Sunday, December 30, 2007

Shock of Recognition

At Columbia College, I took a German course--with a young teacher, Professor Stern--this was 1954-55 or so--
Charming, easy-going guy--

I remember asking him, in front of the class, to translate a German sentence further on in our German book--
Es gibt kein Stern in Himmel--

He looked disgusted--and asked another student to translate it--

The other student said, There is no star in heaven

I shook my head vigorously.

Prof. Stern seemed surprised. What do you think it means? he asked.

"There is no STERN in heaven," I said

He laughed. The class hooted


Tonight I was watching a documentary, The Ritchie Boys. About the training of US intelligence agents during WW 2--mostly German-speaking young men.

There's Prof. Guy Stern! He was prominent intelligence officer before coming to Columbia!

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