did you know?

That the Castle Neuschwanstein erected by King Ludwig II of Bavaria was used as a model for the Disney Castle?

Its true, the castle Neuschwanstein, Bavaria which attracts more than 1 million visitors from around the world each year was the inspiration for the Castles in the Disney Theme Parks.

One just has to look at the pictures and see the similarity.


Castle Neuschwanstein


Disney Castle



Sabine von MeringSabine von Mering
Associate Professor of German. Area of Expertise: German Women Writers. German Cinema. Age of Goethe.

Sabine von Mering came to Brandeis as Assistant Professor of German in 1998. She completed her Staatsexamen in German and English Linguistics and Literature at the University of Goettingen, Germany in 1991. After a year as German-Language Scholar at Reed College, Portland, Oregon she went to the University of California at Davis. She completed her Ph.D. in German Literature on "German Women & Tragedies in the 18th Century: from Gottsched to Guenderrode", at UC Davis in August of 1998. At Brandeis she teaches courses in German Language, Literature, and Film. She has worked for CGES since her first days at Brandeis, initially as Assistant Director, since 2002 as Executive Director and presently as Director of the Center. Key aspects of her work have been the organization of meetings of the Jewish-German Dialogue at Brandeis. She also co-edited two volumes of conference proceedings, International Green Politics with Sarah Halpern-Meekin, in 2002, and Russian-Jewish Emigrants after the Cold War: Perspectives from Germany, Israel, Canada, and the United States with Olaf Gloeckner and Evgenija Garbolevsky in 2006. Most recent publication: von Mering, Sabine, Timothy Wyman McCarty. Right-Wing Radicalism Today: Perspectives from Europe and the US. Londonon: Routledge, 2013.

Academic Administrator

Heidi McAllister

Heidi is originally from the Black Forest in Germany near the borders of Alsace Lorraine and Switzerland. She also resided in Munich for several years before immigrating to the east coast of the United States. Heidi joined the CGES team at Brandeis University in the fall of 2005 and became Senior Program Coordinator in the summer of 2006. She has worked part-time in the same capacity for the Classical Studies Department at Brandeis since the fall of 2009. Heidi has extensive experience as a technical illustrator and in computer drafting with AutoCad certification from the University of New Hampshire. She was a student of the Elisabeth Kaiser Davis Program at Wellesley College and graduated in 2004 with a B.A. in Comparative Literature and a minor in Psychology.

Current Student Assistants

Erin Robinson

Photo of Erin Robinson

Erin Robinson was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a Master of Public Policy student at The Heller School. Erin has a B.S. in International Affairs and Modern Languages (German). She first visited Germany during an exchange program in high school. She also studied abroad there during her undergraduate experience.  During the 2013-2014 academic year she worked as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Ludwigshafen, Germany.  In her free time Erin enjoys learning new languages, reading novels and watchingpolitical dramas.

Elise Sobotka '15

Photo of Elise

Elise was born and raised in the United States. However, her family's German heritage inspired her to learn German, which she has now been studying for over 10 years. She is on track to receive her B.S. in biology and B.A. in German studies and plans to go into the health field. She is interested in eventually either working or living in Germany.  In addition, she has been an undergraduate representative of the German studies program since her sophomore year and has recently returned from studying abroad in Dresden.

Tamar Forman-Gejrot '16 Tamar Forman-Gejrot

Tamar was born near Stuttgart, Germany but grew up and lived in Berlin where she attended a German-American school. She is currently a junior at Brandeis University pursuing a major in linguistics, although she is still undecided about possible further degrees. Tamar also is passionate about music, learning new languages, and traveling and she plans on returning to Europe after her studies.

Benyamin Meschede-Krasa ‘17

Benyamin Meschede-Krasa

Benyamin was born and raised in Newton MA but frequently visits his grandparents in Hannover, Germany. He also spent his seventh grade year in Hannover and had his Bar Mitzvah with the Jewish Congregation of Hameln. He is currently a sophomore at Brandeis and is planning on majoring in neuroscience.

Nelly Schläfereit '15

Nelly Schlaefereit

Nelly was born in Hamburg, Germany but lived near Köln, Germany until 2001, when her family moved to Geneva, Switzerland. She is currently majoring in Anthropology and International and Global Studies at Brandeis University and works as the German tutor for the Brandeis Undergraduate Group Study program on campus.

Tamar Lyssy '16Tamar Lyssy

Tamar was born and raised in Basel, Switzerland. She is currently majoring in Sociology with a Peace, Conflict and Coexistence Studies minor. She has started working at CGES her Sophomore year.

Past Student Assistants