Mr. Günther Hanslik comes from Upper Silesia, where he grew up with five other siblings. Their father was a civil servant. Günther was very close to his second-oldest brother Georg. The oldest brother had been killed in action near the Black Sea.
Mr. Günther Hanslik comes from Upper Silesia, where he grew up with five other siblings. Their father was a civil servant. Günther was very close to his second-oldest brother Georg. The oldest brother had been killed in action near the Black Sea.

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

What kind of hopes and reasons made your brother emigrate to Canada?

Georg Hanslik had been a soldier with an army division and he was wounded twice during the war. Because of his serious injuries he could not become a German Civil Servant and was not accepted into the Bavarian police force. That is why, in 1951, Georg Hanslik decided to emigrate to Canada.
What kind of hopes and reasons made your brother emigrate to Canada?

Georg Hanslik had been a soldier with an army division and he was wounded twice during the war. Because of his serious injuries he could not become a German Civil Servant and was not accepted into the Bavarian police force. That is why, in 1951, Georg Hanslik decided to emigrate to Canada.

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

Where there specific reasons why Georg Hanslik would emigrate to Canada and not to another country?

Emigrating to Canada was easier. He wanted to go the USA, but immigrating there would have been difficult for him. Canada had made immigration much easier.
Where there specific reasons why Georg Hanslik would emigrate to Canada and not to another country?

Emigrating to Canada was easier. He wanted to go the USA, but immigrating there would have been difficult for him. Canada had made immigration much easier.

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

Did your brother’s dreams and hopes come true after he emigrated?

When my brother was given the advice by a Canadian officer in Germany to emigrate to Canada, he knew that at first he would have to work in the bush for two years and would not be able to take up the profession of his choice. But his dream, to find work in spite of his war-disabilities and, consequently, to be accepted as a human being, came true.
Did your brother’s dreams and hopes come true after he emigrated?

When my brother was given the advice by a Canadian officer in Germany to emigrate to Canada, he knew that at first he would have to work in the bush for two years and would not be able to take up the profession of his choice. But his dream, to find work in spite of his war-disabilities and, consequently, to be accepted as a human being, came true.

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

How did the family react to Georg’s emigration?

At that point in time, the family was in the East. The mother and the children had been deported in Stalingrad. Günther Hanslik was released as a prisoner of war by the British near Braunschweig. He was the only member of the family who was in the West. Via Berlin, Günther Hanslik succeeded in finding his brother Georg in a Danish military hospital and was able to bring him to Germany, where the two of them lived together in Wolfenbüttel. Later, Georg Hanslik emigrated to Canada, without having any particular point of destination there.
How did the family react to Georg’s emigration?

At that point in time, the family was in the East. The mother and the children had been deported in Stalingrad. Günther Hanslik was released as a prisoner of war by the British near Braunschweig. He was the only member of the family who was in the West. Via Berlin, Günther Hanslik succeeded in finding his brother Georg in a Danish military hospital and was able to bring him to Germany, where the two of them lived together in Wolfenbüttel. Later, Georg Hanslik emigrated to Canada, without having any particular point of destination there.

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

How did Georg Hanslik get to Canada?

My brother had to work very hard to finance the trip. He sold his beloved motorcycle, and then he worked on the ship that brought him to Canada.
How did Georg Hanslik get to Canada?

My brother had to work very hard to finance the trip. He sold his beloved motorcycle, and then he worked on the ship that brought him to Canada.

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

What were the first impressions your brother had?

For two years he had to work in a camp in the bush, without social insurance and for very low wages. When he broke a leg, he had to pay for medical care himself. As a result of that accident, he had to work in an open-pit ore mine, where he got downright "burned".
What were the first impressions your brother had?

For two years he had to work in a camp in the bush, without social insurance and for very low wages. When he broke a leg, he had to pay for medical care himself. As a result of that accident, he had to work in an open-pit ore mine, where he got downright "burned".

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

With regards to culture, what was different in Canada compared to Germany?

Georg lived in a small town called Wawa, which had 18,000 inhabitants. There was hardly any culture, and only a small group of Germans, which consisted of about ten men, still kept the memories alive. The problem of housing was solved fast, because they all helped each other building wooden houses. But the struggle for existence was tough, and there was hardly any time for culture.
With regards to culture, what was different in Canada compared to Germany?

Georg lived in a small town called Wawa, which had 18,000 inhabitants. There was hardly any culture, and only a small group of Germans, which consisted of about ten men, still kept the memories alive. The problem of housing was solved fast, because they all helped each other building wooden houses. But the struggle for existence was tough, and there was hardly any time for culture.

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

How was your brother accepted socially? Did he feel respected?

He could only gain social acceptance through work, that means, he felt accepted and supported by his co-workers in the mine. But there was some kind of welfare office, where he could have gone in case of a serious emergency. Before Georg Hanslik’s fiancé came to Canada, the wife of his boss helped him. Also, all the foreigners, who were the minority there, stuck together firmly.
How was your brother accepted socially? Did he feel respected?

He could only gain social acceptance through work, that means, he felt accepted and supported by his co-workers in the mine. But there was some kind of welfare office, where he could have gone in case of a serious emergency. Before Georg Hanslik’s fiancé came to Canada, the wife of his boss helped him. Also, all the foreigners, who were the minority there, stuck together firmly.

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

Did your brother see himself as a Canadian? And did he start a family in Canada?

Well, the family was already started in Germany. His fiancé and their little child came to join him after three years. His second daughter was born in Canada. The children were very close to their parents, and he built a second and a third house, which his two daughters later moved into. When the mother died, the family fell apart, because both daughters moved away with their husbands.

But at no point in time did my brother think of coming back to Germany again. Meanwhile, he felt 100% Canadian, and had difficulties with the German mentality.
Did your brother see himself as a Canadian? And did he start a family in Canada?

Well, the family was already started in Germany. His fiancé and their little child came to join him after three years. His second daughter was born in Canada. The children were very close to their parents, and he built a second and a third house, which his two daughters later moved into. When the mother died, the family fell apart, because both daughters moved away with their husbands.

But at no point in time did my brother think of coming back to Germany again. Meanwhile, he felt 100% Canadian, and had difficulties with the German mentality.

© 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
  • Understand some of the experiences of German immigrants to Canada
  • Explain why individuals immigrate to Canada
  • Empathize with the feelings of new immigrants to Canada and their families left behind
  • Recognize that immigration affects the family members left behind
  • Describe some of the characteristics of the nation of Canada

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans