Well, when you understand the history of the area it make sense. It's basically a series of countries buying the place, moving in, saying "we rule you people now", and the locals shrugging and responding, "okay, you have fun with that".
It'd be odd for most Americans not to know how to pronounce Notre Dame, considering they have a University with the same name that's the subject of a relatively popular film based around a sport most Americans love
That's what makes the show so poignant, I think. It take a contemporary perspective, rather than a modern one. The hardships of the time aren't glossed over, but they're portrayed very stoically. Yeah, many people suffered, there was poverty, but so was life at the time. There's also a high-ranking Jewish police official who's a very by-the-books guy and supports the frail democracy of Weimar Germany. If you want to learn more about how Germany BEFORE the Period Everyone Knows About, this show is as good as it gets.
Because in retrospect, we (even here in Germany) tend to view the era with knowledge of what would later come, but in reality, the Nazis started out as a regional fringe movement and basically just happened to be in the right place at the right time to seize power.
The show tries its best to accurately depict the zeitgeist of the era, the post-war period with a young, struggling (and ultimately doomed) democracy... but like in real life, the Nazis aren't really an issue on anyone's mind yet.
@Benbot: Babylon Berlin is a film noir-style crime drama set in the German capital of Berlin in the year 1929. It features a World War I veteran turned police officer from Cologne who comes to Berlin to investigate a porn ring that blackmails his superior, the grand mayor of Cologne (who would later become the first chancellor of post-WWII Germany).