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On this day January 1, 2002

Euro banknotes and coins become legal tender in twelve of the European Union’s member states.

euro_banknotesThe euro (currency sign: ; currency code: EUR) is the official currency of fifteen member states of the European Union (EU).

The states, known collectively as the Eurozone are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain. Read More…


On this day December 5, 1484

Pope Innocent VIII issues the Summis desiderantes, a papal bull that deputizes Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger as inquisitors to root out alleged witchcraft in Germany and leads to one of the most oppressive witch hunts in European history.

Pope Innocent VIII

The bull was written in response to the request of Dominican Inquisitor Heinrich Kramer for explicit authority to prosecute witchcraft in Germany, after he was refused assistance by the local ecclesiastical authorities.

The bull recognized the existence of witches and gave full papal approval for the Inquisition to move against witches and permission to do whatever necessary to get rid of them.

The bull essentially repeated Kramer’s view that an outbreak of witchcraft and heresy had occurred in the Rhine River valley, specifically in the bishoprics of Mainz, Cologne, Trier, Salzburg and Bremen, including accusations of certain acts. Read More…

On this day November 8, 1895

German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen produced and detected electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range that is known today as X-rays.

first "medical" x-ray, of his wife's hand, taken on 22 December 1895 and presented to Professor Ludwig Zehnder of the Physik Institut, University of Freiburg, on 1 January 1896

Röntgen's first x-ray

In the late afternoon of 8 November 1895, Röntgen determined to test his idea. He carefully constructed a black cardboard covering similar to the one he had used on the Lenard tube.

He covered the Hittorf-Crookes tube with the cardboard and attached electrodes to a Ruhmkorff coil to generate an electrostatic charge.

Before setting up the barium platinocyanide screen to test his idea, Röntgen darkened the room to test the opacity of his cardboard cover.

As he passed the Ruhmkorff coil charge through the tube, he determined that the cover was light-tight and turned to prepare the next step of the experiment. It was at this point that Röntgen noticed a faint shimmering from a bench a meter away from the tube. Read More…

Angela Merkel’s party wins elections in Germany

The CDU/CSU led by Angela Merkel wins a renewed plurality in elections to the Bundestag in Germany.

Angela Merkel CDU/CSU

Angela Merkel CDU/CSU

The election that took place on 27 September 2009 to elect the members of the Bundestag, the federal parliament of Germany.

Exit polls showed that the Christian Democrats and the Free Democrats won the election, and they announced their intention to form a new centre-right government with Angela Merkel as Chancellor, while their main opponent, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the Social Democrats conceded defeat.

The Free Democratic Party previously governed with the Christian Democrats in the 1982–1998 governments of Helmut Kohl.

Dozens injured in riots in Hamburg

Left-wing demonstrators have clashed with police following a street festival in the German city of Hamburg.

Hamburg Riots

Hamburg Riots

Riot police used water cannons to stop protesters throwing stones and bottles, and to extinguish some fire barricades. Several arrests were made.

Berlin police are investigating some of their officers after witnesses filmed them beating a demonstrator at a protest against government infringement of Germany’s data protection laws.

The video, which appeared on YouTube, shows an officer hitting a man in the face before several other officers help pull him to the ground with more punches and kicking. Another man caught in the middle of the scuffle sustained a bloody nose. Read More…

On this day September 9, A.D. 9

Arminius’ alliance of six Germanic tribes ambushed and annihilated three Roman legions led by Publius Quinctilius Varus in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.

The Roman force was led by Publius Quinctilius Varus, a noble from an old family and related to the Imperial family, an experienced administrative official who was assigned to establish the new province of Germania in 7 AD.

Varus’ opponent, Arminius, had lived in Rome as a hostage in his youth, where he had received a military education and had even been given the rank of Equestrian. After his return, he was a trusted advisor to Varus. In secret, he forged an alliance of Germanic tribes that had traditionally been enemies (the Cherusci, Marsi, Chatti, Bructeri, Chauci and Sicambri), but which he was able to unite due to outrage over Varus’ measures.

On the basis of Roman accounts, the Romans must at this time have been marching northwestward from the area that is now the city of Detmold, passing east of Osnabrück; they must then have camped in this area prior to being attacked. Read More…

German arrested for 1970s murder of top prosecutor

Former terrorist Verena Becker has been arrested after new evidence surfaced linking her to the murder of German Federal Prosecutor General Siegfried Buback and two bodyguards in 1977.

Even though four RAF members (Christian Klar, Knut Folkerts, Günter Sonnenberg and Brigitte Mohnhaupt) were formally charged and prosecuted in connection with the Buback murder, important details of her involvement have not been solved.

Buback’s violent death became again the subject of public discussion when his son, Michael Buback, was contacted by former RAF member Peter-Jürgen Boock. Boock shared details with Buback’s son indicating that it was Stefan Wisniewski who had fired the gun at Siegfried Buback. Verena Becker has also claimed Wisniewski was the killer. Read More…