Fahrt nach Bremerhaven ins Auswandererhaus

Am Donnerstag, den 16.08.2018, begaben sich die Englischkurse des Jahrgangs Q 1/ Q 2 (Qualifikationsphase) mit den Englischlehrerinnen Frau de Lima Gomes, Frau Rodrigues, Frau Ißbrücker, Frau Kolbe und Frau Beck auf den Weg nach Bremerhaven, um das dortige Auswandererhaus zu besuchen. Thema im Englischkurs im 1. Halbjahr der Qualifikationsphase sind die sogenannten „first settlers“ (ersten Einwanderer) in Amerika und die daraus entstandene Kultur. Vor der englischsprachigen Tour durch das Museum erhielten wir einen Boardingpass und zwei Charaktere, einen Auswanderer sowie einen Einwanderer, welche wir auf ihrer Reise begleiten sollten. Dazu erhielten wir einen Fragebogen, der uns die Route vorgegeben hat.

Es war ein lehrreicher, informativer Tagesausflug, der uns als Jahrgang näher zusammengebracht und unser Wissen erweitert hat.

Visit to the German Emigration Center in Bremerhaven

In the German Emigration Center in Bremerhaven we learned much about migration. Firstly, we walked through a life story of an emigrant, who went to America.

Once I paid special attention to Carl Laemmle, who was born on January 17th, 1867 in Laupheim.

In 1883 his mother died and he did not find a job. That was why he applied for emigration and left Germany on January 28th ,1884. Many people left the country, because they hoped for their lives might get better or they wanted to go to their families already living there. Finally, the emigrants assembled with their luggage at the quay in Bremerhaven to leave their home country. It was the “point of no return”. They asked themselves if the long trip was safe or if it really was worth it. Many of them did not have any money, clothing or family, but they still wanted to be part of something bigger and better. In my case Carl was put in the third class (the worst class) of the steamship “Neckar”. After about half a month the ship arrived at its destination: New York harbor.

The “Neckar” docked on Ellis Island, where the largest immigration center of the USA was located. In the Registry Room they were waiting for a test, if they were allowed to enter the United States or not.

So they asked themselves: “Will the authorities let me enter?”.  A nickname of Ellis Island was “The Island of Tears”, because some people did not pass the test and were sent back. But Carl Laemmle passed the test and was allowed to enter to the United States of America. He settled in Chicago, where his brother Joseph Laemmle lived. In 1906 he began to work independently and founded a movie exchange service, which became the largest one in the USA. In 1910 he founded the film production company “Independent Motion Picture Company”. Today, this company is “Universal Studios”. Carl Laemmle died on September 24th, 1939, in Beverly Hills.

In the second part of the museum I focused on a man called Silvio Olivier, who immigrated to Germany. Silvio was born in Rastatt in 1907. After the outbreak of the First World War his family returned to Italy. In 1936 he immigrated to Werdau in Saxony and opened an ice-cream parlor. In 1953 Silvio’s family fled from the GDR (DDR) to West Berlin. A few months later he opened another ice-cream parlor in Wolfsburg. He died in Wolfsburg in 1989.

From 1952 to 2010 31,840,647 people immigrated to Germany. The majority of migrants came from Syria, Rumania and Poland. The first immigrants were religious refugees. Later they immigrated to find work in Germany. Today they are civil-war refugees and asylum-seekers.

All this information about these people the German Emigration Center in Bremerhaven got from boarding passes, pictures, diaries, passenger lists, letters and maybe from newspaper articles. These sources of information can be good, because you should know that diaries are not objective, but they really show how they felt in those days.

In my opinion it is a very difficult choice, if you want to leave your home country or not. If I had been in the situation of Carl Laemmle, I think I would have left, too. But it would have been still pretty hard, when you had stood on the quay, the point of no return and had had to leave your family, your life back in Germany.

Another sad situation is, if you had come to Ellis Island and it would have become to the Island of Tears, because you did not pass the test.

Nowadays, if you immigrate to the US, it might be difficult to adapt the American culture shaped by a strong patriotism and the current President.

The good side of emigration is, that you can start a new life with new chances, new friends and a new job. In the end it can all develop positively, like in Carl Laemmle’s and Silvio Olivier’s cases, if you work hard to make your dreams come true.

Marcel Ebert, Grundkurs Englisch Q1, RG