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Moving to Berlin

These books, films and links have been recommended by GSGI readers and editors, with and without comment. Unless mentioned, most of the books and movies are available at booksellers or on line. If you have a recommendation we should add to this list, we'd love to hear it (contact us).

As with all GSGI links, we only add the ones we like, have used, or think could be useful.  In some cases, the links take you to a website for which we provided some of the content about education (so naturally we think it's excellent!).

Useful Links and Information

AngloINFO Germany- Really excellent resource for expats heading for --or already living in -- Germany, with valuable no-frills listings of everything from dentists to plumbers, schools (basic info) to hair cuts, registering your car to tax problems as well as classifieds, discussions and details about what's on in your area. Useful directories, reliable information, intuitive site....goes exactly where it says it will, in exactly the country section where you'd expect to find it. 

Emigrate2 – From visas to jobs, mortgages to taxes, banking to currency exchange: find helpful information about emigration generally on their main site, and Germany specifically on their Living in Germany and Education in Germany pages.

More Links for Berlin...

TimeOut Berlin - where to go, what to see

Berlin on a Platter (from – Blog written by former New Yorker, current full-time Berliner Luisa Weiss. A great space to read about her favorite discoveries around the city; hidden gems and favorite spots along with all of the terrible offerings you will find in the city as well.

The Guardian - Top Ten Wacky Things to do in Berlin

Uberlin -  Moving to Berlin - Eating out in Berlin

SlowtravelBerlin - take it slow and enjoy the finer points of the city

The Guardian - Berlin City Guide : Great write ups of 12 of Berlins most prominent neighborhoods (of course featuring beautiful images taken by locals) as well as guides to the best local spots – as told by the hosts – and articles. These guides paint an authentic, to-the-point, and contemporary picture of what the different areas have to offer. “Berlin in English since 2002” This helpful website features a cultural guide, tips on going out, a food section, features page, and much more – all of course in English and beautifully designed. yet another good site that we like, with loads of information about where to go and where to stay in Berlin.

Books About Berlin

Berlin: A Portrait of its History, Politics, Architecture and Society - by Giles MacDonough (published by St. Martin's Griffin, 1999); as it says in the title, a comprehensive sweep of a book by this knowlegable, skillful, and imminently readable historian- arguably one of the best and certainly most entertaining ones to to tackle the huge, complicated, and layered story and environs of Berlin.

After the Reich- Giles MacDonough (published by John Murray, 1997); first rate political history of Berlin from the end of WWII through the crystalisation of the Cold War, "from the liberation of Vienna to the Berlin airlift".

Lonely Planet: Berlin - Particularly good survey of the history of the city.

Faust's Metropolis- by Alexandra Richie (published by HarperCollins, 1998); a history of the evolution of the metropolitan Berlin area, the rise of the kingdom of Prussia-Brandenburg through the Unification in the 1990s.

The Berlin Diaries, 1940 - 1945 - by Marie Vassiltchikov; The secret diaries of a twenty-three-year-old White Russian princess who worked in the German Foreign Office from 1940 to 1944 and then as a nurse, these pages give us a unique picture of wartime life in that sector of German society from which the 20th of July Plot -- the conspiracy to kill Hitler -- was born.

Book of Clouds - by Chloe Aridjis; a haunting, masterfully wrought debut novel about a young woman adrift in Berlin, where a string of fateful encounters leads to romance, violence, and revelation. Having escaped her overbearing family a continent away, Tatiana settles in Berlin and cultivates solitude while distancing herself from the city’s past. Yet the phantoms of Berlin—seeping in through the floorboards of her apartment, lingering in the abandoned subterranea—are more alive to her than the people she passes on her daily walks. 

Berlin Blues - by Sven Regener. It's 1989 and, whenever he isn't hanging out in the local bars, Herr Lehmann lives entirely free of responsibility in the bohemian Berlin district of Kreuzberg. Through years of judicious sidestepping and heroic indolence, this barman has successfully avoided the demands of parents, landlords, neighbours and women. But suddenly one unforeseen incident after another seems to threaten his idyllic and rather peaceable existence. He has an encounter with a decidedly unfriendly dog, his parents threaten to descend on Berlin from the provinces, and he meets a dangerously attractive woman who throws his emotional life into confusion. Berlin Blues is a richly entertaining evocation of life in the city and a classic of modern-day decadence.

The File: A Personal History
 - by Timothy Garton Ash. In this memoir, Garton Ash describes what it was like to rediscover his younger self through the eyes of the Stasi, and then to go on to confront those who actually informed against him to the secret police. Moving from document to remembrance, from the offices of British intelligence to the living rooms of retired Stasi officers, The File is a personal narrative as gripping, as disquieting, and as morally provocative as any fiction by George Orwell or Graham Greene. And it is all true.

Berlin Alexanderplatz: The Story of Franz Biberkopf - Alfred Doblin. This novel, published in 1929, appeared in English under the original title and as Alexanderplatz, Berlin. It tells the story of Franz Biberkopf, a Berlin proletarian who tries to rehabilitate himself after his release from jail but undergoes a series of vicissitudes, many of them violent and squalid, before he can finally attain a normal life. The book is notable for its interior monologue (in colloquial language and Berlin slang) and somewhat cinematic technique.

Alone in Berlin - by Hans Fallada. This is a fictional book, based on a true story, describing life in Germany under the Third Reich. The book’s title in the U.S. is Every Man Dies Alone.

Movies About Berlin

The Lives of Others (2006). In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives.

Run Lola Run (1998). A young woman in Germany has twenty minutes to find and bring 100,000 Deutschmarks to her boyfriend before he robs a supermarket

Goodbye Lenin (2003). In 1990, to protect his fragile mother from a fatal shock after a long coma, a young man must keep her from learning that her beloved nation of East Germany as she knew it has disappeared.

The Bourne Supremacy (2004). When Jason Bourne is framed for a botched CIA operation he is forced to take up his former life as a trained assassin to survive.

Germany Year Zero (1948). In 1947, an ordinary German family fights to survive in a wrecked Berlin after the end of World War II.

Christiane F – We Children From Bahnhof Zoo (1981). This movie portrays the drug scene in Berlin in the 70s, following tape recordings of Christiane F, a 14 year-old who lives with her mother and little sister in a typical multi-storey apartment building in Berlin. She's fascinated by the 'Sound', a new disco with most modern equipment and, although she's legally too young, she asks a friend to take her. There she meets Detlef, who's in a clique where everybody's on drugs. Step by step she gets drawn deeper into the scene.

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