Library Life episode 212

Library Life episode 212


Welcome to Mount Prospect Public Library’s “Library Life.” I’m Cathy Cushing. Today we’ll discuss how the Holocaust is
remembered in Germany more than seven decades after the end of World War two.
We’ll also discover the fundamentals behind African music and dance,
and we’ll learn how to arrange a creative spring floral design with Busse’s Flowers. But first let’s enjoy a round of golf –
mini-golf – at the Mount Prospect Public Library. Golfers of all ages are once
again competing with friends and family members here at the annual Mount
Prospect Public Library Foundation’s mini-golf at MPPL. For six years
we’ve been putting on this event. Every year it grows. As we planned each year, it
gets easier and easier and the good part is we have more golfers every year. The
event starts at the registration table where you select your equipment and then
the holes are spread all out through the library. You don’t have to start on
hole number one, you can start where you want, and I find the neatest thing about
this event is since the holes are spread throughout the library, people get to see
parts of the library they might not know exist, and that’s kind of the whole
point of the event. Mount Prospect Public Library Foundation president Amy
Romanelli attributes the success of this event to a number of dedicated
individuals. We have a fantastic staff who helps work on the event, we have a
fantastic Foundation Board that works on the event, we have a tremendous amount of
community involvement with our sponsors so it’s just a wonderful community
response. Library volunteers set up this 19-hole
mini-golf course the evening before the event. There’s actually a company that
focuses on mini-golf events in libraries and other community places. The holes are
in pieces, so there’s a green, there’s a hole, there’s a flag, and then there, there
might be a track to guide the ball and volunteers do it all, and then they come
back on Saturday after the event and tear it all down. Community businesses
provide funding, generously sponsoring the course in creative ways. There are
many sponsorship opportunities from sponsoring a hole, and if you’re a hole
sponsor you get to decorate the hole, promote your company, and then we have
the equipment sponsors – that’s one level up – they’re the sponsors of the clubs and
balls. And then our highest level this year is the 19th hole. The 19th hole is
our fun area after the event; you can come in, you can get popcorn, you can get
water, there’s a hole-in-one game you can play, there’s a photobooth, you can put on
costumes, and thanks to our sponsors we’re able to provide that at no charge.
The Mount Prospect Public Library Foundation is a nonprofit organization
that has been raising funds for this library since 1997. The main focus of the
golf event is to raise awareness of the Foundation’s programs and events, and
also as an added bonus to feature the library. I think it’s a nice community
event. I appreciated that it was the holes were sponsored by local
organizations, that was really nice. I think the favorite part of the event was
meeting all the vendors, all the businesses that sponsored holes. They did
a really great job, the kids loved golfing down the
book aisles so it was a lot of fun. My favorite event was probably hole number 12 – it’s just a
giant slide, yeah, it was really fun. I think it’s a great event, so we, and it
was the first time that we’ve heard of it, and and it was great. Eighty years ago
at the beginning of World War two, Hitler and the Nazis began implementing their
so-called final solution, which ended in the systematic murder of some six
million European Jews. Joining me today on “Library Life” to discuss her library
program Never Forget: Remembering the Holocaust in Berlin and Germany is
German historian Anette Isaacs, welcome. Thank you so much for having me back, Cathy.
Anette, this is a very very serious topic and it’s emotional for many. How do you
begin your program when you’re presenting this? Your wonderful
President Kennedy once did a speech in the early 1960s, it was about something
unrelated to the subject, but he said this wonderful sentence, “We’re not doing
these things because they’re easy, we’re doing these things because they’re hard,”
and that is also in a way my life motto, you know, because I am so dedicated to
the topic of Holocaust Remembrance, the topic of Holocaust education. You know, I
am a German historian and I’m talking about 30 different topics of all kinds
and have to do with German history but my focus really asked in my in my entire
life as a historian really was on educating people on how the German
nation has in the past over 70 years tried to deal with the moral aftermath
of World War two and with the guilt of having caused the Holocaust. And I, I also
know that in my audiences there might be Holocaust survivors, there might be
children of Holocaust survivors, and it’s very important to really acknowledge
that. So let’s talk a little bit about 70 years ago when World War two ended. How
did the people of Germany deal with their guilt, or their their feelings? Were
they remorseful with regard to the war and and the annihilation of the Jews? The
horrible shame about this all is that they weren’t, you know, that this, the Nazi
generation was not maybe even able to actually face it, you know, face this
incredible guilt of what they had done, what was done in their name, and what
many of them had done themselves, you know. And so it actually took about 15
years, about, yeah, about 15 to 20 years to actually have another generation, which
would have been like the children of the Nazi generation to, to face what their
parents had done. And that came because of the Eichmann trial,
you know, the out of Eichmann trial that was happening in Jerusalem in 1961, and
also in Germany in the 1960s we had the so-called Auschwitz trial, and these
were two trials that opened up the second generation to this process of
dealing with the past because that was the first time that they heard the
witness accounts, you know, that they heard about the atrocities. And because,
you know, in former times, I mean, right after the war, no, no school was
teaching the history of the Holocaust. There wasn’t even a word. You know,
Holocaust the word was really coming into the public consciousness in the 60s,
and so yeah, so that led, you know, this this this realization of I mean I
personally I would say I am the third generation, you know, I would be like a
grandchild of people who lived during World War two, and so the generation
of my parents would have been these people who would be the baby boomers, you
know, who would be in, who would be maybe students in the late 1960s. Right. And so
they were the who ones really did the work. So how did the culture of remembrance begin?
I would say in the beginning of the 1900 – no – in the middle of the 1960s, the first concentration camps on German soil – so that would be Dachau – that
would be very close to Munich, and then also in northern Germany, Bergen Belsen,
that’s unfortunately where Anne Frank died. These camps were turned
into memorial centers and museums and then, especially then after the German
unification, so in the 1990s, I think that also had to do with Germany, you
know, coming together, the West Germany, East Germany becoming one country, people
maybe doing some soul-searching, some searching of an identity. Especially in
the 1990s we have a lot of really wonderful memorials and representations
of guilt in artworks. Really quite fascinating. Do they feel that this might
be something that is a healing process? These memorials are really there in
order to honor the victims, you know, and and of course also in order to show
later generations that we cannot forget this. And we must not forget it, and so
these memorials that I am bringing to the Library, I have about over a
dozen, really are perfect representations of that. Well, so let’s talk about some of
these memorials, beginning with some that are in your hometown, Berlin. Yes. Let’s
start with the book burning memorial, and tell us a little bit of the history
behind that. Hitler came to power at the end of January of 1933. So three months
later, three and a half months later, in in May of the same year 1933 you already
had the first book burning. First of many, unfortunately. So the Nazis
burned books in the biggest city of Germany that was Berlin at Opera Square,
which was this big square next to the Opera House hence the word, the name of
the square. And so you had people from the S.A., you even had students, you had
right-wing students from the university it was, was right opposite of that square,
and they brought books from Jewish authors, from authors that the Nazis
deemed unworthy. For example, Helen Keller also, of all people, Helen Keller’s books
were brought and to put into a huge pile, and then Joseph Goebbels was there, and
so they, they were burning the books and that was a horrible, of course horrible
situation. And in the 1990s there was an Israeli,
Israeli artist by the name of Micha Ullman who created this just exquisite
memorial. And it is at the, as historians call it, authentic location. So of course we
have in Germany, unfortunately because we are the heart of Nazism, and we have of
course a lot of authentic locations. Right. And so at this, at this specific
place where the book burning took place he put a, he built a negative space. So,
you don’t see anything, you just you kind of see a glass disk, and then you walk to
this glass disk and think, “What is there?” And then you look down and you see in,
like, in the ground is this Memorial and this memorial consists of countless
white, pristine, empty book shelves. Empty book shelves. All about empty bookshelves,
and these empty bookshelves of course are representing the wealth of information,
the wealth of knowledge, that the Nazis just destroyed, you know, during that, that
time, during those 12 years, really. It sounds like a touching memorial. Yes. Well
let’s continue on with the Stumbling Stones Memorial. The “Stolpersteine” as we
say in German, and in English that would be the “stepping stones” or “stumbling
stones,” some people also call it that. That was created by a German artist by the
name of Gunter Demnig, and Gunter Demnig had this fantastic idea to
create little tiny, like, cobblestones, they really look like cobblestones, and
they really are tiny. They are about three by three inches, really not a lot,
or not big at all, and they are concrete stones in front of homes where victims
of the Holocaust once lived, you know. And so what is happening is you have of
course this vast number of six million victims and you are taking individual
people out of that vast number and you are you are taking them out of obscurity
and you are giving them name and you’re giving them a fate, you
are, you are, you’re telling the public or you are putting them back into the
public discourse and you are and you are putting that right there at the last
known residence of where a person once lived because before the Nazis got to this
person – So he’s all over the city of Berlin? – Yeah, they’re all over, not only in the city of
Berlin, they’re all over Germany, and now they’re all over Europe. They’re all
together in, he started in 1996, so that’s really only 23 years, and in these last
23 years he created 46,000 of those stumbling stones all over Europe, all
over Germany. And the really wonderful thing about this is that we as
individuals, we can partake in it by sponsoring one of them. And they are not
expensive, my husband and I did that about 10 years ago, and it was 10 years
ago it was about $100, so you can donate a hundred dollars, you can actually
contact the foundation that is administering this whole project, and
they have lists, of course, of victims, and you can maybe, some, in many cases you
have relatives, you know, or you have friends or something, and you can look at
the list and then you can memorialize your relative with such a
project. What a fantastic and beautiful idea. Yeah.
So let’s finish up with the Georg Elser – Yes – Memorial. Yes. Georg Elser
was, what a hero, what a hero. He was not, not anybody knows about him,
unfortunately, that’s why I have created another program about the resistance
movement and I really, it’s really one of my biggest, yeah, plans, really, as a
historian, to bring these heroes into the public’s light, you know, to kind of tell
their story. And Georg Elser was a young man in his 30s who was so against Nazism,
he was from southern Germany near Stuttgart, and so that he actually built
a bomb and planted the bomb in a beer hall where Hitler was going to
speak. And that was in November of 1939, so the war had already started and so
Hitler was supposed to come to Munich and was supposed to speak at that
Bürgerbräukeller, this is what it was called. And he was there, and he started
talking, and Georg Elser had like a timer, you know, and the timer for that bomb was
going, the bomb was going to go off at 9:20 p.m. and Hitler started speaking at
8:30 and everybody knew, you know, he always made this huge long speeches, he’s
certainly going to speak for 90 minutes. And everybody was set and ready to go
and then at 9:07, which would be 13 minutes before the bomb went, was
supposed to go off, at 9:07, Hitler got a little piece of paper from one of
his aides and it said we have, we have a fog, and because of the foggy weather
Hitler had to go back to Berlin that very night. And because of the foggy
weather they weren’t able to take his plane, they had to go to the train
station. So Hitler left with his, all with his entourage,
he left 13 minutes before that bomb went off. -Wow- The bomb went off very
successfully, six Nazis were killed. Many of them, many others were, were wound-
wounded, and when you think of it: 13 minutes and Hitler would have been dead,
the war would have maybe ended, the Holocaust could have been prevented. It
is really incredible. Did they catch him? They catch – they they caught him on the very
day, on the very evening, unfortunately, and so they they put him into prison,
they put him into several concentration camps. They left him alive until
basically the end of the war, and like, just like, two weeks before Eisenhower
liberated Dachau they killed him. So they, the Nazis killed him until they – he kept,
they kept him alive until the end, and then they killed him.
And so in 2011, and I have to say, I mean, I always say this is my favorite, this,
not that, but this Georg Elser Memorial is my favorite, and in 2011 a
German artist by the name of Ulrich Klages came up with this wonderful 50
feet tall filigree steel sculpture that is, that shows Georg Elser’s silhouette. Oh,
and it’s – the the placement of it is really impeccable because it is in
Berlin at Wilhelmstrasse, and Wilhelmstrasse is where Hitler had first of all
his bunker, and where he had his big chan-
Vice Chancellory, this big office building. And so now of course they
are not in existence anymore, now you have houses there, but what an idea to
actually put a huge steel structure with the silhouette of the would-be assassin
right there where Hitler actually committed suicide eventually. It’s just
brilliant, brilliantly done. Very important. And we are running out of time,
but I did want to end with your thoughts about Germany today and the people there.
Yes. I am really happy to say, and I’m really proud to say that we have done a
lot of work, a lot of introspective work, and in those last 70 years we have come
a long way, and you can also see it by how we are dealing with our young
children, you know, how we are doing Holocaust education and how we are
dedicated to it. And the Holocaust education in German schools is vast, it’s
way more than in any other European country, and also I have to say in an
American country, so I’m, I am, I’m happy that we are on the right path. Well Anette,
as always this has been fascinating, thank you so much for being with me today.
Thank you. Thank you for having me again. For more information regarding World War
two, the Holocaust, or any upcoming Mount Prospect Public Library event,
contact the library at area code 847-253-5675 or
visit our website at www.mppl.org. The Mount Prospect Public Library prides
itself in being a Makerspace where patrons can come and hone their skills
in an assortment of artistic endeavors. Let’s peek in on creative floral design
with Busse’s Flowers. Spring is blooming all around us and
this library event allows participants to employ a little creativity while
learning how to arrange flowers with professional florist Paul Seils. I make
the arrangement to start out with, and I try to do it nice and slow and show them
some principles like focal points and spacing and facing and placing and
things of that nature of the flowers. And then at that point, you know, I kind of
turn them loose. Seils’s demonstration provides guidance while giving 20 novice
floral arrangers the confidence to embark on a colorful task. 20 is
basically the most I’d like to have because then I can I can get around to
each, each one of the students, you know, and help them, and so they can be sure
they go home with something nice. An assortment of fresh seasonal flowers and
foliage are on hand, waiting to be cut and distributed around a lovely white basket.
There was a plastic liner in there so it holds the mechanic, the Oasis material
that we put in there, the spongy material. We’ve got our basic mums and basic
carnations, a couple different varieties, a Viking, a daisy, what we call a cushion,
and there’s a green one around here someplace, but that we call it Kermit.
And then we have alstroemeria, which is a variety of lily, comes in a
multitude of colors. Seils, who teaches floral design classes at the library
every spring and fall, brings the materials from his store down the street,
Busse’s Flowers and Gifts Incorporated, a business that has been a fixture in the
village of Mount Prospect for more than a century. We’re in our hundred and
third year. My wife and I were the fourth generation in it, and my daughter’s in business
with us here, and she’s the fifth generation.
Every patron leaves this event with a basket full of flowers and memories of
an evening spent at the library learning something new. I had no idea how to do it
so I really enjoyed this class today. I learned something great. They’re all different,
they’re all beautiful just like, you know, the people, and it’s just well, different,
and beautiful in different ways. They’ll all have similar flowers and so forth
but don’t have different looks. Some of them like a compact, really
compact look, or sometimes they spread them out, make them bigger, big as they can,
you know, it’s a bit large. But that’s fun, just to see the result. This is nice, it’s
affordable, everyone can do it, it’s simple and you walk away with a
gorgeous bouquet. Whether you enjoy the satisfaction of creating a
do-it-yourself project, or you simply love curling up with a good book, there’s
something available for you to experience right here at the Mount
Prospect Public Library. Let’s find out what readers advisor Chelsea Lord
recommends has her best book pick from the Adult Services Department.
Are you a fan of disturbing psychological thrillers? If so, I highly recommend Baby
Teeth by Zoje Stage. This book does not follow the usual dysfunctional family
formula that we see all too often in thrillers. Instead, Baby Teeth follows a
mother, Suzette, and her seven-year-old daughter, Hannah. The book alternates
chapters between Suzette and Hannah. Hannah is mute so we can imagine how
frustrating that would be for her and her parents. Suzette also suffers from
Crohn’s disease. Suzette and Hannah spend a lot of time together since Hannah has
gotten herself kicked out of every school she has ever attended and has
sabotaged every babysitter. Hannah’s outbursts could be chalked up
to her frustration about people around her not being able to understand her, but
we quickly begin to see how much she dislikes her mother.
The tension between mother and daughter continues to build until Hannah really
decides to take things into her own little hands to do something about who
she refers to as “bad mommy.” Recommendations from the
Adult Services Department this month are psychological thrillers. In The Bad Seed
by William March, a housewife suspects her seemingly perfect eight-year-old
daughter is in reality a heartless killer. We Need to Talk About Kevin by
Lionel Shriver revolves around a woman’s fears that her alarming dislike
for motherhood and her own son may have driven him to mass murder at school. In
The Dinner by Herman Koch, two sets of wealthy parents meet to decide what to
do about a crime their sons have committed. The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong
explores the mysteries of mind and memory, as well as the twisted
relationship between a son and his murdered mother. And Who Can Kill a Child
is a 1976 film centering on English tourists who arrive on an island where
all the children have gone mad and are systematically murdering the adults.
Recommendations from the Youth Services Department this month are non-fiction
picture books focusing on the lives of artists. Jake Makes a World: Jacob Lawrence, an Artist in Harlem by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitt takes readers on an
enchanting journey through the bustling sights and sounds of a budding artist’s
neighborhood. Me, Freda by Amy Novesky is set in
1930s San Francisco, where artist Frida Kahlo finds her voice in style
when her famous husband Diego Rivera is commissioned to paint a mural. American
Gothic: The Life of Grant Wood by Susan Wood tells the story of a painter who came
from humble beginnings in Iowa to become the father of regionalism, an artistic
movement that celebrates the real-life surroundings of people. Through George’s
Eyes by Rachel Rodriguez is the biography of Georgia O’Keeffe, an artist
who, from childhood on, found inspiration in the deserts of New Mexico. And Through the Window: Views of Marc Chagall’s Life and Art by Barb Rosenstock tells the
true tale of a man who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the world’s
most renowned artists. Finally, here’s Youth Outreach Liaison, Katie Duncan,
with her a best book pick from this department. Pocket Full of Colors by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville. Have you ever wondered what it takes to be an
artist? In Pocket Full of Colors by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville, we
learn about a little girl named Mary who loved to collect all the different
colors she saw in the world around her. As she grew up she sketched and
continued to collect colors in every new place she visited. When Mary got a bit
older she attended art school, where she met her husband, Lee. She and Lee loved to
draw and paint together, but they realized not many people wanted to pay
for the colorful things they were making during the Great Depression. Eventually
she applied for a job at Walt Disney Studios and became one of the first
women to ever work there. She quickly noticed that none of the men she worked
with were as interested in colors as she was. Mary believed they should make
magenta horses that could fly. Everyone else believe they should be brown and
stay in a stable. No one knew what to do with her art, but Walt Disney himself
loved it. He invited her on a trip to South
America, and she discovered even more colors that she was excited to start
using. Mary Blair’s love of colors gave her many opportunities, but you’ll need
to read Pocketful of Colors to find out about some of the most exciting
things she was able to do. Super Saturday’s provide local families the
opportunity to experience the live performances of educational entertainers
who represent a variety of theatrical fields and world cultures. Here’s a glimpse
of African Music and Dance with Idy Ciss. Throughout world history, music
plays a vital role, enhancing such things as cultural characteristics, modes of
celebration, even communication. This Mount Prospect Public Library’s Super
Saturday places a spotlight on the music of West Africa and the many traditions
it exemplifies. I’m originally from Senegal in West Africa, so we teach them
the greeting in Senegalese language, then we teach them a song like a welcoming song,
and after that I demonstrate the movement. Educational entertainer Idy Ciss
works with musician, Mr. Josh in drumming home the rhythms and language of
Ciss’s homeland. We teach call and response, along with the drums. The drums
originate from West Africa, and the drums called
djembe. Djembe in Malinka language mean “get together.” Not this type of drums
called dun-duns. So the dun-dun family and the drums, we
won’t explain this to the audience, and everybody get involved, we all have great
time. Sponsored by the Mount Prospect Public Library Foundation, this
interactive program gives more than 100 patrons the opportunity to learn about
the structure and cultural significance of indigenous instruments. They use the
drum to communicate, to send a message from village to village because the drum
also speak the language. Ciss, who has been with Chicago’s Old Town School of
Folk Music since 1998, demonstrates the
traditional West African dance movements he learned as a child. The dancing and
the drum is like, it’s like a marriage, so they’re, they’re, they have a relation.
One cannot go without the other. Every dance have a meaning, for example when
babies born, when they’re celebrating harvests, when people get married, they
have spiritual dance, so it’s so many different dance and each dance have
meaning along with the song and the music. Before this event ends, audience
members are on their feet enjoying in a very tangible way the spirit of African
music and dance. Event like this open people’s mind; even though they didn’t
travel to Africa, Africa will travel to them. Super Saturday’s African Music and
Dance with Idy Ciss is just one example of the many entertaining informational and
educational events featured here at the Mount Prospect Public Library every
month. Don’t miss any library programs you’d like to experience. Here’s a list of
events scheduled in April and May. Reservations are strongly recommended. For more information regarding these
events, call area code 847-253-5675 or
visit our website at www.mppl.org. You’ll also find a listing and description
of all upcoming Mount Prospect Public Library events in your Library newsletter, Preview. Earlier in this program we used a multitude of colorful spring flowers to create a lovely floral arrangement.
With this in mind our Library Life camera today asks the question: What is
your favorite aspect of spring and why? Here are some responses. I guess I would
just say nature coming back. Flowers, birds, that kind of stuff. I like the
blossoming of the trees because it just makes you feel hopeful and that you know
the cold is gone. Being able to come out of hibernation, the sports, adventure,
outside, travel, you name it, just being able to enjoy the greater side of
Chicago weather. That wraps up this edition of “Library Life.” For more
information on any of the Mount Prospect Public Library services and events
highlighted here call area code 847-253-5675 or
visit our website at www.mppl.org.

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