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 Mering
vonmering@brandeis.edu 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

Oliver Koch ‘20
Oliver was born and raised in Saarlouis, Germany. He got his Abitur in 2015 and proceeded to volunteer as an EMT with the German Red Cross for a year before he came to Brandeis. He is planning on majoring in neuroscience. Outside of academics you will find him singing for Voices of Soul, sailing or generally trying out new things across campus and in Boston.
Paul Jiang '21


Paul was born and grew up in the city of Berlin, Germany. He and his parents moved to China when he was 14, and attended a normal public high school near Suzhou. In 2015, he started studying at United World College Changshu China and finished his IB diploma in 2017. In fall of the same year he started his Undergraduate at Brandeis University. He is planning on double majoring in Biochemistry and Biology and is on the Pre-Med track. Outside of class, he loves meeting new people, making friends and having interesting conversation. He is an outdoor enthusiast and has a big love for travelling.
Alexander Holtmann '21
Although being born in New York, Alexander grew up in the Swabian city of Geislingen an der Steige in Germany. He got his Abitur in 2017 and is now planning to major in Economics and Philosophy at Brandeis University. In his past time he fences for the German national team and the Brandeis Judges. When not on the fencing strip, you will find him playing guitar or reading.

Theresa Weis '20

Theresa was born in Massachusetts, but since both of her parents are from Vienna, Austria she did not learn English until grade school. All of her family still lives in Austria so she visits frequently. At Brandeis, Theresa studies Chemistry and Biology on the Pre-Med track. Theresa is also an undergraduate researcher in the Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center, a coordinator in the Waltham Group and tour guide.