Gerlind Institute for Cultural Studies

Gerlind Institute for Cultural Studies More than an institute…we're building community! GICS offers German tutoring and small group classes at all levels; Community-building opportunities; Translation services; Resources and referrals.

We are committed to providing outstanding quality in teaching through many years of experience as educators, community scholars, and activists. We are building confidence in every student's linguistic and cultural competencies through a structured learning environment. We are serving every student with empathy, dedication, and enthusiasm.

Mission: More than an institute…we're building community!

Operating as usual

…"First things first: the Nazis didn't invent the Autobahn. Instead, the idea of constructing motorways connecting Germa...
12/08/2020
How German Autobahns changed the world

…"First things first: the Nazis didn't invent the Autobahn. Instead, the idea of constructing motorways connecting Germany's expanding cities after World War I was conceived in the post-war Weimar Republic. The first public road of this kind was completed in 1932, linking Cologne and Bonn. It still exists -- today, it's part of Autobahn 555.
After Hitler rose to power in 1933 he used the Autobahn for political gain, appointing Fritz Todt as "Inspector General of German Road Construction," and tasking him with increasing the Autobahn network.
Todt was behind a jobs creation program which, according to Nazi propaganda, helped eradicate unemployment in Germany. Autobahn workers lived in work camps near their construction sites, though often did not come here voluntarily -- they were conscripted through the compulsory Reich Labor Service (that way, they were removed from the unemployment registry)."

Is there really no speed limit on the Autobahn? It's the one thing everyone wants to know about Germany's freeway network. But there's far more to its history, from the Nazi development project to Kraftwerk to Tom Hanks.

"Germany is to scrap its phonetic spelling table introduced by the Nazis 86 years ago and temporarily replace it with th...
12/04/2020
Zacharias not Zeppelin: Germany to scrap Nazi-era phonetic table

"Germany is to scrap its phonetic spelling table introduced by the Nazis 86 years ago and temporarily replace it with the version the regime abolished because it was “too Jewish”.

The table, in which codewords are assigned to each letter of the alphabet to aid communication and avoid confusion, particularly in radio transmissions and telephone calls, originated in the late 19th century. In 1934 it was adapted by the Nazis who cleansed it of all its Jewish names as part of the regime’s drive to reject all Jews from German life, which culminated in the Holocaust.

“Samuel” was replaced by “Siegfried” to represent the letter S, “Zacharias” became “Zeppelin” for Z, and “David” was switched to “Dora”. The preference was for Nordic names to replace Jewish ones, and where no suitable ones could be found, such as N (originally “Nathan”), an object or placename, such as “Nordpol” (north pole), was chosen instead."

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/03/zacharias-not-zeppelin-germany-to-scrap-nazi-era-phonetic-table

Communication aid was altered in 1934 because original version was deemed ‘too Jewish’

Try it, you'll learn a thing, or two.
11/19/2020
Take a tour through Germany and win! | DW | 18.11.2020

Try it, you'll learn a thing, or two.

Take an online tour of Germany in our web special, "Germany's 16 states." From the Alps to the Baltic Sea coast, from the Brandenburg Gate to Cologne Cathedral. Take a look around and take part in our competition.

"Mehr als 176.000 Menschen forderten per Petition vom Bundestag ein Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen, um die Folgen der Co...
10/22/2020
Eine Stunde im Bundestag, die alles verändern könnte

"Mehr als 176.000 Menschen forderten per Petition vom Bundestag ein Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen, um die Folgen der Coronakrise zu mildern. Sechs Monate ist das her. Am Montag wird die Petition endlich im Parlament verhandelt. Kommt jetzt das Corona-Grundeinkommen für alle?

Susanne Wiest kann es kaum noch erwarten: "Ich bin nicht aufgeregt, aber angeregt", sagt die Urheberin der größten Online-Petition, die jemals beim Bundestag eingereicht wurde. Sie zentriere sich vor dem großen Tag vor allem mit Gartenarbeit. "Im Herbst gibt's in meinem Garten immer was zu tun."

Dass es Herbst werden würde, bis ihre Petition endlich im zuständigen Ausschuss des Bundestages verhandelt wird, hätten wohl weder Susanne Wiest noch die 176.000 Menschen gedacht, die sie im März und April unterzeichnet haben.

Damals rollte gerade die erste Coronawelle übers Land. Die wirtschaftlichen und sozialen Folgen der Pandemie zeichneten sich bereits ab. Angestellte wie Selbstständige verloren von heute auf morgen ihr Einkommen, viele ihre Existenz. "Mein erster Gedanke war: Wenn wir doch bloß jetzt schon das Bedingungslose Grundeinkommen hätten!" erinnert sich Susanne Wiest."

https://www.mein-grundeinkommen.de/magazin/petition-corona-grundeinkommen-bundestag?name=nl-content-201022&action=cta1-petition

Mehr als 176.000 Menschen forderten per Petition vom Bundestag ein Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen, um die Folgen der Coronakrise zu mildern. Sechs Monate ist das her. Am Montag wird die Petition endlich im Parlament verhandelt. Kommt jetzt das Corona-Grundeinkommen für alle?

…""The future as an artist is not just linked only to this Kunstkompass ranking," the artist told DW, but "to the possib...
10/20/2020
Otobong Nkanga: The art world's rising star | DW | 19.10.2020

…""The future as an artist is not just linked only to this Kunstkompass ranking," the artist told DW, but "to the possibilities of our existence on this planet for the future."

The 46-year-old, who was the artist in residence in 2019 at Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau museum, has long been interested in the way people have imposed systems of exploitation on land, creating a violent legacy.
A visitor walks through a room dominated by white stone - exhibition by artist Otobong Nkanga at Martin-Gropius Bau Berlin

The outcome of Nkanga's residency is the current Gropius-Bau show, There's No Such Thing as Solid Ground, which explores the interdependent relationship between the human body and the landscape, and how humans ultimately leave their mark on the planet.
However, the artist is not only interested in pointing out emerging deficits, or in exposing simple exploitation. Instead, she is interested "in the complex themes of repair and care," Clara Meister, co-curator of Nkanga's current exhibition at Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau, told DW. "

Currently exhibiting in Berlin, the Nigerian artist has been labeled the top art 'star of tomorrow' by Kunstkompass. In her art, Otobong Nkanga examines human exploitation of land.

…"Life took place mostly at night, she recalled. In the clubs — which back then were called discos — with names like Par...
10/20/2020
David Bowie and West Berlin's '70s and '80s subculture | DW | 29.10.2019

…"Life took place mostly at night, she recalled. In the clubs — which back then were called discos — with names like Park and Jungle. Psychedelic music, live concerts and early morning drinks in one of the gay bars and then on to some Italian restaurant on Kurfürstendam to grab a piece of cake for breakfast.

"There was no closing time in Berlin," Skoda said. Part of the nights of partying were also political discussions. About the then-ongoing wave of left-wing terrorism, about the punk movement and the people squatting in buildings across the city."

Onetime Berlin resident David Bowie's song "Where are we now" is a nostalgic look back at the old West Berlin. But what was the spirit of that town on the frontline between East and West? And what's left of it today?

…"She may only be 30, but Ilwad Elman is already considered one of Somalia's leading voices as the country edges tentati...
10/20/2020
Ilwad Elman awarded German Africa Prize 2020 | DW | 19.10.2020

…"She may only be 30, but Ilwad Elman is already considered one of Somalia's leading voices as the country edges tentatively towards stability. Elman's efforts have led the German Africa Foundation to hand its marquee prize to the internationally recognised expert on conflict resolution, chosen from a shortlist of 30 candidates.

As Somalia descended into civil war at the beginning of the 1990s, her father Elman Ali Ahmed — an engineer by training, as well as an entrepreneur and social activist — had established rehabilitation and apprenticeship schemes for Somali child soldiers and orphans of war-torn Somalia. When Mogadishu became unsafe, Ilwad Elman had to flee to Canada with her mother as a two-year-old. Her father chose to stay in Somalia, but was assassinated in 1996."

Somali-Canadian peace activist Ilwad Elman has been awarded the 2020 German Africa Prize. The German Africa Foundation has confirmed she will be honored later this month in Berlin by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

"The German Parliament agreed Friday that a new memorial should be constructed in the capital city to commemorate all vi...
10/12/2020
Berlin plans new memorial for victims of Nazis in WWII | DW | 12.10.2020

"The German Parliament agreed Friday that a new memorial should be constructed in the capital city to commemorate all victims of Nazi Germany's war of extermination, including those in Eastern European nations affected by the Nazi occupation.
The approved motion calls for the government to present a timetable for the implementation of the memorial by the end of 2020. Experts from the fields of history, National Socialism remembrance culture and museum education will be responsible for the design.
The ruling conservative Christian Democrats and center-left Social Democrats, as well as the Green party, put forward the motion, saying, "The Federal Republic of Germany needs a place of commemoration, remembrance, information and dialogue about the German war of annihilation, the German occupation and the hitherto less considered groups of victims.""

The German Parliament has approved a motion that many heralded as a "milestone" in Germany's remembrance culture.

"The Foundation for Book Culture and the Promotion of Reading of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association annou...
10/12/2020
Anne Weber wins the German Book Prize 2020 | DW | 12.10.2020

"The Foundation for Book Culture and the Promotion of Reading of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association announced on Monday that Anne Weber had won the 2020 German Book Prize.
The winner was announced just before the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair. A record 206 submissions were considered overall, including several big literary names.
Anne Weber's Annette, ein Heldinnenepos, is a biographical epic portraying Anne Beaumanoir. Born in 1923 in Brittany, she was "a member of the communist resistance as a teenager, rescuer of two Jewish youths, a neurophysiologist in Marseille after the war, sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1959 for her involvement in the Algerian independence movement.""

As the Frankfurt Book Fair kicks off, Germany's prestigious literary prize has been awarded to Anne Weber for her novel "Annette, ein Heldinnenepos." She beat a record number of nominations to become this year's winner.

…"My trip to Fischach was instigated when the Jewish Museum of Augsburg launched an exhibition on what had happened to t...
10/01/2020
Coming Home to the Holocaust | Essay | Zócalo Public Square

…"My trip to Fischach was instigated when the Jewish Museum of Augsburg launched an exhibition on what had happened to the Kindertransport children from the region after they escaped. The curators wanted to include my mother’s story, and I surprised myself by deciding to travel to the opening of the exhibition, accompanied by my husband and my nephew. I wanted to honor my bracingly intelligent mom, fondly called Ni, who had emerged from her disrupted childhood remarkably intact, running her dress-making business and our family with aplomb. I was also goaded by the resurgence of white supremacy in the U.S. and Europe, and by a president who gleefully incited hatred in a way that my immigrant parents would have recognized with horror, betraying the American ideals they had taught us to value."

In the town hall of Fischach, a village in southern Germany with a population of 2,500, I am staring at a glass display case holding the detritus of the Jews who

"The COVID-19 pandemic and the change it has brought to work habits has hit mothers particularly hard around the globe. ...
09/24/2020
Why does Germany make so little room for working moms?

"The COVID-19 pandemic and the change it has brought to work habits has hit mothers particularly hard around the globe. But in Germany, it has revealed that a country that is at the vanguard of progressive policies on many fronts, including health care, business, and governance, remains remarkably conservative when it comes to its views on motherhood and women in the workplace.

“When it comes to gender equality and women in the work market [Germany] is miles away from the situation in France, northern Italy, not to mention Scandinavian countries,” says Barbara Vinken, a professor at the University of Munich and author of “The German Mother: The Long Shadow of a Myth.”"

https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2020/0923/Why-does-Germany-make-so-little-room-for-working-moms#

When it comes to working mothers, German society retains a conservative view that keeps women from workplace success.

…"Gerlinde Doom knew the Cold War better than almost anyone, having grown up only a few miles from the East and West Ger...
09/17/2020
Germany a generation later

…"Gerlinde Doom knew the Cold War better than almost anyone, having grown up only a few miles from the East and West German dividing line.

In 2020 she looks back on the vast differences between the Cold War era and the Germany that has been united for 30 years. She’s witnessed the gradual transformation through 10 different trips home to visit relatives and friends.

She’s originally from the town of Selb, located near both the East German and Czechoslovakian borders. She heard almost nothing about activities in the two Warsaw Pact countries while growing up, but gained a firsthand perspective as a teenager when her youth group took a bus trip into Berlin.

As Germany’s capital, Berlin was divided into four occupation zones after World War II. The three zones run by Western allies later formed the free city of West Berlin, divided by the Berlin Wall from the zone occupied by the Soviet Union.

To get to Berlin, the group had to travel through East German communities. In those locations and in East Berlin, they noticed a stark difference from towns on the western side.

“It was eye opening,” Gerlinde said. “They were so far behind us. There was still rubble from the war on many side streets.”

She especially remembers the bus inspection by soldiers prior to the departure to travel back home. Everyone had to get off the bus to allow the soldiers to verify that no unauthorized people were trying to flee.

“They (the soldiers) had guns,” she said. “It was scary. We wondered what would happen if they decided to keep us, if we wouldn’t be allowed to go home.”"

Gerlinde Doom knew the Cold War better than almost anyone, having grown up only a few miles from the East and West German dividing line. In 2020 she looks back on the vast differences between the Cold War era and the Germany that has been united for 30 years. She’s witnessed the gradual transforma...

"Sunday's vote in the most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia is seen as a test for next year's federal elections....
09/14/2020
Germany: Greens projected to gain in key local election | DW | 13.09.2020

"Sunday's vote in the most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia is seen as a test for next year's federal elections. The environmentalist party saw its best result in a municipal election, an exit poll suggests."

Sunday's vote in the most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia is seen as a test for next year's federal elections. The environmentalist party saw its best result in a municipal election, an exit poll suggests.

"Dorothea Schneider lives in a part of Germany that could be lifted from the pages of a fairytale, replete with rolling ...
09/05/2020
Groups stand up to far-right in eastern Germany | DW | 04.09.2020

"Dorothea Schneider lives in a part of Germany that could be lifted from the pages of a fairytale, replete with rolling green hills and brightly colored fields. A little farther east, near the Polish border, lies Görlitz, which attracts tourists from all over the world to its historic city center adorned with splendid Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque era architectural jewels.

But not every corner of the countryside is this bucolic, much of it lies under the dark shadow of Germany's far-right — a phenomenon that is impossible to miss here — and Schneider is a reviled enemy to those who have bought into their worldview.

The mother of four has refused to accept their presence, fighting against neo-Nazis, the so-called Reichsbürger, or citizens of the Reich, and anyone who sympathizes with them. Schneider chairs and helps organize groups that unite more people to fight against the influence of the far-right in the region.

Recently, Schneider helped organize a convoy of colorful vehicle on a state highway where people have protested against government measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus by standing along the road waving German flags as well as imperial flags that have become symbols associated with the far-right."

As the German government's special committee on far-right extremism meets, civil society groups hope to receive help and funding to cope with — and fight — the neo-Nazis they confront every day.

…"German cartoonist Uli Stein died last week aged 73, his foundation announced on Friday.Stein died in his home near the...
09/05/2020
German cartoonist Uli Stein dies aged 73 | DW | 04.09.2020

…"German cartoonist Uli Stein died last week aged 73, his foundation announced on Friday.

Stein died in his home near the northern German city of Hanover last Friday.

He was buried according to his wishes at a ceremony attended by his closest friends, Katja Seifert, head of the Uli Stein Foundation for Animals in Need, said.

The cartoonist, famous for his animal and human characters with big, bulbous noses, had been suffering from Parkinson's disease, but his death was considered sudden, according to Seifert."

One of Germany's most famous cartoonist, whose career spanned 40 years, has died unexpectedly. The artist was known worldwide for his drawings of animals and people with huge noses as well as his cheeky humor.

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2128 108th Ave
Oakland, CA
94603

Close to BART and local bus routes. See web site for more information.

General information

The Gerlind Institute for Cultural Studies distinguishes itself through innovative approaches to the study of German with an emphasis on culture and history.

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 18:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 18:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 18:00
Thursday 10:00 - 18:00
Friday 10:00 - 18:00

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(510) 430-2673

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Proud to be part of the Oakland Community since 2006

The Gerlind Institute for Cultural Studies (GICS) is a progressive community-based and community-supported educational organization, founded in 2006, and directed by Marion Gerlind, Ph.D.

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