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

Helena Voltmer ‘18

Helena Voltmer image

Helena was born near Vienna, Austria but grew up in Salzburg, Austria while her parents worked. In 2008 her family moved to northern New Jersey where she attended and graduated high school. She majoring in Politics with a double major in International and Global Studies. She enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and relaxing with her friends and family.

Emma Gutman ‘18

Emma grew up in a small suburb of South Jersey but recently moved to New York City. She began learning German in seventh grade and has continued ever since. She is a double major in History and Anthropology with a minor in German Studies. Outside of academics, you can probably find her dancing with Adagio Dance Company or exploring Boston for cool, 
new foods to try.
Hauke Ziessler ‘18, Graduate Student
Being born into a German family and living most of his life in Germany and South Africa, Hauke, has equally been stricken by the “wanderlust”. He is currently in his first year of a Dual Degree Graduate program in the Heller School studying Conflict Resolution and Coexistence/Near Eastern and Judaic Studies with a focus on the Arts as a tool for social change. When he is not practicing with the Bad Grammer Improv Comedy Group, he is cooking or exploring the urban jungle around him.
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.
Priyanka Grover '18, Graduate Student 
Priyanka was born and raised in Delhi, India. She is a current Computer Science graduate student at Brandeis. For Priyanka, the future is when innovation finds the right technology and technology finds the right craftsman for weaving that future. It is this craftsman in her that brought her to Brandeis. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in Statistics from University of Delhi and with around 3 years of working as an Analyst and a project consultant in India, she is here to deep-dive in the world of technology. Given her passion for German, she has been learning the language professionally along with her jobs in India and at school.
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.

Antonia Kuntze, Graduate Student 
Antonia was born and raised in Hamburg, Germany where she participated in a dual study program. She received her Bachelor in Shipping & Ship Finance as well as an apprenticeship in a shipping company where she was employed as operations manager and technical controller. In 2016 she decided to pursue her MBA at Brandeis International Business School. Antonia has a passion for sports, especially Basketball and water, especially large ships.