10,000 boxes of cigars


When General Ulysses Grant was described by newspapers as smoking cigars during the Battle at Fort Donelson in Tennessee in 1862, admirers from around the country sent him more than 10,000 boxes of cigars for further use.

He later said:

I had been a light smoker previous to the attack on Donelson …. In the accounts published in the papers, I was represented as smoking a cigar in the midst of the conflict; and many persons, thinking, no doubt, that tobacco was my chief solace, sent me boxes of the choicest brands …. As many as ten thousand were soon received. I gave away all I could get rid of, but having such a quantity on hand I naturally smoked more than I would have done under ordinary circumstances, and I have continued the habit ever since.

Coincidentally, I have the same hat and beard as your favorite general.

Andreas Moser hat cigar

Thank you very much for the boxes of cigars in advance!

Posted in Health, History, USA | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

These birds are having fun


(Photographed at the Municipal Park in Trani, Apulia, Italy.)

Posted in Apulia, Italy, Photography, Travel | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The age of sexual consent in Germany

Besides the FAQ on my blog, my AllExperts profile is one of the best sources on German law for English speakers, with over 1,000 answered questions already.

Sometimes, even I get a question that I haven’t had before and which I need to research. For example this week, when a young guy asked:

Is it true that 14 years is the age of consent in Germany?
Is it legal, for example, for a 19-years-old guy to have sex with 15-years-old girl?

My reply:

Yes, the age of consent is 14 years in Germany (§ 176 StGB). As with other statutes in Germany, 14 is the age when a child becomes a juvenile.

For the partner of the 14- or 15-year old, there is no strict age limit, but § 182 III StGB makes it criminal for an over-21-year old to have sex with a below-16-year old if the older partner “abuses the lack of capacity for sexual self-determination” of the younger partner. But this is normally only prosecuted if the victim asks for prosecution (§ 182 V StGB).

It is also a crime to have sex with a person under 18 if you exploit an exigence situation (§ 182 I StGB).

So, to your original question: Yes, if they know each other for some time, maybe are even in a relationship, there is no exigence situation, and the girl knows what she wants, then it’s legal. Obviously, force is always illegal, regardless of age.

Have fun! ;-)

It’s nice that young people nowadays seek professional legal advice before embarking on a romantic adventure.


“Don’t worry, honey! Mr Moser said everything is legal.”

I guess I might hear from them again in a few months with questions about establishing paternity, child support and child custody.

Posted in German Law, Germany, Law, Love | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Advice on litigating a child custody case in Germany

On AllExperts, I received this question about child custody in Germany and some related matters:

I am an American living abroad in Germany. 5 months ago I married an Estonian man and gave birth to our daughter. Due to a series of unfortunate events we are now in the process of divorcing and he has threatened to have people lie in court that I abuse our child to have her taken away from me. He is often rough with our daughter and I had, on many occasions, needed to take her away from him for fear he would hurt her. Our daughter has a serious heart condition and requires frequent medical care and medication daily. I am afraid that when we go to court over custody he will win and not provide the care she needs. As the mother, what are my legal rights in terms of sole custody in Germany? And what may be the best way that I can proceed with my case? Additionally, he refuses to get her any type of documentation and so she remains undocumented in all countries and I am worried about how this might effect the custody case.

Because this is quite a standard situation and these questions come up again and again, I will publish the answer here as well, which supplements my FAQ on child custody law in Germany:

Your rights as the mother are exactly the same as those of the father. You are both parents, you both decided to get married and be parents together, and you both have shared custody until a court decides otherwise.

Only a family court in the country in which the child lives (Germany) can change custody and award sole custody to one parent.

The mutual allegations won’t carry much weight with the family court because (a) the courts hear these allegations all the time and can usually tell if something is made-up or not, (b) a custody case is a forward-looking case, i.e. the court is more interested in the future and who will be the better suited parent in the future, (c) you picked your husband and he picked you as his wife, so if you are now portraying each other as monsters, it will fall back on both your ability to exercise judgment.

I don’t quite understand what you mean with documentation. When your child was born, you must have received a birth certificate. It should be registered at the local Standesamt. If not, you should go there and do that. If you don’t have a birth certificate, just ask for another copy to be printed.
If you mean passports, then ultimately you would need to go to court to get permissions to apply for passports of the child alone if he continues to refuse any cooperation. But unless you want to travel soon, that’s not urgent. Keep in mind also, that all involved countries (Germany, Estonia and the USA) are members of the Hague Child Abduction Convention, so that none of you can remove the child from Germany without the consent of the other parent.

The family court will most likely try to find a solution for shared custody because a few months into the life of the child, it’s too early to tell who will be better suited as a parent. If you are a responsible and caring mother, I don’t see any risk of you losing custody, really.

A good way might be to go to the Jugendamt (Child & Youth Services) and ask them for mediation. It usually is not successful, but this way you document your willingness to cooperate, and they will document both your ideas and characters and will testify in court. As professionals, their testimony will weigh much more than that of some friends of your husband who suddenly pop up from nowhere.

It’s gonna be tough, but if you focus on showing that you are a good mother instead of bringing negative evidence against the father, you should stand a good chance.

With over 1,000 answered questions, my AllExperts profile is one of the best sources on German law for English speakers. Besides the FAQ on this blog, of course.


“I wish my parents had read Andreas Moser’s blog before.”

Posted in Family Law, German Law, Germany, Law | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations

This is something for my fellow international public law nerds.

Q: When does the Vienna Convention of Consular Relations make front-page headlines?

A: When there is a petty argument between Bolivia and Chile about the flag in front of the Bolivian Consulate in Antofagasta.

Vienna Convention headline

Thanks to this, the whole country is now talking about Art. 29 of the 1963 Vienna Convention. I expect protests in front of the Chilean Embassy in Bolivia tomorrow, as well as the inclusion of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations in the high school curriculum.

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales made a big temporal leap, twittering “from invasion (1879) to humiliation (2017)”, referring to the War of the Pacific, which is the underlying reason for all this tension.

(Hier geht es zur deutschen Fassung.)

Posted in Bolivia, Chile, Law, Media, Politics | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Painting the Ship


Yes, these cruise ships are really that huge.

(Photographed in Messina, Sicily, Italy.)

Posted in Italy, Photography, Sicily, Travel | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Stairway to Heaven

stairway to heavenPhotographed at Capo Milazzo in Sicily.

Posted in Italy, Photography, Sicily, Travel | Tagged | 7 Comments