East Side Gallery

Joan Smedinghoff ’15

02“I painted over the wall of shame so freedom is ashamed no more. Inferno ruled too many years, until the people chose the light. I put my faith in you, Berlin, and give to you my colors bright.”       – Fulvio Pinna

On our second day in Berlin we went to the East Side Gallery, which is a section of the Berlin wall that was left up and artists have painted murals on it’s eastern side. It’s spectacular and stretches on for a few blocks. There were many different kinds of murals — some with beautiful scenes, some with messages of peace and togetherness, and some about Germany’s past or future. They were so intriguing that I found myself stopping and taking pictures at almost every mural.

01One of the things I found myself thinking a lot about was the difference between pictures take from the western and eastern sides of the wall. In pictures from West Berlin, the wall is covered top to bottom in graffiti. In East Berlin, though, people were not allowed to come near the wall, so it stayed barren. In West Berlin people graffitied everything from their initials to anti-communist slogans, but the people of East Berlin did not have that outlet to express their frustrations because it, like so much else, was cut off from them.

03After reunification, the East Side 05Gallery finally became a place for people to paint their images of protest and peace. The Berlin Wall represents a difficult time of separation in German history, and those two very different pictures of the graffitied and barren sides of the wall represent the the free speech that was lost in East Germany. However, I think that the East Side Gallery now stands as a representation of that free speech being given back to the people of eastern Germany.04


Thanksgiving Dinner 2013

Katalina, Joan, and Janie (from left to right)

As in every year, the “Deutsch-Amerikanische Club” (DAC) invited us to their Thanksgiving Dinner in the Atlantic Grand Hotel Bremen.

We celebrated with them and had a lot of fun with nice music, dance, and interesting conversations. There was a large variety of typical american food and, of course, a turkey.

Student, Anna, Interim Director Iris Krimmel, Sean, Joan, Janie, Katalina, Program Coordinator Verena Mertz, and Christine (from left to right)

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Werder Bremen

Janie Feldmann ‘15

On Sunday evening (Nov. 24, 2013), the Dickinson in Bremen program took us all to see a Werder Bremen soccer game at the Weser Stadium. I am definitely not the person to ask if you want to understand how soccer works – the only fact I know for sure is that one team scores in the other team’s goal.  (I know, I know, I’m the worst German-American ever). Despite this, I discovered that there is something universally nostalgic about going to a live game and rooting for the team you love.
As expected, the tram was jam-packed with people going to support Werder, which, to put it nicely, is sort of the underdog in the German soccer league right now. We were in the standing-room-only section, which was actually very cool because for one, it was warmer, and two, the atmosphere was excited. One of the best moments of the game happened after the players came out onto the field: Werder fans began singing the official song of the team. The first line is “Werder Bremen, lebenslang grün-weiß!” which translates to “Werder Bremen, life-long green and white!” We had all learned the song before the game, and I do not think a single fan was not singing – it was such a great moment. Everyone held up their Werder scarves, and the camaraderie was absolutely fantastic.
The excitement soon became frustration, however, as Mainz scored two goals during the first forty-five minutes, and Bremen just did not seem to have any luck. After half-time, Mainz scored yet another goal, and everyone started feeling pretty hopeless. I thought it was pretty impressive that the majority of fans stayed until the bitter end instead of leaving to beat the traffic. Staying was worth it though – in an exciting change of luck, Werder scored not one but two goals within the last fifteen minutes! Everyone was hoping that they would make one more to even out the score, but sadly that was not the case. Despite this, everyone was going out of their minds with happy excitement, singing song after song.  I personally thought it was awesome that for every goal Werder scored, the stadium played “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers.

Our view onto the field

Our view onto the field

Admittedly, I have always had a bit of trouble (perhaps because I am an English major) understanding the importance of sports. I never really get why people go so crazy over them, and I definitely do not understand the mindset of die-hard fans. But, at this game, I felt I began to get a grasp of why soccer is so important within German culture. After a war which left the world speechless, cities in ruins, and people desperate for change, soccer became the means through which Germans could begin to heal. They may still have trouble feeling proud to be German, but they are definitely proud of their cities, and especially their soccer teams. Through all the disunity happening around them, soccer was the one thing where everyone could feel united again. And, if nothing else, there is really no better feeling than being in a stadium rooting alongside other fans, even for an underdog team.

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