TWIG Extra 07 - Professor Robert Beachy on Germany's fascinating history of gay culture

Professor Robert Beachy

Professor Robert Beachy

While there are still a few challenges to equality (same-sex couples cannot yet marry, for example), Germany is a fairly open place when it comes to homosexuality, especially in the big cities.

This progressive outlook has history to thank. Did you know that the word homosexuality was invented in Germany? Or did you know that Berlin was world’s centre for research into gay culture and behaviour? In fact, before the oppressive years of the Nazis, Berlin was a hotspot for crossdressing balls and gay bars for socialising - as far back as the late 19th century!

To find out about Germany’s gay legacy, we talked to Robert Beachy, history professor at Yonsei University in Seoul and author of “Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity”, released in German as "Das andere Berlin: die Erfindung der Homosexualität".

TWIG Extra 05 - Professor Johannes Tuchel on the life of Georg Elser

Georg Elser exhibit - ©2014 German Resistance Memorial Center

Georg Elser exhibit - ©2014 German Resistance Memorial Center

This Week in Germany recently spoke to Professor Johannes Tuchel, Director of the German Resistance Memorial Center in Berlin.

We spoke about the life of Georg Elser, a man who, on 8th November 1939, attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler. 

Hitler left the beer hall where the bomb was planted thirteen minutes early and therefore the bomb missed its target. 

You can hear the full radio story we made about the assassination attempt in episode 67 of This Week in Germany

TWIG Extra 04 - Comic artist Malachi Ray Rempen shares his experiences of living in Germany

In this episode of This Week in Germany Extra, you can hear our conversation with Malachi Ray Rempen, the creator of Itchy Feet, a webcomic all about language and culture.

Several of his comics describe the joy and sometimes frustration of life as an outsider in Germany. Though not strictly autobiographical, many of these are based on Malachi's experiences living in Berlin.

Malachi is half American and half German but sometimes feels at odds with the German way of life.

This interview originally featured in episode number 49 of This Week in Germany.

TWIG Extra 03 - British Ambassador to Germany Sir Simon McDonald

Sir Simon McDonald. Image: Crown Copyright / British Embassy, Berlin

Sir Simon McDonald. Image: Crown Copyright / British Embassy, Berlin

In this episode of This Week in Germany Extra, we speak to the British Ambassador to Germany, Sir Simon McDonald.

We tackle questions spanning the breadth and depth of the work of an embassy and an ambassador, including:

What does an ambassador do all day? Is it all posh parties and luxurious living?

How does an embassy work to help the citizens of its home country?

What things can an embassy not help you with?

This interview was originally featured as part of episode 47 of the regular programme.

TWIG Extra 02 - Bestselling author Timur Vermes speaks about his book 'Er ist wieder da' / 'Look Who's Back'

Timur Vermes - Image © MissBehavior.de

Timur Vermes - Image © MissBehavior.de

In this episode of This Week in Germany Extra, the interview podcast which focuses on German culture and society, I spoke to Timur Vermes about his controversial satire 'Er ist wieder da'.

The book, which was recently published for the first time in English with the title 'Look Who's Back', imagines what would happen if Adolf Hitler were to suddenly come back to life in modern-day Germany. 

As the blurb on Amazon describes it:

Berlin, Summer 2011. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of open ground, alive and well. Things have changed - no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognises his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman.

People certainly recognise him, albeit as a flawless impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable happens, and the ranting Hitler goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own T.V. show, and people begin to listen. But the Führer has another programme with even greater ambition - to set the country he finds a shambles back to rights.

In our conversation, we discuss the controversy the book caused, whether readers of the English-language version will interpret the book the same way German-speakers did with the original, as well as the upcoming movie being produced by Constantin Film. 

If you have an opinion on anything you heard in TWIG Extra, or you have a suggestion for an interview you would like to hear, feel free to contact us.

TWIG Extra 01 - Sven Rudloff speaks about Anglo-German relations

Welcome to the first episode of This Week in Germany Extra, the interview podcast which focuses on German culture and society. 

Sven Rudloff

Sven Rudloff

In each episode, which will appear monthly, we'll be talking in depth to someone with an insight into a part of German culture, or a perspective from a German point of view.

Following Angela Merkel's speech to the UK parliament recently, I spoke to Sven Rudloff, host of the popular German-language podcast Viva Britannia, on the topic of Anglo-German relations. 

Throughout the interview, we cover a wide variety of topics, from Britons' views on Germany, how Germans perceive the UK and the pros and cons of living in either country - both the small everyday things, and the bigger issues too.

In the end, it could be said that the relationship between the UK and Germany is better than ever, though it seems some parts of society have yet to catch up...

If you have an opinion on anything you heard in TWIG Extra, or you have a suggestion for an interview you'd like to hear, feel free to contact us.