A Haus for a Home

Jutta Ley

Students opting for Wagner, Brecht, Doner Kebaps and Fussball at Stanford-in-Berlin partake of this fare in high style. For the past 25 years, the 75 or so Stanford students who go each year have studied in a villa--a historical landmark neighboring the German foreign ministry.

Alumnus George Will, '55--who emigrated to the U.S. as a boy and now lives in Berlin--donated about two-thirds of the $3million purchase price. Last fall, Stanford bought Haus Cramer, making it the University's first and only property outside of the United States. Former Stanford President Gerhard Casper and director of Stanford's Berlin campus Karen Ruoff Kramer, '67, PhD '84 helped negotiate the deal with the city of Berlin.

Built in 1912 , the gray sandstone building, replete with red tile roof, was the home for many years to the Cramer family, who escaped to the United States after Adolf Hitler came to power. In 1976, it became the site of Stanford's program in Berlin. Senior Kati Morrison says of the villa, the Haus is a unique blend of old and new, not unlike the city of Berlin itself. A piano room with formal portraits sits adjacent to a "funky library with cool see-through glass floors," she says.

"It's a special, sacred place," says Morrison.