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Upcoming Events

2015 SommerpartyGerman Conversation Group:
October 21, 2017
3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
by October 18, 2017

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photo courtesy of Ingrid Kepler-May

Ingrid Kepler-May: Living for Peace
Sunday, September 24, 2017 • 2-4 p.m.

I was born in Stuttgart, southern Germany, as middle of three girls, a year before Hitler came to power, and I barely survived World War II. One reason was that at age 10, in l942, when many doctors were serving at the front, I suffered a severe middle ear infection which left me deaf in one ear with a near-death experience following due to a severe hemorrhage.

Late in 1960 I immigrated to the US, studied and taught at UCLA while obtaining my MA in literature, and protesting the war in Vietnam. In l971 I moved to New York where I took graduate classes at Columbia University in psychology, sociology and anthropology. This study prepared me start a practice as the first family mediator in Marin County, CA, in 1979.


Filmnacht: The People vs. Fritz Bauer | Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer
Saturday, October 28, 2017 • 7:30 p.m.

Bauer reached the peak of his renown in the early ‘60s when he prosecuted commanders of Auschwitz in a public trial. Though it may seem shocking now, relatively little public examination of the Holocaust had occurred in Germany since the end of the war. Many former Nazis occupied high positions in German society and officialdom. Though Bauer was accused of pursuing vengeance as a Jew, he insisted his efforts were motivated not by the past but by the future: he wanted to educate German young people so that the horrors their ancestors committed were never repeated.

RSVP by October 25


Articles of Interest | News Archive

Germans are Bad? Very Bad?
CHRISTINE SCHOEFER, Knowing Germany | May 31, 2017

The first thing you have to know is that Germans love America. They love the country and they call it Amerika in conversation even though they know one is supposed to say Vereinigte Staaten, United States. During my Berlin childhood, the word Amerika cast a powerful force field; it rang with possibility and promise.

Angela Merkel
AP Photo/dpa, Soeren Stache AP Photo/dpa,Soeren Stache

Germans have felt the tug of the American Dream, for a long time. Since the eighteenth century, seven million Germans have immigrated to North America. They left their homeland looking for economic opportunities and religious and political freedom.

But the love for Amerika got its strongest boost at the least likely moment: after the Americans (with British, French and Russian allies) defeated Germany in World War Two.

I learned as a child that Germans were grateful to the Americans because of the role they played in liberating Germany from the nightmare of National Socialism. My relatives admired the GIs who occupied the country after 1945 - the young men embodied what Germans then lacked: Lässigkeit - a mix of cool, easy, casual. American music soothed wounded hearts and Hollywood movies sprouted fantasies of peacetime prosperity in Deutschland.

But it was more than that. Amerika was the mightiest country in the world and instead of punishing Germany, the US government rebuilt and protected the country they’d just defeated.

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Course ReaderBrecht in Exile: Emphasizing Women in his Work and Life (in English)
Thursdays, June 8 – July 13, 2017 • 3-5 pm
OLLI@San Francisco State University • 835 Market Street, Sixth Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) was a prominent German playwright and poet in the 20th century. In this interactive seminar, we’ll explore a selection of his most famous plays written in exile as well as reflect on some of his popular poems, intended to be understood by ordinary people. We’ll discuss his “epic theater” and Verfremdungseffekt, a term he used to describe the technique to prevent audiences from passively identifying with the characters.

Taking a closer look at the female figures in Brecht’s plays in particular, we’ll examine whether the roles of women were depicted as gender stereotypical or emancipatory. We’ll also give credit to the women who collaborated with Brecht, mostly behind the scenes, and whose creative gifts contributed significantly to “his” masterpieces, especially Helene Weigel, Elisabeth Hauptmann, Margarete Steffin, and Ruth Berlau.

Register here

  • Instructor: Marion Gerlind, Ph.D.

The Women of the Bauhaus School

Women of the Bauhaus School

The male icons of the early-20th-century Bauhaus school, like Josef Albers, László Moholy-Nagy, and Paul Klee, are some of the most celebrated pioneers of modern art. But the women artists who taught, studied, and made groundbreaking work with them are often remembered in history books as wives of their male counterparts or, worse, not at all.

While women were allowed into the German school—and its manifesto stated that it welcomed “any person of good repute, without regard to age or sex”—a strong gender bias still informed its structure. Female students, for instance, were encouraged to pursue weaving rather than male-dominated mediums like painting, carving, and architecture. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius encouraged this distinction through his vocal belief that men thought in three dimensions, while women could only handle two.

The year 2019 will mark the 100th birthday of the Bauhaus. As that date approaches, this bias toward the school’s male students is being revised, and its many integral female members recognized by scholarship and institutional exhibitions. Weavers, industrial designers, photographers, and architects like Anni Albers, Marianne Brandt, and Gertrud Arndt not only advanced the school’s historic marriage of art and function; they were also essential in laying the groundwork for centuries of art and design innovation to come after them.

Below, we highlight 10 female Bauhaus members who contributed fundamental work, instruction, and innovation to the school over the course of its relatively short existence, between 1919 and 1933, and bolstered its lasting legacy.

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