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January 2012 - Nr. 1
Happy New Year from Echo Germanica
Sybille Forster-Rentmeister, Editor-in-chief

Dear Reader

The first issue of the year is usually all about the recent festivities and the events surrounding them. And of course we will visit some of those in this edition. But there is another subject that has to be addressed, not just from our personal perspective, but how it affects the community.

For a while now we have noticed that our community has been shrinking steadily but almost imperceptibly at first. Not every loss ends up on our desks. It only happens when someone knows us and wants to communicate it. In the last couple of years though I have spoken frequently to community leaders who have told me that they have been already to 6 funerals this year; and that was in the summer. The annual shrinkage due to this attrition is by far faster than at any time before now. Our senior generation, the ones who came before us to Canada, probably shortly after the war or at least in the early 1950s, are passing away rapidly. In Canada we enjoy amazing longevity and yet it is not enough to keep our ranks swollen. Every organisation I spoke to told me that they lost between 10 and 20 members in the recent months/year.

I am aware of some of them, especially if they were obvious contributors to the community in one capacity or another. I sadly had to acknowledge the death of Ursula Pavelko, and not long before that of her husband. I heard of Liselotte Bollmann and her husband; there was Rosemarie Meyer, Erika Begemann and many others.

Dick (Richard K) AltermannNow we have a loss close to home. Our Richard Altermann, known to most as Dick, has left us. With him an era comes to an end and we seriously have to consider how the rest of us will carry on. With the numbers of membership shrinking everywhere we are looking at fewer resources for our community to keep the organisations going that we all have supported in the past.

I think we have to move closer together, support each other more, display more interest in outside concerns, participate more in our available activities and, yes, spend our money on each other to keep things going.

All this also affects the publications that support the community. And by that I mean that it will be necessary that you the reader support your paper.

How can you do that? Well, the obvious choice is that you subscribe. Another possibility is that you advertise if you have a service or product to promote. You could also make a donation. Echo Germanica is open to all suggestions. We gladly accept your help, as ours has always been there for you. I do not need to remind you that we have serviced you for over 20 years and for 12 of those we do it worldwide on the internet as well. That is what promotes German culture and concerns in Canada and everywhere.

We certainly could do more of that if there was some active participation. Since there are now only 2 of us in the office we appreciate anything anyone can do and is willing to do.

We want to celebrate Dick’s life on Sunday the 22nd of January from 10am to 2pm in the Hansa Club in Brampton. If you would like to attend please call us a 416-652-1332 or email us at

Light refreshments will be served. We know that Dick had a lot of friends out there and hope that you will join us in recounting some of our best moments. If you could let us know latest on or before the 18th or 19th of this month that would be greatly welcome, so we can be ready for you.

I hope to see you then!

Despite life’s challenges we carry on with the best of intentions and charge into the New Year with gladness in our hearts that we have each other and good wishes for all.

A Happy and Healthy New Year!

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, editor, editor of Echo Germanica, comments, cultural, artistic, political, daily events, German-Canadian, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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