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July 2011 - Nr. 7
Sybille Forster-Rentmeister, Editor-in-chief

Dear Reader

Finally it really feels like summer. Kids are out of school and traffic has lessened because of it. People are on vacations. Gardens have exploded with a multitude of colours, birds are indoctrinating their offspring into life in the neighbourhood, squirrels having shed their winter fur are frantically looking for nourishment to feed their little ones and many Robins, Blue Jays and Cardinals have returned from their winter quarters to enjoy their summer residences.

Our front page has all those exuberant colours that summer splurges with. Garden parties and picnics and B-B-Qs are imminent, where we shall also remember those that have left us when we get together.

Summer has arrivedWe hear almost weekly of people that are no longer among us. Just the other day we got news that Ursula Pavelko succumbed earlier than expected to her battle with Leukemia. We remember her for her years of leadership in the Silesian circle, her poetry, her verve for preserving German heritage, and for the flowers from her beautiful garden that she brought to events as table decoration. Many of her activities fell to Christian Klein, who also runs the interests of other groups, such as the Historical Society of Mecklenburg Upper Canada. We thank him for his engagement in the activities of the local German Canadian community despite personal challenges.

And then there is the news that the Neue Welt has stopped printing after about 7 years. It just was not viable according to owner/publisher Kersten Martins, who currently is president of the German Canadian Congress. His aim to revamp this organization with new blood into the board of directors, his efforts to rejuvenate the congress might all but be too late. We Germans have integrated well, perhaps too well, to sustain us as an identifiable ethnic entity. We might have to get used to becoming more interested in mainstream culture. Some of us “old immigrants” have done it already, especially with children in the family as a second and third and fourth generation. It cannot be helped. It is the course of life and progress.

There is truly no influx fresh from the homeland, and if there are newcomers, they are not interested in German culture abroad; they want to know what it is like to live in Canada as a world citizen. They come here to do business. They are the ones that will go to Dundas Square for a Soccer game, or to a local stadium if there was a live game, but never to a German Club.

There is one good thing about the German community in Canada. It has ties with many other groups, such as the Ukrainians, many of which came to this country via Germany. I know that one of my best girl friends of Ukrainian parents was born in Hamburg, as was her brother, before her family moved to Toronto. I also know that we have married couples where one part is Ukrainian. There are other ethnicities that mingled with ours. And I think that is a great thing, especially since we live in a country with such a diverse culture. We are indeed the United Nations!

Last but not least I would like to tell you about Werner Bogdahn, whose account of his early life has gripped the interest of many of our readers. This story is his epitaph. He lost his long battle with cancer a couple of weeks ago. We are grateful that he chose us to publish his recollections and we are proud to do so.

But enough of sad news, let us embrace the best summer has to offer.

Until next time

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister

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, German-Canadian, reports, culture, arts, entertainment, events, interview, community events, artists, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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