Talk:Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany/Archive 1 - Talk prior to 2006-12-03

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Removal of the qualified engl. translation in support of Clinton

Everybody relax; the official translation as it appears is just fine, and the "qualified translation" is at best unnecessary, and at worst misleading; I've removed it. One "official" translation of Artikel 1 is from the Bundestag and it's perfectly correct. It may seem, on the surface, that the translation of ist (3rd pers. sg. of Ger. sein which is the verb to be) must be is. But this, while not wrong certainly, is not the best choice here. I don't want to get into a whole polemic here about translation and how it depends on context and you can't just do plain dictionary lookups, but in this case, shall be is the perfect choice, for reasons partly alluded to already by others above. German speakers with less than bi-native/bi-lingual mastery of English are unfortunately being reckless when saying that this is not a good translation--in fact, they are not qualified on this point, but should take note: please see the Constitution of the United States and count the occurrences of shall be which mean is (I counted 75 of them.) This is a well-established, formal usage in English-speaking law, and it means is with a kind of sense of Verpflichtung added, so is even more is-zy than just, plain is.

It's arrogant of us to supplant the official translation with our own. The existing translation is correct. There's no reason for us Wikipedians to assume we know better, most especially when the evidence is against us. On a more light-hearted note, I'm amazed no one commented on the connection with Clinton's comment "that depends on what the meaning of is is..." (before you jump on me, I supported him--still, it's very funny!).Mathglot 18:40, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

  • Hallo Dear!

Nothing against Clinton and the Constitution of the United States, but you are very premature, if not arrogant, in your analyses about the absolute necessity of the correct translation of the Article 1 in my part of the article. Germany isn`t the USA, it has got another history and the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany is just a product of his sad history, you also ignore the fact that the paragraphs (1) and (2) of Article 1 are closely connected with each other, because the German people were considerable time at fault about the meaning of Human Dignity, the enlightenment came later after the unconditional surrender, only then the German people have understood that human dignity is inviolable and that to respect and protect it is the duty of all state authority, therefore the German people avowed themselves inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of justice in the world. You see no chance for “human dignity shell be“ in this context!!! Or, maybe, you mean the term acknowledgement means more than the term avowal, as well??! I take note of your odyssey on that score. Eugene 13:14, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Scope of the article, particularly references to the legacy of WW2

I had previously taken a break from editing this article, because I was disappointed that my suggestions were not taken well by other contributors. However, I've come back, and found that little has changed since.

My points are these.

1: What role does the Basic Law actually have??

The Basic Law was, as correctly observed, drawn up in response to the horror, shock, disbelief, and disavowal of fascist politics, and ethnic cleansing. This framed the way that the Basic Law was created, with regard not only for human rights, but to ensure that no part of society has, or could ever be allowed, to operate in any way that could possibly disregard, or subjugate citizen's human rights.

But the Basic Law had another purpose: namely, to ensure the democratic, and constitutional order of the Federal Republic of Germany. It was not just a document of remorse, and apology for the atrocities of the war, but a working constitution as well. It guarantees elections, it redistributes funds between states, and many other functions. It is not simply a declaration of human rights.

2: The Basic Law in practice

The Basic Law was the constitutional law of the Federal Republic for 41 years, until the unification with East Germany, and thereafter, of the united Germany. The way in which it was drawn up meant that federal and state institutions had to comply with it, or face action, by the constitutional court, which is a duty of every German citizen, as previously pointed out.

Where is there any information within the article to describe how this is achieved?? Why no information about the fact that power for education is completely handed down to the states?? Or broadcasting, for the same reason?? For example, when the DDR was wound up, its national state broadcaster had to be broken up into local state broadcasters, because anything else was unconstitutional.

3: There is too much historical content in this article

The German Wiki has a separate article called 'History of the Basic Law (of the Federal Republic etc.)', which explains better the historical background to the drafting of the Basic Law, and the reason why that process focused on human rights. This article is trying to combine both sets of information into a single article. It focuses too much on the historical detail, and reasons for the creation of the Basic Law, and not enough about the Law itself, and how these clauses work.

Why is there a need to have the Preamble and Article 1 quoted separately, for instance?? It does not contribute anything extra to the article. We know all the states approved the Law, otherwise it would not have been adopted.

The article used to have a v. clear outline, and made objective points about the Basic Law. But currently, the article is muddled, and buries information within repetitive detail about the drafting of the Basic Law.

I hope this explains how I feel about the conduct of this article. I would also like to apologise if anyone feels I have criticised their contributions towards it, but I believe this article needs a thorough overhaul right now, and to bring itself back on track. (RM21 05:14, 13 November 2006 (UTC))

    • I hope you´ll find my today´s amendment statement in the part 1. 5. of my article satisfying, my smart cookie.

Eugene 13:19, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Removal of the part 1.5

Dear Mr. Wales,

I assume the removal of the part „1.5 The most important peculiarity of German Basic Law“ has been made in accordance to your order as chairman, see my E-mail to you of 06 October 2006??
Eugene87.160.228.43 10:31, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

The most important peculiarity of German Basic Law.

    • „ Even if there are no nuances in absolute evil, the massacre of Babi Yar stands out for cruelty, method and premeditation.... Babi Yar and the Holocaust were not crimes committed by outlaws or madmen – they were planned by politicians, they were prepared by bureaucrats, and they were carried out by soldiers.“ - Terry Davis,Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Any war could and should be categorised as an "atrocity" but the war that nazi-Germany started brought a scale of atrocity never previously known and the statistics of World War II clearly qualify it, by far, as the most heinous atrocity in all recorded history. Therefore the Allies’s most important concern on their control of the creation of the new German state after destruction of nazi-Germany was at any time how to prevent that the neo-Nazism in Germany ever takes root again. For this very reason they made sure on their approval of German Basic Law that the heavy vow, made by German people to the humanity at the heavy time of repentance and disillusionment ( 8.5.45 - 12.5.49), had to be taken into the German Basic Law – the body of legal rules of Top Priority – as its an unalterable part...

    • The German people therefore avow themselves inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of justice in the world ( Article 1)

...and created thereby in Germany the legal situation within which any association of persons that, by reason of their aims or the behaviour of their members and adherents, seeks to undermine or abolish this constitutional order is simply illegal, and it assigns to all Germans the absolute right and duty** to resist any person seeking to undermine or to abolish this democratic order, because this demand makes on the entire German people the memory of the 62 million casualties which brought the outbreak of the racial fanaticism in Hitler’s Germany.

    • „......the worst horrors of the Second World War. If we are to have any chance of sparing future generations from similar tragedies, we must keep memory alive.“ – UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan

This is the most important peculiarity of the German Basic Law of May 23,1949 in the face of which the regulation of March 12, 1951 (Federal Law Gazette I p. 243)

    • Article 43 - Law on the Federal Constitutional Court
  1. The application for a decision on whether a party is unconstitutional (Article 21 (2) of the Basic Law) may be made by the Bundestag, the Bundesrat or the Federal Government.

does appear as well as blasphemy.

    • Annotation**:

Rights and duties granted under the Constitution are not absolute. Absolute rights and duties are such as pertain to man regardless of whether it are enacted or not enacted as positive law.

    • Removal

If we are going to discuss the so-called “most important peculiarity” of the German Basic Law, we should quote German Constitutional Law experts. Quotes from random politicians will always look out of place in a Law article. Let’s focus on technical aspects of the Basic Law, or quality will be lost.

Being the one who first proposed the removal of this section, I vote we keep it removed. It resembles the work of someone pursuing an agenda, and not encyclopedic information.

Sparks1979 14:02, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

That section must be removed immediately, it has nothing to do with the subject of this article. Whoever wrote that is clearly anti-German Ewok1 13:43, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Allies's conditional acceptance and specific quality of German Basic Law

  • Shall we keep that talk at top?? This makes it easier to find.
Eugene 11:54, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Sure. It makes it easier than scrolling through pages of text.
  • Now we have agreed the introduction, should the next stage be... to rewrite the passages about the drafting of the Grundgesetz - and the Allies' conditional acceptance - as you suggest?? Again, I think the German version of this article has a lot of information that would explain it better than it has been here. To be honest, I can't remember who wrote the paragraph down there... But any suggestions you have, I would welcome them. I'm not so keen to rewrite this one; I'm trying to do some research of my own (offline), at the moment. But I'll keep coming back to have a look as to how things are going. (RM21 23:30, 16 July 2006 (UTC))

  • Hi, Richard,
as agreed I have completed today my contribution by the part “ The most important peculiarity of German Basic Law, and would be grateful for your opinion about
Eugene 13:02, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

I would like to ask this whole article to be checked through. While most of it seems all right, there are passages that make no sense, lack imporatant information or are plain wrong. Examples: First paragraph of Drafting process is

  • "The outbreak of the racial fanaticism in Germany cost humanity approximately 62 million people, or 2.5% of the world population. About 60% of all casualties were civilians, who died as a result of disease, starvation, genocide (in particular, the Holocaust), massacres; and aerial bombing."

While the numbers may or may not be correct, what is the purpose of this paragraph? The people who died and especially the people who did not die because of the war but because of the Holocaust are very important for the way to Grundgesetz was written. But there is no connection made. The next paragraph does not make reference to this and mentions the necessity to keep history from repeating itself in a much more neutral way. Later on:

  • "Any war could and should be categorised as an "atrocity" but the war that Nazi Germany started brought a scale of atrocity never previously known and the statistics of World War II clearly qualify it, by far, as the most heinous atrocity in all recorded history...."

Unverified claim, clearly anti-German. The figures I heard suggest that both Stalin and Mao had a higher death toll than Nazi-Germany. Correct, most of their dead were in their own country, but I do not see how that would make it any better.

  • "...and created thereby in Germany the legal situation within which any association of persons that, by reason of their aims or the behaviour of their members or adherents, seek to undermine or abolish this constitutional order is simply illegal, and which assigns to all Germans the absolute right and duty** to resist any person seeking to undermine or abolish this constitutional order, because this demand makes on the entire German people the memory of the 62 million casualties which brought the outbreak of the racial fanaticism in Hitler’s Germany."

While it is unclear where this text comes from, it does not seem to be a quote. I do not believe that this demand makes on the entire German people the memory of 62 million casualties is something that should be claimed in Wikipedia if it is not a direct or indirect quote of some political, moral or other authority. There is also context missing the the right and duty to resist. Violence by the people is only intended as a last resort and is illegal if there is functional police or military loyal to the consitution to deal with the situation. Directly below the list with senseless emphasis, there is the claim that the German consitution contains blasphemy. Huh? The preamble contains a direct reference to god, other than that there is a rule that religion and state must not interfere in each others buisiness. I am not seeing any blasphemy there. At that time, Germany was a fairly religious state. To sum it up: I believe there was some editor here that wanted to make modern Germany look bad by applying non neutral wording and some unverified claims. The german version of this article seems much better and (logically) is checked much more often than this one. I suggest either having someone who not only read the whole Grundgesetz, but also has significant political and historical knowlege check this article for further inaccuracies or using the german version, which I believe is often checked by people who know the subject, to check this one through. There should be sources to every claim and despite the atrocities in the third reich, wording should be neutral and the crimes of the Nazis should only be mentioned in a context where it makes sense. PS: Sorry for the vandalism on this discussion page. There seems to have been an error while previewing this comment. -- 13:43, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

    • I'd be glad to answer all the questions brought up by you, because I am the author of the whole contribution above “ Important differences to the Weimar Constitution”. Please, make plain who you are. You know, to argue to a nonentity is not very easy.

Eugene 07:51, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

Eugene 15:16, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

Section 1.5

I don't feel this section should be here. If we have to have it, shouldn't it be included in Section 3 as subsection 3.3?

Also, I believe it has some very questionable lines, such as "because this demand makes (sic) on the entire German people the memory of the 62 million casualties". It's poorly written and seems totally out of place. I suggest we simply delete them for lack of neutrality.

    • Ref. comment of 1:34, 4 October 2006 without signature:

it would be desirable to find out who's that “we”. I’d be assuming you don’t speak for the vast majority of the German people, do you?

 „......the worst horrors of the Second World War. If we are to have any 
chance of sparing future generations from similar tragedies,
we must keep memory alive..........“
UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan

Eugene 18:26, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Removal of Section 1.5

Greetings Eugene. I was the one who made the comment you refer to (“removal of section 1.5”), and I apologize for not signing it before. I’ve only recently made my Wikipedia account and I’m still learning the basic edit features, thus I involuntarily didn’t sign the first few entries I made in talk pages.

Anyway, back to the removal of section 1.5.

I believe when we’re talking about the peculiarities of a Constitution (or “Basic Law” in the present case) we should focus our quotes on comments of Constitutional Law experts and specialists. Quoting Kofi Annan here seems out of place to me.

If you and others think political comments are important for this article, I suggest we create a separate section called something like “political aspects of the German Basic Law” or “political influences on the German Basic Law”. It would be the appropriate place to concentrate on things like reflexes of the war on the formation of the German Basic Law and other similar information.

Let’s leave the “peculiarities” section for technical legal aspects. Someone with knowledge on German Law should contribute. If we mix everything together - legal technicalities and political abstractions - the article will look poor. Sparks1979 14:34, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

A basic law, but not a constitution

I've always been struck by the fact that Germany does not have a constitution, even though it has a Basic Law, and a Constitutional Court. Why did Germany not seek to adopt a permanent constitution [as the Basic Law anticipated]?? There have been several occasions in recent years when this could have taken place. On the accession of the neuen Bundesländern, sometime in the 1990s as a consolidation of democracy [as many of the EU accession countries of 2004 did], or simply upon entering the 21. Century. Nevertheless, the Federal Government never considered it. Why was that?? (RM21 00:22, 1 July 2006 (UTC))

  • Dear RM21,

I am very grateful to you for your co-operation in this subject-matter, but to stick to the truth - the initiative for the creation of a Basic Law for a new German state came after World War II from the western occupying powers and the rough draft for the Basic Law came from the Herrenchiemsee Convent - an expert panel appointed by the leaders of the Länder in a session - and only after that the draft got to the discussion of the parliamentary council – see item “Grundgesetz” in Meyer Lexikon and in Creifelds Rechtswörterbuch published by Beck-Verlag München.

Eugene 11:22, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

    • I'm sorry, I've been away for a few days. I can see that you've made some changes again, which I'll come back to later [I'll start a new section up above]. I would try to read the articles you mentioned, but I don't have much access to German books, particularly now I'm on vacation; my uni might have the books, I just don't know. If you know they're available online, or would be able to copy a paragraph or two, I would gladly read them. I also notice you make many edits, whilst on a public computer, or not signed in. Have you thought about registering on Wiki?? In that way, it would be easier to see what contributions you added. (RM21 00:45, 9 July 2006 (UTC))
  • However, I still think my points are relevant. I agree with you that the main initiative for the Grundgesetz came from the occupying powers, and it did emphasise a break with the ideology of the [then] recent past, [though that represented only 12 years of German history, even if they were the most infamous ones]. But, nonetheless, the Grundgesetz is the 'constitution' [even if it's not the right name for it] of modern-day Germany. It is almost 60 years since the foundation of the Federal Republic, and whilst the reasons for the Grundgesetz will move further away into history, the Grundgesetz will remain. As will the question of why no formal, binding constitution was ever drafted, when the conditions needed for one have been met [e.g. unification of German territory]. (RM21 00:56, 9 July 2006 (UTC))
  • Talking about the modern-days:
The biggest far-right political party in Germany (NPD) reaped in the course of the latest general election nearly 1 Million votes (as per computer prediction). Don´t you put the cart before the horse, dear?
P.S. I'd guess, the newest Memorial which rises between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument on the National Mall is not very far from you.
Eugene 14:03, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
  • OK, maybe this is still a relevant issue today. Nevertheless... why has the constitution not been formalised?? The Grundgesetz was always intended to be a temporary document, but 60 years later, it is still here. (RM21 23:13, 13 July 2006 (UTC))

Germany has a constitution, is is just called Grundgesetz. Constitution is a concept, a constitution establishes the fundamental principles of a country and defines its gouvenmental bodies. By this standard the Basic Law is the german constitution, just under a special name. No political or legal in Germany scolar has any doubt about that. The quality of the Basic Law is questioned only by extremists, who wish to question the quality of the german state. And btw: the constitutions of the Nederlands and Belgium are called "Ground Wet", which means (surprise!) Basic Law. --h-stt !? 19:36, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Removal - lack of the neutrality and factual accuracy

"The Basic Law was adopted in the aftermath of World War II while West Germany was still under allied occupation. The first stage of the creation of democracy in the western areas of Germany was that the individual West German states, or Länder, were given constitutions. The new constitution for West Germany was originally to be drafted by' a constituent assembly (the Herrenchiemsee Convent) and submitted to a plebiscite for ratification.
However, for the same reasons that the document was ultimately called a 'basic law' and not a 'constitution', the leaders of the Länder insisted that the drafting body be called the 'Parliamentary Council' and that plans for a referendum be abandoned. When it assembled, the Parliamentary Council consisted of delegates elected by the parliaments of each State (Land, plural Länder).
After being passed by the parliamentary council and approved by the occupying powers, the Basic Law was submitted to the governments of the Länder for ratification, it having been provided that the document would not come into effect until it had been ratified by at least two-thirds of the states. After meeting these requirements, the enactment of the Basic Law was proclaimed on 23. May 1949."

Eugene 09:23, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

This article will not work or(Two)Introduction(s)

  • Dear MR21 or simply Jimmy,

I am very sorry! In making my contribution to the topic „acknowledgment or avowal etc...” I wrongly assumed that the central planning of “Wiki”, as an encyclopaedia, was imparting of genuine information.

Look! You avow when you make an open and public declaration (cp. the preamble on top of the article Basic Law for the Federal Republic in German language)

The elementary facts in “the time of legal nonentity” came, however, under common knowledge too.

OK! OK! You can cause to remove my whole contribution done by me as “preamble”, but please do no attempts any more to blend it with the rubbish taking by you for proper stuff.

Eugene 20:02, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

P.S. as to the lack of my registration till now,
I wrongly thought, it was already done by me on 21/06/06 (my e-mail to you)
    • Dear Eugene,

(Just to explain, I'm Richard, not Jimmy :S; unless you mean Jimmy Wales, I've not spoken to or e-mailed him either)

I'm sorry if I caused offence earlier. I'll try and explain a bit better what I meant. I don't disagree with your emphasis on the preamble, and the translation into English, to explain what it's really trying to say. This is very important, and why I've consistently left it in the article. I was only concerned with the final result, when the article looked like it had two rival introductions (as Patrick, below, pointed out).

So I've thought about this, and suggest a compromise. I will leave your translations (and your other content), but just put the original introduction (which I didn't write, someone else did) at the top of the page. Is that OK?? I really didn't want to cause any problems about this.

BTW, I don't remember receiving an e-mail from you?? Could you tell me what you said again?? Thanks.

Richard (RM21 22:54, 13 July 2006 (UTC))
  • OK! RM21 or Richard!

My direct mail: to „ Dear MR21“ of Jul-09 went in fact to Jimmy Wales. We changed some e-mail at the beginning of the running discussion and I left it to him as chairman to decide if my contribution are to be removed en bloc or not, because, I know, he follows the discussion too.

I accept your compromise solution, although some details in the body of the article contradict the facts in my part and I miss some supplementary details which could be worth reading for users

Eugene 19:00, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

  • I think I understand Eugen's point: sich bekennen is to make a strong statement: as, for example, when a person declares his faith in a religious or political creed. "Acknowledge" is not an expression of strong commitment.
On the other hand, the phrase the German people avow themselves inviolable and inalienable human rights is not quite perfect yet.
While bekennen takes sich, "avow" doesn't need the word "themselves". Here's a usage example: He avowed his guilt.
May I suggest another word? To profess is to "declare openly or affirm, especially one's belief". This seems to be close to sich bekennen, so the phrase can be translated as: The German people therefore professes inviolable and unalienable human rights...
Please note that das Deutsche Volk = the German people and is singular. In contrast, die Deutschen can be rendered "the German people" and is plural. (In order to avoid that collision of terms, my preference is to render die Deutschen as "the people of Germany", still plural.) Chonak 01:27, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
  • To stick to the English:
- the word “people” means in English just plural form of “person”
- “avow themselves” - the German people avow themselves as rich in good will ......... ...............look at the top of main article.
Eugene 08:44, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
To the contrary: 'people' can mean the nation as a whole (Volk) or it can mean the plural of "person" (Leute). Chonak 11:44, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm sorry to have to come back to this, but I need to point out the problems of having two introductions to the article. It just doesn't make sense. That doesn't mean that the information is irrelevant, or wrong, but it can't be accommodated in the article when there is already an introduction there. It isn't usual to have two introductions, and could be very confusing for first-time readers.

Bearing in mind the points you are trying to make, I suggest you take a look at the German Wiki-article on the Grundgesetz. It contains a lot more information about the context of the Grundgesetz, and the events leading up to its creation. There may even be enough information for another article, such as 'History of the Basic Law...'.

I really think this article will not work, unless an effort is made to reconcile the introductions. Take the section which begins The Basic Law for the Federal Republic.... This was obviously meant to be an introduction. But it could have extra information slotted into it. I tried this before, but you may have thought it didn't emphasise the context of the Grundgesetz properly.

I would urge you to compare the German version with the English, and think about whether you could include even more information, based on that article, or start another article on the History of the Grundgesetz, in order to make both easier to follow. Please don't think I value your contributions, but it has made the article seem very confusing until now. (RM21 01:08, 9 July 2006 (UTC))

I agree, also why are there two translatations of Article I. ? -- (Patrick 22:27, 10 July 2006 (UTC))


      • To all whom it may concern
        - the exact translation of the chief contents of Articl 1 ( 2) of German Basic Law
         "das Deutsche Volk bekennt sich ......"
         in view of those catastrophic events in the run-up to May 8,1945, 
         when the German People by a snatch as one man believed imperturbably 
         in being a master race -"das Herrenvolk" - superior to others, born
         to leaders,and entitled to barbaric treatment of those not belonging 
         to the "master race",which necessitated the creation of a new German 
         state with a particular Basic Law, is still 
         "The German people avow themselves to inviolable and inalienable 
         human rights as the basis of every human community, of peace, and 
         of justice in the world" and not "The German People acknowledge ......" - 
         like "accept or recognise"
I have removed the part beginning with "****To all whom it may concern", because in the official translation (on the webpage of the federal government of germany, ) the word used to translate "bekennen" is "acknowledge" ("The German people therefore acknowledge inviolable and inalienable human rights ...") and not "the german people avow themselves to ..." So this discussion is actually useless (it concerns only a non-official translation, not the contents of the original document...)
The word "bekennen" can actually be translated in both ways, literally it means to avow, but in this respect it is probably rather used in the sense of "to acknowledge human rights"...
for the official english translation of the basic law
   Dear incognito friend of "Removals",
the translations and even the interpretations of the German Basic Law on the WebPages of the Federal Government of Germany are by far not the rightist (see consensus of opinion of the users above) and a discussion on it why so is anything but useless. Opposer of unsubstantiated "Removals" 12:59, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
   Dear Opposer of substantiated Removals,
   I doubt that the interpretation of some wikipedia users is more right than the interpretation and translation 
   offered on the governments pages.. At least you should provide some sources for your point of view, otherwise it could 
   be considered to be "original research" ( please see :
   "Articles may not contain any previously unpublished theories, data, statements, concepts, arguments, or ideas; or any 
   new analysis or synthesis of published data, statements, concepts, arguments, or ideas that serves to advance a
   position.") As a person who is fluent in the german language, I consider the translation of "bekennt" with "aknowledge"
   as more appropriate in this context.  
   Btw: The german people did not, as you write, believe "as one man" in being a master race. 
   Instead, there was a german opposition to the Nazi regime (Unfortunately, it was a small and weak opposition), please see for further information..
   Friend of substantiated removals
Dear incognito friend of "substantiated removals",
I also am a person who have a good knowledge of German language and a little knowledge of English. Nevertheless your interpretation for the term “original research” dashed me nearly to the ground.
However, the facts mentioned come under the case of common knowledge, and common knowledge doesn´t need any proof, you can read it in the school books that the entire German People with the exception of a tiny minority pending defeat (May 8, 1945) were imperturbably believing in being a master race “das Herrenvolk” – superior to others, born to leaders, entitled to barbaric treatment of those not belonging to the „master race“ - and that after defeat the German people had renounced their unshakeable belief in being a master race, and became the converts to a complete new creed, namely to the creed of the inviolability and inalienability of human rights, and that the Allies their approval for the creation of a new German state were just making conditional on an unconditional convert of German people to this new creed. (You see! No chance for the words like "shell").
But be that as it may, the German people maid their heavy vow to the humanity and took this vow into the Basic Law for the new German state under Article 1 (2) as an unalterable part of the Basic Law, and this Basic Law was finally approved by the Allies (12.5.49) and promulgated (23.5.49), and with this effective date the new German state came into being, and I regret it profoundly - as a German and as a citizen of the Federal Republic of Germany - that some ill-skilled Sunday translators were able to accomplish to make people like you – my poor pen friend - believe that the German people could have already forgotten their heavy vow maid to the humanity in the heavy hours of repentance and disillusionment.No! Never! That's why avow and not acknowledge – like accept....

Eugen Pfo from Berlin 12:54, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

P.S. in remembrance of the German Opposition to the Nazi regime see my adjustment to
"when the German People as one man...."  under **** To all whom it may concern. Sorry!
  • OK, some points to make now. Firstly, just a minor point: machen/gemacht >> make/made; (Dienst)mädchen >> maid.

Second, more serious point: from conversations with academics, from personal reading, from watching documentaries etc, I cannot accept that the entire German people took the propaganda of the National Socialists entirely to heart. Sure, some may have gone along with it [and one has to remember the terrible circumstances that Germany had found itself in], but to suggest that folks subscribed unquestioningly to this philosophy is false.

Thirdly, despite all this, the point maid [avow vs. acknowledge] is actually a sensible one. It suggests the German people affirmed the Basic Law collectively, and by themselves, as a means of moving on. Perhaps we could devote ourselves to researching this somewhat further??

One final point: the points the previous contributor made badly disrupted the contunuity of the article. It was almost like having an article-within-an-article. Can I suggest that where substantial edits are made, they conform with the rest of the text where possible?? So that the sense, and the continuity of the text is not lost because of a minor, or semantic point, such as this one. (RM21 00:51, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

  • Dear RM21,

at first:

the Wikipedia strongest point – everyone can edit in it
the Wikipedia weakest point – everyone can edit in it
and an Engl. word processor I´ve got too, look at your maid in your thirdly

to your second:

you´d better acquaint the documentaries of the Nuremberg Trials etc....

and in your ages you´d better get used to that passive attitude has been deemed to be as an agreement without distinction if questioningly or unquestioningly, and so that all over the world

as for the rest

You are right - in the whole “article“ the preamble is worth reading ( it comes from me as well ) and the carryover sounds as an unqualified original research, you can cause to remove it

Eugen Pfo 09:04, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

  • OK, I admit my last spelling mistake - it always happens when I'm typing!! I often type a word that sounds the same as the one I intended. I don't try to correct people's ENglish unless the word changes the meaning of what they said. Also, shall we keep the most recent talk article at the top?? This makes it easier to find.
    • However, I'm still concerned at your point that the NS-ideology was embedded in every German person's mind - as in 100% of the population. You've cited the Nuremberg trials, but these were only to deal with NS-party members, and officials working for them. How many 'ordinary people' were tried there?? How many workers, farmers, business people?? Non-NS members (Admittedly, it was hard to remain outside the NS party or NS-movements)?? People who were just trying to earn a living for their families, and trying to get on with their lives without the propaganda?? How did priests feel about this?? How did people feel when their Jewish friends and neighbours were abducted, for instance?? Of course, many people despised the Jews, but that was pretty hard to avoid when propaganda was published everywhere, in movies, in newspapers and so on. I don't want to go on about this, particularly, but when you try to look at ordinary people, I do wonder how many of them resisted the propaganda, even if they were too afraid to ever say so to friends, or family. (RM21 16:30, 21 June 2006 (UTC))
  • I have now re-written your introduction, to blend it into the original introduction, as I had intended, before the reversion edit. Please let me know if you think it covers all the points you were going to make; I hope it does. It's important to retain the order of articles, even though everyone can try to edit them. I have left your translation of Art. 1, because I think it is significant. (RM21 17:41, 21 June 2006 (UTC))
  • OK. let´s get on:

Your reinterpretation of my definition for “the time of (legal)nonentity for Germany ......” ( German "staatslose Zeit") to “the democratic vacuum in Germany, which began 4 years earlier .....” strikes a great bulk of visitors of this pages as being very odd ( what was before it??!) You do well to change it urgently.

Eugene -- 13:03, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

  • Have you had some feedback about that paragraph?? I'm not particularly happy with my translation either; I was racking my brains to think of a good translation. In fact 'staatlose Zeit' is a better form of words, I admit, but it's somewhat harder to translate into English. You could say there was a democratic vacuum in Germany pre-1949 (because the Federal Govt. was not yet in place), but this doesn't address the concept properly. When you say 'nonentity', that brings to mind 'unperson', or unremarkable person, so again it doesn't describe it properly; that was the reason I changed it.
    • Actually, now I have read your current changes (legal nonentity), I'm happy to use that instead. I was going to suggest, either the words 'stateless period', or 'transitional period'. (RM21 23:46, 27 June 2006 (UTC))
  • Dear RM21,

I´ve understood you were originally the author of the article „ Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, didn´t you? I hope you don´t mind a little redesign done by me today as to the adding of translation from German into English see PREAMBLE

Eugene-- 14:59, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

    • Actually, I'm not the author; I believe it's this guy User:Roadrunner. However, the preamble now fits in nicely with the introduction. Maybe quote marks would make it clear that it's a direct quotation, but otherwise that's fine. (RM21 00:09, 1 July 2006 (UTC))

Shortening of comments to Article 146

I have shortened the comments to Article 146 of the Basic Law by the part

“The usual word for 'constitution' in German is Verfassung but Grundgesetz was chosen for the title of the document adopted in 1949 to state that both the new constitution, and the West German state it created, were merely provisional and shall serve only until the day on which a constitution freely adopted by the German people takes effect (Article 146 [Duration of The Basic Law]).”

because of inallowability of the original researches on the pages of English Wikipedia - cp. No original research

Eugen Pfo 07:27, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Basic Law _for_ the FRG

"Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany" is not exactly right. The German title is "Basic Law _for_ the Federal Republic of Germany". -- JensMueller 12:47, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)


I'd like to find out wrote the "official translation" of the Article I; to my knowledge there is no official translation of the Grundgesetz, or any law, for that matter. The law is only in force in its original language. So, was this official version passed by the Germany legislature? If so, it's inaccurate, I fixed it. Well, I did, but those changes were reverted for reasons that are unknown to me (Patrick 00:39, 2 May 2006 (UTC))

There's a translation on the Bundesregierung's own website[1] (which I've changed the link to point to), and that's as official as it's possible to get. The text at the old link indeed isn't exactly the same... but what it was changed to is even more divergent. —Zero Gravitas 01:21, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
I imported the text from the Bundestag website which is by far the most authoritative version available. sebmol 02:52, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
"(1)Die Würde des Menschen ist unantastbar. Sie zu achten und zu schützen ist Verpflichtung aller staatlichen Gewalt.

((1) Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority.)" in my opinion shall is not a good translation. it should be better translated like " Human dignity is inviolable. To respect und protect it is the duty of all state authority". in germany a term like "shall" would be called "schwammig" because shall does not mean it has to be. a german wikipedia user 15:54, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Indeed, "shall" is not a good translation. The German Text says "ist" and therefore more or less implies that the inviolability (correct word?) is not to be questioned. another German user -- 10:38, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

...."Shall" in reality, is actually a very good choice of [English] words. In its most basic meaning, it means "must". Although some English-speakers take it as a futuristic term (as in "will") its meaning in not only archaic language but in current rhetoric and "legalese" is clearly defined as "must". A classic example would be "Thou shall not kill" or "The resident shall pay taxes quarterly." 23:25, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

[new post]I apologise for my anonimity. The "shall" or "is" debate is very important. Even "must" implies that it is up to us to make human dignity inviolable. "Is" however makes it a statement of a characteristic of human dignity. This is an important difference in trying to work out the concept of human dignity operating in the basic law, which is my interest. I'm no german speaker, so could an expert clarify, does the German imply a statement about the nature of human dignity ("is") or about how we should treat human dignity ("must" or "shall")? Does it imply that human dignity is undeniably inviolable, or that it must be treated as inviolable? Thanks...

I'm German and the text clearly says "is", in the sense you used it. No doubt about it. I also apologise for my anonymity ;-)

Translation - Housecleaning

Ok, it's time to bring some order to this:

I see that I am not the only one who questions the validity of the the translation as it is published by the German government. As a matter of fact, I noticed that there are several versions floating around, none of which are authoritative. As a native German and English speaker, I believe that the version published by the government requires a closer look, as well as thorough revision by the community.

This brings me to my next point:

I've taken it upon myself to offer a forum for those who would like to contribute to a new translation here: Wikisource:Basic_Law_of_the_Federal_Republic_of_Germany_(Wikisource)

So far, the project is in its infancy, as you can see, I'm done only up to article 7, but you are welcome to expand / make changes there. I believe with enough contributors and reviewers, consisting of both native German and native English speakers, we can come up with a translation that everyone agrees upon; any discussion regarding the particulars of the translation are best discussed on that article's Talk page.

My version of Article 1:

(1) The dignity of man is infrangible. To honor and to defend it shall be the imperative of all state supremacy.

(2) Therefore, the German People commit to the inalienable and inseverable human rights as the basis to any human society, and to world peace and justice.

(3) The following basic laws are binding to the legislative, executive, and judiciary powers as immediately applicable law.

Unless anyone has any objections, I will replace the excerpt of the "Basic Law" in this article with the text above. Please discuss here any changes you think are necessary. Also, I don't think it is necessary or appropriate to highlight in boldface arbitrary words in the excerpt, even if the translation is currently under peer review. Thanks -- (Patrick 22:02, 26 June 2006 (UTC))

  • See my draft for another version. (1) "infrangible" is a rare word, and not clearly an improvement over the Press Office's "inviolable"; (2) the Office's "inviolable and inalienable" is a reasonable translation of the German also. "Inseverable" is a technical word used in business law, about how the various provisions of a contract all stand or fall together if the contract is challenged in court: I don't think this means the same as unverletzlich.
The only mild downside to their choice of words is that unantastbar and unverletzlich both get mapped to inviolable -- not a bad result, meiner Meinung nach. However, I agree fully with your correction of the verb tenses in Art 1. Nr. 1. Chonak 06:39, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
I suppose "inviolable" is more colloquial than "infrangible", but in this case they can probably be used interchangeably, it's just a matter of style; not worthy of discussion. I deliberately used "inseverable", because the term is approriate to be used in reference to a contract, as you stated correctly: in this case, the social contract between the German people and the state, which the Grundgesetz is meant to embody. (Patrick 15:09, 27 June 2006 (UTC))
  • Thanks for explaining; although not yet convinced, I appreciate your thinking about unverletzlich. About (2),
das Deutsche Volk is singular, so it would seem natural to treat "people" as a singular noun with a singular verb.
In formal speech, "commit" is a transitive verb; I believe the intransitive use of that word is a relatively recent invention and informal in style. (Personally, I still think of it as an error, and at least my dictionary here at home, a 1967 Random House unabridged, agrees.)
In the phrase "commit to the inalienable and inseverable human rights", it's not clear where the definite article the comes from. This the, not found in the German, restricts the meaning from "human rights in general" to "some particular human rights that we've specified in a preceding passage".
My thinking for now is: making a new translation from scratch would be an interesting exercise, but for the purposes of this article, it may be easier to reach consensus around a conservative approach: use the Press Office translation as a starting point, check it against the original, and modify it in the relatively few cases where it is defective. Chonak 03:02, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree that using the Press Office translation and making minor changes to it should it be necessary is a good approach. In addition the can safely be stricken from "commit to the inalienable and inseverable human rights", good observation, I think. In reference to the comment above ("Translation"), I agree that shall is appropriate in this case; again this is more of a "legalese" term as was pointed out above, however, the same goes for inseverable, which in this case exactly translates to unverletzlich. If anyone disagrees with this assessment, please provide your alternate translations, in both directions. Cleaning up the article with a single correct translation is definetely in order; it should also be mentioned that more than one translation exists, and perhaps briefly mention alternative English interpretations of Article I, and possibly other articles where patently different interpretations may exist. (Patrick 01:16, 6 July 2006 (UTC))
I blieve the translation from the press office is very good. For someone who is not German this may not be clear, but the first paragraph states intentions, not facts. In Germany there are still people who physically hurt other people and (very few) state authorities who do not act against this, so I believe using is may be confusing or seem ridiculous. If you want to do a literal translation, the upper version is closer to the original, while the press office version is closer to the meaning. -- 13:43, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

Section 1.5

I don't feel this section should be here. If we have to have it, shouldn't it be included in Section 3 as subsection 3.3?

Also, I believe it has some very questionable lines, such as "because this demand makes (sic) on the entire German people the memory of the 62 million casualties". It's poorly written and seems totally out of place. I suggest we simply delete them for lack of neutrality.

  • ??? is the lockout for my shares removed?

Eugene 10:48, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

  • Lieber Jimmy,

ich wünsche dir alles gute für die Zukunft

Eugene 10:46, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

broken links

The links providing the full text of the basic law don't work. Could someone fix this pls?-- 18:26, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Comment (moved from the assessment comments subpage by Kusma (討論))

Hi, Sparks1979!

thank you for your introduction on your personal page, I assume the lines below "I would like to ask this whole article to be checked through....." are yours.

I am German by birth and without particular tendencies and proficiency, yet I am sure I`ll be able to convince you of the necessity of the presence of the part 1.5 in the article “the most peculiarity of Basic Law”

Eugene 17:09, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

The main thought of Wikipedia

The main thought of Wikipedia is the imparting of information worth knowing that´s why the part 1.5 of the article “Basic Law for FRG” belongs in it.

The principle in Article 1(2) binds all Germans without exception and imposes them the duty to resist any person ( not to mention association of persons as a political party) seeking to undermine or to abolish that fixed constitutional order by all legal means without exception.

Eugene 19:29, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Original research, redux

Er..!Mr ProhibitOnions from Administration!

You shortened my part of the article by the contents that decidedly were worth knowing for a great bulk of users of Wikipedia (see below), and moreover you´ve put into the leftover some changes that didn`t do your education a lot of credit, look at “Drafting process”

You: In view of Nazi usurpation of ........Weimer Constitution!!! What a nonsense! Are you English?

let alone your epoch making notion of “semi-democracy” (see loc. cit.). Look! Democracy is equivalent to a government of the masses. The notion „government of the masses ” in his meaning is absolute. A form of „semi-government of the masses“ is up to now unknown to the people. I see, you were hell of a long time travelling about. So, sweetie pie! If you don't object, I do the issue into the discussion once again. It´s up to the people to pass judgement about whether your rubbish is to substitute my part of the article being removed by you, that's the way how it works in Jimmy´s club. Eugene 13:25, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Please stop adding original research to Wikipedia. I only began to untangle the article and put it into order regarding the content of the GG. Yes, in one place I typed Cabinet when I meant Chancellor, or something similar, but that was a good-faith error. The article is still in need of lots of work, and I trimmed some repetition, and organized the article into headers with some additional text where this made sense. What needs to be done next is selective citation of the official translation of the text to support the various points made about the provisions of the GG. Much more needs to be written about its stipulations; at present it is still too much of a general article detailing the government of Germany, and differences between the Grundgesetz and the Weimar constitution. This may be a start, but it's nowhere near finished.
This article is not, however, a place for a personal essay about "the most unusual" part of the Grundgesetz, or excerpts of passages from the GG without commentary (we can read the whole thing online anyway). There are plenty of places to post your beliefs about the Grundgesetz on the Internet; Wikipedia isn't one of them. If a scholarly source supports your viewpoint, you are free to quote it, as well as any opposing views if this is a controversial opinion.
BTW, in Wikipedia you do not have a "part of the article." As every edit page reads, "If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly or redistributed by others, do not submit it."
Oh, and please look at WP:CIVIL and WP:NPA.  ProhibitOnions  (T) 13:24, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Hello, Mr ProhibitOnions - the Terminator of Wikipedia as a free encyclopedia!

I watched with interest your today’s rechanges on the pages of Wikipedia and particularly on the discussion part. You know, I couldn´t make sense of your personal comprehention of the notion “original research”.

Do you cast doubts on the facts that the Allies's most important concern of the creation of the new German state, after destruction of nazi-Germany, was: how to prevent fascism taking root in Germany ever again, or that they deliberately created in the new German state the legal situation within which any association of persons that, by reason of their aims or the behaviour of their members and adherents, seeks to undermine or abolish this constitutional order is to be illegal? Then you do punishablely inslut the Allies's strategic sagacity at that time. Be glad your place of residence is Berlin.

Or.... perhaps .... you do doubt on that the consequence of the outbreak of the racial fanaticism in Hitler's Germany lead to the genocide and deaths of ca. 2.5% of the whole world population? These facts are, however, known to the Wikipedia too.

Oh..., I see..., your doubts are being aimed at the sincerity of the avowal of the German people and at that the fundamental principle in article 1 (2) of the Basic Law isn´t for the vast majority of German people of absolute highest priority, then ... take a good piece of advice, Berlin is not the rightest place of residence for you either?? Neither ?!!

Hey! Then I don´t know, why you don´t love my contribution to the subject - Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany!!

Hell! Mr ProhibitOnions, you and your patron Jimmy Wales have convinced me now! The free encyclopedia Wikipedia is not the appropriate place for my contrebutions.I beg your pardon.


P.S Actually, you and Jimmy are a sweety cuple! You are well suited to each other. He as charman of Wikipideria doesn`t realized thus far what the main thought of his structure is!

Eugene 11:43, 3 December 2006 (UTC)