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Center for Faith and Spirituality

Carthaginian Spring 2016

Piecing together a historic puzzle

By Pastor Kara

In November 1989, I was a sophomore at Luther College. My main concern that fall semester was making friends.

My freshman year, I had suffered from an extreme case of shyness — so much that, during the fall semester of my sophomore year, other students asked if I was a transfer student, because they had no memory of me being on campus the year before.

Needless to say, when the Berlin Wall came down that month, I was not paying attention to that major world event. Honestly, East Germany had been a country my whole life, so I really didn’t understand that Germany had not always been divided. There was so much I didn’t understand at that time about World War II and the Cold War that followed.

Now that I have gone to Berlin for a J-Term study tour covering Martin Luther, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the turbulent times of Germany, my understanding of that piece of history has grown immensely. I know there is much more to learn, and much that I will never fully understand.

I believe the learning that I continue to do, along with the 17 students and my teaching partner on the tour, Professor Rom Maczka, will be enhanced by the fact that we stood in places with historical significance.

Before departing, we watched the docudrama “Conspiracy” about the meeting at the Wannsee House, where leaders in the Nazi government put forth what they called “the Final Solution to the Jewish Question.” On our second full day in Berlin, we traveled on the wonderful public transit to the Wannsee House. It is now a museum that tells the story of what happened there and its impact on Germany and all of Europe.

It was there that we learned Hitler was democratically elected on the platform to dismantle democracy and make Germany great again. It was there that I was reminded, in the most powerful way possible, that none of us can be passive in our political system.

Experiencing the Wannsee House, then the concentration/labor/death camps that carried
out the evil plan, then seeing the wall that cut off East from West, helped me to connect the dots of history in a deeper way than I ever could have by simply hearing about it in a classroom or reading a book.

I was thankful that I was able to have the classroom learning/teaching experience. Then to have the chance to witness what we learned come alive was truly priceless.

The trip was amazing, and the students who took the course soaked up every moment and every experience. There is so much more to tell, and I haven’t even touched on the Luther pilgrimage of our time in Germany. That will be another time, another article.

Peace,
Pastor Kara

The Carthaginian is a magazine for Carthage alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends of the College. It is published three times a year by the Carthage Office of Communications. Read the Carthaginian online at www.carthage.edu/carthaginian.

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2020), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

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    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

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    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

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    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $20,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 3 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …

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