Monday, March 16, 2015
The Germans are Coming!
German settlers were among the first flood of immigrants to British Columbia in 1857. A variety of people came mainly from southwestern Germany. Shopkeepers, merchants, skilled artisians and craftspeople left their homes and ventured to this new land and brought with them much needed skills and trades.
These immigrants became prominent in Vancouver's social and political life. German clubs soon sprang up, the members preserving their heritage, language, music and cultural traditions.
There were a significant number of German immigrants during the early 20th century. Many became part of local society by marrying into the "old families". German investment bankers, noblemen, barons and counts - they all entertained lavishly. It was an era that came to an end due to the economic crisis prior to World War I.
But in World War II, attitudes towards Germans were less hostile. However, all Germans entering the country had to register as enemy aliens. Most of those interned at the outbreak of the war were released in 1941 as harmless. This time there were no bitter ethnic tensions and, as early as 1947, Germans were again admitted as immigrants, initially as "displaced persons" who fled their homes in Eastern Germany.
In the post-war era, many German-Canadians settled along Vancouver's Fraser Street and in the West End. There they opened small businesses and ethnic restaurants along Robson Street. In fact, Robson Street was sometimes referred to as "Robsonstrasse".
I hope you find the beauty around you.