A German-American is coming to EWU March 2 to give a lecture about the warning signs of fascism. Karin Temple will be giving the one hour lecture, entitled “Signals of Fascism: Parallels of Differences between 1930s Germany and Current U.S. Conditions,” in the JFK Auditorium at noon.
Karin’s lecture is sponsored by the departments of English, Women’s Studies, Modern Languages and Literatures, History and Government and by the student organizations Eagle Entertainment and Food for Thought.
Temple is a German native who was born during WWII.
Because of the influence her country was under when she was growing up, Temple said she is very sensitive to fascist ideas.
Temple explained fascism as originating in Italy; it was the name of the party under the dictator Mussolini. The term is now used to describe the Nazi party and any government that operates under right wing ideology and nationalism. Fascism ultimately leads to restriction of civil liberties and wars.
Her speech will contrast historical facist states with what is happening in the current administration, Temple said.
She said that comparisons can be made from the U.S. government to that of Germany in the ’30s and ’40s.
Temple said that the purpose of her lecture is to make people more aware of the things that are going on in their country.
She said she hoped to “get people a little uncomfortable and unsettled about what is going on and what they can do about it.”
Temple said that after being exposed to the information that she will be presenting, people can either stick their heads in the sand and hide, or they can be critical and be informed.
She hopes that after hearing the information, people will be alert and write letters to people who can make a bigger difference.
Temple said that she hopes students will think thoroughly about the information that she is presenting.
“I hope that they will be first quite alarmed, but in the end will just walk away more thoughtful,” she said.
She also said that Americans seem to have a hard time remembering what has happened in the past.
Temple said that she uses Germany as an example to compare with America because she hopes that it will spark something and get people to act, being compared with a country that did such horrible things.
Temple stepped back from full-time teaching at Clatsop Community College in Astoria, Ore. in 1997.
After she stepped back, she said, “Then I had lots of time to reinvent myself.”
She spent three years researching the history of Germany, specifically the history of the Weimar Republic, which was the form of government in Germany from the end of WWI to the beginning of Hitler’s rule.
Temple has published books of poetry and presented lectures that address the Weimar Republic and her reflections as a child growing up in a country during a time of war.
Temple said, “I do believe poetry can make a political impact.”
Temple said she taught a class, developed a lecture and did a big multimedia presentation on the history of the Weimar Republic that had visual digital images and poetry read by Temple.
The event was called “Weimar Two” and she said, “It was very well received.”
Temple said that the presentation included “all kinds of neat stuff,” and it was so well attended the first time that they did two performances.
Temple said that when she was growing up in Germany, she accepted the war.
“I was four when the war ended,” she said, “and I was brought up in a strong tradition of feeling shame. That’s a burden that I have accepted, and it is part of the reason why I left Germany.”
Now, Temple said, “I’m ashamed for what my new country is doing. Fortunately it’s a better democracy so I get to speak up.”
Temple said she is excited to be able to speak at EWU.
“I’m really happy that I have the opportunity to speak on your campus and meet a lot of people,” she said.
In her presentation, Temple will also look at vilification of certain groups; media control; use of language and acronyms; citizen’s behavioral options: approval, denial, resistance, emigration, suicide, inner emigration and later trauma.
“I think that Americans have historical amnesia and to see that they’re on the same path of other countries will maybe wake them up,” Temple said.