50 Years German-Canadian Association
When in 1951 the first tender connections between Germany and Canada were woven, the ravages of the war had not entirely disappeared and were still visible in German cities. Foreign soldiers, as part of the occupying forces, were part of every day life.
In Hanover German families felt that these young soldiers, so far away from home should not be without some heart-warming contact at Christmas and invited them into there homes. To organize this initiative better the ‘Deutsch-Kanadische Gesellschaft e. V.’ was founded.
This was a great success. Three thousand families hosted a Canadian soldier during that festive season of 1951. Miraculously any form of barrier evaporated quickly.
Germans and Canadians learned much about each other and were willing to expand on the theme that the founders wisely had included into the basic tenets of their charter: to deepen the understanding of the other country, expand cultural ties, and especially to further the exchange of young people.
These still are the goals and purposes of the organisation celebrating 50 years of successful bilateral agreements.
To commemorate the occasion in Toronto a reception was held to welcome the new group of participating students this year. The fresh faces of 81 young people and representatives of some businesses and organisations providing student jobs hobnobbed at Hart House on the Toronto University grounds. Speeches were held at a minimum but unavoidable.
Chairman Dietrich Th. A. Krafft was at hand to explain the importance of the association’s work and to thank the participating partners. Dr. Georg Birgelen from the German Embassy in Ottawa had a few enthusiastic and friendly words for all involved and Ildiko Kraezig, from Düsseldorf, a Political Science student, was speaking for all the students participating in this program in nearly accent free English.
She pointed out how important the behaviour of the students would be at work and at play, since they are in fact representatives of the Federal Republic of Germany and would be evaluated as such. Competing with local students for summer jobs makes this an even more important point and everyone was of course very grateful for the commitment of the organizers.
In private conversation it was obvious that these young people were extremely pleased to be here. Some will stay in Toronto and perhaps work in one of the Mövenpick locations. Mövenpick has participated for many years in this exchange program and clients seem to prefer these youngsters to local help? Why this could be was lightly explored and the result seems to be that the students from abroad are more eager to please, display a much more pleasant attitude than their local counterparts.
Some of the students will have a position with such Firms as Gerling or the Delta Chelsea Inn. Others yet have an open work permit and will travel on to Vancouver and see what they can find out there. Provided with a few contacts they are confident that all will be well. The scenery in Canada will be an adventure in itself.
We asked for observations and differences and found out that Toronto is indeed clean, at least as far as the absence of graffiti is concerned. In Germany there seems to a real problem with it. Some students were aware of the recent killing spree in Toronto and were quite aghast at this degree of violence. But all noticed the great willingness to help and the friendliness of our Torontonians. Thank you!
The local representative of the German Canadian Association is Peter Barths and he can be reached at 416-580-7079 should you wish more information about this organisation. SFR.
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