The other day I had some trouble with weirdo encodings. No more though. This Re: iconv and UTF-8 encoding posting on a mailing-list brought me to the correct solution:
iconv -f IBM850 -t ISO-8859-1 -o fnord.txt stupid-input.txt
Now file fnord.txt outputs fnord.txt: ISO-8859 text, with very long lines, which is the desired result! And voilà I have all the nice German ‘Umlaute’.
Happy me for a Friday afternoon, and now I am gone from here 🙂