My name is Waltraut Gründemann. I am the sister of Erika Richter, who emigrated to Montreal / Canada 31 years ago with my brother-in-law Horst Richter.
My name is Waltraut Gründemann. I am the sister of Erika Richter, who emigrated to Montreal / Canada 31 years ago with my brother-in-law Horst Richter.

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

What reasons, dreams and hopes made your sister and your brother-in-law decide to emigrate to Canada?

For them as a young couple, it was a good opportunity to accept a position as a professor at the University of Montreal and that way be able to pursue a more interesting career.
What reasons, dreams and hopes made your sister and your brother-in-law decide to emigrate to Canada?

For them as a young couple, it was a good opportunity to accept a position as a professor at the University of Montreal and that way be able to pursue a more interesting career.

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

Did the dreams and hopes of your brother-in-law and your sister come true?

I think they were able to realize their dreams in Montreal. In spite of the initial difficulties my sister had with the language, they settled down pretty fast. Right away my brother-in-law got along well with the students and had no problems with the teaching material. Overall, I think they like to live in Canada. Their third child was born there, and became a Canadian citizen immediately.
Did the dreams and hopes of your brother-in-law and your sister come true?

I think they were able to realize their dreams in Montreal. In spite of the initial difficulties my sister had with the language, they settled down pretty fast. Right away my brother-in-law got along well with the students and had no problems with the teaching material. Overall, I think they like to live in Canada. Their third child was born there, and became a Canadian citizen immediately.

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

Did your sister and your brother-in-law already know anybody in Canada? Did they try to get some information about the country before they left?

I believe they gathered information about the country beforehand. And they already knew a family in Montreal, which had emigrated there immediately after the war. It was with that family that they stayed for the first week, until they had found their own apartment.
Did your sister and your brother-in-law already know anybody in Canada? Did they try to get some information about the country before they left?

I believe they gathered information about the country beforehand. And they already knew a family in Montreal, which had emigrated there immediately after the war. It was with that family that they stayed for the first week, until they had found their own apartment.

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

How did your family react to the emigration?

My parents did find it very difficult not to be able to see their grandchildren as before, to be in touch with them only through letters. I was still very young. But I was mostly sad because of the little baby, which was only six months old at the time.
How did your family react to the emigration?

My parents did find it very difficult not to be able to see their grandchildren as before, to be in touch with them only through letters. I was still very young. But I was mostly sad because of the little baby, which was only six months old at the time.

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

What were the first impressions your sister and your brother-in-law had of Canada?

My sister’s first impression was that it was going to be a major adjustment for her. Now they lived in Montreal, a big city. And they often had problems finding certain goods. Because of that, we often had to send parcels, for example with clothes.
What were the first impressions your sister and your brother-in-law had of Canada?

My sister’s first impression was that it was going to be a major adjustment for her. Now they lived in Montreal, a big city. And they often had problems finding certain goods. Because of that, we often had to send parcels, for example with clothes.

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

How did their integration happen? Was it easy for them to find work and housing? Were they accepted socially?

I think they were pretty well accepted. Among my brother-in-law’s acquaintances was a former fellow student who was now a professor in Toronto and who would come to visit them frequently. My sister joined the German School, and then there were also German clubs.

Could you explain, what kind of work she did at the German School?

Classes at the German School were every Saturday. There were several classes for students who were from three to six years old. They taught them their first German words, sang German songs with the children or read stories to them, while the parents could use the time to go shopping.
How did their integration happen? Was it easy for them to find work and housing? Were they accepted socially?

I think they were pretty well accepted. Among my brother-in-law’s acquaintances was a former fellow student who was now a professor in Toronto and who would come to visit them frequently. My sister joined the German School, and then there were also German clubs.

Could you explain, what kind of work she did at the German School?

Classes at the German School were every Saturday. There were several classes for students who were from three to six years old. They taught them their first German words, sang German songs with the children or read stories to them, while the parents could use the time to go shopping.

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

What about the identity of their children? Do they see themselves as Germans or as Canadians?

The children see themselves more as Canadians, because they grew up there. But they always liked to come to visit us here.

Do your sister and your brother-in-law hold dual citizenship?

Yes, they do have dual citizenship, but they do not want to give up their German citizenship.
What about the identity of their children? Do they see themselves as Germans or as Canadians?

The children see themselves more as Canadians, because they grew up there. But they always liked to come to visit us here.

Do your sister and your brother-in-law hold dual citizenship?

Yes, they do have dual citizenship, but they do not want to give up their German citizenship.

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

Were your sister and your brother-in-law ever homesick, so that they actually wanted to come back to Germany?

I think that during the first few years my sister was somewhat homesick, especially since she came to Germany every three years. She would always find it very hard to fly back to Montreal, when the vacation was over. But now the children are grown up, and she has found many friends and acquaintances. Now she is always looking forward to being back in Canada, when her visits to Germany come to an end. But still, there are always tears, when we say good-bye.
Were your sister and your brother-in-law ever homesick, so that they actually wanted to come back to Germany?

I think that during the first few years my sister was somewhat homesick, especially since she came to Germany every three years. She would always find it very hard to fly back to Montreal, when the vacation was over. But now the children are grown up, and she has found many friends and acquaintances. Now she is always looking forward to being back in Canada, when her visits to Germany come to an end. But still, there are always tears, when we say good-bye.

© 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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