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Student Explores Memorials, Memories

Scholarship will support study and research in Germany

Knox College student Sophia Croll, in front of a memorial stained glass window that includes a globe, in a church near campus.

by Erica Baumgardner '16

Sophia Croll will draw on all her language skills, plus her background in history, as she tackles studies and a research project in Germany this spring and summer.

Delta Phi Alpha, the National German Honors Society, recently awarded Croll '16 a highly selective study abroad scholarship, which she is using to participate in the Knox-Flensburg Exchange, headquartered at the university in the port town of Flensburg, Germany.

In addition to taking classes with internationally recognized professors and scholars, the German and history major hopes to learn more about public memorials in Germany, using a distinctly new perspective.

"There is no word in German for public history," Croll said, looking ahead to her summer research on German memorialization of World War II.

"I've always been interested in how collective memories are created and perpetuated by societies," Croll explained. Memorials offer an alternative interpretation beyond traditional historical textbooks and epigraphs, she says. Memorials are a form of historical documentation that "express the wants, needs and desires of the people."

After studying Latin in high school, Croll took up German when she came to Knox. "Latin was more about translating into English than studying the language itself," Croll explained. "German is a useful language for a historian," Croll said, because many European historical documents and studies are written in the language.

Top of page, Sophia Croll at a memorial stained glass window in a church near the Knox campus; above, Sophia and other Knox students and faculty in an off-campus program, visiting the Reichstag and the German Historical Museum, along with a market in Berlin.

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Printed on Monday, July 22, 2024