Download Erlo's story.
Erlo fled Communist Rule in East Germany and found Capitalist Struggle in West Germany. In 1960, he escaped the Cold War in Europe to the safety of Australia. His new home offered him hope alongside the inevitable the culture shock: “I lost my youth by leaving home.”
Download Erlo's story.
This speech was presented by Exhibition Coordinator Sabine Nielsen at the exhibition opening at Grovedale Neighbourhood House, Grovedale on 1 October 2015.
The Wathauwurung are the traditional owners of the land where the settlement of Grovedale took place.
We are of course much more recent arrivals – and as such we are grateful that we can meet and share our stories, as is the tradition among the First Nation people – and indeed, it is what Grovedale Neighbourhood House is all about – a totem pole at the entrance welcomes visitors in different languages and offers greetings of peace.
Panel discussion, Osborne House Geelong (special exhibition event)
According to Wikipedia "Identity is a person's conception and expression of their own (self-identity) and other's individuality or group affiliations (such as national identity and cultural identity)." Of course, one could talk about other aspects, such as ethnicity, race, nationality or religion as defining attributes - but "cultural identity" seems to me to encompass all that. And that's what we attempted to discover In our panel discussion on Saturday (26 September) at Osborne House, Geelong, when we asked: "How and when do you start feeling like an 'Aussie'?"
Speech by Sabine Nielsen, Exhibition Coordinator, at the occasion of the opening of the exhbition at Osborne House on 4 September 2015.
At our our seventh exhibition, in Osborne House Geelong and we have invited Diversitat, Geelong’s cultural diversity organisation, and the German Karneval Association to be our partners.
Our focus at this exhibition venue are the experiences of German migrants of the past, the presence – represented very much by the Karneval Society and their ongoing experience and presence in Geelong’s cultural life – and for the first time: we are extending the exhibition to other migrant groups and the incredible diversity we meet here – with Diversitat, who represent fifty different ethnic and cultural communities, we can not only show the presence but also consider the future of migration and migration issues.
Although German ancestry, according to the last census, is still among the top ten of ethnic and national ancestries in Australia, German Australians and their descendants are much less visible than other ethnic groups in Australia.
There is a long history of German migration to Australia – and more specifically to Victoria. With the help of a few pictures, Leo sketches what we could call the pre-history of the personal migration histories from the 1930s to the 1990s that are told in such lively voices by their protagonists themselves in Sabine Nielsen’s book and shown in the exhibits.
>>> DOWNLOAD LEO'S PRESENTATION
Also worth visiting is Dave Nutting's website which is full of historical facts of German migration to Australia (in German and English language). Click here to access the site.
Ageing well in a foreign country: Support needs and preferences of ageing German Australians – a qualitative study
A study by Margit (Meg) Polacsek
>>> DOWNLOAD MEG'S POWERPOINT PRESENTATION
In 2014, Meg undertook a study as part of her Masters degree in Health Science (Aged Services), at the College of Arts, Victoria University.
Meg cites that “Australia has one of the highest overseas-born populations in the world. Many years of migration have shaped its cultural and linguistic diversity, with migrants from all parts of the world contributing to Australian society, culture and prosperit ... At 30 June 2013, almost a third of the Australian population was born overseas.”
Her interest in Aged Care led her to investigate more specifically, what it meant for members of the ‘culturally and linguistically diverse’ population – referred to by the Department of Health and Ageing as ‘CALD’ population – to grow old in a country that is not the country of their birth, and for many is to some extent at least, a foreign country. Meg decided on a small, qualitative study of seven men and eight women, all of them German born.
Exhibition launch at Chapel on Station
Sabine Nielsen's Opening Speech
Box Hill is home to such a variety of nations and languages: one third of residents are born overseas and one quarter comes from a non-English speaking background. The top five countries of birth are: China, the United Kingdom, India, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Mandarin and Cantonese are the most commonly spoken languages other than English at home. This is followed by Greek, Italian and Vietnamese. At Boxhill Baptist, a large Cambodian community worships alongside everybody else.
But, a lot of people have probably forgotten that Box Hill was also home to a lot of German migrants post WWII!
In Lebus, East-Brandenburg, 4822 Soviet soldier who lost their lives in WWII are buried. Joachim Gauch, president of the FRG, laid a wreath at the Russian war memorial in Lebus and again called for peace and reconciliation. WWII, initiated by Germany, caused unimaginable suffering for millions of people all over the world, he said. Again, he reminded that Germans would not have been able to free themselves of the Nazi dictatorship, if they had not been defeated by the Allied forces.
Dr Kristian Ireland's grandparents were among the many Soviet citizens who found themselves in German refugee camps at the end of the war. His grandmother had been taken from her family as a young girl and forced to go into service in German families. His grandfather was a POW - both should have returned to the Soviet Union after the war. But they had heard, what fate awaited Russians who had spend time in the West. They were sent to Siberia to be re-educated in the communist doctrine. Friends smuggled them into a refugee camp, telling the authorities they were Polish. Eventually, they were able to migrate to Australia.
Kristian will present the fascinating story of his grandparents at a talk at the Tabulam and Templer Homes for the Aged in Bayswater in July.
Images: Russische Kreigsgräberstätte in Lebus
Fred Glasbrenner remembers:
"In the beginning of the war, life in Germany was not too bad. We lived in Stuttgart and it didn’t take Dad long at all to get a good Job at Mahle, where they made pistons for war machinery. Unemployment was now virtually non-existent and there was no more Depression as before. I went to kindergarten not far from our apartment in Stoeckach Srasse 66 and Mum got a job downstairs where there was a small dairy and grocery shop.
On the radio we were told how good our soldiers were. Apparently they conquered one country after another and we were winning the war without loss of life. What a lot of rubbish!
Sabine Nielsen summarises discussions held during the panel discussion feature event of 'Memories in my Luggage' exhibition at Brighton Library on 18 March 2015.
What do you do when your spouse receives an offer to work overseas – this is a question that faces a lot of women – and occasionally men. Our panel discussion focused on the various issue that face families who move to Melbourne as expats.
Carsten Johow, chose to describe his life as adventurer, sailor, businessman and lately 3ZZZ German radio presenter. Carsten was our guest speaker at our Brighton Library Launch.
His first "overseas posting" was on the tiny island of Wangerooge, one of East Friesian islands, floating in the North Sea, just below Holland. Carsten went to school there.
And even though that was not far from his native Vegesack (near Bremen), coming from an island myself (albeit a North Friesian island, called Föhr, situated just below Denmark), I can assure you, islanders are first and foremost islanders. We view any mainlanders with a certain amount of suspicion!
The last night at Glen Waverley Library was devoted to Bilingualism. Our speaker, Averil Grieve, is a very active supporter of maintaining two mother tongues in the Australian home and she had some great insights to share, and lots of marvellous tips!
Amazingly, there are 260 languages spoken in Australia (60 of those indigenous). Despite a study in the 1950's which 'found' that bilingualism confuses the child and leads to learning difficulties and all sorts of other problems, Dr Grieve cited recent studies that found, the bilingual brain promotes strong thinking skills, greater cultural awareness and increases reading comprehension. It allows for more career opportunities and makes travel a more exciting prospect - and: it delays the onset of Alzheimer by about five years!
Our second special event at Glen Waverley Library with Kristian Ireland created a lot of interest. "Ostarbeiter" were citizens from the occupied Ukraine and Soviet Union, and POWs who were forced to labour in Germany during WWII - often under horrendous conditions. Many died of starvation. Kristian told us about his grandmother, a courageous lady, who survived, mainly because the German family for whom she worked as a housemaid, looked after her. In spite of what they had experienced, the "Ostarbeiter" tried to avoid being sent back to Russia after the war - there they were considered "capitalist enemies" who needed to be cleansed of their Western exposure by re-education in labour camps in Siberia! Kristian's grandparents managed to hide in a camp for the Displaced and eventually migrated to Australia. Kristian continues his extensive research into this subject.