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

Arina Chithavong '15Arina Chithavong

Arina was born and raised in Heidelberg in the South of Germany. She is a German citizen with Lao refugee migration background. Arina holds a Bachelor of Arts double majoring in History and Social Anthropology from the University of Heidelberg and spent a semester abroad in Israel studying the Honors Program in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Haifa. Arina most recently worked as a Development Aid Fellow at the Highland Research and Development Instituteand the German International Cooperation GIZ in Thailand . As a fellow, she worked on various projects, promoting biodiversity and indigenous knowledge and planning capacity building training workshops on integrating ecosystem services into development planning in the ASEAN region. Moreover, she gained policy experience in Washington, D.C.  and at the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Germany. Arina is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Sustainable International Development at Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. 

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 sophomore 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.

Tara Loeber '14

Tara Loeber

Tara was born and raised in the United States, but has been studying German for ten years, and is completing her Bachelor's in German Studies and Psychology. Since her sophomore year at Brandeis, she has been an Undergraduate Departmental Representative for the German Department, except for Spring 2013 when she was abroad in Berlin, Germany. After graduation in May 2014 Tara plans on moving back to Berlin. 

Leonie Koch '16

Leonie Koch

Leonie Koch of the class of 2016 was born in Awali, Bahrain to an Irish mother and a German father. From the age of ten months she grew up in Switzerland, at first in Geneva and then later in Zurich, finishing high school and receiving her International Baccalaureate diploma there. She plans to double major in Politics and International and Global Studies, with a minor in Legal Studies, and later obtain a graduate degree in international law. 

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 freshman 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