Crazy Russia

Putin, my family and other outsiders

Much ado on the Eastern front

"Do you feel German, Ukrainian, Russian or Jewish? Or maybe a bit of each?" Filipp Piatov is, as it were, a merge of all these cultures. His Russian father and Ukrainian mother left the Soviet Union as it fell apart around them and Piatov grew up in a ...


Bismarck-Germany's Demon Chancellor

Many people still consider Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898)-the 'Iron Chancellor' who founded the German Empire in 1871-Germany's foremost statesman. Johannes Willms draws a different picture, showing Bismarck as a dyed-in-the-wool opportunist, a cunning, power-hungry ...


Tchaikovsky: Life and work

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was considered Russia's greatest composer even during his lifetime, and he still is to this day. Classical music aficionados love his work, which was all composed over the course of three decades. But the composer's life was dogged by ...


I love God (and a woman)

the account of an ex-priest

Anton Aschenbrenner was a Catholic priest and religious education teacher when he fell in love with a colleague. For many years they kept their relationship secret, but when Birgit fell pregnant he decided to come out into the open. He chose his wife and child over the Church, a step that ...


From Obedience to Freedom

Resistance biographies

"My prime objective was to portray people who stand as role models because they knew that the time was right to ask themselves: What do I stand for and what am I prepared to die for? "


The portraits of six people who decided to actively resist ...


The Black German

Witnessing history through the eyes of a German-African

This is the story of a man born in Berlin in 1925, the son of a German mother and a Cameroonian father. When his father came to Germany, Cameroon was still a German colony, but after the First World War the Empire was lost and the atmosphere grew increasingly hostile. Black people were reduced ...

Rights sold: France, English World Rights

The Woman from Flanders

Love in the Third Reich

Her name was Adriana. She was Belgian by birth and the widow of a German. When she died at a ripe old age in a retirement home in Germany, all she had left to her name was a case filled with photographs, letters and documents. The photos reveal her to have been an extraordinarily attractive and ...


Three Lives. A Memoir

Max Mannheimer spent an untroubled youth in the Sudetenland. Yet his old life came to an end when the German Wehrmacht invaded in 1938. Restrictions and petty mistreatment increased and the Jewish family had to leave their home. In 1943 Mannheimer's parents, three siblings and his young ...


Brilliant Failures

From continental drift to telephone - brilliant inventors frequently faced a tough initial struggle against their colleagues' scepticism. Pioneers of new ideas in science and technology traditionally encountered major frustrations in pitching their ideas and standing up for them ...


Bertha Krupp and Her Children

The life of my grandmother

Bertha Krupp (1887-1957) spent her entire life in the public eye. Following her father's untimely and scandal-ridden death, she inherited the Krupp industrial empire at the tender age of 16. During her lifespan she witnessed two world wars, the end of the German empire, the great economic ...


Bob Dylan

His music and his life

He was the icon of the '60s protest movement, the voice of a whole generation. He is still a non-conformist, rock poet and a master of metamorphosis. Many of his songs became instant classics, ›Like a Rolling Stone‹, ›Blowin' in the Wind‹, ›Lay ...


And Suddenly We Were Criminals

The story of an escape from East Germany

In the summer of 1983, a group of people attempted to flee from East Germany: siblings Michael and Dorothea, both musicians from Dresden, as well as Dorothea's husband and an art student friend of theirs. Telling not even parents or friends, they planned to cross the border between Bulgaria and ...