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Past News

Every 5th person in Germany is from migrant family
20 Sep, 2016| Reuters News
(Photo © Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters)

© Fabrizio Bensch / ReutersThe number of people in Germany from foreign backgrounds has reached a new high of 21 percent, a recent study suggests. Migrants who came to Germany in and after 2015 were not included in the statistics, however. Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) has released data which shows every fifth person in Germany (21 percent), has some kind of migrant background – meaning that out of a population of 82.2 million, 17.1 million people are not exclusively of German descent.

The data, however, didn’t include hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Northern Africa and elsewhere, who came to Germany in and after 2015, Destatis pointed out. A person is considered to be of migrant background if they didn’t have a German passport at birth, or if one of their parents is not a German citizen. A total of 6.4 million people out of the 17.1 million with foreign backgrounds migrated to Germany. Some 5 million others were of German descent, but were born outside Germany.

The microcensus conducted in 2015 showed an increase of 4.4 percent compared to 2014, the report says. Most of the migrants mentioned in the report have links with Turkey, Poland or Russia. A total of 6.3 million people had relatives in Greece, Italy or Turkey who came to Germany as guest workers in the 1960s or 1970s. Among the population under 18 years old, one in three comes from an immigrant family. People with immigrant backgrounds are usually less well-educated, according to Destatis. Non-German citizens between the ages of 25 and 35 usually don’t have a high school diploma, and only some have a vocational high school degree. If a person with an immigrant background enters university, however, they achieve about the same results as non-migrants, the study suggests.

The data also showed that migrants were less likely to obtain a job and were twice as likely to be engaged in manual labor. There are also significant wage differences between people of different backgrounds. One example the study lists is that of young professionals with French roots, who usually earn about twice as much as those from Bulgaria do – €2,622 (US$2,930) compared with €1,352 ($1,500), respectively. The census explores the trends common in various ethnic communities. Chinese students living in Germany are more likely to continue their education at university after they finish school than those who came from Turkey. In 2015, Germany was named as the country hosting the second-highest number of international migrants worldwide by the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. As of 2014, the largest number of immigrants had arrived from Turkey (2.85 million), followed by Poland (1.61 million), Russia (1.18 million), and Italy (764,000), an earlier Destatis microcensus showed. In addition, since the end of 1980s, nearly 3 million ethnic Germans have exercised their right of return and come back to their ancestral homeland.

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Photo Credit: Björn Kietzmann Flickr via Compfight cc

Germany’s Far Right Rises Again
Purged from German politics 70 years ago, nationalism is back. And many fear where it could lead.
YARDENA SCHWARTZ | Politico, December 21, 2016

MUNICH—Five days after Donald Trump became the next president of the United States, the South Munich chapter of Germany’s far-right party, Alternative for Deutschland, held its first meeting since the U.S. election. In a traditional Bavarian tavern on a quiet residential street, 50-some party members and supporters drank beer and celebrated the victory that they felt was, in many ways, their own.

The theme of the meeting was supposed to be the local elections in May, when the AfD is expected to pick up seats in several of Germany’s state parliaments. (The party currently holds seats in 10 of Germany’s 16 state parliaments, up from five one year ago.) But instead of local elections, talk that night centered almost exclusively on Donald Trump.

Dirk Driesang, a member of AfD’s federal board, stood to address the packed restaurant, where party placards reading “AfD Loves Deutschland” adorned every table. He began with Trump’s roots in Germany. The president-elect’s grandfather Friedrich was born and raised in Kallstadt, a village in the Southwest. Friedrich eventually was deported, Driesang smiled as he told the crowd, for evading his mandatory military service. But that was fine because his grandson had gone on to do in the U.S. what the AfD hopes to do in Germany. “America First is coming to Deutschland,” boomed Driesang, his adaptation of Trump’s campaign slogan giving way to resounding applause.

Among all of Germany’s political parties, the AfD was alone in cheering Trump’s surprise victory. The cover of Der Spiegel on November 12 depicted Trump’s head as a fiery meteor on course to destroy Planet Earth. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s first remarks on the U.S. election results included a lecture on the very definition of democracy. But the AfD, whose dramatic rise over the past two years has been fueled by much the same anti-immigrant, anti-Islam and anti-establishment elements that elevated Trump to power in the United States, saw the real estate mogul’s win as a good omen for their controversial movement to make nationalism popular in Germany again—for the first time since World War II.

Continue reading…

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Follow the Audre Lorde Berlin City Tour!

Audre Lorde Berlin City TourAudre Lorde, the renowned African-american poet, author and activist, lived from 1984 to 1992 weeks and months each year in Berlin. Are you interested in the time Audre Lorde spent in Berlin with her comrades and friends? Want to visit the places where she lived, taught?

All of this you can experience in the Audre Lorde Berlin City Tour—a self-guided digital tour containing photos, videos and sound clips. Check it out on your computer or on your smart phone at www.audrelordeberlin.com. Tell everyone interested in Audre Lorde, and in Berlin, about it!

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Bertolt Brecht

Dr. Gerlind teaches Brecht seminar
OLLI @ Berkeley
January 25 through March 7, 2016, Monday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
University Hall Room 41B, Berkeley

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) was a prominent figure in 20th-century theater. Explore a selection of his most famous plays, such as Mother Courage and The Life of Galileo. We will discuss his “epic theater” and Verfremdungseffekt, a term he used to describe the actors’ techniques to prevent audiences from identifying with the characters. Taking a closer look at his stormy life in Germany and in exile, we’ll also spotlight the women who collaborated with him behind the scenes and contributed significantly to his fame.

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Durant Manor posterPoster detail“…Almost entirely residential, it is home to what may be the Bay Area’s only German cultural studies institute.” ~ Oakland Neighborhood Project, a project of Stephen Texeira Photography.

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Your Silence Will Not Protect You
07/23/2015 | BLACK LIVES MATTER | Jennifer Farmer, Managing Director for Communications, Advancement Project

Distressed by current events, I recently strolled over to my book shelf and carefully considered which book I should read or re-read. I wanted to review a historical text that would offer illumination about present day challenges. Like many people, I'd been grappling with the nonstop headlines of unarmed African-American mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons who had been killed by law enforcement. I was seeking a framework to understand and respond to the seeming lack of safety for people of color. After several minutes, I narrowed my focus to Audre Lorde's Sister Outsider, a collection of essays and speeches by the late Black lesbian poet.

Blakc Lives MatterFlipping through the pages of the book I had initially read some 16 years prior, one section in particular stood out; The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action. Lorde delivered the speech in 1977 at the “Lesbian and Literature Panel” in Chicago, Illinois. The essay highlighted something I'd been considering for some time; the need to continually break my silence and give voice to the issues I am most passionate about: racial injustice and the marginalization of people of color.

I had long considered how boisterously to articulate my concerns about race in America and the collateral consequences for doing so. Up until 2012, when Trayvon Martin was killed for wearing a hoodie while Black, and Jordan Davis was killed for listening to loud music while Black, issues of police and vigilante violence against people of color had largely gone underreported in the mainstream media. It wasn't until the 2013 killing of Renisha McBride, who was shot in the face as she knocked on a neighbor's door for help following a car accident, that the treatment of young people of color was highlighted in the national discourse. Momentum grew and the nation finally appeared willing to talk about the lived experiences, the lived injustices of people of color following the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. and John Crawford in a Beavercreek, Ohio, Wal-Mart.

Against this backdrop, perhaps you can understand why Lorde's essay on transforming silence into language and action jumped out at me, striking me in the face like a splash of ice-cold water. In the paper, Lorde wrote: “I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. That the speaking profits me, beyond any other effect.” The passage is breathtakingly relevant; what's most important must be spoken.

Tia Oslo and Black Lives Matter organizers and supporters at the recent Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix, Arizona understood this as they challenged Democratic presidential candidates to acknowledge and speak directly to race in America. Even in a progressive space, their voices weren't entirely welcomed and embraced, but that didn't stop them from raising them. Oslo and others were saying "no more politics as usual." If Democratic candidates want our votes, we expect them to acknowledge our pain and publicly speak to our right to live.

They understood that what's most important must be spoken. Sandra Bland knew this as well. She regularly posted YouTube videos and messages on Facebook and Twitter attesting to the victimization of people of color by police. In a video capturing Officer Brian Encinia ordering her to put out her cigarette and threatening to “light her up” if she didn't comply, Bland can be audibly heard expressing displeasure over her treatment by police. Even though we can hear Bland on the video saying that the officer slammed her head on the ground and twisted her arm, some have questioned Bland's response to such abuse, calling her argumentative and stating she had an attitude from the start. Bland had a right to be morally outraged after being pulled over for merely changing lanes without signaling, being yanked out of her car, wrestled to the ground and man-handled. Zora Neale Hurston said: “if you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.”

It is clear that failing to acknowledge and speak to racism as a potent presence, doesn't ensure our safety in a world that some say, never loved us. Remaining quiet in the face of a system that has taken far too many lives - Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Jonathan Ferrell, Johnathan Crawford, Oscar Grant - doesn't lengthen or add one jot to our own. Yet there is an illusion of safety in silence. This illusion may be spawned by respectability politics that says if we just pull our pants up, avert our gaze in the presence of police, speak nicely and lovingly, even in the face of violence, that we will be safe. Nothing could be further from the truth.

And so, in the spirit of Audre Lorde, and in remembrance of Sandra Bland (Kindra Chapman and the countless others who have died under mysterious circumstances in police custody or were blatantly killed by police), I urge you to join me and #SayHerName. After all, as Lorde reminds us: “Your silence will not protect you.”

Follow Jennifer Farmer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Farmer8J

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May AyimSummer 2015: Dr. Gerlind teaching at OLLI @ San Francisco State University
June 4-July 9, 2015 | Thursdays 1-3 p.m. Downtown campus • 835 Market Street, Room 677, San Francisco, CA 94103

Dr. Gerlind is scheduled to teach “Contemporary German Literature by Women Writers,” in English translation.
(photo: Afro-German writer and poet, May Ayim)

Join this interactive seminar if you are curious about popular German literature from a diverse group of female writers, including May Ayim, Ruth Klüger, Emine Sevgi Özdamar, Ingrid Strobl, Yoko Tawada, and Christa Wolf. Explore a selection of writings originally published in Germany between 1989 and 2010 and now available in English. Discuss excerpts of biography, autobiography, documentary, essays, fiction, and poetry. Course reader will be provided.

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Peace Peace PeaceFrieden ist möglich — Peace is possible •  Greetings from the Gerlind Institute (GICS) Team

Read our Gerlind Institute for Cultural Studies Holiday greeting

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Wir nehmen Abschied von Frieda Gordon Dilloo | We say goodbye to Frieda Gordan Dilloo: 1939 -November 24, 2014

We are mourning the loss of a longtime member of our Gerlind Insitutute community. Professional translator, German teacher, and speaker in our Oral History Series passed away. May Frieda rest in peace.

with Melody Erminchildwith Melody Erminchild
…with Melody
at our Klönschnack
at our Klönschnack
…at our Klönschnack
at our Klönschnack party
…at our Klönschnack party
with Travis Fretter at one of our Oral History events
…with Travis at an Oral History event
with Dr. Denis Göktürk (UC Berkeley) at one of our Oral History events
…with Dr. Deniz Göktürk (UC Berkeley) at an Oral History event
with Bernhard Ruchti and George Comitos at our Klönschnack
…with Bernhard and George at our Klönschnack
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Marion Gerlind and Ingrid PetersonOral History with Ingrid Peterson • Ethiopia Rising

We enjoyed a wonderful evening with Ingrid Peterson, October 11, 2014, with her recounting of her life in Angola, Germany, and the United States, as well as her trip to Ethiopia with the organization Imagine 1Day.

The audience was treated to beautiful images from her trip and stories about building schools and working in communities to support, not only the education of the communities' children, but the communities themselves, through the building of schools and related facilities.

Ich denke, wir haben alle viel von dir gelernt, vor allem, wie wichtig Bildung auch im Leben der äthiopischen Kinder und Familien ist. Und du hast uns allen Äthiopien und Angola durch deine Geschichte/n und Bilder näher gebracht. Das war alles sehr spannend! ~ Marion Gerlind, director

Ingrid generously donated her honorarium for the evening to the Gerlind Institute. Become a member of the Gerlind Institute, or make a tax-deductable contribution to our Oral History Series.

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The Consul General, JB, Marion, Gerlind RothinMoving on

Marion and JB were invited to the farewell party hosted by German Consul General Peter Rothen and his wife, Gerlind Rothen. The Rothens were good friends and supporters of the Gerlind Institute for Cultural Studies during their tenure here in San Francisco, and we wish them all the best success in their new posting in Shanghai.

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Ayten Mutlu Saray at UCBerkeleyAfter the University of CA, Berkeley screening of Ayten Mutlu Saray's film, ZARA, on May 9th, 2014, at the Free Speech Café

Left to right: Aaron Woeste, Bozena Gilewska, Professor Paola Bacchetta (Gender and Women's Studies), Dr. Marion Gerlind, Ayten Mutlu Saray, Swiss Consul General Julius Anderegg, Swiss Cultural Coordinator, Martin Schwartz (standing), Professor Deniz Göktürk (Chair, Department of German). Photo credit: Catherine Norman.

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German again: Bay Area Jews reclaim citizenship the Nazis stole
Thursday, April 3, 2014 | by alix wall

Leo Mark Horowitz and the German Counsul GeneralMany of our Oral History Series presenters, and Consul General Peter Rothin, are featured in this article by Alix Wall (jWeekly). You can download the article here.

Seventy-five years after he fled Germany as a 10-year-old boy for safe haven in England, Leo Mark Horovitz had his German citizenship reinstated at the German Consulate General in San Francisco.

My relationship with Germany has always been a big topic for me, but citizenship was a nonissue until recently,” the 85-year-old Horovitz said over lunch before the Feb. 25 ceremony the consulate arranged in his honor.

This confirms that you have always been a German, because you were deprived of your citizenship by the Nazi regime,” said Peter Rothen, Germany’s consul general, as he handed the Antioch resident his citizenship papers. “I’m very honored and pleased to be able to hand over this naturalization document which reconfirms your German citizenship.”

At the end of World War II, it seemed inconceivable that Jews would ever want to return to Germany. Tens of thousands of them fled their homeland after Hitler came to power in 1933, and those who remained were stripped of their citizenship by the Nuremberg laws in 1935. Most were murdered in the Holocaust. At the end of the war, a Jewish population that had numbered 565,000 just 15 years earlier was reduced to about 37,000, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. more…

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Catherine NormanWillkommen, Catherine!

Wir freuen uns, Catherine Norman nun ganz offiziell als Development Assistant in unserem Gerlind Institute Team willkommen zu heißen!

Catherine began studying German, at the Gerlind Institute, in 2012, after completing her BA in Philosophy, with emphases on Feminism and Religious Studies, at Mills College, Oakland. Besides her intellectual accomplishments, she brings a wealth of experience in program assistance and administration, with an enthusiastic practicality that reinforces GICS' mission.

Catherine has proven to be invaluable on our Oral History Series team, as well as providing behind the scenes assistance at many other events. Sie gewährleistet den reibungslosen Ablauf unserer Veranstaltungen. Alle, die sie kennen, wissen, wie kompetent Catherine ist.

Wenn du mehr ueber Catherine wissen willst, lies hier

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Spring 2014: Dr. Gerlind teaching at OLLI @ San Francisco State University

April 9-May 14, 2014. Dr. Gerlind will teach “The Zero Hour: Post-World War II German Literature,” a six-week seminar, at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Francisco State University (OLLI@SFSU).

There is still space available! Sign up today!

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AUDRE LORDE - THE BERLIN YEARS - 1984-1992 | February 19, 2014
California College of the Arts

GICS Director, Dr. Marion Gerlind and Technical Director, JB, participating in a panel discussion after the 80th birthday screening of Audre Lorde - The Berlin Years 1984 -1992 at The California College of the Arts, San Francisco. Other panel members (left to right) were the film's director, Dr. Dagmar Schultz, writer Jewelle Gomez, and filmmaker Pratibha Pamar. Dr. Karen Fiss, CCA, is behind the podium in the last photo.

CCA panel Pratibha Pamar, JB, Marion Gerlind Dagmar Schultz, Jewelle Gomez, Pratiba Pamar
Jewelle Gomez, Pratibha Pamar Pratibha PAmar, JB Karen Fiss, Dagmar Schultz, Jewelle Gomez, Pratibha Pamar

AUDRE LORDE - THE BERLIN YEARS - 1984-1992 | FREE ADMISSION
California College of the Arts
Wednesday February 19th, 2014 • 8:00 p.m.
Timken Auditorium • 1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco, 94107
(between Hooper & Irwin)

Director Dagmar Schultz with Special Guests:
Jewelle Gomez, Pratibha Parmar, JB & Dr. Marion Gerlind


University of California Berkeley, Department of German
Friday February 21, 2014 • 6-8:00 p.m.
370 Dwinelle Hall, Berkeley Campus

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December 2013: Making Gifts with Recycled Materials
December 7, 2013 | Ecology Center, Berkeley | 1-4:00 p.m.

Got stuff? Never throw anything away? Join our technical director, JB, of DRAGA design, for a fun-filled, easy-going workshop where you can turn your piles of “stuff” into gifts and useful items you can use everyday. Learn to make:

  • Dolls and other toys
  • Greeting cards
  • Notebooks
  • Shopping bags
  • Envelopes
  • Draft excluders
  • Beads
  • Eye pillows
Sign up at: Brown Paper Tickets and register at Register @ Ecology Center
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2013 FLANCOctober 2013: Energiewende at the 2013 Foreign Languages of Northern California (FLANC) Conference

Dr. Marion Gerlind, Dr. Michael Bachmann, and JB, Technical Director of Gerlind Institute for Cultural Studies presented a session at the last FLANC conference entitled, “Teaching the Energiewende,” at Chabot College in Hayward, on October 26, 2013. The presentation was well-recieved and provoked much conversation. You can see the slideshow as well as download resources and find additional links at http://energy.gerlindinstitute.org.

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October 2013: Re-certified as a green business!

2013 Green Business CertificationCelebrating its sixth year as a certified green business in Alameda County, Gerlind Institute for Cultural Studies was re-certified in an awards ceremony on October 2, 2013. Aaron Woeste, our new Capacity Building Coordinator, joined Dr. Marion Gerlind at the awards celebration. On the right: Aaron, Pamela Evans, Green Business Coordinator for Alameda County, and Dr. Gerlind.

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September 2013: Dr. Gerlind teaching at University of California, Berkeley

Fall 2013 Dr. Gerlind is teaching Intermediate German 2: “Topics in German Language and Cultural History,” for the semester ending December 2013.

Winter 2014: January 30 through March 6, 2014. Dr. Gerlind will be teaching “German Literature and Film of the Weimar Republic,” a six-week seminar, at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, University of California, Berkeley (OLLI @ Berkeley).

Spring 2014: April-May, 2014. Dr. Gerlind will teach “The Zero Hour: Post-World War II German Literature,” a six-week seminar, at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Francisco State University (OLLI@SFSU).

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Aaron WoesteAugust 2013: Herzlich willkommen an Bord, Aaron!  

Wir freuen uns, euch mitzuteilen, dass Aaron Woeste seit neuestem unser GICS Team verstärkt!

Aaron is not only fluent in German, keeps honing his skills, and loves music, but he also brings his kindness to help build GICS' sustainability.

Wenn du mehr ueber Aaron wissen willst, lies hier

More than an Institute…we're building community!