Category Archives: History

“Why were so many predators getting away with it? And what would it take to stop them?”

The New York Times: The Rape Kit’s Secret History. “This is the story of the woman who forced the police to start treating sexual assault like a crime.” By Pagan Kennedy.

“How could a tool as potentially powerful as the rape kit have come into existence in the first place? For nearly two decades, I’d been reporting on inventors, breakthroughs and the ways that new technologies can bring about social change. It seemed to me that the rape-kit system was an invention like no other. Can you think of any other technology designed to hold men accountable for brutalizing women?

As soon as I began to investigate the rape kit’s origins, however, I stumbled across a mystery. Most sources credited a Chicago police sergeant, Louis Vitullo, with developing the kit in the 1970s. But a few described the invention as a collaboration between Mr. Vitullo and an activist, Martha Goddard. Where was the truth? As so often happens in stories about rape, I found myself wondering whom to believe.


The rape-kit idea was presented to the public as a collaboration between the state attorney’s office and the police department, with men running both sides… and little credit given to the women who had pushed for reform. Ms. Goddard agreed to this […] because she saw that it was the only way to make the rape kit happen.”

Schengen lebt wieder – vive l’espace Schengen!

Deutsche Welle: Coronavirus latest: Europe reopens borders for summer travel. “Germany and France are among many European countries reopening their borders to fellow European travelers, three months after coronavirus lockdown measures went into force.”

We live about 27km (17 miles) from the French border. Thanks to the Schengen agreement there have never been border controls since we moved to this area. In fact, border controls between France and Germany (and other Schengen countries) were abolished in March 1995, so it had been 25 years without controls when the Corona pandemic forced the borders closed earlier this year. Even though we don’t go there very often, it feels good that the borders are open once again. I almost feel like driving there this afternoon, just because I can!

Deutsche Welle: Europas Grenzen öffnen sich wieder. “Polen, Tschechien, Frankreich, Norwegen: Die wegen der Corona-Pandemie eingeführten Beschränkungen an innereuropäischen Grenzen fallen nach und nach weg. Die “günstige Entwicklung” macht’s möglich.”

Schengen lebt wieder. “Die wegen der Corona-Krise geschlossenen EU-Binnengrenzen sind wieder weitestgehend offen. Deutsche und Franzosen freuen sich in Kehl und Straßburg über das Ende der Personenkontrollen.”

Schön, dass heute nach drei Monaten die Grenze zu Frankreich wieder geöffnet ist. Die Grenzkontrollen zwischen uns und unseren Nachbarn sind aufgrund des Schengen-Abkommens vor 25 Jahren weggefallen – bis die Corona-Pandemie kam. Hoffen wir, dass die Infektionszahlen sich so günstig entwickeln, dass die Grenzen nicht wieder geschlossen werden müssen!

“Vater der Pflegeversicherung”

Deutsche Welle: Ex-Bundesarbeitsminister Norbert Blüm ist tot. “”Die Rente ist sicher” – mit diesen Worten ging der CDU-Politiker Norbert Blüm schon zu Lebzeiten in die Annalen ein. Seine nachhaltigste Leistung: die Einführung der Pflegeversicherung. Nun verstarb er 84-jährig.”

Die Zeit:

Norbert Blüm ist gestorben.
“Die Rente ist sicher”: Mit diesem Satz ist er berühmt geworden. Helmut Kohl diente er als Dauerminister – bis zum Zerwürfnis. Jetzt ist Blüm mit 84 Jahren gestorben.

Kämpfer für den Sozialstaat. “Norbert Blüm stand in der CDU unter dem Verdacht, ein Linker zu sein. Er war unabhängig, sozial und loyal zu Helmut Kohl – auch als dieser ihn verstieß.” Von Gunter Hofmann.

“Verlässlichkeit im Handeln und Klarheit im Wort”. “Ein “weiser alter Mann” und eine “herausragende politische Persönlichkeit”: Politiker und Weggefährten haben den verstorbenen CDU-Politiker Norbert Blüm gewürdigt.”

Am 11. März 2020 erschien sein letzter Artikel in der Zeit, der allerdings nur für Abonnenten online zugänglich ist:

Was bedeutet mein Unglück? “Im Rollstuhl fällt der Blick auf das Leben anders aus.” Von Norbert Blüm.

“The story of my grandmother confused people, especially Jewish Americans, who understandably assume that any story about escaping the war to the US is a happy one.”

The Guardian: I could never understand my grandmother’s sadness – until I learned her tragic story. “My French grandmother came to the US to escape the Nazis. What did a box of letters and photographs reveal about the sacrifice she made?” By Hadley Freeman.

“It is probably no coincidence that I finally committed in the shadow of the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election. Neither of these political shifts were about keeping out the Jews, but they were about keeping out immigrants, and the story of the Glasses was one of immigration, from Poland to France, and France to America. Alongside that, antisemitism was on the rise throughout Europe in a way I never thought I’d see in my lifetime, on both the right and the left. A 2018 survey found that one in five Europeans believe Jews have “too much influence in the media and politics”. In France, antisemitic acts rose by 74% between 2017-2018. As I was writing, furious arguments raged across British politics about antisemitism, particularly within the Labour party, where non-Jews on the left suddenly felt very comfortable telling Jews that they knew better what is and isn’t antisemitic. At the same time, reports of antisemitic acts in Britain rose every year as I worked on the book, culminating in 2019 with 1,805 incidents, the highest number in 35 years. Meanwhile, 41% of Americans now don’t even know what Auschwitz is. Reading these news stories quashed any concerns I had that writing about the past, or my family, was self-indulgent.”

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