Alexandra's Feed
Feb 24, 2015

Jewish dealers’ heirs turn to U.S. to recover German art trove

BERLIN (Reuters) – The heirs of Jewish art dealers who say their families were forced to sell the Nazis a trove of medieval church treasure worth some $250 million today have turned to a U.S. court to reclaim it, after failing in their attempts in Germany.

The collection, known as the Guelph Treasure, consists of 44 gold, jewel and pearl encrusted pieces which have belonged to the city of Berlin’s art collection since their purchase in 1935, on the orders of leading Nazi Hermann Goering.

Feb 13, 2015

German growth vaults expectations, France remains in doldrums

BERLIN/PARIS (Reuters) – Germany’s economy grew by a robust 0.7 percent in the last quarter of 2014, well above forecasts, while France continued to wallow, official data showed on Friday.

The revival of Europe’s largest economy followed stagnation over the previous two quarters. It had been expected to expand by 0.3 percent.

Feb 13, 2015

German economy stuns with unexpectedly strong growth in fourth-quarter

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany grew by a much stronger than expected 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, with domestic demand lifting Europe’s largest economy out of its mid-year lull to take growth for the whole year to 1.6 percent and raise hopes of a strong 2015.

Quarterly GDP beat not only the consensus forecast for 0.3 percent in a Reuters poll, but also all individual estimates. The overall growth rate for 2014 overshot the Statistics Office’s January estimate of 1.5 percent.

Feb 12, 2015

Powerful film debut shows awakening of an Albanian “Sworn Virgin”

BERLIN (Reuters) – In the Mountains of the Damned along the Kosovan/Albanian border, women seeking to escape the stifling roles tradition holds for them must either flee or swear an oath of eternal virginity, granting them the right to live as a man.

Young Italian director Laura Bispuri’s first feature film, “Sworn Virgin” depicts this through the choices of two women raised as sisters in a village in these remote peaks, and exposes a little-known phenomenon of rural Albanian culture.

Feb 11, 2015

Romanian film “Aferim!” confronts roots of prejudice against Roma

BERLIN (Reuters) – While some search for the origin of Romania’s social troubles in its communist past, director Radu Jude returns to the early 19th century in “Aferim!”, to show a pitiful world of cruelty and deep prejudice, which he believes still informs attitudes today.

The film, among 19 vying for the Berlin Film Festival’s top Golden Bear honour, follows the hunt by a sheriff and his son for a runaway gypsy slave. It highlights a harrowing and little-known period in the history of Romania’s Roma minority, who were once kept as slaves by monasteries or local overlords.

Jan 27, 2015

Holocaust victims’ ‘Violins of Hope’ to resound in Berlin Philharmonic

BERLIN (Reuters) – A violin thrown some seventy years ago from a train transporting French Jews to the Nazi Auschwitz death camp will sound in the concert hall of the Berlin Philharmonic on Tuesday night, along with other instruments once played by victims of the Holocaust.

A French railwayman caught that unknown passenger’s violin and gave it to his daughter to play.

Nov 17, 2014

German World Cup documentary pulls in crowds despite bad reviews

BERLIN (Reuters) – A behind-the-scenes documentary film about Germany’s successful campaign to win the 2014 soccer World Cup in Brazil pulled in the crowds in Germany on its opening weekend, despite woeful reviews.

Critics assailed “Die Mannschaft” (The Team) as a sugar-coated, corporate PR-style production, a far cry from a more critical and stirring movie by independent filmmaker Soenke Wortmann about the 2006 World Cup, which Germany hosted.

Nov 7, 2014

Stasi victims still in trauma as Germany cheers 25 years since wall fell

COTTBUS Germany (Reuters) – Sunday marks 25 years since the collapse of the regime that imprisoned and persecuted them, but many victims of former communist East Germany are still so traumatized that celebrating the unification of their country may forever be a challenge.

Thousands who were locked up for their political views, or had their children seized because the State did not consider them to be fit parents, are still deeply distressed – their condition aggravated by the fact that justice and recognition is yet to be granted, says a group lobbying for change.

Oct 28, 2014

Germany warns security situation ‘critical’ due to radical Islam

BERLIN (Reuters) – Radical Islam poses a critical security threat to Germany, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere warned on Tuesday, saying the number of people capable of staging attacks in the country stood at an all-time high.

Besides the risk posed by German jihadists returning from Syria, there was also the danger of violent clashes on German streets as rival extremist groups turn on each other – mirroring the conflicts of the Middle East, he told a security conference.

Oct 28, 2014

German spy agency sees Islamic State remaining big threat, luring more German recruits

BERLIN (Reuters) – Islamic State militants will be able to mount operations in Iraq “for the foreseeable future” despite U.S.-led air strikes and efforts by Iraqi security forces to regain territory, Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency said.

German intelligence also sounded the alarm about a rising number of Islamist militants inside Germany ready to join IS in Iraq and Syria and warned of an increased risk of violent clashes on German streets between rival radical groups.