Heiner Kammann

Portrait of Heiner Kammann

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and Deutsche Telekom, Ananas Productions, Schule ans netz, Alexander Von Humboldt Schule, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Carl-Friedrich Gauß Schule, Confederation High School, Deutsachherren-Gymnasium, German Historical Museum, Gymnasium Isernhagen, Horton High School/Acadia University, Integrierte Gesamtschule Bonne-Beuel,

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


President and majority owner of WECO Manufacturers of electronic connectors for temperature control Age 46 Born in Kempen (Lower Rhine), in 1952 Arrived in Montreal, Canada in 1976
  • President and majority owner of WECO
  • Manufacturers of electronic connectors for temperature control
  • Age 46
  • Born in Kempen (Lower Rhine), in 1952
  • Arrived in Montreal, Canada in 1976

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Heiner Kammann

Mein name ist Heiner Kammann. Ich bin sechsundvierzig jahren. Ich komme aus Deutchland.  My name is Heiner Kamman. I am forty-six years old. I was born in Kempen, which is the lower lying area close to Düsseldorf.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and Deutsche Telekom, Ananas Productions, Schule ans netz, Alexander Von Humboldt Schule, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Carl-Friedrich Gauß Schule, Confederation High School, Deutsachherren-Gymnasium, German Historical Museum, Gymnasium Isernhagen, Horton High School/Acadia University, Integrierte Gesamtschule Bonne-Beuel,

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Why did you come to Canada? Did you come directly to Canada?

I came to Canada for many reasons. Above all, the political climate was somewhat unstable in Europe. This was the era of the Cold War. If you can imagine, a young man in Germany travels to Berlin, he sees "the Wall" and realizes that the situation in his country is not secure. I began to think that if Russia’s tanks could be in West Germany in three days, how long will it take me to get to Holland and then to safety? I still remember the damage, which I saw during the 1950’s, in my town, after the Second World War; this I believe had an effect on me wanting to leave. Canada was much more of a desirable place in terms of its political conditions. It had always been my dream to come to Canada! In essence we moved from a politically hot climate to one which was more stable. Myself, my wife, and my eldest daughter (who was only ten months) left on a typical immigrant boat from Rotterdam to London, across the Atlantic, through the St. Lawrence, and to Montreal.

Why did you come to Canada? Did you come directly to Canada?

I came to Canada for many reasons. Above all, the political climate was somewhat unstable in Europe. This was the era of the Cold War. If you can imagine, a young man in Germany travels to Berlin, he sees "the Wall" and realizes that the situation in his country is not secure. I began to think that if Russia’s tanks could be in West Germany in three days, how long will it take me to get to Holland and then to safety? I still remember the damage, which I saw during the 1950’s, in my town, after the Second World War; this I believe had an effect on me wanting to leave. Canada was much more of a desirable place in terms of its political conditions. It had always been my dream to come to Canada! In essence we moved from a politically hot climate to one which was more stable. Myself, my wife, and my eldest daughter (who was only ten months) left on a typical immigrant boat from Rotterdam to London, across the Atlantic, through the St. Lawrence, and to Montreal.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

What were your hopes and dreams for your new life here in Canada? Were they fulfilled?

I had many hopes and dreams for my new life in Canada. I wanted to live in a stable political climate, have opportunities to travel around the country, purchase and operate a farm, and live in a manner which I was accustomed to in Germany. Yes, my dreams were fulfilled. As I am not really a city person, I live in the West End of Montreal and own a farm outside of the city, where on weekends I enjoy a place by the lake, raise animals, plant corn and I am in essence a gentleman farmer. I did not stop dreaming. If you stop dreaming then you have no more wishes and you begin to ask yourself what is it all for?
What were your hopes and dreams for your new life here in Canada? Were they fulfilled?

I had many hopes and dreams for my new life in Canada. I wanted to live in a stable political climate, have opportunities to travel around the country, purchase and operate a farm, and live in a manner which I was accustomed to in Germany. Yes, my dreams were fulfilled. As I am not really a city person, I live in the West End of Montreal and own a farm outside of the city, where on weekends I enjoy a place by the lake, raise animals, plant corn and I am in essence a gentleman farmer. I did not stop dreaming. If you stop dreaming then you have no more wishes and you begin to ask yourself what is it all for?

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

What was the reaction of your family when you decided to come to Canada?

My wife had been in Montreal prior to our immigration here; however, she had to return to Germany. She also wanted to return to Canada. My parents and siblings had a wish for me to continue the family business. When I decided to immigrate to Canada they were not happy with our decision. The wish to leave Germany was greater than the familial ties in Germany. Presently we have a strong connection to Germany and visit there often or we (the whole family) will meet in a specific location. I believe that since I am successful, that the pain of my leaving Germany, for my parents, is not in the same form as it was when I left.

What was the reaction of your family when you decided to come to Canada?

My wife had been in Montreal prior to our immigration here; however, she had to return to Germany. She also wanted to return to Canada. My parents and siblings had a wish for me to continue the family business. When I decided to immigrate to Canada they were not happy with our decision. The wish to leave Germany was greater than the familial ties in Germany. Presently we have a strong connection to Germany and visit there often or we (the whole family) will meet in a specific location. I believe that since I am successful, that the pain of my leaving Germany, for my parents, is not in the same form as it was when I left.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Did you already know people here in Canada? Did you meet any new people on your way to Canada? If so, do you still communicate with them?

With the exception of an aunt of my wife’s, we did not know anyone in Canada. As far as I know we are the only Kammanns in the phone book in Montreal. Up until 1982, one could still travel from Germany to Canada by boat. This is how we arrived. On the boat, we met a group of Mennonite girls returning from Germany, people who were immigrating to Canada, and people who were just travelling to Canada. We don’t have contact today with any of these people.

Did you already know people here in Canada? Did you meet any new people on your way to Canada? If so, do you still communicate with them?

With the exception of an aunt of my wife’s, we did not know anyone in Canada. As far as I know we are the only Kammanns in the phone book in Montreal. Up until 1982, one could still travel from Germany to Canada by boat. This is how we arrived. On the boat, we met a group of Mennonite girls returning from Germany, people who were immigrating to Canada, and people who were just travelling to Canada. We don’t have contact today with any of these people.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

What was your first special experience in Canada?

We were standing on Iberville Quay in Montreal and I looked out over the city and said, "I will enter Montreal without knowing any of its culture, habits, people, yet I am not afraid."
What was your first special experience in Canada?

We were standing on Iberville Quay in Montreal and I looked out over the city and said, "I will enter Montreal without knowing any of its culture, habits, people, yet I am not afraid."

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Did you feel respected when you came here?

Canada was a very tolerant society. I had no problems being respected. When you come to Canada you become a Canadian, but you do not forget your history and culture, neither do your children.

Did you feel respected when you came here?

Canada was a very tolerant society. I had no problems being respected. When you come to Canada you become a Canadian, but you do not forget your history and culture, neither do your children.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

What were some of the differences between Canada and Germany you first observed? Cultural or otherwise? Are these differences still present?

Canada and Germany were much different. As an immigrant to Canada you bring with you the traditions, traits, and personal history of where you came from. Canada was a much calmer place politically than Germany had been. The emphasis on politics here in Canada was much less than it had been in Germany. There were also differences in sport, like the popularity of soccer in Germany compared to that of ice hockey in Canada, and chocolates were different as well. There were many differences but this does not mean one place is better that the other. These differences or the observation of them, lessen as time goes by and as one becomes accustomed to living in Canada.

What were some of the differences between Canada and Germany you first observed? Cultural or otherwise? Are these differences still present?

Canada and Germany were much different. As an immigrant to Canada you bring with you the traditions, traits, and personal history of where you came from. Canada was a much calmer place politically than Germany had been. The emphasis on politics here in Canada was much less than it had been in Germany. There were also differences in sport, like the popularity of soccer in Germany compared to that of ice hockey in Canada, and chocolates were different as well. There were many differences but this does not mean one place is better that the other. These differences or the observation of them, lessen as time goes by and as one becomes accustomed to living in Canada.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Did German families live in your neighborhood? Did you join any German associations or clubs?

German families did live in our neighborhood. We live close to the Alexander von Humboldt Schule in Baie D’Urfe. Many families whose children attend the school have moved closer to it. There are many German speaking families from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland here. As a new immigrant I did have some associations with German churches and other groups, but as you become more acculturated in Canada you tend to join other non-German groups. I still have strong ties to the German school because my children go there.
Did German families live in your neighborhood? Did you join any German associations or clubs?

German families did live in our neighborhood. We live close to the Alexander von Humboldt Schule in Baie D’Urfe. Many families whose children attend the school have moved closer to it. There are many German speaking families from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland here. As a new immigrant I did have some associations with German churches and other groups, but as you become more acculturated in Canada you tend to join other non-German groups. I still have strong ties to the German school because my children go there.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Was it a problem finding work as an immigrant in a new country?

I brought my work with me from Germany. I began my own business in the basement, then as it got larger I moved it to my garage, then ultimately to this facility.
Was it a problem finding work as an immigrant in a new country?

I brought my work with me from Germany. I began my own business in the basement, then as it got larger I moved it to my garage, then ultimately to this facility.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

What type of activities did you do in Germany? How did these activities change in Canada?

I was able to travel in Germany, but at the time travel was restricted to certain parts of Europe because of the Cold War. In Canada, I am able to travel everywhere.

What type of activities did you do in Germany? How did these activities change in Canada?

I was able to travel in Germany, but at the time travel was restricted to certain parts of Europe because of the Cold War. In Canada, I am able to travel everywhere.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Describe the context of German immigration to Canada in the twentieth century;
  • Recognize that immigration affects the lives of individuals with a wide range of backgrounds;
  • Understand some of the experiences faced by German immigrants to Canada, both in Germany and in Canada;
  • Explain why individuals emigrate to Canada;
  • Empathize with the feelings of new immigrants to Canada.

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