October 12th, 2011

Cultural significance and attitudes regarding the Berlin Victory Column

This isn't actually for a work of fiction I am writing myself, but rather for a video essay ABOUT a work of fiction, Der Himmel uber ueber* Berlin.
*(thanks, lied_ohne_worte, for telling me how to type that correctly without using the umlaut!)

I've googled the statue, of course, and I am fully aware of its origins, who built it and why, all of that technical stuff. My question arises from notes I have seen about what the statue is considered to represent to the common person, as opposed to what it symbolized when it was built. Specifically, I have seen claims that the statue is regarded to some degree as a reminder of Nazi war crimes, being a symbol of German war victories, and is therefor sometimes a controversial object to be featured in fiction.

I also have read that its common nickname is Goldelse, meaning something like "Golden Lizzy." Is that truly something the statue is called, and is that really what that name means?

Basically... I get the feeling this statue has some meaning to Germans or natives of Berlin that I am not able to quite put my finger on because... well... I'm not German. I've never even been to Germany. Are there any Germans here, or people who have travelled to Berlin, who can share anything they know about this statue's importance?

Thank you!


EDIT: My question has been answered. Thanks to everyone who replied for the information AND for the other really neat stuff you all have taught me in these threads. :)

Giving a Royal Command Performance in the 1920s

Year and Place: Great Britain, 1925. Ideally I would like this to occur in late October or early to mid November.

Context: In my story, I have an extremely famous young girl (thirteen at the time). Extremely famous has the meaning of probably the most famous person in the world at this time due to the fact that she has enormous wings and is billed as an angel (though she isn't; this is essentially the real world, where the fantasy I've created plays no part). Her act involves some meagre singing and dancing, which are really just excuses to gawk at her. She comes from an American circus but is Irish.

Anyway, at the end of the 1925 season, I have her giving a Command Performance in the presence of King George and Queen Mary. The only trouble is that I have absolutely no idea what the process would be at this time. Where it might take place (I have no requirements--she can be sent anywhere), who else might be in attendance and how they would be dressed, what protocol she needs to know and use, etc. Her act is so simple that, aside from her wingspan, she doesn't require a lot of space. People tend to like to see her up close and I would really like her to be presented (and that may be standard--shows what I know about Royal Command Performances of the period).

Searched for history of royal command performances, specific command performances and court appearances of different types of celebrities (for example, Tom Thumb), command performance procedures and etiquette, the history of the Variety Show, went to YouTube to watch videos of stars from the 30s and 40s being presented. The trouble with the memoirs I've read is that people gloss over the specifics and only ever mention that they attended one or their theatre company performed one. I may end up handwaving things myself once I get to this point, but in case I don't, well, I want everything in order!

Prison story set in London, late 1930s

Hi, I hoping for some pointers on a story about inmates in a fictionalized version of London's Wandsworth prison.

One character has been convicted of molesting two boys. Was the taboo against sex offenders as severe in the 1930s as now? I have read that nowadays "at risk" prisoners must often be separated from the general population.

Another character I imagine as a murderer. Yet Britain had the death penalty until the 1960s, right? So this character would likely have been executed unless he was judged literally insane (he is not) or successfully defended under the "irresistible impulse" concept, is that correct? The notion that he was so deranged by circumstances, he would have committed murder even with a policeman at his elbow?

Finally, I've heard that as Britain joined WWII, some prisoners were permitted to join the war effort. Can anyone direct me as to the terms? What sort of prisoners were eligible, if their sentences were entirely commuted, etc?

Any advice, links, books to read, etc. would be greatly appreciated!