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 coming to Brandeis. He is a pre-med planning on majoring in biology with a minor in anthropology. Outside of academics you will find him working as a Crew Chief on the Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps playing Frisbee or singing with Voices of Soul Acapella.
Paul Jiang '21

paulstaffPaul 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 traveling.

Alexander Holtmann '21
Although being born in New York, Alexander grew up in the Swabian city of Geislingen an der Steige in Germany. He earned his Abitur in 2017 and is now studying Economics and Philosophy with a Minor in East Asian Studies at Brandeis University. His academic interests are Macroeconomics and Kantian Ethics. A former German national team champion, Alex fences for the Brandeis Varsity Fencing Team. In his past time he enjoys reading books, discussing international politics, and cooking food. 
Yannik Esser '22
Yannik Esser
Yannik was born in the northeast of Germany in Crivitz am See, but grew up in the British Virgin Islands. At 14 Yannik moved to boarding school at New Hampton School, situated in New Hampshire, where he Became the Senior class president of the Class of 2018. He graduated in 2018, and received his IB diploma in the summer of that year. He Began to attend Brandeis University in the fall of 2018, and is planning to major in biology, and do the pre-med track. Outside of class he enjoys traveling, and playing sports, especially soccer and tennis.