Return to home
1945 Jan 1, On
Operation Bodenplatte, German planes attacked American forward air
bases in Europe. This was the last major offensive of the
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
(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
1945 Jan 23, Helmuth J.
Moltke (37), German general, politician (July 20th Plot), was
1945 Jan 24, A German attempt
to relieve the besieged city of Budapest was finally halted by the
1945 Jan 27, US Master Sgt.
Roddie Edmonds (d.1985), one of around 1,000 soldiers taken to the
Stalag IXA camp Ziegenhain, Germany, after the Battle of the
Bulge, ordered his men to refuse Nazi instruction to separate out
Jewish soldiers: “We are all Jews here.”
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
(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
(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
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
(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 50-day siege.
(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
(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, p.M3)
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 1946.
1945 Mar 7, The US 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. The bridge
was the last of 22 road and railroad bridges over the Rhine still
standing after German defenders failed to demolish it. US forces
were able to capture the bridge.
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 on Germany.
1945 Mar 14, Chile declared
war on Germany.
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 17, In Germany the
bridge at Remagen, weakened by shelling and the passage of some
50,000 Allied troops, fell taking 28 US soldiers to their deaths.
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 Fuhrer's order.
(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 on Germany.
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 captured Wiesbaden.
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
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
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
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 there.
(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
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, Adolf Hitler fired
Heinrich Himmler (44), the head of the Nazi Gestapo, a following a
secret attempt by Himmler to negotiate Germany's surrender. Hitler
ordered the arrest of Himmler, who fled and assumed an alias.
(SSFC, 7/8/18, p.C8)
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 With Hitler.”
(AP, 4/29/98)(HN, 4/29/98)(SSFC, 10/30/11,
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
(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
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
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
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
(WSJ, 5/5/95, p.A-12)(AP, 5/8/97)(WSJ,
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 9, Czechoslovakia
was liberated from Nazi occupation (Nat’l Day). Soviet commander
Ivan Stepanovic Konev (1897-1973) led the Red Army forces that
liberated large parts of Czechoslovakia.
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
(SFC, 9/1/03, p.B4)(www.uboat.net/)
1945 May 20, Heinrich Himmler
(44), the head of the Nazi Gestapo, was captured in Bremervorde,
(SSFC, 7/8/18, p.C8)
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 facing trial.
(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
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,
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 in 1996
(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
(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
(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
(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 Apr 13, Jewish
"Avengers" carried out a mass poisoning of former SS men at Stalag
13, an American prisoner-of-war camp at Langwasser. The effort
sickened more than 2,200 Germans but ultimately caused no known
deaths. Authorities in Nuremberg later investigated Joseph Harmatz
and Leipke Distal, who worked undercover in a nearby bakery for
months, after they appeared in a 1999 television documentary and
revealed details of the operation.
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. In 2016 Robert K. Wittman and David Kinney authored “The
Devil’s diary: Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen secrets of the
(Reuters, 6/10/13)(SFC, 4/2/16, p.E2)
1946 Oct 15, Nazi war
criminal Hermann Goering poisoned himself hours before he was to
have been executed.
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
(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
(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 II.
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 Spandau.”
(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
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
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 ‘Black Friday.’
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
(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
(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.
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
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
(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 occupation.
(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
(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
(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 Plan.
(EWH, 1968, p.1180)
1949 German philosopher Karl
Jaspers introduced the concept of the Axial Age in his book Vom
Ursprung und Ziel der Geschichte (The Origin and Goal of History).
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 Silver Pine.
(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
(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
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 called Bethel-El.
(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 18, Jean Monnet,
French civil servant, and Robert Schuman, French foreign minister,
helped found the European Union with agreements between 6
countries on the pooling of coal and steel resources. Ministers
from Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, West Germany, Italy and
France put their names on the Treaty of Paris, the founding
document of what in four decades would become the European Union.
(Econ, 9/25/04, Survey p.3)(Econ, 6/18/16,
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
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
(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,
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 The Polish government,
under pressure from the Soviet Union, renounced any claim to
reparations from East Germany.
(Econ, 8/19/17, p.44)
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
(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
(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
(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 In Germany art professor
Arnold Bode launched Documenta by to draw attention to works
banned by the Nazis as degenerate. 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)(AFP,
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
(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 bomb development.
(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,
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 Berlin.
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
(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,
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 in 1963.
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
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 Jun 25, US Pres. John F.
Kennedy spoke from Berlin urging citizens “to recognize the
possibilities of nuclear war in the missile age.”
(SSFC, 10/29/17, p.C2)
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
(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 Oct 30, West Germany
signed a guest-worker treaty with Turkey.
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 concentration camps.
(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)
1961 The stimulant
fenethylline, a combination of amphetamine and theophylline, was
developed by the German Degussa AG under the trade name Captagon
to treat hyperactivity in children and was used for around 25
years as a milder alternative to amphetamine and related
compounds. In 1981 it was listed as a schedule I controlled
substance in the US, and became illegal in most countries in 1986
after being listed by the World Health Organization for
international scheduling under the Convention on Psychotropic
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenethylline)(Econ, 8/19/17, p.68)
1962 Feb 16, A North Sea
flood disaster hit the coastal regions of Germany and in
particular the city of Hamburg where 315 were killed. Helmut
Schmidt, police senator of Hamburg, coordinated the rescue
operations, commandeered the army to help and requested for
emergency help throughout Europe.
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
1962 Dec 26, Eight East
Berliners escaped to West Berlin, crashing through gates in an
armor plated bus.
1962 Jurgen Habermas
(b.1929), German philosopher, authored “The Structural
Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of
Bourgeois Society” (Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit.
Untersuchungen zu einer Kategorie der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft).
It was translated into English in 1989 by Thomas Burger and
(http://tinyurl.com/z9y47fd)(Econ, 3/26/15, SR
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," aka the Elysee friendship
1963 Jan 16, Soviet Premier
Nikita Khrushchev made a visit to the Berlin Wall from the East
Berlin side, then delivered an address to the Communist leadership
of East Germany at the SED Party Congress.
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
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 Frankfurt
Auschwitz trials, known in German as der Auschwitz-Prozess, or der
zweite Auschwitz-Prozess, (the "second Auschwitz trial") was a
series of trials running from 20 December 1963 to 19 August 1965,
charging 22 defendants under German criminal law for their roles
in the Holocaust as mid- to lower-level officials in the
Auschwitz-Birkenau death and concentration camp complex.
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.
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
(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. In 2016 documents and recordings
of the trials were submitted to the UN cultural agency.
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
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 Verdict."
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
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 1970.
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
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 West Berlin.
(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 Verdict."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Speer)(SSFC, 10/6/02, p.M3)
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 German artist Anselm
Kiefer created his work "Untitled (Heroic Symbols)."
(WSJ, 1/4/98, p.A8)
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 Germany decriminalized
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 German territory.
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 French linguistically.
1971 May 29, Max Trapp
(b.1887), German composer, died in Berlin (other sources say he
died May 31).
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
(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 Union Deutschland.
1972 Apr 25, Hans-Werner
Grosse (b.1922), German glider pilot, glided 907.7 miles (1,461
km) in an AS-W-12.
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 Chancellor.
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 Massacre.
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 Innien.
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
(WSJ, 1/14/97, p.A16)
1972 The biopic film "The
Death of Maria Malibran" was by the German director Werner
(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
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 1970.
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 Feb 3, Charlotte Buehler
(b.1893), German developmental psychologist, died in Stuttgart.
Her work in Vienna helped develop response testing techniques to
calibrate child development.
1974 May 7, West German
chancellor W. Brandt (1913-1992) resigned. A bizarre spy scandal
brought Brandt down after 4 years in office.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_Brandt)(WSJ, 9/11/03, p.D10)
1974 May 16, Helmut Schmidt
(b.1918), head of the Social Democratic Party became the West
German chancellor and served until October 1, 1982.
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
(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 1996.
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,
1975 Nov 15, The first Summit
of 6 leading industrialist nations, G-6, met in Rambouillet,
France, for discussions on currency and oil prices. The Group of
Six included leaders from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan
and the United States. They were joined a year later by Canada
making the "G7". The group was originally established as a vehicle
for leading industrialized democracies to discuss the global
economy. It later expanded its scope to issues such as peace, the
environment and terrorism. Russia, which attended the summit as a
guest in 1992, was in 1998 allowed for the first time to attend
all summit meetings. The grouping was officially renamed the "G8".
In 2014 Vladimir Putin's Russia was suspended from the G8 after it
annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula and sanctions were imposed on
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
1976 Apr 1, Max Ernst
(b.1891), German-French surrealist painter, sculptor, died in
1976 May 9, Ulrike Meinhof
(b.1934), co-leader of the Baader-Meinhof gang, committed suicide
in German prison.
(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
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: "Sonya’s Report."
(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 ambush.
(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 Soyuz 31.
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 German entrepreneur
Erich Kellerhals (1939-2017) founded Media Markt with two business
partners. By 2017 Media-Saturn had more than 1,000 stores in 15
1979 Namibia began sending
some 400 children to East Germany to be groomed as model
communists and their country's future elite. They returned to a
newly independent Namibia in August 1990. In 2016 their story was
told in a new play, "Oshi-Deutsh: The GDR Children of Namibia".
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.”
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
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
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
(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. On August 3, 2016, former Yugoslav spy chief Zdravko Mustac
(74) and ex-agent Josip Perkovic (71) were found guilty and
sentenced to life in prison.
(AP, 8/12/14)(AP, 8/3/16)
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
(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
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
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),
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
1985 Jul 7, Boris Becker of
Germany shook up the tennis world at Wimbledon when, as an
unseeded player, he became the then youngest-ever male Grand Slam
champion at the age of 17, defending the trophy the following
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
1985 Vladimir Putin, Soviet
KGB officer, was assigned to recruit spies in Dresden, East
(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)
1985-1989 Heinz Kessler (d.2017) served as East
German defense minister. He was responsible for a shoot-to-kill
policy aimed at stopping people escaping to the West. He was
sentenced to prison in 1991 for his role in the killing of people
trying to flee the Communist state.
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,
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 In Germany Dieter Stein
(19) founded the right wing Junge Freiheit (Young Freedom) as a
student newspaper. In 1994 he turned it into a general weekly.
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 network.
(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 wall."
(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 11, A German hiker
went missing on the Hohlaub Glacier, 10 km (6 miles) east of the
famed Matterhorn. In 2017 the remains of the unidentified man were
found after two hikers happened upon a hand and a pair of shoes
sticking out of the Glacier.
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, 1988.
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
(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 newspaper.
(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 Winter Olympics.
(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
(AP, 10/19/98)(SFC, 8/29/06, p.B5)(SFC,
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, West Germany.
(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 discovery.
(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
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
(AP, 11/30/99)(Econ, 4/29/06, p.88)(WSJ,
1989 Dec 1, East Germany's
Parliament abolished the Communist Party's constitutional
guarantee of supremacy.
Dec 3, The East German SED Politburo resigned. 3 days later
Communist leader Egon Krenz stepped down as Chairman of the
Council of State.
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 its demise.
(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 reunite Germany.
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 effect.
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
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
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
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 September. Kurt Masur (1927-2015)
directed Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at the official celebrations.
(AP, 10/3/97)(HN, 10/3/98)(HNQ, 11/10/99)(AP,
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 shredded evidence.
(WSJ, 12/27/96, p.A6)(WSJ, 2/4/97, p.A14)