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Germans in America 4 : A people disappears (2005) RatingRatingRatingRatingRating

Germans in America 4 : A people disappears
Germany 1937: Sixteen-year-old Max Ebel, a known Anti-Fascist, is threatened by Hitler Youths. He is wounded with a knife. Staying in Germany is becoming life-threatening for him. So he decides to flee to Boston, where his father is living.

By the early twentieth century, the German-Americans have become one of the the country’s most important ethnic groups in business, finance, education, research, and agriculture. But they look back across the Atlantic with great concern. In Europe a horrible war has broken out. Anti-German propaganda heats the country up for war and brings out intolerance and hate. These were the patterns that German-Americans had to deal with during the First World War. Everything German is struck from the American language. German family names are americanized. German culture disappears from public life. During both world wars, German-Americans try to keep any German identity under wraps. Many are suspected of being spies. A harmless workman of German ancestry named Robert Prager is lynched by nationalistic Americans.

Freshly arrived in America, Max Ebel volunteers for the military. He asks to serve in the Pacific theater and asks that he not be sent to war in Germany, since his brother and his mother are still living there. This is to be his undoing. Max Ebel is arrested and imprisoned for many months in various internment camps.

Masses of people flee the Nazi terror and the USA sets stricter immigrant quotas than ever before in its history. This is the atmosphere in which the Nathorffs, an esteemed Jewish-German couple, both medical doctors from Berlin, find themselves also when they flee Germany. Almost penniless, Hertha Nathorff, once the celebrated director of the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Berlin, describes the drama of her exile in her deeply moving diary. She earns money in New York as a cleaning lady and as a piano-player in a bar in order to pay for her husband’s American medical training, but she’s not allowed to work as a physician herself. Hertha Nathorff dies in the 1990s in New York, impoverished and embittered.

After the war was over, it took decades to re-build a relationship between German-Americans and Germans. Nowadays, the old German immigrants have been completely absorbed into the American “melting pot.” Even Max Ebel is still living today in New Hampshire.
Laufzeit: 50 min.
Sprache: English
Genre: Documentarys, English, Fremdsprachen, Germans in America, Series
Land: Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika
Produzent: Axel Engstfeld

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