BERLIN — Michaela Schwingler, who was painting a German flag on her son’s face in the middle of a crowd of tens of thousands of Germans wearing black, red and gold flags and outfits, remembers when such a display of pride would have sent shivers of fear down her spine. ‘Only last month, I was standing in a store looking at the shirts for the different national teams, and I couldn’t bring myself to buy a German shirt,’ said Schwingler, who’s 41. ‘It seemed so wrong, to be proud of Germany. The world is watching us for such signs. This is something I would never have believed could happen here.’ Since the fall of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich and subsequent understanding of the details and extent of the Holocaust, in which 11 million noncombatants, including 6 million Jews, were murdered, signs of patriotism in Germany have been seen as signs of the resurgence of a dark piece of its history. In fact, to Germans, the simple phrase ‘I’m proud to be German’ is considered a neo-Nazi statement. The German National Party, a far-right party, once issued stickers containing the phrase. But in the past […]

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