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Thread: Marx and Einstein vie to be "best German"

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    Thumbs Down Marx and Einstein vie to be "best German"

    By Erik Kirschbaum

    BERLIN (Reuters) - Millions of German television viewers have picked Karl Marx, Albert Einstein, Willy Brandt, and Johann Sebastian Bach among the top 10 "best Germans" of all time in a national call-in contest. More than 1,300 Germans were nominated for the competition to identify the 10 most important Germans, and a "top 100" list unveiled on Friday night contained a number of surprises. A winner will be selected from the 10 finalists in three weeks.

    While sports heroes like Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, Wimbledon (news - web sites) title winner Boris Becker, tennis queen Steffi Graf and football World Cup winner Franz Beckenbauer made it into the top 40, top model Claudia Schiffer and Nobel-prize winning author Guenter Grass weren't even among the first 100. Organised by Bild newspaper and ZDF television, Germans now have three weeks to cast ballots for the top 10 finalists to pick the "best German" in a competition modelled on a popular British television programme called "Great Britons" that selected war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

    In a country long weighted down by guilt from World War Two and leery of idolising national heroes as a reaction to the ultra-national Nazi era, the "best German" contest reflects a growing, if still modest, sense of German patriotism. "Willy Brandt is my choice for the best because he changed the image of Germany all around the world and presented to the world a new generation of a new Germany," said former Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher in an appeal for Brandt.

    Others to reach the top 10 aside included former chancellors Konrad Adenauer and Otto von Bismarck, poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, church reform leader Martin Luther, printing press inventor Johannes Gutenberg, and Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans -- Hitler resistance fighters executed by the Nazis.

    Hitler not on list

    Notable among the top 100 were the high number of those famed for resisting Hitler -- Georg Elsner, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg. Hitler was not on the list, but Nazi, and later U.S., rocket scientist Wernher von Braun was ranked the 63rd.

    Another surprise entry in the top 100 were the so-called "Truemmerfrauen" -- the myriad of women in bucket brigades who cleared away the rubble from bombed out cities after the war. They got the 88th place, ahead of former world champion boxer Max Schmeling, now 97 years old.

    Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was ranked 82nd behind Olympic figure skating champion Katarina Witt (news - web sites) in 70th, composer Richard Wagner at 69th and actress Marlene Dietrich in 50th position. Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer (52), trailed rock singer Nena (38), Nazi-era businessman Oskar Schindler who saved Jews from death camps (37), Beckenbauer (36), Becker (35), Graf (32), Schumacher (26) and composer Ludwig van Beethoven (12).

    Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl was 13th, ahead of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (20) -- a controversial pick because Austria claims the composer as its native son. An early glimpse of the voting for the final contest that began on Friday showed the trend favouring Einstein, a physicist who fled Nazi Germany for the United States, ahead of Adenauer and Goethe. Marx, the German-born communist philosopher and author of "Das Kapital", and Bismarck were in 10th and ninth place after the first five minutes of voting.


    Gee I wonder why Hitler is not on the list and why they had to write that in all capital letters. I wonder why two Jews are the ones at the top of the list. Hmmmmmm, I wonder. I haven't read the list, but I'm suprised they didn't mention Frederick the Great, Germany's greatest military leader. Oh well, I guess thats too "militaristic" or some other stupid hippie bull!

    And as for trying to "shake off" the NS past, it's simply not going to happen people. Here in America, thats the only thing Yanks ever think about when they think of Germany. On the History Channel, any and everything related to German history is about Hitler. On American sitcoms, anything related to Germany there's some mention of Hitler. So the current "German" regime's attempts to erase Hitler will be about as successful as the Soviet's attempt to erase Russian history.

    So let's all grab a chair and watch "the Hitler Show"

    See, even American TV have a sense of humor when it comes to the Fuhrer!

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    It is sad to see what has become of the Germans after WWII. Anyway the results are allready known of this "election", and the winner is Konrad Adenauer . He is the first cancellor of past war Germany, then known as West-Germany or BDR and probably the biggest traitor that the allies could find at that time. Offcource there was immediatly a big fuss about wether putting Hitler on the list or nor, guess who won the "debate". Still I am suprised that Einstein or Marx haven't won it but I guess it would be to obvious in times when the world is starting to discover the hipocracy of the chosen ones.

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