Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Serving and Surviving the Nazis

Please join us for a presentation by Ursula Mahlendorf and Maria Segal, authors whose works convey two extremely different experiences of childhood leading up to and during World War II.

Stories of Serving and Surviving the Nazis
A dialogue between Ursula Mahlendorf and Maria Segal
Thursday, April 22  -- 4:15-5:30 pm
Gorecki 204B, CSB

Maria Segal (pictured left), author of Maria’s Story: Childhood Memories of the Holocaust, is a docent for the Portraits of Survival Exhibit and one of the 37 Santa Barbara Holocaust survivors profiled in the permanent exhibit. She was a small child when the Nazis invaded her home country of Poland in 1939.

Ursula Mahlendorf (pictured right), author of The Shame of Survival: Working Through a Nazi Childhood, is professor emerita of German at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she also served as associate dean of the College of Letters and Science. She was born in Silesia, which became part of Poland after 1945.

Co-sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, the Global Awareness Lecture Series, the Department of Modern and Classical Languages

For more information, contact Lisa Ohm. lohm@csbsju.edu

Monday, March 29, 2010

Six Seniors Submit Successful Senior Project Proposals

Supporting a Myth: The Effect of Vienna’s Post-World War II Monuments on Austrian Identity, 1945-1955.    TERESA M. WALCH (Mark Thamert, OSB, PhD, Modern and Classical Languages).
Although many Austrians participated in the crimes of the third Reich, Austria was labeled as the first victim of German aggression in the Allied Moscow Declaration of 1943. In order to conform to this victim myth, postwar Austrian political elites created and used a distinct, non-German identity to serve their own political agendas. Provincial and locally-sponsored Austrian memorials disputed the official memory that was supported and sustained by politically-sponsored monuments in Vienna during the initial postwar decade. This study delves into Austria’s post-World War II monument culture, specifically focusing on Vienna’s monuments and memorials, and it analyzes Austrian political elites’ utilization of these sites of memory to support the official postwar Austrian identity.

Music as Political Tool: The Role of Music as Propaganda in Nazi Germany (1933-1945).   CHRISTEN BECKSTRAND (Dr. Andreas Kiryakakis, Modern and Classical Languages).

The Third Reich (1933-1945) drew upon many aspects of German nationalism to solidify its control, including German musical culture, which played an important role in the regime's overall propaganda effort. Exploiting the Germanic musical culture, the Nazi party won “acceptance by creating the proper emotional atmosphere,” wherein the acceptance of the Nazi party and Nazi ideals was simple and natural for the German public (Moller, 44). The Third Reich worked to promote the purity of German culture and the credibility of the Nazi Party by exalting the past Germanic (Aryan) musical greats, censoring new musical material, and excluding Jews from the musical scene. As a musical, emotional, and political movement, the Third Reich successfully infiltrated the German Volk through a popular vein: the love and appreciation for Germany’s composers and the tradition of German dominance in the musical movement.

Immigration and the German School System: a Freirean Perspective.
MATTHEW T. BECK (Dr. Anna Lisa Ohm, Modern and Classical Languages).
During the economic boom of the 1950's, Germany welcomed guest workers from other countries to help rebuild its economy. Since then, the children of many of these immigrants have struggled to succeed in school. In order to improve their situation, I suggest that a combination of Paulo Freire's critical pedagogy, multicultural education, and collaborative dialog may help immigrant children acquire both the language skills and the cultural knowledge necessary for academic success. In this project I draw upon theories of second language acquisition; works by educational theorists from Germany, America, and Canada; and the experiences of German educators.

The Berlin airlift: the start of the US-German relationship.  GREG SANDQUIST (Dr. Anna Lisa Ohm, Modern and Classical Languages).
From June 1948 until 1949, the city of West Berlin suffered under the hands of the Soviet blockade of all Allied supply lines through the Soviet-occupied zone. The Berlin Airlift in the end was a success, but many Americans and Germans were extremely worried that it would fail in the beginning stages. During the 11 months of the Airlift, the US came to understand its previous enemy as a mutual partner and friend. After 50-60 years of almost being forgotten, interest in the Berlin Airlift exploded in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Anniversaries were being celebrated and the veterans who participated in one of America’s finest hours are passing on, but Americans are also seeking answers in a previous era, the era of the “Greatest Generation,” when the US found solutions instead of being the problem.

How Far is Too Far? A Comparison of Nazi Eugenic Movements during World War II with Today’s Developments in Modern Eugenics.   JAY M. RANFRANZ (Mark Thamert, OSB, Ph.D., Modern and Classical Languages).
Scientific breakthroughs in the field of genetics during the 21st century have greatly contributed to the science community and general public, but where could these technological advances lead? With new information about the role of genes in human development, classic eugenicists have turned to genetic engineering to manipulate the human genome in hopes of improving the human race. The problem is that even though the science behind this practice has changed, the ethical dilemmas have remained. Modern eugenicists argue that exterminating “bad” genes from the population will better humanity as a whole. This movement is eerily similar to the Nazi Party’s support of racial hygiene. Modern eugenics is morally indefensible based on its close resemblance to the Nazi eugenic movements of WWII, which has already been accepted as wrong. Science pushes the limits of what ethicists deem morally right or wrong, so the question is, How far is too far?

The Significance of the Word Volk [German People] from the Romantic Period to Today. D
AN SALAY (Dr. Anna Lisa Ohm, Modern and Classical Languages).
The words DEM DEUTSCHEN VOLK [To the German People] stand over the main entrance to the Reichstag building in Berlin. The interpretation of Volk has transformed since the time of the Romantics. The placement of these words on the Reichstag in 1916 stirred early debates about the true meaning of Volk for all Germans. The word Volk has undergone changes that carry both positive and negative connotations connected directly to the history of German politics and culture. Beginning in the Romantic period, and following through the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the Cold War, and up to today, Volk has gained no universally accepted definition regarding its proper usage for the modern day. Its presence on the Reichstag publicly presents the question of its meaning to this day. This unresolved question generates debate and remains a thorn in the side of Germany’s identity and its position in the world.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Phil Roye from Bavaria Loves Life at CSB/SJU

Phil is an avid member of the SJU Track team.

Dear faculty and students,  

My name is Phil Roye and I am an international student from Germany. The German Gymnasium I attended in Münsterschwarzach (between Munich and Frankfurt) was Benedictine and one of the faculty members knew a Benedictine high school, Woodside Priory School in California. I got the opportunity to study abroad for the second semester of my junior year. However, at the end of the school year, “Woodside” offered me a music and track scholarship for the senior year and I gladly accepted. Like every other high school senior, I applied to colleges and universities throughout the country and got accepted to Saint John’s University. Saint John’s was the one and only university I visited and liked from the very beginning. In the end, I ended up staying in Collegeville, MN and so far, I have fallen in love with community.  I feel very welcomed here. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Professor Lisa Ohm Gives Faculty Forum Talk on Germany after the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall:
The painful space between shrugs and hugs in the collapsed GDR

Life in the GDR prior to the fall of the Wall in 1989 was outwardly a defense of socialism against capitalism, and inwardly an alternating current between the high political tension of a police state and the daily dullness of life in the GDR (German Democratic Republic, i.e., former East Germany). After 21 years, the initial euphoria following the dramatic fall of the Wall in Berlin soon deteriorated, and a new alternating current of recrimination and blame flowed between “Wessis” and “Ossis.” Within that highly charged atmosphere, the generations responded differently: the older with shrugs, the younger with hugs, and the middle generation, the one that had invested the most in the GDR, with guilt, anger, hurt, and pain. While some in the middle generation eventually accepted unification, others indulge in Ostalgie (nostalgia for the former East) or their lives remain suspended between past and present. Berlin, however, the former western exclave in the GDR, is blossoming once again. At this afternoon’s Friday Forum, Prof. Lisa Ohm (Modern & Classical Languages) will present her important and timely findings on life in the GDR in the post-1989 period.

Fulbright TA Andreas Raab to Give Talk to CSB/SJU Faculty

About Vienna’s Multi-Ethnical Identity

History and Influence of National Minorities & Ideas for Further Research

At this Friday Forum Andreas Raab, who is the current Fulbright German Language Teaching Assistant at CSB-SJU, explores the interrelation between immigration and urban identity from a historical perspective. Andreas argues that multi-ethnicity is a decisive factor of Viennese identity and gives numerous examples explaining how transnational migration shaped the city’s characteristics. In doing so, he will also include some background knowledge and information about Austrian (or rather Viennese) culture. To conclude, Andreas would like to introduce ideas for further research in this field, especially how to conduct a comparative study between Vienna and a US-American urban area.

Senior Matt Beck Gives Senior Presentation

Matt is has applied to be a Fulbright Scholar and Teaching Assistant in Germany or Austria in the fall. Here is Matt's senior thesis:

Immigration and the German School System: A Freirean Perspective (Immigration und das deutsche Schulsystem: Eine Freireanische Perspektive)

During the economic boom of the 1950's, Germany welcomed guest workers from other countries to help rebuild its economy. However, many politicians and educators assumed that these immigrants would eventually leave and thus created few accommodations for them in the school system. As a result, it has been difficult for immigrants to succeed within the school system, which limits higher education even for native Germans by tracking students after the fourth grade based on academic performance. In this project, I start with the premise that one needs language and cultural knowledge in order to be successful in any culture. I then show that because elementary school students who are immigrants lack these very skills, they often perform poorly and are tracked into the 'Hauptschule,' the academically least-demanding school in Germany. At the conclusion of their education, they begin low-paying jobs and find it difficult to provide a good education for their children. In order to improve the situation of immigrants in Germany, I suggest that a combination of Paulo Freire's critical pedagogy, multicultural education, and collaborative dialog may help elementary school students acquire both language and cultural knowledge. With these skills, students are more likely to be tracked into more rigorous schools. In addition, these methods empower immigrants by assuming that students are capable of improving their own lives through education. In this project, I draw upon theories of second language acquisition, works by educational theorists from Germany, America, and Canada, and the results of a questionnaire that I sent to elementary school teachers in Germany. The information and findings presented in this project have implications for anyone working with immigrants in an educational setting.

Good luck Matt!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Michael Risch-Janson '08 Loves Teaching in Austria

During his time at SJU, Michael majored in both German and Physics -- and spent a semester in Salzburg!  After graduation Michael was a programmer at Securian Financial in St. Paul, then decided to apply for a Fulbright Teaching position in Austria.  Here he describes for our readers the new world he is discovering in Europe.  We are proud of you Michael.  And congratulations Michael and Angela on your engagement!  Here are Michael's reflections on his time in Austria so far...

Since last October, I have been teaching English in the small town of Wieselburg in Lower Austria. The experience has been an interesting and exciting one with its share of challenges that come along with living in another culture and speaking a different language. My fiancée, Angela Sigl, was fortunate to also get a job teaching English at another local high school. Since arriving here, we have developed several great friendships which have been invaluable in giving us an authentic experience. We spend our time teaching English at the local schools, where we share our knowledge of the English language and American culture and learn from the students about Austrian culture.

In October, I joined a local men’s chorus, which has made me feel even more a part of the Austrian culture. We have already performed several concerts in Austria, recorded a CD and have a trip planned to Brussels in June to sing at the European parliament. The choir has been great for me, not only musically but also personally.

Teaching in Austria has been a rewarding experience filled with many different adventures. You can read more about our lives in Austria from our blogs http://www.teachinginaustria.blogspot.com/  and http://www.angelainaustria.blogspot.com/ .

Friday, March 5, 2010

David Lambert Returning to Germany for MBA
David loved his year as a Fulbright Teacher in Austria and has just told us of his plans to return to Europe for his MBA.  Viel Glück, David!