Monday, July 18, 2011

Saint John's Prep Celebrates 45 years exchange with Stiftsgymnasium Melk, Austria

Professor Emmy Sack

On July 7, 2011, 140 alumni and teachers of the Melk Study Abroad Program gathered at Saint John's to celebrate 45 years of student exchange. Herr Emmy Sack (pictured above), who teaches for the CSB/SJU German Program, was one of the founding teachers of the program in Austria.  Over 400 prep students, CSB/SJU college freshman, and Austrian students have participated in the exchange program since 1966.  In attendance were seven Benedictine monks from the Abbey of Melk, thought of as the most famous example of Baroque architecture in the world.  Over the years, many of the graduates of this program attended CSB/SJU and completed a German major or minor here.

Melk Abbey and the Danube River

The interior of the Melk Abbey Church

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ursula Mahlendorf to Speak on her Book, The Shame of Survival: Working Through a Nazi Childhood

Stories of Serving and Surviving the Nazis
A presentation by and dialogue with Ursula Mahlendorf
7:00 pm -- Monday, October 17, 2011
Gorecki 204A

Dear CSB/SJU Students, Faculty, Administrators and Staff,

This fall we have the honor of hosting Ursula Mahlendorf, professor emerita of German at UC Santa Barbara.  Here are some comments about her memoir of her childhood, The Shame of Survival:

The Shame of Survival is a compelling memoir of a girl’s experiences growing up in Nazi Germany that analyzes the lifelong implications of Nazi indoctrination on a sensitive, thoughtful young woman. It shows how a reluctant, shy, frightened, and naïve BDM member becomes swept up in Nazi ideology and documents the lifelong psychic ramifications of living with that legacy: feelings of guilt and shame, a need to work through these experiences and to take responsibility for and mourn the past. Focusing on both class and gender, Mahlendorf’s memoir offers a unique and valuable perspective on a growing body of emergent belated narratives on Nazi Germany by German émigré academics.” —Anna Kuhn, University of California, Davis

“Ursula Mahlendorf’s The Shame of Survival is a beautifully written autobiographical account of a former BDM (League of German Girls) leader who was a loyal supporter of the Nazi regime until its demise, when she suffered a major crisis in her entire belief system. Such eloquent, thoughtful accounts of a German girl’s experience during World War II have been rare, and Mahlendorf’s incisive gender analysis provides a firsthand look at how women and girls were cynically co-opted by the Nazis. Mahlendorf contextualizes her experiences within the larger frame of German military aggression and the Holocaust, focusing not only on the brutal consequences of unquestioningly following the Nazis, but also on how her traumatic postwar expulsion from the East caused her to reevaluate everything she had been taught during the Third Reich.” —Erin McGlothlin, Washington University in St. Louis

“As a young teen, she was a bystander; if she had been old enough, would she have been a perpetrator? It is that dual perspective that gives this memoir its power: the immediacy of her memoirs; the shame, remorse, and uncertainty of remembering. . . . The personal experience is haunting about then and now: how you can develop a shell of toughness and numbness and not know what is happening at Bergen-Belsen, only fifty miles away from where you live.” —Hazel Rochman, Booklist

“This is a brave, honest account of a young girl’s experience in Nazi Germany, and especially of how women and girls were exploited. There are many layers of story and meaning in this courageous and painful memoir.” —Jewish Book World

Ursula Mahlendorf earned her Ph.D. in German Literature from Brown University in 1958 and spent the rest of her professional life teaching in the German Department and Women’s Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she retired as Professor Emerita of German, Slavic, and Semitic Studies. She also served as Associate Dean of the College of Letters and Science there. She was honored with a teaching award by the UCSB Alumni Association in 1981. She drew on her own experience as well as research in teaching undergraduate and graduate students about how Germans and German writers deal with their Nazi past.
We hope you can join us.  October 17 at 7 pm, Gorecki 204A.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Teresa Walch to Volunteer at KZ Gedenkstaette Dachau

Dear German Studies Students and Faculty at CSB/SJU!

During my senior year of college, I was thining of ways to improve my spoken German even more after college and I came across the website of Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste (, an organization founded in Germany in the 1950s to remember and atone, to what extent it can, for the crimes of Germany's Nazi past. It places volunteers in Germany and many partner countries, including the United States. Volunteers work at places such as human rights organizations, homes for Jewish elderly, and in Germany's case, at former concentration camps and memorial sites. I applied for the position in January, interviewed in February, and in March, I was notified that I was accepted and placed at the KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau ( and will work with a team at the Evangelische Versöhnungskirche ( on site. I will help lead tours through the camp, work in the archives, and help with a touring exhibit called "Namen Statt Nummern." In addition, I will help to organize the annual international youth gathering that takes place at Dachau. I think the mission of ASF and the work it conducts is outstanding, and I am very excited to contribute. 

Greetings to all. 
Maybe I will see you in Germany!

Teresa Walch

Saturday, July 2, 2011

German Faculty Members Review 2010-2011 Accomplishments.

Dear Friends, 

Each summer, German faculty members take a look at the accomplishments of the past year.  Based on this review, we formulate student learning goals and program goals for the year ahead.

1. Accomplishments 2010-2011 in German Studies

German Studies Enrollments have risen by 4% over the last two years.

Assessment of Listening and Reading. We now have longitudinal data for four semesters using the MLPA / CARLA Assessment for Listening and Reading. In the listening test, all but two of 36 students reached ACTFL levels of intermediate low, medium or high for spring term 2011. In the reading tests, 17 of 35 students reached intermediate low, medium or high, consistent with scores in past semesters. The ACTFL correlations were determined by a “modified Angoff method,” reports Ursula Lenz, Coordinator of Minnesota Language Proficiency Assessments at the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition at the University of Minnesota. Lenz urged us to decide what modalities we want to emphasize in our program and create our own cut scores for the listening and reading tests.

Fulbright Grant. We received the Poehler Grant for the 6th time in support of Fulbright TA/Scholar 2011-2012. We are grateful to John Taylor for his annual work on this grant application.

Faculty Scholarship

o Wendy – Presented papers at two conferences: “The Photograph as Gendered Arbiter of Truth in Contemporary Film,” International Conference on the Image, Los Angeles, Dec 3-5, 2010; and “Cybernetic Systems and Electronic Culture in Hollywood Dystopias,” Film in the Post-Media Age, International Cinema and Media Studies Conference in Transylvania, Oct 22-23, 2010.  Wendy also reports two publications -- “Cybernetic Systems and Electronic Culture in Contemporary Hollywood Dystopias,” Acta: Film and Media Studies, 2011; and “The Photograph as Gendered Arbiter of Truth in Contemporary Detective Films,” in The International Journal of the Image, 2011.

o Lisa – wrote an article for Headwaters on the Passion Play in Oberammergau, which she attended with the 2010 Salzburg group. During her sabbatical term in the spring, Lisa completed four chapters on her book on Johanna Spyri. She has sent these chapters out to readers. She intends to complete five additional chapters by the end of this summer. She also presented aspects of her work for the Studium group at CSB.

o Andreas -- Completed an article which focused on the analysis of a poem by Günter Kunert. The analysis was read by Mr. Kunert and given a positive response.

o Mark – Wrote a paper that was accepted for the national ACTFL convention in Denver, November 18-20, 2011 – “Rilke, Goethe, Heine; Schubert, Schumann and Loewe: An Analysis of major German poems and musical compositions based on them.” Mark  is working on three chapters of a monograph: Classic German poems about 1) ghosts, 2) God and the gods, and 3) autumn and evening. For this project, Mark did research during fall and spring semesters with SJU senior Joe Carr.

Contributions at the State Level:

o CSB/SJU hosted a luncheon and program for the top winners of the Minnesota Association of Teachers of German oral proficiency tests at the high school level, April 2011.

o Mark and Lisa were chosen to be MN chairs for AATG testing April 2012: on-campus oral testing of 30-40 on Minnesota’s top high school German students.

o The German faculty organized and put on the Minnesota DeutschFest in May 2010, and will sponsor the event again in April 2012 for more than 300-500 high school students and teachers of German. The evaluations from teacher participants for the 2010 event were extraordinarily high.

o Andreas is on the Board of the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations, which includes World Language and Culture /German (Grades K-12). Andreas is also on the Content Advisory Committee for the World Language and Culture /German (Grades K-12) as well as well as on the Test Materials Review Board. Andreas is also on the Advisory Board of the Journal: Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Moral Issues.

Campus Events Open to All Students and Faculty   (On the whole, we experienced about a 4-fold increase in attendance at German Club sponsored events over past years):

o German Club film nights -- audiences of 60, 40, 30, and 40 (in the past we had 5-10 people at each film)

o German Club Oktober Fest (October) attended by 250 students and faculty

o German Club Faschings Fest (February) attended by 300 students and faculty

o German cooking events for ten groups of 6-20 students

Intensive German Language Studies Abroad. To improve the fluency of our student, with the Office of Education Abroad we instituted a new two-week intensive German course in September for our Salzburg students.

Eichstaett Visit: During the May 2011 Benedictine Tour, Charles Bobertz and Scott Johnson visited the Catholic University of Eichstaett and spoke informally with the new president of the university about the possibility of shifting our Salzburg program to Eichstaett (north of Munich about 1 hour).

Technological Innovations. Wendy did some classroom research on the effectiveness of Moodle based tests compared with traditional handwritten tests. The Moodle control groups performed better overall, partly because of the instant feedback feature. Mark created about 100 hours of self-teaching grammar units to correspond with the first year text, Kontakte, by using voice and image features of Camtasia software and the classroom Tablet PC. The student response was very positive. During spring term, Mark also created audio files for eight chapters the intermediate/advanced grammar text, German in Review.

2. Opportunities for the Year Ahead.

• Build on Germany’s success in the areas of ecological sustainability.

• Take advantage of three operas by German/Austrian composers to be performed in the Twin Cities: Werther, Silent Night, and Cosi fan tutti.

• Continue to build relations with top High school teachers of German through DeutschFest and AATG testing on our campuses.

• Look more into abroad possibilities in Eichstaett.

• Make the most of the planned reading group on the Holocaust.

• Have a workshop on to share technology ideas based on Moodle, Camtasia, and other modalities.

• Look into accepting courses from philosophy, history, art, music and other departments for fulfilling part of German Studies requirements for the major or minor.

• Look into a shared major with another department, e.g., Major in International Business with a concentration in German. Valparaiso University has such a major.

• Build on German faculty rapport through periodic social gatherings at each other’s homes.

• Integrate better the theme-genre-period organization of our upper division courses.