The Dallas Goethe Center hosted its first film in the 2011-2012 Goethe Center Film Series on Sunday at the Dallas Museum of Art. The film, “Ludwig II: The Splendor and Suffering of a King,” was a romantic portrayal of the life of King Ludwig, the mad Bavarian “fairy-tale” king and builder of the famous Neuschwanstein castle (among others). The film emphasized Ludwig’s enchantment with the arts, particularly highlighting his friendship with composer Richard Wagner.
After the movie, discussion was led by University of Dallas department chair of modern languages, Dr. Ivan-Jacob Eidt, who is also a member of the planning committee of the Dallas Goethe Center (DGC). Over 60 people were in attendance, and audience members ranged from UD students to elderly German immigrants. The discussion centered around Ludwig’s contribution to the arts and the idolization of Ludwig among Bavarians, with a lively dialogue between northern and southern German audience members.
The Goethe Center Film Series is one of the many events hosted by the DGC, which was founded in 1965 in order to “foster an appreciation of German art, drama, music, language, literature, history and current affairs, and to cultivate mutual understanding between the people of German-speaking countries and those of the United States of America,” according to the DGC’s website.
Tillmann Hein, former president of the DGC, said, “The Dallas Goethe Center is probably the largest organization in the United States devoted to German language culture – and specifically to German language culture. We are a private organization devoted to producing cultural events.”
The DGC organizes two to three events a month, ranging from music concerts and German focus lectures to their monthly “Stammtisch,” an event that unites the members over drinks and hors d’oeuvres. On Oct. 8, the DGC is having their Annual German Pioneer Ball with a reception hosted by the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany. In early December, members will put on their Christkindl German Holiday Market in Arlington, which includes authentic German entertainment, food, crafts and gifts.
“The Dallas Goethe Center unifies all the German speaking clubs and societies in the area,” Hein said. He added that it provides great opportunities for learning about cultural developments and German history.
“It’s very fun and very informative,” Eidt said. “The Dallas Goethe Center is international and extremely diverse, with members in their early twenties to older retired Germans.”
Eidt added that membership was open to anyone who is interested in German culture or German history.
“We are always looking for people who are interested and who want to put stuff together,” he said.
Eidt will be a part of a panel presentation on German poet Rainer Maria Rilke on Nov. 13, and the next film in the DGC Film Series will be shown sometime in December.
Students who are interested in learning more about the Dallas Goethe Center are encouraged to visit their website at dallasgoethecenter.org. Student membership is available for $25, the benefits of which include discounts on events hosted by the DGC.