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
Now 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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!
As the editor of Echo Germanica Sybille reflects on cultural,
artistic, political and daily events within the German-Canadian