We wish you all a happy and enjoyable Happy Easter !
… and just so that you know who is coming by tomorrow to sweeten up your day, we found a classic by Gerhard Polt for you. Enjoy!
Flattern Fahnen dort im Wind,
flieh´ sofort mit Frau und Kind,
denn seit vielen hundert Jahren
mussten wir voll Leid erfahren,
dass die Fahne als Symbol
weht nicht zu des Menschen Wohl.
Löwen, Bären, Adler, Drachen
soll´n des Herrschers Heer bewachen.
Grimmig schau´n sie von den Fahnen,
böses lässt der Anblick ahnen.
Werden Dörfer abgebrannt
und herrscht blanke Furcht im Land,
werden wie in alten Tagen,
Fahnen stets vorangetragen.
Wiens Erfahrung mit Osmanen
unterm Halbmond soll uns mahnen
und zur Vorsicht sei geraten
beim Totenkopf der Seepiraten.
Russlands Hammer samt der Sichel
und das Hakenkreuz vom Michel,
mit den Fahnen über Nacht,
haben sie nur Tod gebracht.
Christuskreuz auf einer Fahne,
dich sofort zur Flucht ermahne.
Links das Kreuz und rechts das Schwert,
ja, so wird der Heid´ bekehrt.
Den rechten Glauben musst du haben,
sonst fressen dich am End die Raben.
Scheiterhaufen sah man brennen,
Menschen um ihr Leben rennen.
Barmherzigkeit ward da gepredigt,
wer anders denkt, der wird erledigt.
So war´ s wahrlich nicht gedacht,
doch die Kirche liebt die Macht.
Noch einmal warn´ ich vor Symbolen,
sie sollte doch der Teufel holen.
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 CaliforniaGermans.com 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, has published his first novel “Kolja. Liebe im Feindesland” in 2016, available on Amazon. Some of his work has been included in anthologies.
To get in touch with Dieter Kermas, please send an email with subject line “Dieter Kermas” to firstname.lastname@example.org
Germans love Christmas. In fact, for Germans, it’s the most important holiday of the year!
Many traditions help us Germans prepare for and enjoy the Christmas season to the fullest, like Saint Nicholas Day on Dec 6th or the four Sundays of Advent, Christmas cookies and much more.
One tradition, however, stands out since it is equally loved by children and adults. The Advent Calendar!
Who doesn’t like a countdown to a highly anticipated event?
Apparently many don’t want to miss it. In places all around the world, one can now find these magic Advent Calendars that hide chocolates or little toys behind their secret doors. Even beer calendars are available or calendars filled with a variety of liquor filled chocolates. The possibilities seem endless…
In the old days, just a beautiful little picture behind a door would make kids happy. Today some Advent Calendars made it even online, published by companies that discovered it as another tool to engage customers.
The first Advent Calendar originated in Germany in 1904 when Gerhard Lang published a simple one as an insert in a newspaper in Stuttgart. It was a raving success! So Lang decided to print a new one every year. The designs became more and more elaborate from calendars that worked like a dial to calendar houses filled with chocolates to even a calendar in Braille for the blind.
But how did he get the idea to make a calendar that would count down the days to Christmas in the first place?
The idea of counting down to Christmas Eve already existed in different ways. Some families used to mark the days to Christmas with chalk on their doors, in other families children were putting one piece of hay every day into a manger in which Baby Jesus would be laid on Christmas Eve.
Gerhard Lange’s mother however handcrafted a calendar for his then little son that would be filled with a little meringue for every day in December leading up to Christmas Eve. That caused a lasting impression and, as an adult, inspired Gerhard Lange to expand on his mother’s idea of an Advent Calendar.
The ‘modern’ Advent Calendar was born and started out to conquer the world in all kinds of variations!
Wir wünschen eine schöne Vorweihnachtszeit!
Happy Holiday Season!
Laughter echoes off the timeworn landscape of birch cabinetry
Pealing in my ears as I sit on
My straight-backed chair,
Chattering of my siblings such an archaic sound
Yet worn with a love I never forget.
The glare of cheerful electric lights enlightens every corner
Enhancing the metallic sparkle of the fridge.
Dull green paint on the walls
A faded memory of the old days
Like an endearing grandparent.
Calm air flows smoothly from the humming kitchen vent.
Classical music ever-present in the background.
Dancing flames tapping
A variety of rattling pots on the excited stove
Attempting to consume the savory scents drifting about the room.
Sugary orange yams with cinnamon
Melting in a tray of warm creamy butter,
Homemade goodness enveloping my senses.
A stark contrast to the homely furnishing
Splashing color upon the scene.
Dishes bang on the smooth granite countertop
Met with the subtle and sophisticated
Tinkling from champagne glasses,
And the merry jingle of silverware,
Preparing for the feast.
Ice-cold cider whooshes into glasses with gusto
Eggnog clouds my nostrils,
Radiating heat from the oven clings to my face.
Softened by the breeze of pattering footsteps.
Water merrily babbles from the sink like a well-known relative
Harmonizing with the whistling of the teapot.
Grouchily the oven screeches on its rusty hinges
Competing with the oblivious chirping of my parakeet
Not aware that a bird is being prepared for dinner!
The spice-filled pumpkin pie waits on the microwave
Awaiting its moment of glory,
Gravy splashes in the boat.
Mashed potatoes steaming impatiently
As the cranberry sauce giggles in its bubbly pot.
Stealthily, I sneak up next to the animated stove
The hilts of the knives glinting me a mischievous smile,
And there it is!
The gem of Thanksgiving dinner
A seasoned turkey roasting to a crisp inside of the searing oven.
Thanksgiving is shortly upon me.
My kitchen is now alive with newfound sensations,
A reassurance to me and my family
Warmly filling my heart.
Image: Rockwell [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
About a month ago German Pacific School San Diego and San Diego French American School collaborated in preparing for an international competition that invites them to reflect on the concept of peace before, during and after WW I.
EUSTORY, an international history competition wants to guide students to a greater understanding of historic events but also engage them in finding relations between today’s events and events in the past, and overall help them become productive citizens of the world.
Both schools decided on choosing film as a medium for their project, and to learn the ‘nuts and bolts’ of scriptwriting they participated in an intercultural scriptwriting seminar. In the following read more about their experience:
German and French students collaborate on international competition
An excited buzz fills the air as groups of French and German students discuss their ideas. They are preparing for an international history competition, called EUSTORY.
On October 14, students from San Diego French American School and German Pacific School San Diego partook in a seminar run by a professional scriptwriter, Diane Alpaio, to help prepare them for the competition in Spring.
The script writing workshop led students through a pre-written script in order to learn the basic elements of story writing. First, they watched and analyzed a short film. Then, they were split into small groups and wrote their own scenes using those basic elements such as dialogue, conflict, and characters.
The students left with a greater understanding of how movie scripts are written, and with plenty of ideas on how to continue their own EUSTORY project. “Working with the French students was great and I didn’t expect the seminar to be so much fun. It really got everyone excited about the competition” said Jack, a student at GPSSD.
The script writing seminar was just the start. Students will continue to meet on a regular basis throughout the script writing process. Instructors from both schools are guiding the students, including Mr. Baron (SDFAS), Ms. Brouder (SDFAS), and Ms. Elbe (GPSSD).
EUSTORY was started in order to provide students with an opportunity to reflect on the events of World War 1, to work together, and to foster cross-cultural understanding. This year’s theme is: “Peace in War Time, Peace in World War 1.” This initiative is representative of the creative potential in students, and broadens young people’s perspectives, giving them the tools and skills required to become productive citizens of the world.