Organizers bring Berlin to Bowdoin
While the Red Sox were heading to Florida for spring training this week, and Monica and Chandler looked for a house in the suburbs, the Bowdoin campus was also heading for a faraway place-all while staying close to home. A series of lectures and events entitled "Germany and Its Capital Berlin: Respect for Traces of Its History" have brought Berlin to campus.
"Berlin Week," as the event is dubbed, started Monday with an exhibition of photographs by Guenter Wehrmann, deputy consul general to the German consulate in Boston. The exhibit focused on changes in the city of Berlin since the falling of the Wall in 1989. After the opening, Wehrmann gave a lecture entitled "German-American Misunderstandings-Common Values, Different Perceptions."
The week also included a reading by Berlin-born author and German department research associate Otto Emersleben from his novel Novemberm„rchen (November Fairy Tale), and a showing of the documentary Ode to Joy and Freedom: The Fall of the Berlin Wall. The novel, according to German Department professor Helen Cafferty, "is about an East German woman who awakes from a drifting and stagnant existence to play an active political role in bringing about the changes that swept East Germany in 1989." The week wraps up today with two lectures on the political meaning of architecture in Berlin and German architectural contributions to Washington D.C.
Joel Moser '04 spent 11 months abroad in Berlin last year researching post-September 11 German-American relationships. Moser said he was delighted at the chance of attending the events. "Berlin has become like a second home for me and any small way that I can return to Berlin through Bowdoin is welcome by me," he said.
As Cafferty explained, the lectures put an emphasis on the changes in the city of Berlin since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Berlin is the only city to be comprised of both former East and West Germany. It has changed its character completely since 1990 when it became the capital of the newly united Germany.
Berlin Week was initiated and sponsored not by the German department, but by the German Consulate General in Boston. Colby and Bates College also recently held similar events. Planning for the event was done by Renate Wiedenhoeft of Freeport.
Though Berlin Week is not an annual event at Bowdoin, the department always brings in a major speaker every year to discuss German issues. With the success of this week and the interest in Berlin however, Cafferty thinks it will be a good idea to look into having more events like Berlin Week on campus.
For students who missed out on this week's Berlin activities, the theater and dance department will be featuring the show "Berlin to Broadway" next weekend, March 4-6. The musical chronicles the career of Berlin born Jewish playwright composer Kurt Weill who fled Germany in the late 1930s.
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