Monday, December 29, 2014

German at CCSF: Spring 2015. Get your German on!

CCSF will offer an array of German classes this Spring 2015.  Continue your 1A course with 1B or continue 1B with 2A.  To take the same courses without the "pressure" of grades and written tests, and with more of an emphasis on speaking German, enroll in 10A, 10B or 10C.  German 3A will be combined with 10D, Click here to go the complete schedule.  Enroll now and "Get Germanized".

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Wende Museum: Commemorating the Cold War

Tesla Radio
Stasi Briefcase
If you're down in the Southland, in L.A. (Culver City), check out the Wende Museum.  With an impressive collection, it preserves the cultural artifacts and personal histories of Cold War-era Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to inform and inspire a broad understanding of the period and its enduring legacy.   "Wende," a German word meaning "turning point," refers to the collapse of communist East Germany in 1989 and the creation of a reunified German state a year later. The term more broadly represents the end of Soviet communism and the beginning of a new epoch in Eastern Europe and Soviet Bloc countries, an era marked by political changes with profound social and cultural consequences. In many ways, the “Wende” continues, making it an ideal name for a museum devoted to the Cold War-era and its present and future ramifications.  
Trabant Radio

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The German Language Economic Bonus: 3.8%

Read here to learn more about the calculation of a foreign language bonus for students of German, French, Spanish.  It's all about supply and demand and let's not forget the economic and production powerhouse that is the German economy!  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Berlin & Beyond Autumn Showcase - Saturday, October 11 in Japantown

For one evening only, enjoy 5 celebrated works from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, in anticipation of January's (2015) 19th Annual Berlin & Beyond Film Festival.  Download the program here.  For more information about this showcase or the main event in January, click here

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Cold War Still Hot in Berlin

In case you missed the SF Chronicle's report on Berlin and the "Ostalgie" that lingers still, click here for a quick tour through post-DDR Berlin and travel tips.

And here is a sobering film from 1960, made by the CIA, as propaganda in the Cold War.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Words, Words, Words, German Words... from the Fall of the Wall

Here are some words you can try out in your German class and amaze your classmates:  Ossi, Wessi, Mauerspecht, Ostalgie and more.  Click here for some fun words facts and phrases relating to the fall of the Berlin Wall.  

And here is an interesting video from Deutsche Welle about the Berlin Wall and its role in history: 


It was 25 Years ago! Commemorating the Fall of the Berlin Wall

The year 2014 is a year of remembrance, marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall - a monumental day in history that led to Germany's reunification. This year is filled with events and ceremonies commemorating the fall of the wall, as well as reflections on a formerly divided Germany. 
Our year-long campaign will take a close look at the events of November 9, 1989, providing historical context that gives greater meaning to that fateful day.  Click here for interesting links to this very important part of German history. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Get Germanized. Vorsicht! Mild Laughter and More May Ensue!

Here is a fun way to get your cultural component for your German language learning.  This is the first in a series of videos, and actually, there is a lot of information here.  Check it out!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Coffee in Berlin: Wander the Streets of Berlin with a Slacker, German-style

"A Coffee in Berlin" is a slacker movie, German style; and though at first glance it might seem as aimless as its main character, this wry, charming film actually offers some mature observations about this thing we call life.
Niko (Tom Schilling, very good) appears to be getting more reclusive by the day, but when his fed-up girlfriend shows him the door and his ATM pipeline dries up, he is forced into a series of bizarre encounters with a strange species he rarely deals with: Homo sapiens.
Writer-director Jan Ole Gerster whips up an odd assortment of characters who get in the way of Niko's path to passivity - and his much-wanted cup of coffee. These oddballs, just to name a few, include an over-disclosing neighbor who offers bad-tasting food, an old schoolmate who hasn't come to terms with her past, and an obnoxious psychiatrist who pulls no punches about Niko's mental state.
The proceedings could easily have gotten precious, but Gerster's sharp dialogue - and his wise choice not to force the comedy - make us happily join Niko's wanderings through the streets of Berlin.
Speaking of Berlin, the German metropolis plays an important role here, and Gerster's third act homage to the city plays out beautifully in a film that has shadings of Woody Allen's "Manhattan," Jim Jarmusch's "Stranger Than Paradise," and Martin Scorsese's "After Hours."
Still, this German brew has a peculiar flavor all its own, and when Niko finally gets his java, we believe that it's the most important cup of coffee he will ever have. (David Lewis, SF Chronicle)
A Coffee in Berlin is now playing in San Francisco at the Opera Plaza Cinema (The movie is referred to as "Oh, Boy!", the original title) 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

German 1A - Summer Session - June 16 - July 30 at the Downtown Center

Freiburg im Sommer
Are you going to Germany in August and want to be able to have a "value added" trip by being able to communicate with Germans?  Are you looking to transfer to a 4-year institution and need that foreign language credit that you didn't get in high school?  Step right up and start right here with German 1A this summer.  In 6 short weeks, you'll be speaking elementary German on topics such as:

  • yourself (who you are, where you're from, what activities you enjoy),
  • how you live, 
  • and friends and family. 

The class will be held at the conveniently located Downtown Center (4th and Mission), in the heart of San Francisco. It is right around the corner from the Powell St. BART Station and easily reachable by various MUNI routes.  The parking garage across the street at 4th/5th and Mission offers discounted prices after 6 p.m.  

It will feature a medley of activities: culture, grammar, interactive exercises, videos, and guided conversations with classmates. There will be listening, speaking, reading, and writing. And ... viel Spaß! Click here to go to the German 1A blog, where you'll find the syllabus and can get an idea of what will be covered, test schedule, etc.  It's not too late to register!  A 3-unit course is affordable and credits are fully UC and CSU transferrable!  Feel free to contact the instructor, Leslie Pahl, if you have questions, comments, or concerns.  Hope to see you in class!   

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.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

18th Berlin & Beyond Film Festival @ The Castro Theater and the Goethe Institute Auditorium - January 15-21

The 18th Berlin & Beyond Film Festival is about to begin in San Francisco.  This is your chance to watch a multitude of German-language films on the glorious big-screen at the Castro Theater.  Some films will show at the Goethe Institute Auditorium on Bush Street.  Either way, check out the schedule to find a film that is sure to entertain and also provoke.   The Castro Opening night film is Two Lives (Zwei Leben). Here's a preview:

Germany’s official entry to the 2014 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film consideration. Starring acclaimed German actors Juliane Köhler (Nowhere in Africa) and Ken Duken (Inglorious Bastards), and a rare performance by legendary Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann. Europe 1990, the Berlin wall has just crumbled. Katrine, raised in East Germany, but now living in Norway for the last 20 years, is a “war child”; the result of a love relationship between a Norwegian woman and a German occupation soldier during World War II. She enjoys a happy family life with her mother, her husband, daughter and granddaughter. But when a lawyer asks her and her mother to be a witness in a trial against the Norwegian state on behalf of the war children, she resists. Gradually, a web of concealment and secrets is unveiled until Katrine is finally stripped of everything and her loved ones are forced to take a stand. What carries more weight: the life they have lived together, or the lie it is based on?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Auf der Anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven) - German film on Netflix

A good way to get into the German language is to immerse yourself in a German-language movie.  Advanced students might turn off the subtitles and see how much they can "grasp" of the film.  Movies are visual above all, so this might not be as difficult as you think.  Here's another Netflix recommendation to check out: