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BellaOnline's German Culture Editor

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Famous Germans

Thinkers, Inventors, Authors, Composers, Heroes and unfortunately tyrants....Germans have made a mark on history. Including in world culture, technology, medicine, literature, medicine and philosophy.

Berthold Beitz, Humanitarian and Philanthropist star
A main contributor in the rebuilding of Germany´s reputation and that of Krupp Industries, owned by Alfried Krupp known as the "Munitions King for the Fuhrer´. The company was totally destroyed by the allies in 1947, as, first led by the father and then the son, it had produced munitions for both World War One and World War Two, and like many others during both wars employed workers seized from across Europe. Ultimately using them as slave labor.

Brothers Grimm star
Once upon a time there were two very dissimilar brothers, whose combined talents produced European folk and fairy tales which were anything but sweet and gentle bedtime stories. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.

Caroline Herschel – German-British Astronomer star
Caroline Herschel, sister of William Herschel and pioneer in her own right, cataloged stars, nebula, and was the first woman to discover a comet. She was also the first woman astronomer to earn a salary, acquire honors, and be accepted into scientific organizations usually open only to men.

Frederick the Great star
Germany celebrated the 300th anniversary of Frederick II of Prussia in 2012. One of the most famous and respected German rulers, both for his military success as a brilliant strategist and for the ground breaking domestic reforms he introduced into his country.

Friedrich Nietzsche, 19th Century Philosopher star
Born in the mid 19th Century, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s timeless quotations have made him a present day sage, but there was a complex man behind quotes such as ´That which does not kill us makes us stronger´.

German Americans Who Made a Difference star
German Americans make up almost 25 percent of the US population. It was 1608 when the first immigrants arrived, with those following mainly hoping to improve on the way their life had been "at home", and their work and lives have had an effect not only in America but worldwide.

Lev Z. Kopelev Honorary German citizen star
Russian Author Lev Kopelev - Made an honorary German citizen after the revoking of his Soviet citizenship, due to his human rights and dissident activities, spent the remainder of his life in Germany where 'The Lev Kopelev Prize for Peace and Justice' has been awarded annually since his death.

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer star
An iconic German born composer and child prodigy who broke new ground in Western classical music, and continued to produce musical masterpieces even when profoundly deaf.

My Father´s Keeper - Book Review star
They are not "Famous Germans" but their fathers were, and their names have accompanied them throughout life. My Father´s Keeper: Children of Nazi Leaders - An Intimate History of Damage and Denial: follows the lives of children, many of whom are still alive, their unenviable legacy: being born to senior members of the Third Reich

Sophie Scholl and The White Rose star
Sophie Scholl was 21, a leader of The White Rose, a non-violent resistance group of Munich University students, and one of many Germans who did not support the Nazi regime, when in February 1943 she was executed for treason, together with her brother Hans and their friend Christoph Probst.

Stolpersteine and Gunter Demnig star
Gunter Demnig was the inspiration behind "Stolpersteine", Stumbling stones, the memorial which is built one stone at a time in sidewalks. Each bearing the name, and with the barest of details documenting the life, of a victim of Nazism.

The Birth of the Modern Car star
Mercedes Benz originated from the dreams of one man. Bertha Benz believed in her husband Carl and in his vision of a ´Horseless Carriage´. When he wanted to give up his dream she made the first ever long distance journey with a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine, from a love story the modern automobile was born. And the beginning of Mercedes-Benz.

Truemmerfrauen, Germany´s Post War Heroines star
Individually they were not famous, but the foundations for a "New Germany" were laid by "Truemmerfrauen", Rubble Women. Aged from 15 to 50 and often half starved, they were post war Germany´s heroines. With bare hands, and hard work, they cleared the rubble from the streets and buildings of their war torn cities.

Unknown Inventors of Everyday Items star
Germany´s inventors and scientists, past and present, have helped build the country´s reputation for invention and technology. However the names of many are not really "famous".

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