On Monday, students and faculty listened as Jürgen Ewert, a Vermont native and former resident of the German Democratic Republic (1949-1990), gave a German Club sponsored presentation on what life was like behind the Iron Curtain in divided Germany.

Mr. Ewert's presentation, which was entitled Walled in: Life Behind the Berlin Wall, included a close-up view of the German-German border which prevented 17 million East Germans from leaving the socialist regime for the West and cost hundreds of people their lives as they attempted escape.

As a direct witness to East German border protection, Mr. Ewert also shared personal childhood memories. Growing up in a small village on the Baltic coast, the then 12-year old boy witnessed among others the closing of previously public beaches, the increased patrols of the coast guard and the thwarted attempts of local ferrymen to help people leave the GDR regime by water.


German author and last year's Max Kade Distinguished Visiting Professor Christopher Kloeble visited the German Program on Tuesday afternoon to read excerpts from the English translation of his new novel Almost Everything Very Fast (Greywolf Press, 2016) in Sanborn's Wren room.

Kloeble, who is currently on a U.S. book reading tour, took the opportunity to talk to students and faculty about the writing craft, international audiences, and the translation process of his latest novel from German into English.

What keeps things interesting in the writing process is to let oneself be surprised where the characters are going next, Kloeble said. When it comes to writing people often underestimate the challenge of writing dialogue well, Kloeble shared. The author revealed that his training in script writing helped him craft the witty exchanges for which his novels' characters have become known among a growing international readership, Almost Everything being no exception.

Thanks to Kloeble's sensible translator little gets lost in translation.



Bruce Duncan Wins Fish Memorial Teaching Prize

Duncan, the Dartmouth Professor of German Language Emeritus, retired in 2015 after 46 years at the College—a career that included a stint as Associate Dean for the Humanities and a two-year tenure as Interim Director of the Hopkins Center for the Arts, as well as service as chair of the Department of German Studies.

Time to Apply for Foreign Study

Thinking about foreign study in Berlin, Germany? The time to apply for our LSA and FSP programs is now!

The deadlines are: January 7 for the summer of 2016; February 1 for the fall of 2016 and the spring of 2017. File your application through the Guerini Institute for International Education.

Running late? Don’t be shy and contact our faculty asap!

Professor Yuliya Komska: Iron Curtains (Reuters)

The term “iron curtain” is more than 200 years old. Its usage has evolved through time. Long after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Professor Yuliya Komska says that its recent rise in common usage may help to foster destructive divisions among European nations.

“By applying ‘iron curtain’ to these divisions,” Professor Komska writes, “journalists and politicians create a fault line between Western Europe and countries in the east. In doing so, they risk associating problems common across all Europe — security, immigration, xenophobia — with only a handful of communities on the EU’s eastern periphery.”

Read more from Reuters.

Yuliya Komska on Teaching German and Other Joys

By Joni B. Cole

This Focus on Faculty Q&A is part of an ongoing series of interviews exploring what keeps Dartmouth professors busy inside—and outside—the classroom.

Yuliya Komska is an assistant professor of German studies, a Cold War cultural historian, and a self-proclaimed “wannabe Austro-Hungarian.” A native of Ukraine, Komska recently published her first book, The Icon Curtain: The Cold War's Quiet Border. She shares her views on belonging, her joy in teaching, and the difference between her and the futuristic mom in the 1960s cartoon show The Jetsons.

25 Years Later, Remembering the Berlin Wall

by Professor Irene Kacandes

I’m an American child of the Cold War. The yellow alarm pole was next to my elementary school, and when it went off we practiced duck and cover. I had a repeating dream of a red monolith I knew was “Communism,” even as I had little sense of what that meant other than “bad” and “dangerous.”

I’m a Dartmouth professor currently directing the Department of German Studies’ Foreign Study Program in Berlin. For weeks now, local residents have been commemorating events that led up to the Mauerfall, the opening of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989. I plan to walk around in the city center and take in the atmosphere. I’m particularly eager to see the Lichtgrenze, literally “border of light,” a marking with lamp poles where the wall that divided this city long stood.

I remember the actual wall. I first visited Berlin on a high school exchange. I recall having cramps during the whole visit and being simultaneously intimidated and fascinated by the military presence, a presence I didn’t know about in suburban New York. I promised myself I’d come back one day.