Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Charité

Charité Hospital, Berlin
Google Street View
The Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin is Europe's largest university clinic and is also the subject of two Netflix mini-series, both of six episodes. The first is titled simply Charité and is set in the late-19th century. A time of kaisers and squalor in the capital city of the German Reich, the second for those keeping score, who can tell me the first?

The second is titled Charité At War and is set in the time period 1943 to 1945, that's right, in the capital of the German Third Reich. Yes, there are Nazis, but there are also doctors and nurses trying to save lives. As the Charité was (and is) a teaching hospital there are students learning medicine. However most of them are in uniform and are medics learning to become doctors (i.e. they've seen war first hand already).

There is also one Nazi doctor, a psychiatrist, of course, who is also an officer in the SS. The actor who portrays him is very good at portraying the smug "superman." Of course, he isn't.

While Netflix has it's name on the series, it was actually made in Germany for the German channel Das Erste (The First). It is entirely in German, Berlin German, which means the characters talk fast, a trait many Berliners share. If your German is as rusty as mine, turn on the subtitles.

In true OAFS fashion, I watched the second part first, not knowing it was a second part. After binge watching Charité At War last weekend, I happened to search on the title and discovered the Charité, the first series. Though there were elements of Charité At War I was somewhat uncomfortable with, it was historically accurate and true to the period in which it was set.

In watching the first episode of Charité I noticed that the name of one of the actors was a certain Justus von Dohnányi. Now if you are any student of the German resistance to Hitler (yes, there was one) then you should know the name Hans von Dohnanyi. He was murdered by the Nazis in Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1945. He is featured in an episode of the series Charité At War, where he is cleared for being put on trial after a stroke (probably brought on by torture at the hands of the Gestapo) by the SS psychiatrist mentioned above.

When I saw the name Dohnányi, I had to wonder if he was any relation, though he used the Hungarian spelling of the family name (where the family came from originally). So I looked him up, Justus von Dohnányi is the grandson of Hans von Dohnanyi. Small world.

Now the actor also played General Burgdorf in the movie Der Untergang (Downfall in English), in the following clip he is the officer standing in front of the map at the 1:43 mark.



I wonder how he felt portraying a member of the regime which murdered his grandfather?

Yes, that clip has been satirized for everything from Tony Romo getting benched to Donald Trump being elected. The actor who portrayed Hitler in that film, Bruno Ganz (who was from Switzerland, he passed away back in February) was rightly miffed at the use of this footage. I mean he acted his butt off in that film...



Incidentally, the translation in that last clip isn't very good, but close enough to get the gist of what Herr Ganz is saying. Check out Der Untergang, it's very good and historically accurate. Herr Ganz is absolutely scary good as Hitler by the way.

So, a few recommendations for viewing if you have a mind to. Don't let the German speaking scare you off, though I rather enjoyed it.

Natürlich.


64 comments:

  1. The “First Reich” was the Holy Roman Empire, but it was the Nazis that invented that terminology, so I don’t like it.

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    1. Actually the first and second so-called Reichs (German for empire) were not called that at the time of those political entities existence. While the Nazis co-opted and used the term, it was German cultural critic Arthur Moeller van den Bruck in his 1923 book, Das Dritte Reich who invented the terminology. He envisioned a fusion of Germany’s socialist and conservative movements to create a strong Germany in the center of Europe. An interesting short article about that is here.

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  2. Interesting post Sarge, the hospital series sounds good, will go looking for that. The Downfall clip is something I see at least weekly on another website what with the events of the day happening. Some people have a pretty good imagination adapting dialog for that clip. Herr Ganz nailed it in that performance although in real life that is not a moustache style I would keep after filming. I prefer the Kurt Russell style from Tombstone....hmmmm..time to pull that DVD out tomorrow considering the humidity is going sky high here. Borrowing a page from Scott the Badger, a Northland salute to Staff Sgt. Bellavia..... a true warrior. Got his book (thanks Military Book Club) and read it without putting it down.

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    1. I re-watched Tombstone not that long ago, a great film.

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    2. I dunno, I think he'd look good sporting a full Tom Selleck.

      Maybe a Wilford Brimley.

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  3. Guten Tag Meinen Freund;

    Yeah I couldn't resist, since I was stationed in Germany for 5 years and spent time in Berlin(West) with the occasional walk in the east part of the city. I will check out the series, the spousal unit has been watching a lot of period shows like "Midwife, Crown and downton abby" and we both have enjoyed it, the people doing the shows go out of their way to be accurate because they know that they will get "dinged" by people that actually know the era;s in question and it generates bad publicity which is the kiss of death for a series. Thank you for the recommendation.

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    1. Danke, lieber Kamerad!

      (I lived in Nordrhein-Westfalen for 7 and a half years.)

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  4. Hey AFSarge;

    I was reading the comments after posting, the first"Reich" was the Roman empire, the 2nd one was "The Holy Roman Empire" or the time of Charlemaine around 800 AD give or take a year. and the 3rd one is the nasty one. from 1933 to 1945.

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    1. Second one was (in theory, they didn't call it that) was the time of the Kaisers from 1870 to 1918.

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  5. Always preferred Bavarian Deutsche, hillbillies need to stick together.

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    1. Hahaha!

      I can barely understand Bavarians, Austrians even less. The local dialect where I lived (near the Dutch border) sounded more like Dutch than German.

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  6. Generation War is kind of a German Band Of Brothers. I watched a few episodes on Netflix a few years back. It gets the horrors of the Russian Front across in a way I hadn't seen before.

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    1. I've watched that series twice, planning on watching it again, it's brilliant!

      I second your recommendation.

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    2. I just read some of the reviews of that film, my main thought is that I have read that a number of Germans have expressed feeling some level of guilt over what was done in their country and by their countrymen; the Japanese have never ( to my knowledge ) expressed similar feelings.

      Paul

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    3. A vastly different culture, extraterrestrial aliens as some have described them.

      It's hard to understand them.

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    4. Perhaps because I tend to like the individual Japanese whom I have met, I don't think their culture is all that difficult to understand. ( Also, my degree is in cultural anthropology. ) In some ways, they resemble Germans, but the Japanese who immigrated to this country tended to try to stay in their own culture groups or assimilated to the greatest degree they could. Germans, who immigrated in much greater numbers, didn't ( largely by the second generation ) look or sound much, if any, different than other Americans who had been born in and/or grown up in the United States.

      Paul

      Paul

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    5. Double signatures due to multiple previews and additions.

      Paul

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    6. Their culture now perhaps, it was very different during the war. The militarists corrupted many of the military traditions (bushido), many of them still resented the fact that they were not samurai. I think the corruption was intentional.

      I too like the Japanese and the Germans, having served in both countries.

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    7. Ah, yes, the multiple previews and edits, been there, done that.

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  7. I wondered what film that parody clip came from, and now I know. I will try to watch it, subtitles on of course, but I tend to miss what's going on on the screen because I'm reading the subtitles.

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    1. Now you know!

      As I speak a bit of German it's not as hard for me, but I do tend to go down a rathole when they mistranslate. Which happens frequently. They get the gist of the sentence but not the full impact. Like when a guy talks for 5 minutes and it shows in the subtitles as "Hello, how are you today?"

      An excellent film by the way.

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    2. "They get the gist of the sentence but not the full impact. Like when a guy talks for 5 minutes and it shows in the subtitles as "Hello, how are you today?"" Yes, I quite agree, even though I don't speak or understand much spoken German. However, I think it would be hard to get all that was being said into subtitles. I don't have much of an ability to learn languages other than my birth language; and I'm still working on that one.

      Thanks for the post.
      Paul L. Quandt

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    3. I think that a lot of the idioms are "lost in translation." Probably because even in English their idioms wouldn't make any sense to us. And vice versa.

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    4. Yes, a good part of understanding other languages is knowing the culture in which it is spoken.

      Paul

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    5. Idioms are fun.

      The German idiom "Es geht um die Wurst", literally "It's about the sausage," is one way to say "now or never" in German.

      I don't know if that's country-wide

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  8. Well, sounds interesting. But I'm avoiding Netflix for reasons...

    Another interesting movie full of background tidbits is... "Casablanca." Many of the Germans were actually... Germans, who left or escaped before the borders closed. Same with many of the background actors, French, Jewish, a whole bunch of them had fled or escaped.

    So there's layers and layers in that movie.

    Hmmm. Time to find it and watch it again.

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    1. I don't let politics stand in the way, ever.

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    2. "I don't let politics stand in the way, ever." You are a better man than I, Charlie Brown.

      Paul

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    3. I tend to be tolerant, unless pushed too far. If they screen crap, I don't have to watch it. But they do have a lot of good programming.

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    4. I have a ' foaming at the mouth ' tendency.

      Paul

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    5. Sorry, they (Netflix) is paying the Obunglers and many of their chief staff big money because... Obunglers.

      Thus. No Netflix. Until they hire the same number of actual Americans (you know, support the Constitution, aren't flaming socialists, etc.) Or until they get rid of the Obunglers et al.

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    6. Many on the planet are misguided. At least Netflix provides a service.

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  9. I don't agree that the actor has the right to be miffed. During the short interview he sounds like he is thankful that the role brought him fame, and in almost the same breath he says that the satires are OK and don't bother him, and then he will say something that makes it obvious that the satires bother him on several levels.

    He did indeed do brilliant acting, and like many actors their body of work is defined by a memorable, or several memorable roles. Just like Tuna, the exposure to his work through the satire clip results in people watching the entire movie.

    I don't think Mr. Ganz can have it both ways.

    German language.
    When I started with INS in '98 the older Germans were still traveling and a little, little, bit of German for the entrance interview came in handy.
    I believe it is the perfect language to use when you need to ask adversarial questions, and there is a lot of German in the English language, although we don't really speak English, we speak American.

    Good post, several thought provoking points, and as usual I have to up my writing and carefully compose what I want to say in the comments.

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    1. Thanks John.

      As to Herr Ganz wanting it both ways, that's one of the areas in which the translation fell short, he gets why it's popular but the fact that he worked so hard on that film and that folks are using it without paying for it (which is, after all, technically illegal in the West) is bothersome.

      As he has passed on, I'll cut him some slack on that.

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    2. "...although we don't really speak English, we speak American." John: I almost completely agree with you. We, in this country ( the USA ) speak American English; as Canadians speak Canadian English, Australians speak Australian English, etc.,etc. The English language is splitting into various regional versions of a language which already was a blend of other languages. Then there are the regional variations of each of these countries' versions. Oh for a time machine in order to see how this evolves in the next several hundred or thousand years.

      Paul

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    3. Oh fudge, I messed up again. In my second sentence, I didn't close the comma. Some OGF I am.

      Paul

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    4. Paul. I realized a while back that I tended (tend) to scatter commas haphazardly as if they were wildflower seeds in a meadow. Improving my writing is a process that's aided by the free and open exchange of ideas here, and the tone of correction isn't that of someone saying, "You moron, ......" I not only see commenters self correct, I also hear the tone of gentle correction in those who find those errors.
      When (not if) I make a grammar error, I learn from that and try not to repeat that particular error. I read a saying that talks about chess. "If you want to get better at chess, play chess with people better than you." I will change that to, "If you want to write better, write in the company of those who write better than you."
      On the subject of the English language I was going to use the saying about the English language following other languages down an alley and mugging them for words the English language wants to use, but the attribution was shaky.

      Sarge. I'd looked into the issue of money and the "Downfall" bunker clip.
      In 2010 the director of "Downfall" said, “The point of the film was to kick these terrible people off the throne that made them demons, making them real and their actions into reality,” he says. “I think it’s only fair if now it’s taken as part of our history, and used for whatever purposes people like.” He adds, “If only I got royalties for it, then I’d be even happier.”
      https://www.vulture.com/2010/01/the_director_of_downfall_on_al.html

      But what about royalties? It got complicated.
      Also in 2010, the producers of "Downfall" used part of the "fair use" provision of YouTube to remove their copyrighted material from YouTube.
      http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/04/22/copyright.hitler.videos/index.html

      The subject was discussed in this 16APR2012 paper written by Aaron Schwabach at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in a research paper titled, "Reclaiming Copyright From the Outside In: What the Downfall Hitler Meme Means for Transformative Works, Fair Use, and Parody."
      The link here goes to the abstract, and the entire paper can either be read via PDF download.
      https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2040538

      A full and complete understanding of the royalties question is still a bit beyond my grasp.







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    5. John: "Paul. I realized a while back that I tended (tend) to scatter commas haphazardly as if they were wildflower seeds in a meadow." That's why I buy commas in case load lots. If you were to look at some of my longer comments, you would find a need for something with which to tally up the number I have used.

      Paul

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    6. "On the subject of the English language I was going to use the saying about the English language following other languages down an alley and mugging them for words the English language wants to use,..." I had not heard/read that saying before; thanks, I shall cheerfully steal/barrow it.

      Paul

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    7. On your last Paul, most languages do that. Also, the language varies here, the UK, and in Canada from region to region. I can't speak for Australia. At least we can mostly understand each other. Yhough I can understand a Brit from Yorkshire about as well as a Cajun from way back in the bayou. That is, not at all.

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  10. I'm sorry. I prefer the parodies.
    BTW, I have seen the movie and enjoyed it very much. Now, having read "Ordinary Men", I am having trouble proclaiming the Germanic side of my heritage. Then, I remember what happened to the English, Irish and Scots. O my! Then I think of the Georgia, North Carolina, South, too and all that carnage. Then all those I may have maimed and killed protecting us from the Asian hoard. Good grief! TMI. PTL!

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    1. I don't think that there are many groups/nationalities of human beings which don't have blood of others on their hands ( at least metaphorically ).

      Paul

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    2. The parodies are, for the most part, pretty good.

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    3. PLQ - My guess would be none, though I hear the Bushmen of the Kalahari are pretty non-violent. I could be wrong.

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    4. I was thinking of the people in the far north ( the name of whom I know, but cannot spell; and am too lazy to look up ).

      Paul

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    5. Ha. Funny story about the Inuit. Someone finally got around to asking them why they lived so far north. Apparently the elder answered something like "The others wouldn't let us move south."

      In other words, they were last off the land bridge...

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    6. Yes, those are the ones.

      Andrew- I hadn't heard that before, thanks for the info.

      Paul

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  11. Can y'all tell that I have too much time on my hands today?

    Paul

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    1. But of course. ( It sound better in French. )

      Paul

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    2. I heard it in a French accent, if that helps.

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    3. Double fudge, "It sound..." there should be an ' s ' at the end of sound. Seriously, if I keep on doing this, I'm going to turn in my OGF ( Marshal's Baton ). Background: When I was in the CalARNG, one of the senior NCOs took to calling me ' Field Marshal '. However, he never gave me my Field Marshal's Baton. I'm sure that that is much more information than any of you wished to know.

      Paul

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    4. Jawohl, Herr Generalfeldmarschall!

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    5. Does this mean that I go from OGF to HGFM?

      Paul

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  12. Of all the Hitler in the bunker movies I’ve seen, that one with Bruno Ganz to me was the most accurate. Hitler is often portrayed as a madman but how could a madman seduce an entire country? The movie is based in large part on the memoirs of Traudl Junge, The secretary in the movie.

    So I enjoyed the movie so much I read her book and that in itself is fascinating. She was only talked into publishing this towards the end of her life by another author.

    As to the series the moral dilemmas it posed for the second series was pretty accurate. I think what some of those doctors did would crush your soul

    And that psychiatrist. Notice as the Russians are closing in he’s got a civilian suit on.

    I think if they saw the tattooed number on them more often than not they just shoot them.

    Can’t say I blame them.

    I enjoyed the second series very much and I am enjoying the first series

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  13. I recently read BLITZED, Drugs in the Third Reich. I knew about Pervertin, the crystal meth that the Germans gave to their troops, but had no idea how widespread and accepted the use was among Germans. Well worth the money for the Kindle version.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IAS9G94/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)