My name is Ute Kohnert, née Proska. I was born in 1940, I grew up with my sister, my father died in the war in 1942. After secondary school, I was trained as a bank clerk and, until I got married, I worked for several banks. When my son was three years old, I began working for a tax consultant. I have been working there for 30 years now and I will retire in about two years. My husband is an engineer with a road construction company managing its branch in Walsrode.

More more information about Jutta’s immigration experience, see the Learning Object Detlef and Jutta Kober: German Immigrants to Canada.
My name is Ute Kohnert, née Proska. I was born in 1940, I grew up with my sister, my father died in the war in 1942. After secondary school, I was trained as a bank clerk and, until I got married, I worked for several banks. When my son was three years old, I began working for a tax consultant. I have been working there for 30 years now and I will retire in about two years. My husband is an engineer with a road construction company managing its branch in Walsrode.

More more information about Jutta’s immigration experience, see the Learning Object Detlef and Jutta Kober: German Immigrants to Canada.

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

What reasons did your sister have for emigrating to Canada?

My sister had a friend who emigrated to Canada in 1960 or 61. He had wanted to be a pilot with the German Air Force, but was turned down because of a heart problem. After he had received some information from the Canadian consulate in Hamburg, he emigrated to Canada. At first he lived in a boarding house, but after he had worked for a while and made enough money, he bought himself an apartment after six or nine months, and my sister went to join him. Even though they were not yet married, they lived together. That would have been impossible in Germany at that time. My sister started to work right away as a medical-technical assistant.
What reasons did your sister have for emigrating to Canada?

My sister had a friend who emigrated to Canada in 1960 or 61. He had wanted to be a pilot with the German Air Force, but was turned down because of a heart problem. After he had received some information from the Canadian consulate in Hamburg, he emigrated to Canada. At first he lived in a boarding house, but after he had worked for a while and made enough money, he bought himself an apartment after six or nine months, and my sister went to join him. Even though they were not yet married, they lived together. That would have been impossible in Germany at that time. My sister started to work right away as a medical-technical assistant.

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

Did your sister already know anyone in Canada?

No, apart from her friend she didn’t really know anyone.

And did your sister try to get any information before leaving?

No, only her friend tried to find a job for her. And he actually found a position for her right away, as a medical-technical assistant in a hospital. But he himself had great difficulties finding something appropriate.
Did your sister already know anyone in Canada?

No, apart from her friend she didn’t really know anyone.

And did your sister try to get any information before leaving?

No, only her friend tried to find a job for her. And he actually found a position for her right away, as a medical-technical assistant in a hospital. But he himself had great difficulties finding something appropriate.

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

What was your reaction, when your sister emigrated from Germany to Canada?

At first I was very surprised that she would want to move away, and I found it difficult that we should be separated, since we had also lost our father when we were still very young. But then I convinced my mother that Canada was not that far away and that going there was not that dangerous nowadays. At first I didn’t believe that she would really move away, but there was nothing I could do, after all, she was already 22 years old. She had to go her own way, and that is what she did.
What was your reaction, when your sister emigrated from Germany to Canada?

At first I was very surprised that she would want to move away, and I found it difficult that we should be separated, since we had also lost our father when we were still very young. But then I convinced my mother that Canada was not that far away and that going there was not that dangerous nowadays. At first I didn’t believe that she would really move away, but there was nothing I could do, after all, she was already 22 years old. She had to go her own way, and that is what she did.

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

What were the first impressions your sister had?

She was overwhelmed by the friendliness she met with everywhere, and by the generosity of the people and of the entire country, by the openness, the "you’re welcome" she encountered everywhere.
What were the first impressions your sister had?

She was overwhelmed by the friendliness she met with everywhere, and by the generosity of the people and of the entire country, by the openness, the "you’re welcome" she encountered everywhere.

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

Did you have the impression that your sister was ever homesick? Did she join any German organizations in Canada?

Yes, I think she was homesick, but she didn’t let us find out about that. And she had her friend and later husband, with whom she was madly in love. They also made friends very quickly, but not Germans, that was not until later. But they didn’t join a German organization. They were not into these kinds of clubs and organizations.
Did you have the impression that your sister was ever homesick? Did she join any German organizations in Canada?

Yes, I think she was homesick, but she didn’t let us find out about that. And she had her friend and later husband, with whom she was madly in love. They also made friends very quickly, but not Germans, that was not until later. But they didn’t join a German organization. They were not into these kinds of clubs and organizations.

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

Did your sister ever have the desire to come back again?

I believe she had that desire sometimes, but Canada became her home. When she came for a visit, she found it difficult here, because she missed the open spaces and the tolerant attitude of that country. Recently, her life has not run the way she had thought it would. When my brother-in-law fell ill, she could not go to work any longer and they had to restrict themselves in many things. But she is still happy and she does not want to come back anymore.
Did your sister ever have the desire to come back again?

I believe she had that desire sometimes, but Canada became her home. When she came for a visit, she found it difficult here, because she missed the open spaces and the tolerant attitude of that country. Recently, her life has not run the way she had thought it would. When my brother-in-law fell ill, she could not go to work any longer and they had to restrict themselves in many things. But she is still happy and she does not want to come back anymore.

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

Does she have children? And do they consider themselves to be Canadians or Germans?

My sister has two girls. They are 32 and 35 years old. My sister and her children have a German and a Canadian passport, so they have dual citizenship. My brother-in-law did get Canadian citizenship many years ago for business and professional reasons. The two children were brought up in both languages. That was good for their grandmother. That way she could talk to them, because in her day there was no English taught at school.
Does she have children? And do they consider themselves to be Canadians or Germans?

My sister has two girls. They are 32 and 35 years old. My sister and her children have a German and a Canadian passport, so they have dual citizenship. My brother-in-law did get Canadian citizenship many years ago for business and professional reasons. The two children were brought up in both languages. That was good for their grandmother. That way she could talk to them, because in her day there was no English taught at school.

© 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

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