Woodcut

Immigrants boarded small boats to take them down the Rhine.

Artist: Johann Heinrich Heitz
llustration from Briefe aus Amerika von einem Basler Landmann, Basle 1806. Taken from Germans to America, 300 years of Immigration 1683-1983, Günter Moltmann ed., Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Stuttgart, 1982.
c. 1805
woodcut
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


At first, I was so excited! A boat trip! Father hired a wagon to take us to the river where we met two other families going to Nova Scotia. There, we all got on a boat with all our bags and boxes and set off down the river. For a while it was fun to pass all the houses and churches, and the hillsides with grapes, but there was no room to run around and nothing to do on the boat and I got very bored.

Then we got to a bigger river. The Rhine! There were big cities surrounded by walls, with lots of boats coming and going. So many people in one place! And there were tall hills with castles on them. On the boat there were just people and luggage, and nothing to do but sleep and eat, and pretty soon I was missing home so much that I cried. We had to stop at the borders, and Father had to show his papers and pay some money or else they would have made us get off. He got more and more worried as his money got less and less.
At first, I was so excited! A boat trip! Father hired a wagon to take us to the river where we met two other families going to Nova Scotia. There, we all got on a boat with all our bags and boxes and set off down the river. For a while it was fun to pass all the houses and churches, and the hillsides with grapes, but there was no room to run around and nothing to do on the boat and I got very bored.

Then we got to a bigger river. The Rhine! There were big cities surrounded by walls, with lots of boats coming and going. So many people in one place! And there were tall hills with castles on them. On the boat there were just people and luggage, and nothing to do but sleep and eat, and pretty soon I was missing home so much that I cried. We had to stop at the borders, and Father had to show his papers and pay some money or else they would have made us get off. He got more and more worried as his money got less and less.

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

"Auswanderer auf dem Rhein"

The Rhine was also used for everyday transportation.

Artist: after a painting by H. Leutemann.
Auswanderer auf alter Zeitungsgrafik, par Sigfried Stölting, Worpsweder Verlag.
19th Century
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Auswanderer auf dem Rhein

The trip down the Rhine took about two weeks.

Artist: after a painting by H. Leutemann.
Auswanderer auf alter Zeitungsgrafik, by Sigfried Stölting, Worpsweder Verlag.
19th Century
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


One place was really scary. High rocky cliffs edged the river on both sides. The water was swirling, and the boatmen got very serious and shouted at each other and their voices echoed over and over again. I was frightened because a sailor had told me about a beautiful woman who sits on the top of the cliff, combing her long blond hair and singing a strange melody. Boatmen are fascinated by her voice, he said, and they don’t watch the river. So it’s her fault that many ships sink in this place. But I watched and saw what the real danger of the Loreley was. The Rhine gets much narrower and there is a sharp curve which makes it difficult to navigate. But the worst problem is the rocks under the water which you can’t see. That’s why so many ships sink.
One place was really scary. High rocky cliffs edged the river on both sides. The water was swirling, and the boatmen got very serious and shouted at each other and their voices echoed over and over again. I was frightened because a sailor had told me about a beautiful woman who sits on the top of the cliff, combing her long blond hair and singing a strange melody. Boatmen are fascinated by her voice, he said, and they don’t watch the river. So it’s her fault that many ships sink in this place. But I watched and saw what the real danger of the Loreley was. The Rhine gets much narrower and there is a sharp curve which makes it difficult to navigate. But the worst problem is the rocks under the water which you can’t see. That’s why so many ships sink.

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

Engraving

The Rhine turns and narrows at Loreley. Hidden rocks add to the danger. 1859 engraving.

Artist: L. Schückling
Der Rhein, by L. Schückling. Brüssel, Leipzig, Gent: Carl Muquardt. Taken from: Die illustrierten Rhein-Beschreibungen von Michael Schmitt; Köln: Weimar; Wien: Böhlau; 1996.
c. 1859
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Our boat passed many villages, castles, and great cities with tall church spires. Then one day, a very finely dressed gentleman came on board. He was Mister Dick, Father told me, and he was in charge of our emigration. Now I know he was speaking English, but at the time it made no sense to me. There was much discussion before we continued on. The land was very flat, and there were many windmills. We’d arrived in Holland, and we were soon in Rotterdam.

After weeks of nothing to do, suddenly there were so many people and so much noise. We were hustled into a shed, where we had to wait in line for a long time. Then when it was our turn, Father had to talk to a man seated at a table who asked questions. What were our names, and where did we come from? Father told him my sister was four years old, even though she was five. But I held my tongue because it meant that Father didn’t have to pay for her passage. I was "half a freight." Then my father wrote his name on the paper, and I was very proud, because the man in front of us had only been able to make an "X" with the pen.
Our boat passed many villages, castles, and great cities with tall church spires. Then one day, a very finely dressed gentleman came on board. He was Mister Dick, Father told me, and he was in charge of our emigration. Now I know he was speaking English, but at the time it made no sense to me. There was much discussion before we continued on. The land was very flat, and there were many windmills. We’d arrived in Holland, and we were soon in Rotterdam.

After weeks of nothing to do, suddenly there were so many people and so much noise. We were hustled into a shed, where we had to wait in line for a long time. Then when it was our turn, Father had to talk to a man seated at a table who asked questions. What were our names, and where did we come from? Father told him my sister was four years old, even though she was five. But I held my tongue because it meant that Father didn’t have to pay for her passage. I was "half a freight." Then my father wrote his name on the paper, and I was very proud, because the man in front of us had only been able to make an "X" with the pen.

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

Painting

The Rhine, with its castles and cliffs, has inspired many artists.

Artist: J. I. v. Gerning
A picturesque tour along the Rhine, by J. I. v. Gerning. London: 1820. Taken from: Die illustrierten Rhein-Beschreibungen von Michael Schmitt; Köln: Weimar; Wien: Böhlau; 1996.
c. 1819
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Then we boarded the big sailing ship that would take us across the ocean. I wanted to explore, but Mother told me to stay close to her. A man made us go down a ladder to a huge semi-dark space filled with wooden platforms with people and baggage on them. Father found an empty one for us in the middle. Then there was a lot of commotion and noise, and the boat started moving. Father was talking excitedly with some other men. Mother was praying.

The next day we were allowed to go on deck. The land seemed very far away. Mother cooked a thick soup with some barley she had been given. We were given some water and told that we had to be very careful with it because the water on the boat had to last until we reached Halifax.

After some days, we stopped in a harbour in England. It took some more days before the British officers had looked at everything and said we could go. Then we were off again on the great sea, and in a couple of days when I went up on deck, there was no land in sight at all.
Then we boarded the big sailing ship that would take us across the ocean. I wanted to explore, but Mother told me to stay close to her. A man made us go down a ladder to a huge semi-dark space filled with wooden platforms with people and baggage on them. Father found an empty one for us in the middle. Then there was a lot of commotion and noise, and the boat started moving. Father was talking excitedly with some other men. Mother was praying.

The next day we were allowed to go on deck. The land seemed very far away. Mother cooked a thick soup with some barley she had been given. We were given some water and told that we had to be very careful with it because the water on the boat had to last until we reached Halifax.

After some days, we stopped in a harbour in England. It took some more days before the British officers had looked at everything and said we could go. Then we were off again on the great sea, and in a couple of days when I went up on deck, there was no land in sight at all.

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

"The Ship "Gale" arriving Halifax" - 1752

The Gale, one of the ships hired by John Dick to take the German settlers to Nova Scotia

Artist: J. Franklin Wright
Canso-Chesapeake Heritage Publishing
c. 1989
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


After that were long days and weeks of nothing to do. Most of the time we had to stay below deck, where it was pretty dark, and stank from so many people. During storms was the worst, with the boat rocking this way and that, and you just had to hold on and try to stay in your bed and not throw up on anyone. Then I got really sick, and I don’t remember much - it was a terrible nightmare. One morning I could open my eyes and saw my mother smile at me, but I could tell she had been crying. Then I learned that my little sister had died from the same fever I’d had, and her body had been left behind in the ocean. Other children had died too, and some adults.

In a few days I started feeling a little better and could eat a little, but didn’t feel much like playing. Then one day someone shouted that they could see land, and my father took me up on deck to see. The next day we entered the harbour and could see what looked like small villages on both sides, with small wooden houses. I could hardly wait to feel solid ground under my feet again, but we stayed on the boat for many days. Some of the passengers were still sick and even dying, and the people in Halifax Read More
After that were long days and weeks of nothing to do. Most of the time we had to stay below deck, where it was pretty dark, and stank from so many people. During storms was the worst, with the boat rocking this way and that, and you just had to hold on and try to stay in your bed and not throw up on anyone. Then I got really sick, and I don’t remember much - it was a terrible nightmare. One morning I could open my eyes and saw my mother smile at me, but I could tell she had been crying. Then I learned that my little sister had died from the same fever I’d had, and her body had been left behind in the ocean. Other children had died too, and some adults.

In a few days I started feeling a little better and could eat a little, but didn’t feel much like playing. Then one day someone shouted that they could see land, and my father took me up on deck to see. The next day we entered the harbour and could see what looked like small villages on both sides, with small wooden houses. I could hardly wait to feel solid ground under my feet again, but we stayed on the boat for many days. Some of the passengers were still sick and even dying, and the people in Halifax were afraid of getting the same sickness. By the time we were allowed to go ashore, the excitement was gone, and I knew my parents thought my sister would not have died if we had stayed at home.

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

Auswandererbegräbnis auf See

Burial of an emigrant at sea

Artist: Theodor Hosemann
Tiré de : Auf dem Weg nach Amerika, Band 1, par Rolf Böttcher, Forderverein Deutsches Auswanderermuseum, Bremerhaven.
c. 1855
© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Describe some of the experiences encountered on the journey from Germany to Canada by German emigrants in 1752
  • Empathize with the emotions of emigrants from Germany to Canada in 1750-1752
  • Appreciate how art can record historical events

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