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Fact Finders Berlin Blog

  29.05.2014 / Petra Krischok / Fact Finders Berlin
 
The German Chamber of Commerce DIHK just published new figures showing how well the German economy is doing – as always, it seems. A poll oft he DIHK among 23,000 companies found that the mood among managers is excellent, much more positive even than in January. We are not surprised, why should we? The prognosis for economic growth was risen from 1.3 to 1.8 percent for the year 2015. Reading this only confirms our expectations. 250,000 new jobs will have been created by December - 50,000 more than estimated half a year ago. Naturally.
 
Everyone here got used to these good news. We can hardly remember the days when we all worried about the development oft he German economy. That was the time when Newsweek published it’s cover story (what I remember as): „Nearly five million unemployed in Germany - and you still can’t buy milk on Sundays!“. The Newsweek correspondent Bill Powell, whose office was next to mine, greatly enjoyed the shock wave his article caused in Germany. It was taken very seriously and the issue was discussed in numerous talkshows.
 
Later, when Germany had learned its lesson, liberated the job market, reformed its formerly generous welfare and unemployment support system, and even milk was available on Sundays, other Germany correspondents predicted the decline of Germany’s economic strength. In 2004, I worked with The Washington Post’s economic writer Peter S. Goodman on a story about the German car industry. General Motors was to massively cut down jobs in its Opel factory in Bochum, an automobile plant of tradion in the Ruhr area in western Germany with 9,600 employees. There were places in eastern Europe with much lower labor costs. Peter couldn’t believe the old-fashioned positions of the powerful trade union IG Metall and other players we interviewed. Discussing our reporting, the journalist predicted the near doom of the German economy. In his view, no one here had understood the new rules of globalization.
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08.05.2015 / Petra Krischok / Fact Finders Berlin

Seventy years after the End of WWII, May 8 is officially celebrated as „Liberation Day“ in Germany. Not long ago, there were still heated debates about how to call, how to define that date adequately. Now, the voices protesting against a definition of mere liberation have become fewer and softer.

My mother was eight years old in early 1945. She was absolutely convinced they were all going to be killed if the war was lost. Nobody had told her that, but she concluded it from the horror stories the girl had overheard from adults‘ conversations. By then she had already been traumatised by the constant bomb raids which destroyed her home town at the Rhine river in western Germany by 98%.                                                    

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