Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Robert E. Asher
ASHER: No, we just decided if we were going to go to the University of Berlin in the fall — we didn't realize at the time that universities in Europe don't open until about November 1st — that we had better get over there and see some of Europe before we had to start school. We both had enough French to get along. We had a marvelous year, what they call a Wanderjahr in German, seeing small towns in Europe. Paris was about the only major French city we stayed in. Most of the time we were in rural areas, Normandy, Brittany, the Pyrenees, and so on. Got to the University of Berlin in September, enrolled, and discovered to our delight, that we could get immediately the student identification cards that permitted holders to get tickets at half price or less at Stadttheaters, museums, and railroad ticket offices. We really had six weeks in which to enjoy the cultural life of Berlin without any responsibilities.
Q: Where you picking up German?
ASHER: Yes. We signed up promptly with a teacher. I had had somexposure in my family and two years of German in college, and
Q: “Nicht f�r die kinder,” so you picked up some.
ASHER: Yes. In Berlin, I carefully chose lecture courses, rather than courses in which I would have to participate. Although in one of the art courses, the professor took us around the major gallery in Berlin, the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, for some enlightening discussions of the works there. The year abroad really opened my eyes to art and to foreign literature, and interested me in them. In Belgium and the Netherlands, I had fallen in love with Flemish art and I loved going to art museums.
Q: This is at time of great political turmoil.
ASHER: Yes, we were exposed to a little of that, too.
Q: Can you talk about what you were observing?
ASHER: Yes. We started asking people about this man Hitler, whose name was already known in Germany, he had gotten 14% of the vote in 1930...
Q: This is the NSDP, National Socialist Democratic Party.