Thursday, June 18, 2015

Burning Beethoven — the Story of German-Americans You Have Never Heard of

German-Americans are the by far largest ethnic group in the United States, and much of American culture originates from Germany: Disney movies about fairytale princesses, food such as hamburgers, potatoes, and apple cake, folk music, kindergartens, and cars. And yet, rarely anybody in the USA speaks or understands German, not even people whose ancestors came from Germany. Why is this? Berlinica author Erik Kirschbaum, a native New Yorker, has wondered about this since High School, when he tried to practice German with his German-born grandfather—and was harshly rebuffed.

The answer was: The United States had experienced a huge, anti-German backlash during World War I. Kirschbaum wrote his university thesis on this topic. Now, he has turned his research into a book, Burning Beethoven: The Eradication of German Culture in the United States during World War I. It sheds light on a dark chapter of U.S. history and how the German language, German education, German traditions and even German terms were purged in the United States during a sudden eruption of anti-German sentiment that swept the country from 1914 to 1917 and after.

The WWI violence and prejudice directed against German-Americans included spontaneous vigilante hangings, tarring and feathering of suspected German spies, and the specter of some Americans showing their patriotism by taking part in public book burnings of German literature and music. There were also bizarre government-led efforts to eradicate German terms by renaming “hamburgers” as “liberty sandwiches” and “sauerkraut” as “liberty cabbage". The book is a comprehensive and fast-moving examination of why Americans stopped speaking and learning German and why the language and culture were all but wiped out in the U.S. 100 years ago.

Erik Kirschbaum is now a Reuters correspondent living in Berlin. The preface has been written by Herb Stupp,  Trustee of the German-American Hall of Fame, an Executive Committee member of the German-American Steuben Parade, and a member of the American Council on Germany.

Burning Beethoven, a 176-page softcover book, is now for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at independent bookstores; with the ebook soon to come out as well. The price is $14.95.

Your publisher, Eva C. Schweitzer



Monday, March 30, 2015

Favorite spots in Berlin

Here is a guest blog from Chamaeleon in Berlin: The most interesting spots to visit in Berlin!

Berliner Blogger verraten uns ihre Lieblingsorte in Berlin

Berlin ist eine fantastische Stadt, in der es tagtäglich vieles neues zu erkunden und zu entdecken gibt. Vor allem ist Berlin bekannt für seine künstlerische Vielfalt und seine vielen verschiedenen kulturellen Einrichtungen, die einem von Opern über Museen bis hin zu neueren Kunstformen, wie z.B. dem Neuen Zirkus, alles Mögliche bieten. Bevor du bei letzterem nun an Zirkuselefanten und Clowns denkst, sieh dir doch einfach einmal den Trailer zu unserer aktuellen Show Crossroads an und du wirst sehen, dass der Neue Zirkus, oder auch Cirque Nouveau, vor allem von dem Erzählen einer Geschichte durch die akrobatischen Höchstleistungen sowie der ästhetischen Darstellung der Künstler geprägt ist.
Wir hier im CHAMÄLEON sehen unser kleines Cirque Nouveau Theater als eines der best gehüteten Geheimtipps der Hauptstadt an. Doch wir haben uns gefragt, was andere Berliner zu sagen haben. In diesem Artikel verraten uns unsere Berlin-Experten Ihre Geheimtipps und Lieblingsorte!

Bunker am Gesundbrunnen
„Mein Tipp ist der Bunker am Gesundbrunnen, den die Initiative "Berliner Unterwelten" inzwischen begehbar gemacht hat, teilweise noch mit der originalen Einrichtung von vor 1945. Hier kann man eine echte Geschichtstour in eine Zeit erleben, die die meisten nur noch aus Büchern kennen, in Deutsch und in Englisch. Mehr Infos gibt es auf www.berliner-unterwelten.de.“
Empfehlung: Dr. Eva Schweitzer von www.berlinica.com - @Eva_Berlinica 
Was ist dein Geheimtipp in Berlin?

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