Mündliche Geschichtsreihe / Oral History Series

We are inviting individuals from our community to share their life’s stories and dialogue with participants. Meetings are facilitated by Dr. Marion Gerlind. Order and pre-pay for tickets below. For more information and reservations, email Marion or call (510) 430-2673. To see previous speakers and topics, click here, or scroll down to see pictures of our speakers and click to see their summary.

RSVP required. Teilnahmebeitrag: $20, GICS Mitglieder: $10, wenn möglich, aber nicht obligatorisch. (Suggested contribution: $20, GICS Members: $10, no one turned away for lack of funds.)


The Oral History Series is a project of the Gerlind Institute for Cultural Studies, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the teaching and promotion of German Cultural Studies. We invite members from our community to share their life’s stories and dialogue with the audience, promoting cross-cultural understanding. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Visit our donations page, at www.gerlindinstitute.org for more information on donations.
  Saturday, October 26, 2019 • 4:00-6:00 p.m

Melody Ermachild Chavis: Roots of Violence
Saturday, October 26, 2019 • 4:00-6:00 p.m • Gerlind Institute for Cultural Studies

photo courtesy of  Melody Ermachild ChavisMelody Ermachild Chavis has spent her long career looking deeply at the causes and conditions that underlie violence. A private investigator for capital offence defense teams, Melody specialized in the research and presentation of evidence of mitigating circumstances. Traumatic events lie behind many violent acts. The social histories Melody compiled were not excuses for crime, but attempts to understand what circumstances could cause people to offend.

Melody’s life, like the lives of so many, has been shaped by war and violence. Her father, a U.S. American Air Force navigator, was killed in Germany, in 1944, when she was a baby. After her mother married another soldier, who fought in Korea and served in atomic tests, her family was stationed in Germany, where she began to learn German, when she was a teenager.

The first person in her family to go to college, she was radicalized at UC Berkeley in the Free Speech, Civil Rights and Women’s movements. When the state of California reinstated capital punishment in 1978, she became a licensed investigator for the defense, a career she pursued for over 30 years, working on countless capital trials and appeals.

Melody is the author of Altars In The Street; Meena, Heroine of Afghanistan, The Martyr Who Founded the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, as well as essays in anthologies and journals, such as Sierra, The Sun, Yoga Journal, Shambhala Sun, Turning Wheel and others.

RSVP by October 19 to marion@gerlindinstitute.org, or call (510) 430-2673





Support Our Oral History Series!

elana levy
elana levy (middle)
Cynthia James
Cynthia James
Annegret Ogden
Annegret Ogden
Monica Clyde at EGC
audience at Dr. Monica Clyde's presentation

2019 marks the twelfth anniversary of the GICS Oral History Series, which has become the touchstone of our community programs. It grew from Dr. Gerlind’s passion for interviewing Holocaust survivors whose stories were at risk of being lost. Inspired by their lives, the Gerlind Institute continues to bring unforgettable speakers from in and outside our Bay Area community. We have witnessed their voices and stories, and have been transformed. We are incredibly grateful to every speaker, co-sponsor, and audience participant from the past ten years!

Through the dedicated volunteer work of the Gerlind Institute's team, especially JB, Loren Norman, and many others, GICS has hosted 43 Oral Histories since 2007—no small feat for a grassroots organization such as ours, which relies completely on community support!

Despite all the work that goes into organizing each event, admission remains accessible, as we want everyone to participate. No one is turned away for lack of funds. The Series is primarily funded through income from the GICS teaching program, memberships, and donations. With the generosity of volunteers, participants and speakers—many of whom have donated their honoraria—we have been able to sustain our Series.

We are calling on you, our community, to support your Series through your generosity, as we hope you benefit directly, or indirectly, through Gerlind Institute’s educational services.  Please help secure our Oral History Series' sustainability by becoming a GICS member in 2019. Visit www.gerlindinstitute.org/membership.html, or click here. You can also make a tax-deductible donation. Visit www.gerlindinstitute.org/donate.html, or click here.

Your act of generosity, whether large or small, will build fiscal stability and enable us to create more unique programming.

We will apply your donation to the costs of upcoming events.

We are grateful for any amount you are kindly willing to give and your continued support as a GICS community member! We look forward to welcoming you to an upcoming event!

Click the images below to access our archive.
    Dr. Charles Moser photo courtesy of Anna Rabkin Jude Bell and Bindy photo courtesy of Ilse Eden
Brigitte Schulze Pilibosian photo courtesy of Inge Horton photo courtesy of Ilse Eden INgrid Kepler-May Daniel Polikoff Pastorin Kerstin Weidmann
Peter Erlenwein photo Travis Fetter Ingird Peterson Ingrid Veit Alexander Feng
Monica Clyde Annegret Ogden Bridge Markland Dr. Marion Gerlind Dr. Michaela Grobbel Elana Levy
Ika Huegel-Marshall Michael Bachmann Birgit Mahner Dr. Miriam Zimmermann Leah Sharp Dr. Werner Loewenstein
Leticia Andreas-Wolf Angelika Quirk Dr. Berta Maria Hines Susanne Batzdorff Community Roundtable
Elana Levy Madhuri Anji Bernhard Ruchti Cinthia James Toahna Meier Ralph Samuelson
Frieda Gordon Dilloo Rita Goldhor Leo Mark Horovitz Wine Seminar Sabrina Zimmering Kia Hügel-Marshall
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