Postcard from... Berlin

Dressed up in jackboots and the grey uniform of former Communist East Germany’s hated border police, the man-sized bear goose-steps across the cobblestones in front of the Brandenburg Gate. He sidles up to giggling tourists who willingly part with their euros to have pictures taken of themselves being bear-hugged for a souvenir.

Remains of cars at the partially destroyed village of Oradour-sur-Glane, south-western France, where German SS Nazi troops massacred 642 people on June 10, 1944

Former SS man charged with taking part in massacre at French village that killed 642

Oradour-sur-Glane has been deliberately left untouched as a permanent memorial to the 642 people slaughtered there on 10 June 1944

The Berlin Wall was built along the border between the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the Federal Republic of Germany

Red Love: The Story of an East German Family, By Maxim Leo, trans. Shaun Whiteside

An illuminating look at life behind the Berlin Wall

Books of the year 2013: Fiction in translation

How should authors transform autobiography into self-standing fiction? For Karl Ove Knausgaard, with A Man in Love (translated by Don Bartlett; Vintage, £8.99), this second volume in the Norwegian writer's acclaimed "My Struggle" series mines the everyday material of young fatherhood. Yet he converts it into a stunningly eloquent set of reflections on masculinity, domesticity and the artist's itch to escape.

Angela Merkel using her phone two years ago

NSA humbling of Germany has historical precedent

Germany's exposure to the NSA's prying eyes is a blunt reminder of the country's past aggression and eventual defeat

Postcard from... Gartz

Pep Guardiola hasn't had the 'perfect' start to his career with Bayern Munich that many will have expected

Pep Guardiola needs time to succeed at Bayern Munich claims former East Germany international Uwe Rosler

The Brentford manager speaks to Jack Pitt-Brooke on how Guardiola's challenge to the Bayern squad will take time to sink in

The ballroom’s interior in 2011

Dances to the music of time: Clärchens Ballhaus - Berlin’s hall of fame hits 100

The outside of the building in East Berlin’s Auguststrasse looked as if it hadn’t been painted since the Second World War – and it probably hadn’t.

Postcard from... Berlin

Tosca

Classical review: Tosca - Adam Spreadbury-Maher's production doesn't quite meet expectations

OperaUpClose specialises in bold transpositions, best exemplified by its witty setting of Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera in an IKEA store. For Tosca their writer-director Adam Spreadbury-Maher has effected a different kind of transposition, but one which is entirely logical.

The red and green Amplemä-nnchen signs began life in Communist East Germany but could be making a comeback elsewhere in the EU

Go ahead: Bring back East Germany’s little traffic light man, say researchers

Study suggests that pedestrians respond more quickly to icon of Communist era

Lothar Bisky died on 13 August at the age of 71

Lothar Bisky: Communist who helped former comrades enter the political mainstream in reunified Germany

Lothar Bisky, who died on 13 August at the age of 71, was a politican, who after German reunification helped steer discredited East German communists into the mainstream of national politics. He was among a handful of East German Communists who took the helm of the discredited former ruling Socialist Unity Party following the opening of the Berlin Wall and the removal of the hard-line leadership. They transformed the former Stalinist party into a Western-style left-wing movement that still enjoys support, mostly in former Communist areas of eastern Germany.

Inge Lange joined the SED when it was established in 1946

Inge Lange: One of few women to hold power in the GDR

Although the Communist regime of Walter Ulbricht and Erich Honecker always claimed that East Germany was the most advanced state as far as women's rights were concerned, it proved very difficult for women to advance to leadership positions in many spheres.

Book review: In Times of Fading Light, By Eugen Ruge, trans. Anthea Bell

A bewitching collage of loves and sorrows brings the lost East Germany back to life

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War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?