Below I have argued that Germany's "short work" (Kurtzarbeit) program, business culture, and frugal investment has led to its spectacular performance in the current downturn (lower unemployment than the U.S., healthy GNP growth, reasonable debt levels, etc.).
Perhaps there are other explanations, or at least other factors, at work. Jon Shayne passed along this post from Naked Capitalism (which calls on a FT article), "Is the Eurozone Germany's Stalking Horse?" In it Yves Smith suggests that the Euro zone's (led by the PIGS) debt troubles has kept the currency valued low, which in turn has led to increased demands for the now cheap German export products.
This certainly plays a role, although it is not a complete explanation. Germany's labor, welfare, and monetary policies have also surely played an important role.