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 Vergangenheitsbew├Ąltigung -- 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.