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Center for History and Culture

[archival page]

2034 Selby Avenue, lower level
Saint Paul/MN 55104 U.S.A.

cell 651.592.1877


Julia Halpern gave museum tours to school children


Recent Programs | Recurring Programs | Past Program Highlights | Past Programs

BUS-eum 1 tour spring 2008 | BUS-eum 2 tour spring 2008 | BUS-eum 3 tour fall 2008
VANISHED tour spring 2009 | BUS-eum 1 tour spring 2009 | BUS-eum 3 tour spring 2009
BUS-eum 3 National Tour 2009-2010
War and the North Star: Minnesotans Experience WWII
War Comes to the Peace Garden: North Dakotans Remember WWII
BUS-eum 3 National Tours fall 2010 | spring 2011
Northern Great Plains Tours fall 2010 | spring 2011

Past Programs

Still the director of TRACES and now also the director of SPUREN, Michael Luick-Thrams continues to offer lectures about German POWs in the United States, US POWs in the Third Reich, German-American civilian internees in the US and related topics from the larger drama of the Second World War--as shown in the below article about the May-2012 opening of the multi-themed exhibit Other Losses at the Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut/German-American Institute in Tübingen in Southwest Germany. The exhibit can be booked for showing in Germany or elsewhere in Europe by contacting TRACES volunteer Ceile Hartleib.

TRACES Board of Directors and volunteer staff will confirm up-coming programming over the next few months. Please see DE.TRACES.org to locate up-coming programs, especially those nearest you!

THE HOLOCAUST AND THE HEARTLAND: The Long Reach of Persecution and Genocide, co-sponsored by the University of Minnesota Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies; hosts, locations, times and dates negotiable

course description | course readings with guiding questions  | referrals from past participants

chapter 8  from Facing History and Ourselves' Race and Membership in American History: The Eugenics Movement (2002); "The Nazi Connection" (pages 240-283)

notes of an American eugenicist  | 
Anti-Semitism in Minneapolis  |  German-Jewish internees

Past Program Highlights

9 November 2003 - as of 2:30PM Sunday at the Iowa Jewish Historical Society Caspe Heritage Gallery, 3320 Ute Avenue, Waukee (surburban Des Moines)/Iowa

Far from Hitler: The Scattergood Hostel for European Refugees, 1939-43

The dedication of this traveling exhibit, co-sponsored by the Iowa Jewish Historical Society and Humanities Iowa, marked the beginning of a two-year showing of this little-known sub-chapter of the wider WWII/Holocaust history. Thereafter, for three years the exhibit served as a cornerstone of TRACES' stationary museum in Saint Paul/Minnesota.

Visions: Iowa State University Alumni Association, summer 2004

12-19 November 2006 - at various times and dates at Gallery 205, Landmark Center, Saint Paul

Degenerate Music: Composers and Their Works Banned by the Nazis

concert series, co-sponsored by the Schubert Club

series poster | press releaseKrenek concert notes
 Eisler concert notes
Hollaender concert notes

19 November-20 December 2006 - noon-1PM Wednesdays at the Galleria, Landmark Center, Saint Paul

Fighting the “Good War”: Minnesota and World War II

brown-bag lunch series, co-sponsored by the Ramsey County Historical Society

outline of speakers

22 February 2007 - 5-8PM at the Landmark Center, Saint Paul

Friends Face an Unknown Past: Quaker Responses to the Holocaust

Metro-area Quaker potluck, museum tour and discussion

program flyer

19 November 2007 - noon-5PM Sunday in various rooms of the Landmark Center, Saint Paul

Destination Landmark: Culture in Action

cultural programming, co-sponsored by Minnesota Landmarks

schedule of events

6 December 2007 - 1:15PM Thursday in Ramsey County Room 317, Landmark Center, Saint Paul

Launch of Travelers Free First Thursday at TRACES

Christmas historian James Neagbour presented a narrated Power-Point travelogue Christmas Markets in Germany, immediately following the Schubert Club Concert in the same room.

x x x

6 December 2007 - noon and again at 7PM Thursday in the Galleria

Launch of Travelers Free First Thursday at TRACES

Christmas actor Leo Treadway brought to life Saint Nicholas, the historical figure from whom "Santa Claus" evolved. Both kids and adults enjoyed his characterization. Refreshments were be provided. Saint Nick appeared in the Galleria, on the 2nd floor of the Landmark Center.
x x x

6 December 2007 - 7:15PM Thursday at the Galleria, Landmark Center, Saint Paul

Launch of Travelers Free First Thursday at TRACES

Christmas historian James Neagbour presented a narrated Power-Point travelog Christmas in Nazi Germany in the Chief Justice Room 430, Landmark Center, with plans to present in 2008 Christmas on the Midwest Homefront.

3 January 2008 -
noon and repeated at 6:30PM, Thursday at the Galleria, Landmark Center, Saint Paul

Pastor Warrior: Fighting Prejudice at Home, Fascism in Germany

    Paul C. Lutz was a Lutheran pastor in Lime Springs/Iowa when the United States entered World War II. Dangerous gossip began circulating in the town about Paul Lutz, not because of his political views, but because as a “German church” leader he occasionally led German-language services.
    Entering the army in late 1943 as a chaplain, Lutz traveled from Germany to Italy to Spain, and visited the prison camp Dachau, where he witnessed the atrocities Hitler perpetrated against the Jewish people. As a chaplain able to translate and offer consolation to US soldiers and foreign soldiers, Lutz was quickly transformed in the eyes of his peers from a suspicious character based on his German roots to an upstanding U.S. citizen willing to use his skills for his country.
    Speaking on the experience of being a German-American at a time when his country was most against all things German, Charles Lutz spoke on the experiences of his father, and told one man’s story as he fought for his country, and fought against the prejudice his country held for him.

learn more about Paul Lutz


Paul Lutz and family

Filme im Februar / Films in February” German-Film Series

Poster / Brochure

In February 2008 TRACES Midwest/WWII Narrative History Museum and Minnesota Landmarks co-sponsored “Filme im Februar / Films in February” series, which traced the progression of German filmmaking from the 1920s to the present. The first week featured the exuberant creativity of Germany’s Weimar Republic (1919-1933); the second showed the abrupt change caused by Nazi dictatorship; the third documented the sentiments of post-war, occupied Germany as captured in film; and the final week showed the modern revitalization of German filmmaking. These films were shown in conjunction with speakers such as Macalester College Professor Linda Schulte-Sasse, author of Entertaining the Third Reich, and Professor Kirk Allison of the University of Minnesota.

With one exception, all films were shown in Landmark Center’s F. K. Weyerhaeuser Auditorium, lower level. The film on February 17th was shown at the:

Germanic-American Institute
301 Summit Avenue,
St. Paul MN



Weimar Republic Films At the beginning of the early 20th century, Germany had emerged as a leading center of the avant-garde and the birthplace of Expressionism in art and sculpture. These films reflect the creativity of the time.         

3.Feb.08 2PM Sun. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) German Expressionism first found its way into film with this movie about the somnambulant Cesare and the traveling magician, Dr. Caligari, who exercises an eerie amount of control over him—a classic in early horror-movie genre.

Lecture followed: "On the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" Professor Linda Schulte-Sasse of Macalester College

7.Feb.08 7PM Thu. “M” (1931) - Directed by Fritz Lang, Peter Lorre gives a chilling performance as a serial murderer who preys on small children in a film that rivals Metropolis and Lang's others as his greatest work.  (sponsored by Travelers Foundation)

Nazi Era Film After the freedom experienced under the Weimar Republic, the severe censorship and confined aesthetic of filmmaking under the Nazi regime was an extreme change. While exploring how the Nazis used non-propaganda films on the silver screen to serve their purposes, the question emerges: is art under censorship still valid?

10.Feb.08 2PM  Sun. The Eternal Jew (1940) One of the most famous pieces of Nazi propaganda aimed at Jews, its depiction of the Jews of Poland as filthy, evil, corrupt, and intent on world domination was used as a justification for the horrors of the Holocaust.

Lecture followed: "Eugenics and 'The Eternal Jew'" Professor Kirk Allison of the University of Minnesota

Special Valentine’s Day Film

14.Feb.08 7PM Thu. The Princess and the Warrior(2000) From the creators of “Run Lola Run” comes the story of Sissi, a nurse entirely devoted to her patients at Birkenhof asylum. A love story emerges as she meets Bodo, an ex-soldier wrestling with a traumatic past and a criminal future.

Post-War and Occupied-German Films In the period following the war, the German populace struggled to accept the atrocities they had participated in—directly or indirectly—under the Nazi regime. The following two films explore Germans’ search for some form of self-understanding during that tumultuous period of time.    

17.Feb.08 2PM Sun. The Murderers Are Among Us (1946) A woman returns to Berlin from a concentration camp to find that a Dr. Hans Mertins is living in her apartment, and refuses to leave. Over the course of the film, an unlikely compassion and understanding forms between the two.

21.Feb.08 7PM Thu. The Tin Drum(1979) The Tin Drum stands as a monumental exception to the rule that a great novel rarely inspires a great film. Young Oskar Matzerath, who grows up in Danzig and witnesses the rise of Nazism at the eve of World War II, decides at age 3 to stop growing—effectively shutting out the world and communicating only by banging on his tin drum. Volker Schlondorff‘s epic unfolds with cinematic artistry, psychological insight, political vision and symbolic richness  

Modern German Films From still coming to grips with their country’s history to moving ahead with new hope and creativity, these films show the range of modern German filmmaking.  

24.Feb.08 2PM Sun. Goodbye Lenin(2003) In East Germany in 1989, Alex Kerner’s mother Christiane falls into a coma just as the Berlin Wall is about to come down. Eight months later, she wakes up, but her heart is too weak to withstand any great shock. So Alex goes to great (and often hysterical) lengths to keep the truth about her country’s reform a secret. This widely praised, Golden Globe-nominated comedy played in festivals around the world.  

28.Feb.08 7PM Thu. Downfall(2004) It’s the last days of Adolf Hitler, April 1945, and Hitler’s personal secretary Traudl Junge finds herself in the Fuhrer’s bunker. Facing inevitable defeat, Hilter’s moods range from defiance to fight or fleeing, remaining loyal or opting for self-preservation. Eva Braun parties while Magda Goebbels kills her children. The movie goes on to show how Hitler and Eva lived their last hours in the infamous bunker.

(end of "Films in February")

Eastern Heartland BUS-eum 1 Tour
March-June 2008
Upper Midwest BUS-eum 2 Tour
April-May 2008

6 March 2008 - 7PM Thursday in Courtroom 317, Landmark Center, Saint Paul

Without Due Process: An Investigation of Unlawful Internment

TRACES sponsored two speakers: Teresa Nelson, Legal Counsel for the ACLU of Minnesota, who spoke about civil liberties violations involved with present-day detainment, while Michael Luick-Thrams, TRACES Executive Director, gave a historical overview of internment of German-American civilians during World War II.

3 April 2008 - noon Thursday in Chief Justice Room 430, Landmark Center, Saint Paul

German War Brides: A Retrospective

Author Annelee Woodstrom explored the experiences of former "enemies" coming to live in the American Heartland after World War II. After offering summaries of her story and responding to initial questions, the audience posed their questions about this mostly forgotten sub-chapter of Midwest/WWII history.

7PM Thursday in Chief Justice Room 430, Landmark Center, Saint Paul  Annelee Woodstrom's web site

War Child: One German War Bride's Story

Author Annelee Woodstrom's autobiography War Child described the Germany she knew as under Nazi dictatorship, and how meeting a Minnesota soldier at the war's end changed her life. When she arrived in Ada, Minnesota with her G.I. husband in 1947, she landed among a people recently portrayed to her as"the enemy" speaking almost no English. Now releasing her second book, Empty Chairs, she shared more about that and related experiences.

1 May 2008 - noon and 7PM Thursday in 2nd floor Galleria, Landmark Center, Saint Paul

Anneliese Solch and Kenny Woodstroms' wedding portrait, 1947

Censorship: Then and Now

After noon showing a documentary film about attempts in Oklahoma City to remove from public access the German film The Tin Drum, TRACES staff led a discussion about this incident in specific, as well as censorship in general.

Learn more about the Oklahoma censorship case involving the Tin Drum.

Also in the Galleria at 7 PM, Brian E. Fogarty, Professor and Chair of Sociology at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul spoke on censorship and suppression of ideas found throughout our culture. He explored why individuals or communities feel it necessary to isolate themselves from certain people or ideas. Fogarty is the author of War, Peace and the Social Order (Westview Press, 2000) and of Why Not Here? Germany, America & the Origins of Fascism (Potomac Books, forthcoming in Winter 2008). Fogarty teaches a course titled "Music, Culture, Genocide" at St. Catherine University.

12 June 2008 - noon Thursday in 2nd floor Galleria, Landmark Center, Saint Paul

Women and Girls: Coming of Age in the 1930s, 1940s and Today

TRACES featured six documentary shorts done by girls who partnered with elder women who came of age in the 30s and 40s, to explore growing up female then and now. Each girl worked with a woman partner (80 years old or older) and made a short film together sharing their experiences, fears and insights about growing up female in Minnesota. Many of the films involve mention of WWII, such as Dearest Albina, a narrative of the life of a 92-year-old St.Paul woman and the letters exchanged with her husband during the war. The young filmmakers, as well as their subjects presented their films and answer audience questions.

These films were made by TVbyGIRLS, a non-profit organization that works with girls ages 10 to 18 to build leadership, compassionate and collaborative working skills, critical thinking and engagement in social justice and the issues of their communities. For more information about TVbyGIRLS please visit:

TRACES hosted a luncheon reception at at 11:30 AM on Thursday, 12 June, honoring Travelers and their grant contribution. The Travelers grant makes possible the monthly free programming and first Thursday free admission. The luncheon was open to the public, but reservations were required.

10 July 2008 - noon Thursday in 2nd floor Galleria, Landmark Center, Saint Paul

World War II Veterans Stories by Minnesota Filmmakers

TRACES featured four documentary shorts done by Minnesota filmmakers about Minnesota World War II veterans. The films included a story of a veteran who served with the ski troops of the 10th Mountain Division during the war and veterans who served in key battles to defend Europe and the Pacific. At the program, the filmmakers gave a brief narrative of their films and they and the film subjects participated in a question and answer session with the audience after the films. A grant from Travelers made possible the monthly free programming and first Thursday free admission. The people of Travelers are actively engaged in cities and neighborhoods across America, contributing money, volunteer hours and know-how to worthy organizations.

7 August 2008 - noon Thursday in 2nd floor Galleria, Landmark Center, Saint Paul

They'd Hear My Beating Heart: Female Survivors of the Holocaust

Professor David Feinberg presented the film If Nothing Else They'd Hear My Beating Heart, about female survivors of the Holocaust. The "Voice to Vision" project helps Holocaust and Genocide survivors share their experiences through art. The stories of the survivors are first shared through dialogue, and then transformed into works of visual art that displays painting, drawing, collage, and mixed media. The film included the story of Gina Kugler, who was 14 when she boarded a train headed for the death camp of Treblinka. She and twelve other children squeezed through the small windows of the locked car and jumped off the train. They never saw their parents again.

For more information about "Voice to Vision" visit:  www.chgs.umn.edu/museum/exhibitions/voice/

21 August 2008 - noon Thursday in 2nd floor Galleria, Landmark Center, Saint Paul

Swords into Plowshares: German POWs in Minnesota, 1943-46

Twin Cities author Dean Simmons presented the little-known WWII history story of German POWs imprisoned in the Upper Midwest during WWII. His book Swords into Plowshares focuses on the roughly 380,000 German soldiers who were POWs in the U.S., some 10,000 of whom spent time in camps across Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas. Simmons found that not only did the war take away countless Minnesota men, it also created an immense labor shortage - leading to state leaders requesting POWs to work the farms. Of great interest was not just that Minnesota used POWs for labor during the war, a fairly common practice then, but how well the prisoners were treated. Swords into Plowshares documents this thoroughly human story, the process by which captors and captives came to regard each other, in the words of one German POW, as "just people." Simmons also presented further material gathered after the publication of his book. TRACES unveiled it's exhibit Held in the Heartland, about German POWs in the Midwest. TRACES free monthly programming was made possible by a grant from Travelers.

2 October 2008 - noon Thursday in 2nd floor Galleria, Landmark Center, Saint Paul 

"You Have Been Kind Enough to Assist Me":
Herman Stern and the Jewish Refugee Crisis

Author Terry Shoptaugh--professor of history at Minnesota State University Moorhead--spoke and read from his new book, “You Have Been Kind Enough to Assist Me: Herman Stern and the Jewish Refugee Crisis”. The book provides a rare, grassroots look at how some Americans reacted to the Holocaust as it developed.

It tells the story of Herman Stern, a North Dakota clothier who rescued about 140 German Jews from the impending Holocaust in Europe. Born in Germany in the 19th century, Stern immigrated to North Dakota in 1903 and took a job working for an uncle at Straus Clothing. Stern later became co-owner of a clothing chain and managed its branches from the home store in Valley City, North Dakota. In 1934 Herman Stern began sponsoring some of his nieces and nephews for American entry visas (which involved submitting an affidavit to the U.S. State Department, promising to be financially responsible for any immigrant who might have difficulty becoming financially independent).

Throughout his seven year mission to rescue German Jews, Stern relied on the help of North Dakota Senator Gerald Nye. A major figure in the American isolationist movement and a man later accused of being an anti-Semite, Nye time and again helped Stern get individuals out of Germany and to America. In time, Stern proposed a plan for settling hundreds of Jewish refugees in several North Dakota townships and began raising money for this purpose; the beginning of the Second World War in 1939 derailed the plan. He continued to respond to requests for affidavits from other relatives, and friends, however, and by finding co-sponsors among members of the North Dakota Jewish community, Stern was able to help more than 140 German Jews leave Germany and come to the United States.

“You Have Been Kind Enough to Assist Me”: Herman Stern and the Jewish Refugee Crisis, by Terry Shoptaugh. Fargo: North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies Press, 2008. 366pp., illustrated with photographs, $24.95.

poster slideshow  (These are downloads and the slideshow requires PowerPoint.)

6 November 2008 - noon-1PM Thursday at the Galleria, Landmark Center, Saint Paul

Past as Prolog: Learning from Shared Legacies

TRACES Executive Director Michael Luick-Thrams gave a guided tour of the museum, followed by commentary on how the overall TRACES project has used historical contexts to shed light on contemporary issues of war and peace.

7 November 2008 - 10am-5PM Thursday at Highland Park Branch Library, 1974 Ford Prkwy, St. Paul

Behind Barbed Wire: Midwest POWs in Nazi Germany

Until the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, the most U.S. POWs in Nazi hands came, per capita, from the Midwest.Visitors learned about this legacy through didactic panels, ten display cases with actual artifacts, three films and Director Michael Luick-Thrams as docent.

19 November 2008 - 12-1:15PM Wednesday at the Bishop Henry Whipple Building, Fort Snelling, Saint Paul/MN

Midwest POWs in Germany/German POWs in the Midwest in WWII

As part of the Federal Executive Board of the Twin Cities EEO Diversity Day TRACES Executive Director Michael Luick-Thrams will narrate two Power Point presentations about POWs in Germany and the Midwest during WWII, with emphasis on how the treatment they received affected post-war relations as well as the men's own lives. 

1:30-2:45PM Wednesday at the Bishop Henry Whipple Building, Fort Snelling, Saint Paul

7 December 2008 - 1-3pm Sunday at the Community Center, Crystal City/TX and 4-6pm at the Public Library, Uvalde/TX

Psychological/Social Effects of U.S. WWII Internment of German-American Civilians

Former internee Eberhard Fuhr spoke about having been interned in Camp Crystal City, and at Ellis Island after being almost deported to wartime Germany, with his immigrant parents and American-born brothers. Michael Luick-Thrams first narrated a Power Point presentation about German-American civilian internees in U.S. Government camps during WWII, with emphasis on how their experiences affected their post-war lives.

Michael Luick-Thrams' video presentation

Eb Fuhr's video presentation

interview with former internee Art Jacobs

Germans Interned in Texas during WWII -Texas Public Radio News

1945 U.S. Gov't film of Camp Crystal City/TX | la película en espanol

English/Spanish Transcript of NBC Dateline about WWII-Era Civilian Internment

BBC News' The Lost Voices of Crystal City

Hidden Piece of History

Michael Luick-Thrams (left), with former internees Eberhard Fuhr (Chicago), Carlo Krause and Guenther Greis (both of Wisconsin); the latter two generously helped underwrite the costs of showing VANISHED in Texas, as did Humanities Texas.

15 July 2009 - 1:30-2:30pm Wednesday at the Wabasha Street Caves, Saint Paul; Susanne Deitermann at Susanne@learnersedgeinc.comlearnersedgeinc.com or 877.394.4930 and www.learnersedgeinc.com description organized this event.

Beyond Chalk and Talk: Bringing Narrative History to Life In and Outside the Classroom!

History isn't boring, but history classes too often are! This course explored how to excite young and older learners alike, using "traces" of narratives left behind by history: letters, diaries, poetry or prose, articles, as well as photos, drawings, paintings or other artwork. In this instance, we used Midwest/WWII history as a case study, but creative teachers could apply the proven techniques behind effectively conveying these popular stories to wide audiences. The course utilized actual first-person documents in our work and activities.

19 October 2009 - 10:30-noon Monday at Iowa’s Mosaic Diversity Conference in the Scheman Center, Iowa State University, Ames

Schindler's List on the Prairie: Iowa's Scattergood Hostel for European Refugees, 1939-43

During some of the darkest days of the Nazis' reign of terror, 186 people found a safe haven on the Iowa prairie, at what had been a Quaker boarding school. There, individuals who likely would have perished at the hands of institutionalized hatred found compassionate help in rebuilding their lives. Supported by Iowa Quaker farmers and their allies, and staffed mostly by college-age volunteers, the hostel provided a rare, hands-on example of how the actions of "ordinary" people can change the lives of others, and shift the world on its axis.

29 March-19 April 2010 - various times & locations, Twin Cities/Saint Cloud Metro Areas & Central Minnesota

War and the North Star:
Minnesotans Experience World War II

Two WWII “Witnesses” Return to Minnesota to Tell Their Stories; Mobile Exhibit about Midwest POWs in Nazi Germany tours Central Minnesota


PROGRAM DESCRIPTION       PROGRAM SCHEDULE       interview with Edith

Edith Lichtenstein (holding kitten) sits with her brother Louis and two other child refugees at Scattergood Hostel, circa 1942.


25 April - 5 May 2010 - various times & locations in 18 communities across North Dakota

War Comes to the Peace Garden:
North Dakotans Remember WWII

Two-Week WWII History Exhibit and Programs follow Day-Long Launch Event at State Capitol Grounds in Bismarck



13-15 October 2010 - at various times and dates at Coe College, Cedar Rapids/Iowa

A 20th Century Journey: The Influence of William L. Shirer

Symposium on World Politics, Journalists and Their Impact on Society

sponsored by Coe College's Steward Memorial Library and collaborating departments

symposium program pages:
1, 2, 3, 4

Program Cover

22 January 2011
- Saturday at Adath Jeshurun Synagogue, 10500 Hillside Lane West, Minnetonka/MN 55305; Nina Samuels at ninas@adath.net or 952.215.3904 organized this event.


Outside the Camps: The Untold History of Jews in the Midwest in WWII

European and U.S. Jewish history involves more than just the Hitler/Holocaust duality often presented as "The Complete History" of a diverse people during a specific time. TRACES staff member Irving Kellman offered a survey of Midwest-related Jewish history during the years dominated but not defined solely by Nazism. Among other topics, he spoke about Midwest efforts to save Jewish and other refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe, the internment of Jewish-refugee and other German-American civilians, the fate of Jewish Midwest POWs in the Third Reich, the work of Jewish translators at camps for German POWs in the Midwest--and other unknown sub-chapters of the larger WWII drama.

11 February 2011 - 10.45-11.30am and 1.30-2.45pm Friday at the Academy for Sciences & Agriculture, 100 Vadnais Boulevard, Vadnais Heights/MN 55127; Paul Peterson at ppeterson@agacademy.com or 651.259.4971 organized this event.

More than Corn: A Survey of the Rural Midwest's Experiences of WWII

The rural Midwest's WWII history involved more than just sending the region's men off to fight Nazi and Japanese tyranny. TRACES Executive Director Michael Luick-Thrams offered a survey of Midwest-related European WWII-era history during the years dominated by Hitler and his followers, as documented by "witnesses" journals, letters, artwork, photos and other first-person accounts. Among other topics, he spoke about Midwest Quaker farmers' efforts to save Jewish and other refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe, the internment of German-American civilians in camps in the Midwest, the fate of Midwest POWs from rural communities in the Third Reich, camps for German POWs across the rural Midwest--and other, mostly unknown sub-chapters of the larger WWII drama.


17-18 May 2011  -  At various times, Tuesday and Wednesday at the Carver County Public Library system; Heidi Hoks at hhoks@co.carver.mn.us or 952.856.4503 organized this event.

Tuesday, May 17th
                                                               Wednesday, May 18th
10am - 1pm Norwood Young America Library                       10 am - 1pm Waconia Library
1:30 - 4:30pm Chaska Library                                                2 - 5pm Watertown Library
5 - 8pm Chanhassen Library

Behind Barbed Wire: Midwest POWs in Nazi Germany, 1943-45

Until the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, the most U.S. POWs in Nazi hands came, per capita, from the Midwest.Visitors from the southwest Metro Twin Cities area and beyond learned about this legacy through didactic panels, ten display cases with actual artifacts, three films and Director Michael Luick-Thrams as docent.

4 May 2012 - As of 7PM Thursday at the Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut Tübingen/German-American Institute Tübingen; Karlstrasse 3, 72072 Tübingen/Germany; contact Ute Bechdolf at mail@dai-tuebingen.de or per telephone 0049(0)7071.795 26-0 or fax 795 26-26

The lecture complemented the opening of Other Losses, set to show May and June in Tübingen. See the related article near the top of this page for an in-depth description of the exhibit.

26 May - 10 June 2012 - As of 10AM Saturday, 26 May, through Sunday noon, 10 June, at various locations in Southern Germany

Swabian English Camp

The TRACES Board of Directors supported a blending of past Midwest-German history projects and Executive Director Michael Luick-Thrams' temporary teaching engagement in Southern Germany in the form of a "Swabian English Camp" where two young American Quakers and a Waldorf co-ed from Arizona came to Remstal for two weeks, hosted by families from the local Waldorf school. Luick-Thrams organized both social and instructional sessions where the Americans and their young-German counterparts learned a great deal--about each other, as well as each others' native cultures, history, politics, economics, etc.

Schorndorfer Nachrichten, 2 June 2012

20 June 2012 - As of 9:30AM Wednesday at Humboldtschule; Jacobistraße 37, 61348 Bad Homburg/Germany; contact Anke Haueisen at Anke@Haueisen.net or per telephone 0049(0)177.596 2375 or (0)69.94412284

Michael Luick-Thrams shared with Frau Haueisen's upper-school pupils stories interweaving contemporary Germany, Greater Frankfurt (which includes Bad Homburg) and the wartime stories TRACES tells. He also extracted lessons from the overall history reviewed that morning for the young-adult Germans in his lively audience to reflect and comment upon, then subsequently use.

23 November 2012 - At 6PM Friday, as guest facilitator of the Quäker in Hessen Gruppe Frankfurt; Leerbachstraße 62, Frankfurt/Germany; contact Eugenie Bosch at mail@eugeniebosch.de or Lydia Stephan per telephone 0049(0)69.724559

Tapping impulses and ideas gathered during ten years of leading TRACES and then the Burr Oak Center, Michael Luick-Thrams shared these perspectives and proposals in the form of an evening discussion group built around the theme 10 x +/Solutions: Integrating Problems and Potential into a Self Rescue for Our Species and Planet.

25 January 2013 - At 7PM Friday, a staged reading of Scott Dixon's new play Enemy Alien, followed by a feedback session, at the Commonweal Theatre, 208 Parkway Ave. N., Lanesboro/MN 55949; admission free but reservations recommended at 800.657.7025.

Adapted from a 16 January 2013 posting by Tom Weber at http://www.postbulletin.com

New WWII play gets reading at Commonweal

LANESBORO — A new play being developed by Lanesboro actor/writer Scott Dixon will be presented in a staged reading January 25th at the Commonweal Theatre.

Dixon's play, Enemy Alien, is about two German-American brothers held in an internment camp in North Dakota during World War II. The story formed in Dixon's imagination after he saw an exhibit at the TRACES Center for History and Culture in St. Paul about the internment of Germans and German-Americans during the war.

"I was really intrigued by this lost chapter of history," Dixon said. "It fired my imagination, thinking 'What would I do in that situation?' "

Dixon is a member of the resident company at the Commonweal, where he has staged an original play, A Midnight Dreary, about the life of Edgar Allan Poe. He has also published a book of short stories.

In Enemy Alien, the two brothers take opposite approaches to their internment. One decides to prove he's a patriotic American, while the other begins to think and behave like an enemy alien.

Several thousand German-Americans were moved to internment camps during the war. Most of those camps were in the Midwest. Dixon said "It's a part of our local history."

While developing the plot, Dixon opted early on to write a play rather a prose story or a book.

"For me, the drama of the story grabbed me in such a way that it hit my imagination as a play," he explained. "I thought of it as an intimate story, a personal human story at the center of it and, to me, that spoke of a theatrical process."

For the staged reading, actors will read from the script. It will be followed by a talk-back session. "That audience feedback is going to tell me a lot about what I want to do with this script," Dixon said. "The audience is really a valuable part of the creative process."

Scott Dixon

Past Program Highlights


2007 | 2006 |  2005 | 2004 | 2003 |  2002 |  2001 | 2000-2001 

Pre-2000 Recommendations


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