Das neue Wir
400 Pages, Klappenbroschur
Immigration in Germany has been a success story – since 1945! A passionate plea for a “salad bowl” identity
It is high time to retell the story of postwar migration to Germany West and East. London historian Jan Plamper braids together the life stories of ethnic German expellees from East Prussia, “guest workers” from Italy and Turkey, labor migrants from Mozambique and Vietnam in the GDR, ethnic Germans from the Soviet Union, and refugees from many other countries, including, most recently, war-torn Syria. In forging a highly readable narrative history, he writes less about “waves” and statistics, and instead brings us close to individual people – those who have shaped the German nation since the Second World War but who get short shrift in standard histories. This opens a new perspective in the current debate about group and national identities – about what it means to be German. Amidst the rise of right-wing populism Plamper’s book could hardly be more timely: he shows that migration poses many challenges, but that it has been a surprising success story in Germany.