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

Benyamin Meschede-Krasa

Benyamin Meschede-Krasa ‘17

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.

Helena Voltmer ‘18

Helena Voltmer image

Helena was born near Vienna, Austria but grew up in Salzburg, Austria while her parents worked as missionaries. In 2008 her family moved to northern New Jersey where she attended and graduated high school. She is planning on majoring in International and Global Studies with a double major either in Economics, Legal Studies, Politics, or German. 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.
Eve Litvak, Graduate Student
Eve is a first generation born American, in a family of Soviet immigrants. Having questioned and explored her identity throughout her undergraduate study at Brandeis, when she majored in Russian, European Culture, and International & Global Studies, and minored in Italian, Law, and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, she is excited for the next academic adventure. This year, she is pursuing a Master’s of Comparative Humanities. When she’s not scrambling to complete her graduate work, you can find her at a local cultural event or seeking out a travel opportunity.
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.

Past Student Assistants