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German Diasporic Experiences

Identity, Migration, and Loss

By Sebastian Siebel-Achenbach
Edited by David G. John, Grit Liebscher, James M. Skidmore, Mathias Schulze, and Sebastian Siebel-Achenbach
Subjects Social Science, Emigration & Immigration, History
Series WCGS German Studies Hide Details
Hardcover : 9781554580279, 540 pages, October 2008
Ebook (PDF) : 9781554581313, 540 pages, October 2008

Table of contents

Table of Contents for German Diasporic Experiences, edited by Mathias Schulze, James M. Skidmore, David G. John, Grit Liebscher, and Sebastian Siebel-Achenbach
The Speckled People | Hugo Hamilton
1. Diaspora Experiences: German Immigrants and Their Descendants | Mathias Schulze
I. Identity
2. Language and Identity in the German Diaspora | Janet M. Fuller
3. Language and the Negotiation of Identities among German-speaking Diasporic Communities in Central Europe | Patrick Stevenson and Jenny Carl
4. German-speaking Swiss in Australia: Typical Swiss, Model Immigrants, or a Sonderfall Abroad? | Doris Schüpbach
5. Migration, Language Use, and Identity: German in Melbourne, Australia, since the World War II | Sandra Kipp
6. Language and Identity: The German-speaking People of Paarl | Rolf Annas
7. Canadian German: Identity in Language | Grit Liebscher and Jennifer Dailey-O’Cain
8. “Memories from Afar”: Aspects of Memories Spanning Several Generations in Families of Austrian Jewish Refugees | Andrea Strutz
9. Pulitzer, Preetorius, and the German-American Identity Project of the Westliche Post in St. Louis | Jason Todd Baker
10. “We dont want Kiser to rool in Ontario”: Franco-Prussian War, German Unification, and World War I as Reflected in the Canadian Berliner Journal (1859–1918) | Anne Löchte
11. The Politics of Diaspora: Russian German Émigré Activists in Interwar Germany | James Casteel
12. Creating Transcultural Space: Ethnicity, Gender, and the Arts in Chicago, from the 1890s to the 1950s | Christiane Harzig
13. The German Democratic Republic and the Citizens of German Origin in Canada: The Role of the Gesellschaft Neue Heimat, 1980–1990 | Manuel Meune
II. Migration
14. Moving beyond Hyphenated German Culture: Establishing a Research Agenda for Expatriate and Heritage German Literary Studies | James M. Skidmore
15. Some Facts and Figures on German-Speaking Exiles in Ireland, 1933–45 | Gisela Holfter
16. Conversion as a “Two-Edged Sword”: Evangelicalism among Pittsburgh’s German Immigrants | Nora Faires
17. The Diasporic Moment: Elise von Koerber, Dr. Otto Hahn, and the Attempt to Create a German Diaspora in Canada | Angelika E. Sauer
18. German Migrants in Postwar Britain: Immigration Policy, Recruitment, and Reception | Johannes-Dieter Steinert and Inge Weber-Newth
19. Immigration of German-speaking People to the Territory of Modern-day Turkey (1850–1918) | Christin Pschichholz
20. Associating or Quarrelling? Migration, Acculturation, and Transmission among Social-democratic Sudeten- Germans in Canada | Patrick Farges
21. Sudeten-German Refugees in Canada and the Forced Migration of Germans in Postwar Central and Eastern Europe | Pascal Maeder
22. Language Attrition among Germans Living in the Netherlands | Anne Ribbert
23. Der Onkel aus Amerika: The German Emigrant as a Figure of Speech and Fictional Character | Carsten Würmann
24. “Ich will nach Amerika, mir eine neue Heimat suchen”: The Emigration of Expellees in Post-1945 West German Film | Hanno Sowade
25. German Diaspora Experiences in British Columbia after 1945 | Christian Lieb
26. The German Language in the South Seas: Language Contact and the Influence of Language Politics and Language Attitudes | Stefan Engelberg
27. Migration, Gender, and Storytelling: How Gender Shapes the Experiences and the Narrative Patterns in Biographical Interviews | Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich
28. The Domestication of Radical Ideas and Colonial Spaces: The Case of Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche | Karin Bauer
III. Loss
29. Reasons and Conditions of Population Transfer: The Expulsion of Germans from East and Central Europe and Their Integration in Germany and Abroad after World War II | Hans Lemberg
30. Emigration and Wiedergutmachung: The Social History of Jewish Entrepreneurs from Frankfurt, 1933–63 | Benno Nietzel
31. Dissolving the German Diaspora in Poland: A Different Approach | Dieter K. Buse
32. Suffering in a Province of Asia: The Russian-German Diaspora in Kazakhstan | J. Otto Pohl
33. The Nationalization Campaign and the Rewriting of History: The Case of Blumenau | Méri Frotscher Kramer
34. Pennsylvania German in Kansas: Language Change or Loss? | J&ouml’rg Meindl
35. Wernher von Braun and Arthur Rudolph: Negotiating the Past in Huntsville | Monique Laney
36. Brave or Naive? Memory Work and Vergangenheits-bew&auml’ltigung in Gertrud Mackprang Baer’s In the Shadow of Silence | Doris Wolf
37. A German Post-1945 Diaspora? German Migrants’ Encounters with the Nazi Past | Alexander Freund
38. Di Brandt’s Writing Breaks Canadian Mennonite Silence and Reshapes Cultural Identity | Natasha G. Wiebe
39. Use It or Lose It? Language Use, Language Attitudes, and Language Proficiency among German Speakers in Vancouver | Monika S. Schmid
Notes on Contributors
Rolf Annas is a senior lecturer in German at the Universiteit Stellenbosch in South Africa. He specializes in foreign language didactics, German in South Africa, and media studies. He has edited a book on the teaching of foreign language and literature and has published a number of articles in academic journals.
Jason Todd Baker is working with historian James McGrath Morris on a biography of Joseph Pulitzer. He holds a PhD in German literature from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and has studied in Greifswald and Berlin.
Karin Bauer is an associate professor of German at McGill University in Montreal. She wrote her dissertation on Nietzsche and Adorno and received her PhD in Germanics from the University of Washington in 1992. Her research and publications focus on critical theory, Nietzsche, the Frankfurt School, contemporary German literature, minority literature, and film studies.
Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich is a professor in the anthropology program at the School of Social and Cultural Studies at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. She completed her Habilitation at the University of Göttingen and has published books on German immigration to New Zealand and European ethnology in Silesia as well as many articles and book chapters.
Dieter K. Buse is Professor Emeritus of History at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Canada, and received his PhD from the University of Oregon. The Regions of Germany is the title of his most recently published book. He has also co-edited a well-received encyclopedia of modern German history and published a number of other books and many articles.
Jenny Carl is a research assistant on a project funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council concentrating on German and Austrian foreign-language policy and German-language practices in Central Europe. She studied European studies at the universities of Osnabrück in Germany and Hull in the United Kingdom and completed her doctorate on representations of European identities in parliamentary discourses in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland at the Universität Osnabrück in 2005.
James Casteel is coordinator of the Zelikovitz Centre for Jewish Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa,where he also teaches in the Department of History. He received his PhD from Rutgers University. His publications and conference presentations have focused on encounters with eastern Europe in German culture. He is currently completing a book manuscript on German perceptions of Russia from 1900 to 1945.
Jennifer Dailey-O’Cain is an associate professor of German applied linguistics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Her research includes work in language, migration, and identity in both Germany and German speaking Canada, code-switching in the classroom, the quotative system in English, and language attitudes in post-unification Germany.
Stefan Engelberg is a professor at the Institut für deutsche Sprache in Mannheim. He wrote his Habilitation at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal on lexical and structural aspects of the constitution of sentence meaning. He has co-edited two books and is the author of Verben, Ereignisse und das Lexikon, and his research in linguistics is published widely.
Nora Faires is a professor of history and the chair of Canadian studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She has co-authored two award-winning books on the history of immigrants and written a large number of articles and chapters on her research on migration in North America. She also has conducted public history projects, curated a museum exhibit, produced a video, and developed teaching materials for schools.
Patrick Farges is an assistant professor at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3. He received his PhD in German from Paris 8 Vincennes Saint Denis and has presented his research on German migration in papers and at conferences. A book based on his PhD appeared in 2008 in France (Paris, Editions de la MSH).
Alexander Freund is an associate professor of history and holds the Chair in German-Canadian Studies at the University of Winnipeg in Winnipeg, Canada. He has published a book on German emigration to North America after World War II as well as several articles and chapters on German migration and German migrants’ approaches to dealing with the Nazi past.
Méri Frotscher Kramer works in the History Department at Universidade Estadual do Oeste do Paraná in Brazil. She wrote her doctoral dissertation at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina on nationalism and identity discourses in Blumenau and published it as a book in 2007.
Janet M. Fuller is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois. She studied at Macalester College in Minnesota, the Freie Universität Berlin, and took her PhD in linguistics from the University of South Carolina. She has won many research and professional awards, published in many specialized journals and books, and lectured extensively throughout North America and Europe.
Hugo Hamilton was born in Dublin of Irish German parentage. He has published a memoir of his Irish German childhood, The Speckled People, and its sequel, The Sailor in the Wardrobe. He has also written the novels Surrogate City, The Last Shot, The Love Test, Headbanger, and Sad Bastard, as well as shorter texts. He lives in Dublin.
Christiane Harzig was an associate professor of history at Arizona State University. She studied in Berlin and Bremen and completed her habilitation at the Universität Bremen. She edited and co-edited several books on migration and published her research in anthologies and journals. Her book on immigration and politics appeared in 2004. Cancer cut short her life in 2007. She is sadly missed.
Gisela Holfter is a senior lecturer in German and the joint director of the Centre for Irish German Studies at the University of Limerick. She obtained her MA from Washington University St. Louis and her PhD in Cologne. Her current research interests include German-speaking exiles in Ireland, and she has published widely on travel writing, German Irish relations, and German literature.
David G. John is a professor of German and the director of the Waterloo Centre for German Studies. His main research focus is on eighteenthcentury literature and culture, with an emphasis on theatre. His research on Johann Christian Krüger, the Nachspiel, and Goethe has led to book publications.
Sandra Kipp has worked and published in the area of Australian language demography since 1991 and has been involved in research on German in Australia since 1969. She is an honorary research fellow at the University of Melbourne working on the maintenance of German in Australia since World War II. Other interests include bilingualism, language contact phenomena, and second-language acquisition.
Monique Laney is a PhD candidate in American studies at the University of Kansas and received her MA from the J.W.Goethe Universität in Frankfurt. She has published her research comparing German and American newspaper representations of the war in Iraq and presented her research on German Americans after World War II at a number of conferences.
Hans Lemberg is Professor Emeritus of East European history in the Department of History and Cultural Sciences at Philipps Universität Marburg. He studied and received his doctorate and Habilitation at the University of Cologne and has been professor at the universities of Düsseldorf and Marburg since 1973. His extensive list of articles and book publications focuses inter alia on German minority migration and expulsion in and from Eastern Europe.
Christian Lieb received his PhD from the University of Victoria for his research on German immigration to British Columbia between 1945 and 1961. He has MA degrees from the Universität Duisburg and the University of Maine.
Grit Liebscher is an associate professor of German at the University of Waterloo. She obtained her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin and is a trained sociolinguist with a focus on interactional sociolinguistics and conversation analysis. Her research interests, on which she has published widely, include language use among German Canadians, language and migration in post-unification Germany, and language practices in the bilingual classroom.
Anne Löchte currently works at the Humboldt Universität in Berlin. She wrote her doctoral dissertation at the Technische Universität Berlin on Gottfried Herder and published it in 2005. During her stay as a guest researcher at the Waterloo Centre for German Studies, she wrote a book on the Canadian German-language newspaper Berliner Journal.
Pascal Maeder works at the Universität Basel, Switzerland. He completed his PhD at York University, Canada, on the social and cultural integration of expellees in postwar West Germany and Canada. He grew up in Switzerland and studied for his MA at the universities of Basel, Zurich, and Rouen, France.
Jörg Meindl is working on his PhD dissertation on communication strategies in Pennsylvania German speech islands in Kansas at the University of Kansas. He received his MA in German philology from the Universität Heidelberg.
Manuel Meune is an associate professor of German at the Université de Montréal. He received his doctorate from the Université Marc Bloch in Strasbourg, France. In 2003, he published a book on the Germans in Quebec. His main research interests are in Canadian German cultural relations and the historical memory of German immigrants to Canada.
Benno Nietzel obtained his MA from Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, where he now works in the Department of History as a research assistant for a project on Jewish entrepreneurs in Berlin, Breslau, and Frankfurt between 1929/30 and 1945.
J. Otto Pohl is an associate professor of international and comparative politics at American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.He received his PhD in history from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and is the author of two books, The Stalinist Penal System and Ethnic Cleansing in the USSR, 1937–1949.
Christin Pschichholz completed her PhD on German Protestant communities in the territory of modern-day Turkey between 1843 and 1919 at the Universität Kiel. She is interested in interdisciplinary approaches to European and Oriental history.
Anne Ribbert works as a junior researcher at the Radboud University Nijmegen. She is researching the impact of immigration on syntactic change in the Netherlands between 1400 and 1700. Before joining Nijmegen she conducted research in the fields of second-language acquisition, language attrition, and theoretical linguistics at the universities of Amsterdam and McGill.
Angelika E. Sauer is an associate professor of history at Texas Lutheran University. Her PhD in history is from the University of Waterloo. She coedited A Chorus of Different Voices: German-Canadian Identities and has published her research in a large number of articles and chapters.
Monika S. Schmid is a Rosalind Franklin Fellow in the Department of English at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. She earned her PhD in Düsseldorf with a dissertation entitled “First Language Attrition, Use, and Maintenance: The Case of German Jews in Anglophone Countries,” which was published later as a book. She has co-edited books on language history and language attrition, and is published widely in articles and book chapters.
Mathias Schulze is an associate professor of German at the University of Waterloo. He obtained his PhD in language engineering at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, co-authored a book on the application of artificial intelligence to computer-assisted language learning, and has published many articles. His research interest in bilingual language structures developed when he moved to Waterloo in 2001.
Doris Schüpbach is a lecturer in the German program at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. She received her PhD from the University of Melbourne in 2005 for the thesis entitled “Shared Languages, Shared Identities, Shared Stories: A Qualitative Study of Life Stories by Immigrants from German-Speaking Switzerland in Australia.” Her main research interests are in the fields of sociolinguistics, language contact, and language and identity in an immigrant context.
Sebastian Siebel-Achenbach teaches history at the University of Waterloo. He obtained his DPhil in history from Oxford University and has published a book entitled The Social and Political Transformation of Lower Silesia, 1943-1948 in English and in German translation.
James M. Skidmore is associate professor of German at the University of Waterloo. He wrote his PhD dissertation at Princeton University on Ricarda Huch’s historiography during the Weimar Republic and published a revised version as a book. He has also published widely on German literature, German Canadian comparative literature, and university teaching.
Hanno Sowade is a historian at the Foundation Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland in Bonn and an adjunct professor at the Otto Beisheim School of Management. He has consulted on a number of museum exhibitions, co-written the documentation for exhibitions, and published widely on recent German history and society.
Johannes-Dieter Steinert is a professor of modern European history and migration studies at the University of Wolverhampton. He received his habilitation in history from the University of Osnabrück. He has published books on the expellee associations in North Rhine-Westphalia, migration from West Germany between 1945 and 1961, and the relationship between politics and the arts in North Rhine-Westphalia. He has coauthored Germans in Postwar Britain, on Germans in Great Britain after World War II, and co-edited two volumes on postwar history, Labour & Love and European Immigrants in Britain 1933–1950.
Patrick Stevenson is a professor of German and linguistic studies at the University of Southampton,where he also obtained his PhD. He authored The German-Speaking World and Language and German Disunity, has co- authored a book on sociolinguistic perspectives on linguistic variation in German, co-edited two further volumes, and is the editor of The German Language and the Real World. His research on sociolinguistics has appeared in numerous articles and book chapters.
Andrea Strutz is a researcher at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institut für Gesellschafts- und Kulturgeschichte having received her PhD from the Universität Graz, where she is also a lecturer at the History Institute. She has published widely on restitution for Holocaust victims in Austria and the role of memory in our understanding of recent history.
Inge Weber-Newth is a principal lecturer in German and applied language studies at London Metropolitan University. Her main research interests are in postwar German and European migration, on which she has published widely. She is co-author or co-editor of, among others, Labour & Love, European Immigrants in Britain 1933–1950, and German Migrants in Postwar Britain. She also co-organized two conferences entitled “Beyond Camps and Forced Labour” and co-edited two conference proceedings.
Natasha G. Wiebe is a PhD candidate in educational studies at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada. Her dissertation project focuses on cultural storylines in the works of Mennonite authors Di Brandt and Miriam Toews. She has published and presented research on the writing of Brandt and Toews, as well as poetry about her own “mennocostal” (Mennonite and Pentecostal) experiences.
Doris Wolf is an assistant professor at the University of Winnipeg who specializes in contemporary Canadian literature and culture. She has published articles on Suzette Mayr, a Canadian author of Caribbean German descent. She has just completed an examination of Mavis Gallant’s German stories, and is currently working on Gertrud Mackprang Baer’s In the Shadow of Silence.
Carsten Würmann is a PhD candidate at the Freie Universität Berlin and is working on a dissertation on literature of the Third Reich. He has published articles, book chapters, book reviews, and encyclopaedia entries on various aspects of German literature and has co-edited five books.


Co-published with the Waterloo Centre for German Studies
For centuries, large numbers of German-speaking people have emigrated from settlements in Europe to other countries and continents. In German Diasporic Experiences: Identity, Migration, and Loss, more than forty international contributors describe and discuss aspects of the history, language, and culture of these migrant groups, individuals, and their descendants. Part I focuses on identity, with essays exploring the connections among language, politics, and the construction of histories—national, familial, and personal—in German-speaking diasporic communities around the world. Part II deals with migration, examining such issues as German migrants in postwar Britain, German refugees and forced migration, and the immigrant as a fictional character, among others. Part III examines the idea of loss in diasporic experience with essays on nationalization, language change or loss, and the reshaping of cultural identity.
Essays are revised versions of papers presented at an international conference held at the University of Waterloo in August 2006, organized by the Waterloo Centre for German Studies, and reflect the multidisciplinarity and the global perspective of this field of study.


Truly an impressive collection of research concerning the diverse experiences and complex process of adaptation of German-speaking people in their new homelands....German Diasporic Experience certainly provokes the reader to contemplate the difficult question concerning the basis of German identity—is it nationality, culture, or temporal context—and also the difficult question of assessing the complex migration experience. As such, this book is an extremely valuable contribution for scholars and laymen interested in German culture and migration studies. The essays offer rich and insightful material to further the exploration of culture and identity formation and how they define us in this global village.

- Eugenie M. Blang, Hampton University, German Studies Review, Vol. 33, #2, May 2010, 2010 July

This book is an important contribution to German Studies because it focuses on subjects neglected by mainstream research and complements German exile studies that have mainly dealt with the cultural artifacts produced by the exiles in art, literature, music, and university scholarship... With few exceptions exile research has neglected mass migration and concentrated on individual achievements and failures, while diaspora studies paid little attention to artistic and intellectual production. Both fields have largely ignored each other. This volume shows that they could profit from each other in the future.

- Ehrhard Bahr, University of California, Los Angeles, Monatshefte, Vol. 102, #2, 2010, 2010 July