"The History of Refugees in Modern Germany and the Limits of Tolerance" -- Keynote Address by Dr. Annemarie Sammartin
Event date to be determined
As approximately one million Syrians found their way to Europe over the past year, hundreds of thousands have so far settled on German soil, making it the largest receiving country in Europe. To the surprise of many inside and outside of that country, many—if by no means all—Germans have welcomed them warmly, in decided contrast to the reception they have received in many other European countries. German politicians and interested observers have taken this as a departure—a sign of Germany becoming a new country due to its relatively recent influx of migrants. Joachim Gauck, Germany’s President, stated: “In reality, life as we live it here is already far more diverse…We as a nation must redefine ourselves, as a collective of different people, but who all accept common values.” Yet, in reality, migration is nothing new for Germany. Throughout the twentieth century, Germany was the receiving country for millions of refugees. In this talk, Dr. Annemarie Sammartino will discuss two twentieth century refugee crises—the crises that accompanied the end of each of the two world wars, each of which dwarf the current crises on a numerical level. She will look at what lessons German responses to the refugee crises after each of the World Wars might have for Germany’s current situation. In particular, she examines how a rhetoric of tolerance both was and was not helpful in producing a humane refugee response during previous crises.