Return to home1945 Jan 1, On
Operation Bodenplatte, German planes attacked American forward air
bases in Europe. This was the last major offensive of the Luftwaffe.
1945 Jan 2, Allies made an air
raid on Nuremberg. About 90% of the city center was destroyed in
only one hour.
1945 Jan 4, The last German
offensive in Bastogne, Belgium, failed.
1945 Jan 10, Gunther von
Hagens, German anatomist, was born in Poznan. In 1977 invented the
process of plastination in which natural body fluids are replaced by
(WSJ, 8/5/04, p.D8)
1945 Jan 12, German forces in
Belgium retreated in Battle of Bulge.
1945 Jan 12, Soviet forces
began a huge offensive against the Germans in Eastern Europe.
1945 Jan 13, The Red Army
opened an offensive in South Poland, crashing 25 miles through the
1945 Jan 16, The U.S. First and
Third armies linked up at Houffalize, effectively ending the Battle
of the Bulge. In 1997 Charles B. MacDonald authored “A Time for
Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge."
(HN, 1/16/99)(WSJ, 12/7/04, p.D11)
1945 Jan 18, The German Army
launched its second attempt to relieve the besieged city of Budapest
from the advancing Red Army.
1945 Jan 18, The Red Army freed
Krakow from Nazi occupation. [see Jan 19]
(SSFC, 4/3/05, p.A12)
1945 Jan 19, The Red Army
captured Lodz, Krakow, and Tarnow.
1945 Jan 21, The Nazi Edelweiss
unit participated in a bloody operation against two villages in
central Slovakia as punishment for local support of Soviet-backed
1945 Jan 23, Helmuth J. Moltke
(37), German general, politician (July 20th Plot), was executed.
1945 Jan 24, A German attempt
to relieve the besieged city of Budapest was finally halted by the
1945 Jan 27, The Soviet army
arrived at Auschwitz and Birkenau in Poland, and found the Nazi
concentration camp and crematorium. It is now believed that 1
million Jews were murdered here, up to 75,000 Polish Christians,
21,000 Gypsies, and 15,000 Soviet POWs.
1945 Jan 28, The Red Army
captured Klaipeda, the last German-held Lithuanian city.
1945 Jan 30, The Allies
launched a drive on the Siegfried line in Germany.
1945 Jan 30, Nazi SS guards
shot down an estimated 4,000 Jewish prisoners on the Baltic coast at
Palmnicken, Kaliningrad. The town was later renamed by the Russians
to Yantarny. Some 7,000 prisoners had been marched 25 miles from
Koenigsberg to a vacant lock factory at Palmnicken where they were
mowed down with machine guns. The prisoners had been vacated from a
network of 30 camps that made up Poland's Stutthoff concentration
camp. 90% of the Jews were women from Lithuania and Hungary.
(SFC, 1/31/00, p.C1)
1945 Jan 30,
The German liner "Wilhelm Gustloff" sank in the Baltic Sea between
the Bay of Danzig and the Danish island of Bornholm. An estimated
7000-8000 people, civilian refugees from East Prussia and wounded
German soldiers, drowned in the icy waters. Three torpedoes fired
from a Russian submarine had scored direct hits on the ship. The
result was the largest and most horrible naval disaster of all time.
(NW, 3/18/02, p.11)
1945 Jan, US Staff Sgt. Beyrle
(1923-2004) escaped from the German the Stalag III-C POW camp in Alt
Drewitz and joined Soviet troops. He was wounded as his unit
approached Berlin, was treated in a field hospital and then sent
back to the US Embassy in Moscow. In 2010 a Russian Museum exhibit,
titled "Joseph R. Beyrle — A Hero of Two Nations," presented 260
artifacts from Beyrle's life and military career, including a
collection of his medals, uniform and photographs.
1945 Feb 2, Karl F. Goerdeler
(60), mayor of Leipzig, "July 20th plot", was hanged.
1945 Feb 3, The Allies dropped
3,000 tons of bombs on Berlin. Robert Rosenthal (1917-2007) led
1,000 B-17s in the raid on Berlin. Rosenthal later served as an
assistant to the US prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials.
(HN, 2/3/99)(SFC, 4/30/07, p.B8)
1945 Feb 5, American and French
troops destroyed German forces in the Colmar Pocket in France.
1945 Feb 7, German troops and
allied Slovak irregulars massacred 18 Jewish civilians discovered
hiding in underground bunkers at Ksina, Slovakia.
1945 Feb 8, Allied air attack
on Goch, Kleef, Kalkar, Reichswald.
1945 Feb 9, The German
submarine U-864 with a crew of 73 sank about 2 1/2 miles off Fedje,
Norway. It was on a desperate mission to supply Japan with advanced
weapons technology and carried a poisonous cargo of 70 tons of
mercury. Leakage of the mercury posed a severe threat in 2006 and
plans were made to encase the wreck. In 2007 Norway’s government
said it would be buried in special sand to protect the coastline.
(AP, 12/20/06)(AP, 2/13/07)
1945 Feb 13, Allied planes
began bombing the German city of Dresden. British bombers in
Operation Thunderclap firebombed the city of Dresden, Germany, and
135,000 people were killed. The Royal Air Force Bomber Command
attacked the city of Dresden at night with raids by 873 heavy
bombers. 796 Lancaster heavy bombers were led by 9 target marking
Mosquito light bombers. A look at aerial maps of the city before and
after the terror attacks clearly shows the large white oil tanks
owned by British-controlled Shell Oil. These tanks remained entirely
untouched by the bombardment. In 2003 Frederick Taylor authored
“Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945."
p.A20)(SFC, 1/6/97, p.A10)(SFEC, 7/27/97, p.T6)(SFEC, 1/30/00,
1945 Feb 13, During World War
II the Soviets captured Budapest, Hungary, from the Germans ending a
(HN, 2/13/98)(AP, 2/13/98)
1945 Feb 14, 521 American heavy
bombers flew daylight raids over Dresden, Germany following the
British assault. The firestorm killed an estimated 135,000 people.
At least 35,000 died and some people place the toll closer to
70,000. The novel "Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut was set in
Dresden during the firebombing where he was being held as a prisoner
of war. US B-17 bombers dropped 771 more tons on Dresden while P-51
Mustang fighters strafed roads packed with soldiers and civilians
fleeing the burning city. In 2006 Marshall De Bruhl authored
“Firestorm: Allied Airpower and the Destruction of Dresden."
(WSJ, 10/22/96, p.A20)(SFC, 1/6/97, p.A10)(SFEC,
7/27/97, p.T6)(HN, 2/13/99)(SFEC, 1/30/00, p.T13)(SSFC, 12/17/06,
1945 Feb 23, Eisenhower opened
a large offensive in the Rhineland.
1945 Feb 23, Turkey declared
war on Germany and Japan.
1945 Feb 26, Very heavy bombing
on Berlin by 8th US Air Force.
1945 Feb 26, Syria declared war
on Germany and Japan. [see Mar 26]
1945 Feb 28, U.S. tanks broke
the natural defense line west of the Rhine and crossed the Erft
1945 Mar 1, US infantry
regiment captured Mönchengladbach.
1945 Mar 1, Field marshal
Kesselring succeeded von Rundstedt as commander.
1945 Mar 2, 8th Air Force
1945 Mar 3, US 7th Army
occupied last part of Westwall (Germany).
1945 Mar 5, US 7th Army Corps
1945 Mar 6, Cologne, Germany,
fell to General Hodges’ First Army.
1945 Mar 6, Erich Honnecker and
Erich Hanke fled Nazis.
1945 Mar 6, In Holland SS
General Hans Albin Rauter, was ambushed, and his driver and orderly
were killed. Rauter was seriously wounded. SS Brigadefuhrer Dr.
Eberhardt Schongarth immediately ordered reprisals and a total of
263 people were shot. A Special Court of Justice in the Hague
sentenced Rauter to death and he was executed March 25, 1949.
Schongarth was tried by a British Military Court, found guilty on
another war crime charge and sentenced to death. He was hanged in
1945 Mar 7, During World War
II, U.S. 9th Armored Division crossed the Rhine River at Remagen,
Germany, using the damaged but still usable Ludendorff Bridge. This
marked the 1st incursion of Allied forces into Germany.
(AP, 3/7/98)(SFC, 4/9/03, p.A16)
1945 Mar 7, Cologne was taken
by allied armies.
1945 Mar 8, The U.S. First Army
crossed the Rhine between Cologne and Coblenz.
1945 Mar 8, 53 Amsterdammers
were executed by Nazi occupiers.
1945 Mar 10, Patton's 3rd Army
made contact with Hodge's 1st Army.
1945 Mar 10, Germany blew up
the Wessel Bridge on the Rhine.
1945 Mar 11, 1,000 allied
bombers harassed Essen with 4,662 tons of bombs.
1945 Mar 11, Flemish Nazi
collaborator Maria Huygens was sentenced to death.
1945 Mar 12, Anne Frank, author
of "The Diary of Anne Frank," died at Bergen-Belsen concentration
camp a month before it was liberated. When the British arrived in
April, they found more than 10,000 unburied corpses. Some 14,000 of
the prisoners found at the camp died within a few days.
(SFEC, 1/5/97, p.B8)(HNQ, 4/13/00)(HN, 3/12/01)
1945 Mar 12, In Amsterdam 30
people were executed by Nazi occupiers.
1945 Mar 13, Peru declared war
1945 Mar 14, Chile declared war
1945 Mar 14, A supreme
Lithuanian independence committee was re-formed in Germany. The
committee was 1st formed Nov 25, 1943, in Lithuania.
1945 Mar 18, 1,250 US bombers
1945 Mar 19, Adolf Hitler
issued his so-called "Nero Decree," ordering the destruction of
German facilities that could fall into Allied hands. Hitler ordered
a scorched-earth policy. Hitler had decreed that Paris should be
left a smoking ruin, but Dietrich von Choltitz thought better of his
(AP, 3/19/97)(HN, 3/19/98)
1945 Mar 22, The US 3rd Army
crossed the Rhine at Nierstein.
1945 Mar 23, Premier Winston
Churchill visited Montgomery's headquarter in Straelen.
1945 Mar 23, British 7th Black
Watch crossed the Rhine.
1945 Mar 24, Largest one-day
airborne drop: 600 transports and 1300 gliders.
1945 Mar 24, Operation Varsity:
British, US and Canadian airborne landings east of Rhine.
1945 Mar 24, Egypt declared war
1945 Mar 25, US 1st army broke
out bridgehead near Remagen.
1945 Mar 26, Generals
Eisenhower, Bradley, and Patton attack at Remagen on the Rhine.
1945 Mar 26, US 7th Army
crossed Rhine at Worms.
1945 Mar 26, Syria declared war
on Germany. [see Feb 26]
1945 Mar 27, During World War
II, General Dwight D. Eisenhower told reporters in Paris that German
defenses on the Western Front had been broken.
(AP, 3/27/97)(HN, 3/27/98)
1945 Mar 27, US 20th Army corps
1945 Mar 28, Germany launched
the last of the V-2 rockets (buzz bomb) against England.
1945 Mar 29, German SS as well
as Hitler Youth members shot at least 57 laborers in woods near the
small town of Deutsch Schuetzen, later part of Austria. In 2009
German prosecutors charged a 90-year-old alleged former member of
Hitler's SS with 58 counts of murder.
1945 Mar 30, 289 anti-fascists
were murdered by Nazis in Rombergpark, Dortmund.
1945 Mar 31, Sicherheitsdienst
murdered 10 political prisoners in Zutphen.
1945 Mar, The German submarine
U-96, commissioned in September 1940, was sunk during a US bombing
raid on the port city of Wilhelmshaven. It had gone on 11 patrols in
the Atlantic Ocean before it was sunk. In 1981 Lothar-Guenther
Buchheim (1918-2007), authored his autobiographical novel, "Das
Boot," based on his service aboard the sub. In 1981, the book was
turned into an acclaimed German film starring Juergen Prochnow that
detailed the hopelessness of war and its effect on sailors living in
the cramped confines of their submarine.
1945 Apr 3, Nazis began
evacuation of camp Buchenwald. [see Apr 20]
1945 Apr 4,
U.S. forces liberated the Nazi death camp Ohrdruf in Germany.
1945 Apr 4, US tanks and
infantry conquered Bielefeld.
1945 Apr 4, Hungary was
liberated from Nazi occupation (National Day).
1945 Apr 9, The Red Army was
repulsed at the Seelow Heights on the outskirts of Berlin.
1945 Apr 9, German Battleship
Admiral Scheer sank a British aircraft carrier.
1945 Apr 9, Dietrich Bonhoeffer
(b.1906), a German Lutheran theologian and antifascist, was hanged
by the Nazis at Flossenburg prison. He had participated in the
failed July 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Hitler. A TV documentary
on Bonhoeffer was aired in 2006.
(SFC, 2/15/03, p.A14)(WSJ, 2/3/06,
1945 Apr 9, Hans Oster, German
major-general, spy and participant in the "July 20th plot", was
hanged by Nazis.
1945 Apr 9, Hans von Dohnanyi,
"July 20th plotter", hanged by Nazis.
1945 Apr 9, Wilhelm Canaris,
Admiral, headed Germany Abwehr, was hanged by Nazis.
1945 Apr 10, German Me 262 jet
fighters shot down ten U.S. bombers near Berlin.
1945 Apr 10, In their second
attempt to take the Seelow Heights, near Berlin, the Red Army
launched numerous attacks against the defending Germans. The Soviets
gain one mile at the cost of 3,000 men killed and 368 tanks
1945 Apr 11, The Americans
liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. Some 250,000
prisoners passed through the camp and 50,000 are known to have died
there. From 1945 to 1950, occupying Soviet forces used the camp to
hold political prisoners.
(AP, 4/11/97)(WSJ, 3/26/99, p.B1)(SFC, 8/3/99,
1945 Apr 11, After two
frustrating days of being repulsed and absorbing tremendous
casualties, the Red Army finally takes the Seelow Heights north of
1945 Apr 11, The Nazi SS burned
and shot 1,100 at Gardelegen.
1945 Apr 12, Robert Daniell
(1901-1996), British tank commander, entered with his tank crew into
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. He found some 10,000 corpses
killed by the guards as the allies approached. Of the remaining
38,500 prisoners, barely a third survived.
(SFEC, 1/5/97, p.B8)
1945 Apr 12, Canadian troops
liberated the Nazi concentration camp at Westerbork, Neth.
1945 Apr 14, US 7th Army and
allies forces captured Nuremberg and Stuttgart, Germany.
1945 Apr 15, Commenting on the
death of American President Franklin Roosevelt in his Order of the
Day, Adolf Hitler proclaimed: "Now that fate has removed from the
earth the greatest war criminal of all time, the turning point of
this war will be decided."
1945 Apr 15, The deadly battle
for Berlin began. The Seelow Heights posed the last natural barrier
to Berlin in April 1945 from an advancing Red Army. The rolling
plains and plateaus of the Seelow Heights were only 35 miles from
the German capital and were well defended. The battle, which raged
for a week, was extremely costly to both sides, leaving some 30,000
Red Army soldiers and at least 80,000 Germans killed.
1945 Apr 15, British and
Canadian troops liberated the Nazi concentration camp at
Bergen-Belsen. It is a village in west Germany about 30 miles north
of Hanover. About 40,000 people were liberated from the camp,
although about 13,000 later died of illness. Overall, about 70,000
people died in Belsen.
(AHD, p.122)(AP, 4/17/05)
Apr 16, After a 2-day fight US troops liberated the German POW camp
at Colditz Castle.
1945 Apr 16, U.S. troops
reached Nuremberg, Germany, during World War II.
(AP, 4/16/98)(HN, 4/16/98)
1945 Apr 17, The US Army raided
factory in Stassfurt, Germany, and found some 1,100 tons of ore,
some in the form of uranium oxide, a basic material of atomic bombs.
It was part of mission Alsos, intended to track down Germany's
atomic bomb project and nuclear scientists. In 1986 Richard Rhodes
authored "The Making of the Atomic Bomb."
(SFC, 9/1/03, p.B4)
1945 Apr 17, 8th Air Force
1945 Apr 17, Hannie Schaft,
"Girl with red hair," was executed.
1945 Apr 17, Walter Model (54),
German field marshal, committed suicide. [see Apr 21]
1945 Apr 20, American forces
liberated Buchenwald. 350 Americans were imprisoned at Berga, a
sub-camp of Buchenwald, following their Dec, 1944, capture at the
Battle of the Bulge. Charles Guggenheim's (d.2002) last documentary
film was title "Berga." [see Apr 10-11]
(WSJ, 5/28/03, p.D8)
1945 Apr 21, Allied troops
occupied a German nuclear laboratory.
1945 Apr 21, Field Marshal
Walther Model, known as the "Fuhrer‘s Fireman," shot himself near
Dusseldorf. Hitler, who called Model "the Savior of the Eastern
Front," sent him to shore up the perceived failings of others and to
faithfully carry out his most ignorant and impossible orders. A
sycophant to the end, Model sent Hitler a note commending his
survival of the July bomb plot. Model‘s army was eventually
enveloped in the Ruhr in 1945 and, although offered terms for
surrender, Model chose to commit suicide.
1945 Apr 21, Russian army
arrived at outskirts of Berlin.
1945 Apr 22, Hitler
acknowledged that the war was lost. A stenographic record of
Hitler’s conferences with his generals from Apr, 1942, until Apr,
1945, was published in 2003 as: "Hitler and His Generals." It was
edited by Helmut Heiber and David M. Glantz."
(WSJ, 2/5/03, p.A1)
1945 Apr 22, Soviet troops
liberated the concentration Camp at Sachsenhausen. Soviet secret
police then used the camp just north of Berlin to imprison many
Nazis as well as critics of the Soviet occupation of eastern Germany
after the defeat of Adolf Hitler's regime. In all, an estimated
60,000 people were sent to "Special Camp No. 1" in 1945-50. In 2008
researchers finished compiling a list of 11,890 Germans who died
(AP, 4/17/05)(AP, 3/6/08)
1945 Apr 23, The concentration
camp at Flossenburg was liberated.
1945 Apr 23, The Soviet Army
fought its way into Berlin.
1945 Apr 25, Clandestine Radio
1212, used to hoax Nazi Germany, made its final transmission.
1945 Apr 25, During World War
II, U.S. and Soviet forces linked up at Torgau, on the Elbe River,
in central Europe, a meeting that dramatized the collapse of Nazi
(AP, 4/25/97)(HN, 4/25/98)
1945 Apr 25, Some 318 British
Lancaster bombers dropped 1,232 tons of bombs on Hitler’s alpine
redoubt at Obersalzberg near Berchtesgaden.
(SSFC, 8/6/06, p.G5)
1945 Apr 25, Last B-17 attack
against Nazi Germany.
1945 Apr 28, British commands
attacked Elbe and occupied Lauenburg.
1945 Apr 29, American soldiers
liberated 31,601 in the Dachau, Germany, concentration camp; that
same day, Adolf Hitler married Eva Braun (b.1912) and designated
Adm. Karl Doenitz his successor. Hitler and Braun committed suicide
the next day. In 2011 Heike B. Gortemaker authored “Eva Braun: Life
(AP, 4/29/98)(HN, 4/29/98)(SSFC, 10/30/11, p.F5)
1945 Apr 29, The German Army in
Italy surrendered unconditionally to the Allies. Venice and Mestre
were captured by the Allies. In 1956 Norman Kogan, historian at the
Univ of Connecticut, wrote "Italy and the Allies."
(HN, 4/29/99)(SFC, 9/21/99, p.E4)(MC, 4/29/02)
1945 Apr 30, Adolf Hitler (56)
committed suicide along with his wife of one day, Eva Braun (33), in
his Fuhrerbunker as Russian troops approached Berlin. Karl Donitz
became his successor. Their bodies were cremated and their remains
hastily buried in a shell hole in the Reich Chancellery garden just
hours before Berlin's fall. A few days later a Soviet officer showed
British troops Hitler's probable gravesite. In 1970 Russia’s KGB
ordered Hitler’s remained to be dug up, turned to powder and thrown
into the nearest river. In 1947 Hugh Trevor-Roper authored “The Last
Days of Hitler." In 1973 Robert Payne authored a definitive
biography. In 1998 Ron Rosenbaum authored "Explaining Hitler: The
Search for the Origin of His Evil." In 1977 Robert G.L. Waite
(d.1999) authored The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hitler." In 2002 Ingo
Helm made a film for TV titled "Hitler’s Money." In 2004 the German
film “The Downfall" portrayed the last days of Hitler.
(AP, 4/30/97)(HN, 4/30/98)(HNPD, 4/30/99)(WSJ,
8/31/99, p.A22)(SFC, 10/11/99, p.A24)(WSJ, 7/24/02, p.A1)(SFC,
8/8/02, p.A14)(Econ, 9/11/04, p.48)(WSJ, 12/29/05, p.D8)
1945 Apr 30, During the final
days of World War II, German female test pilot Hanna Reitsch was
ordered to fly General Ritter von Greim 60 miles to Berlin to
personally accept Adolf Hitler's appointment as Supreme Commander of
the German Luftwaffe. Flying her light plane through heavy Soviet
anti-aircraft fire, Reitsch and her passenger reached Hitler's
underground bunker safely, where they were among the last to see the
German dictator alive. Although both expected to die in the bunker,
Hitler ordered Reitsch and Greim to escape from Berlin to continue
the fight. On April 30, 1945, after a harrowing takeoff using a
bombed-out street as a runway, Reitsch evaded Soviet searchlights
and fighters to reach temporary freedom in German-held territory.
1945 Apr 30, Red Army opened an
attack on German Reichstag building in Berlin.
1945 Apr 30, The Russian Army
freed the Ravensbrueck concentration camp. They found 3,000 sickly
prisoners who had been unable to make the march north under the SS.
1945 Apr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer,
a German Evangelical Protestant theologian, was executed a few weeks
before the end of the war. In 1998 Denise Giardina published her
novel "Saints and Villains" that reconstructed his story.
(SFEC, 8/28/98, Par p.20)
1945 May 1, A
day after Adolf Hitler committed suicide, Admiral Karl Doenitz
effectively became sole leader of the Third Reich with the suicide
of Hitler's propaganda minister, Josef Goebbels. Goebbels committed
suicide with his wife and 8 children.
(AP, 5/1/07)(MC, 5/1/02)
1945 May 1, Martin Bormann,
private secretary to Adolf Hitler, escaped the Fuhrerbunker as the
Red Army advanced on Berlin. Specialists later determined that he
probably died in May 1945. The mystery behind his fate was settled
in 1972 when construction workers in Berlin dug up a skeleton.
Experts concluded the remains were Bormann's after a five-month
examination that included making X-rays of the bones, studying the
teeth, and using the skull as a model to reconstruct what its face
would've looked like. West German authorities officially declared
him dead in 1973. Some skeptics believed the remains had been
brought from elsewhere to be reburied in Berlin. In 2011 Paul van
Aerschodt, a former Belgian collaborator, said Bormann had escaped
to Latin America and lived there disguised as a priest.
(WSJ, 8/30/99, p.A1)(AP, 9/1/09)(AFP, 2/5/11)
1945 May 2, German Army in
1945 May 2, The Soviet Union
announced the fall of Berlin and the Allies announced the surrender
of Nazi troops in Italy and parts of Austria. The Russians took
Berlin after 12 days of fierce house-to-house fighting and General
Weidling surrendered. Yevgeny Khaldei (d.1997 at 80),
soldier-photographer, made pictures of Soviet soldiers hoisting the
red flag over the Reichstag in Berlin.
(HFA, '96, p.30)(AP, 5/2/97) (SFC, 10/11/97,
p.A19)(HN, 5/2/98)(MC, 5/2/02)
1945 May 3, Allies arrested
German nuclear physicist Werner Heisenberg.
1945 May 3, A British air force
squadron bombed two ships, the Cap Arcona and the Thielbeck and sank
them. The pilots knew nothing about the ships' human cargo. SS
guards had marched prisoners from Neuengamme to Lubeck on the Baltic
coast, as British troops approached, and put some 8,000 inmates onto
two ships, the Cap Arcona and the Thielbeck.
1945 May 4, German forces in
the Netherlands, Denmark and northwest Germany agreed to surrender.
1945 May 5, The Mauthausen
Concentration camp was liberated.
1945 May 5, Netherlands and
Denmark were liberated from Nazi control. The Liberation of the
Netherlands was completed by the First Canadian Army.
1945 May 7, Germany signed an
unconditional surrender at Allied headquarters in Rheims, France, to
take effect the following day, ending the European conflict of World
War II. After five years, World War II in Europe ended when Colonel
General Alfred Jodl, the last chief of staff of the German Army,
signed the unconditional surrender at General Dwight D. Eisenhower's
headquarters at Rheims, France. Journalist Edward Kennedy
(1905-1963) made the news public and was suspended for defying
political and military censors.
(AP, 5/7/97)(HN, 5/7/98)(SFC, 8/21/12, p.A6)
1945 May 7, SS opened fire on a
crowd in Amsterdam and killed 22.
1945 May 8, Germany surrendered
and Victory in Europe was achieved by the allies. Marshal Wilhelm
Keitel surrenders to Marshal Zhukov. The day is commemorated as V-E
Day. President Truman announced in a radio address that World War II
had ended in Europe. In 2004 Max Hastings authored “Armageddon," an
account of the last days of WW II.
(WSJ, 5/5/95, p.A-12)(AP, 5/8/97)(WSJ, 11/16/04,
1945 May 8, Oskar Schindler
gave a speech and urged the Jews who worked for him not to pursue
revenge attacks. An original list of 1,200 of his workers at the
Plaszow concentration camp was found in 1999.
(SFC, 10/16/99, p.A13)
1945 May 16, The Nazi submarine
U-234 surrendered to US forces at Portsmouth, NH. It had been bound
for Tokyo with 10 containers of uranium oxide. The atomic material
ended up in the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
(SFC, 9/1/03, p.B4)(www.uboat.net/)
1945 May 21, German
Reichsfuhrer, SS Heinrich Himmler, was captured.
1945 May 23, Heinrich Himmler
(44), the head of the Nazi Gestapo, committed suicide while
imprisoned in Luneburg, Germany.
(AP, 5/23/97)(HN, 5/23/01)
1945 May, In Austria US Army
officers and troops plundered a “gold train" on its way to Germany
from Hungary that carried gold, jewels, paintings and other
valuables seized by the Nazis from Jewish families. A 2001 suit
filed in Miami said the army falsely classified it as unidentifiable
and enemy property, which avoided having to return the goods to
their rightful owners. The suit alleged that the US made no effort
to return the goods and lied to Hungarian Jews who sought
information about their property after the war. In 2004 the property
was estimated to be worth ten times its original $200 million
valuation. In 2005 the US government reached a $25.5 million
settlement with families of the Hungarian Holocaust victims for
distribution to needy Holocaust survivors.
(AP, 12/20/04)(SFC, 3/12/05, p.A5)
1945 Jun 4, US, Russia, England
& France agreed to split occupied Germany.
1945 Jul 17-Aug 2, President
Truman, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister
Winston S. Churchill (and his successor Clement Atlee) began meeting
at the Schloss Cecilienhof in Potsdam in the final Allied summit of
World War II. It re-established the European borders that were in
effect as of Dec 31, 1937.
(WSJ, 5/5/95, p.A-12)(Voruta #27-28, Jul 1996,
p.2)(AP, 7/17/97)(SFEC, 7/27/97, p.T6)
1945 Aug 2, The Potsdam
Conference, attended by Stalin, Truman and Churchill, ended.
1945 Oct 14, British Chief
Justice Geoffrey Lawrence was elected president of the Int’l.
Military Tribunal for the trial of war criminals at Nuremberg.
Drexel A. Sprecher (d.2006), a prosecutor during the trial, later
edited the official 15-volume work on the 4-year trial.
(http://tinyurl.com/pnk7h)(SFC, 4/11/06, p.B5)
1945 Oct 20, In Germany Richard
Sonnenfeldt (1923-2009), British chief interpreter at the Nuremberg
war trials, served out the indictments to the Nazi war criminals
(Econ, 10/31/09, p.100)
1945 Nov 16, Eighty-eight
German scientists, holding Nazi secrets, arrived in the U.S.
1945 Nov 20, In Nuremberg,
Germany 22 out of 24 indicted Nazi officials went on trial (one in
absentia) before an international war crimes tribunal.
1945 Nov 30, Russian forces
took Danzig, and invaded Austria.
1945 Dec 14, Josef Kramer,
known as "the beast of Belsen," and 10 others were hanged in Hameln
for crimes committed at the Belsen and Auschwitz Nazi concentration
1945 Dec 21, Gen. George S.
Patton died at the age of 60 in Heidelberg, Germany, of injuries
from a car accident. He was buried at Hamm, Luxembourg. A biography
of Patton was written in 1995 by Carlo D’Este titled: "Patton: A
Genius for War." In 1998 Brian Sobel published "The Fighting
Pattons." It was a history of the Patton family.
(AP, 12/21/97)(WSJ, 8/14/98, p.W7)(HN, 12/21/98)
1945 Dec 31, Czechoslovakia
began forcing the German population of the Sudetenland back to
(WSJ, 11/26/96, p.A15)
1945 Hans Pfitzner composed his
last work: "the Sextet for Piano, Clarinet and Strings."
(WSJ, 7/29/97, p.A12)
1945 Austria retrieved some
18,000 looted artworks from a US Army depot in Munich. The bulk of
them were restituted to former owners over the next 3 years.
(WSJ, 12/9/98, p.A20)
1945 The allies settled on the
Oder-Neisse line as the new Western border of Poland. It cut through
the German city of Guben, called Gubin on the Polish side.
(Econ, 4/24/04, p.50)
1945 An American air raid
destroyed most of the buildings of Hitler’s "Eagle’s Nest" above the
town of Berchtesgaden in the Alps. The area was used by the
Americans for recreational purposes until it was returned to Bavaria
(LVRJ, 11/1/97, p.16A)
1945 Albert A. Hutler (d.1998
at 89) served as chief of the Displaced Persons Section of the US
7th Army Military Government. He authored "Agony of Survival" in
1988, a recounting of his efforts to aid the concentration camp
(SFC, 10/24/98, p.A22)
1945 British currency forged in
Germany, measured by face value, accounted for 12% of all pound
sterling bills. Early this year SS leaders switched their attention
to forging US dollars. Forging operations, using Jewish and other
war prisoners, had begun at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp
under SS officer Bernhard Kruger a few years earlier. Nearly 133
million pounds was forged during Operation Bernhard.
(WSJ, 1/22/07, p.A1,13)
c1945 Josef Ritter von Gadolla
saved the people, the old town and the square of Gotha by
surrendering to the advancing Americans. He was shot for
surrendering without a fight. His conviction was overturned in 1998.
(SFC, 1/21/98, p.C12)
1945 Volkswagen, under British
army engineer Ivan Hirst (d.2000), turned out 1,785 cars as part of
a 20,000 car, war reparations contract with the British army.
(SFC, 3/24/00, p.D6)
1945 A US transport train
collided with a trainload of German war prisoners and 102 people
(SFC, 6/4/98, p.A15)
1945-1950 In 2002 Ruth Gay authored "Safe Among
the Germans," an account of Eastern European Jews in the post-war
(SFC, 9/19/02, p.D12)
1946 Feb 13, Rainer Werner
Fassbinder, German director, actor, was born.
1946 Mar 30, The Allies seized
1,000 Nazis who were attempting to revive the Nazi party in
1946 Jul 16, US court martial
in Dachau condemned 46 SS to hang for the Malmedy massacre of
1946 Aug 29, J.E. Feenstra,
Nazi military police commandant, was executed.
1946 Sep 30, An international
military tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, found 22 top Nazi leaders
guilty of war crimes. Ribbentrop and Goering were sentenced to
death. American psychiatrist Leon Goldensohn interviewed many of the
participants and in 2004 the interviews were published as “The
Nuremberg Interviews: An American Psychiatrist’s Conversations with
the Defendants and Witnesses."
(AP, 9/30/99)(SSFC, 1/30/05, p.A13)
1946 Oct 1, Twelve Nazi war
criminals were sentenced to be hanged at Nuremberg trials-- Karl
Donitz, Hermann Goring, Alfred Jodl, Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick,
Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Wilhelm Keitel, Joachin von Ribbentrop, Fritz
Saukel, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Julius Streicher, and Alfred
Rosenberg. Karl Donitz was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
1946 Oct 1, The diary of Hitler
confidant Alfred Rosenberg, once held by Nuremberg prosecutors as
evidence, vanished after the trial. Nuremberg prosecutor Robert
Kempner (d.1993) was long suspected by US officials of smuggling the
diary back to the United States. In 2013 The US government recovered
400 pages from the long-lost diary.
1946 Oct 15, Nazi war criminal
Hermann Goering poisoned himself hours before he was to have been
1946 Oct 16, Ten Nazi war
criminals condemned during the Nuremberg trials were hanged. The
defendants included: Luftwaffe commander Hermann Göring, who was
sentenced to death but committed suicide the morning of the
execution; former deputy Führer Rudolph Hess, sentenced to life
imprisonment; Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, hanged; head
of the armed forces high command Wilhelm Keitel, hanged; writer and
"philosopher" of National Socialism Alfred Rosenberg; U-boat Admiral
Karl Dönitz, 10-year imprisonment; Grand Admiral Erich Raeder, life
imprisonment; Hitler Youth leader Baldur von Shirach, 20-year
imprisonment; procurer of slave labor Fritz Sauckel, hanged; and
Alfred Jodl, chief of staff of the German high command, hanged. The
hanging was badly botched as most Nazis slowly strangle to death.
Also hanged were: Hans Frank, Governor-General of occupied Poland;
Wilhelm Frick, Hitler's Minister of the Interior; Julius Streicher,
rabid anti-Semite editor of Der Sturmer; Arthur Seyss-Inquart (54),
Nazi leader of occupied Holland; Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Austrian Nazi
and SS leader.
(AP, 10/16/97)(HN, 10/16/98)(HNPD, 10/20/99)
1946 Oct 28, German rocket
engineers began work in the USSR.
1946 Nov 6, Sister Maria
Innocentia Hummel (b.1909 as Berta Hummel), German nun and artist,
died. She became famous for her artwork which was used to create the
Hummel figurines beginning in 1935.
1946 Dec 2, The U.S. and
Britain merged the German occupation zones.
1946 Dec 24, US General
MacNarney gave 800,000 "minor Nazis" amnesty.
1946 Geoffrey Barraclough
authored “The Origins of Modern Germany."
(WSJ, 6/23/07, p.P10)
1946 Hermann Hesse (1877-1962),
Swiss-born German philosopher poet and author, was awarded the Nobel
Prize in literature "for his inspired writings which, growing in
boldness and penetration, exemplify the classical humanitarian
ideals and high qualities of style."
1946 Heinrich Springer and his
son Axel founded a newspaper in Hamburg that grew to become Axel
Springer Verlag AG, Germany’s biggest and most influential newspaper
(WSJ, 10/20/04, p.A1)
1946 In Germany the
conservative Christian Social Union was founded as a more inclusive
heir to the Bavarian People’s Party.
(Econ, 8/18/07, p.43)
1946 Aldi, a German grocery
firm, was founded. By 2015 it was one of the world’s biggest “deep
discount" grocers with 435 Trader Joe’s shops in America, operated
by the Aldi Nord branch.
(Econ., 3/14/15, p.66)
1946-1949 Some 12 million ethnic Germans were
expelled from their homes in eastern Europe after WW II.
(Econ, 11/3/07, p.60)
1947 Feb 23, Several hundred
Nazi organizers were arrested in Frankfurt by U.S. and British
1947 Feb 24, Franz von Papen
was sentenced to eight years in a labor camp for war crimes. Pompous
scion of an old aristocratic family, he had become chancellor of
Germany in 1932.
1947 Feb 28, Britain and France
signed a 50-year pact to curb Germany.
1947 Feb, In Germany Rudolf
Augstein (23) took over a weekly news magazine from British
occupiers and began publishing Der Spiegel (The Mirror). Augstein
died in 2002. In 1974 Augstein gave Spiegel’s staff half of the
(SFC, 11/11/02, p.A20)(Econ, 1/12/08, p.45)
1947 Jul, A prisoner camp in
Bad Nenndorf, a spa town in northwest Germany occupied by the
British after the war, was closed. In 2005 a Guardian report cited
documents recently released under the Freedom of Information Act
that described the suffering of some of 372 men and 44 women
detained at the camp.
1947 Oct 4, Max Karl Ernst
Planck (b.1858), German physicist (Nobel 1918), died.
(WUD, 1994 p.1101)(MC, 10/4/01)
1947 Nov 16, 15,000
demonstrated in Brussels against mild sentences of Nazis.
1947 Max Beckmann made his oil
painting "Self-Portrait with Cigarette."
(SFEC, 2/1/98, BR p.6)
1947 Hans Fallada (1893-1947),
German writer, authored “Every Man Dies Alone." This was one of the
first anti-Nazi novels to be published by a German after World War
1947 Thomas Mann (1875-1955),
German writer, wrote Doctor Faustus. A new English translation was
made in 1998 by John E. Woods.
(V.D.-H.K.p.367-368)(WSJ, 12/26/95, p. A-5)(SFEC,
4/5/98, BR p.6)
1947 Hermann Lenz (1913-1998)
published his first novel "The Silent House."
(SFC, 5/14/98, p.A27)
1947 The Organization Gehlen
was founded by Gen. Reinhard Gehlen. Many of his recruits were
ex-Nazis. It later became known as the Bundesnachrichtendienst
(BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence service.
(Econ, 9/2/06, p.50)
1947 In Germany Helmut Kohl
joined the Christian Democratic Union.
(WSJ, 1/19/00, p.A18)
1947 Albert Speer (d.1981),
German architect, was tried at Nuremberg as a major war criminal. He
had served as Hitler’s rearmament minister. Speer served 20 years in
Spandau prison and was released in 1969. 6 others were also
sentenced to long prison terms, including Rudolph Hess, Hitler’s
former deputy, who committed suicide in Spandau in 1987. In 2007
Norman J.W. Goda authored “Seven Prisoners, Four Powers: Tales From
(SSFC, 10/6/02, p.M3)(WSJ, 2/17/07, p.P13)
1947 A German neurologist
coined the term prosopagnosia (face blindness), to describe the
condition of a young man who, due to a bullet wound to the head, had
lost his ability to recognize people.
(WSJ, 1/5/07, p.A1)
1947 Klaas Carel Faber
(1922-2012) was convicted of murder and aiding the enemy in time of
war for helping the Netherlands' Nazi occupiers during World War II.
He had worked for the death squad code named "Silbertanne," or
"Silver Fir," which carried out killings of resistance members, Nazi
opponents, and people who hid Jews. He was given a death sentence
that was later commuted to life in prison, but he escaped and fled
to Germany in 1952, where he was granted citizenship. In 2010 the
Dutch government issued a European arrest warrant for Faber (88). In
2011 a German court ruled that the Dutch request cannot be granted
as Faber’s consent was mandatory due to his German citizenship.
Klaas Faber died in Germany in 2012.
(AP, 11/25/10)(AP, 5/11/11)(AP, 5/26/12)
1948 Mar 6, During talks in
Berlin, the Western powers agreed to internationalize the Ruhr
1948 Mar 31, Soviets, in
Germany, began controlling the Western trains headed toward Berlin.
1948 May 4, The Hague Court of
Justice convicted Hans Rauter (SS) of war crimes.
1948 May 25, Klaus Meine,
rocker (Scorpions-No One Like You), was born in Hanover, Germany.
1948 Jun 18, British and
Americans launched a new currency in Germany’s Western zones.
1948 Jun 19, The USSR blocked
the access road to West Berlin.
(SFEC, 5/25/97, p.A10)(DT internet 6/19/97)
1948 Jun 22, On the 7th
anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Russia, all ground traffic to
Berlin was stopped, halting 13,500 tons of daily supplies to Berlin.
Only the air corridors, protected by treaty, remained open.
1948 Jun 24, Communist forces
with 30 military divisions cut off all land and water routes between
West Germany and West Berlin, prompting the United States to
organize the massive Berlin airlift. Gen’l. Lucius Clay, the local
American commander, ordered the air supply effort.
(AP, 6/24/97)(SFC, 5/12/98, p.A12)
1948 Jun 26, The Berlin
Airlift began in earnest as the United States, Britain and France
started ferrying supplies to the isolated western sector of Berlin,
after the Soviet Union cut off land and water routes. The Soviets
had been harassing the French, British and American authorities in
Berlin for weeks, trying to force them from the city. Finally, when
all surface routes to the city were blockaded, it became clear that
an airlift through the Allied sectors was the only way to re-supply
the 2 million West Berliners. In spite of the enormous human and
financial cost, “Operation Vittles" supplied food, fuel and hope to
beleaguered citizens until the Soviet barricades were finally lifted
on May 12, 1949. In 2010 Richard Reeves authored “Daring Young Men:
The Heroism and Triumph of the Berlin Airlift, June 1948-May 1949."
6/26/99)(http://tinyurl.com/gqhi)(Econ, 1/2/10, p.63)
1948 Jul 27, Otto Skorzeny
escaped an anti-Nazi camp at Darmstadt.
1948 Jul 28, In Ludwigshafen,
Germany, the I.G. Farben chemical plant exploded due to a vapor
explosion from dimethyl ether and 182/209 died.
(HSAB, 1994, p.46)(SC, 7/28/02)
1948 Aug 13, During the Berlin
Airlift, the weather over Berlin became so stormy that American
planes had their most difficult day landing supplies. They deemed it
1948 Oct 18, [Heinrich A.H.]
Walther von Brauchitsch, German field marshal, died.
1948 Nov 16, Truman rejected
four-power talks on Berlin until the blockade was removed. President
Harry S. Truman relied heavily on Dean Acheson for his most
significant foreign policy achievements.
1948 Nov 30, Communists
completed the division of Berlin, installing the government in the
1948 Wernher von Braun, German
rocket physicist, authored “Das Marsproject" (The Mars Project), a
technical specification for a manned mission to Mars.
(Econ, 6/1/13, p.77)
1948 A documentary film on the
Nuremberg war trials was written and directed by Stuart Schulberg.
It was never released theatrically in the US. In 2011 Schulberg’s
daughter Sandra Schulberg and Josh Waltezky restored it under the
title "Nuremberg: Its Lesson Today."
(SFC, 1/20/11, p.E8)
1948 The Italian film “Germany
Year Zero" was directed by Roberto Rossellini (1906-1977). It was
the 3rd of his war trilogy and was about the privations of German
survivors in postwar Berlin.
(SFC, 1/22/10, p.E2)
1948 Composer Hans Eisler was
deported from the US by the House Un-American Activities Committee
for non-cooperation. He went to East Germany and composed the East
German national anthem.
(SFEC, 5/18/97, DB p.64)
1948 In Germany at the
Nuremberg War Trials deputy chief prosecutor Robert Kempner wrote in
a letter that 15 tons of Nazi gold were rushed out of Berlin before
the fall of the capital in 1945. He said 6 1/2 tons were sent to von
Ribbentrop’s castle in Fuschl, Austria, where it was allegedly
turned over to American troops. Two tons were sent to
Schleswig-Holstein and allegedly handed over to British troops. No
record of either shipment was found by researchers of the World
Jewish Congress (WJC). Three tons were sent to the German side of
Lake Constantine and then to Switzerland. The rest was sent to other
(SFC, 8/22/96, p.E4)
1948 In Germany Henri Nannen
(1914-1996) founded the weekly illustrated Zickzack Magazine that
later was renamed Stern.
(SFC, 10/15/96, p.A19)
1948 Ferdinand Porsche
(1875-1951), German car inventor, rolled out the first Porsche
(Econ, 6/14/08, p.82)
1948 General Motors began
regaining control over Opel operations in Germany. GM collected some
$33 million in war reparations for Allied bombing of its German
(SSFC, 1/7/07, p.E6)
1948 The Federal Republic of
Germany defaulted on its sovereign debt. The
Colm-Dodge-Goldsmith-Plan was implemented in the summer to put the
currency reform into force.
(http://tinyurl.com/49qqg7o)(Econ, 1/15/11, p.78)
1949 Mar 19, The Soviet
People's Council signed the constitution of the German Democratic
Republic, and declared that the North Atlantic Treaty was merely a
1949 Mar 25, Hanns A. Rauter
(54), German SS-commandant in Netherlands, was executed.
1949 Apr 14, The International
Military Tribunal at Nuremberg’s made its last judgment.
1949 May 8, The Basic Law for
the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Grundgesetz für die
Bundesrepublik Deutschland), was formally approved. It was
subsequently ratified by all states except Bavaria. With the
signature of the Allies it came into effect on May 23, 1949, as the
constitution of West Germany.
1949 May 12, The Soviet Union
announced an end to the Berlin blockade. [see Sep 30, 1949]
(WUD, 1994, p.1684)(SFEC, 5/25/97, p.A10)(HN,
1949 May 23, The Federal
Republic of (West) Germany with Bonn as the capital officially came
into existence under a new constitution.
(WUD, 1994, p.1684)(Econ, 3/28/09, p.59)
1949 May 27, Russians stopped
train traffic to and from West Berlin.
1949 Jul 29, Airlift in
West-Germany to West-Berlin ended. [see Sep 30]
1949 Aug 14, In Germany
elections for the Bundestag (lower house) gave the Christian
Democrats a small lead over the Socialists. The Free Democrats held
the balance. The US court at Nurnberg concluded the last of its war
crimes trials with the sentencing of 19 officials and diplomats.
(EWH, 1968, p.1180)
1949 Sep 12-1949 Sep 15, In
Germany Theodor Heuss (b.1884) was elected as President and Konrad
Adenauer (73) as Chancellor of the Federal Republic. Adenauer, head
of the Christian Democratic Union served until 963.
(EWH, 1968, p.1180)(WUD, 1994, p.1684)(WSJ,
1949 Sep 13, Theodor Heuss
(1884-1963) began serving as the first President of the Federal
Republic of Germany following WWII and continued to 1959.
1949 Sep 21, In Germany the
Allied Occupation Statute came into force. The functions of the
military government were transferred to the Allied high commission.
The Federal Republic of [West] Germany was created under the 3-power
(EWH, 1968, p.1180)(MC, 9/21/01)
1949 Sep 30, The Berlin airlift
ended its operation after 277,264 flights. Through accidents 31
Americans lost their lives in support of the airlift. The Berlin
Airlift, which began on June 26, 1948, and lasted 321 days,
consisted of 272,264 flights by British and American airmen. They
transported some 2.3 million tons of food to supply the 2.1 million
residents of the blockaded portion of the city. The operation ended
after 278,288 flights and delivery of 2,326,406 tons of supplies. In
2010 Richard Reeves authored “Daring Young Men: The Heroism and
Triumph of the Berlin Airlift, June 1948-May 1949."
(EWH, 1968, p.1180)(AP, 9/30/97)(SFC, 5/12/98,
p.A14)(HNQ, 7/9/98)(SSFC, 3/28/10, p.f3)
1949 Sep 30, The Baltic Univ.
in Hamburg, Germany, closed. It was opened three years earlier by
170 Lithuanian, Estonian and Latvian academics in a displaced
persons camp. In 2015 Helga Merits premiered her documentary film “A
Phoenix Born of Ashes and Desire: The Story of the Baltic
1949 Oct 7, The German
Democratic Republic of East Germany was established. Wilhelm Pieck
(1876-1960) was president and Otto Grotewohl (b. 1894) was minister
(WUD, 1994, p.1684)
1949 Nov 24, In Germany the
Petersberg agreement provided concessions to Western Germany from
the Allied high commission in return for German membership in the
Int’l. Ruhr Authority. The influx of 8 million Germans from the east
caused widespread unemployment. (EWH, 1968, p.1180)
1949 Nov 29, Petra Kelly,
German peace activist and MP for the Green Party, was born.
1949 Nov 29, Uranium mine
explosions in East Germany killed 3,700.
1949 Dec 15, West Germany
received its first allotment of funds from the Economic Co-operation
Administration and thus became a full participant in the Marshall
(EWH, 1968, p.1180)
1949 In Germany Bertolt Brecht
(1898-1956) formed the Berliner Ensemble. It was the most
influential theater in post-war Germany.
(TOH, 1982, p.1949)(WUD, 1994 p.183)(SFC,
1949 The adopted constitution
guaranteed that "no one may be compelled against his conscience to
render war service involving the use of arms."
(SFC, 6/11/96, p.A15)
1949 Heinrich Boere (b.1922),
part of a Waffen SS death squad of mostly Dutch volunteers, was
sentenced to death in the Netherlands. The squad had been tasked
with killing fellow countrymen in reprisal for attacks by the
anti-Nazi resistance. His sentence was later commuted to life
imprisonment and Boere managed to escape to Germany. A German court
has refused to extradite him because he might have German
nationality as well as Dutch. In 2008 Dortmund prosecutor Ulrich
Maass charged Heinrich Boere (86) with the 1944 murders of three men
as a member of the Waffen SS death squad code-named Silbertanne, or
(AP, 3/8/08)(AP, 4/16/08)
1949 The German Volkswagen
Beetle was introduced in the US.
(SSFC, 7/20/03, p.A14)
1949 Hans Pfitzner, composer,
(TOH, 1982, p.1949)
1949 Richard Strauss (b. 1864),
German conductor and composer, died.
(TOH, 1982, p.1949)(WUD, 1994, p.1405)
1950 Apr 3, Kurt Julian Weill
(50), German composer (Dreigroschenoper), died. His best known work
is the music for "The Threepenny Opera." His work also included "Der
Jasager." He was married to the singer Lotte Lenya. Letters between
the two over a period of 26 years have been edited and translated in
a book by Lys Symonette and Kim H Kowalke: "Speak Low (When You
Speak Love)." His work also included the theater piece "Der Weg der
Verheissung" (The Eternal Road). In 2002 Foster Hirsch authored
"Kurt Weill on Stage: From Berlin to Broadway."
(SFC, 5/26/96, BR p.6)(WSJ, 5/4/99, p.A20)(SSFC,
3/17/02, p.M3)(MC, 4/3/02)
1950 Jul 24, Robert W.
Lehnhoff, [Executioner of Groningen], SS Führer, was executed.
1950 Jul, Walter Ulbricht, the
new General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Socialist
Unity Party of Germany, announced the impending demolition of the
Berlin City Palace. It was originally built in the 15th century and
changed throughout the next few centuries. Despite objections,
dynamiting was undertaken between September and December 1950. Only
one section was preserved, a portal from the balcony of which Karl
Liebknecht had declared the German Socialist Republic.
1950 Sep 1, West Berlin was
granted a constitution.
1950 Sep 19, Allied foreign
ministers announced in NY that they regarded Adenauer's government
to be "the only German Government freely and legitimately
constituted and therefore entitled to speak for Germany as the
representative of the German people in international affairs."
1950 Dec 27, Max Beckmann
(b.1884), German painter, died in New York. The Nazis had branded
him a degenerate artist in 1937 and he moved to the US in 1946. His
work included the triptychs Departure (1932-1935) and Beginning
(1946-1949), and the Self-Portrait in Tails (1937). He was a
figurative painter in an age of abstraction.
(SSFC, 1/27/02, p.C7)(WSJ, 7/16/03, p.D8)(WSJ,
1950 The first German Book
Trade Peace Prize was awarded to Max Tau (Adolf Grimme).
1950 German writer Ernst
Juenger (1895-1998) went into a self-imposed exile in Wilflingen
where he wrote over 50 books.
1950 Volkswagen debuted its
iconic microbus. It became a favorite of hippies for its unique
styling and copious space for travelers. The Bulli was the
brainchild of a Dutch Volkswagen importer, Ben Pon, who in 1947
sketched out a simple public bus built on the wheels of the
Volkswagen Beetle. The original Bulli was made from 1950 to 1967. A
new version was unveiled in 2011.
1950 German scientists (118),
described as “prisoners of peace" began arriving in Huntsville,
Alabama, to work on the US space program.
(WSJ, 11/10/04, p.A1)
1950 Ernst Grafenberg, a German
gynecologist, identified a small area behind the pubic bone of
women, the G-spot, that he said became an erogenous zone when
stimulated. In 2005 Dr. David Matlock of Los Angeles invented and
trademarked the G-shot, a collagen injection to the G-spot, promoted
to amplify sexual arousal.
(SSFC, 6/3/07, p.F1)
1950 Some 20,000 Jews remained
in Germany. 8,000 of these were native German Jews and some 12,000
came from eastern Europe, mostly from Poland.
(Econ, 1/5/08, p.41)
1950s Emma Berger, a German
Christian, founded a sect of fervent believers in Stuttgart and led
a portion of them to Israel in 1963, where they founded a commune
(WSJ, 2/6/98, p.A1)
1951 Jan 30, Ferdinand Porsche
(b.1875), German car inventor (Porsche), died.
1951 Feb 1, Alfred Krupp &
28 other German war criminals were freed.
1951 Mar 13, Alfred Hugenberg,
German RC pres-dir of Krupp, media magnate, died.
1951 Mar 13, Israel demanded DM
6.2 billion ($1.5 billion) in German reparations for the cost of
caring for war refugees.
(HN, 3/13/98)(MC, 3/13/02)
1951 Apr 26, Arnold Sommerfeld
(b.1868), German theoretical physicist, died. He pioneered
developments in atomic and quantum physics. His atomic model
permitted the explanation of fine-structure spectral lines.
1951 May 1, Some 600,000
marched for peace and freedom in Germany.
1951 Jun 8, Paul Bobel, Werner
Braune, Erich Naumann, Otto Ohlendorf, Oswald Pohl, W. Schallenmair
& Otto Schmidt, last Nazi war criminals, were hanged by
Americans at Landsberg Fortress.
1951 Jul 9, President Truman
asked Congress to formally end the state of war between the United
States and Germany.
1951 Aug 12, Hertie and the
Lindren’s signed an agreement to merge the Wertheim Company with
Hertie Vereinigte Kaufstaetten with a plan to purchase 49% of the
remaining Wertheim stock. Arthur Lindgrens would be chairman.
(WSJ, 3/29/02, p.A8)
1951 Aug 22, Harlem
Globetrotters played in Olympic Stadium at Berlin before 75,052.
1951 Aug 31, The 1st 33 1/3
(LP) album was introduced in Dusseldorf.
1951 Sep 8, Jurgen Stroop, Nazi
exterminator of Warsaw Ghetto, was hanged on site of the ghetto.
1951 Oct 19, President Truman
signed an act formally ending the state of war with Germany.
1951 The German film "The Story
of a Sinner" starred Hildegard Knef (d.2002 at 76). A brief nude
scene scandalized roman Catholic authorities.
(SFC, 2/4/02, p.B5)
1951 The Conference on Jewish
Material Claims against Germany was founded.
(Econ, 8/23/03, p.44)
1951 German corporations began
operating under a principle of co-determination between workers and
management. It applied to companies with more than 2000 workers.
(Econ, 1/29/05, p.63)(Econ, 7/16/05, p.16)
1952 Mar 1, Helgoland, in North
Sea, was returned to West Germany by Britain.
1952 Mar 21, A.J. Pieters,
SS-Untersturmfuhrer, was executed.
1952 Mar 21, Wilhelm Albrecht,
German SD-chief, was executed.
1952 Mar 26, F. Dürrenmatt's
"Die Ehe des Herrn Mississippi" premiered in Munich.
1952 Mar 27, There was a failed
assassination attempt of German Chancellor Adenauer.
1952 May 31, Walter
Schellenberg, German lawyer, headed spy plot (Venlo), died of
1952 Sep 10, Germany and Israel
signed the Luxembourg Agreement, an accord about recovery payments.
West Germany agreed to pay Israel a sum of 3 billion marks over the
next fourteen years. It was signed by West German Chancellor Konrad
Adenauer, Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett and World Jewish
Congress President Nahum Goldmann.
1952 Nov 3, Egypt protested
German retribution payments to Israel.
1952 Mrs. Aicher-Scholl (e.1998
at 81) published "White Rose," a description of the White Rose
nonviolent student resistance to the Third Reich.
(SFC, 9/7/98, p.A21)
1952 West Germany signed a
compensation treaty for victims of Nazi crimes.
(SFC, 11/16/12, p.A2)
1952 West Germany instituted
the National Day of Mourning. The states of the former East Germany
adopted the tradition in 1992, following reunification. Because of
the relation to Advent, the date is the Sunday nearest 16 November,
i.e. in the period from 13 November to 19 November.
1952 Germany banned the
neo-Nazi Socialist Reich Party, a successor to the Nazi Party.
(SFC, 3/31/01, p.A14)(SFC, 4/8/02, p.A3)
1953 Feb 24, Karl R.G. von
Rundstedt (77), German general and field marshal at Ardennes, died.
1953 Jun 17, The East Germans
threw stones at Russian tanks and were quickly subjugated. Eric
Honecker threatened demonstrators with a "Peking Solution." Soviet
tanks fought thousands of Berlin workers rioting against the East
(TMC, 1994, p.1953)(WSJ, 10/18/96, p.A13)(HN,
1953 Sep 6, Adenauer's CDU won
elections in German FR.
1953 Oct 9, Conrad Adenauer was
elected West German chancellor.
1953 Werner Hoefer (d.1997 at
84) began his TV roundtable discussion "Der Internationale
Freuschoppen." He led the show until 1987. Revelations of his work
as a Nazi forced the end of his career as the show’s host.
1953 In West Germany a
restitution law included compensation for seized life, illness and
retirement policies of Jewish Holocaust victims.
(SFEC, 4/6/97, p.A13)
1953 The US military opened the
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, its largest medical facility
outside the US, in Landstuhl, Germany.
(SFC, 1/9/04, p.A14)
1953 Volkswagen began
manufacturing cars in Brazil.
(Econ, 11/15/08, SR p.6)
1953 Greece was among 22
countries that agreed to halve Germany's foreign debt at a
conference in London.
1953-1986 Markus Wolf was the head of East
Germany’s int’l. spy network. He planted some 4,000 agents in the
West during the Cold War and managed to steal NATO secrets for the
Soviet bloc. In 1997 he published "Man Without a Face," an account
of his experiences.
(SFC, 5/28/97, p.A10)(WSJ, 6/02/97, p.A20)
1954 Jan 20, The American CIA
built a tunnel from west Berlin to East Berlin to tap Soviet and
East German communications.
(SFC, 9/17/97, p.A3)
1954 Feb 18, East and West
Berlin dropped thousands of propaganda leaflets on each other after
the end of a month long truce.
1954 Apr 7, The West German
government refused to recognize DDR (East Germany).
1954 Jul 4, West Germany beat
Hungary 3-2 to win the 5th World Cup soccer match in Bern, Switz.
1954 Jul 20, West German secret
service head Otto John defected to German DR.
1954 Sep 10, Peter Anders,
German opera singer, died.
1954 Sep 23, East German police
arrested 400 citizens as U.S. spies.
1954 Sep 30, NATO nations
agreed to arm and admit West Germany.
1954 Oct 22, West Germany
joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The country had no
standing army. [see Oct 23]
(AP, 10/22/97)(SFC, 4/22/98, p.A8)
1954 Oct 23, In Paris, an
agreement was signed providing for West German sovereignty and
permitting West Germany to rearm and enter NATO and the Western
European Union. Britain, England, France and USSR agreed to end
occupation of Germany. [see Oct 22]
(HN, 10/23/98)(MC, 10/23/01)
1954 Nov 30, Wilhelm
Furtwangler (68), German conductor and composer, died. He was
Hitler’s favorite conductor but was never a card carrying Nazi.
(SFC, 1/3/97, p.C6)(MC, 11/30/01)
1954 Werner Haftmann (d.1999 at
87), German art historian, published "Painting of the 20th Century."
(SFC, 7/30/99, p.D8)
1954 Otto John, the first head
of West Germany’s Federal Bureau for the Protection of the
Constitution - an intelligence agency, crossed over to East Berlin.
He said he was kidnapped.
(SFEC, 3/30/97, p.D5)
1955 Mar 25, E. Germany was
granted full sovereignty by occupying power, USSR.
1955 Apr 30, West German unions
protested for 40-hour work week and more wages.
1955 May 5, West Germany became
a sovereign state.
1955 May 6, West Germany joined
(WSJ, 10/8/01, p.A14)(MC, 5/6/02)
1955 May 14, Representatives
from eight Communist bloc countries: Soviet Union, Albania,
Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland &
Romania, signed the Warsaw Pact in Poland. Andras Hegedues signed
(AP, 5/14/97)(SFC, 10/26/99, p.B4)(MC, 5/14/02)
1955 May 18, Edwin Scharff
(68), German painter, sculptor (Rossebändiger), died.
1955 Jun 30, The U.S. began
funding West Germany’s rearmament.
1955 Aug 12, Thomas Mann (80),
German writer (Dr. Faustus, Nobel 1929), died. Two biographies of
Mann were published in 1995: Thomas Mann: A Biography by Ronald
Hayman and Thomas Mann: A Life by Donald Prater.
(V.D.-H.K.p.367-368)(WSJ, 12/26/95, p. A-5)(MC,
1955 Nov 16, Big Four talks,
taking place in Geneva on German reunification, ended in failure.
1955 Dec, Otto John returned to
West Germany. He was charged with treason and in 1956 was convicted
and sentenced to 4 years in prison.
(SFEC, 3/30/97, p.D5)
1955 The "documenta x" art
show, an exhibition of contemporary art began in Kassel under Werner
Haftmann. It began a tradition with new shows every 4-5 years.
(WSJ, 7/7/97, p.A12)(SFC, 7/30/99, p.D8)
1955 Germany established its
Gastarbeiter (guest worker) program.
(Econ, 1/5/08, SR p.14)
1955 The Bundeswehr, [West]
Germany’s postwar conscript army, was established. It served first
as West Germany's military and, since 1990, as that of the reunited
(SFC, 4/30/98, p.A8)(AP, 11/27/08)
1955 In West Germany Wilhelm
Karmann designed and built the Karmann-Ghia in cooperation with
Volkswagen and Porsche.
(SFC, 10/30/98, p.D4)
1955 In Dresden, East Germany,
Manfred von Ardenne (d.1997 at 90) established a scientific
institute. He had worked for the Soviets and innovated a process for
splitting isotopes to enrich uranium, a vital part of Soviet nuclear
(SFC, 5/28/97, p.A17)
1955 In East Germany some
Russian soldiers came down with a neurological disorder that was
thought to be the result of CIA poisoning. It was found that the
cause of illness was the eating of a rabid fox. East vs. West
tensions of this time were later documented by 2 former spies and a
director of Radio Liberty. David Murphy, Sergei Kondrashev and
George Bailey in: "Battleground Berlin."
(WSJ, 8/27/97, p.A10)
1955-1962 East German spymaster Markus Wolf led
spy operations over this time. He was charged in 1997 with
kidnapping, coercion and causing bodily harm.
(SFC, 1/8/97, p.A7)
1955-1969 Germany followed the Hallstein Doctrine
named after Walter Hallstein. According to the doctrine, the Federal
Republic of Germany had the exclusive right to represent the entire
German nation, and with the exception of the Soviet Union, West
Germany would not establish or maintain diplomatic relations with
any state that recognized East Germany. The doctrine was first
applied to Yugoslavia in 1957.
1956 Apr 3, German war
criminals Hinrichsen, Ruhl, Siebens and Viebahn were freed.
1956 Apr 13, Emil Nolde (b.1867
as Emil Hansen), German Expressionist painter, died. He was a member
of the artist group Die Brucke.
1956 Apr 22, Soviet authorities
exposed a secret Allied spy tunnel built a year earlier from Rudow
in West Berlin to Alt-Glienicke in East Berlin. It had tapped into
underground cables and operated for 11 months and 11 days
intercepting Red Army communications.
(SFC, 8/21/12, p.A3)
1956 May 29, Hermann Abendroth
(73) German conductor (Gewandhausorkest), died.
1956 Aug 14, Bertold Brecht
(b.1898), German dramatist (Mother Courage), died. His first play
was "Baal." He also wrote "The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui," a
satire on Hitler’s rise to power. In 1959 Prof. Martin Esslin
(d.2002 at 83) authored "Brecht: A Choice of Evils."
(WSJ, 10/3/96, p.A12)(SFEC, 8/10/97, DB
p.15)(SFC, 2/28/02, p.A20)(MC, 8/14/02)
1956 Aug 14, Freiherr
Constantine von Neurath, German foreign minister under Hitler
1956 Oct 26, Walter Gieseking
(60), German pianist and composer, died.
1956 Oct 27, A Franco-German
agreement was signed to transfer the Saar Basin to West Germany.
France, Germany and Luxembourg agreed to canalize the Moselle River,
connecting the steel industry with the Ruhr Valley. The Saar Treaty
established that Saarland should be allowed to rejoin Germany. This
took place on Jan 1, 1957.
1956 Nov 6, Pressure from the
US and USSR effected a cease-fire in the Middle-East. The UN created
an emergency force (UNEF) to supervise a cease fire. Britain’s PM
Anthony Eden called French PM Guy Mollet to tell him that Britain
was aborting operations in Egypt. German chancellor Konrad Adenauer,
meeting with Mollet, remarked that Europe must unite to counter the
influence of the United States.
(TOH, 1982, p.1956)(EWH, 1968, p. 1242)(Econ,
1956 Germany banned the
(SFC, 3/31/01, p.A14)
1956 The German army,
Bundeswehr, was created.
(SFC, 6/11/96, p.A15)
1957 Jan 1, The state of
Saarland, established in 1920 in accordance with the Treaty of
Versailles, joined the Federal Republic of West Germany. The Nazis
had called the area "Westmark." After World War II the Saarland had
come under French administration.
1957 Feb 1, Friedrich von
Paulus (66), German field marshal (Stalingrad), died.
1957 Feb 16, LeVar Burton,
(Roots, Star Trek Next Generation), was born in Landstuhl, Germany.
1957 Mar 12, German DR accepted
22 Russian armed divisions.
1957 Aug 11, Paul Hindemith's
opera "Harmonie der Welt," premiered in Munich.
1957 Oct 3, Willy Brandt was
elected mayor of West Berlin.
1957 Oct 22, Conrad Adenauer
was re-elected chancellor of West-Germany.
1957 German artist Heinz Mack
founded the Zero magazine. Mack and Otto Piene invited artists like
Günther Uecker to exhibit in their studio, and the three friends
became the founding fathers of the Zero movement, seeking to
overcome the pessimism of the postwar period and embrace technical
progress, experimenting with light, high-tech materials and motion.
In 2015 an exhibition at Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau museum featured
work from co-founders Mack and Piene as well as Jean Tinguely, Lucio
Fontana and Jef Verheyen.
1957 In East Germany Ruth
Werner, Communist spy in Britain during WW II, authored a novel of
her early years: "An Unusual Girl."
(SFC, 7/11/00, p.A23)
1957 Germany’s independent
central bank, Bundesbank, was founded. It became a trailblazer for
modern central banks.
(Economist, 10/6/12, p.87)
1957 In Zwickau, East Germany,
the first Trabant car was manufactured.
(SSFC, 6/17/07, p.A2)
1957-1989 Erich Mielke became the head of the East
German Ministry of State Security, aka Stasi.
(SFC, 5/26/00, p.D3)
1958 Aug 24, Leo Blech (87),
German conductor and composer, died.
1958 Nov 21, A Soviet-East
German commission met in East Berlin to discuss the transfer to East
German control of Soviet functions and end its occupation status in
1958 Dec 14, The United States,
Britain and France rejected Soviet demands that they withdraw their
troops from West Berlin and agreed to liquidate the Allied
occupation in West Berlin.
1958 William Manchester
(d.2004), US historian and biographer, authored “The Arms of Krupp,"
a history of the German steel and munitions makers.
(SFC, 6/2/04, B7)
1958 Marcel Reich-Ranicki,
Polish-born Holocaust survivor, defected to West Germany. He was
soon drawn into "Gruppe 47," the literary circle of Walter Jens and
Heinrich Boll. In 1960 he joined Die Zeit as a literary critic.
(SFC, 9/2/02, p.D5)
1959 May 1, West Germany
introduced a 5 day work week.
1959 May 19, Nicole Brown
Simpson, Mrs. OJ Simpson (murdered), was born in Frankfurt, Germany.
1959 Jul 1, Israeli Knesset
agreed to weapon sales to West Germany.
1959 Jul 6, Saar became part of
the German Federal Republic.
1959 Sep 28, Edward Albee’s
play “The Zoo Story," written in 1958, opened in Berlin. In 1960 it
opened in the US.
(SFC, 12/31/08, p.E2)
1959 Nov 15, In Germany the Bad
Godesberg Program, designed to broaden support for the Social
Democratic Party, was ratified at an SPD party convention. For the
first time the SPD forswore all Marxist ideas.
1959 Gunter Grass published his
novel "The Tin Drum." It criticized German authorities for supplying
arms to the Turkish government. An English translation was published
1959 The process of
“investor-state dispute settlement" (ISDS) first appeared in a
bilateral trade agreement between Germany and Pakistan.
(Econ, 10/11/14, p.78)
1960 Jan-Aug, 160,000 refugees
crossed from East Germany to West Germany following food shortages.
Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev ordered a wall 103 miles long and
12 feet high to be built with guards and barbed wire to stop the
flow of refugees.
(SFEC, 10/31/99, Z1 p.4)
1960 Mar 31, Joseph Haas (81),
German opera composer (Totenmesse), died.
1960 May, Israeli agents
captured former SS Lt. Col. Adolf Eichmann living in Argentina.
(WSJ, 4/28/97, p.A17)
1960 Jul 16, Albrecht von
Kesselring (74), German field marshal (Italy), died.
1960 Jul 21, Germany passed the
Volkswagen law legislation privatizing Volkswagen. It capped a
shareholder's voting rights at 20%, regardless of the number of
shares held, and required a majority of 80% for "important
decisions." It also gave Lower Saxony, the state in which Volkswagen
is based, a controlling minority stake in the automaker. In 2007 the
European Court ruled that the VW law had to go.
1960 Aug 18, Beatles gave their
1st public performance at Kaiser Keller in Hamburg.
1960 Aug 30, East Germany
imposed a partial blockade on West Berlin.
1960 Sep 8, German DR limited
access to East-Berlin for West Berliners.
1960 Dec 20,
Auschwitz-commandant Richard Baar was arrested in German FR.
1960 Hans-Georg Gadamer
(d.2002), German philosopher and influential in hermeneutics (the
study of the understanding and meaning of texts), authored "Truth
(SFC, 3/26/02, p.A24)
1960 Homag, a German firm for
making wood-working machines, was founded in Schopfloch. Its shares
were floated on the stock market in 2007.
1960 Germany paid 115 million
Deutschmarks — equivalent to about $330 million in 2015 — as part of
a treaty with Greece meant to compensate victims of Nazi atrocities,
including Greek Jews.
1961 Aug 12, East German troops
began stringing barbed wire around East Berlin. In 2004 William F.
Buckley authored "The Fall of the Berlin Wall." [see Aug 15]
(WSJ, 3/18/04, p.D10)
1961 Aug 13, East Germany
closed the Brandenberg Gate sealing off the border between the
city's eastern and western sectors in order to halt the flight of
refugees. Two days later, work began on the Berlin Wall.
(HFA, '96, p.36)(TMC, 1994, p.1961)(AP,
8/13/97)(SSFC, 6/9/02, p.F4)
1961 Aug 14, An East German
soldier, Hans Conrad Schuhmann (Schuman), jumped a 3-foot barbed
wire barrier to West Berlin to join his family. His photograph made
int’l. headlines. He committed suicide in 1998.
(SFEC, 6/21/98, p.A25)(SFEC, 10/31/99, Z1 p.4)
1961 Aug 15, East German
workers began building the Berlin Wall. [see Aug 12]
1961 Aug 16, Some 250,000 West
Berliners demonstrated against East Berlin.
1961 Aug 20, East Germany began
erecting a 5' high wall along the border with the west to replace
the barbed wire put up Aug 13.
1961 Aug 23, East Germany
imposed new curbs on travel between West and East Berlin.
1961 Aug 31, A concrete wall
replaced the barbed wire fence that separated East and West Germany,
it would be called the Berlin wall.
1961 Nov, In Germany Heinz
Felfe (b.1918), the head of counter-intelligence at the
Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) and a veteran of the Nazi special
forces, was arrested as an agent of the KGB.
(Econ, 9/2/06, p.50)(http://tinyurl.com/jmnpe)
1961 Dec 15, Adolf Eichmann,
the former German Gestapo official accused of a major role in the
Nazi murder of 6 million Jews, was sentenced by a Jerusalem court to
be hanged. Adolf Eichmann was the administrator of the so-called
Final Solution and supervised the transportation of prisoners to
(AP, 12/15/97)(HN, 12/15/98)
1961 Marshall Dill Jr. (d.2000
at 84) authored "Germany: A Modern History."
(SFC, 9/6/00, p.D2)
1961 Fritz Fischer, German
historian, authored “Griff nach der Weltmacht" (Bid for World
(Econ, 7/26/14, p.48)
1961 The German film "Flight to
Berlin" was directed by Will Tremper.
(SFC, 12/17/98, p.C11)
1961 Gerhard Richter (b.1932),
German artist, defected to the West. By 2011 he was considered the
world’s foremost living painter.
(Econ, 10/8/11, p.104)
1961 Germany sold its
state-owned Volkwagen car company. 60% of the cash from the sale was
put into a national charitable foundation to support science.
(Econ, 9/21/13, p.64)
1962 Aug 17, East German border
guards shot and mortally wounded 18-year-old Peter Fechter, who had
attempted to cross over the Berlin Wall into the western sector.
1962 Dec 26, Eight East
Berliners escaped to West Berlin, crashing through gates in an armor
1962 West German defense
minister Franz Joseph Strauss tried to intimidate the Der Spiegel
magazine for its unflaterring coverage of the army. Strauss was soon
forced to sterpdown under public protest as the highest court backed
a free media.
(Econ, 6/21/14, p.53)
1962 Wolfgang Vogel, East
Berlin lawyer and confidant to Erich Honnecker, secured the release
of US pilot Gary Powers (captured 5/1/60) in exchange for Soviet spy
Rudolf Abel. During his 30-year career he secured the release of
more than 100 agents and helped shepherd nearly 34,000 political
prisoners and 215,000 East Germans to freedom in the West. Powers,
was returned to the West across the Glienicker Bridge in Potsdam,
Germany, after being held for 21 months.
(SFC, 11/30/96, p.A14)(SFEC, 7/27/97, p.T6)
1962 Aribert Heim (48) was
charged by German authorities with killing hundreds of concentration
inmates in Germany and Austria with lethal injections. He is thought
to have evaded capture in Germany, Argentina, Denmark, Brazil and
Spain. During WW II Heim earned the nickname of "Dr. Death" for
experimenting on inmates at the Buchenwald and Mauthausen camps. In
1979 Heim was indicted in Germany in absentia on hundreds of counts
of murder. In 2005 he was tracked to Spain. In 2009 new information
indicated that he had died in Egypt in 1992.
(AP, 10/15/05)(AP, 2/5/09)
1963 Jan 22, Gen. Charles de
Gaulle and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer signed the
Franco-German "reconciliation treaty."
1963 Jan 17, Soviet leader
Khrushchev visited the Berlin Wall. [see Feb 17]
1963 Feb 17, Soviet leader
Khrushchev visited the Berlin Wall. [see Jan 17]
1963 Feb 20, Rolf Hochhuth's
"Der Stellvertreter" (The Representative) premiered in Berlin. The
work indicted Pope Pius XII for Nazi complicity during WW II. The
Catholic Church was outraged at the portrayal of Pius XII as a war
criminal. An English translation by Richard and Clara Winston was
published as “The Deputy: A Play," by Grove Press in 1964. In 2002
The Deputy was made into the film “Amen." by Costa Gavras.
1963 Jun 26, President Kennedy
visited West Berlin, where he made his famous declaration: "Ich bin
ein Berliner" (I am a Berliner) at the Berlin Wall. Rumors later
spread that the misplaced article "ein" made an exact translation to
say "I am a jelly donut."
(AP, 6/26/97)(HN, 6/26/98)(SFC, 2/3/00, p.A25)
1963 Jun 28, Khrushchev visited
1963 Jun 29, Anne-Sophie
Mutter, violinist (Berlin Phil), was born in Rheinfeldin, Germany.
1963 Oct 2, W. German
Chancellor Adenauer condemned western grain shipments to USSR.
1963 Dec 20, The Berlin Wall
was opened for the first time to West Berliners, who were allowed
one-day visits to relatives in the Eastern sector for the holidays.
Four thousand crossed the great wall of Berlin to visit relatives
under a 17 day Christmas accord.
(AP, 12/20/98)(HN, 12/20/98)
1963 Dec 20, The trial of 21
camp guards from Auschwitz began.
1963 Dec 28, Paul Hindemith
(b.1895), German composer (Composer's World) and violist, died. His
work included "Cardillac."
(WUD, 1994, p.672)(WSJ, 8/20/96, p.A8)(MC,
1963 Playwright Rolf Hochhuth
produced "The Deputy." The work indicted Pope Pius XII for Nazi
complicity during WW II.
(WSJ, 4/25/97, p.A18)
1963 The German film "Delay in
Marienborn" was directed by Will Tremper.
(SFC, 12/17/98, p.C11)
1963 Ludwig Erhard, head of the
Christian Democratic Union, replaced Konrad Adenauer as Chancellor
and served to 1966.
1964 Jan 28, The Soviets downed
a U.S. jet over East Germany killing three.
1964 Apr 20, August Sander
(b.1876), German photographer, died. He attempted to make a complete
portrait survey of 20th century German society. His “Face of Our
Time," a volume of 60 photographs, was published in 1929.
6/3/04, p.D8)(Econ, 8/29/09, p.74)
1964 Oct 3-4, East Berliners
dug a 470-foot tunnel, Tunnel 57, to the West and 57 people escaped.
(SFEC, 6/20/99, p.T5)(SSFC, 6/24/01, p.A27)
1964 Oct 5, Egon Shultz, an
East German border soldier, was shot to death at the site of the
escape tunnel. A 1994 report said he was inadvertently killed by
another border soldier.
(SSFC, 6/24/01, p.A27)
1964 Oct 6, Richard Scheibe,
German sculptor (Adler mit Hakenkreuz), died at 85.
1964 The one millionth guest
worker arrived in Germany.
(SFC, 8/29/97, p.A18)
1965 Feb 26, West Germany
ceased military aid to Tanzania.
1965 Mar 14, Israel's cabinet
formally approved establishing diplomatic relations with West
1965 Mar 25, West German
Bondsdag extended war crimes retribution.
1965 May 12, West Germany and
Israel exchanged letters establishing diplomatic relations.
1965 May 13, Several Arab
nations broke ties with West Germany after it established diplomatic
relations with Israel.
1965 Aug 19, Auschwitz trials
ended with only 6 life sentences.
1965 Sep 2, The Treblinka trial
in Dusseldorf ended.
1965 Dec 3, Katarina Witt,
figure skater (Olympic-Gold-1984, 88), was born in Staaken, GDR.
c1965 Sigmar Polke created his
work "Potato Heads: Nixon and Khrushchev."
(WSJ, 4/7/99, p.A20)
1965 Werner Tubke, German
artist, created his painting “Reminiscences of Schulze, JD III."
(WSJ, 2/10/09, p.D7)
1966 May 18, Paul Altheas (78),
German theologist (That Christian Wahrheit), died.
1966 Jun 12, Hermann Scherchen
(74), German conductor, music publisher, died.
1966 Sep 17, Fritz Wunderlich,
charismatic German tenor (Stuttgart 1955-58), died at 35 from
falling down stairs, two months short of his Met Opera debut.
1966 Sep 30, Nazi war criminals
Albert Speer, the German minister of armaments, and Baldur von
Schirach, the founder of the Hitler Youth, were freed at midnight
from Spandau prison after serving twenty-year prison sentences. In
2002 Joachim Fest authored the biography: "Speer: The final
1966 Oct 17, Wieland Wagner,
German opera director and grandson of Richard Wagner, died.
1966 Dec 1, West German
Chancellor Ludwig Erhard (1897-1977) resigned following the breakup
of a coalition of the CDU, CSU and FDP. He was succeeded by Kurt
Georg Kiesinger (CDU), who formed a grand coalition with the SPD.
1966 Ludwig Boelkow (d.2003)
founded the German "Airbus Studio" that he took with him to the
Paris Airshow at Le Bourget, for the first time suggesting a
Franco-German, or even a European consortium could build an airliner
to rival U.S.-made jets.
1966 In Germany the Graf
Bismarck coal mine in Gelsenkirchen closed down.
(Econ, 3/31/12, p.63)
1966-1969 Kurt Georg Kiesinger (d.1988), head of
the Christian Democratic Union, served as West German chancellor.
1966-1973 Helmut Kohl served as the chairman of
the Christian Democratic Union in his home state of
(WSJ, 1/19/00, p.A18)
1967 Mar 26, Herbert von
Karajan founded the Salzburg Easter Festival with the idea of
staging his ideal Ring of the Nibelung with his own Berlin
(WSJ, 4/12/96, p.A-12)
1967 Jun 2, In Germany Benno
Ohnesorg, a newly wed student of literature, was shot in the back of
the head during a protest in West Berlin against the visiting shah
of Iran. Police officer Karl-Heinz Kurras, who claimed he was
threatened by knife-wielding protesters, was acquitted of
manslaughter charges on Nov 23. The led to the formation of the Red
Army Faction, also known as the Baader-Meinhof gang. In 2009 Kurras
was found to have been a long-time agent of East Germany’s secret
police, the Stasi.
1967 Jul 30, Alfred Krupp (59),
German industrialist, died.
1967 Sep, The British, French
and German governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to
start development of the 300 seat Airbus A300 in order to compete
with American companies. Airbus Industrie was formally set up in
1967 In East Germany Soviet
Troops founded the Museum of the Unconditional Surrender of Fascist
Germany in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.
(SFEC, 1/16/00, BR p.3)
1967 The Bruecke-Museum was
founded in Berlin.
(SSFC, 4/21/02, p.A17)
1967 In Marburg, Germany, a
disease believed to be caused from African monkeys infected 31
people in a laboratory. The virus came to be called the Marburg
virus. Seven people died in Germany and Yugoslavia from the virus.
It was traced to infected vervet monkeys from Uganda cut up for
(SFC, 5/7/99, p.D2)(Econ, 8/18/07, p.40)
1968 Feb 18, Some 10,000 people
in West Berlin demonstrated against US in Vietnam War.
1968 Apr 2, In West Germany the
Baader-Meinhof gang was formed and named after its founders, Andreas
Baader (d.1977) and Ulrike Meinhof (d.1976). Both later committed
suicide in prison. The gang became known as the Red Army Faction and
led assassinations, bombings and bank robberies in West Germany
through the 1970s and 1980s. The RAF published a letter to Reuters
in 1998 and declared to have disbanded.
1968 Apr 6, East German voters
approved a new socialist constitution by a 94.5% margin.
1968 Apr 11, Riots erupted in
West Berlin after the shooting of student leader Rudi Dutschke
(1940-1979). He survived the assassination attempt by a right-wing
extremist, living for another twelve years until related health
problems caused his death.
1968 May 25, George KFW von
Kuchler (1881-1968), German marshal, died. Kuchler’s forces moved
into Belgium and occupied Antwerp on 18 May 1940.
1968 May 30, Authorities blew
up the University Church in Leipzig, Germany, to make room for the
re¬construction of Karl-Marx-Platz, the city’s main square.
1968 Jul 20, Joseph Keilberth
(b.1908), German conductor (Bayreuth Festival), died.
1968 Aug 3, The Bratislava
statement conceded Czechoslovakia’s right to pursue its own path.
The conference was held in Bratislava, Slovakia, for representatives
of the communist and workers' parties of the People's Republic of
Bulgaria, the Hungarian People's Republic, the German Democratic
Republic, the Polish People's Republic, the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics, and the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.
1968 Nov 26, Arnold Zweig (81),
German antifascist and author (Junge frau 1914), died.
1969 Feb 26, Karl Jaspers
(b.1883), German psychiatrist, philosopher, died.
1969 Feb 27, Thousands of
students protested President Nixon's arrival in Rome. Nixon visited
(HN, 2/27/98)(MC, 2/27/02)
1969 Mar 5, Gustav Heinemann
was elected West German President.
1969 May 2, Franz JHMM von
Papen (b.1879), German chancellor (1932), died.
1969 Jul 5, Wilhelm Backhaus
(b.1884), German pianist (Rubinstein-1905), died.
1969 Jul 5, Walter Gropius
(b.1883), architect, founder (Bauhaus school of design), died.
1969 Jul 7, Der Spiegel
revealed Munich's Bishop Defregger as a war criminal. Charges
against Defregger were dropped in 1970.
1969 Aug 6, Theodor Adorno,
German philosopher, died of a heart attack. In 2008 Detlev Claussen
authored “Theodor W. Adorno: One Last Genius."
1969 Sep 30, Nazi war criminals
Albert Speer, the German minister of armaments, and Baldur von
Schirach, the founder of the Hitler Youth, were freed at midnight
from Spandau prison after serving twenty-year prison sentences. In
2002 Joachim Fest authored the biography: "Speer: The final
1969 Anselm Kiefer created his
work "Untitled (Heroic Symbols)."
(WSJ, 1/4/98, p.A8)
1969 Dec, The world premier of
"Requiem for a Young Poet" by Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918-1970) was
conducted by Michael Gielen in Dusseldorf. Zimmermann committed
suicide 9 moths later.
(WSJ, 4/20/99, A20)(http://tinyurl.com/9eknvf)
1969 Germany passed a set of
labeling laws similar to the French 1935 Appellation d’Origine
Controlee (controlled place of origin). The AOC laws were meant to
protect growers and properly identify a wine’s origin. They were not
intended as an indicator of quality.
(SFC, 1/8/97, zz-1 p.4)
1969-1974 Willy Brandt (1913-1992), head of the
Social Democratic Party, served as the West German chancellor.
1970 Mar 19, Willy Brandt and
Willi Stoph met for the first East-West Germany summit in Berlin.
1970 May 14, In West Germany
Andreas Baader, a rabid opponent of the Vietnam War, broke out of
prison with the help of gang members including Ulrike Meinhof.
1970 Jun 3, Hjalmar Horace
Greeley Schacht (b.1877), President of Germany’s Reichsbank
(1933-1939), minister of Economics (1934-1936), died. Schacht was
tried for crimes against peace in Nuremberg in 1946. His defense was
that he was only a banker and economist.
1970 Sep 25, Erich M. Remarque
(b.1898), German writer, died. His books included “Im West Nichts
Neues" (All Quiet on the Western Front), 1929.
1970 Dec 7, Poland and West
Germany signed a pact renouncing use of force to settle disputes,
recognizing the Oder-Neisse River as Poland's western frontier, and
acknowledging transfer to Poland of 40,000 square miles of former
1970 Dec 22, Treblinka SS
commander Franz Stangl (b.1908) was sentenced to life in prison. He
was responsible for the murder of approximately 900,000 people in
the period 1941-1943.
1970 Anselm Kiefer created his
work "Everyone Stands Under His Own Dome of Heaven."
(WSJ, 1/4/98, p.A8)
1970 The German film "How Did a
Nice Girl Like You Get Into This Business" was directed by Will
Tremper (e.1998 at 70).
(SFC, 12/17/98, p.C11)
1970 German film director
Rainer Werner Fassbinder made "Rio das Mortes."
(SFC, 7/1/97, p.E5)
1970 Legislators in Germany’s
state of Hesse drafted the world’s first data-protection law.
1970 Airbus Industrie was
formally set up following an agreement between Aerospatiale (France)
and Deutsche Aerospace (Germany). In 1971 it was joined by CASA
(Spain). The name "Airbus" was taken from a nonproprietary term used
by the airline industry in the 1960s to refer to a commercial
aircraft of a certain size and range, as term was acceptable to the
1971 May 29, Max Trapp
(b.1887), German composer, died in Berlin (other sources say he died
1971 Aug 14, Georg von Opel
(b.1912), German auto manufacturer, died.
1971 Sep 3, The Quadripartite
Agreement on Berlin, between the United States, the Soviet Union,
the United Kingdom and France. ended a long time source of tension.
(WUD, 1994, p.
1971 Oct 20, Willy Brandt, West
German Chancellor, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for beginning
the German reunification.
(WUD, 1994, p.
1971 Milli Gorus, an Islamic
Turkish community organization, was founded in Germany as Turkische
1972 Apr 25, Hans-Werner Grosse
(b.1922), German glider pilot, glided 907.7 miles (1,461 km) in an
1972 April 27, The German
opposition took advantage of the crumbling Bundestag majority of the
social-liberal coalition to bring a vote of no-confidence against
Willy Brandt. In a secret vote, Rainer Barzel failed to achieve the
required majority in the Bundestag and Willy Brandt remained Federal
1972 Jun 7, German Chancellor
Willy Brandt began a 5-day visit to Israel.
1972 Jun 15, Ulrike Meinhof
(1934-1976), co-leader of the Baader-Meinhof gang, was arrested in
(SFC, 1/10/01, p.A8)(WSJ, 4/3/09,
1972 Aug 26, The XX Olympiad
opened in Munich, Germany. The IOC had withdrawn Rhodesia’s
invitation to the summer Olympics after several African nations
threatened a boycott.
1972 Sep 4, U.S. swimmer Mark
Spitz won a record seventh Olympic gold medal in the 400-meter relay
at the Munich Summer Olympics.
1972 Sep 5, Terror struck the
Munich Olympic games in West Germany as Arab guerrillas attacked the
Israeli delegation. Palestinian terrorists killed 2 athletes and
took 9 others and their coaches hostage. Eleven Israelis, five
guerrillas and a police officer were killed in a 20-hour siege. The
Palestinian commandos were linked to Carlos the Jackal, aka Ilich
Ramirez Sanchez. In 1984 George Jonas authored “Vengeance," an
account of an Israeli hit squad ordered to track down those
responsible for the Munich attack. In 2000 the TV documentary "One
Day in September" depicted the events. In 2005 Aaron J. Klein
authored “Striking Back," and account of Israel’s response to the
Munich attack. The 2005 the Stephen Spielberg film “Munich" was
based on the book by George Jonas.
(SFC,12/11/97, p.C2)(WSJ, 9/8/00, p.W4)(WSJ,
12/21/05, p.D10)(WSJ, 1/14/06, p.A9)
1972 Sep 6, The Summer Olympics
resumed in Munich, West Germany, a day after the deadly hostage
crisis that claimed the lives of 11 Israelis and five Arab
1972 Sep 10, At the Munich
Summer Olympics, the US Olympic basketball team lost to the Soviets,
51-50, in a gold-medal match marked by controversy because officials
ordered the final three seconds of the game replayed, enabling the
Soviets to win. The US protested, to no avail. Frank Shorter of the
United States won the men's marathon at the Munich Olympics.
1972 Sep 11, The 20th Olympic
games closed at Munich, German FR.
1972 Oct 29, Hijackers of a
German Lufthansa passenger jet demanded the release of the three
surviving terrorists, who had been arrested after the
Fürstenfeldbruck gunfight and were being held for trial. They forced
West Germany to release 3 terrorists who were involved in the Munich
1972 Nov 19, Willy Brandt's SPD
won West German elections. Willy Brandt was the 1st German
chancellor to seek early elections via a vote of confidence.
(http://tinyurl.com/bs7oe)(Econ, 6/11/05, p.49)
1972 Dec 2, Friedrich
Christian Christiansen (92), German Luftwaffe general, died. He was
born at Wyk on Foehr, Germany, on December 12, 1879. Christiansen
was appointed officer commanding occupied Holland, a post he held
until the end of the war when he was imprisoned by the Allies. On
his release from prison he retired to West Germany and died at
1972 Dec 3, A Spantax Convair
990A charter carrying West German tourists crashed in Tenerife,
Canary Island, and 155 died.
1972 Dec 7-1972 Dec 8, Two
skeletons were found on the Ulap fairgrounds in Berlin. They were
later identified as Hitler's deputy Martin Bormann (1900-1945) and
Ludwig Stumpfegger, one of Hitler’s doctors.
1972 German film director
Rainer Werner Fassbinder made "The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant."
(WSJ, 1/14/97, p.A16)
1972 The biopic film "The Death
of Maria Malibran" was by the German director Werner Schroeter.
(SFC, 7/28/97, p.E3)
1972 Heinrich Boll (1917-1985)
of West Germany won the Nobel Prize in Literature.
1972 SAP, a German business
software company based in Walldorf, Baden-Wurttemberg, was founded
by Hasso Plattner and 4 other dissidents from IBM.
(Econ, 5/20/06, p.73)(Econ, 10/28/06, p.78)
1973 Apr 16, Istvan Kertesz
(b.1929), Hungarian-born German conductor, drowned. Kertész was the
principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1965 to
1973 May 18, Russian party
leader Brezhnev visited West Germany.
1973 May 28, Hans
Schmidt-Isserstedt (b.1900), German composer and conductor, died.
1973 Jun 9, Erich von Manstein
(b.1887), one of Hitler’s WW II field marshals, died in Bavaria. In
1958 he authored his autobiography “Lost Victories."
1973 Jul 6, Otto Klemperer
(b.1885), German-born conductor and composer, died in Zurich. He had
taken United States citizenship in 1937 and Israeli citizenship in
1973 Aug 7, Hermine
Braunsteiner Ryan (1919-1999) became the first Nazi war criminal
extradited from the United States to Germany. A US judge had
certified her extradition to the Secretary of State on May 1, 1973.
She became the first Nazi war criminal to be extradited from the US.
The NY Times had exposed the local housewife in 1964 as a former
guard at the Nazi Majdanek death camp in Poland.
(SSFC, 4/4/10, Par.
1973 Oct 1, An East German
border order to border guards from the Ministry for State Security,
or Stasi, said: “Do not hesitate with the use of a firearm,
including when the border breakouts involve women and children,
which the traitors have already frequently taken advantage of." The
order was made public in 2007.
1973 German film director
Rainer Werner Fassbinder made "Martha," based on a story by American
writer Cornell Woolrich.
(SFC, 7/24/97, p.E3)
1973 Musica Antiqua Köln was
founded by violinist Reinhard Goebel.
(WSJ, 3/28/97, p.A14)
1973 Germany shut the door to
new guest workers, who were mostly Turks, which encouraged migrants
to import their families.
(Econ, 4/5/08, p.32)
1973 Lidl began operating in
Germany as a grocery chain. The company was founded in the 1940s by
a member of the Schwarz family, and was called Schwarz
Lebensmittel-Sortimentsgroßhandlung (Schwarz Assorted Wholesale
Foods). By 2015 it was one of the world’s biggest “deep discount"
(Econ., 3/14/15, p.66)
1973-1998 Helmut Kohl served as the chairman of
the National Christian Democratic Union.
(WSJ, 1/19/00, p.A18)
1974 May 7, West German
chancellor W. Brandt (1913-1992) resigned. A bizarre spy scandal
brought Brandt down after 4 years in office.
1974 May 16, Helmut Schmidt
(b.1918), head of the Social Democratic Party became the West German
chancellor and served until October 1, 1982.
11/21/05)(SFC, 5/31/00, p.A10)
1974 Jun 26, German regulators
forced the troubled Bank Herstatt into liquidation. A number of
banks had released payment of Deutsche Marks (DEM) to Herstatt in
Frankfurt in exchange for US Dollars (USD) that was to be delivered
in New York. Because of time-zone differences, Herstatt ceased
operations between the times of the respective payments. The
counterparty banks did not receive their USD payments.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herstatt_Bank)(Econ, 9/21/13, p.81)
1974 Jul 1, Walter Scheel
(b.1919) began serving as the 4th President of the Federal Republic
of Germany and continued to 1979.
1974 Aug 8, Baldur von Schirach
(b.1907), Nazi youth leader, died.
1974 Sep 4, The US & German
DR established diplomatic relations.
1974 Oct 9, Czech-born German
businessman Oskar Schindler, credited with saving about 1,200 Jews
during the Holocaust, died in Frankfurt, West Germany; at his
request, he was buried in Jerusalem. His wife Emilie died in 2001.
(AP, 10/9/99)(SSFC, 10/7/01, p.A29)
1974 Nov 16, Walther Meissner
(b.1882), German physicist (Meissner Effect), died.
1974 Joseph Beuys (1921-1986),
German artist, created his performance piece: "I like America, and
America likes Me," in which he lived with a coyote in a New York
gallery for 5 days.
(SFEC, 8/31/97, BR p.8)
1974 German film director
Rainer Werner Fassbinder made "Ali: Fear Eats the Soul."
(WSJ, 1/14/97, p.A16)(SFC, 7/1/97, p.E5)
1974 Holger Meins, an
imprisoned member of the Red Army Faction, died while on a hunger
(WSJ, 1/11/00, p.A1)
1975 Feb 24, Hans Bellmer
(b.1902), German surrealist artist, died in Paris. He made
paper-mache female dolls and photographed them in skewed
1975 Apr 24, Hanna Krabbe
(b.1945), a German Red Army faction guerrilla, took part in a
Baader-Meinhof gang attack on the German embassy in Stockholm in
which two German diplomats died. German chancellor Helmut Schmidt
approved the storming of the building by Swedish police. Krabbe was
arrested and sentenced to 21 years confinement and was released in
1975 May 21, The trial against
the Baader-Meinhof gang began in Stuttgart.
1975 Jul 6, Otto Skorzeny
(b.1908), German-Austrian SS officer, died. He was the commando
leader who rescued Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from
imprisonment after his overthrow.
1975 Jul 8, Israeli premier
Yitzhak Rabin began a 4-day visit to West-Germany.
1975 Aug 17, Sig Arno (b.1895),
German film actor (My Friend Irma), died in Hamburg, Germany.
1975 The German film Ali: "Fear
Eats the Soul" was directed by Reiner Werner Fassbinder.
(SFEC, 10/11/97, DB p.35)
1975 German film director
Rainer Werner Fassbinder made "Fox and His Friends."
(WSJ, 1/14/97, p.A16)(SFC, 7/1/97, p.E5)
1975 Richard Weize of Hamburg
founded Bear Family Records, dedicated to the preservation of
American country music.
(WSJ, 9/11/98, p.W3)
1975 With the fall of Saigon
about 10,000 Vietnamese arrived in west Germany.
(SFC, 9/15/96, p.A14)
1975-1985 Lothar Kipke served as the head doctor
of the East German Swimming Federation and oversaw a program of
doping swimmers with anabolic steroids. In 2000 he was convicted on
charges of doping and causing bodily harm to 58 swimmers. Other
former officials were also scheduled for trial.
(SFEC, 2/6/00, p.A1,14)
1976 Feb 1, Werner C.
Heisenberg (b.1901), physicist and Nobel Prize winner (1932), died
in Germany. In 1993 Thomas Powers authored "Heisenberg’s War," in
which he argued that Heisenberg destroyed the German atomic project
from within. Niels Bohr later countered the argument with personal
1976 Apr 1, Max Ernst (b.1891),
German-French surrealist painter, sculptor, died in Paris.
1976 May 9, Ulrike Meinhof
(b.1934), co-leader of the Baader-Meinhof gang, committed suicide in
(SFC, 1/10/01, p.A8)(WSJ, 4/3/09,
1976 May 26, Martin Heidegger
(b.1889), German philosopher (Holzweg), died.
1976 Aug 15, Former SS Colonel
Herbert Kappler dramatically escaped from prison hospital in Rome
with the aid of his wife and taken to Germany.
1976 Aug 22, Oskar Brusewitz
(b.1929), East German Lutheran vicar, died after having set himself
on fire on August 18 to protest the repression of religion.
1976 Paul Bowles, German
composer and writer who lived in Tangiers, wrote his short story
Allal. In 1996 three of Bowles’ stories were made into a film titled
"Halfmoon" by Frieder Schlaich and Irene von Alberti. Bertolucci had
earlier transferred his novel "The Sheltering Sky" into film. A
biography of Bowles by Millicint Dillon, "You Are Not I: A Portrait
of Paul Bowles" was published in 1998.
(SFC, 6/14/96, p. C3)(SFEC, 4/5/98, BR p.3)
1976 Ruth Werner, Communist spy
in Britain during WW II, authored her autobiography in East Germany:
(SFC, 7/11/00, p.A23)
1976 Georg Frey (b.1902),
Bavarian clothing manufacturer, died. He assembled a collection of
90,000 beetles from around the globe before his death in this year.
As a wealthy businessman, Frey was able to create (in 1950) his own
Coleoptera museum, the Museum G. Frey, which has long been
recognized as the world's largest and most extensive private
collection of beetles.
1977 Jan 11, France set off an
international uproar by releasing Abu Daoud, a Palestinian suspected
of involvement in the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972
Munich Olympics. In 1999 Mohammed Oudeh, aka Abu Daoud, published an
autobiography in France in which he admitted to playing a mastermind
role in the 1972 Munich hostage episode.
(AP, 1/11/98)(SFC, 6/14/99, p.A14)
1977 Apr 7, The RAF gunned down
Siegfried Bubeck, a West German federal prosecutor, his driver,
Wolfgang Goebel, and the guard Georg Wurster. In 2009 police, using
new DNA evidence, arrested Verena Becker (57), a former German
leftist terrorist on suspicion of involvement in the slayings.
Becker had been arrested a month after the ambush, following a
shootout with police. Prosecutors at the time did not have enough
evidence to try her on charges of involvement in the Buback slaying,
but convicted her of armed robbery and attempted murder stemming
from the shootout. She was sentenced to life in prison. In 1989 she
was pardoned of those charges by German Pres. Richard von
Weizsaecker and released from prison. In 2010 Becker was charged
with 3 counts of murder for her alleged role in the fatal 1977
(WSJ, 1/11/00, p.A8)(AP, 8/28/09)(AP, 4/21/10)
1977 Apr 28, Andreas Baader and
members of Baader-Meinhof gang, also known as the "Red Army
Faction," were jailed for life after a trial lasting nearly 2 years
in Stuttgart, Germany.
1977 May 5, Ludwig Erhard
(b.1897)), German minister of Economic Affairs (CDU), died.
1977 Aug 23, Marxist
philosopher Rudolf Bahro was imprisoned in German DR.
1977 Sep 5, West German
industrialist Hanns-Martin Schleyer was kidnapped in Cologne by
members of the Baader-Meinhof gang. His security escorts were
killed. Schleyer was later killed by his captors. Schleyer was the
president of the German Employers Federation.
(AP, 9/5/97)(WSJ, 1/11/00, p.A1,8)
1977 Oct 13, A Lufthansa Boeing
737, bound for Frankfurt, was hijacked by Palestinians shortly after
take-off. The plane is diverted to Rome's Fiumicino Airport. Almost
all of the passengers are German vacationers. "This is Captain
Martyr Mohammed speaking," announces one of the hijackers to the
Rome air-traffic controllers. "The group I represent demands the
release of our comrades in German prisons [see Oct 18].
1977 Oct 18, In West Germany 3
Baader-Meinhof gang members killed themselves in prison. Gudrun
Ensslin (b.1940), a founding leader of the Red Army Faction (RAF),
died in prison. Ensslin's life story was later fictionalized in the
film “Marianne and Juliane" (1981). This date was later used as a
title by artist Gerhard Richter in a 1988 suite of 15 pictures. He
created the series of paintings titled "October 18, 1977" regarded
by many as a "eulogy or requiem" for the Baader-Meinhof group. In
1985 Stefan Aust authored “The Baader-Meinhof Complex." In 2009 Aust
published an updated version titled Baader-Meinhof: the Inside Story
of the R.A.F."
(WSJ, 10/11/01, p.A19)(WSJ, 3/1/02, p.A11)(WSJ,
4/3/09, p.A15)(Econ, 5/30/09,
1977 Oct 18, West German
commandos stormed a hijacked Lufthansa jetliner that was on the
ground in Mogadishu, Somalia, freeing all 86 hostages and killing
three of the four hijackers, Palestinians of the Popular Front for
the Liberation of Palestine. In 1996 Suhaila al-Sayeh was sentenced
to 12 years in prison by a German court.
(SFC, 11/20/96, p.A17)(AP, 10/17/07)
1977 Oct 19, The body of West
German industrialist Hanns Martin Schleyer, who had been kidnapped
by left-wing extremists, was found in the trunk of a car in
1977 German writer Gunter Grass
(1927-2015) authored his novel “The Flounder."
(Econ., 4/18/15, p.86)
1977 A documentary was made on
film director Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
(WSJ, 1/14/97, p.A16)
1977 Rudolf Bahro (d.1997 at
62), Marxist reformer, smuggled his book out of East Germany and was
arrested and sentenced to 8 years in prison. He wrote: "The
Alternative: A Criticism of the Real Socialism." He was released in
1979 and allowed to resettle in West Germany in 1980.
1977 German scientist Gunther
von Hagens (b.1945) developed the technique of “plastination" to
preserve bodies or body parts.
1978 Apr 7, A Gutenberg bible
sold for a record $2.2 million in NYC. It was bought by Martin
Breslauer for the state museum of Baden Wurttemberg.
1978 May 31, Hanna Hoch
(b.1889), German photomontage artist of the Berlin Dada movement,
died. Her work included "Cut With the Kitchen Knife Dada Through the
Last Weimar Beer-Belly Epoch of Germany," (1919-1920).
(SFC, 3/25/97, p.E3)(SSFC, 1/27/02,
1978 Aug 26, Sigmund Jahn
became the first German in space when he blasted off aboard Russia’s
1978 Sep 15, Willy
Messerschmitt (b.1898), German aircraft builder, died in Munich.
1978 Sep 19, Rolf Gunther, East
German priest, died from self immolation.
1978 Dec 11, Six masked men
bound 10 employees at Lufthansa cargo area at NY Kennedy Airport
& made off with $5.8 M in cash & jewelry. Nicholas Pileggi
wrote "Wise Guys," which described his participation in the heist.
The robbery inspired the movie "Goodfellas." On Jan 23, 2014,
Vincent Asaro (78) was arrested at his home in NYC and charged with
helping direct the heist as well as a 1969 murder.
p.A3)(SFC, 1/24/14, p.A22)
1978 Film director Rainer
Werner Fassbinder made "The Marriage of Maria Braun."
(WSJ, 1/14/97, p.A16)
1978 German film director
Rainer Werner Fassbinder made "In a Year of 13 Moons."
(SFC, 7/1/97, p.E5)
1978 Gerhard Wessel
(1913-2002), head of the West German BND intelligence agency since
1968, retired. He was succeeded by Klaus Kinkel.
(SFC, 8/3/02, p.A18)
1979 Feb 7, Josef Mengele
(b.1911), Nazi concentration camp doctor and medical experimenter,
accidentally drowned in Bertioga, Brazil. He was secretly buried in
another man's grave in Brazil. [See Jun 6, 1985] In 1985 his
identity was confirmed by DNA.
1979 Jun 1, Werner Forssman,
German urologist, (Nobel 1956), died. He was the first to
catheterize a human heart (his own). (MC, 6/1/02)
1979 In Germany “The Greens"
political party formed to give the environmental movement political
and parliamentary representation.
1979-1980 German film director Rainer Werner
Fassbinder made "Berlin Alexanderplatz," a 15-hour TV opus on
Germany between the wars. It was based on Alfred Doblin's great
1980 Mar 5, Winifred Wagner
(82), English-born head of the German Wagner family, died in
Uberlingen. In 2006 Brigitte Hamann authored “Winifred Wagner, A
Life at the Heart of Hitler’s Bayreuth."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winifred_Wagner)(SFC, 12/13/06, p.F2)
1980 Sep 26, A bomb attack at
the Oktoberfest in Munich killed 13 people.
1980 Anselm Kiefer created his
work "Brünnhilde Sleeps" and "Kyffhäuser."
(WSJ, 1/4/98, p.A8)
1980 Film director Rainer
Werner Fassbinder made "Lili Marleen."
(WSJ, 1/14/97, p.A16)(SFC, 7/1/97, p.E5)
1980 Audi introduced its
all-wheel-drive Quattro Coupe.
(WSJ, 9/16/05, p.W12)
philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull founded the Right Livelihood Awards
to recognize work he felt was being ignored by the Nobel Prizes.
1981 Feb 21, A bombing in
Munich of Radio Free Europe injured 9 people. Romania’s Pres.
Ceausescu ordered Gen. Ion Pacepa to find temporary shelter for
Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, aka Carlos the Jackal, in Romania after the
bombing. Ceausescu sold arms and explosives to Ramirez and enabled
him to produce counterfeit passports and driver's licenses.
1981 Mar 6, In Lubeck, Germany,
Klaus Grabowski, a child molester, was shot and killed by the mother
of a girl he had molested and strangled. Grabowski had earlier
avoided a life sentence by agreeing to castration.
1981 Apr 23, An estimated 1
million West German metal workers staged a warning strike as
3-month-old negotiations stalled.
1981 Jul 1, The Symphony in F
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (K.19a), discovered in 1980, debuted in
1981 The German film "Lola" was
directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1945-1982).
1981 The Fraunhofer Institute
for Solar Energy Systems was founded in Freiburg, Germany, and a
number of similar facilities followed. By 2007 Fraunhofer employed
some 500 people and was Europe's largest solar energy research
1981 Friedrich Karl Flick
(1927-2006), Austrian billionaire industrialist, became embroiled in
a major postwar political party financing scandal (the Flick Affair)
when it surfaced that some of his managers had given millions of
German marks to German political parties. Flick sold his company to
Deutsche Bank in 1985.
1982 Mar 29, Carl Orff
(b.1895), German composer (Carmina Burana), died.
1982 Apr 9, Robert H.G.
Havemann (b.1910), East German chemist and dissident, died.
1982 May 10, Peter Weiss
(b.1916), German playwright (Marat-Sade), died.
1982 Jun 10, Rainer Werner
Fassbinder (b.1945), German film director, died.
1982 Jul 10, In Germany Kalinka
Bamberski (14) was found dead in her bed in the home of Dr. Dieter
Krombach. The girl and her mother had moved in with Krombach after
her parents' separation. The girl's father, Andre Bamberski,
believed that Krombach gave his daughter a dangerous injection to
make her lose consciousness so he could rape her, leading to her
death. France convicted Krombach in absentia in 1995 of "intentional
violence that led to unintentional death" and sentenced him to 15
years in prison. In 1997 Krombach was convicted in a German court to
a two-year suspended sentence and suspended from medical practice
after pleading guilty to drugging and raping a 16-year-old girl in
his office. In 2009 Krombach (74) was kidnapped from his German
town, tied up, and appeared near the courthouse in the eastern
French city of Mulhouse. Andre Bamberski later acknowledged
involvement, and was hit with preliminary charges of kidnapping. In
2011 Krombach was sentenced to 15 years in prison for "intentional
violence that led to unintentional death." On Dec 20, 2012, a French
court upheld the conviction against Krombach. Kidnapping charges
were still pending against Bamberski.
1982 Oct 1, West Germany's
Parliament ousted Helmut Schmidt (SPD). Helmut Kohl, head of the
Christian Democratic Union, became Chancellor following the collapse
of the Social Democratic led coalition. Kohl served until 1998.
(WSJ, 9/3/98, p.A6)(WSJ, 1/19/00, p.A18)(Econ,
1982 Nov 11, West German
authorities captured Brigitte Mohnhaupt, a member of the Red Army
Faction, as she went to an arms cache in woods near Frankfurt. She
was convicted in 1985 of involvement in nine murders, including
those of West German chief federal prosecutor Siegfried Buback and
of Hanns-Martin Schleyer, the head of the country's industry
federation. Mohnhaupt (57) was released in 2007 after serving 24
years of a life sentence.
1982 Nov 16, Christian Klar
(b.1952), a leading member of the German Red Army Faction, was
arrested close to Hamburg. In the following trials he was convicted
for his involvement in the 1977 murders of Siegfried Buback, Jurgen
Ponto and Hanns-Martin Schleyer together with fellow RAF member
Brigitte Mohnhaupt. Klar was set for release in Jan, 2009, after
serving 26 years in prison.
1982 Anselm Kiefer created his
work "The Unknown Masterpiece."
(WSJ, 1/4/98, p.A8)
1982 John Cage wrote a
75-minute play for German radio called "James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp,
Erik Satie: An Alphabet."
(WSJ, 2/28/02, p.A16)
1982 The German film "Das Boot"
with Jurgen Prochnow was produced. An extended version was released
in 1997. It was directed by Wolfgang Peterson.
(SFC, 4/4/97, p.C8)
1982 The film "The White Rose"
was by German director Michael Verhoeven.
(SFEC, 7/13/97, DB p.37)
1982 Germany’s Chancellor
Helmut Kohl discussed a secret plan with Margaret Thatcher to reduce
the number of Turks living in West Germany by 50 percent. This
information was not made public until 2013 when released British
documents were cited by Spiegel Online.
1982 The German Otto family
purchased the Chicago-based Spiegel catalog retailer.
(WSJ, 3/2/04, p.A6)
1982 Klaus Jacobs (1936-2008),
head of the German coffee dealer Jacobs AG, orchestrated the
takeover of Switzerland’s Interfood SA, maker of the Toblerone candy
bar. In 1990 Philip Morris bought Jacobs Suchard for $3.8 billion.
Klaus went on to buy a Swiss staffing firm and in 1996 merged it
with France’s Ecco SA to form Adecco SA, which became one of the
world’s largest staffing firms.
(WSJ, 9/20/08, p.A12)
1983 Feb 5, Former Nazi Gestapo
official Klaus Barbie (1913-1991), expelled from Bolivia, was
brought to trial in Lyon, France. He was convicted and sentenced to
life in prison.
1983 Mar 6, Helmut Kohl's
CDU/CSU won West German parliament elections.
1983 Apr 22, In Germany the
bogus “Hitler Diaries" was published by Stern Magazine. Stern
magazine announced the discovery of a 60 volume personal diary
written by Adolph Hitler. It turned out to be a hoax.
(SFC, 10/15/96, p.A19)(AP, 4/22/07)
1983 Jun 27, Maxie Anderson and
Don Ida died in West Germany during a balloon race.
1983 Jul 28, In Germany
Yugoslav dissident Stjepan Durekovic was killed near Munich. In 2014
Zdravko Mustac (72), a former top spy in Yugoslavia's secret
service, was charged with complicity in the murder. Prosecutors
wrote that Mustac probably ordered his subordinate Josip Perkovic to
plan the murder. Perkovic was also extradited to Germany in 2014.
1983 Nov, The US stationed
nuclear-tipped Pershing missiles on German soil.
1983 Christa Wolf, East German
writer, authored her novel “Cassandra."
(WSJ, 3/10/07, p.P6)
1983 The German film "Straight
Through the Heart" was directed by Doris Dorrie, her debut.
(SSFC, 1/14/01, DB p.37)
1983 Germany’s constitutional
court elaborated a right to “informational self-determination." The
term informational self-determination was first used in the context
of a German constitutional ruling relating to personal information
collected during the 1983 census.
1983 The French cultural center
in West Berlin was bombed. One person was killed and 23 injured. The
attack was attributed to Carlos the Jackal, aka Ilich Ramirez
1983 Bayer, a German drug
maker, patented the active ingredient of the antibiotic Cipro.
(SSFC, 1/20/08, p.A10)
1984 Jan 28, A record 295,000
dominoes toppled at Fuerth, W. Germany.
1984 Mar 6, Martin Niemoller
(92), German U-boat captain, anti-Nazi minister, died.
1984 Jul 1, In Germany Richard
von Weizsaecker (1920-2015) became president and continued to 1994.
1984 Aug 22, The last
Volkswagen Rabbit was produced.
1984 Aug 4, In Germany Robert
Brown (24), a former American soldier, struck Nicola Stiel (19) and
raped her, then strangled her to prevent her from reporting the
rape. In 2009 Brown was extradited to Germany to face charges that
he raped and murdered the woman near where he worked on a US
military base in Hesse state.
1984 Nov 28, Hans Speidel
(b.1897), German general and NATO-supreme commander (1957-63), died.
1984 Martin Kippenberger made
his oil, silicon on canvas "For the Life of Me, I Can’t See Any
(SFEC, 2/1/98, BR p.6)
1984 German choreographer Pina
Bausch first brought her absurdist dance-dramas to New York.
(WSJ, 10/29/97, p.A20)
1985 May 5, President Reagan
kept a promise to West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl by leading a
wreath-laying ceremony at the military cemetery in Bitburg.
1985 Jun 6, Authorities in
Brazil exhumed a body later identified as the remains of Dr. Josef
Mengele, the notorious "Angel of Death" of the Nazi Holocaust near
Sao Paolo, Brazil.
(AP, 6/6/97)(HN, 6/6/98)
1985 Jun 21, American,
Brazilian and West German scientists announced that skeletal remains
exhumed in Brazil were those of Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele.
1985 Jul 30, Germaine Krull
(b.1897), Polish born German photographer, died.
1985 Aug 7, Spc. Edward
Pimental (20), a US Army soldier, left a discotheque in the western
German city of Wiesbaden with a woman and was soon killed.
Terrorists used Pimental's ID card to enter the US Rhein-Main air
base in Frankfurt. The following day, explosives packed in a
Volkswagen rocked the parking lot behind the base headquarters. Two
Americans were killed and 23 people were injured. In 1994 a
Frankfurt court found Eva Haule guilty of killing Pimental. In 1996
a judge said Birgit Hogefeld, who was also convicted in the Pimental
killing and the Rhein-Main bombing, had lured Pimental out of the
disco. In 2007 Haule (53) was released from jail after serving 21
years of a life sentence.
1985 Sep 22, Axel Springer
(b.1912), German newspaper magnate (Bild Zeitung), died.
1985 Sep 30, Simone Signoret,
German-French actress (Room at Top, Gina), died at 64.
1985 Hans-Joachim Tiedge
(d.2011), a top West German counterintelligence officer, defected to
East Germany. Tiedge left East Germany for the Soviet Union in 1990.
1985 Vladimir Putin, Soviet KGB
officer, was assigned to recruit spies in Dresden, East Germany.
(WSJ, 2/23/05, p.A14)
1985 A US airbase in Frankfurt
was bombed and Airman 1st Class Frank Scarton and Becky Jo Bristol
were killed. Edward Pimentel was killed before the bombing in order
to get his ID card. In 1996 Birgit Hogefeld, a member of the
far-left RAF, was convicted of involvement and jailed for life.
(SFC, 11/6/96, p.A25)
1986 Apr 5, A Berlin nightclub
was bombed. US Sgt. Kenneth Ford (21) and Nermin Hannay (29) died at
the scene. Sgt. James Goins (25) died later in hospital. 230 people
were injured. Palestinian Yasser Shraydi (Chraidi) was suspected of
playing a lead role in the bombing of the La Belle discotheque. In
1996 he was extradited from Lebanon to face charges in Germany. In
1996 Andrea Hasler was arrested in Greece and extradited to Germany.
Also a woman named Verena Chanaa, suspected of planting the bomb,
and her former husband named Ali Chanaa were arrested in Berlin. In
1997 Musbah Abulghasen Eter was arrested by Italian police in Rome
in connection with the bombing. In 2001 V. Chanaa was sentenced to
14 years, A. Chanaa and Eter were sentenced to 12 years, and Chraidi
was sentenced to 14 years. Libya was implicated and in 2004 agreed
to pay $35 million in compensation.
(SFC, 5/234/96, p.A14)(SFC, 10/12/96, p.A12)(WSJ,
8/28/97, p.A1)(SFC, 8/28/97, p.C3)(SFC, 11/14/01, p.A18)(AP, 9/3/04)
1986 Jun 19, Argentina beat
West Germany 3-2 in soccer's 13th World Cup in Mexico.
1986 Nov 13, Rudolf Schock
(b.1915), German opera and operetta singer, died.
1986 Dec 12, Russian
Tupolev-134 crashed in East Berlin and 70 people were killed.
1986 German writer Gunter Grass
(1927-2015) authored his novel “The Rat."
(Econ., 4/18/15, p.86)
1986 Udo Zimmermann, German
composer, created his opera “Die Weise Rose" (The White Rose). The
named was taken from a 1940s anti-Nazi movement.
(SFC, 1/12/05, p.E1)
1986 The German film "Paradise"
was directed by Doris Dorrie.
(SSFC, 1/14/01, DB p.37)
1986 German hackers in Hanover,
working for the KGB, sneaked into American military networks. The
“Cuckoo’s Nest" cyber attack was caught when an official noted a
75-cent billing error revealing unauthorized use of a computer
(Econ, 6/29/13, p.75)
1987 Jan 13, West German police
arrested Mohammed Ali Hamadi at the Frankfurt airport, when customs
officials discovered liquid explosives in his luggage. The Lebanese
man was convicted and served a life sentence in Germany for the 1985
hijacking of a TWA jetliner and killing of a U.S. Navy diver.
Although convicted and sentenced to life, Hamadi was paroled by
Germany in December 2005.
(AP, 12/20/05)(AP, 1/13/07)
1987 Mar 23, West Germany SPD
chairman Willy Brandt resigned.
1987 May 1, During a
visit to West Germany, Pope John Paul II beatified Edith Stein, a
Jewish-born Carmelite nun who was gassed in the Nazi concentration
camp at Auschwitz.
1987 Jun 12, President Reagan,
during a visit to the divided German city of Berlin, publicly
challenged Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev at the Brandenburg
Gate: "Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this
(AP, 6/12/97)(WSJ, 10/18/02, p.AW17)
1987 Jul 2, Karl Linnas,
accused Nazi, died of heart failure in Leningrad Russia. In 1962 he
was convicted in Estonia of being a Nazi war criminal and sentenced
to death in absentia.
1987 Aug 17, Rudolf Hess, the
last member of Adolf Hitler's inner circle, died at a Berlin
hospital near Spandau Prison at age 93, having apparently committed
suicide by strangling himself with an electrical cord. His family
claims that he was murdered [see May 10, 1941].
(AP, 8/17/97)(SFEC, 8/17/97, p.A4)
1987 Aug 26, In an attempt to
eliminate a superpower stumbling block, West German Chancellor
Helmut Kohl said his country would destroy its 72 Pershing 1A
rockets if Washington and Moscow scrapped all their
intermediate-range nuclear weapons.
1987 Sep 2, West German pilot
Mathias Rust, who flew a private plane from Helsinki, Finland, to
Moscow's Red Square, went on trial in the Soviet capital. Rust, who
was convicted and given a four-year sentence, was released Aug. 3,
1987 Sep 6, Benjamin and
Patrick Binder, twin 7-month-old brothers from Ulm, West Germany,
who were joined at the head, were separated after 22 hours of
surgery by doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
1987 Sep 7, Erich Honecker
became the first East German head of state to visit West Germany as
he arrived for a five-day visit.
1987 Leni Riefenstahl
(1902-2003), German director, published her autobiography: "Leni
Riefenstahl: A Memoir."
(SFC, 1/19/99, p.B5)
1987 Plans were made for a new
Kulturforum museum complex in Berlin. Construction began in March
(WSJ, 7/29/98, p.A13)
1987 William Koch of Germany
paid some $500,000 for 4 bottles of French wine said to have been
discovered in Paris in 1985 and allegedly once owned by Thomas
Jefferson. By 2006 Koch’s investigations led him to believe they
were fakes, which he attributed to Hardy Rodenstock (born as
Meinhard Goerke), a German collector and dealer.
(WSJ, 9/1/06, p.A1)
1987 An Ikea subsidiary in
Berlin and an East German company contracted for Cuban prison labor
to build 45,000 tables and 40,000 sofa groupings. The deal blossomed
into a scandal in 2012 following reports of the deal by a German
(SFC, 5/11/12, p.A7)
1988 Feb 27, Katarina Witt of
East Germany won the gold medal in women's figure skating at the
Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada, with Elizabeth Manley of Canada
placing second and Debi Thomas of the United States, third. Debi
Thomas became the first African American to win a medal at the
(AP, 2/27/98)(HN, 2/27/99)
1988 Mar 9, Kurt Georg
Kiesinger (b.1904), West German chancellor (1966-69), died.
1988 Jun 19, Michael Jackson
led a rock concert in West Berlin.
1988 Aug 28, At least 40 people
were killed when three Italian stunt planes collided during an air
show at the US Air Base in Ramstein, West Germany, sending flaming
debris into the crowd of spectators. Over the next 2 months the
death toll rose to 69.
1988 Sep 10, Steffi Graf of
West Germany achieved tennis' first Grand Slam since Margaret Court
in 1970 by winning the U.S. Open women's final.
1988 Oct 3, Franz Josef Strauss
(b.1915), German defense minister (1956-62), died at 73.
1988 Oct 9, Felix Wankel
(b.1902), developer of Wankel rotary engine, died in Germany.
1988 Oct 19, Three West Germans
were named winners of the Nobel Prize in chemistry; three Americans
received the Nobel Prize in physics: Melvin Schwartz (1933-2006),
Leon Lederman and Jack Steinberger won for their research into the
innermost structure and dynamics of matter. They won for discovering
the subatomic particle called the muon neutrino. In 2015 Lederman
sold his Nobel Prize at auction for $765,002.
(AP, 10/19/98)(SFC, 8/29/06, p.B5)(SFC, 5/30/15,
1988 The film "Herbstmilch" was
directed by Joseph Vilsmaiar. It was about a woman’s Bavarian
(WSJ, 2/5/98, p.A20)
1988 Matthias Warnig, East
German Stasi officer, was assigned to recruit spies in Duesseldorf,
(WSJ, 2/23/05, p.A14)
1988 There was an attempted
murder of Hans Titmeyer, later chief of the Bundesbank. Birgit
Hogefeld, RAF member, was later convicted of taking part.
(WSJ, 11/6/96, p.A1)
1988 BMW began selling the
325iX all-wheel-drive sports sedan in the US. It stopped 3 years
(WSJ, 9/16/05, p.W12)
1988 Albert Fert of France and
Peter Grunberg of Germany independently discovered the phenomenon of
giant magnetoresistance. It was later adopted for use in computer
hard-drives. In 2007 they won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their
(Econ, 10/13/07, p.94)
1989 Jan 29, West German
Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democratic Union suffered a major
setback in West Berlin municipal elections.
1989 May 17, A court in
Frankfurt, West Germany, sentenced Mohammed Ali Hamadi to life in
prison for his role in the 1985 TWA hijacking.
1989 May 31, Pres. G.W. Bush
met with Chancellor Kohl and addressed the citizens of Mainz,
Germany. He offered Germany a “partnership in leadership."
1989 Jul 2, In West Berlin,
Germany, the Love Parade festival was begun to celebrate techno
music. About 150 people cavorted down Ku’damm to the blare of techno
music from a single Volkswagen bus. It was started by the Berlin
underground at the initiative of Matthias Roeingh (also known as "Dr
Motte") and his then girlfriend Danielle de Picciotto.
1989 Jul 9, West German tennis
players Steffi Graf and Boris Becker won the women's and men's
singles titles at Wimbledon.
1989 Aug 19, The "Pan-European
Picnic" helped precipitate the fall nearly three months later of the
Berlin Wall. Members of Hungary's budding opposition organized a
picnic at the border with Austria to press for greater political
freedom and promote friendship with their Western neighbors. Some
600 East Germans got word of the event and turned up among the
estimated 10,000 participants. They took advantage of the excursion
to escape to Austria.
1989 Aug 23, Hungary removed
its physical border defenses with Austria, and in September more
than 13,000 East German tourists in Hungary escaped to Austria.
1989 Sep 10, Hungary gave
permission for thousands of East German refugees and visitors to
emigrate to West Germany.
1989 Sep 30, Thousands of East
Germans who had sought refuge in West German embassies in
Czechoslovakia and Poland began emigrating under an accord between
Soviet bloc and NATO nations.
1989 Oct 1, Thousands of East
Germans received a triumphal welcome in West Germany after the
communist government agreed to let them leave for the West.
1989 Oct 2, Nearly 10,000
people marched through Leipzig, East Germany, demanding legalization
of opposition groups and adoption of democratic reforms in the
country's largest protest since 1953.
1989 Oct 3, In a move to stem
the flow of refugees to the West, East Germany suspended
unrestricted travel to Czechoslovakia.
1989 Oct 18, In East Germany
after 18 years in power, Erich Honecker resigned from his offices as
head of state and party leader. He was succeeded by Egon Krenz.
Oct 24, In East Germany Egon Krenz assumed the chairmanship of the
Council of State. [see Dec 3,6]
1989 Nov 1, East Germany
reopened its border with Czechoslovakia, prompting tens of thousands
of refugees to flee to the West.
1989 Nov 3, East German leader
Egon Krenz delivered a nationally broadcast speech in which he
promised sweeping economic and political reforms and called on East
Germans to stay.
1989 Nov 4, Up to a million
East Germans filled the streets of East Berlin for a pro-democracy
1989 Nov 8, In an attempt to
strengthen his 3-week-old leadership, East German Communist Party
chief Egon Krenz ousted the old guard of the ruling Politburo,
replacing them with reformers.
1989 Nov 9, The Berlin Wall
broke open after East German bureaucrat Guenter Schabowski
(1929-2015) pulled a sheet of paper from his pocket and read out a
decree stating that visas would be freely granted to those wanting
to travel outside or leave the Stalinist state. Joyous Germans
danced atop the Berlin Wall. Over its 28-year history at least 136
people were confirmed killed trying to cross the Wall into West
Berlin, according to official figures. However, a prominent victims'
group claimed that more than 200 people were killed trying to flee
from East to West Berlin. Peter Wyden in this year authored "Wall:
The Inside Story of Divided Berlin." In 2004 William F. Buckley
authored "The Fall of the Berlin Wall." In 2014 Mary Elise Sarotte
authored “The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall."
5/30/96, p.A12)(AP, 11/9/97)(SSFC, 6/24/01, p.A27)(WSJ, 3/18/04,
p.D10)(Econ, 9/27/08, p.25)(Econ, 11/8/14, p.83)(AFP, 11/1/15)
1989 Nov 10, Workers began
punching a hole in the Berlin Wall, a day after East Germany
abolished its border restrictions.
1989 Nov 11, In a telephone
conversation with West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, East German
leader Egon Krenz ruled out any possibility reunification.
1989 Nov 30, Alfred Herrhausen,
chairman of West Germany's largest bank, was killed in a bombing
claimed by the Red Army Faction. No Red Army member was charged and
in 2007 officials began to focus on Stasi, the East German police.
(AP, 11/30/99)(Econ, 4/29/06, p.88)(WSJ, 9/15/07,
1989 Dec 1, East Germany's
Parliament abolished the Communist Party's constitutional guarantee
Dec 3, The East German SED Politburo resigned. 3 days later
Communist leader Egon Krenz stepped down as Chairman of the Council
1989 Dec 5, East Germany's
former leaders, including ousted Communist Party chief Erich
Honecker, were placed under house arrest.
Dec 6, Egon Krenz resigned as leader of East Germany. In 1997 Krenz
was convicted with 2 colleagues of manslaughter for the shooting
deaths of those who tried to flee across the Berlin Wall prior to
(WSJ, 11/9/99, p.A14)(http://tinyurl.com/akpba)
1989 Dec 7, East Germany's
Communist Party agreed to cooperate with the opposition in paving
the way for free elections and a revised constitution.
1989 Dec 22, Germany’s
Brandenburg Gate opened for border crossings.
1989 Mercedes-Benz began
building all-wheel E-Class cars.
(WSJ, 9/16/05, p.W12)
1989-1991 In 1999 Angela E. Stent authored "Russia
and Germany Reborn," which focused on this period.
(WSJ, 8/5/99, p.A16)
1990 Feb 1, East Germany's
Communist premier, Hans Modrow, appealed for negotiations with West
Germany to forge a "united fatherland."
1990 Feb 13, At a conference in
Ottawa, the United States and its European allies forged agreement
with the Soviet Union and East Germany on a two-stage formula to
1990 Feb, In Germany a group of
artists occupied Tacheles, a building in East Berlin, two months
before it was scheduled for demolition. The squatters saved it by
getting the city to declare it a historic landmark. Their lease
ended Dec. 31, 2008, and residents were advised to move out though
no court order was issued.
1990 Mar 18, An alliance of
conservative parties won a surprising victory over the Communists in
East Germany's first free elections.
1990 Apr 12, In its first
meeting, East Germany's first democratically elected parliament
acknowledged responsibility for the Nazi Holocaust, and asked the
forgiveness of Jews and others who had suffered.
1990 Apr 18, A Franco-German
proposal was made at the Dublin summit for the political union of
the 12 European Community member countries.
1990 Apr 24, West and East
Germany agreed to merge currency and economies on July 1.
1990 May 18, East and West
Germany signed a monetary union treaty.
1990 Jun 13, East German border
guards and demolition experts from the Bundeswehr started the
official demolition of the Berlin Wall.
1990 Jul 1, East Germans lined
up to obtain West German deutsche marks as a state treaty unifying
the monetary and economic systems of the two Germanys went into
1990 Jul 8, West Germany won
the World Cup soccer championship by defeating Argentina, 1-to-0.
1990 Jul 8, Sweden’s Stefan
Edberg beat Boris Becker of West Germany to capture his second men’s
tennis championship at Wimbledon.
1990 Jul 14, West German
Chancellor Helmut Kohl arrived in Moscow for talks with Soviet
President Mikhail Gorbachev that were aimed at soothing Kremlin
concerns about German unification.
1990 Jul 15, Soviet President
Mikhail S. Gorbachev and visiting West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl
held talks on the issue of a united Germany’s membership in NATO.
1990 Jul 15, East Germany
opened its borders fully to Jews from the former Soviet republics.
(Econ, 5/7/05, p.48)
1990 Jul 16, Soviet President
Mikhail Gorbachev and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl announced
that Moscow had agreed to drop its objection to a united Germany’s
membership in NATO.
1990 Jul 17, The seven nations
negotiating German unification reached agreement in Paris on
Poland’s permanent border, clearing the way for the merger of East
and West Germany.
1990 Aug 23, East and West
Germany announced that they would unite Oct 3. The details of
reunification were designed by interior minister Wolfgang Schauble.
1990 Aug 28, German spy Juergen
Mohamed Gietler was arrested for passing military information to
Iraq. He provided Iraq with intelligence reports on US military
plans that included what the West knew of Iraqi Scud-B missile
sites. He was convicted in a secret trial in 1991, sentenced to 5
years in prison and released in 1994 after which he moved to Egypt.
(SFC,11/18/97, p.B1)(SFC,12/24/97, p.A6)
1990 Aug 31, East & West
Germany signed a treaty to join legal & political systems.
1990 Sep 12, Representatives of
the World War Two allies and West and East Germany signed the Two
Plus Four Treaty in Moscow giving international sanction to German
1990 Sep 24, East Germany
signed a treaty with the Soviet Union ending its membership in the
1990 Sep 26, Alberto Moravia,
Italian writer (Woman in Red), died at 82.
1990 Oct 3, West Germany
and East Germany ended 45 years of postwar division, declaring the
creation of a new unified country. Formal reunification took place
after a unification treaty was ratified by the Federal Republic‘s
Bundestag and the German Democratic Republic‘s People‘s Chamber in
(AP, 10/3/97)(HN, 10/3/98)(HNQ, 11/10/99)
1990 Oct 4, For the first time
in nearly six decades, German lawmakers met in the Reichstag for the
first meeting of reunified Germany’s parliament.
1990 Oct 12, Wolfgang Schauble
(b.1942), German politician, was the target of an assassination
attempt by Dieter Kaufmann, who fired 3 shots at Schäuble after an
election campaign event in Oppenau. Schauble was left paralyzed from
the waist down. In 2009 he was appointed finance minister under
Chancellor Angel Merkel.
1990 Oct 21, Walther Sommerlath
(b.1901), the father of Sweden’s Queen Silvia, died in Heidelberg.
During WWII he swapped a coffee farm in Brazil for a German-based
business owned by Efim Wechsler, a Jewish businessman. This allowed
Wechsler to emigrate from Nazi Germany.
1990 Oct, French Pres. Francois
Mitterand called for an economic government of Europe during a
Franco-German summit in Paris.
(Econ, 7/14/07, p.58)
1990 Nov 9, Soviet President
Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed a historic non-aggression treaty with
Germany, winning praise from German leaders in Bonn for his role in
the peaceful fall of the Berlin Wall.
1990 Dec 2, Chancellor Helmut
Kohl’s center-right coalition easily won the first free all-German
elections since 1932.
1990 Astrophysicist Clifford
Stoll authored “The Cuckoo's Egg," a true account of the tracking of
a hacker who probed the US's most sensitive secrets, using keywords,
such as "thermonuclear war." Stoll's pursuit of a hacker trying to
access American computer networks led to the discovery of a West
German spy ring.
1990 The film "The Nasty Girl"
was by German director Michael Verhoeven.
(SFEC, 7/13/97, DB p.37)
1990 Chancellor Kohl defeated
Oskar Lafontaine, governor of the Saar state.
(WSJ, 11/17/95, p.A-10)
1990 The federal government
decided that old families (Junkers) must buy back their expropriated
property if they wanted to return to East Germany.
(WSJ, 5/15/02, p.A8)
1990 The files of Stasi, the
East German state security police, were opened to the public. The
East German state security police had attempted to destroy all
records but shredding machines overheated and much evidence was torn
up by hand. A publicly funded project was begun to reconstruct the
(WSJ, 12/27/96, p.A6)(WSJ, 2/4/97, p.A14)