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Portal:Germany

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Welcome to the Germany Portal!
Willkommen im Deutschland-Portal!

Flag Germany
Location of Germany within Europe 

Germany (German: Deutschland), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Germany includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,578 square kilometres (138,062 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With 83 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous state of Europe after Russia, the most populous state lying entirely in Europe, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is a very decentralised country. Its capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while Frankfurt serves as its financial capital and has the country's busiest airport.

In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the revolution of 1918–19, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic. The Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to World War II, and the Holocaust. After the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, two new German states were founded: West Germany, formed from the American, British, and French occupation zones, and East Germany, formed from the western part of the Soviet occupation zone, reduced by the newly established Oder-Neisse line. Following the Revolutions of 1989 that ended communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe, the country was reunified on 3 October 1990.

Today, Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor. It is a great power with a strong economy. The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993. Read more...

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Konrad Kujau in 1992

The Hitler Diaries (German: Hitler-Tagebücher) were a series of sixty volumes of journals purportedly written by Adolf Hitler, but in fact forged by Konrad Kujau between 1981 and 1983. The diaries were purchased in 1983 for 9.3 million Deutsche Marks (£2.33 million or US$3.7 million) by the West German news magazine Stern, which sold serialisation rights to several news organisations. One of the publications involved was the British newspaper The Sunday Times, which asked their independent director, the historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, to authenticate the diaries; he did so, pronouncing them genuine. At the press conference to announce the publication, Trevor-Roper announced that on reflection he had changed his mind, and other historians also raised questions concerning their validity. Rigorous forensic analysis, which had not been performed previously, quickly confirmed that the diaries were fakes.

Kujau, born and raised in East Germany, had a history of petty crime and deception. In the mid-1970s he began selling Nazi memorabilia which he had smuggled from the East, but found he could raise the prices by forging additional authentication details to link ordinary souvenirs to the Nazi leadership. Kujau began forging paintings by Hitler and an increasing number of notes, poems and letters, until he produced his first diary in the mid- to late 1970s. The West German journalist with Stern who "discovered" the diaries and was involved in their purchase was Gerd Heidemann, who had an obsession with the Nazi era. When Stern started buying the diaries, Heidemann stole a significant proportion of the money.

Kujau and Heidemann spent time in prison for their parts in the fraud, and several newspaper editors lost their jobs. The story of the scandal was the basis for the films Selling Hitler (1991) for the British channel ITV and the German cinema release Schtonk! (1992). (Full article...)

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Selected fare or cuisine

Sauerbraten served with Kartoffelklöße (potato dumplings)

Sauerbraten is a traditional German roast of heavily marinated meat. It is regarded as a national dish of Germany, and is frequently served in German-style restaurants internationally. It can be prepared from a variety of meats, most often from beef, but also from venison, lamb and mutton, pork and horse. Before cooking, the raw meat is marinated for three to ten days in a mixture of vinegar or wine, water, herbs, spices, and seasonings. Usually, tougher cuts of meat such as rump roast or bottom round of beef are used, and the long marinating tenderizes the meat. A Sauerbraten dinner is almost always accompanied by a hearty gravy resulting from its roasting and is most often served with potato pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer), potato dumplings (Kartoffelklöße), or Spätzle pasta.

Ingredients used in the marinade, and accompaniments served with sauerbraten, vary across regions. Regional variants of the dish include those from Franconia, Thuringia, Rhineland, Saarland, Silesia, and Swabia. (Full article...)

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