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The week of October 1-5 features a series of German-related events you don’t want to miss!
The Agnes Scott German (Faust) Club and ASC Hillel have teamed up to organize a lecture by a Holocaust survivor on March 22. See the flyer below for details and spread the information widely:
Today’s NYT has an article featuring Evan Kaufmann, Minnesota-born hockey player who is now on Germany’s national team. While an accelerated trading of citizenships is not uncommon in the world of sports, Kaufmann’s case sticks out because of his family history: His great-grandparents and one grandparent had been murdered by the Nazis.
While representatives of the German Jewish community overwhelmingly welcome the move. In their eyes it re-affirms the role of Jewish citizens as “normal” in all parts of German society.
Representatives of survivor groups are not as unambiguous:
“I have mixed emotions,” said Menachem Z. Rosensaft, a New York lawyer who is the vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants. “I think everyone has to make his own decisions in this respect. It is clear for Kaufmann that hockey is the most important priority. Just like there are Israelis or other Jews who have settled in Germany out of economic or career convenience, he is doing the same. I do not presume to judge him.”
At the same time, Rosensaft said he felt “a bitter aftertaste and a certain degree of sadness” for Kaufmann. “He has effectively turned his back on the United States and has willingly taken on citizenship to identify henceforth as a German,” Rosensaft said. “That, in terms of his family history, is at best a somber reality. There is a question in my mind whether a Jew should voluntarily go to Germany and take on that role.”
To read the full article click here.
Here’s a clip showing Kaufmann answering some interview questions in German (scene with Kaufmann starts at 3:07min):
The Emory Jewish Studies Department will host an event that might be of interest to ASC’s students, especially those in German Studies, History, IR, Political Science, and Religious Studies:
This is a somewhat belated response to a recent request for a list of the books used in German 200 “Weimar Germany.” Most of the readings were from these books:
Isenberg, Noah, ed. Weimar Cinema: An Essential Guide to Classic Films of the Era. New York, Columbia UP, 2009.
Assembling a who’s who of Weimar Film Studies, Isenberg’s volume offers a wonderful overview of the interdisciplinary range of research on Weimar cinema.
Kaes, Anton. Shell Shock Cinema: Weimar Culture and the Wounds of War. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2009.
Kaes is something like the “father” of Weimar film studies in the United States. His most recent book reviews some of Weimar cinema’s most wellknown films–including Metropolis, M, and Nosferatu–and analyses them in the context of “shell shock,” or, post traumatic stress syndrome as it is known today. The result is a wonderfully innovative look at a series of classic films as well as a demonstration what interdisciplinary analysis can offer.
McCormick, Richard W. Gender and Sexuality in Weimar Modernity: Film, Literature, and “New Objectivity.” New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002.
An expert on the representation of gender and sexuality in Germany 20th-century cinema, McCormick analyses films and literary texts of the Weimar period and their relation to discourses of gender and sexuality. Working in recent developments in the theories of gender and queer analysis, McCormick’s book is a highly readable example for the state-of-the-art in Weimar cultural studies.
Weitz, Eric. Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2009.
While all of the above mentioned books focus on somewhat limited areas of Weimar culture, Weitz, a historian by trade, delivers an overview of the political, cultural, and social worlds that constitute what we call Weimar Germany. His engaging and fascinating book includes the rise of the right-wing factions, a look on architecture and city planning, the role of the modern woman, etc. This is probably the best book for those who wish to gain an overview of the period.
Via Jim Diedrick, the Economist has a review of a new book on how the German language has developed and evolved over time.
MOST people regard grammar books and dictionaries as a codified set of rules prescribing dos and don’ts. For professional scholars of language, though, they are more like history books. Languages are constantly in flux, but it takes a rather long view to show just what a contingent and transitory thing a language can be at any point in time. Ruth Sanders, a professor of German Studies at Miami University in Ohio, takes just such a view in her new book, telling the millennia-long story of German and how it got that way.
Read the entire article here.
Films produced during the National Socialist era are difficult to deal with, especially films that purport to be “documentaries.” It’s hard to tell what was part of the propaganda machine and what was not. For many decades, an unfinished “documentary” about the Warsaw Ghetto, titled “Das Ghetto,” was mined by historians and journalists when supposedly authentic images of life in the Ghetto were required. In 1998, film historians discovered a reel with about 30 minutes of outtakes that proved the careful staging of many scenes thought to be authentic.
Israeli director Yael Hersonski’s “A Film Unfinished” addresses the question of authenticity in the 1942 film and presents an intriguing filmic investigation of a visual text that was long considered to be an objective window into a horrific historical episode. Read the NYT review here and watch the trailer here.