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soc.culture.german FAQ (posted monthly) part 3/6

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 )
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Archive-name: german-faq/part3
Last modified: 2001-09-02
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Version: 2001-09

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
     This is part 3 of the ASCII version of the FAQ list for
     soc.culture.german. Find the WWW version at
     <>. The FAQ is posted on
     the first of every month.

                     Table of Contents for Part  3

  8. Electronic Language

     8.1 Dictionaries (and Word Lists from the Net)
     8.2 Encyclopedias, Lexika
     8.3 Translation Programs
     8.4 Spell Checkers; Thesauri
     8.5 Tutorial/Educational Software
     8.6 Computer Terminology Dictionaries
     8.7 Alphabetizing German Words
     8.8 German Fonts
        8.8.1 Page comments

  9. Genealogy

     9.1 How do I Find Out About my Family Name?
        9.1.1 Online info
        9.1.2 The old fashioned way
     9.2 Where is Famous ... Buried?
        9.2.1 Page comments

  10. Phone System

     10.1 Some recent history
     10.2 Public Phones / Phone Cards in Germany
     10.3 Nation-Wide Phone-Numbers (Emergency, Information)
     10.4 Getting Phonenumbers via Internet
     10.5 Importing Phone/Modem/fax to Germany?
     10.6 Adapters
     10.7 Calling Germany Collect from Abroad?
     10.8         Using US Phone Cards in Germany?
        10.8.1 Page comments

  11. Political Life

     11.1 National Anthem
     11.2 The Federal Flag
     11.3 Text of the Grundgesetz
     11.4 Government resources on the net
     11.5 Political Parties Represented in the Bundestag
     11.6 Elections and election dates
        11.6.1 Page comments

  12. History, Law -- Internet Resources

     12.1 History
     12.2 Law
     12.3 Immigration matters
        12.3.1 Getting a work permit
  The "Green-Card"
        12.3.2 Aufenthalts what?
        12.3.3 What about studying in Germany ?
        12.3.4 Page comments

  8.  Electronic Language

  There is a huge list of quotes
  <> of the strange kind.

  8.1.  Dictionaries (and Word Lists from the Net)

     German word lists
        German word lists and German-English dictionary word lists are
        available via ftp from the sites listed below. Note that the
        dictionary at U Ulm <ftp://ftp.uni-> made by Juergen
        Dollinger) comprises a cleaned up combination of many of the
        others. Much redundancy removed. This   project has just been
        updated and is now also available as a straight zip file
        <> for dos-users.
        An alternative directory to find these files is ftp://ftp.stud- <ftp://ftp.stud-verwaltung.uni->.  1997-01

     FTP sources in Europe

     o  U        Ulm <> 1995-10

     o  TU Munich <ftp://ftp.informatik.tu->

     o  U Cologne <>

     o  TH Darmstadt <>

     o  U Muenster <>

     o  WU Wien <>

     o  TU Wien

     FTP sources west of the Atlantic

     o  from Purdue University

     WWW sources
        Also check out: Forwiss, U Passau <http://www.forwiss.uni-> 1997-02

        Oh yes, and then there's Munich! <> and the
        comprehensive services from TU Chemnitz <http://www.tu-> 1996-05

        Travelang has set up a very    general translator
        <>  and also a      mirror
        <> of leo's
        service. 1996-10


        U Kiel <
        deutsch.tar.gz> 1994-11

        For general mail order places selling CD-ROM's look at
        `Questions and Answers!'

        The following companies might have CD-ROM versions of Collins
        German-English Dictionary:

     o  Bibliographisches Institut & F.A.Brockhaus AG, Dudenstr. 6, 6800
        Mannheim 1, tel +49(621)3901 -81, fax -389 1994-11

     o  EBP - Electronic Book Publishing,  52 Monmouth Street, GB-London
        WC2H 9EP, tel +44(71)2404-292, fax -138 1994-11

     o  Harper Collins Publishers,  Electronic Reference, 14, Steep
        Lane, Findon, Worthing, West Sussex, BN14 0UF, U.K., tel +44
        (0)903-873-555, fax -633, Compuserve: 100317,1372 Collins
        themselves have different kinds of electronic bilingual
        dictionaries. They are only available on floppy disk (they
        intend to issue a CD-ROM in the future)

     o  Collins On-line v2.20: >40,000 references; >70,000 translations;
        >1.5Mb disk space;#59 +VAT.

     o  Collins Series 100 v1.1a: >75,000 references; >110,000
        translations; >2MB hard disk space; #69 +VAT.

        Both versions are supplied for use in windows and DOS. I was
        told that the main difference between the two versions is that
        although the Series 100 is larger, it does not allow you to add
        your own entries, whereas the smaller On-Line is not fixed.

     Languages of the World

          There is also a CD-ROM, originally put out by Sony in
          1989,  called Languages of the World.  This disk was in
          DOS  and cost US$800 back then, but now it's
     available for Windows with a better interface for about
     US$40, has German, French, Italian, Dutch, Spanish,
     Japanese and Chinese (with limited character output),
     Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish. You can go from
     any one to any other, but since mostly English-Other Lan-
     guage dictionaries are the base it is best to and from
     English. The dictionaries are decent student paperback
     type works, not the quality of the Oxford English Dictio-

          For German specifically, it has Harrap's Concise, which I
          have found to have just about everything I have looked up
          (and I'm a German major), and Brandstetter's Science and
          Technology dictionaries. Again, it's top rate, and it can
          run as a TSR so you can pull it up in any other program,
          such as a word processor.


  8.2.  Encyclopedias, Lexika

     Bertelsmann Universal Lexicon
        Available on CD-ROM, which can be ordered one from

     o  totronik Torsten Droste, Rotebuehlstrasse 85, D-70178 Stuttgart,
        tel +49(711)6271980, fax +49(711)616218

     o  Asix Technology GmbH, Postfach 142, 76255 Ettlingen, tel
        +49(7243)31048, fax +49(7243)30080 The cost is about DM 150, and
        they take major credit cards. Airmail shipment arrived within a
        week. They carry a number of other CD-ROM's also, and a catalog
        on 3-1/2inch disk is available. 1994-1

     Meyer's Lexikon - das Wissen A-Z
        An experimental online version of Meyer's    Lexikon.

  8.3.  Translation Programs

     For MS-DOS
        Translation by Timeworks Inc.

     For both Macintosh and MS-DOS

        Power Translator (PT)
           Cost in US: about US$120.  Requires: Mac II or better, 31 MB
           of disk space, 2 MB RAM, System 7. Note: There is also a
           Professional version (untested, about US$475) for which
           subject dictionaries are available.

           A user of Power translator said

             PT is designed for producing rough draft translations,
             whereas (GA) provides reference tools in addition to
             translation.  PT translates several times faster than
             GA. PT can (barely) be used as a bilingual dictionary,
             but GA's dictionary is much, much better. PT provides
             only a single word translation, while GA has multiple
             definitions and phrases as one would find in a real
             dictionary. GA also has a useful verb conjugation tool
             and grammar help. Generally speaking, in this price
        bracket the software translations range from poetic to


        Language Assistant (GA)
           Made by Microtac Software. Cost in US: about US$50 Requires:
           Mac II or better, 6 MB of disk space, 3 MB free RAM, System
           7. Note: Comes with 90 day money back guarantee directly from

  8.4.  Spell Checkers; Thesauri

     For Macintosh

     o  Excalibur:

          For German on the Macintosh, look for Excalibur. This is
          a spell-checker designed to work with LaTeX documents,
          but does also handle plain text very well. Communication
          with just about any editor via clipboard is possible!
          There are German, Dutch, French, Italian, and many other
          dictionaries available.

     (about US$0).
     mac/text/excalibur-221.hqx <ftp://ftp.rrzn.uni-han->

     For both MS-DOS and Macintosh

     o  Word, WordPerfect and the like offer special modules  for
        several languages, not only German.  One can get spell checking
        and thesaurus modules for German. (about US$100) 1994-2

     o  Claris' International Language Packs include spellcheckers,
        dictionaries, thesauri and more. Available also in German and
        Swiss German. Claris Corporation, Box 526, Santa Clara, CA
        95052-9870, +1(800)544-8554 US$50 1995-10

     For MS-DOS

        Accent 1.0
           Multilingual Word Processor

           Over 30 different languages. Needs IBM 386 with Windows, 6 to
           25MB. Spellcheckers: 17 languages, Thesaurus: 9 languages,
           Hyphenation: 12 languages, Berlitz(R) Interpreter(TM) (5
           language translation tool)

           Accent file filters allow you to import and export documents
           to other standard Windows software you are using including:
           Lotus, Ami-Pro, Excel, Word, Wordperfect, RTF, and ASCII
           text. The file
           is 1.2MB.

           Send email for more   information. <>

  8.5.  Tutorial/Educational Software

     For MS-DOS
        If you have an MS-DOS platform, an interesting place to look at
        might  be the Simtel Software Repository at
        <> and its mirrors, directory:

        There is free/shareware German, Spanish, Afrikaans, and other
        language software in this directory:

     o   GERM1-23.ZIP
        <file://OAK.OAKLAND.EDU/Simtel/msdos/langtutr/>  and
        Cover German language topics (mainly verb CONJUGATION  and
        vocabulary exercises.)

     o  VOCAB217.ZIP
        <file://OAK.OAKLAND.EDU/Simtel/msdos/langtutr/>  Has
        basic vocabulary for several different languages.

     o  GPLUS30.ZIP
        German Plus v3.0 is a language tutorial featuring review and
        exercises of over 500 nouns, adjectives, and verbs conjugated in
        the four major tenses. The program contains a look-up feature
        for use with the database. (about US$0)

     o  GI-ZERTI.ZIP <file://OAK.OAKLAND.EDU/Simtel/msdos/langtutr/gi->. Basic vocabulary German. The official list of the
        Zertifikat Deutsch als Fremdsprache (ZDaF) of the Goethe
        Institutes <> and the Deutscher
        Volkshochschulen <>-Verband.  You will find
        all the basic vocabulary with example sentences that show you
        how to use these words in a context. Very useful for beginners.
        About 2000 words in hypertext . The program can be loaded
        resident.  Features help, search, index, print and color
        options.  IBM-compatible. (Shareware)

     o  GI-LEHRW.ZIP <file://OAK.OAKLAND.EDU/Simtel/msdos/langtutr/gi-> List of teaching materials of German. Helps students
        and teachers of German to find all kind of information about
        teaching materials of German.  In hypertext . IBM-
        compatible. The list is the official Arbeitsmittelliste fuer den
        Deutschunterricht von Auslaendern 1994 of the Goethe
        Institutes <> including prices and
        publishers.  (Shareware)

     o  GI-DLAND.ZIP <file://OAK.OAKLAND.EDU/Simtel/msdos/langtutr/gi-> More facts about Deutschland (Germany.) Helps
        students and teachers of German to find information about all
        kinds kinds of political, economic or social issues of German
        reality. Hypertext .  IBM-compatible.

     o  GI-ADRES.ZIP <file://OAK.OAKLAND.EDU/Simtel/msdos/langtutr/gi-> 10,000 addresses of German institutions. Helps
        students or teachers of German to find addresses in Germany by
        name, location or any other key word. Hypertext . IBM-


        Several German instructional software programs at this
        Washington gopher site.
        <gopher://> No idea
        what it is, though.  There are text descriptions for each you
        can read before down-loading. (about US$0)

           An interactive morphological analysis system
           <> for German.  1995-4

        Berlitz Conversation Course (on CD-ROM)
           (Speak s.c.g-readers:)

             HyperGlot's Berlitz Think and Talk German package
             consists of 9 CD-ROMS containing a (rather simple)
             10,000 word dictionary, the German text for 50 conver-
             sations (scenes), and an instructional program. The
             scenes CD-ROMs are compatible with audio CD players,
             so you can play them on your stereo, walkman, or com-
             puter. They range from the basic Das it ein Wagen, to
             the complex  discussions similar to business discus-

        The Berlitz method to teach German consists of 4 steps:

           1. Listen to the scene,

           2. Read the scene,

           3. Write the scene,

           4. Think and talk about the scene.
        The program seems to be designed for beginner speakers of Ger-
        man. List price is $149.00, but it should be available for less
        than $90 via mail order. 1995-10

        The Rosetta Stone
           For the early stages The Rosetta Stone was recommend. It's an
           interactive windows program by Fairfield Language Technology.
           Comes on CD-ROM and amply uses its multimedia  to your
           advantage. (US$350) 1995-05

        Transparent Language
           For both MS-DOS and Macintosh version 2.0, tel
           +1(800)332-8851, email

           principle: don't memorize -- get involved in a story! main
           window shows story in original language, (French, German,
           Italian, Latin, or Spanish) three other windows explain
           correct meaning of word in context, meaning of sentence, and
           notes on grammar/root words/etc.

           You get only three stories for free, additional stories are
           US$15-35; they have 17 different German stories as of now,
           adding about 4 every year.

           Readers from soc.culture.german have reported positive
           experiences, esp. good for not absolute beginners. But the
           stories tend to be on the serious side. (Kafka didn't have
           much fun, either!) List price is US$99 -- but mention that
           you heard of the promotional US$30 price! A number of
           soc.culture.german readers have already saved good  bucks and
           paid only US$29.95 + 8.00 S&H. 1994-4

        Herr Kommissar(R) 1.5
           For Macintosh -- a language-learning software with a
           difference. tel +1(717)296-2517, tel +1(800)262-3791 A
           free demo <>.

           Rather than drill-and-practice or canned lessons, Herr
           Kommissar teaches intermediate German vocabulary and grammar
           by immersing learners in a (simulated) conversation in the
           living language itself. (A vacationing American police
           detective attempts to help German colleagues in solving a
           murder mystery.)

           On-line assistance in vocabulary, spelling, and grammar.
           Optimized to handle the productions of beginning learners;
           Herr Kommissar's core syntactic/semantic engine also covers
           most of more advanced grammatical constructions, such as
           relative clauses, coordinate sentences, and the passive

           RAM: >1Mb, System: almost any (US$100), 1995-10

        German Tutor
           A self-paced tutorial in German grammar fundamentals. On
           error the program analyses the mistake and automatically
           generates a review exercise based on the mistake. Online
           help, list of all possible answers, glossary, and grammar

           RAM: >1Mb, System: >6.0.5, (US$29), 1995-4

        MacLang 4.5
           Create computer-assisted language learning  exercises.

           Possible exercise types: vocabulary, fill-in-the-blank,
           paragraph, multiple choice, jumble, multi-. Use English
           and any one of the following German simultaneously.  (Also
           good for a variety of other languages.)

           RAM: >1Mb, System: >6.0.5, (US$25), 1995-4

  8.6.  Computer Terminology Dictionaries

     Woerterbuch der Datentechnik / Dictionary of Computing
        by Vittorio Ferretti. Available from Springer's office    in
        NYC. <> 1997-06

     Universalwoerterbuch der Technik
        CD-ROM version published by Routledge
        <>.  1997-06

     Fachausdruecke der Informationsverarbeitung
        Woerterbuch und Glossar,  Englisch-Deutsch, Deutsch-Englisch
        (current status unknown).

        IBM Form GQ 12-1044-1, approximately 1700 pages, copyright 1985,
        no ISBN #

        IBM Deutschland GMBH, Postfach 800880, 7 Stuttgart-80

        Complete Multilingual Dictionary of Computer Terminology "
        English - French - Italian - Spanish - Portuguese

        900+ pages, (1984); ISBN: 0-8442-9108-0

        Passport Books, Trade Imprint of National Textbook Company, 4255
        West Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood, Illinois 60646-1975, 1995-3

  8.7.  Alphabetizing German Words

  About the intricacies of constructing good algorithms for
  alphabetizing international languages have a look at Hans
  Christophersen's article <>
  on the subject!

  8.8.  German Fonts


  Steve Tischer,

  Kontex International, Box 8898, Atlanta, Georgia 30306, USA,

  tel:404-874-4164 fax:404-874-4169 email

       Traditional Fraktur Fonts Series includes four fonts for
       either the Mac or Pc including Regular, Medium, Medium Lang
       and a fat version. Both PostScript Type 1 and TrueType for-
       mats are shipped for each platform.


  Three more fonts can be found the Yamada font collection
  <> 1996-07


  Find German Suetterlin script fonts (like the Walden Font, (c) Oliver
  Weiss) and many other Fraktur fonts at

  P.O. Box 871, Winchester, MA 01890, USA

  tel +1(800)519-4575, email
  <> 1997-05

  8.8.1.  Page comments

  View/add comments

  9.  Genealogy

  Tracing yours and others' ancestry

  9.1.  How do I Find Out About my Family Name?

  9.1.1.  Online info

  The world and your family history is at your finger-tips ...

        Read the newsgroups soc.genealogy.*; in particular
        soc.genealogy.german or get their FAQ list

     German genealogy web sites
        Try the German genealogy server in Kerpen
        <> and its mirror site in
        Giessen <> and in Clovis,
        California <>.1999-08
     Other web sites
        The two biggest world-wide genealogical databases are RootsWeb
        <> and GenWeb.

  9.1.2.  The old fashioned way

  Sometimes, very old information can not be found with very new
  technology. That's when you actually have to get off your butt and
  leave the house.

     In the USA you may want to...
        go to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS.) and
        visit one of their Family History Centers (FHC) and run a
        computer check to see if your family name appears on the
        International Genealogical Index (IGI.) This may provide you
        with the general kingdom, duchy, province, (whatever) where your
        family name appears. It is then up to you to contact the
        genealogical association from that area.  1995-4

        Be sure to check all available U.S. sources: local church
        records, citizenship papers, census reports, passenger lists,
        social security files, war records (civil, WWI, WWII, etc) which
        may list the origin of birth. 1994-11

     Deutsche Zentralstelle fuer Genealogie
        Kaethe Kollwitzstr. 82

        The Center won't provide you with your family tree, but promises
        to answer specific questions (the more specific, the better your
        chances of success!) Their collection includes 100,000 personal
        documents and 16,000 church registers (dating back to the
        sixteenth century) and basic information on more than 1.4
        million people is available.

     The Conference of Americans of Germanic Heritage
        P.O. Box 20554
        fax +1(408)268-9535
        email   GERMNHERTG@AOL.COM 1994-7


  9.2.  Where is Famous ... Buried?

  For burial sites of famous Europeans pick up a copy of the Handbuch
  der Grabstaetten:

  1. Aubert, Joachim; Handbuch der Grabstaetten beruehmter Deutscher,
     Oesterreicher und Schweizer. 2.  Ed.; Muenchen; Dt. Kunstverlag
     (1977); ISBN 3-422-00335-5

  2. Adler, Josef; Die Grabstaetten beruehmter Europaeer; Muenchen,
     Berlin; Dt. Kunstverlag (1986); ISBN 3-422-00782-2


  9.2.1.  Page comments

  View/add comments


  Phone System

  The German phone system used to be operated by the Deutsche Telekom
  <>, only (then government-operated, now
  privatized). The German phone market was demonopolized in January,
  1998. Since then, more than 100 new phone companies have sprung up and
  the phone rates are under fierce competition. In the less than two
  years, for example, the rate for calls to the USA has dropped from 3
  DM to less than 0.15 DM per minute.

  So, as they always say in those great ads, how do you get these
  fantastic rates ? Look at one of the web sites that offer rate
  comparisons. Billiger Telefonieren
  <> and
  <> are two sites that offer rate comparisons and
  the latest news around all things telephone. Heise Verlag
  <> maintains a rate calculator, too.

  Officially, every phone, fax or modem you connect to a phone line
  needs to be approved by the German telekom. Approved appliances have a
  special sticker with a BTZ number on the back.  Although it is illegal
  to connect appliances without a BTZ number, e.g., your favorite low-
  price phone from your last USA trip, violations are rarely prosecuted
  or punished - as long as your unapproved appliance doesn't bring down
  everybody else's phone connection.

  Area codes in Germany all start with a 0. To dial an international
  call, you dial 00 and then the country code. Area codes and phone
  numbers in Germany are variable length: the  bigger the city, the
  shorter the area code, so that 089 is Munich, but 07252 is some small
  town somewhere.

  You can tell that a number is toll free if it starts with 0800; older
  toll free numbers might still use the 0130 prefix, which will be
  abandoned for the internationally more common 0800. On older coin
  phones without an LCD display, you might have to insert 20 Pfennige to
  place a toll free call. Don't worry, you get it back after the call.

  Look at the de-telefon-faq <
  for more information. Defunct ?1999-11

  10.1.  Some recent history

  It used to be, in the good old days (before 1995) that the phone
  system was operated by a government owned monopoly, the Bundespost.
  They had all the advantages of a government monopoly: phone calls were
  expensive, their service was outrageously unfriendly, and hooking up a
  new phone could take up to six weeks. But they had very pretty yellow
  phone booths.

  Deutsche Telekom was split off Bundespost and turned into a public
  company on January 1, 1995. In November 1996, they sold a first packet
  of shares to the public and have by now around 2 million shareholders.

  In their monopoly days, the Deutsche Telekom based their rate not on
  per minute fees, but instead sold one unit to a fixed price and varied
  the length of time on the phone one unit would get you depending on
  how far away you were calling and on the time of day and day of the
  week. A big mess. By now, rates are usually quoted on a per minute
  basis, although you can sometimes still find quotes for 1.5 or 4
  minutes. So always make sure the rate you got quoted is really for the
  amount of time you think it is.

  The Deutsche Telekom <> lets you explore all the
  intricacies of their pricing scheme with their Tarifrechner
  <>.  Bring
  some Aspirin.

  10.2.  Public Phones / Phone Cards in Germany

  In the good old days, phone booths were bright yellow, a real eye-sore
  but easy to spot if you needed one. The new phone booths are almost
  all glass with some gray and a pink trim, trendy but not as easy to
  spot as the old ones. If you are in an urgent need for a public phone
  and can't find one, ask in a restaurant, they usually let you use
  their phone for a quite usurious price (like 50 Pfennige per minute or

  Public phones in Germany work more or less like everywhere else,
  except for the differences: Most public phones by now are card phones.
  Unlike American card phones, they use debit cards.  German phone cards
  can be bought at any post office, most money exchanges at major train
  stations and many newspaper stores. They have a given value, for
  example 12 DM for 60 units or 50 DM for approx. 260 units, which works
  out to something like 0.20 DM/unit.  Once you have used up this value
  you must get a new card.

  It is not that easy any more to find a public coin phone, even though
  they still exist. You usually have to insert 20 Pfennige, the minimum
  price for a call. In airports, train stations and some of the more
  touristy places you often find credit card phones, too.

  10.3.  Nation-Wide Phone-Numbers (Emergency, Information)

  There are two nation-wide emergency telephone numbers:

  o  110 -- Police

  o  112 -- Ambulance and/or the Fire Fighters The numbers are toll
     free, in the modern public card-phones you should be able to dial
     them at any time, without the need for change or a card. If you
     don't know what kind of emergency you have at hand, call 110. The
     fire fighters will send you nasty bills if you call them
     unnecessarily. 1999-11

  In some older pay-phones, though, you may have to insert coins first,
  but they will be returned after the call. In some phone booths you
  will find special emergency switch boxes which can be used by simply
  pulling a lever. 1999-11

  o  19222 -- gets you an ambulance in many cities. This number is not
     prioritized,  though. Use 110 or 112 in emergencies.

  o  19410 -- cab and taxi services.

  o  19444 -- city-netz  (see `Transportation')

  o  19419 -- railway travel information  (see `Railways')

  o  19433 -- touristic information  (see `Tourism')

  10.4.  Getting Phonenumbers via Internet

  There is now a service available for the yellow pages
  <> by Deutsche
  Telekom which allows you to search the contents of       the CD-rom
  <> Gelbe Seiten fuer Deutschland.  1997-01

  For searching white pages: That has recently become available; for
  example at

  o <>

  o <> (English
     <> French
     <>) are operated
     by Deutsche Telekom <>

  If you are looking for an Austrian phone number, you can use the
  following BTX-gateway <> or this telnet
  connection <telnet://>

  For Swiss numbers you may use the following telnet gateway.
  <telnet://> 1995-3

  10.5.  Importing Phone/Modem/fax to Germany?

  You may own any phone but you may not connect it to the public system
  unless it has a BZT number (Old phones: ZZF). You may not own radios
  or cordless phones which are not approved. The number is usually found
  on a sticker at the back of the case.

  Tone dial and pulse dial are available everywhere.  Problems are
  possible with Hong Kong or British  pulse dial phones because the
  pulses there are not exactly the same as in Germany. But the phone
  system is very tolerant and with most of these phones you can switch
  to the other system anyway (same for modems).

  Cordless phones are a real problem. In Germany, cordless phones
  operate on different frequencies (900 MHz) than in most other
  countries. In the bands that many foreign phones use (80 MHz for cheap
  US-phones) are a number of official channels (police, emergencies,
  radio, TV ...). It is punishable to own and use an illegal cordless
  phone! Therefore, use only approved cordless phones !!! or they will
  get you !!!

  On a lighter note: it is possible, for more money, though, to obtain a
  900 Mhz phone abroad. In the US, for instance, these are about twice
  as expensive as the 80 MHz phone; however, you may expect to still cut
  a deal, compared to German prices ;-) 1996-1

  The wall outlets for phones in Germany have a different shape than the
  usual modular plug. Adapters are available in Germany (from 2.50 to 20
  DM). These adapters are no problems with phones. But legal and illegal
  things might not work together on the same line.

  Fax machines usually work in Germany, too. Typically you'll need a new
  power adapter, though. 1995-3

  Since local phone calls in Germany are usually billed by the minute, a
  speedy Modem is not only convenient but can also be a real money-
  saver. By now, both ISDN connections with 64 kbit/s and v.90 modems
  with up to 56 kbit/s are widely available. An ISDN hookup, which
  provides up to ten phone numbers and two simultaneous lines, is not
  only faster but also cheaper than two seperate conventional lines.

  Watch out for the 16kHz timer signal, which the telekom sends to allow
  for your own tracking of billing periods. This is an additional
  account feature, costs 99 Pfennige per month and is pretty useless
  with the newer rate structures anyway. But if you have it and if the
  modem doesn't filter this signal you might lose connection every 90
  seconds (or at multiples thereof.)  1999-11

  Teleadapt ( has a device called TeleFilter,
  which filters the Accounting signal used in the german phonesystem,
  useful for modems that do not have the filter built in (e.g., most
  non-german modems). The same device is also sold by Blackbox
  ( 1998-04

  Mobile/cell phones (called "Handy" in the local vernacular) are
  operated on one of four networks:  D1,   D2, E+ and E2. If you want to
  do international roaming from   your home country, it should work, ask
  your home provider about that.   You will need a GSM900 phone for the
  D-networks or a GSM1800 phone for E-  networks. US GSM1900 phones will
  not work! Note that the D networks have   far better coverage outside
  the bigger cities, they work nearly   everywhere, including forests
  and such.  1999-11

  10.6.  Adapters

  There are cheap(!) adapters available (between 2 and 20 DM.) To build
  one yourself is most likely not cost efficient. Be aware of possible
  legal conflicts. Your phone is more likely to be illegal than the
  homemade adapter. Connection scheme:

         American plug                     German TAE-F or TAE-N plug
     +-------------                            -----
     |           * yellow      4              /    /
    |            * green       3          4     //    3
    |            * red         2              /    /
     |           * black       1                //    2
     +-------------                           /    /
                                                //    1
                                              /    /

  them to the two wires that come into your house (if you can make out
  which they are) yellow/black are for data transmission devices.
  impedance is no problem.

  10.7.  Calling Germany Collect from Abroad?

  The most convenient way for German tourists to call home is the
  Deutschland direkt Line. You can reach it toll-free from the US at

  o  1-800-292-0049

  o  1-800-766-0049

  o  1-800-927-0049 From Canada it is

  o  1-800-465-0049 Note that this service is very expensive. The cost
     is supposedly around DM 2.10 per minute, plus a flat fee of DM
     3.00.  Collect calls are possible. It is also possible to use a
     special phone card and password. Ask your local 'telefonladen' for
     details.  1995-3

  If you want to call a German '130' number from the US, you need to
  call either the above mentioned service or your long distance
  operator. '130' numbers are Germany's version of the US have to pay
  the usual fee for operator assisted long distance calls. Some of the
  German '130' numbers are linked to US '800' numbers so you can
  actually call them for free in the US.

  It is also not possible to reach US '800' numbers from Germany. You
  will have to use an operator. If you own a US phone card use one of
  the numbers listed (see `Using US Phone            Cards') Otherwise
  use the German long distance operator.


  Using US Phone Cards in Germany?

  If you have an American phone card you can get connected to an English
  speaking operator from any phone by dialing:

  o  AT&T Direct:

  o  0130-0010  (operator)

  o  0130-0011  (phone cards)

  o  0130-850 058  (customer assistance)

  o  MCI Direct:     0130-0012

  o  US Sprint:      0130-0013

  o  Canada Direct:  0130-0014

     The following countries offer an equivalent service by dialing:

  0130-800-### (### is the international access code. For two digit
  access codes dial 0##. Example: Australia 0130-800-061)

  Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iceland,
  Israel, Italy, Japan, Rep. of Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, New
  Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey,
  United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Finland, France, Hungary,
  Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Denmark

  Many other international long distance companies provide the same
  service. Ask your long distance carrier for the right number.

  10.8.1.  Page comments

  View/add comments

  11.  Political Life

       I am gladly a patriot, but first I am human, and where the
       two are incompatible, I always go along with the human.

  (Hermann Hesse, 1877-1962)

  11.1.  National Anthem

  The origins of the German national anthem -as well as of the official
  banner- date back well before the revolution of 1848.  The Lied der
  Deutschen was composed by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben
  on the island Helgoland in 1841, based on a melody by Joseph Haydn.

  The melody, the so-called "Kaiserquartett", a quartett for strings in
  C-major, op.  76,3.  was composed 1797 at the request of Count von
  Saurau,  the imperial High Chancellor of the Hapsburg empire.  The
  hymn was first  sung on the birthday of Kaiser Franz II 12.  Feb 1797.
  Haydn later set the  melody with variations as the slow movement of
  the string quartet.  The  melody was based on a Croatian folk song,
  "Vjutro rano se ja vstanem."  It  was the national hymn of Austria
  before it was adopted as the German  one.  1997-06

  The first stanza begins with Deutschland, Deutschland ueber  alles --
  which in the light of that time (Germany was split into a  patchwork
  of many small states) has to be interpreted as an expression of  the
  desire to employ the best forces and emotions towards a unified

  After the first world war the first President of the Weimar Republic,
  Friedrich Ebert, proclaimed the Lied der Deutschen national  anthem.
  However, in the course of history particularly the first stanza  was
  frequently misconstrued.  And after world war II, in 1952, Chancellor
  Konrad Adenauer and President Theodor Heuss --while confirming the
  Lied der Deutschen as the national anthem of the Federal  Republic of
  Germany-- declared only its third stanza to be sung at official

  With the event of the re-unification of Germany the subject was
  reconsidered.  In their correspondence of August 1991 President
  Richard von  Weizsaecker and Chancellor Helmut Kohl acknowledged the
  tradition of  the Lied der Deutschen, noting that --as a document of
  German  history-- all three stanzas form a unit; however:

       The third stanza of the Lied der Deutschen by Hoffmann  von
       Fallersleben with the melody by Joseph Haydn is the national
       anthem for the German people.

  The lyrics of the national anthem of the Federal Republic
  <> are:

       Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit fuer das deutsche Vater-
       bruederlich mit Herz und Hand.
       und Freiheit sind des Glueckes Unterpfand.
       Blueh' im Glanze dieses Glueckes, bluehe deutsches Vater-


  11.2.  The Federal Flag

  Article 22 of the Grundgesetz states that The federal flag
  <> is black-

  This stems back to the early 19th century; among the many forces
  fighting in the 1813-1815 wars that raged through Europe to end the
  Napoleonic government the Luetzower Jaeger were particularly popular.
  The numerous students from Jena in this group continued wearing their
  uniform -- black and red, with golden ornaments -- even at school.
  When in 1817 students from all over Germany assembled at the Wartburg,
  those from Jena prevailed with their colors taken to symbolize the
  Allgemeinen Deutschen Burschenschaft (the head fraternity). By 1832
  (Hambacher Fest) black-red-golden had become generally accepted as the
  (revolutionary) German colors. The 1848 federal assembly (in
  Frankfurt) declared black-red-golden as federal colors. (During the
  1848 revolution the colors were often meant to signify gunpowder-
  black, blood-red, and future-golden.)

  The official German colors changed through history, however, a number
  of times. In 1871 the German Reich choose black-white-red as national
  colors; the Weimar Republic again opted for black-red-golden and Nazi-
  Germany re-instated black-white-red.  Finally, both parts of after-
  WWII Germany decided (in both cases) to use black-red-golden. 1996-04

  11.3.  Text of the Grundgesetz

  The Grundgesetz (Basic Law) is the constitution of Germany. You can
  access it on the web in various languages:

        Available from
        <> or from U
        Saarbruecken <>

        Avaliable from
        <> or from U
        Wuerzburg <>

        Available from U Saarbruecken <http://www.jura.uni->


  Government resources on the net

  Germany is a federal republic. The Bundesregierung
  <> (federal government
  <>), headed by the Bundeskanzler
  <> (chancellor
  <>) is the main
  part of the executive branch. The main legislative chamber is the
  Bundestag <>, elected every four years by
  general, free and secret ballot. The second legislative chamber is the
  Bundesrat <> whose members are appointed by the
  state governments. You guessed it by now, Bund is the German word for
  federal. For the whole scoop on how the political system works and
  what the Bundespraesident <> does for a
  living, have a look at the federal government's site on the
  constitutional bodies
  There are nice collections of links about politics and on-line
  political organizations at the Universitaet Koeln <http://www.uni-> and at Dr. Doeblin Wirtschaftsforschung
  <> 1999-11

  Germany consists of 16 Bundeslaender
  <> (english version

  There are several highest courts, depending on the matter of the case.
  The Bundesverfassungsgericht <>
  in Karlsruhe reviews all constitutional cases and its rulings are
  binding for all other constitutional organs. It is not an appellate
  court. Everybody can bring a case before it if they feel that their
  constitutional rights have been violated by a public organ. The
  highest appellate courts are the Bundesgerichtshof <http://www.rz.uni-> in Karlsruhe for criminal and general civil cases,
  the Bundesarbeitsgericht <> in
  Kassel for labor disputes, the Bundessozialgericht
  <> in Kassel for matters of social
  law, the Bundesfinanzhof in Muenchen for tax law and the
  Bundesverwaltungsgericht <> in Leipzig for
  administrative matters.

  11.5.  Political Parties Represented in the Bundestag

  There are quite a few parties that try to get their candidates elected
  into the Bundestag. Most of them fail miserably to get the required 5%
  of the popular vote or get three candidates elected directly, the
  requirement to send any of their candidates into the Bundestag.
  Currently, these five parties are represented in the Bundestag:

     CDU <>
        Christlich Demokratische Union 1999-02

     Die Gruenen <>

     F.D.P. <>
        Freie Demokratische Partei 1999-02

     SPD <>
        Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands1995-8

     PDS <>
        Partei des Demokratischen Sozialismus 1999-02


  Elections and election dates

  The Bundeswahlleiter <>
  (Federal Returning Officer <http://www.statistik->) maintains a list of upcoming election
  dates <>
  (english version <http://www.statistik->).  The page also has a well-
  hidden search function <
  bin/wahlen/wahlSuchService> at the bottom that lets you search for
  results of past elections, the boundaries of constituencies etc.

  The only federal organ directly elected is the Bundestag
  <>. It is elected every four years by general,
  free and secret ballot. The state parliaments (Landtage) are elected
  every four or five years, depending on the state. Elections for local
  governments, such as mayors and city councils, are also held every
  four or five years. All the local governments in a state are usually
  elected on the same date, with sometimes very complicated election
  procedures (kumulieren and panaschieren will evoke fond memories in
  anybody who has ever filled in a multipage ballot). 1999-11

  11.6.1.  Page comments

  View/add comments


  History, Law -- Internet Resources

  12.1.  History

  The 2000 Jahre Chronik <>
  contains an amazing wealth of information on German history. The
  Deutsches Historisches Museum <> provides materials,
  mainly connected to their exhibitions, online.

  The Holocaust seems to be one of the all-time favorite topics in
  soc.culture.german <news:soc.culture.german>, mainly for revisionist
  nuts. The Nizkor project <> maintains a wealth
  of information related to the Holocaust. The Hochschule fuer
  juedische Studien <> (University for
  judaic studies) and the Zentralarchiv zur Erforschung der Geschichte
  der Juden in    Deutschland <http://www.uni-> (Central Archives for Research on
  the History of the Jews      in Germany <http://www.uni->) publish studies on the
  history of Jews in Germany.

  The state of Thueringen maintains a nice text
  <>, alas in German, on the
  history of the DDR (German Democratic Republic).

  For the history of German-Americans, go to German  Heritage
  <> or German Americana
  <>. The revolution of
  1848 <> forced many Germans
  to emigrate to the USA.

  12.2.  Law

  Angela Schmidt <> has put out a very impressive
  collection of many(!) HTML-enhanced German law texts
  <>. 1999-04

  The Juristisches Internetprojekt Saarbruecken <http://www.jura.uni-> has lots of links to legal    information
  <>, among them links to German
  courts <> and links to
  collections of legal decisions worldwide <http://www.jura.uni->.

  The RAVE project <http://www.jura.uni-> at the law school
  <> of the U    Duesseldorf
  <> provides an extensive database of
  citations about public international and European law. The same site
  also provides a catalog of annotated legal links <http://www.jura.uni->

  The Anwaltssuche <> contains a directory of
  attorneys, searchable by location and specialization.


  Immigration matters (-- Large portions of this section have been con-
  tributed by Wayne Brown and Dirk Brink.--)

  Even though not being an immigration country is a bit of a national
  myth in Germany, there are lots of foreigners living in Germany --
  around 8%-10% of Germany's population are foreigners. The immigration
  laws have been greatly revised; the revised laws go into effect on
  January 1, 2000.

  Immigration is regulated by some half dozen laws, the most important
  of which are the Auslaendergesetz regulating residency of foreigners
  in Germany and the Staatsangehoerigkeitsgesetz regulating

  Immigration matters are usually handled by the Auslaenderbehoerde of
  the city governments. The one in Muenchen has an extensive webpage
  <> with a wealth of
  information, unfortunately only in German. On the practical dealings
  with the authorities, Wayne Brown notes that
       Despite the horror stories I have heard at times, my experi-
       ence with translating for foreign friends on numerous occa-
       sions and seeing the authorities up close has been good. I
       would describe the officials I have encountered as reserved
       and businesslike.

  and Dirk Brink says that

       These people are Bureaucrats, like everywhere else. They
       have their prejudices like most people do as well. If you
       are a white European, American, or Japanese, speak half way
       decent German and show up in a tie they will probably try to
       be more helpful than if you are from a third world country
       and the only German you know is the word for Asylum. Always
       be polite. You will never get anything done by irritating a
       bureaucrat anywhere in the world.

  For yet another view, read Gyula Szokoly's account
  <> of his experiences with
  working in Germany.

  12.3.1.  Getting a work permit

  Before you can work in Germany, you need a work permit
  (Arbeitserlaubnis).  If you are a EU citizen, you're lucky: you only
  need to go to your local Einwohnermeldeamt and ask for a work permit.
  The whole process should take only a few days, but check with the
  local authorities.

  If you are from a non-EU country, thinks are more complicated.  You
  first need to find an employer that is interested in hiring you and
  can prove that you are more qualified for the position than any German
  citizens. The prospective employer needs to fill in several forms for
  you. You take these, a copy of your contract (Arbeitsvertrag) and your
  passport to the local authorities who will then issue you a work
  permit, valid for one or two years and renewable, for employment by
  that specific employer. If you want to change employers, you need to
  obtain a new work permit. Some large companies take care of all the
  formalities for their employees.

  If you marry a German citizen you will get unrestricted, permanent
  work and residence permits.

  A foreign employee qualifies for unemployment benefits the moment he
  starts paying the obligatory unemployment insurance through his
  employer. I  believe an employee has to have worked for at least six
  months to draw money.  If the unemployed foreigner cannot get another
  job, the authorities will extend his residency permit until he has
  collected all the money coming to him under unemployment. The payments
  depend on the employee's salary on termination, length of service and
  his age. The maximum amount one can draw, I believe, is currently
  about 370 US dollars a week. The maximum time of such payments is
  about two years.  Unemployment benefits also include free medical and
  dental care as well as a contribution to rent, if an employed person
  can no longer pay his rent. If an employee has a private life
  insurance when he is terminated, the department of unemployment will
  take over those payments and pay them extra for as long as
  unemployment is paid.  The "Green-Card"

  In early 2000, Chancellor Schroeder announced that the German
  government will do something about the shortage of information
  technology workers in Germany and try to attract foreign IT workers,
  the talk is mainly about Indians, to Germany. The work permit that
  should achieve this is imaginatively titled a Green-Card and has very
  little in common with the permanent residence permits that the USA
  hands out under the same name. It more resembles a US H1-B visa.

  Read the federal government's press release
  <> about the
  Green-Card and their FAQ about this topic

  12.3.2.  Aufenthalts what?

  To legally reside in Germany, you need a Aufenthaltserlaubnis or
  Aufenthaltsberechtigung. The former lets you reside in Germany
  temporarily or permanently, while the latter gives you the right to
  live in Germany permanently.

  After the authorities have issued a labor permit, they also issue a
  residency permit for one year. At the end of a year, the residency
  permit and the work permit can be extended for another year.  After
  residency in Germany for ten years, an employee can apply for an
  unbefristete Aufenthaltserlaubnis and an unbefristete
  Arbeitserlaubnis, in other words unlimited residency and work permits,
  which seem to be issued without much ado.

  If a person just wants to live in Germany and not to work, then he
  goes to the local authorities and applies for a residency permit. He
  has to show proof that he can support himself (pension statement, bank
  statement, letter of credit, etc.) and that he has health insurance.
  Such residency permits are issued for one year and are renewable

  Aufenthaltsrecht, right to residency, is a different story. A
  foreigner who has lived in Germany for many years, something around 20
  years, can apply for the right to residency, which gives him the right
  to live in Germany for the rest of his life. Before issuing such a
  permit, the authorities check with local police that the candidate
  does not have a police record, that he has means of support and that
  he has normal living accommodations.

  12.3.3.  What about studying in Germany ?

  First, a student should apply for entrance to the university of his
  choice. Foreigners do not fall under the numerus clausus system
  introduced some years ago to cope with the crowding at German
  universities. All German universities have a certain quota for foreign
  students; therefore, the foreigner can apply where he likes. Once
  accepted by the university, the foreigner takes the admittance
  documents supplied by the university to the local authorities
  (Kreisverwaltungsreferat) and applies for a student residency permit.
  The student must show that he has means to support himself while in
  Germany (bank statement, letter of credit, scholarship statement,
  etc.). The university will advise how much money and what else the
  student needs to satisfy the visa requirements.

  The best way, I believe, to get a temporary work permit for a period
  of  practical training is to apply to one of the many programs offered
  by German companies and to get accepted. Such a company then handles
  all the formalities connected with the program.

  12.3.4.  Page comments

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