Dr. Gisela E. Bahr was born the youngest of six children in 1923 in Landsberg an der Warthe, then in Brandenburg and today in Poland, known now as Gorzów Wielkopolski. She was a senior in High School in 1939 when an attack on Poland began WWII, cancelled school. After completing a year of work camp on a farm, she earned admission to Humboldt University of Berlin where she majored in Musicology specializing in violin. After the war ended, Gisela found her mother and oldest sister Gertrude and made a living as a seamstress and then a violin player in a small orchestra. Her first “serious job” was editing for Fischer Publishing Co. a famous encyclopedia publisher doing something she loved – working with languages. She then accepted a job in New York on Wall Street and completed her MA and PhD at New York University in German Literature with a dissertation on Brecht’s Im Dickicht der Städte, This won her first prize for the best NYU dissertation of 1966. After completing her studies, she went on to teach at Rutgers University before joining the faculty in 1972 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. There she chaired the Department of German, Russian, and East Asian Languages and finished her academic career as emerita professor of German in 1987.
Many in Oxford knew Gisela as a founding member of the Hopedale Unitarian Universalist Congregation and an enthusiastic teacher spreading the message of voluntary simplicity and serving on the board of the UU Ministry for Earth. She will be remembered as an active teacher in Miami University's Institute for Learning in Retirement and prolific contributor to, Then and Now: Musings and Memories from Residents of the Knolls. The Hopedale Unitarian Univeralist Community will host a celebration of life ceremony later this summer when the flowers she loved are blooming.
In 2018, The International Brecht Society honored Gisela E. Bahr – The Founding Mother of the International Brecht Society! https://e-cibs.org/issue-1-2018/#bahr
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