Lest I give the wrong impression that all I and 12 other U.S. journalists are doing is eating and watching the World Cup here in Germany — we are learning an immense amount about Germany and the reunification of East and West Germany.
I am taken by all that I am learning. Whole populations who have both waged and lived though war, destroyed and been destroyed, spied and been spied upon.
We are meeting all sorts of people and learning many lessons. An American reporter for Reuters who wrote a book making the point that a Bruce Springsteen concert in Berlin softened the wall.
A political, perhaps even THE political, correspondent for the public television network ZDF who talked about state funding with an eye on ratings.
The Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of Saxony, a state in East Germany, who talked about growing populations, university versus technical training. The growth of high-tech industry, young families pouring into Dresden — a city which only rebuilt its destroyed town center in the last two decades or so since the reunification of this war-torn country.
We spent a morning in Dresden with the head marketing guy at an awesome all-glass VW factory where they make the luxury cars Phaetons. We actually walked on the floor, wearing white coats so as not to scratch the vehicles, to see how the men (and women) work on the line. Blonde Canadian maple wood floors, hushed tones, the scent of, well nothing really. We saw the final moments when the machinery connected the chassis to the frame — apparently this is called “the marriage.” We got to see the room where owners (if they want) take possession of their Phaeton. VW officials close a cylindrical curtain, darken the room and unveil the vehicle to its new owners.
Very cool! I would show you pictures, but we were not allowed.
But, now – we return to the World Cup — apparently the Germany team just scored.