Bergerson, Inscribing Yourself

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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.

A dig­i­tal record of this play and work­shop is avail­able on T&S’s YouTube chan­nel includ­ing:

1. The intro­duc­to­ry lec­tures (playlist: Writ­ing Your­self into His­to­ry).

2. A filmed ver­sion of the pre­mier per­for­mance (on the same playlist: forth­com­ing).

3. A doc­u­men­tary film focus­ing on the recep­tion of the play by the audi­ence in both group dis­cus­sions and indi­vid­ual respons­es (on the same playlist: forth­com­ing).

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.