Deutschland Discoveries: 66 Facts That Capture the Essence of Germany

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1Franz Stigler

Franz Stigler

Franz Stigler, a German ace fighter pilot who risked his life to spare and then save the lives of 9 Americans by escorting their injured B-17 bomber out of Germany. The incident would later be called "the most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II."


2. A man named Timothy Ray Brown was cured of HIV in Germany via a bone marrow transplant from a donor whose gene mutation made him immune to HIV. That gene is relatively common in Northern Europe. Researchers have speculated that the gene is the result of natural selection during diseases similar to smallpox or Black Death.


3. The city of Hamburg, Germany banned K-Cups after deeming them "environmentally harmful"


4. Under NATO nuclear weapons sharing, the United States has provided nuclear weapons for Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey to deploy and store. Since all U.S. nuclear weapons are protected with Permissive Action Links, the host states cannot arm the bombs without authorization codes from the United States Air Force.


5. In 2003, PETA offered $15000 to the city of Hamburg, Germany to change its name to Veggieburg


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6Pennsylvania Dutch

Pennsylvania Dutch

The Pennsylvania Dutch aren’t actually Dutch, they are German. Upon arrival, they were saying “Deutsch” which is German for, well, German. Germany in their native language is “Deutschland.” English speaking Americans just assumed they were saying “Dutch.”


7. There is a population of radioactive wild boars in Germany, caused by Chernobyl disaster and their number is rising.


8. During a 2012 study done in eastern Germany, the researchers could not find a single person under the age of 28 who believed in God.


9. When a Russian man's family (Vitaly Kaloyev's family) died in a 2002 plane crash over Germany, he tracked down the air traffic controller (Peter Nielsen). He felt that he was responsible and murdered him in front of his family. For this, he spent 3 years in a Swiss prison, then returned home and was appointed as a deputy to a government ministry.


10. In Germany, when a kid becomes an adult at age 18, it can get rid of all its debt by offering its debtors everthing its owns at that point. The young adult is relieved from all other debts they can't pay back so that no young adult has to face a life in debt for things they did as teenager.


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11Thomas Kretschmann

Thomas Kretschmann

Actor Thomas Kretschmann, who appeared in King Kong and The Pianist, made a month-long trek from East to West Germany to escape communism when he was 19. He crossed 4 borders with only a passport and the equivalent of $100 and lost part of his finger to frostbite


12. Since Costa Rica was not at the Treaty of Versailles, they have been at war with Germany since WWI, and are technically still at war.


13. After WWII, the CIA recruited Nazi war criminals, who had worked on mind control/brainwashing techniques in Germany, to assist them with their own mind control experiments on unwitting US citizens.


14. In medieval Germany, married couples could legally settle their disputes by fighting a Marital Duel. To even the field, the man had to fight from inside a hole with one arm tied behind his back. The woman was free to move and was armed with a sack filled with rocks.


15. Throughout the 1930s, Hollywood allowed the German government to censor films in the U.S. and around the world that were unflattering towards Germany or the Nazis.


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16East and West Germany division

East and West Germany division

East and West Germany division can still be seen from space, each side using different types of light bulbs.


17. There is a mushroom (Gyromitra esculenta) that looks like a brain and so dangerous to eat that Switzerland and Germany prohibit it to be sold, while some others regard it as a delicacy.


18. In 2010, an elderly man named Cornelius Gurlitt in Germany was investigated for having large sums of cash and since he was unemployed and with no obvious means of income, in September 2011 the prosecutor obtained a warrant to investigate his small flat in Schwabing, Munich. In late February 2012, when checking the premises, they discovered more than a thousand pieces of art, with a present estimated value of up to €50 million. The artworks were suspected of being looted by the Nazis around World War II.


19. In 2005, a TV show piloted in Germany called Sperm Race. Twelve male competitors donated their sperm to be sent to a lab in Cologne. At the lab, three doctors then observed the sperm as they “raced” toward an egg with a bit of chemical encouragement. The man with the fastest sperm won a new red Porsche, but the race never aired on TV.


20. Other countries that celebrate Thanksgiving include: Germany - they celebrate the Harvest Thanksgiving Festival in early October; Grenada - they celebrate Thanksgiving Day on October 25th; Korea - they celebrate Korean Thanksgiving Day in late September or early October; Japan - they celebrate Labor Thanksgiving on November 23rd; Liberia - they celebrate Thanksgiving on the first Thursday of November; and Norfolk Island celebrates Thanksgiving on the last Wednesday of November.


21Belgian MiG-23 crash

Belgian MiG-23 crash

In 1989, a Soviet pilot ejected a perfectly working MIG 23 thinking the plane's engine had failed. It flew over 560 miles, crossing Germany before running out of fuel and crashing into a house in Belgium killing one teenager


22. Volkswagen was sued by Czechoslovakian car maker Tatra before WWII because the original Beetle was so similar to the Tatra T97. After Germany invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938, the lawsuit was canceled by the Nazis.


23. The Leica Camera Company smuggled hundreds of Jews out of Nazi Germany before the Holocaust, masquerading the Jews as employees being assigned overseas. The company helped each refugee find a job, gave each of them a Leica camera, and a monthly stipend till they found work.


24. Martin Luther King Jr. was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929. In 1934, however, his father, a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, traveled to Germany and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. As a result, King Sr. changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.


25. In 2011, an anti-Nazi organization called Exit distributed free t-shirts at a neo-Nazi rock concert in Germany. These shirts appeared to be neo-Nazi-themed, but after they were washed, an anti-Nazi message was revealed.

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