Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easter in Germany: A Time of Many Traditions

The Easter season is a time when all customs seem to symbolize renewal, life and the beginning of spring. Colorful eggs, special meals, huge bonfires and, of course, church services are some of the customs that mark this special time of year.

Click here to read more about Easter customs in Germany: eggs and bunnies and eating green foods are just the beginning of venerable customs and folkways. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mein bester Feind (My Best Enemy) - German Film Recommendation

Available on Netflix, the plot of Mein bester Feind goes something like this:

"Vienna, 1939. Victor Kaufmann (Moritz Bleibtreu) is a Jewish owner of a gallery and best friends with Rudi Smekal (George Friedrich). Rudi is not Jewish. After theAnschluss, Rudi joins the SS. He then betrays Victor and the rest of the Kaufmann family, which results in their deportation to a concentration camp. Shortly before the family is deported, the Nazis confiscate an original Michelangelo painting, which has been in the Kaufmanns’ possession for decades, for themselves. A few years later the heads of the Nazi Party decide to give the painting to Il Duce as a present, however it turns out that it is a fake. ..  "

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lore - A Gripping Tale of Germany in May, 1945 and a Young Woman Coming to Terms with History

Set in Germany at the end of the Second World War, this film takes up where others like Downfall leave off and asks questions about how the erstwhile beneficiaries of Nazi rule cope with their new world. The film tracks the journey of five innocents as their life of privilege collapses and they are forced to come to terms with the effects of dreadful events over which they had no control but to which they have given their tacit support. 

Four of these children are really too young to bear any culpability. Only the oldest, Lore, is really capable of comprehension and it is through her eyes that the film is focused, as she slowly realises just how much her parents are implicated in the horrors of the Nazi regime, and, as an extension of this, herself and the whole German people. Lore is helped to this realisation by Thomas, a Jew who appears to have been liberated from a concentration camp. But Thomas also has a psychological burden and may not be all he appears.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Trip of a Lifetime to Points West in Germany - June 2014

Aachen Cathedral
Germany presents a wide variety of landscapes from the coastal north to the Alps, bordering Austria. With its many elements fused only in 1870, Germany’s cities and towns reflect the centuries of independence and variety. Harbor cities such as Bremen give way to the Rhine Valley and the mountains of the south. Modern urban areas such as Cologne contrast with baroque towns like Celle and Rhineland villages such as Eltville. Leading this tour will be Jackie Klaassen and Tom Blair. Jackie has taught German and French for many years in the Bay Area. Tom was Chair of Foreign Languages at City College and has lived in Germany several years. Click here for more information.