Bergerson, Inscribing Yourself

TS_contributor_avatar-sm[User Post: BB220118]

Andrew Stuart Ber­ger­son, Kan­sas City


A First Arti­cle about Hil­de and Roland

The arti­cle demons­tra­tes how Hil­de and Roland use their cor­re­spon­dence to “inscri­be them­sel­ves” into a Nazi future during their courtship from 1938 to 1940, buil­ding a rela­ti­ons­hip of trust bet­ween them­sel­ves by lin­king it to a rela­ti­ons­hip of trust with God, par­ents, and the Füh­rer.
See: Andrew Stuart Ber­ger­son, T&S Mit­her­aus­ge­ber, “Das Sich-Ein­schrei­ben in die NS-Zukunft: Lie­bes­brie­fe als Quel­le für eine All­tags­ge­schich­te der ‘Volks­ge­mein­schaft.’” In Der Ort der “Volks­ge­mein­schaft” in der deut­schen Gesell­schafts­ge­schich­te, edi­ted by Det­lef Schmie­chen-Acker­mann, Mar­lis Buch­holz, Bian­ca Roitsch, Karl H. Schnei­der, Chris­tia­ne Schrö­der, 223–41. Pader­born: Fer­di­nand Schö­ning, 2018.

An Historical Drama about Hilde and Roland in Englisch

Love in the Age of Hitler: A Courtship in Letters, 1938–1940

An his­to­ri­cal dra­ma by K. Scott Baker, Andrew Stuart Ber­ger­son, and Debo­rah Par­ker.

The let­ters of Hil­de and Roland lend them­sel­ves to adap­tati­on as an his­to­ri­cal dra­ma for many rea­sons. The­re is dra­ma in their self-pre­sen­ta­ti­on as let­ter wri­ters, in the chal­len­ges they face at buil­ding their rela­ti­ons­hip, and in their strug­gles to come to terms with both the Nazi regime and its increa­singly geno­ci­dal war for ‘living space’. Adap­ting the­se let­ters to the thea­ter in trans­la­ti­on allows us to bring the T&S pro­ject to an Eng­lish-speaking audi­ence for the first time.

Schau­spiel Pro­be, Kan­sas City, MO, USA, Mai 2017

In Fall 2016, the inter­na­tio­nal T&S team iden­ti­fied the most “dra­ma­tic” let­ters from the years 1938 to 1940—the peri­od of Hil­de and Roland’s courtship. In the Win­ter of 2016–17, an Ame­ri­can team trans­la­ted a selec­tion of let­ters (in who­le or in part) and draf­ted a two-act “reader’s thea­ter” style play from them. Bea­te Pet­tig­rew direc­ted the play with a cast of stu­dents from John­son Coun­ty Com­mu­ni­ty Col­le­ge in Over­land Park, KS. The play pre­mie­red on 20 May 2017 at the Diasto­le Scholar’s Cen­ter on UMKC cam­pus. (A second free, public per­for­mance of the play will take place June 4 at 2 PM in Grant Reci­tal Hall on UMKC Cam­pus.)

At its pre­mier, the play was per­for­med in the con­text of a work­shop “Wri­ting Yours­elf into Histo­ry.” The work­shop brought scho­l­ars, stu­dents, and Kan­sas City resi­dents to the Diasto­le Scholar’s Cen­ter in order to view the play and respond to it.  The par­ti­ci­pants were invi­ted to watch a series of short, digi­tal lec­tures that framed the play for non-spe­cia­lists. After atten­ding each act, the work­shop par­ti­ci­pants were invi­ted to dis­cuss the play in groups with dis­cus­sion lea­ders. At the end of the work­shop, indi­vi­du­al par­ti­ci­pants were inter­view­ed about their respon­ses to Hil­de & Roland’s lives; their let­ters; and the play; and they were also promp­ted to rela­te Hil­de & Roland’s histo­ry to their or their family’s expe­ri­en­ces and to explo­re the mea­nings that this past might hold for our pre­sent.

The pro­gram for the play is avail­ab­le here. A digi­tal record of this play and work­shop is avail­ab­le on T&S’s You­Tube chan­nel (play­list: Wri­ting Yours­elf into Histo­ry) inclu­ding the intro­duc­to­ry lec­tures and a filmed ver­si­on of the pre­mier per­for­mance. Record­ings of the indi­vi­du­al and group dis­cus­sions in respon­se are avail­ab­le from the pro­ject direc­tors.

The Huma­nities Con­sor­ti­um of UMKC spon­so­red this pro­gram with coope­ra­ti­on of the UMKC depart­ments of Ger­man, Histo­ry, and Thea­t­re; the UMKC School of Gra­dua­te Stu­dies; the High School/College Dual­Credit Part­nership; John­son Coun­ty Com­mu­ni­ty Col­le­ge; the Lee’s Sum­mit School District; the Mid­west Cen­ter for Holo­caust Edu­ca­ti­on; the Shepherd’s Cen­ter KC Cen­tral; and the Mis­sou­ri Huma­nities Coun­cil with the sup­port from the Natio­nal Endow­ment for the Huma­nities.

21. September 1938

[380921–1-1]

L. on Sep­tem­ber 21, 1938

Dear Miss. [Lau­be]!

On Mon­day after our last encoun­ter, I paged through the calen­dar — four weeks, so many pages. And now they are almost behind us, next Satur­day alrea­dy —.

Con­ti­nue rea­ding “21. Sep­tem­ber 1938”

12. September 1938

[380912–2–1]

O., on Sep­tem­ber 12, 1938

Dear Mr. [Nord­hoff]!

I wan­ted to wri­te you yes­ter­day, but my girlfriend’s visit kept me from it. I was a litt­le annoy­ed by it, espe­ci­al­ly sin­ce my par­ents were visi­t­ing grand­mo­ther yes­ter­day — I would have been plea­s­ant­ly alo­ne and undis­tur­bed. Some­ti­mes I am envious of your soli­tu­de. I had to think of you a lot yes­ter­day, in the morning — in the after­noon. We also went for a walk, but not out in the coun­try­si­de. Lui­se was more inte­rested in the new fall fashions in the city. A won­der­ful film was play­ing, and we wat­ched it. ‘Mag­da’ star­ring Zarah Lean­der, an actress with a very uni­que voice; if you have the oppor­tu­ni­ty, you must see this film. They ope­ned the new are­na at the Jahn House, I didn’t go.

Con­ti­nue rea­ding “12. Sep­tem­ber 1938”

05. September 1938

[380905–1–1]

L., on Sep­tem­ber 5, 1938

Dear Ms. [Lau­be]!

The echo of last Sunday long reso­na­ted with me, and the­re was no dis­cord in the sound. Your ques­ti­on at the end of the let­ter said to me that you too were satis­fied. Alrea­dy when I was on the train, I was vexed by my own inept ans­wer: “Yes inde­ed, it was very nice.” You should not have asked. I will not per­mit you to belie­ve that a small annoyan­ce could so easi­ly put me in a bad mood. I was not chag­ri­ned at all that you paid our train sup­ple­ment. You know my atti­tu­de: you are sacri­fi­cing to tra­vel the far­t­her distan­ce; I earn in one day what you earn in two; a young woman must cal­cu­la­te dif­fer­ent­ly than a young man. I awai­ted your let­ter. If it had not come on Fri­day, I would have begun to won­der.

Con­ti­nue rea­ding “05. Sep­tem­ber 1938”