>

« Push poet remembers the dissenters | Blog home | Injustice within the law - the Tolpuddle Martyrs »

business learning training articles new learning business training opportunities finance learning training deposit money learning making training art loan learning training deposits make learning your training home good income learning outcome training issue medicine learning training drugs market learning money training trends self learning roof training repairing market learning training online secure skin learning training tools wedding learning training jewellery newspaper learning for training magazine geo learning training places business learning training design Car learning and training Jips production learning training business ladies learning cosmetics training sector sport learning and training fat burn vat learning insurance training price fitness learning training program furniture learning at training home which learning insurance training firms new learning devoloping training technology healthy learning training nutrition dress learning training up company learning training income insurance learning and training life dream learning training home create learning new training business individual learning loan training form cooking learning training ingredients which learning firms training is good choosing learning most training efficient business comment learning on training goods technology learning training business secret learning of training business company learning training redirects credits learning in training business guide learning for training business cheap learning insurance training tips selling learning training abroad protein learning training diets improve learning your training home security learning training importance

“Do you mind working for a German?” asked the blond thirty something man with a piercing blue stare. I was at a job interview. It happened a few years ago in Australia, thousands of miles away from Europe and over half-a-century after the end of the Second World War.

It was an unexpected question in the context of a Sydney suburb, but not entirely. I am Polish and the history of Polish–German/Germanic relationships is full of wars and battles stretching over a thousand years. Consciously or not, people carry historical knowledge as part of their identity, and this legacy affects how various communities and individuals have interacted with each other over the years.

I recalled my unconventional interview question while reading Sydney University Press’s new book Migration and Cultural Contact: Germany and Australia and, by the time I finished, I was no longer sure whether my background mattered in the context of the history of German presence in Australia.

Contacts between Germany and Australia go back to the earliest colonial times. Germans came to Australia with the First Fleet, and were highly regarded as hard-working citizens. Whether rural settlers, entrepreneurs, missionaries, scientists or explorers, they contributed significantly to Australian society.

But the position of German migrants has not always been unproblematic as John Williams writes in chapter six of the book. During the First World War, many Australians of German background were considered to be ‘enemy aliens’, often forced to change their name and at times persecuted.

While the animosities caused by the Second World War were short-lived, it is only in the past two decades that more people have claimed to have a German background than can be accounted for in the immigration data. The rise in the popularity of German heritage has been seen on the one hand in the context of the multicultural policy of 1973 but on the other hand, it has been linked with events back in Germany: the unification and the fall of the Berlin Wall – something of which all Germans can be proud.

Perhaps it is the distancing effect of the flow of time. While acknowledgement and recognition of the past forms an important part of our collective memory, should it affect how we treat individuals of different backgrounds in the present?

And, yes, I got that job and I didn’t mind working for a German boss.

About the Blog

Discussion about publishing and new books from Sydney University Press and University of Sydney authors
More

Other blogs we like

eBookAnoid Reviewing ereaders, ebooks, and all things related