Exhibition. It’s located behind the Philharmonic and across the street from the Tiergarten Park. The Exhibition runs until November 17, 2013.

Anna Lehnkering

Anna Lehnkering’s story is not unusual. It’s just one among many that documents the Nazi’s so called “euthanasia” program of the 1930/40s. Anna was a normal young girl who had difficulty with reading and writing in school. Today, she would likely be diagnosed as dyslexic, but to the Nazis, she was considered “unworthy of life,” a “useless eater.”

At the end of 1935, the Hereditary Health Court ordered that Anna be taken from her home, sterilized, and transferred to a mental institution. At the institution, Anna suffered from neglect and malnutrition. She was described in medical documents as “longing to go home” and “sad.” Ultimately, she was sent to Berlin’s “T4” euthanasia facility where she was murdered  She was 24 years old.


According to the law, anyone who suffered from a mental or physical disability, or labeled as “anti-social,” was not allowed to procreate and deemed “eligible” for institutionalization. It was all part of a systematic eugenics program that was administered with stereotypical German precision and efficiency. 

As many as 300,000 people fell victim to one of history’s first planned mass exterminations. There were six euthanasia facilities in Germany and Austria. The best known was “Tiergartenstraße 4” or “T4” in Berlin, which extinguished the lives of 70,000 people. In nearly all the cases, the inmates were killed with drugs or starved to death. 

Located where the Berlin Philharmonic stands today, the T4 facility was demolished after the war and its past nearly forgotten. Last week, construction began on a monument to commemorate those who perished at Tiergartenstraße 4. The monument is scheduled to be completed in 2014, and will join existing Berlin monuments commemorating Jewish, Homosexual, and Gypsy victims who died at the hands of the Nazis.


For more information about Anna’s fate and the fate of other T4 inmates, visit the Tiergatenstraße 4 Open Air Exhibition. It’s located behind the Philharmonic and across the street from the Tiergarten Park. The Exhibition runs until November 17, 2013.

Tanja Krakowski and Lea Brumsack
Culinary Misfits

In the Christmas classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Rudolph and Yukon Cornelius stumble upon the “Island of Misfit Toys” where unwanted playthings with cosmetic or physical flaws go to live until a home can be found for them.

In Berlin, two enterprising young women have created a similar haven for unwanted fruits and vegetables such as carrots with two legs, crooked cucumbers, or overly bulbous strawberries and potatoes. Tanja Krakowski and Lea Brumsack are the founders of Culinary Misfits, a culinary service that sell dishes cooked with abnormally shaped fruits and vegetables, food that would otherwise be destroyed, fed to animals, or used as compost. They see beauty in imperfection. Some of their unusual dishes include Schräge Pastinakensuppe” (weird parsnip soup), “Krumme Gurkensuppe” (crooked cucumber soup) and “Gekrümmten Gugelhupf” (curved ring cake).

One of the goals of Culinary Misfits is to point out the wasteful use of food in our throwaway society. Today, official marketing standards and customer demand for flawless produce have created an environment where food is selected accordingly to optical criteria alone. According to a United Nations study, approximately 40 percent of all the fruits and vegetables that are grown never make it to market. It’s the sad price we pay to live in our perfect world. 

Although Culinary Misfits primarily operates as catering service, it does occasionally have a food stall at Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg where they find homes (tummies) for all these unwanted fruits and veggies. In any case, you should check out their Facebook page to get a taste of their awesome food creations. 

It was the most expensive animal rescue in Berlin’s history, and it took 40 firefighters and animal relief technicians to rescue Skipper, a white Parson Russell Terrier. Shortly after 6 p.m. last Friday, Skipper broke free from his leash while on an evening walk and got caught in a badger’s burrow. Skipper’s distraught guardian called the Fire Department after her efforts to rescue him were unsuccessful.

The rescuers had to excavate an area of approximately 50 square meters and dig to a depth of 12 feet. Skipper was finally rescued shortly after 1:00 a.m. This unfortunate mishap will cost Skipper’s guardian 10 000 Euro ($13,000).

In the USA, when a child is rescued from an unfortunate situation, the taxpayer, and not the parents, usually foots the bill. But what happens if a pet’s endangered. Who pays the costs then? Are costs assigned differently if it’s an animal that needs help? Both the child and the pet have responsible caregivers, shouldn’t liability be assigned equally? 

It was the most expensive animal rescue in Berlin’s history, and it took 40 firefighters and animal relief technicians to rescue Skipper, a white Parson Russell Terrier. Shortly after 6 p.m. last Friday, Skipper broke free from his leash while on an evening walk and got caught in a badger’s burrow. Skipper’s distraught guardian called the Fire Department after her efforts to rescue him were unsuccessful.

The rescuers had to excavate an area of approximately 50 square meters and dig to a depth of 12 feet. Skipper was finally rescued shortly after 1:00 a.m. This unfortunate mishap will cost Skipper’s guardian 10 000 Euro ($13,000).

In the USA, when a child is rescued from an unfortunate situation, the taxpayer, and not the parents, usually foots the bill. But what happens if a pet’s endangered. Who pays the costs then? Are costs assigned differently if it’s an animal that needs help? Both the child and the pet have responsible caregivers, shouldn’t liability be assigned equally? 

Cowardly Murder May the Guilt
Eat at You Every Day

A popular destination for many people visiting Berlin is Alexanderplatz, a place to shop, eat, drink, and people watch. However, the recent murder of twenty-year old, Jonny K., by seven young men illustrates, that after dark, Alexanderplatz can be a dangerous place.


Overall, Germany is relatively safe, but mix alcohol and young men, and anything is likely to occur. This particularly brutal slaying has shocked even the most apathetic Berliner, and there has been an outpouring of commiseration. 

Cowardly Murder May the Guilt
Eat at You Every Day

A popular destination for many people visiting Berlin is Alexanderplatz, a place to shop, eat, drink, and people watch. However, the recent murder of twenty-year old, Jonny K., by seven young men illustrates, that after dark, Alexanderplatz can be a dangerous place.


Overall, Germany is relatively safe, but mix alcohol and young men, and anything is likely to occur. This particularly brutal slaying has shocked even the most apathetic Berliner, and there has been an outpouring of commiseration. 

This 250 kilo (551 pound) bomb
was uncovered in 2011 in Potsdam

They’re still finding unexploded bombs in Berlin 67 years after World War II ended. Earlier this week, 10,500 Potsdam residents had to evacuate their homes after an American made bomb was discovered at a construction site. This is the second bomb in about a year to be found in Potsdam.

Last August, the inhabitants of Munich had a similar bomb scare. In that case, officials conducted a controlled detonation. It was only last year that a bomb was discovered in Kreuzberg/Friedrichshain causing havoc for residents, businesses, and public transportation. It was my first (and hopefully my last) experience having to evacuate my house.