Der Zauberkasten

Der Zauberkasten

(Eine Kurzgeschichte von Dieter Kermas)

Er war unscheinbar. Weder Farbe noch Form ließen erahnen, welche Werte sich in seinem Inneren verbargen. Das Wohl und Wehe der Familie hing jedoch davon ab, was er von Zeit zu Zeit preisgab.

Nur dem Vater oblag es, den Zauberkasten zu öffnen. Das tat er in aller Stille und sichtlich voller Anspannung. Er allein besaß den Schlüssel, den er stets sorgfältig verwahrte. Der Inhalt wechselte und er konnte nie sicher sein, ob er eine gute oder schlechte Nachricht enthielte.

Mit einer gewissen Unruhe wartete die Familie auf seine Rückkehr und schaute auf sein Gesicht, um bereits daran abzulesen, wie der weitere Tag verliefe. Sahen sie seine Mundwinkel nach unten gebogen, stellten sie lieber keine Fragen. Zeigten die Mundwinkel jedoch nach oben, bestürmten sie den Vater, er möge ihnen die gute Nachricht mitteilen.

Ab und zu geschah es, dass der Vater so früh zur Arbeit ging, dass keine Zeit blieb, sein Schicksal für diesen Tag aus dem Zauberbehälter zu erfahren. Dann bangte die Familie bis in den späten Abend, der Inhalt des Kastens möge ein Erfreulicher sein.

Nicht jeden Tag war der Zauberkasten gewillt, seinen Inhalt preiszugeben und der Vater schaute vergeblich in das tiefe Dunkel. Sollte er eines Tages von dieser Welt abtreten, bekäme sein ältester Sohn Tobias den Schlüssel, so wie sein Vater ihm den Schlüssel übergeben hatte. Selbst Tod und Leben vermochte der Kasten zu verkünden. Das waren die Tage, an denen die Familie die Schicksaltruhe, wie sie ihn heimlich nannten, voller Ehrfurcht betrachtete.

Die Jahre kamen und gingen und der Zauberkasten bestimmte wie eh und je ihr Leben. So war es auch an jenem grauen, nebelverhangenen Novembertag, als der Vater die Nachricht, die der Kasten für ihn bereithielt, zuerst nicht fassen konnte, denn an diesem Tag bedeutete die Nachricht großes Unglück für die Familie.

Mit kraftloser Stimme berichtete der Vater, er hätte heute seine Arbeit verloren und sie müssten nun von den Almosen des Staates leben. Warum nur hatte der Zauberkasten so eine existenzbedrohende Nachricht übermittelt? Tobias meinte, sie hätten vielleicht den Kasten nicht mit gebührender Achtung behandelt, oder ihn nicht genügend gepflegt. Sicher hatte er bereits viele Jahre brav seinen Dienst verrichtet, doch er sah immer noch wie neu aus. Daran konnte es wohl nicht gelegen haben.

Plötzlich stand der Vater auf und lief, nachdem er lautstark den Kasten für sein Unglück verantwortlich gemacht hatte, zum Zauberkasten und riss ihn aus der Verankerung. Mit zornrotem Kopf warf er ihn in hohem Bogen in die Mülltonne.

Am nächsten Morgen klingelte es. Tobias öffnete und ehe er fragen konnte, worum es ginge, sprach der Postzusteller: „Und wo soll ich jetzt die Briefe einwerfen?“

©Dieter Kermas



Dieter Kermas, CaliforniaGermans Author and a true Berliner, turned to writing after he retired from his profession as an engineer. Family and friends urged him to document his many experiences during his childhood in wartime Germany. This made for a collection of various essays which have been published here at CaliforniaGermans. (You can find the stories here on by putting “Dieter Kermas” into the Search Box.) Apart from his childhood memories he is also sharing some of his short stories and poems on CaliforniaGermans. Dieter Kermas, who loves to write, is currently working on his first novel. Some of his work has been included in anthologies.

To get in touch with Dieter Kermas, please send an email with subjectline “Dieter Kermas” to:


German Interview Partners Needed for ARD/ZDF Report on California Wildfires


Ziri Rideaux is a correspondent for German-TV ARD and ZDF based in Los Angeles. She is looking for interview partners, who got affected by the recent California wildfires. Read on for more information:

“We are considering to do a 30-minutes report on how Germans are experiencing the large fires in Northern California. We are looking for German-speaking individuals or families, who are willing to interview with us, walk with us to a burn-site where they’ve suffered a severe loss and allow us to follow them around for a day or two. We would come to the Santa Rosa area for about 5 days but could drive around in a 100-mile radius). We would interview and film with a variety of victims of the fire. We are interested in their personal experiences and their feelings about/plans for the future.”

If you have any questions or would like to speak with Ziri in person, please contact her at ziri[AT]




Devastating California Wildfires – Here is how you can help

Wildfires in California have kept a whole state on edge for the past few weeks.  While many fires have been contained, lots of people directly affected by the fires have to deal with the aftermath: homes and communities destroyed and people displaced.

Following the devastating news on wildfires ravaging particularly in Northern California but also in parts of Southern California, we want to help spread the word on how we all can pitch in and help by either donating money or our time as a volunteer.

List of Fire Relief Crowd funding campaigns and Community Foundations offering help:


GO-FUND-ME -SPECIAL Page containing all verified campaigns to help with Fire Relief.


Bay Area Unite for California Fire Relief  


CNN – ‘Impact Your World ‘ – via Public Good


Disaster Relief Santa Rosa Fire


Sonoma County Resilience Fund


Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund


FREE CLOTHES give away by San Francisco store Love on Haight 

VOLUNTEERS – Red Cross is looking for volunteers.

If you live near Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Solano, Marin and Mendocino and are interested in volunteering to support wildfire relief efforts, please Apply Now!



Influence Church is helping with shelter food and support



Why Germany Is a Great Place to Have Kids

Why Germany Is a Great Place to Have Kids

by Kate Müser

Parental leave – or rather its absence – has recently become a hot topic in the US. Will a sinking birthrate in the US lead to financial motivation for struggling parents?

In Germany, on the other hand, the birthrate has been rising recently, up just slightly from worrying lows. Here, generous parental benefits were implemented years ago.

Most Americans would fall out of their chairs to learn that new parents in Germany can receive around two-thirds of their salary for up to 14 months after the birth of their child – without going to work.

Meanwhile parents can plan the years after birth with a great deal of flexibility – taking turns working part-time or not at all, and with a high degree of job security.

With my first baby on the way, I’m about to experience the full extent of German family benefits first hand.

But are state subsidies and time off work the only reasons why German is known for being an ideal place to have kids?

I chatted with German YouTuber and mommy-of-two Charlotte from the channel MenschFrau to find out.




Kate Müser, who grew up in Pleasanton, California, was surprised to discover that she feels even closer to her home state now than she did when she first moved to Bonn, Germany, over 13 years ago.

She is the creator of the successful YouTube series #thoseGermans and the portrait series #germany24. Visit Kate’s YouTube channel at and her website,

For over a decade, Kate has been a TV, radio and online journalist at Deutsche Welle, where she currently hosts the video series Meet the Germans with Kate and the TV show PopXport.



I Scream, You Scream, Museum of Ice Cream



Remember those museums where it is all about “don’t touch, just look” and “no photography”?  Luckily, since a couple of months now, there is a new fun and interactive place in town, where touching and making Instagram memories are highly encouraged (at least for the most part). Welcome to the Museum of Ice Cream!

Located right in the heart of the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles, this interactive place of discovery totally defies the meaning of a traditional museum. The fun already starts before you even enter the place. Visitors are guided into a cute little garden right next to the facility, which is equipped with fun games like Cornhole and Jenga. The music is blasting, and you can’t help it but get in a happy mood.

The staff at this place is doing a wonderful job at keeping the crowds entertained and forgetting about everyday life at least for one afternoon. Once visitors are called to line up by the entrance, a certain amount of people are encouraged to participate in a Hula Hoop contest.  After all the hoops have touched the ground, it is finally time to enter the holy halls of the actual museum, but not without a quick briefing by one of the employees.

In my friend’s and my case, who had the honor of visiting this trending spot recently, this person had the funky name of Sprinkle Steve, a handsome twenty-something Zach Efron look-alike. After a quick reminder that people are allowed to touch everything except the popsicles and bananas, the really fun part starts: exploring the museum.

While I don’t want to give too much away in case some of you, dear readers, are anticipating visiting the Museum of Ice Cream yourself, I’d like to tell you this:

1) Your sweet tooth will definitely be satisfied. With samples of chocolate, ice cream, and gummy bears in almost every of the exhibit rooms, your taste buds will not be disappointed.

2) If you are a fan of photography and Instagram, this is the place to be.  Every room in the museum offers unique photo opportunities thanks to a ton of fun and interactive props.

3) This museum is very well organized and only lets a manageable amount of group sizes in at once.  Thanks to specific time slots you get when you purchase your ticket, the exhibit never feels too crowded, and you don’t have to wait in line for ever to capture the fun in pictures.

4) Be advised that tickets are currently sold out and, if they are available, sell out quickly.  It took me two tries until I was finally able to purchase tickets after I missed the newsletter announcement once.

If you are like me and like the out of the ordinary, then this is the place for you.  You will experience an afternoon where you are allowed to be a kid again in the colorful world of candy.

Life is short, eat that ice cream!


Images: Anne-Kathrin Schulte
Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at) and place her name in the subject line.


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