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German & Scandinavian Studies, Deparment of Languages and Literatures



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German & Scandinavian Studies
Department of Languages, Literatures,
and Cultures

513 Herter Hall
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003
Email: germanscand[at]
Phone: (413) 545-2350
Fax: (413) 545-6995

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You can sign up to be on our e-mail list for German & Scandinavian Studies events:

Events Calendar



Dreckfresser (Dirt for Dinner; 2000)
1.00 p.m.
Bill Brand Screening Room, Liebling Center for Film and Photography 120, Hampshire College, Amherst MA
Free and open to the public; No tickets required

Der Fluch der Medea (The Curse of Medea, 2013)
5:30 p.m. Stirn Auditorium, Mead Art Museum
Amhest College, Amherst MA
Special screening for Five College Faculty Seminar in German Studies and guests (call 413-512-1742 for further information)



Die Geschichte der Auma Obama (The Education of Ouma Obama; 2011)
1.00 p.m.
Amherst Cinema Arts Center,  28 Amity Street, Amherst MA
Free and open to the public
 (tickets required; available in advance at box office only)

All films have English subtitles; for any information call 413-512-1742



News & Events Archive


In memoriam Eva Schiffer (1925-2010), Professor Emerita of German

Courtesy of the Daily Hampshire Gazette

AMHERST - Eva Schiffer, long-term resident of Amherst, died Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010, of lung cancer at her home in Amherst, surrounded by friends.

She was born on Feb. 7, 1925, in Vienna, Austria, the daughter of prominent Jewish attorney Ludwig Schiffer and his wife Olga. Her happy childhood was interrupted by the takeover of the Nazis in March 1938. She and her younger brother found a home with generous friends of her parents in Groningen, Holland. Soon thereafter, her father was incarcerated in the concentration camps of Dachau and Buchenwald, but, thanks to unrelenting efforts on the part of her mother and their Dutch friends, in addition to a mysterious bit of good fortune, survived and was released. The reunited family settled in Cambridge, where her father, determined to resume his legal career, attended Harvard Law School, both children went to school, and Eva's mother, as co-founder of the Window Shop restaurant, helped supply daily needs.

In spite of her parents' desperate attempts to save them, most of her relatives - aunts, uncles, cousins, and her beloved maternal grandparents - perished.

From childhood, Eva had dreamt of pursuing a career involving animals and subsequently earned a B.S. in animal husbandry from the Massachusetts State College in 1946, the year before it became the University of Massachusetts. But instead of farming, she went on to an academic career, earning an M.A. (1947) and a Ph.D. (1962) from Harvard-Radcliffe in comparative literature. She taught at the Ohio State University (1947-50); at the University of Colorado in Boulder (1967-68); and at the University of Freiburg, Germany, as resident director of the UMass#Freiburg/Baden-Württemberg exchange program (1972-73); but primarily in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures of UMass-Amherst (1955-1988). She was the recipient of two fellowships of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Bonn).

In addition to various articles on 20th-century German literature and numerous book reviews, she is the author of "Zwischen den Zeilen. Manuskriptänderungen bei Thomas Mann. Transkriptionen und Deutungsversuche," (Erich Schmidt Verlag, Berlin, 1982). She edited the correspondence between the eminent former Amherst College political scientist Karl Loewenstein and Thomas Mann ("Blätter der Thomas-Mann Gesellschaft Zürich," 1981, 1982) and produced a textbook edition of Konrad Lorenz's "Er redete mit dem Vieh, den Vögeln und den Fischen" (Scott, Foresman and Co., 1971). An abbreviated version of her privately published autobiographical "Sketches" (1994) was included in "Exile and Displacement: Survivors of the Nazi Persecution Remember the Emigration Experience." Ed. Lauren Levine Enzie (Peter Lang, 2001).

Following her retirement, she became actively involved in Amherst's municipal government, where she served on the Finance Committee (1990-96) and on the Select Board (1996-2005). She deeded her home to the Amherst Housing Authority, together with an agreement that ensures its sale in perpetuity to a qualifying municipal employee, at an affordable price.

Throughout her life, she loved classical music and enjoyed hiking and mountain climbing, downhill and - later - cross-country skiing, whether in New England, the American West, Alaska, or the European Alps. Open-space and wildlife habitat protection, environmental and animal-welfare issues were among her constant concerns.

She was predeceased by her brother, George Schiffer (1929-2002), and by one of her closest friends, Elizabeth (Liza) Welt Trahan (1924-2009).

She was devoted and immensely grateful to her outstanding medical team, listed here in undiscriminatory alphabetical order: Dr. Jeffrey Korff, Dr. A. Ron Miller, Dr. Lindsay Rockwell and Dr. Peter Weitzman.

She is survived by a multitude of dear, and tirelessly helpful and supportive friends, old and newer, local, across the country, and abroad. Among the most treasured surely were Horst and Evelyn Wittmann of Baltimore, Ontario, too far away for too long; her exceptional friend of more than 60 years, Frances Colby Allee, of Albany, N.Y.; Linda Kohler, decade-long sounding board and counselor, as well as health care proxy, of Amherst; and her old hiking pal, power-of-attorney, and so much more, Ruth Crabtree, of Amherst, who was at her beck and call always and who will give her sweet dog, Gray, a loving home.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society, Leverett, MA 01054; to the Kestrel Trust, P.O. Box 1016, Amherst, MA 01002; to the Northern Alaska Environmental Center, 830 College Road, Fairbanks, AK 99701-1535; to WFCR, 131 County Circle, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003-9257; or to the Cooley Dickinson Hospital, P.O. Box 329, Northampton, MA 01060.

A memorial service may be scheduled at a later time.


A talk by Prof. Fred A. Lazin: "American Jews, Israel and the Struggle for Soviet Jewry"

University of Massachusetts Amherst
The Program in German and Scandinavian Studies, the Department of Political Science, the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, and the Program in Slavic & East European Studies present a lecture byFred A. Lazin:

"American Jews, Israel and the Struggle for Soviet Jewry"

Thursday, April 1 2010
4:00 p.m.
Herter Hall 301

Fred A. Lazin is Lynn & Lloyd Hurst Family Professor of Local Government in the Dept. of Politics & Government at Ben Gurion University of the Negev (Israel) and is currently the Natan Visiting Professor at the Center for Israel Studies, New York University. He is an alumnus of the University of Massachusetts (B.A. 1966).

For information, please contact Prof. Jonathan Skolnik

4th Biennial Graduate Student Conference: Falling Walls, Changing Borders in German & Scandinavian Studies

The Fourth Biennial Graduate Student Conference in German and Scandinavian Studies at UMass Amherst, "Falling Walls, Changing Borders in German and Scandinavian Cultures," will take place on February 12-14. On Friday evening, we will open the conference with a reception at 6:00 p.m. to be followed by a poetry reading with guest poet Dragica Rajčić at 7:45 p.m. in the Max Kade Lounge of the Thatcher House on the UMass campus. The panels will take place on Saturday (8:30 - 5:30) and Sunday morning (8:30-12:00) in Herter 301. The Saturday schedule includes a round table discussion that looks at questions about the fields of German and Scandinavian Studies, including how people came to the fields, what they are doing, and possible future directions. Students are coming from several different disciplines and from several universities across the U.S. and from Europe. The conference is supported by the German and Scandinavian Studies program at UMass, DAAD, Max Kade, American-Scandinavian Foundation,and the Swiss Arts Council. The events are open to all. Program available (PDF, 623KB).

German Trombonist Konrad "Conny" Bauer Stops at UMass Amherst

Conny Bauer has experimented with his instrument as a soloist and band member since the early 1970s, opening new sound worlds for audiences in Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Japan, Belgium, Russia and the USA. He has performed with many well-known jazz musicians, including William Parker, Hamid Drake, Butch Morris, Micha Mengelberg, Antony Braxton, George Lewis, Tony Oxlay, Jon Rose, Louis Moholo, E. L. Petrowsky, Ulrich Gumpert, Günter Sommer, Uwe Kropinski, “Joe” Sachse and Louis Sclavis. His sixth and latest solo album, Der gelbe Klang (The Sound of Yellow)—inspired by the modernity and experimentation of Russian-born abstract painter Wassily Kandisky—was honored with the prestigious German Record Critic’s Award.

Bauer will visit UMass Amherst February 24–25, 2010. During his stay he will present the 1998 German documentary Lights from Afar (Dir. Helga Reidemeister), for which he wrote and performed the score, and join William Parker and Hamid Drake for a concert in the Magic Triangle Jazz Series.

February 24, 2010 | 7:30pm | 137 Isenberg School of Management, UMass Amherst
Lights from Afar (Germany, 1998, Dir. Helga Reidemeister, 96 min., English subtitles)

This documentary combines portraits of photographers Robert Paris and Helga Paris, his mother, with Lars Barthel’s cinematography and Conny Bauer’s music. It offers a haunting commentary on the post-Berlin Wall era.
This screening is part of the 17th Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival and is co-sponsored by the DEFA Film Library.

February 25, 2010 | 8:00pm | Bezanson Recital Hall, UMass Amherst
Conny Bauer performs with William Parker and Hamid Drake in the Magic Triangle Jazz Series.

Generously supported by the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Boston.
German Consulate Boston Logo

Photos from the Wall Reception (Nov. 16, 2009)

20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall Marked at UMass Amherst with Reception, Film Screening, History Exhibit

Two decades after the Berlin Wall fell, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is commemorating the historic event that led to Germany’s reunification with a reception, film screening and the opening of a public history exhibit on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

UMass Chancellor Robert Holub and his wife, Sabine, will attend the reception from 5-7 p.m. in the second floor lobby of Herter Hall Annex. Chancellor Holub, who is a professor of German and Scandinavian studies, will offer remarks on the occasion of the anniversary.

At 7 p.m., “Leipzig in Autumn,” a key documentary about the demonstrations that led up to the fall of the wall, will be shown in 227 Herter Hall.

The reception will mark the official opening of an exhibit on the history of the Berlin Wall created by graduate students in the public history program at UMass Amherst.

UMass Amherst is one of 28 campuses across the United States chosen by the German government to receive support for “campus weeks” commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 1989 turning point in German history—the Wende—that led to the reunification of Germany. Last year, German Ambassador Klaus Scharioth invited Chancellor Holub to submit plans to mark the anniversary. A proposal submitted by Barton Byg and Skyler Arndt-Briggs of German and Scandinavian studies and Jon Olsen of the history department was selected in April.

For more information on the Berlin Wall and the Commemorative Events, visit

Final Wall Commemoration Event: Round Table Discussion Simulation

Round Table Talks Simulation
a.k.a. Re-deciding East Germany's Future
Friday, December 4th, 4-6pm
Herter 601

Prof. Jon Olsen's freshman seminar students have been studying the events leading up to, including, and following the fall of the Berlin Wall this semester. The culmination of the class will be a simulation of the Round Table Talks to which GSS students are also invited and welcome to participate. Upon arrival, participants will be divided into five teams and given a sheet that describes some background information on their group (PDS, Neues Forum, SPD, FDP, CDU) as well as some goals that they wish to achieve regarding the future path of East Germany. They will then debate or negotiate with each other for about half an hour and then there will be a debriefing discussion comparing what happens in the simulation to what happened in the real world. Followed by pizza and drinks.

Interested students must RSVP to berlinwall[at] by Tuesday, 12/1 and arrive promptly at 4 the day of the event.

Information about the Round Table talks:

Vernarrtsein in Worte, Verliebtsein in Sprache

A new audiobook of Jurek Becker's texts in his own voice. Presented by Christine Becker, the author's widow and collaborator, and Ph.D. Candidate Delene White. Monday, November 16, 2009, 4:00 p.m., Herter Hall 601.

Dr. Florence Feiereisen (Ph.D. '07) Delivers a Talk on Identity and Contemporary German Literature, Mon., Nov. 2, 2009

Flyer (PDF)

Prof. Emeritus Henry Lea Discusses Effects of World War II

Article in the UMass Daily Collegian

Watch Prof. Lea's lecture (.mov file).

Ulrike Ottinger: A Five College Film Series with Two Appearances by the Filmmaker

Ulrike Ottinger
Ulrike Ottinger

Ulrike Ottinger, whose films are known for their visually stunning cinematography and experimental style, often not only writes and directs films, but is also the person behind the camera. A painter and accomplished photographer, Ottinger broke into the international scene in 1977 with her feature film Madame X, a bizarre, campy, feminist pirate movie, featuring a spike-fisted, leather-clad dominatrix captain. Her storytelling – full of literary, mythological and historical references – blends documentary and fiction. Known for her travels into the Mongolian hinterlands (Taiga), Ottinger focuses on nomadic cultures, rituals, traditions and their contrast to modern life. For more than thirty years, Ottinger’s films have intrigued audiences; they continue to be featured at international festivals.

“Ulrike Ottinger works the margins which put her on the cutting edge. The multiculturalism of her films is the kind that shoots up every identity, sexual or otherwise, with a megadose of difference. There is no other filmmaker.” (Laurence Rickels)

Programs across the Five College Consortium, Amherst Cinema and the National Yiddish Book Center host filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger and her work in a series beginning Friday, 16 October.

Ottinger will be present in person at screenings of two of her recent films, The Korean Wedding Chest at Amherst Cinema, 2 p.m. Saturday, 17 October (general admission), and Prater, 8 p.m. Saturday 17 October, Seelye 201, Smith College (free). *All films have English subtitles.*

A full list of screenings and additional information are below (photos courtesy of A poster for the series is also available.

Johanna D'Arc of Mongolia
, Germany 1989, 165 min.
DVD projection, Dwight Auditorium, Mount Holyoke College, Friday 16 October, 7 p.m.
Free and open to the public
In this tri-lingual epic, seven westerners travel in the Trans-Siberian Railroad and are kidnapped by a tribe of Mongolian female warriors.

The Korean Wedding Chest
, Germany 2008, 82 min.
35mm, Amherst Cinema, 2 p.m. Saturday 17 October; filmmaker present
General admission: online advance tickets at
"I was inspired to look more closely at the old and new rituals to determine what is old in the new and new in the old. A modern fairytale about the amazing phenomenon of new mega cities emerging everywhere and their contradictory societies caught in the balancing act. Bon voyage into the present!" (Ulrike Ottinger)

, Germany / Austria 2007, 104 min.
DVD projection, Seelye 201, Smith College, 8 p.m. Saturday 17 October; filmmaker present
Vienna: The legendary Prater amusement park is one of the most historic in the world. It entertains families by day, but by night it turns into a place for lonely hearts, youngsters and gangs. The Prater’s history from the beginning to the present is told by its protagonists and those who have documented it.
Germany/Austria 2007

Madame X -- An Absolute Ruler
, Germany 1977, 141 min.
DVD projection, Herter 227, UMass Amherst, 7:15 p.m., Tuesday 20 October
Ottinger's breakthrough feature, a pirate adventure. On the women's ship Orlando the flags of attack, leather, weapons, lesbian love and death are raised with a beauty which dispenses with a total domination of the viewer's gaze. The aesthetic is strictly stylized, exhibiting itself without overwhelming us.

Exil Shanghai
, Germany / Israel, 1987; 275 min.
DVD projection, National Yiddish Book Center, 5 p.m., Monday 23 November
The lives of six German, Austrian and Russian Jews cross paths in war time Shanghai. This documentary film traces their lives in exile through interviews, documents, photos combined with scenes of contemporary Shanghai.

The series concludes with a screening of Countdown, at a time and venue still to be announced:

, Germany 1990, 188 min.
227 Herter Hall, 7 p.m., December 1, 2009
Countdown follows a chronological sequence. The movie was shot in Berlin and environs over a ten-day period leading up to the unification of the currencies on July 1, 1990. The film thus ends on the date marking "the first stage of German reunification."

Information on all films available in English and German under
For more information call UMass German and Scandinavian Studies: 413-545-2350 or email Barton Byg (

The Five College Ulrike Ottinger Film Series is made possible by:
Ulrike Ottinger; Goethe Institute Boston, German Cultural Center for New England; Amherst Cinema / Pleasant Street Theater; National Yiddish Book Center; Five College Film Council; Amherst College: Department of German and the Media Studies Initiative / Mellon Foundation; Hampshire College: Dean of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, Sites and Citations Program, European Studies Program and the Film, Video and Photography Program; Mount Holyoke College Film Studies Program and Department of German Studies; Smith College Department of German Studies and Film Studies Program: UMass Amherst: Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, German and Scandinavian Studies, DEFA Film Library, Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures, Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies.
Special thanks also to Women Make Movies.

Master Class with Filmmaker Andreas Dresen

All five college students and faculty are welcome to join a "master class" with filmmaker Andreas Dresen (pictured above) on 13 October as he visits the Valley as part of his U.S. tour. The discussion with Dresen, featuring his own work and his view of filmmaking in Europe post-1989, will take place in Herter 301 from 9:30 - 10:45 on Tuesday, 13 October. Host will be Prof. Barton Byg's grad seminar in German film studies. That evening at 7 p.m. Dresen will present his debut feature Quiet Land Silent Country at Amherst Cinema (regular admission charge; tickets available online at

This is the local launch of the DEFA Film Library's Wende Flicks film series, which premiered earlier this year in Los Angeles and opens this month in Boston and Washington DC.

Dresen presented the first U.S. screening of his latest feature, Whiskey with Vodka, at Coolidge Corner in Brookline. That film won the grand prize at the Karlovy Vary film festival earlier this year.

For more information on Wende Flicks, Dresen, and Silent Country, see the DEFA Film Library website:

UMass Takes Part in German-Language Immersion Program (Daily Collegian article)

Frackman and Lenshyn use films in German outreach program in Virginia (In the Loop)

Free bus trip to NYC for Swedish art exhibition

The Scandinavian Studies program is offering a free bus trip to New York on Saturday, November 14, to visit Scandinavia House for an exhibition of Swedish painter Carl Fredrik Hill's (1849-1911) work. The trip will include ample free time in New York for the participants. The bus trip is free for UMass students. Other community members will be asked to make a nominal contribution to the cost of the bus. Anyone interested should contact Prof. Kyle Frackman (frackman[at] More information about Hill and the exhibition can be found on the Scandinavia House site. This excursion is made possible by the generous support of the Swedish Institute.

From the Scandinavia House site:

Carl Fredrik Hill, Swedish Visionary and Modernist: Drawings from the Malmö Art Museum is the first major exhibition in America exclusively devoted to Carl Fredrik Hill (1849-1911), one of Sweden’s most original and visionary artists of the 19th century. Drawings produced during the last 30 years of his life were initially dismissed at the time; however these late works are now recognized as anticipating movements such as Surrealism, Expressionism, and even Pop Art. Many of today’s leading artists, including Georg Baselitz, Arnulf Rainer, and Per Kirkeby have been influenced by Hill’s work.

The selection of 75 drawings, many never before exhibited in the U.S., come from the collections of Sweden’s Malmö Art Museum, a major repository of the artist’s work.

Carl Fredrik Hill, Swedish Visionary and Modernist: Drawings from the Malmö Art Museum was organized by the Malmö Art Museum, one of the leading art museums of Scandinavia. Its collection of some 32,000 objects includes over 2,000 works by Carl Fredrik Hill. The exhibition curator is Göran Christenson, Director of the Malmö Art Museum.

Support for this exhibition has been generously provided by a grant from the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation. Additional funding has been provided by the Consulate General of Sweden in New York.


Volume of essays from graduate student conference, Myth, is published by Cambridge Scholars Press (co-edited by graduate students, Victoria Lenshyn and Evan Torner). Now available in hardcover and as e-book.


Summer German Courses

Visit Continuing Education for a list of summer German courses.

Summer Film Institute

German films screened as part of Summer Film Institute

Prof. Andrew Donson in the Frankfurter Rundschau

The article is available online.

Brenda Bethman, Dissertation Defense

Brenda Bethman's Dissertation Defense: "Obscene Fantasies: Elfriede Jelinek's Generic Perversions" (dir. by Sara Lennox)
Friday, July 10, 2009
2:00 p.m.
Dukes Room (Student Union)

Arndt-Briggs Interviewed on Public Radio

Dr.Skyler Arndt-Briggs, Adjunct Professor and Associate Director of the DEFA Film Library, was interviewed on public radio KCRW in California in advance of the DEFA Film Library's program of films called "Wende Flicks." Audio available.

Help Us!

Answer the Dean's Challenge and bring the Language Lab you remember into the 21st century!

Support the new multimedia language lab at UMass Amherst. Gifts will be matched by Dean Joel Martin, College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

You can donate securely online: Select "Dean's Challenge '09: Multi Media Language Lab" on the dropdown menu at the bottom of the page.

For more information, please contact Nora Maroulis at (413) 577-4421 or


Wende Flicks

DEFA Film Library has organized a film series in Los Angeles to commemorate the 1989 fall of Berlin Wall More

Lecture by Dr. Louise Wallenberg

"Buggering Freud & Deleuze: Masochism and Sexual (In)difference in Helmut Newton's Work": A lecture by Dr. Louise Wallenberg, Stockholm University
Thurs., Mar. 12, 5:30 p.m.
Herter Hall 301
Open to the public

Scandinavian Cinema Series

A film series presented by Professor Barton Byg, UMass Amherst, and visiting scholar Louise Wallenberg, Director of the Center for Fashion Studies, Stockholm University.
Prof. Wallenberg is also scheduled to lecture on her research on 12 March. Check calendar listings or contact German and Scandinavian Studies (413-545-2350) for details.

All films are 7 p.m., Herter 227, UMass Amherst
All films have English subtitles or intertitles
Recently restored DVD projection

23 February
Victor Sjöström, The Phantom Carriage / Körkarlen (1920)
7 p.m. Herter 227

3 March
Mauritz Stiller, Gösta Berlings’s Saga (1924)
With Greta Gustafsson / Greta Garbo
4 p.m. Herter 217

9 March
Benjamin Christiansen, Witchcraft through the Ages / Häxan (1922)
7 p.m. Herter 227

6 April
Mauritz Stiller, Sir Arne’s Treasures / Herr Arnes pengar (1919)
7 p.m. Herter 227

13 April
Carl Theodor Dreyer, Michael (Germany 1924)
7 p.m. Herter 227

21 April (Tuesday, but UMass follows Monday schedule)
Douglas Sirk / Detlef Sierck, La Habanera (Germany 1937)
With Zarah Leander
7 p.m. Herter 227

Holiday Greeting 2008

View the 2008 holiday greeting from German & Scandinavian Studies.

Fall 2008 Newsletter

Read the latest issue of the GSS Newsletter in full color. (PDF, 784KB)

Alexandra Merley Hill, Dissertation Defense

"Maternal Drag: Identity, Motherhood, and Performativity in the Works of Julia Franck" (directed by Prof. Susan Cocalis)
Fri., Feb. 27 at 3:00 p.m.
Herter Hall 301

Anne Hector, Dissertation Defense

"Der Wenderoman: Definition eines Genres" (directed by Prof. Susan Cocalis)
Friday, Feb. 6, 2:00 p.m.
Herter Hall 301

Kyle Frackman, Dissertation Defense

"The Abject of My Affection: 'Heimosexuality' in German Texts and Films" (directed by Prof. Susan Cocalis)
Friday, December 5, 3:00 p.m.
Herter Hall 601

"Memories/Correspondences": A Lecture by Marcelo Brodsky

Mr. Brodsky will discuss his most-known memory works, including "Good Memory," "Nexo," and "Memory Under Construction." He will also discuss his current art projects, which are visual correspondences with five artists from around the globe. (JPG Poster)

Flavin Auditorium
School of Management Room 137
UMass Amherst
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
4:30 p.m.

DEFA Director Rainer Simon visits UMass Amherst

As part of its biennial director's film tour, the DEFA Film Library is proud to
announce that acclaimed (East) German director Rainer Simon (The Ascent of the
Chimborazo, The Woman and the Stranger) will visit over 30 North American
locations from September to November 2008, including UMass Amherst.

Teaching Materials for Rainer Simon's visit

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 | 7:00 p.m.
227 Herter Hall, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Till Eulenspiegel (GDR, 1974, 100 min., color)
Written by Christa and Gerhard Wolf, a film about the subversive medieval trickster, Till Eulenspiegel. East German officials tried to keep this film under wraps, but excited audiences quickly spread the word.

Thursday, November 13, 2008 | 7:00 p.m.
227 Herter Hall, University of Massachusetts Amherst
The Woman and the Stranger (GDR, 1984, 98 min., color)
A woman caught between two men returning from a WWI POW camp. Based on the novel by Leonhard Frank. Awarded the Golden Bear at the 1985 Berlin Film Festival.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | 7:00 p.m.
Gamble Auditorium, Mt. Holyoke College

Jadup and Boel (GDR, 1981, 100 min., color)
A 1970s East German town confronts post-WWII memories. Banned by East German officials for being too controversial, this film was not released until 1988. The director will be present to introduce and discuss this film!

Thursday, November 20, 2008 | 7:30 p.m.
Stirn Auditorium, Amherst College

The Ascent of Chimborazo (GDR/FRG, 1989, 96 min., color)
As explorer Alexander von Humboldt attempts to summit Ecuador's highest peak, he comes to understand and respect the region's indigenous culture. The director will be present to introduce and discuss this film!

Sunday, November 23, 2008 | 2:00 p.m.
Amherst Cinema Arts Center (regular admission)
The Airship (GDR, 1982, 105 min., color)
Franz Xavier Stannebein invests everything into his dream of flying, which ends in a catastrophe when the Nazis get involved. Simon collaborated with celebrated animator Lutz Dammbeck on this experimental film. The director will be present to introduce and discuss this film!

Movie director Rainer Simon is the featured guest of the 2008 Filmmaker’s Tour organized by the DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The 2008 Filmmaker’s Tour comes to our area after stops at 25 universities, colleges, and cultural institutions in thirteen states in the USA and Canada. Three of the films featured in the Filmmaker’s Tour, have never been accessible to English-language audiences, are screening with new English subtitles made by the DEFA Film Library.

Local Filmmaker’s Tour events include screenings of five of Rainer Simon’s most important films: Till Eulenspiegel (1974), Jadup and Boel (1981), The Airship (1982), The Woman and the Stranger (1984) and The Ascent of the Chimborazo (1989). Screenings will take place from November 12 to 23, 2008, at the Amherst Cinema Arts
Center, Amherst College, Mt. Holyoke College, and UMass Amherst. All films will celebrate their East Coast premieres here in the Pioneer Valley.

Rainer Simon is one of former East Germany’s most acclaimed directors. His films were not East German mainstream, however, and were often nationally restricted or banned, at the same time as they won international awards. Simon, who started directing films in 1968, has become known as a documentarist, writer, and photographer. Since shooting The Ascent of the Chimborazo in 1989, Simon’s work has focused on the life and culture of the indigenous people of Ecuador.

Local Filmmaker’s Tour screenings have been organized by the DEFA Film Library with the generous support of the DEFA-Stiftung, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Dept. of German at Amherst College, Dept. of German Studies at Mt. Holyoke, and the Amherst Cinema Arts Center.

For more information about Rainer Simon, his films, and images please visit

Prof. Marion Kaplan presents her new book

Wednesday, October 17, 2008
Time/Place TBA
Prof. Kaplan (History and Judaic Studies, NYU) will present her new book, Dominican Haven: The Jewish Refugee Settlement in Sosua, 1940-1945. This lecture is sponsored by German & Scandinavian Studies (UMass), Judaic and Near Eastern Studies (UMass), Spanish Department (Amherst College), Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies (UMass), and German Studies (Mt. Holyoke College).

Wrocław/Breslau: Poles, Germans, Jews and their City

April 11, 2008
German & Scandinavian Studies is proud to sponsor a major conference on the history and culture of this “multi-ethnic” city – from the 1800s though the Holocaust and the postwar – and its legacy in a new Europe. The conference will take place from 9:30 to 5 pm at the National Yiddish Book Center (Hampshire College campus). For more information, contact Prof. Skolnik.  View the conference poster (PDF).

"Yiddish Theatre: A New Look at Its 19th-Century Context"

April 10, 2008
Prof. Klaus Hödl (Uni-Graz) will lecture on 19th-century Yiddish theater and its public. The event will begin at 5:30 pm at the National Yiddish Book Center (Hampshire College campus). For more information, contact Prof. Skolnik.

"Shamans, Reindeer, and Insider Knowledge"

Thursday, December 7, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.
Thompson Hall 102
a lecture by Kathleen Osgood Dana, Ph.D., expert in circumpolar comparative literature, followed by a screening of the first Sámi-language film, Pathfinder (Ofelaš), directed by Nils Gaup (1988) (with English subtitles)

Graduate Student Conference: Experimentations

February 18-19, 2006
A Graduate Student Conference hosted by German & Scandinavian Studies

The Reel East Germany

A film series presented by the DEFA Film Library

Love Poetry Bash

February 16, 2005
Thatcher House
Photo Gallery

German Day 2004

September 29, 2004
Sponsored by the Massachusetts chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG)

Graduate Student Conference:(Re)Visions

March 26-27, 2004
A Graduate Student Conference hosted by the Dept. of Germanic Languages and Literatures

rchen-Bash: Fairy Tale Bash

In April 2003, the Department sponsored a Märchen-Bash, which offered the university community an opportunity to read, perform, discuss their favorite fairy tales, in German or English.