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The other Germans

Updated on October 4, 2015

Names I grew up with

When you talk to somebody about Germany, they mostly remember the food and Hitler. But there is so much about Germany that people don't know. At least those outside of Germany!

Some of the interesting people of my time growing up in Germany had great influence on the world around them.

Some you may know! Some you may not!

I thought I may introduce some of them to you!

This picture was taken long before I saw him on TV, but he never really changed. I guess he was young at heart!
This picture was taken long before I saw him on TV, but he never really changed. I guess he was young at heart! | Source

Hans Rosenthal

Hans Rosenthal was the living word TV entertainment when I grew up. And while I haven't seen a game show on TV in over ten years, I remember the little man who's personality was twice his size.

Haenschin Rosenthal (so named for his small statue) was a well known name in the world of radio, TV and similiar entertainment. He was described as one of the most popular radio and TV hosts of the 70s/80s Germany I grew up in.

I especially remember him for the shows 'Rate mal mit Rosenthal' ('Guess with Rosenthal') and 'Dali Dali' (from the Kashubian or Polish word(s) for 'Hurry Up'). The later aired over 150 times in 16 years and many Germans will remember the man that would ask: "Sind sie der Meinung, das war...?" ("So do you all think that was...?") and the crowd would yell: "SPITZE!" ("Great!"). And with that last word he would jump exited in the air!

Hans Rosenthal, a jewish German who's parents died when he was little, who grew up an orphan and lost his brother to the Holocaust... He was a gift to TV entertainment and those of us that loved watching him!

One day my Dad, working with Lufthansa in Germany, flew somewhere for business. He was flying first class and encountered a quiet and very kind man who ended up signing a picture and addressing his 'note' to me! It was one of those great gifts my Dad gave me!

Hans Rosenthal had earned the 'Bundesverdienstkreuz' (Federal Cross of Merit) and many TV awards like the Bambi and the Goldene Kamera, but more importantly he earned our gratitude for years worth of fun and laughter. And when he died in 1987, a great star of the TV world stopped shining.

He was a very giving person and I was surprised to see that there was a Foundation under his name, founded by many of those that loved and respected him for who he was; both family, friends, the Jewish Community and even a German Television Station.
It's a fitting cause to help others under his name. It so speaks for the person he was. It is a shame that he is gone and that many in today's TV industry cannot measure up to his high standards of character. I for one will always remember him fondly!

Das Beste aus Dalli Dalli


Thomas Gottschalk

Thomas Gottschalk is another TV show host that has been known all across Germany. He was well known for his show "Wetten dass...?" ("Bet that...?")
While I personally favor(ed) 'Haenschin', he was a favorite of my entire family. Born in 1950 he originally studied History and such to become a teacher, he followed his true calling of becoming an entertainer. He started out as a freelancer and eventually became a news anchor. Eventually he gained attention and popularity and hosted several shows for different German TV shows.
He earned the Kurt Magnus Award and later the Golden Camera. His show "Wetten dass...?" pretty much ran from 1987 to 2011, only briefly interupted when Wolfgan Lippert replaced him temporarily between 1992 and 1994.
When one of the bets placed on the show caused a serious injury to the guest placing the bet, he withdrew from the show, but promised to stay faithful to entertainment.
Gottschalk earned other awards as well. His late 80s Telestar was followed by both the Golden Rascal and the Golden Cable in the early 90s and the Golden Feather ten years later. He also earned three Bambi awards he returned as a result of a dispute with Burda, but accepted a honorable Bambi later.

Abschied von Thomas Gottschalk-Seine Abschiedsrede-3.12.2011-Wetten Dass..?


Herbert Grönemeyer

Even if you may not know his music, which was very popular when I was young, if you have seen the German movie Das Boot, you know him.
Grönemeyer is one of German's most internationally known musicians and also starred in several movies. But his most famous role was Lieutnant Werner in The Boat; a role that made him known across the globe. And while he shined as an actor, his musical talent was even better.
He has published over 20 albums and both his 5th (4630 Bochum, 1984) and his 20th (Mensch/Human, 2002) have become the most best-selling records in German language of all times. With over 13 million sold albums he is the most successful musician of Germany.
Grönemeyer recorded songs for the Olympic Games (the song Everlasting) in Athens and the 2006 FIFA World Cup (the song Celebrate the Day) in Germany. He has performed at other major evens and his 2011 tour had 550,000 appreciative fans enjoying the show(s).
In 2005 he was awarded the title of European Hero by TIME magazine for his long-time humanitarian work.



Nena became internationally known through the song 99 Luftballons or 99 Air Balloons. Born 1960 as Gabrielle Susanne Kerner, she was one of the leading names during the New German Wave or Neue Deutsche Welle of my and so many other lives. This song was recorded in English in 1984 and sounds almost as good.
99 Luftballons was the number one hit in Germany and Great Britain in the early 80s and continued as number two in America; only beaten by Van Halen's song Jump. The song became one of the most well-known German (rock) songs of the World.
Nena has produced multiple records and also starred in a few movies; the most well-known one being Gib Gas ich will Spass (Hit the gas I want Fun) from the early 80s. She also became the voice of Saphira in the German version of Eragon and some others. She is one of the founders of the Neue Schule Hamburg and wrote her own autobiography.


Peter Schilling

Peter Schilling is a German musician who's style is considered 'synthpop' and who favored themes that had science-fiction meanings such as aliens, the nuclear holocaust and such. He had one hit that caught international attention; Major Tom from his album Error in the System he released in the early 80s. Like Nena, his most famous song appeared both in German and English. He did however released two albums in English.
His Space Pilots project of the late 90s made the first issue of the dance music compilation named Dancemania. He also wrote two books that are titled Lust Faktor Wellness (2005) and Emotionen sind männlich (2007).
While it has been a while since his last single, his last album was in 2010.

He is the 'Kaiser' (Emperor) of German's National Sport 'Fußball' (aka Soccer).
He is the 'Kaiser' (Emperor) of German's National Sport 'Fußball' (aka Soccer). | Source

Franz Beckenbauer

Despite that I am not a real fan of Fussball, I do know a few names. And may Dad may forgive him is youthful error of playing for the 'Batzies' (Barbarians, Bavarians... grin). Eventually he saw his errors and played for New York Cosmos and the best of the best: HSV aka Hamburger Sport Verein.
A true North German considers everything South of Hamburg Harburg Balkan and any Soccer Club other than the HSV as a parasite. Soccer is serious business and I am a firm believer that NOBODY is as territorial about their team as German Soccer fans. Not even American Football fans! Not after seeing somebody carried out on a stretcher after a ...friendly? afternoon game during a PT session of the German Border Police unit in Fulda.
One of our most famous players, managers and coaches is Der Kaiser, the Emperor of German Soccer himself, Franz Anton Beckenbauer. Born at the end of 1945 he was named Kaiser for his leadership and elegant style and the fact that Franz is a common royal name. Beckenbauer was selected as European Footballer of the Year twice in his life, played three World Cups and is, besides Mario Zagallo from Brazil the only one to have won the World Cup as coach and as player. He is the only one to have won it as both coach and captain, 1974 and 1990. He has also been honored with a place in the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
His awards include the Order of Merit of both the State Nordrhein Westphalen and the Federal Republic of Germany. He has also been made a Honorary Consul of the Republic of Kosovo.

The Other Germans...

When I arrived in the U.S., people had two opinions about Germany: I was a women in a man's job (and doing as well as any man!) and all German's were second-cousins, twice removed, to Hitler!
One of my history Professors felt it necessary to remind people that while all Nazi's may have been German, not all Germans were Nazis. ...Most didn't know or believed what was going on until Hitler could no longer hide it!
There are many German men and women that are people that I respect. Do not judge the people around you on an opinion! Get to know them before you judge them!

I can think of many more names and faces I remember from Germany. They will fill at least another hub; possibly two... that are soon to follow!


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