German Culture in Atlanta 8: On being German American

In German Culture in ATL, Sina's Posts, Tamás' Posts on February 6, 2012 by SN

A couple of weeks ago I met a very nice German American lady at the Broder reception at Emory University. Marianne, as I will call her, was born as a so-called Donauschwabe more than 65 years ago in a region that used to be Hungary. After WW II the area became part of Serbia and shortly afterwards the Yugoslavian dictator Tito kicked her family out of their Heimat. Subsequently, her family fled to the U.S. via Austria when she was at the age of 11.


Her family settled in Ohio where she went to school and had her first experience with the American culture and English language. She went on to do her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in German Studies in the 1960s. After that she came to Atlanta to work at Morehouse College for more than 40 years. Morehouse College is Martin Luther King Jr.’s alma mater.

A week ago, we were invited for a Sunday lunch at her house. Her fondness of flower patterns both natural and material,  heavy patterns, expressive colors, flouncy cushions reminded me a lot of my grandmother’s style. Her fondness of art is displayed in her many paintings, partly her own, ranging from water color to expressive oil painting.

Her German American identity was revealed in the choice of food as she served a blend of delicious European and Southern food. We talked about what it means being German, American, and German American. We shared our story of being East German in America. We elaborated on American politics from Reaganomics to Obama. We had a wonderful time and stayed all afternoon. When we left her house, we had the impression that we had done trip around the world and not just eaten lunch.



One Response to “German Culture in Atlanta 8: On being German American”

  1. who would have thought that such wonderful things can come out of a broder talk. :)

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