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wenden and sich wenden

In our recent newsletters about giving directions and driving, one verb that hasn't come up yet is wenden. This verb and its reflexive form sich wenden an have different meanings and a multitude of possible translations. 


The verb abbiegen means "to turn," for example when you are in a car and have to turn left. But when it comes to turning the car around completely, you would often use the verb wenden. It signifies a turnaround, reversal, or shift.


Filmpferde müssen viel können: steigen, sich verbeugen, blitzschnell wenden oder todesmutig vor ein Motorrad galoppieren.

Film horses have to be able to do lots of things: rear up, bow down, turn lightning fast or gallop undaunted by death in front of a motorcycle.

Captions 1-2, Für Tierfreunde: Pferde beim Film

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It also comes in handy when you talk about turning something over, like flipping a pancake or, in this case, a sausage: 


Ein anderes Highlight in Walter Günthers Werkstatt: ein Grillrost, der die Würstchen automatisch wendet.

Another highlight in Walter Günther's workshop: a grill that automatically turns sausages.

Captions 24-25, Erfinder: Nie erfundene Erfindungen

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This may have already occurred to you, but the noun die Wende is indeed related. It is used to talk about the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and subsequent changes after 1989. 


Warum nennt man die Zeit im Herbst neunzehnhundertneunundachtzig in der DDR die Wende?

Why do you call the time in the fall of nineteen hundred eighty-nine in the GDR "the turnaround" ?

Captions 10-11, Bundesrepublik: Deutschland Einbürgerungstest

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The noun can generally be used to describe a "turn of events," like in this caption: 


Während die Männer ihren Doppelsieg feiern, nimmt das Damenrennen eine dramatische Wende!

While the men are celebrating their double win, the lady's race takes a dramatic turn!

Captions 58-59, Knallharte Sportler: Ironman in Frankfurt

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Now let's look at sich wenden an, which has a more figurative meaning of "turning to" someone:

Autofahrer, die am Unfallmeldedienst teilnehmen wollen, können sich dafür an ihren Autoversicherer wenden.

Drivers who want to participate in the accident reporting service can contact their auto insurance company to do so.

Captions 45-56, Sicherheit im Straßenverkehr: Versicherer entwickeln automatischen Notruf für alle Autos

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Du kannst dich natürlich auch direkt an mich wenden.

You can also, of course, reach out to me directly.

Caption 60, Großstadtrevier: Von Monstern und Mördern

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Further Learning
Look at the placement and integration of sich wenden an in sentences on Yabla German and try to construct your own sentences. 

May 8th: Tag der Befreiung

Was war am 8. Mai 1945?

What happened on the 8th of May, 1945?

Caption 31, Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Einbürgerungstest - Part 10

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On the evening of May 8th, 1945, German forces surrendered unconditionally to Allied forces in Berlin, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe. This also meant the end of Nazi Germany, which had been committing crimes against humanity in Germany and in occupied countries for more than twelve years.


Wann waren die Nationalsozialisten

When were the National Socialists

mit Adolf Hitler in Deutschland an der Macht?

in power with Adolf Hitler in Germany?

1933 bis 1945.

From 1933 to 1945.

Captions 18-19, Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Einbürgerungstest - Part 11

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In the United States and Great Britain, the day is called Victory in Europe Day (often shortened to "VE Day"). A national holiday is celebrated on this date in a number of European countries. In Germany, the day is known as Tag der Befreiung, or "Liberation Day." Although not a national holiday in Germany, there are often events organized on this day to celebrate the country's liberation from the Nazis and to memorialize the millions of victims. For May 8th, 2020, the city-state of Berlin declared a regional holiday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation.


It may seem strange to some that a country would celebrate its own surrender, but by doing so the Germans create a clear break between the authoritarian Nazi state and the democratic German Federal Republic which followed. It is simultaneously a way to remember the human destruction caused by the criminal Nazi Regime.


Die Städte fallen unter den alliierten Bombern in Schutt und Asche.

The cities are falling into debris and ashes under the Allied bombers.

Caption 26, Die Stunde der Offiziere - Dokudrama über den 20. Juli 1944

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Although the Allied bombing of civilians in the Second World War would be judged a war crime by modern standards, it was practiced by all sides in this conflict. Most Germans today recognize that it was the Nazi Regime that ultimately bears responsibility for the destruction inflicted upon Germany during the war by its enemies.


Welche Länder wurden nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg in Deutschland

Which countries were, in Germany after the Second World War,

als alliierte Besatzungsmächte bezeichnet?

named Allied occupying powers?

USA, die Sowjetunion, Großbritannien und Frankreich.

USA, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and France.

Captions 33-35, Bundesrepublik Deutschland - Einbürgerungstest - Part 10

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Although the Allied forces eventually withdrew most of their troops from Germany—the Soviets completely, after the dissolution of the GDR and the Soviet Union—there is still a continuing problem with right-wing extremists in Germany.


Wir ignorieren seit 1945,

Since 1945, we've been ignoring

dass es noch so viel Rechtsextremismus in Deutschland gibt.

that there is still so much right-wing extremism in Germany.

Captions 54-55, Böhmermann - Wie geht man als Satiriker mit Rechtspopulismus um?

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Und im Rahmen dieses besonderen Tages

And in the framework of this special day,

wurde auch die Gedenkstätte

the Memorial

für die ermordeten Wiesbadener Juden

for the Murdered Jews of Wiesbaden

ihrer Bestimmung übergeben.

was consigned to its set purpose.

Captions 8-10, Holocaust-Gedenktag - Gedenkstätte am Michelsberg

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It is through Holocaust memorials, such as those in Michelsberg and Wiesbaden, that Germany hopes to steer young people away from right-wing racist extremism. But the infiltration of the German police and military by right-wing extremists has only started to be investigated in recent years, and 2022's coup attempt to seize the military and overthrow the German government has hopefully awakened the German government to the need to take stronger measures.


Further Learning
Today, the 8th of May 2023, is the 78th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany and the liberation of Europe. You can read on Wikipedia about the surrender of Nazi Germany on May 8th, 1945, and about the Allied holiday that celebrated the event. Go to Yabla German to watch some of the videos above about related topics.