Friday, October 28, 2011

Professor Lisa Ohm to Give Talk about the Life and Oevre of the Author of H e i d i

On November 14, 2011, German Studies Professor, Dr. Lisa Ohm, will be giving a talk in the Collegial Conversation Series titled, "How to Write about the Life, Genius, and Considerable Oeuvre of Johanna Heusser Spyri (1827-1901), Who, Being Shy and Retiring, Burned Her Documents, and Whose Good Name Has Been Buried Under Unauthorized Sequels, Knock-Offs, Films, Animated Films, Manga, and Online Porno Sites Referencing Her Universally Beloved Heidi."

Professor Lisa Ohm comments about her research interests, "The nearly forgotten German-Swiss writer Johanna Heusser Spyri wrote forty-nine novels and stories, about half of which were translated into English in the early twentieth century and shelved in the juvenile sections of libraries, but no other work has been as phenomenally successful as Heidi. The thesis in my book on Spyri and her works is that her Double Bildungsroman Heidi, like her other works, is communal and social, speaking to the urban-rural conflict in the nineteenth century and echoed in today’s global conflicts. I examine Spyri’s works and the unauthorized sequels, and suggest that Spyri herself may have intended to write a sequel to Heidi with her novel Sina published in 1884, three years after Heidi’s appearance. Today’s youngsters may know Heidi only through one or more of the two dozen Heidi films or television series, including the animated series by Japanese producer/director Isao Takahata, which further popularized the children’s classic, bringing a Disney-like line of commercial products in tow. Spyri research also got a boost with a 2001 conference in Switzerland on the one-hundredth anniversary of her death. With my book, I hope to promote further research on Spyri and her works, especially here in the United States."

Faculty and guests are encouraged to join Lisa and other colleagues at 5:00 p.m. for a social and then dinner at 6:45 following Lisa’s presentation.  Please contact Shirley Kelly via email or by phone at ext. 3147 by November 3 to make a reservation for dinner. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Teresa Walch Featured as Noted Alumna Volunteer in CSB/SJU Career Resource Center Website

Dear Students and Faculty,

After graduating in German Studies and history last spring, I decided to volunteer at the Church of Reconciliation, Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site.

I hope to go to graduate school for German history, but I first wanted to return abroad (I studied abroad in Salzburg in 2008) to improve my German and to further familiarize myself with my intended themes of study. I found out about ARSP while looking for volunteer programs during my senior year and decided to apply.

If you are considering volunteering right after college, consider whether you want to volunteer in the States or to go abroad and think about what type of work you want to do. Choose something you're passionate about or something that is meaningful to you, that you can whole-heartedly put all your effort into. If you choose something you do not enjoy, simply to use as a 'resume builder', a year of volunteering, especially if you're abroad, could be a long time to spend away from home.

My days are divided working at various sites throughout the city of Dachau. Currently, I work a couple of days per week at the Church of Reconciliation on the site of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site to converse with and answer questions for visitors. In addition, as I learn more about the memorial site and its history, I will soon start conducting tours of the site, mostly for visiting German school groups. I also work with a project called the Book of Remembrance, where we conduct research to compile biographies of former prisoners' lives. Finally, I work at a student center, where I help prepare for visiting school groups, who come to Dachau to engage in 1-3 day seminars, where they discuss themes relating to the National Socialist era in Germany.

The most rewarding part of my experience so far has been the opportunity to meet and get to know people not only from Germany, but also from all over the world. My co-volunteers in Germany (there are 18 of us at various sites in Germany) come from Israel, Russia, Ireland, USA, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, and Germany. I find it fascinating to converse with them and hear their opinions and ideas on important world issues. I'm always astounded by the fact that even though we come from very different places, we are still very similar in many ways. The most challenging experience has been forming a new 'normal' here in Germany. However, the occasional language struggles aside, the challenges of getting settled here are not much different than they would be when relocating anywhere after college.

Since I worked at the Career Resource Center for three years in college, I was fortunate to have already been familiar with its great resources for seniors worrying about life after graduation. I especially scoured the CRC website's volunteer pages, where it has some great information about life as a volunteer and links to many programs. I attended a volunteer panel during the fall of my senior year, where former CSB/SJU alums came to talk about their volunteer experiences after graduation. I also attended the CSB/SJU Volunteer Fair, which is a great way to learn about some options and speak directly with people from various organizations. Finally, I simply conducted Google searches, using various, and related key words.

My favorite part of volunteering?  This part of Germany is great to be in a place where I can utilize what I learned from both my History and German majors. The opportunity to live abroad and get to know this country, its society, and its history and to experience first-hand many of the things I studied in college, is truly rewarding.

If you're interested in learning more about ARSP, go to: . There are opportunities not only for those interested in history, but also for those interested in the social work and political arenas as well. (At least a basic level of German is required.)

Liebe Grüße aus Deutschland!
Theresa Walch

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ursula Mahlendorf Enthralls 350 Students, Faculty and Friends

Speaking of her pre-teen and teenage years as a Nazi Youth, Ursula Mahlendorf told gripping stories of brainwashing experiences, moments of sheer luck and the decision to write about these events in the spirit of Vergangenheitsbewältigung -- coming to terms with one's past.

"Seeing someone on the other side who went through the manipulations of Nazi propaganda, I realized it could easily have happened to me as well," remarked sophomore German student, Austin Eighan.

An extra conference room at the Gorecki Center had to be opened up minutes before the talk began to accommodate the surprising number of students and faculty who came to the event. 

"We were not brought up to think critically about political issues or to resist Nazi ideology.  We knew so little," said Mahlendorf.  "It was only the very well-educated and those who had witnessed some of the attrocities in Poland and elsewhere who knew enough to be able to organize any kind of resistance."

A special thanks to Professor Lisa Ohm for organizing this event and the reading group leading up to it.  This is one of the most thought-provoking events the German Studies Program has witnessed in years.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Oktoberfest 2011 -- Ein großer Erfolg! A Grand Success

Oktoberfest in Collegeville! Crowds of CSB/SJU German students and their friends came to Br. Willi's Pub on October 22 to celebrate Bavarian Oktoberfest.

This year two new items were added to the singing and dancing activities -- beautiful t-shirts in the Bavarian blue and white colors -- and Krüge heben contests. At the signal given by German Club President, Chris Pignato, the bravest students hoisted at arm's length two-liter mugs filled with water to see who had the greatest stamina. The winner reached the crowd's goal of 4 minutes. All participants were rewarded with a large Bavarian style pretzel.  

Prost allerseits! And a huge thank you to club officers and volunteers Megan Boll, Chris Seiler, Austin Eighan, Chris Pignato, Mario Seidel, Kevin Murphy, Yuan Huang, Wendy Buermann,  Kolby Kulas, Brady Dietman, Jeremy Hicks, Chistine Krawiecki, Jeremy Wahl, Kristine Bornus, Sarah Spaulding,  Nicole Johnson, Megan Priebe, Kristin Hultgren, Steve Pignato, and Kirby Wagner.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

German Major Nick Kroll Lands a Great Job in Germany

Nick Kroll, class of 2011, has just received a position as a Sales Director for Interventional Cardiology Products. The position covers Southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and assists in cases in other European cities. Mentioning the valuable experiences provided by our study abroad program in Salzburg, Nick says, “It’s what got my foot in the door.”  The Salzburg Program allowed him to be “comfortable in many different situations, including extended conversations in German with native Germans and Austrians.” Nick welcomes any questions from students and alumnae/i about the process by which he received this job offer.  Feel free to contact him at  
      Note from the German Studies Faculty -- Good luck Nick.  We are proud of you!