Germany Essay, Research Paper
December 10, 2000
Germany is a country located in Central Europe bordering the North Sea and the
Baltic Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland. The size of Germany is just a bit smaller
than Montana. The terrain consists of lowlands in the northern part, uplands in the center
area, and the Bavarian Alps in the southern region. The population as of nineteen ninety
five was approximately eighty-one thousand, three hundred and thirty- eight. The
religious preference in Germany is mostly Protestant and Roman Catholic. Germany is
mainly an industry based country. Most male adults would learn a trade such as
electrician to be their life long job.
The man I interviewed about his immigration from Germany in nineteen fifty two
is Heinz Ginsberg. Mr. Ginsberg was born in Nordlingen, Germany1. Not only did he live
in Germany but also Poland. In about nineteen twenty Mr. Ginsberg s parents filled out
an application for passage to the United States. After being interviewed and their request
accepted the family was sponsored by a company to travel to the United States on a Navy
ship. The process was called troop transport. The name of the organization is unsure
but it is certain that upon arriving in the United States the family was given two
apartments and twenty dollars to begin their new life. The reason for their leaving
Germany to live in a strange country was simply for a better life.
Germany s culture is different from that of the United States in many ways. In
Europe speaking is very formal. When addressing a person other than a close friend the
person s last name and title were always used unless they accept otherwise. However in
the United States we commonly address people by their first name. Another difference is
their holidays, like Christmas. December twenty fourth is when Christmas is celebrated
in Germany, therefor the twenty-third would be considered Christmas eve. On Christmas
eve there is a big meal followed by the lighting of the tree and opening of presents. The
twenty-fifth and twenty sixth are days they reserve for visiting friends and family.
The food in Germany is nothing like that of the food here. Upon arriving in the
United States Heinz first experienced American food. It didn t agree with him or the rest
of his family very well until they adjusted to it. One of the main differences between the
foods is the meat. There are many different kinds of meats in the United States , whereas
in Germany the variety isn t as diverse.
Schooling is yet another difference between the United States and Germany. In
Germany and Poland it was mandatory to have eight years of school. This eight years was
usually from the age of six until the age of fourteen. At fourteen most males began
working as an apprentice to a skilled worker or factory. The apprenticeship lasted four
years. The first year the apprentice would earn twenty five dollars a week, the second
he d earn fifty-five dollars a week, the third year would be seventy five, and the fourth
year the apprentices work would be reviewed to see how much he should earn.
In the years between nineteen thirty-seven and nineteen forty-seven Heinz and his
mother and brothers lived in Poland. While living in Poland with their German mother
during the war their father was working in a German concentration camp. Their father
was German-Jew who was only spared from death because of his working ability. Heinz
and his brothers weren t taken to a camp because they were only half German-Jews and
they were under the age of seventeen when their father was taken. In nineteen forty-seven
their father managed to escape the camp while it was being bombed and people were in a
Heinz and his older brother immigrated in February, his other brothers and
parents came over in May of the same year. The transport took seven days, before
arriving at a New York port. They did not have to go to Ellis Island or an immigrant
checkpoint in New York. From New York they were transported to Boston where they
were given the apartments. They lived among many other immigrants, many of whom
were Polish and had come over on the ship with them. Heinz has said the war didn t
influence their immigration because it had already come to an end when they left.
Of course there were setbacks as well as high points. The Ginsberg family did not
know a word of English when they first arrived. They spoke only German and some
Polish. In January of nineteen fifty three Heinz was drafted into the army. While in the
army he was taught English and received his citizenship. He was discharged in December
of nineteen fifty four about five days before Christmas. Before being drafted his first
job was in a garment factory in Boston. At this job he earned seventy-five cents an hour.
The second place he worked was a machine shop in Roxbury where he earned eighty-five
cents an hour. Both those jobs were largely employed by Polish immigrants. His third job
was with his father in the sign industry in Boston. His brother went on to own his own
sign shop at which Heinz later worked.
Normally, citizenship is received after five years of residency in the United
States. Every year in about January the immigrant must fill out a form giving an update
of their life in the past year. The form basically ask if there has been any criminal
problems, like speeding tickets, etc. However, Heinz received his citizenship in the army
after only two and a half years because of his service. While in the army he was sent to
France to work with post engineers.
From the start Heinz told me that he and his family traveled to the United States
for a better life. There are many opportunities in the United States that weren t open to
the family living in Germany. The pay here was better than in Germany and Poland and
there were more employment opportunities that required less skill. About eighty percent
of the immigrants who came to the United States between nineteen thirty and nineteen
sixty were from Europe, just like Heinz and his family.2 The idea of beginning a new life
was both appealing and surreal.
After living in the United States for almost fifty years now, Heinz doesn t regret
his decision one bit. When asked if he would do it all over again he said without
hesitation, No question asked. The reason; because in this country he found a home
and made a family. He was successful in the sign industry alongside his brother for many
years after being discharged from the army. In fact, it was just recently that he retired that
very profession. Ever since leaving Germany he has only been back twice. His brothers
still visit from time to time but they all agree that the United States is their home