Wolfsburg vs. Dortmund in the German Cup Finals

SPORTSFLYER:

May the spectacular season in the German Bundesliga become even more spectacular. A little more than a week after Jürgen Klopp, the face of the German soccer team Borussia Dortmund announced his resignation effective at the end  of this season, another rather interesting development happened in the German Cup semifinals (DFB Pokal), and this time, it occurred at a very unlikely place.

This year’s finals, scheduled for May 30th in Berlin, will not feature returning championship FC Bayern Munich, who had won the title for two straight years. Despite winning its second regular season title early last week- the second year in a row that it happened, its quest for its second straight triple crown (the Champions League Title, the German Cup and the regular season title) ended in a rather unusual manner, in the hands of Jürgen Klopp and the team in black and gold from Dortmund. Bayern, on its  own home turf, lost 3-1 in the shootout, but how it ended can be best described in the video below:

 

The rather comincal errors committed by Bayern Munich is still being talked about in the social media, as many anti-Bayern fans have used two soccer players slipping while kicking the ball as a platform for suggesting high heels and groundskeepers quitting. 😉  But on the flip side, many questions are being fired at Klopp, asking him “Are you sure you really REALLY want to step down?” In either case, Klopp can leave the scene as a winner in the German Cup finals, for his team will face VFL Wolfsburg, which made its game against Armenia Bielefeld in North-Rhine Westphalia look like a walk in a park on a Sunday afternoon, winning 4-0 against the Third League team destined for the Second League in the next season.  Highlights of the game are below:

Wolfsburg has already locked up its place in the Champions League for next season and is currently in a distant second place in the standings in the Bundesliga. While the team in green and white are heavily picked to win the German Cup, do not count out Klopp and Co., for although the regular season was not so spectacular, the team has played the role of Cinderella during this half of the season and may even have a shot of playing the spoiler.

And Jürgen Klopp leaving Dortmund a winner.  We’ll have to see how the results fan out. The Files will provide you with the results of the finals and the highlights. Stay tuned.

FF new logo

English Roundtable at the Irish Pub

The Venue of the English Roundtable: Irish Pub on a cold foggy night. Photo taken in November 2011

Author’s Note: This is a throwback article taking us back to November 2011 and dealing with a topic on learning English and the English Roundtable. There are many advantages of having such a Stammtisch, many of which us English teachers don’t know about. This leads to a question to many expatriates and non-Natives wanting to learn English of whether your community in Germany has such a roundtable. If so, what is offered there and is it beneficial. If there is none, what are the reasons for NOT having one. Place your comments below but not before reading about my experiences of having one while in Erfurt as an English lecturer. 🙂

7:30pm and after a long day in the classroom, what wonderful opportunity does a teacher have but to meet with the most dedicated students at a beloved bar in town, to practice some English in terms of small talk and to hear about their private lives, both as students as well as people. The English Roundtable (in German it would be called the Englisch Stammtisch) at an Irish Pub, like the Dubliner just minutes from the old town was just the place gather just for that occasion.

I never understand why teachers never have such events for students. After all there are many advantages that bring students together to have small talk with the native speaker of English. First and foremost, there are not many opportunities to practice English except in the classroom, but that is rather pathetic if you only have the opportunity to do that for 90 minutes once a week. Contrary to the beliefs of those who think that it is not necessary, there are a select few who want extra lessons from someone who can be reached easily for help, but cannot because of- well lack of opportunity to do it due to time and other commitments.  Having a Roundtable like this also creates a bond among the students and with the teacher, guaranteeing them that whenever there is a problem, they can turn to each other for help. It makes a distinction between who is your real friend and who is not. It provides a student with a wide array of topics worth talking about, whether they are culturally related, in connection with current events, or anything that is on one’s mind and is worth talking about, which is food for thought for those who may be interested in this. And last but not least, it produces some events that are worth remembering, whether they are funny or embarrassing, and whether they are in connection with rituals started or anything that is just out of the ordinary.

It is a Tuesday night and I am drinking a pint of Snake Bite at the Irish Pub. The night was horrible as one feels like walking through pea stew while at the same time, freezing to a point where one could turn into an ice cube in minutes!. There is a soccer match going on between Barcelona and Pilsen with the former cutting the latter into pieces. But I could not think but the memories that I had with this place and how it reinforces the idea of having more of the English Roundtables in places where universities are numerous and English is needed, for many businesses communicate in this lingua franca language.  I remember the reunion with some of my former students, three of which gave me the nickname of “Headband” as I wore it to class and pronounced it like “Head bäääääännnddd!” as one mispronounced it as “Headbahnd.” Another three and I went on a Glühwein drinking spree at a Christmas market, trying every sort of the spiced wine with all kinds of flavors, such as pear liquor and tequila (the latter really packed a punch and gave me the hangover of the century the next morning), and then rooting for the home team in a basketball game. They lost a heartbreaker thanks to a last second basket, but it was fun to cheer them on while intoxicated. Then we had another heartbreaker of the game we all watched here at the Irish Pub, where we were crying over the Pittsburgh Steelers losing by only a few points to the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl- dressed up in Steelers jerseys and staying up until the wee hours of the next morning, despite having to write the exam the next day- and me having to administer it! Then we had the women waitresses serving us and many male students staring at them because of their looks, and me rolling my eyes and wondering when they will finally get it done and date one for Christ’s sake.

Each of us had their own purpose for coming to the English Roundtable- to get help with getting a job or internship in America, to ask for ways on how to convince a non-native speaker of English to teach English the proper way, to learn more about American culture and the differences between them and us (the Germans), or just to sit, relax, enjoy a Guiness and do some small talk in English. Mine was and still is to help the students learn and send them on their way, no matter what endeavor they are pursuing. I have my regular customers and those who come and go at their convenience, yet still each one leaves their mark when they leave the Roundtable, whether it is in spirit or in writing. For mine it is almost always the latter, as each time we meet, we would take a post card, sign our names on the back and write down the topics we discuss before stashing it into the drawers of the tables for the waitresses and guests to see and awe in amazement what we discussed.

One makes me wonder why there should not be more of these Roundtables. If it is because of family commitments, I balk at it as the argument is considered null and void; especially since I have a wife and daughter who do not mind me having one as long as I stay out of trouble (that’s what spouses and children are there for). If it is because of having enough English in class, let me tell you that one can never have enough of a foreign language as it takes time and efforts. If it is because of the fear of closer student-teacher relationships, firstly a Roundtable is a meeting place for all who are interested and there are better places to meet to get to know someone further. Besides, almost all teachers (say 99.5%) over here fall into the category of married with children or have a relationship, so there is no fear of being paranoid. All the excuses that are made against a Roundtable are considered politics and counterproductive to the goal of teaching students the importance of a foreign language and how it gets them from point A to point B. The organization may be difficult and not many students will come in the beginning. But as the semester goes along and the word gets around, more will come and in the end, it will be a double victory for the teacher- for collecting valuable experience to share with future employers and with the family and for making a difference in the lives of the students.  One should give it a shot and see how it blossoms into a really popular group for all students to attend.

As I finish my last drink, I decided to look ahead to the next Roundtable for me in Erfurt. It was too foggy for the students to go to the meeting and many were just too busy to come. But looking at the Christmas market, which is about to start in a couple weeks, I can tell that many will take advantage of the opportunity and come to the next Roundtable as we will have some wonderful experiences there, in English and over spiced wine. And while most of my students from last year have left for future endeavors, there are new students who will benefit from some additional English and laughter, meeting new people and learning a little bit every day. That is what a Roundtable should be.

FF new logo1

The Abandoned Building on the Island of Rügen

All photos courtesy of Doc Harding
All photos courtesy of Doc Harding

Normally the Files would not be focusing on abandoned relicts in Germany, for it is not in the domain. There are enough websites that focus on this topic, regardless of where. This includes Abandoned Iowa, which I’m subscribed to and focuses on abandoned buildings and bridges. Not surprising as I grew up in Iowa and have a love for historic bridges.

Yet this entry takes us to the island of Rügen in the German state of Mecklenburg-Pommerania (in German: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) in northeastern Germany, and this building here. As I was doing research on information for the next Germany quiz on this rather sparsely populated state with lots of flora and fauna, one of the readers brought this item to my attention.

The island itself has a very beautiful setting, with steep chalk cliffs overlooking the Baltic Sea, acres of forest and wildlife habitat, and kilometers of beaches extending (30) kilometers. From Rostock, the state’s largest city, it is approximately 55) km. Yet the island has one eyesore, which is located at Prora. While McPomm (which is the abbreviated form of the state’s name) once belonged to East Germany and the communist state was famous for its construction of block apartments in every city and town with more than 3,000 inhabitants during its existence, the Prora building dates back to the age of the Third Reich, according to local sources.

11133971_10205164061275630_4556039508136287401_o

Located north of Binz, the Prora Building itself is five kilometers long and has five stories. Its architecture resembles that of the Third Reich and may have been the works of architect Albert Speer, who was in charge of most of the architecture in Germany during the regime of Adolf Hitler. Born in Mannheim in 1905, Speer’s rise to fame came when he was anointed by Hitler to be his architect in 1933. There he was in charge of the construction of modern buildings and redesigning districts in German cities whose aesthetic features were geometric with only design patterns and the symbol of National Socialism as the only decoration. Much of his architecture still exists in Germany today, despite attempts by locals in states like Bavaria (where Hitler began his rise to power in the 1920s), to eradicate the buildings because of their associations with the Third Reich. Speer later became in charge of the artillery division but towards the end of the war, confronted Hitler because of his irrational decision-making in response to Germany losing the war.

Because his role was almost solely an architect and he had very little to do with Hitler’s genocidal machine designed to kill “non-Aryans,” Speer was sentenced to 20 years in prison, in comparison to most of his Nazi colleagues receiving the death penalty. After his release from prison in Spandau, Speer maintained his residence for most of his life in Heidelberg, writing three still controversial novels about his life in the Third Reich and donating most of his royalties to Jewish charities. Shortly before his release in 1966, his son Albert Jr. established an architectural firm in Frankfurt (Main), whose geometrical modern architecture follows a similar pattern of his father’s, minus the decorative features.

And with that, we go back to Prora and the building complex, which has been sitting empty and intact but in a desolate state. Records show that Speer had been involved in a decree to relocate the Jews from their quarters to different areas, and this building may have been the place for placing them there. Yet by the same token, it would also have been a place to house the troops, especially as Germany had a strong Navy at that time. Record will not be able to show that for when World War II commenced in 1939, construction on the building stopped and remained in its original form all the way up to the present. We will never know whether Speer had anything to do with it, who was in charge of building this complex nor what it was used for.

Or will we?

Any ideas regarding the logic behind building this complex that is now considered an eyesore to many people, please place your thoughts and info in the comment section. If you wish to share photos of it, go ahead and do so. Sometimes a visit to the complex helps spurn a few ideas behind the history of this building, let alone a few ideas of what to do with the complex.

Many thanks to Doc Harding for the photos that are posted. Rügen is a highly recommended place to visit. 

FF 25 Logo

The Abandoned Building on the Island of Rügen

All photos courtesy of Doc Harding
All photos courtesy of Doc Harding

 

Normally the Files would not be focusing on abandoned relicts in Germany, for it is not in the domain. There are enough websites that focus on this topic, regardless of where. This includes Abandoned Iowa, which I’m subscribed to and focuses on abandoned buildings and bridges. Not surprising as I grew up in Iowa and have a love for historic bridges.

Yet this entry takes us to the island of Rügen in the German state of Mecklenburg-Pommerania (in German: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) in northeastern Germany, and this building here. As I was doing research on information for the next Germany quiz on this rather sparsely populated state with lots of flora and fauna, one of the readers brought this item to my attention.

The island itself has a very beautiful setting, with steep chalk cliffs overlooking the Baltic Sea, acres of forest and wildlife habitat, and kilometers of beaches extending (30) kilometers. From Rostock, the state’s largest city, it is approximately 55) km. Yet the island has one eyesore, which is located at Prora. While McPomm (which is the abbreviated form of the state’s name) once belonged to East Germany and the communist state was famous for its construction of block apartments in every city and town with more than 3,000 inhabitants during its existence, the Prora building dates back to the age of the Third Reich, according to local sources.

11133971_10205164061275630_4556039508136287401_o

 

Located north of Binz, the Prora Building itself is five kilometers long and has five stories. Its architecture resembles that of the Third Reich and may have been the works of architect Albert Speer, who was in charge of most of the architecture in Germany during the regime of Adolf Hitler. Born in Mannheim in 1905, Speer’s rise to fame came when he was anointed by Hitler to be his architect in 1933. There he was in charge of the construction of modern buildings and redesigning districts in German cities whose aesthetic features were geometric with only design patterns and the symbol of National Socialism as the only decoration. Much of his architecture still exists in Germany today, despite attempts by locals in states like Bavaria (where Hitler began his rise to power in the 1920s), to eradicate the buildings because of their associations with the Third Reich. Speer later became in charge of the artillery division but towards the end of the war, confronted Hitler because of his irrational decision-making in response to Germany losing the war.

Because his role was almost solely an architect and he had very little to do with Hitler’s genocidal machine designed to kill “non-Aryans,” Speer was sentenced to 20 years in prison, in comparison to most of his Nazi colleagues receiving the death penalty. After his release from prison in Spandau, Speer maintained his residence for most of his life in Heidelberg, writing three still controversial novels about his life in the Third Reich and donating most of his royalties to Jewish charities. Shortly before his release in 1966, his son Albert Jr. established an architectural firm in Frankfurt (Main), whose geometrical modern architecture follows a similar pattern of his father’s, minus the decorative features.

And with that, we go back to Prora and the building complex, which has been sitting empty and intact but in a desolate state. Records show that Speer had been involved in a decree to relocate the Jews from their quarters to different areas, and this building may have been the place for placing them there. Yet by the same token, it would also have been a place to house the troops, especially as Germany had a strong Navy at that time. Record will not be able to show that for when World War II commenced in 1939, construction on the building stopped and remained in its original form all the way up to the present. We will never know whether Speer had anything to do with it, who was in charge of building this complex nor what it was used for.

Or will we?

Any ideas regarding the logic behind building this complex that is now considered an eyesore to many people, please place your thoughts and info in the comment section. If you wish to share photos of it, go ahead and do so. Sometimes a visit to the complex helps spurn a few ideas behind the history of this building, let alone a few ideas of what to do with the complex.

FF 25 Logo

In Honor of Diane

IMGP4278

Death. It is a time of sorrow. A time for forgiving. A time to forget about tomorrow and worry about living, in the present, with the presence of our loved ones-family and friends alike, because you do not know who you have to love and care for, until they are gone forever, leaving you with memories to remember by.  If I think of this, I think of my grandma, who was the closest member of my family, and with whom I shared 30 years of memories with, whether it was telling stories in front of her fireplace, eating her homemade chili con carne, having family Christmas celebrations with presents and oyster stew, chopping wood like passionate lumberjacks, or even taking part in church activities, for she was a devout Catholic. In my last conversation I had with her in 2007, we had the longest chat about how our lives have changed for the better. Yet at the same time, she complained about the importance of people wanting stuff in life- whether it was new buildings replacing the old ones that still had charm left in them, new cars with state-of-the-art gadgets, careers over families, or even things that are supposed to be good for the house but take up too much space. She left a note, albeit indirectly, but explicitly saying that it was up to people like me to cherish what we have and protect what we love the most, for they would also disappear in one way or another.  Less than four months after the phone call, she passed away but not before saying good-bye to her family over lunch and ice cream. To this day, I still remember her for what she did in my life while growing up, yet there are many times I wished she was alive to see how things have changed, some for the best, but much of it for the worse.

And this takes me to this Genre of the Week by the Files and this short film about death and how to honor and cherish the memories of someone, regardless of who. In Honor of Diane was produced by D. Wilmos Paul and has recently been released by the Twin Cities Film Co-Op based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the US. The plot of the story is the time before the funeral, but it appears in two different time forms, switching back and forth between the present, which appears all in color, and the past, which is painted in a somewhat grayish color. In the present, the main character, Jake, is dealing with a loss of a family member as well as losing her mother to dementia.   Jake realizes that there will not be much time left for the mother and vows to do something so that she can remember him and his wife, who appears supporting of them both, being there for both when they are needed the most, whether it was helping her get dressed for a funeral or helping Jake with the tie.  Then there is the past where the mother is a little girl, saying good-bye to their family cat, with her parents and a small boy at their side. The boy (who is the preacher’s son) appears to be indifferent and impatient, while the girl reads her farewell letter to the cat named Diana. In both scenes, there is a homemade cross, which Jake’s mother (in the present) carries with her and symbolizes the love she gives and memories that she wishes to be kept. In either case, no matter how one interprets it, the story remains the same- talking about the loss of a loved one and the need to keep the memories alive.

Have a look at the clip and think about the following:

1. Who was your main person in life, who cared about you and whom you looked up to? What were some things you miss about him/her? It can apply to one or more people, and it is regardless of family or friend.

2. If there was one person you care about in the present and would like to do something for him/her, who would that be and why? Again, the rules from the first question apply here as well.

3. Which is more important in life: family and friends or career and things?

And now the clip, thanks to the cast and crew for making this and allowing for use in this article:

(Author’s Note: Please feel free to comment on these questions, let alone how you interpret this story from your own perspective. Post your thoughts below)

FF new logo1

Und Täglich Grüß die Bahn (Groundhog Day with German Railways)

IMGP6270

 

FlFiNewsflyer logo

The lounge of the train station in the town of Zeitz, located in Saxony-Anhalt. Its charm resembles the German Democratic Republic, yet it has seen its better days with peeling wall paper, empty platforms and even the lounge that is empty, with the exception of two people talking about the better days before the Wall fell. Yet despite its emptiness, the trains are still running- ableit privately.

Two rail lines are owned by two different train companies with no affiliation with the German Railways (Dt.: Die Bahn), one connecting Weissenfels and Zeitz (via Burgerland Bahn) and another between Leipzig and Saalfeld via Gera (via Erfurter Bahn). Private railways, like the buses, are becoming more and more competitive because of their attractiveness and the ability to get passengers to their destinations in a timely manner. With the German Railways striking again, it will become obvious that once an agreement is finally made, they will lose more customers and most likely, more rail lines will become privatized.

As this goes to the press, the train drivers (or engineers) who are operating the trains are on strike for the seventh time. 60% of the long-distance InterCity and ICE trains have slashed their services until Thursday evening, the regional trains by 50%. This is the second time since November that the state-owned rail service is on strike.  The latest strike is starting to resemble the scenes from an American film Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell, which was filmed in 1993. For those who don’t know the plot of the film, the sneak preview below will help you:

The German public TV station NDR, based in Hamburg produced a parody of Groundhog Day in connection with the strike in 2008. While it has been awhile, the latest strike is becoming like the film that has found a place in American culture, used in the classroom to refresh one’s English skills and provide a whiff of what American life is like:

If you want to learn German, this is the place to do it.  😉

The main question lingering everybody right now is: How many more strikes like this will we have before an agreement between the worker’s union GDL and Die Bahn is finally made and sticks like concrete. Will the workers be happy with their new contract, or will we have more strikes? If the latter, we will see more privatized rail lines and buses going through communities in Germany and less of Die Bahn, resulting in (near) empty train stations and platforms like this:

IMGP6319

 

Think about it……

 

FF new logo

Germany Quiz 4: What to Know About Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen)

Can you guess what this building is? It's located in Brunswick in Lower Saxony. Photo taken in February 2015
Can you guess what this building is? It’s located in Brunswick in Lower Saxony. Photo taken in February 2015

Saxony- considered one of the largest regions in Germany. Featuring a cluster of former kingdoms extending from the far north in Frisia to the mountains in the far east, the region makes up almost half the land mass in Germany. Yet the region is split up into three different states: Upper Saxony (or just simply Saxony), Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony. This split-up was part of the plan to redesign Germany after World War II with the first two becoming part of East Germany and the third being part of West Germany. They maintained their borders when Germany reunited in 1990 and with that, their unique features.

One of which will be presented in this quiz on Lower Saxony. The state is one of the most populous in the Bundesrepublik and one that prides itself on history, tradition, sports and even its landscape. There is so much to see and do in the state, whose capital is Hannover, but this Quiz will provide you with a starting point as to where to go for visiting and other activities of interest. The rest will have to be taken care of by you as the tourist. 😉

So let’s provide you with a good whiff of what you can find in Lower Saxony. It has been broken down into three parts, but will provide you with a good challenge for yourself and those around you. Good luck! 🙂

Variety Pack Questions:

1. Eight German States and the Baltic Sea border Lower Saxony, making it the most bordered state in Germany. True of False?

2a. Lower Saxony was officially established after World War II in ________ and consisted of the mergers of four former kingdoms. Name two of the four kingdoms.

2b. Of the four kingdoms, which one was the largest?

3. Put the following cities in order based on population from largest to smallest:

Oldenburg    Brunswick (Braunschweig)   Stade    Wolfsburg    Hannover   Lüneburg   Uelzen   Emden  Osnabrück

4. Lower Saxony is ranked ____________ in size behind Bavaria and ____________ in population behind Bavaria, North Rhine Westphalia and Hesse, but is the state that is the most dense population of Germany.  True or False (just the points in cursive and bold print)

5. Which rivers flow through and/or in Lower Saxony? Name three of them.

6. Braunkohl is a German vegetable that is well known in Lower Saxony and can be served with a local sausage. True or false?

7. At Steinhuder Lake,located west of Osnabrück, you will find eels. True or false?

8. Das Alte Land, located in the vicinity of the Elbe River north and west of Hamburg is Germany’s fruit garden. Name three fruits that grow there annually.

Multiple Choice:  Choose only one city that has a unique feature.

9. Which city is home of one of the three automobile manufacturers in Germany. Choose the city and fill in the blank regarding the car brand. (Hint: Fahrvergnügend is still the most popular car brand in the world.)

a. Wilhelmshaven          b. Wolfsburg         c. Celle       d. Lüneburg      e. Hannover

The car brand?  ___________________________

10. Which city in Lower Saxony does not have a college or university?  How many colleges and universities does the state have?  ______________

a. Hildesheim     b. Göttingen     c. Hannover    d. Cuxhaven     e. Emden

f. Vechta      g. Bremervörde

11. In this town (A), you can try a drink with a spoon (B), but don’t forget to say your blessings first. 😉

A:

a. Bad Zwischenahn          b. Bad Brahmburg      c. Leer        d. Norden

e. Bad Oldesloe     f. Brunswick

B:

a. Braunschweiger Mumme      b. Löffeltee      c. Ammerländer Löffeltrunk

d. Angler Muck     e. Toter Bruder

12. Which city in Lower Saxony is not located in the Harz Mountains? (!: There are two different answers)

a. Goslar           b. Clausthal        c. Wenigerode        d. Osterode      e. Salzgitter       f. Braunlage

13. Which city does not have a premier league sports team?

a. Buxtehude     b. Hannover      c. Brunswick      d. Emden       e. Oldenburg

14. The New York Lions in the German American Football League is actually located in which city?

a. Hannover     b. Bremen        c. Brunswick       d. Göttingen     e. Celle

15. Germany has the only true transporter bridge in left the country. It is located in Lower Saxony in which community?

a. Ostende      b. Hannover     c. Wilhelmshaven     d. Stade     e. Brunswick

16. The only combination cantilever-suspension-swing bridge left in Germany (and perhaps on European soil) is located in Lower Saxony. Where exactly is this bridge?

a. Göttingen    b. Wilhelmshaven    c. Lauenburg    d. Stadland   e. Hannover         f. Wattenscheid

17. Which town in Lower Saxony will you most likely find in the US?

a. Emden    b. Bergen     c. Hannover     d. Oldenburg    e. Berne    f. Uelzen

Celebrities and Birth Places: Determine whether these statements are true or false. If false, correct the statements

1. Maria Furtwängler, an actress who plays Charlotte Lindholm in the Tatort-Hannover series originates from Hannover.

2. Heiner Brandt, head coach of the German National Handball Team, was born and raised in Brunswick.

3. In the film the Inglorious Bastards by Quentin Tarrantino, there were no German actors/actresses.

4. Gerhard Schröder, the successor of Chancellor Angela Merkel, was born in Mecklenburg-Pommerania but grew up in Lower Saxony.

5. Herbert Grönemeyer calls Göttingen home. No wonder because he was born there.

6. The band The Scorpions was established in Hannover with the lead singer originating from there.

7. The Creator of English for Runaways originally came from Emden.

8.  Chris Barrie, a Hannoverer  who starred in the Tomb Raider movie, grew up in Northern Ireland.

9. Prince Augustus of Hannover was born in Hannover.

Viel Spaß beim Quizzen. The answers to the Lower Saxony Quiz will come out on May 5th. At the same time, another quiz on Mecklenburg Pommerania will come out, providing you with just as much of a challenge as this one will give you. Good luck! 🙂

FF 25 Logo

Germany Quiz 4: What to Know About Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen)

Can you guess what this building is? It's located in Brunswick in Lower Saxony. Photo taken in February 2015
Can you guess what this building is? It’s located in Brunswick in Lower Saxony. Photo taken in February 2015

Saxony- considered one of the largest regions in Germany. Featuring a cluster of former kingdoms extending from the far north in Frisia to the mountains in the far east, the region makes up almost half the land mass in Germany. Yet the region is split up into three different states: Upper Saxony (or just simply Saxony), Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony. This split-up was part of the plan to redesign Germany after World War II with the first two becoming part of East Germany and the third being part of West Germany. They maintained their borders when Germany reunited in 1990 and with that, their unique features.

One of which will be presented in this quiz on Lower Saxony. The state is one of the most populous in the Bundesrepublik and one that prides itself on history, tradition, sports and even its landscape. There is so much to see and do in the state, whose capital is Hannover, but this Quiz will provide you with a starting point as to where to go for visiting and other activities of interest. The rest will have to be taken care of by you as the tourist. 😉

So let’s provide you with a good whiff of what you can find in Lower Saxony. It has been broken down into three parts, but will provide you with a good challenge for yourself and those around you. Good luck! 🙂

 

 

Variety Pack Questions:

  1. Eight German States and the Baltic Sea border Lower Saxony, making it the most bordered state in Germany. True of False?

2a. Lower Saxony was officially established after World War II in ________ and consisted of the mergers of four former kingdoms. Name two of the four kingdoms.

2b. Of the four kingdoms, which one was the largest?

  1. Put the following cities in order based on population from largest to smallest:

Oldenburg    Brunswick (Braunschweig)   Stade    Wolfsburg    Hannover   Lüneburg   Uelzen   Emden  Osnabrück

  1. Lower Saxony is ranked ____________ in size behind Bavaria and ____________ in population behind Bavaria, North Rhine Westphalia and Hesse, but is the state that is the most dense population of Germany.  True or False (just the points in cursive and bold print)

  2. Which rivers flow through and/or in Lower Saxony? Name three of them.

  3. Braunkohl is a German vegetable that is well known in Lower Saxony and can be served with a local sausage. True or false?

  4. At Steinhuder Lake,located west of Osnabrück, you will find eels. True or false?

  5. Das Alte Land, located in the vicinity of the Elbe River north and west of Hamburg is Germany’s fruit garden. Name three fruits that grow there annually.

 

 

Multiple Choice:  Choose only one city that has a unique feature.

  1. Which city is home of one of the three automobile manufacturers in Germany. Choose the city and fill in the blank regarding the car brand. (Hint: Fahrvergnügend is still the most popular car brand in the world.)

a. Wilhelmshaven          b. Wolfsburg         c. Celle       d. Lüneburg      e. Hannover

The car brand?  ___________________________

 

 

  1. Which city in Lower Saxony does not have a college or university?  How many colleges and universities does the state have?  ______________

a. Hildesheim     b. Göttingen     c. Hannover    d. Cuxhaven     e. Emden

f. Vechta      g. Bremervörde

 

 

  1. In this town (A), you can try a drink with a spoon (B), but don’t forget to say your blessings first. 😉

A:

a. Bad Zwischenahn          b. Bad Brahmburg      c. Leer        d. Norden

e. Bad Oldesloe     f. Brunswick

B:

a. Braunschweiger Mumme      b. Löffeltee      c. Ammerländer Löffeltrunk

d. Angler Muck     e. Toter Bruder

 

 

  1. Which city in Lower Saxony is not located in the Harz Mountains? (!: There are two different answers)

a. Goslar           b. Clausthal        c. Wenigerode        d. Osterode      e. Salzgitter       f. Braunlage

 

 

  1. Which city does not have a premier league sports team?

a. Buxtehude     b. Hannover      c. Brunswick      d. Emden       e. Oldenburg

 

 

  1. The New York Lions in the German American Football League is actually located in which city?

a. Hannover     b. Bremen        c. Brunswick       d. Göttingen     e. Celle

 

 

  1. Germany has the only true transporter bridge in left the country. It is located in Lower Saxony in which community?

a. Ostende      b. Hannover     c. Wilhelmshaven     d. Stade     e. Brunswick

 

 

  1. The only combination cantilever-suspension-swing bridge left in Germany (and perhaps on European soil) is located in Lower Saxony. Where exactly is this bridge?

a. Göttingen    b. Wilhelmshaven    c. Lauenburg    d. Stadland   e. Hannover         f. Wattenscheid

 

 

  1. Which town in Lower Saxony will you most likely find in the US?

a. Emden    b. Bergen     c. Hannover     d. Oldenburg    e. Berne    f. Uelzen

 

 

Celebrities and Birth Places: Determine whether these statements are true or false. If false, correct the statements

  1. Maria Furtwängler, an actress who plays Charlotte Lindholm in the Tatort-Hannover series originates from Hannover.

  2. Heiner Brandt, head coach of the German National Handball Team, was born and raised in Brunswick.

  3. In the film the Inglorious Bastards by Quentin Tarrantino, there were no German actors/actresses.

  4. Gerhard Schröder, the successor of Chancellor Angela Merkel, was born in Mecklenburg-Pommerania but grew up in Lower Saxony.

  5. Herbert Grönemeyer calls Göttingen home. No wonder because he was born there.

  6. The band The Scorpions was established in Hannover with the lead singer originating from there.

  7. The Creator of English for Runaways originally came from Emden.

  8.  Chris Barrie, a Hannoverer  who starred in the Tomb Raider movie, grew up in Northern Ireland.

  9. Prince Augustus of Hannover was born in Hannover.

 

 

Viel Spaß beim Quizzen. The answers to the Lower Saxony Quiz will come out on May 5th. At the same time, another quiz on Mecklenburg Pommerania will come out, providing you with just as much of a challenge as this one will give you. Good luck! 🙂

FF 25 Logo

Gandhi’s Letter

This week’s Literature/Genre of the Week takes us back to World War II and many failed attempts to avoid it- in particular, many failed attempts to keep a tyrant from conducting one of (if not the) most heinous crimes against humanities to date.  There are a lot of interesting facts that have appeared recently about Adolf Hitler, who ruled Germany from 1933 until his suicide in 1945. This includes the top 10 from a news source in India (see article here.) He was one of the greatest orators of all time, but one who was obsessed with strategies of how to conquer Europe and the rest of the world. He was the most feared in the eyes of many politicians in other countries, who tried to appease him at any cost, pleading with him not to start the war machine at a time when the majority of the world was in the worst economic depression of all time. Many letters were written to him asking him to reconsider.

This included the one written by a peace activitist.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (known throughout the world as Mahatma Gandhi) was a peace activist who first led a movement to ease restrictions the British Empire had imposed on its colonial state, India, but later led a non-violent movement called “Quit India,” demanding Indian independence from the British Commonwealth and rejecting Indian involvement in World War II, both of which were successful. India obtained its independence in 1947 in spite the violence that accompanied it, setting the stage for the break-up of the empire that occurred in Africa and Asia over the course of 35 years. Known as “The Father of India,” a national holiday in India, combined with the international day of non-violence, takes place every year on October 2nd, Ghandi’s birthday.

Gandhi was known for his non-violence movements and his staunch criticism of World War II, arguing against the use of force to put down the regimes of Hitler and Benito Mussolini in Italy, claiming that if so and through self-sacrifice, the death toll would not have been as high as it was. Although this was met with heavy criticism among western nations and the Jewish community, some of the points made were worth considering for World War II was one of the most destructive wars on record, with up to 75% of the cities destroyed and as many German lives being lost as those from the Holocaust This does not include the loss of life among soldiers outside Germany. The war is still considered by many in Germany a delicate topic to discuss because it eventually reshaped Germany and the rest of the European landscape, veering away from empires and tyrannies and embracing the principles of democracy initiated by the United States as the new superpower and its allies when the war ended in 1945.

Yet Gandhi was also aware of the actions of Hitler and attempted to persuade him to change his mind with a letter he wrote to the dictator, explaining the effects of starting the war in Europe. This was what he wrote, as read by Clarke Peters at the BBC Studios in London:

Written in 1939, the letter never arrived in Berlin and subsequentially, World War II started with the German invasion of Poland on 2 September, 1939. It lasted until 7 May, 1945 but not before leaving a scar that will never go away, but will always be remembered for years to come. Gandhi never lived to see a new German democratic state and a socialist state, for he was assasinated on 30 January, 1948. West Germany was created out of the regions occupied by the US, Great Britain and France on 23 May, 1949. The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was formed on 7 October, 1949. It would be another 41 years until Germany was reunited in 1990. Yet the question still remains: what would have happened, had Gandhi’s letter arrived in Berlin and Hitler had a chance to read it? Would he have reconsidered or would he have ignored it? While history scholars will refute over one claim or another, the answer remains the same: we will never know.

FF new logo1

Gandhi’s Letter

This week’s Literature/Genre of the Week takes us back to World War II and many failed attempts to avoid it- in particular, many failed attempts to keep a tyrant from conducting one of (if not the) most heinous crimes against humanities to date.  There are a lot of interesting facts that have appeared recently about Adolf Hitler, who ruled Germany from 1933 until his suicide in 1945. This includes the top 10 from a news source in India (see article here.) He was one of the greatest orators of all time, but one who was obsessed with strategies of how to conquer Europe and the rest of the world. He was the most feared in the eyes of many politicians in other countries, who tried to appease him at any cost, pleading with him not to start the war machine at a time when the majority of the world was in the worst economic depression of all time. Many letters were written to him asking him to reconsider.

This included the one written by a peace activitist.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (known throughout the world as Mahatma Gandhi) was a peace activist who first led a movement to ease restrictions the British Empire had imposed on its colonial state, India, but later led a non-violent movement called “Quit India,” demanding Indian independence from the British Commonwealth and rejecting Indian involvement in World War II, both of which were successful. India obtained its independence in 1947 in spite the violence that accompanied it, setting the stage for the break-up of the empire that occurred in Africa and Asia over the course of 35 years. Known as “The Father of India,” a national holiday in India, combined with the international day of non-violence, takes place every year on October 2nd, Gandhi’s birthday.

Gandhi was known for his non-violence movements and his staunch criticism of World War II, arguing against the use of force to put down the regimes of Hitler and Benito Mussolini in Italy, claiming that if so and through self-sacrifice, the death toll would not have been as high as it was. Although this was met with heavy criticism among western nations and the Jewish community, some of the points made were worth considering for World War II was one of the most destructive wars on record, with up to 75% of the cities destroyed and as many German lives being lost as those from the Holocaust This does not include the loss of life among soldiers outside Germany. The war is still considered by many in Germany a delicate topic to discuss because it eventually reshaped Germany and the rest of the European landscape, veering away from empires and tyrannies and embracing the principles of democracy initiated by the United States as the new superpower and its allies when the war ended in 1945.

Yet Gandhi was also aware of the actions of Hitler and attempted to persuade him to change his mind with a letter he wrote to the dictator, explaining the effects of starting the war in Europe. This was what he wrote, as read by Clarke Peters at the BBC Studios in London:

 

 

Written in 1939, the letter never arrived in Berlin and subsequentially, World War II started with the German invasion of Poland on 2 September, 1939. It lasted until 7 May, 1945 but not before leaving a scar that will never go away, but will always be remembered for years to come. Gandhi never lived to see a new German democratic state and a socialist state, for he was assasinated on 30 January, 1948. West Germany was created out of the regions occupied by the US, Great Britain and France on 23 May, 1949. The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was formed on 7 October, 1949. It would be another 41 years until Germany was reunited in 1990. Yet the question still remains: what would have happened, had Gandhi’s letter arrived in Berlin and Hitler had a chance to read it? Would he have reconsidered or would he have ignored it? While history scholars will refute over one claim or another, the answer remains the same: we will never know.

 

FF new logo1