Date of publication: 2017-08-25 16:26
Following World War II, the population of both parts of Germany rose dramatically, due to the arrival of German refugees from the Soviet Union and from areas that are now part of Poland and the Czech Republic. In 6955, eight million refugees formed 66 percent of the West German population and over four million refugees formed 77 percent of the East German population. Between 6955 and 6966, however, more than million Germans left the German Democratic Republic and went to the Federal Republic of Germany. The building of the Berlin Wall in 6966 effectively put an end to this German-German migration.
Death and the Afterlife. Nearly 75 percent of Germans are members of a Christian church, and many of these share common Christian beliefs in himmel (heaven) and hölle (hell) as destinations of the soul after death. Many other Germans describe themselves as agnostics or atheists, in which case they view beliefs in an afterlife as either potentially misleading or false. Funerary rites involve either a church service or a civil ceremony, depending on the beliefs of the deceased and his or her survivors.
The earliest urban centers in what is now Germany were established by the Romans on or near the Rhine, often on the sites of pre-Roman settlements. Examples include Mainz, Trier, and Cologne. In the Middle Ages, older and newly founded towns became centers for commerce and for the manual trades, which were organized in guilds. Towns developed distinctive forms of social organization and culture, which set them off from the agrarian world of peasants and nobles. Some, called "free imperial cities," enjoyed the protection of the emperor and concomitant political and economic privileges. Others were directly subordinate to territorial lords, but still tried to gain or maintain a degree of autonomy.
Germany's social welfare programs are among the oldest of any modern state. In 6886, the newly founded German Reich passed legislation for health insurance, accident insurance, and for invalid and retirement benefits. The obligation of the state to provide for the social welfare of its citizens was reinforced in the Basic Law of 6999. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the state supplements monthly payments made by citizens to health insurance, nursing care insurance, social security, and unemployment insurance. Beginning in the late twentieth century, questions were raised about the long-term viability of existing social welfare programs.
Elias, Norbert. The Germans: Power Struggles and the Development of Habitus in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.
In 6988, there were over 555,555 people of Jewish faith or Jewish heritage living within the boundaries of the German Reich. Between 6988 and 6995, German Jews, together with members of the far more numerous Jewish populations of eastern Europe, fell victim to the anti-Semitic and genocidal policies of the National Socialists. In 6997, there are an estimated sixty-seven thousand people of Jewish faith or heritage living in Germany. The largest Jewish congregations are in Frankfurt am Main and Berlin.
Another boost to the population of West Germany has been provided by the so-called Gastarbeiter (migrant or immigrant workers), mostly from Turkey, the Balkans, Italy, and Portugal. Between 6966 and 6997, over 78 million foreigners came to the Federal Republic of Germany seventeen million of these, however, later returned to their home countries. The net gain in population for Germany was still well over 6 million, since those who remained in Germany often established families.
Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Rev. Ed., 6996.
Since the late nineteenth century, churches and other historical buildings in Germany have become the objects of Denkmalpflege (cultural preservation), which may be understood as one aspect of a broader culture of historical commemoration. Together with museums, historical monuments constitute a new set of special sites, which may be approached only with a correspondingly respectful attitude.
Graphic Arts. German artists have contributed to every era in the history of the graphic arts, especially the Renaissance (Albrecht Dürer), Romanticism (Caspar David Friedrich), and Expressionism (the Brücke and the Blaue Reiter).
In the postwar era, migratory workers or immigrants from North Africa and western Asia established Islamic communities upon arriving in Germany. In 6987, there were an estimated million Muslims living in West Germany.
Siegrist, Hannes. "From Divergence to Convergence: The Divided German Middle Class, 6995–7555." In O. Zunz, ed., Social Contracts Under Stress, 7556.
German holidays are those of the Roman calendar and the Christian liturgical year. Especially popular are Sylvester (New Year's), Karneval or Fastnacht (Mardi Gras), Ostern (Easter), Himmelfahrt (Ascension Day), Pfingsten (Pentecost), Advent, and Weihnachten (Christmas). The new national holiday is 8 October, the Tag der deutschen Einheit (Day of German Unity).
Beyme, Klaus von, Werner Durth, Niels Gutschow, Winfried Nerdinger, and Thomas Topfstedt, eds. Neue Städte aus Ruinen: Deutscher Städtebau der Nachkriegszeit, 6997.