2011-12 Events

Filmgespräch [Conversation about Film; in German and English]Döerte Franke

Friday, April 20, 2012
12-2pm, Shiffman 219

with young German Filmmakers Dörte Franke und Marc Bauder.

Co-sponsored by the German Club.


Editing Victor Klemperer's Diaries

Tuesday, April 17, 2012
12-2pm,Faculty Club Lounge

A conversation with Klemperer-student and editor Walter Nowojski, Berlin. [in German]

It was thanks to Klemperer-student Walter Nowojski's tireless efforts that Victor Klemperer's Nazi-year diaries Ich will Zeugnis ablegen bis zum Letzten, 1933-1945 were finally published by Aufbau Verlag only after German unification in 1995. Klemperer's daily records of his survival as a Jew married to a non-Jew in Dresden count among the most important authentic documents chronicling the experience of the Holocaust in Germany.  An excerpt was published in English under the title I Shall Bear Witness. Following the success of the initial publication, Nowojski continued to edit several other volumes of Klemperer's diaries and related works. He is currently working on digitizing Klemperer's extensive manuscripts.

Please RSVP to cgees@brandeis.edu to reserve a seat.


WW2 Film Poster


Arguing about World War I: A Transatlantic Story

Thursday, March 29, 2012
12-2pm, Mandel Humanities Center 228

Philipp Stelzel, Duke University

Transatlantic Story

In 1961, the West German historian Fritz Fischer published a voluminous study on the German Empire’s war aims during World War I. By arguing that Germany had been primarily responsible for the war’s outbreak, Fischer caused an enormous controversy that preoccupied not only his West German colleagues but also a broader public and ultimately even the Federal Republic’s Parliament. American historians played a significant role in this debate, which today appears as the beginning of a critical West German perspective on the recent German past. Using the “Fischer Controversy” as a vantage point, the talk analyzes the transatlantic debate about the origins of World War I between the 1920s and the 1970s.

Philipp Stelzel is a visiting assistant professor of history at Duke University. He received his PhD in Modern European history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 2010. Before coming to UNC, he studied at the University of Munich and, as a Fulbright Scholar, at Columbia University, where he received his M.A. in 2003. His current book project “A German Special Path: Critical Social History as a Transatlantic Enterprise, 1945-1989,” analyzes the intellectual exchange between German and American historians from the end of World War II to the 1980s.

Co-sponsored by the Department of History at Brandeis University.

Refreshments will be served

Troubling Futures: The Emotional Impact of Climate Change Cinema

Thursday, March 22, 2012
2-3:20 pm, Location: Shiffman 219

with Alexa Weik von Mossner (University of Fribourg and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society)

Affect and emotion are of central importance to our enjoyment and understanding of film and, as an integral part of human cognition, they also play a major role in our assessment of various risk scenarios. Because of their extraordinary ability to engage audiences emotionally, filmic representations of ecological risk sometimes interact in powerful ways with media reports on real-world events and scientific projections of possible future developments. My talk investigates how, exactly, cinema-released documentaries, such as An Inconvenient Truth and The Age of Stupid, and blockbuster disaster films, such as The Day After Tomorrow, engage viewers emotionally and cognitively in their imagined climate risk scenarios. Drawing on cognitive film theory and the findings of empirical audience response studies, it aims to provide a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of how popular culture texts influence their audiences’ perceptions of the personal, societal, and ecological risks associated with global climate change.

Alexa Weik von MossnerAlexa Weik von Mossner is a literar y and cultural studies scholar with an interest in the relationship between cultural texts and the environment. She is Docteure of American Literature and Culture the University of Fribourg, Switzerland and an Associate at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at the LMU Munich. She  worked for several years in the German film and television industry as a production manager and later scriptwriter before earning her PhD in Literature at the University of California, San Diego in 2008. She has published articles on ethnic and transnational American literature, postcolonial literature, environmental justice, cosmopolitanism, cognitive ecocriticism, and environmental film. Her current research project focuses on the imagination of global ecological risk scenarios in American popular culture.

Climate Change Cinema


Jewish-German Dialogue

Monday, March 19, 2012
7:30pm, Mandel Humanities Center Atrium  

Bryan Rigg

with Bryan Mark Rigg,

author of "Hitler's Jewish Soldiers" (Kansas University Press, 2002).

See http://www.kansaspress.ku.edu/rigliv.html

Co-sponsored by the Department of History at Brandeis University.

German-Jewish Dialogue


200th anniversary of the first publication of the Brothers Grimm’s Fairy Tale Collection (1812)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
10am-6pm, Rapaporte Treasure Hall, Goldfarb Library

One-Day Symposium to celebrate the

with fairy tale experts Maria Tatar (Harvard University) and Donald Haase (Wayne State University), and a poetry reading by Olga Broumas (Brandeis), among others.

Grimms Fairy Tale Symposium


10am-2pm: Grimm's Märchen auf Deutsch. Lesungen, Spiele, Hintergründe 

[for speakers and students of German---RSVP to cges@brandeis.edu].


3.30-6pm: Grimm Fairy Tale Collection in the Digital Age

A deeper look at the ways in which new adaptations and re-readings of tales from the Grimm collection pose new questions about gender, power, and sexuality; and an exploration of the continued fascination with the tales from the Grimms’ collection in the media and around the world.

Poetry Reading with Olga Broumas; Panel Discussion with Maria Tatar and  Donald Haase

Olga Broumas is an award-winning poet and Professor of the Practice of English at Brandeis University.

Maria Tatar is the John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures.  She chairs the Program in Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University, where she teaches courses in German Studies, Folklore, and Children’s Literature.  For a list of her publications visit http://people.fas.harvard.edu/~tatar/Maria_Tatar/Publications.html.

Donald Haase is Associate Dean and Professor of German at Wayne State University. His research includes Folktales and Fairy Tales, The Brothers Grimm, Children's Literature and Film, Reception Studies, European Romanticism, Comparative Literature. Editor, Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies. Editor, Series in Fairy-Tale Studies. For a list of his publications, visit http://www.clas.wayne.edu/faculty/haase.

Want to know more? Watch highlights from the event here.

This event was made possible by a generous grant from the Max Kade Foundation, New York.


Wednesay, March 7, 2012

WW2 Film Russia
Co-sponsored by CGES and the Mandel Center for Humanities.

Russian refreshments will be served.

Learn more about Russian Culture Week here: http://www.brandeis.edu/now/2010/march/russiancultureweek.html


"About Face

Monday, March 5, 2012

First Brandeis-sponsored Jewish-German Dialogue meeting in New York City:

Documentary film screening followed by a talk by Fritz Weinschenk , one of the people featured in the documentary. Co-sponsored by the National Center for Jewish Film.

"Huanghe Juelian"
[Lover’s Grief over the Yellow River; China 1999]

Thursday, February 16, 2012
7pm in Mandel G03

Screening in the Department of German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature (GRALL)’s film series “World War II in World Cinema”.
Co-sponsored by the Mandel Center for Humanities. For more information, please contact xiwenlu@brandeis.edu.

WW2 Film China


Documentary film screening "Mother: Caring for 7 Billion"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
6:30pm in the Wasserman Cinematheque
(Sachar International Center)

Followed by a discussion with Robert Walker, new President of the Population Institute (voice on Capitol Hill since 1969), and Purnima Mane, recently of the UNFPA and now incoming President of Pathfinder International (providing reproductive health services in the developing world since 1957). 

Flyer Mother

The event is being co-sponsored by the School of Science, the Center for German and European Studies, Environmental Studies, Sustainable International Development, Women's and Gender Studies and perhaps (application pending) the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life.

Flyer Mother


Taking Responsibility: Europe's role in adressing climate change

Thursday, February 9, 2012
2 - 3:20 pm, Location: Shiffman 219

Live from Essen, Germany (in English): Join a video conference and panel discussion about the topic of climate change as an issue of social justice. Featuring Dr. Bernd Sommer, research analyst to the German Advisory Council on Global Change, and Maximilian Muengersdorf, of the graduate colloquium "Challenges to Democracy through Climate Change" at the Institute for Culture (KWI) in Essen. Co-sponsored by the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life.
Details about the entire 'DEIS Impact at http://www.brandeis.edu/ethics/events/LocalGlobal2012.html
Sponsored by the Center for German and European Studies. For more information, contact: Professor Sabine von Mering, Center for German and European Studies, vonmering@brandeis.edu.
DEIS Impact

The Music of Heinrich Schütz (1585 - 1642)
Saturday, February 11, 2012  
Slosberg Music Center 

7 p.m. symposium, 8:30 p.m. concert

Heinrich Schütz brought German church music to a pinnacle of interpretive depth that would be equaled only by J. S. Bach a hundred years later. Musicology professor Eric Chafe  and guests discuss Schütz’s musical interpretation of texts from both Jewish and Christian perspectives. Professional early music singers and instrumentalists join the Brandeis University Chorus, the Chamber Choir and the Early Music Ensemble for a performance of Schütz cantatas. Sarah Mead and James Olesen, directors. Co-sponsored by the Brandeis Arts Council and the Poses Fund. 


Movie night "Der Untergang" ("Downfall")

Thursday, December 8, 2011
8.15pm in G03, Mandel Center

Join us and watch the movie "Downfall" about Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler who tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.

German food will be served.


'do Deutsch'-Campusweek Deutsch ist Wunderbar!

November 14-18, 2011

A week-long program with music, discussion, and art celebrating the German Language, sponsored by the German Embassy in Washington D.C.

do Deutsch Logo

Do Deutsch Week

Do Deutsch Week

Do Deutsch Week


And what can Deutsch do for you?

Thursday, November 17, 2011
5-6:30pm, Mandel Center Atrium

Learn from Can Erbil and Orhan Karsligil how their experience attending a German High School in Istanbul has shaped their career path and outlook on life...

Good food will be served!
Please RSVP to vonmering@brandeis.edu

Orhan Karsligil was born in Istanbul, Turkey. After graduating from Deutsche Schule Istanbul, he attended Bogazici University in Istanbul where he studied chemical engineering. He received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 2000. Since then he has been working at the same IT consulting company, currently as its IT Manager, while balancing that with doing research at MIT in the Bioinformatics field. He is married and has two daughters. 


Can Erbil is a Research Fellow of EcoMod, Global Economic Modeling Network, where he is involved in research and teaching on economic modeling. EcoMod is based in Brussels. Erbil is also currently a consultant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, working on a project for the New Hampshire Tax Commission to estimate the economic impacts of changes in income, sales and property taxes.

On two different occasions, Erbil has worked in the International Trade Division of the World Bank, as a consultant and data manager. He has conducted intensive empirical research using international data sources, and delivered policy recommendations to client countries on issues such as market openness.


The Art of Klezmer and Yiddish Song

Klezmer Logo

A Concert, Lecture and Dance, Featuring Hankus Netsky, Michael Alpert, members of the Klezmer Conservatory Band and students from the New England Conservatory

Klezmer Pic

Slosberg Hall, Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 8:15PM (pre-concert lecture at 7:30PM) Klezmer Pic

Click here for a first impression of the music.

On Wednesday, November 16, 2011, Center for German and European Studies in cooperation with the program in Yiddish and Eastern European Studies and the department of music at Brandeis University will present "The Art of Klezmer and Yiddish Song."  The evening will feature internationally renowned Yiddish singer, fiddler, and dance leader Michael Alpert along with local klezmer revival pioneer, Dr. Hankus Netsky, virtuoso klezmer clarinetist Zoe Christiansen, and members of the Klezmer Conservatory Band. Klezmer Pic

The program will begin at 7:30 with an introductory lecture entitled "Eastern European Jewish Musical Roots - Still a Vital Wellspring." A concert will follow at 8:15 PM followed by a dance and refreshments for all. People of all ages are welcome to come and celebrate the renewal of traditional Eastern European Jewish culture! Klezmer Pic

Michael Alpert is a founding member of the klezmer super-group, Brave Old World and a former member of Kapelye.  Hankus Netsky is founder and director of the Klezmer Conservatory Band and Music Director for Itzhak Perlman's "In the Fiddler's House" and "Soul of Jewish Music" projects. He directs the Discovery Project at the National Yiddish Book Center and is chair of the Contemporary Improvisation Department at the New England Conservatory. Zoe Christiansen is a student in the Contemporary Improvisation Department at the New England Conservatory. 

Our Co-Sponsors: Klezmer Pic

The Department of Music at Brandeis University

The Tauber Institut for the Study of European Jewry

The Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University

The National Center for Jewish Film

The Goethe Institut Boston

The Yiddish Committee of Boston Workmen's Circle

The German Embassy in Washington, D.C.


German Jewish Aspirations in Music and Culture

November 14, 2011
9am-1pm in the Treasure Hall, Goldfarb Library

JMF Poster


Reading with Award-Winning Author Martin Walser

 November 8, 2011 12-2pm Faculty Club Lounge
RSVP required:  cgees@brandeis.edu

Prolific and award-winning German author Martin Walser will be joining us for a reading and discussion (in German and English) of his newest works. With an introduction by Susanne Klingenstein.

About the author:
Born in 1927 and raised in Nazi Germany and under the shadow of World War II, Martin Walser became one of the most important authors of contemporary German literature. He calls himself a “literary expert on identity damage”. The International Literature Festival Berlin describes Walser’s mainly male petit  bourgeois protagonists as “characters plagued by identity problems, feelings
of inferiority and dependency” and are characterised by “interior  monologues, their weaknesses portrayed through irony, with precision and humour”.

In 1955, the “Group 47”, an influential German literary association, awarded Walser a prestigious prize for one of his stories. Two years later, he won the Hermann Hesse Prize for his first novel Ehen in Philippsburg (Marriage in Philippsburg).  In 1976, his novel Jenseits der Liebe (Beyond Love) was panned as outright awful by Germany’s premier  literary critic; but just two years later the same critic hailed the novella Ein fliehendes Pferd (A Runaway Horse), published in 1978, as a masterpiece.  The novella along with walser’s next novel, Das Schwanenhaus (Swan Villa) cemented Walser’s reputation as German writer of canonical stature.

Martin Walser won the Georg Büchner Prize in 1981, Germany’s highestliterary award, and was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 1998. The Peace Prize jury observed, “the author of German unification explained Germany to the Germans themselves and to the world.” However, Walser’s acceptance speech triggered a heated and damaging debate whether or not he had said that he wanted to be done with the German past.  At Brandeis, Mr. Walser will talk about the task of writing and the complexities involved in writing a public speech.   For his lifetime achievement, Mr. Walser has also been awarded the order “Pour le Mérite” and named “Officier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres”.

His trip to the United States is part of the “do Deutsch” event series on German culture and language. The do Deutsch campaign aims to raise awareness among students and their parents, teachers of German and political decision makers as well as the media of the value of language learning. The German Missions and the Goethe Institutes in the U.S. invite you to embark on the adventure of learning German, the most widely spoken language in Europe. Come and discover things German - German culture, art, language, literature, philosophy, politics, and Germans themselves.


The 2011 Chocolate Cake Lecture:

"Stefan George and Lyric Modernism"

Professor Christophe Fricker, Rutgers University
Monday, November 7  2-3:20pm  in Shiffman 125
presented in cooperation with the Dean of Arts and Sciences, European Cultural Studies, and Comparative Literature.


About Face

In Commemoration of the 1938 "Kristallnacht" Pogrom:
screening of the award-winning film

Wednesday, November 9
Wasserman Cinematheque

For more information about the film visit  http://www.aboutfacefilm.com/:

"A feature-length documentary that tells the remarkable, yet previously untold story of thousands of young Jewish immigrants who fled Germany and Austria in the early days of Hitler's regime, only to perform an "about face" returning to confront their oppressors as American GI's and British Tommie's in WWII."


Update on the Euro Crisis: What is it really? Who done it and why? What might it mean to us?
a special lecture with CGES Director emeritus George Ross
ad personam Chaire Jean Monnet, Université de Montréal 
Morris Hillquit Professor in Labor and Social Thought, Emeritus, Brandeis University
Faculty Associate, Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University

Friday, October 28, 2011
12:30-2pm,Mandel Center Conference Room 228

George Ross Event

After Wall Street and Washington, it is now Brussels and the EU that threaten the global economy.  Brussels and the EU are even more difficult to understand than Wall Street. Why have the Europeans had so much trouble doing the right things? Answers are complicated, but worth trying to find. The crisis, in the words of an NPR correspondent, is simultaneously "terrifying and boring," but we will try to get beyond the boredom, even if we cannot guarantee that we will transcend the terrifying.

Life and Loss in the Shadow of the Holocaust. A Jewish-German Dialogue with Author Uta Larkey
 co-sponsored by the Hadassah Institute

Uta Larkey

Thursday, October 27, 2011
6:30pm, Mandel Center Atrium

Author event with Professor Uta Larkey, author of the new book "Life and Loss In the Shadow of the Holocaust. A Jewish Family's Untold Story." (2011; Cambridge University Press)

presented in cooperation with the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute and the Jewish-German Dialogue groups of the Boston area

Uta Larkey Event

The book is based on correspondence between members of a Jewish family before, during, and after the Holocaust. Larkey and her co-author Rebecca Boehling reveal how the Kaufmann-Steinberg family was pulled apart under the Nazi regime and left divided between Germany, the United States, and Palestine. The family's unique eight-way correspondence across two generations brings into
sharp focus the dilemma of Jews who faced the painful decision of when and if they should leave Nazi Germany.

The book captures the family members' fluctuating emotions of hope, resignation, and despair, as well as the day-to-day concerns, experiences, and dynamics of family life despite increasing persecution and impending deportation. Headed by two sisters who were among the first female business owners in Essen, the family was far from conventional, and their story contributes a new dimension to the understanding of life in Germany during these dark years.

View here more information about her new book.


Welcome Back Reception and Day of German Unity

Monday, October 3, 2011
12 – 1:30 pm, Mandel Center for the Humanities, Reading Room and Roofgarden

German Unity Event 1

German Unity Event 2

German Unity Event 3


Photography and Climate Change

with Ulrike Heine from the University of Giessen, Germany.

Polar bear

Monday, September 19, 2011
12:10-2pm in Heller G02

How are photographs used to communicate different aspects of Climate Change? Ulrike Heine from the Research Group Transnational Media Events at the Justus-Liebig-Universitaet Gießen/Germany will discuss a set of projects originating in the fields of photojournalism, art photography and commercial photography. Heine, who completed her studies in art history and cultural studies in Leipzig and St. Petersburg/Russia is currently working on her Ph.D. on the topic of Photography and Climate Change as a visiting fellow at Boston University's Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future.

Ulrike Heine


The Vilna Ghetto Theater: Yiddish Poetry Set to Music (1941-1943)

Thursday, September 8, 2011
7pm, Rapaporte Treasure Hall (Goldfarb Library).


Sophie Michaux (voice) was born in London. She is currently studying voice at the Longy School of Music with Anna Gabrieli. Although Ms.Michaux is concentrating on the classical opera repertoire, her rich mezzo-soprano also makes her a sought-after soloist for jazz and tango ensembles.

Eugenia Gerstein (piano) was born in Moscow, Russia. She taught at the Music Teachers' College in Voronezh, where she chaired the Department of Music Theory. Since leaving Russia in 1994, Eugenia Gerstein embarked on a career in music education and choral conducting.

Susanne Klingenstein (lecture) was born in Germany. After studying at the University of Heidelberg and Brandeis University, she pursued Yiddish literature and postgraduate work in American literature at Harvard University. In 1991 she earned a PhD in American Studies. She teaches philosophy and history of Medical culture at the Harvard Medical School. She is a regular contributor to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and is      currently writing an introduction to Yiddish literature for Beck Verlag in Munich.

On Sept 6, 1941, the Germans established a ghetto in Vilna (then the occupied Republic of Poland--today Vilnius, Lithuania) where they forced about 40,000 Jews to work 10-hour shifts on starvation diets. In January 1942, a theater opened in the Vilna Ghetto. Though some were initially hesitant to embrace the undertaking, the theater performances were a huge success with the suffering ghetto inmates. For a few hours they offered the relief of laughter and tears. In commemoration of the ghetto's establishment 70 years ago we are presenting moving and witty excerpts from the four revue shows composed by gifted composers and lyricists.