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May 2000 - Nr. 5
Sybille Forster-Rentmeister2000

Dear Reader

In the middle of April we reached the date of our tenth anniversary. We completed our first ten years of publication and are starting into the next decade with our May issue.

This is a time to give thanks to the many people that contributed to our longevity. First I want to thank you, our readers, who pick up Echo Germanica to be informed of our cultural endeavours, who appreciate not getting any bad news in our publication, but instead celebrate with us what is best about our life in Canada.

This meets with our agreement, because we firmly believe that there are enough publications out there that supply all of us with the hard facts of life on a daily basis. I think it is accurate to say that in our region we are the only paper that represents the German speaking community to a public that otherwise would not know how we fit into the divers Canadian scene. Our varied interests find a reflection here that cannot be found anywhere else. We even sample our sense of humour, which is of course quite unique. This brings me to our writing contributors, who generously donate their services to us. Each one, in a different way, gives voice to some of the subjects that concern us. Let us have a look at our humorist, known as ege. In real life he is known as Eberhard Gerlitz, once a professional contributor to the WAZ, Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, in Germany. Living in retirement in Canada he still finds life somewhat funny, or if it isnít, he finds something humorous about it, which is reflected in his many verses. I know that some readers cut them out and collect them.

Then there is Dr. Richard Altermann, otherwise known as Dick. He just celebrated his 70th birthday and is still going strong. I can only marvel at his enthusiasm for our way of life and his engagement in the paper. We are very lucky to have him with us. He brings a lot of expertise to our endeavour, because he was already a newspaperman long before I knew him. In fact, he "discovered" me, and we worked together for a couple of years at another publication, which he was instrumental in making popular. Like myself he realized the need to reach out to our non-German speaking readers of the 2nd and 3rd generations and the mixed marriages, which abound in our community. Especially in the last decade, ever since so many eastern Europeans arrived in Canada, who are generally familiar with the German culture and language, the need for an English and German paper has grown. In this way we build bridges between our community and others.

Then there was Pastor Dr. Goegginger, who for so many years enlightened and challenged us with his thought provoking essays about the nature of things on earth and in the elusive heavens. A lot of us have missed him since he took his leave from us.

AlidŽ Kohlhaas is a newer contributor to our publication. We are very happy to have her aboard. Her views and reviews of books, theatrical performances and concerts give us a professional insight into the world of art. As a seasoned journalist she brings us closer to an understanding and appreciation of these subjects. With her historical series she provides a unique and very important service to our community. Like the rest of us she feels that the German contributions to Canada and the rest of North America have been swept under the carpet for far too long to be ignored. Her aim is to fill the gap and we thank and applaud her for it.

Alexander Oolo is another enthusiastic contributor to our paper. He has so many different interests that he is hard to tie down to one or two subjects. He roams the town and has looked into all sorts of interesting events and happenings for us. From politics to car racing, black tie balls and art galleries, jazz fests and German Karneval, he always brings a unique point of view to the subject with a "happening" language.

From Germany we gratefully receive reports from Marianne Schmidt. Living in Berlin she has her hand on the pulse of the cultural world overseas and reminds of what we are missing there. Often times I receive a call thanking me for one of her reports: "This was great! I wondered what became of ÖÖ.."

And then there is crusty old Eberhard Kurt Walter, who always has some hard line points of view on just about anything. Itís a good thing he is a Berliner, or else we would not laugh.

We thank also Friedhelm Krumme for his endless supply of delicious and well-tested recipes, which can make a true gourmet out of everyone.

There are a few other, less regular contributors. They have written about everything from gardening to building, from alternative medicine to issues of social criticism.

I also would like to mention some of the poets that have given us permission to publish their work. Anni Lutter, Jack Baum and Liselotte are just three of the talented writers we have in our midst.

And with a new decade in the making we are expanding into new territory. This means tackling new subjects, finding new writers with a fresh point of view. We found just such a person in Antje Steiger. She lives in Dresden, Germany, is a law student, and loves to write. Her view of life is quite different from ours. To start with we asked her to write about student life, the trials and tribulations, the strength and the shortcomings of an educational system that is so much admired the world over. What is it like to be a student in this new high tech world in Germany, which is part of the global village!? I hope you will find her contributions as interesting as I do.

Dick and myself usually cover our community news as much as we are capable of attending the many events.

But without the members of our business community we could not print Echo Germanica. They are indeed the most important component of the equation. Placing their message in this paper to promote their services and products allows us to service our community. Therefore it is very important that you, our readers let them know that you saw their message in this paper, Echo Germanica.

Already in the last issue I announced our upcoming celebration. Why donít you spend the afternoon on Motherís Day with us to celebrate not just our 10th anniversary, but the women that brought us into the world, cared for us, held our hand, dried our tears, and encouraged us. Together with Gerda Lein we planned a lovely afternoon for you and the whole family. There will be something for everyone. It will be a German cultural event in German! But if you insist we speak English.

In ending I want to thank all loyal supporters and sponsors of Echo Germanica again from the bottom of my heart. These last 10 years have been truly worthwhile. I promise to make the next 10 years as interesting as possible. Together we are a community of good will.

Yours truly

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

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As the editor of Echo Germanica Sybille reflects on cultural, artistic, political and daily events within the German-Canadian landscape.
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Sybille Forster-Rentmeister, editor, editor-in-chief of Echo Germanica, comments, cultural, artistic, political, daily events, German-Canadian, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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