The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank. One of the most well-read accounts of the Holocaust.
Germany: A New History, by Hagen Schulze. Covers Germany’s often spotted historical past from the time of the nomadic Nordic tribes who migrated south into the Roman Empire, to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
From A Tramp Abroad, “The Awful German Language”, by Mark Twain. 1880. An amusing first-hand account of problems with the language on Mark Twain’s trip to Germany.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne. This childhood fable based on the Holocaust is a quick, meaningful read.
Stones from the River, by Ursula Hegi. Set in Burgdorf, Germany during and after WWII our protagonist is Trudi Montag, who happens to be a dwarf.
The Vision of Emma Blau, by Ursula Hegi. German immigrants attempt to assimilate in their American home.
The German Lesson, by Siegfried Lenz. 1972. A young man in post-war Germany is forced to write an article because he failed his German lesson.
Danube, by Claudio Magris. A comprehensive history and travel book about the Danube by Italian scholar, Claudio Magris. Sometimes ponderous, in the style of Italian writers, it is worth a read before you depart.
Literature about German Culture and/or Cuisine
The German Way: Aspects of Behavior, Attitudes, and Customs in the German-Speaking World, by Hyde Flippo.
Prost!: The Story of German Beer, by Horst D. Dornbusch. The best parts of German history and beer, mixed into a fine brew.
Movies and Shows about or set in Germany
The Edukators, about a group of friends united by their passion to change the world. When the rich go on vacation, The Edukators break into their homes. They don’t steal, but simply rearrange everything, leaving the message “Your days of plenty are numbered.”
Swing Kids. About a group of friends during Nazi Germany whose love of swing dancing and American music gets them into trouble.
The Nasty Girl. (1990) A young student investigates her small town’s Nazi past and the community turns against her. Loosely based on a true story. If you look closely, you might discover that the original story took place in Passau, a small town by the Danube.
Run Lola Run. Lola (played by Franka Potente) has 20 min to raise 100,000 DM and meet her boyfriend. Otherwise, he will rob a store to get the money. Three different alternatives may happen depending on some minor event along Lola’s run.
The Lives of Others. (2006) starring Martina Gedeck, and the late Ulrich Mühe. Written and directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. Nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, this is the amazing story of a Stasi officer and the man he is instructed to keep an eye on. A remarkable film.
Good Bye, Lenin! (2002) starring Daniel Brühl, Katrin Saß. Written and directed by Wolfgang Becker. The funny, touching story of a young man’s attempt to comfort his communist mother when she comes out of a coma after the wall has come down.
The Counterfeiters. (2008) starring Karl Markovics and August Diehl. Directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky. Based on the true story of the history’s largest counterfeiting operation based in a prison camp during WWII. Winner of the Best Foreign Language Film.
Downfall. (2004) starring Bruno Ganz and Alexandra Maria Lara. Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel. Nominated for the 2005 Best Foreign Language film this historical drama recounts Hitler’s mental demise.
The White Ribbon. (2009) A dark and gripping mystery drama in black and white set in the year before the outbreak of World War I. Directed by Michael Haneke.
Deutschland 83. (2016) A thrilling spy series in 8 parts set in 1983 in the midst of the power struggle of the Cold War.
Dark. (2017) A captivating mystery series taking you through a variety of twists and turns to keep you guessing.
Babylon Berlin. (2017) An opulent and beautifully produced period drama television series set in 1929 based on novels by Volker Kutscher.
The Same Sky. (2017) This fast-paced mini series set during the Cold War intriguingly blends espionage and family drama and has been dubbed “a mix between The Americans and Deutschland 83” by the New York Times tells the tale of a “Romeo” agent sent across the wall on assignment.
Never Look Away. (2018) A highly acclaimed family drama about a young artist spanning 30 years of German history, inspired by dramatic life experiences of German artist Gerhard Richter.
100 Things. (2018) In a 100-day wager, two friends relinquish all their possessions.