Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Le Trait D'union Ou L'intégration Sans Oubli: Itinéraires D'exilés Germanophones Au Canada Après 1933

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Le Trait D'union Ou L'intégration Sans Oubli: Itinéraires D'exilés Germanophones Au Canada Après 1933

Article excerpt

Patrick Farges, Le trait d'union ou l'intégration sans oubli: Itinéraires d'exilés germanophones au Canada après 1933 (Paris: Éditions de la Maison des Sciences de l'Homme. Collection du CIERA: 'dialogiques', 2008), 470pp. Paper. Euros 26. ISBN 9782735111510.

After 1933, many German intellectuals were forced into exile: some famous authors and artists, such as, Bertolt Brecht went to Scandinavia and then to the United States; in 1933, director Fritz Lang emigrated to France and then to Hollywood. However, thousands of Germans emigrated to Canada, and since there were no celebrities among them, this topic has received less attention from historians. Taken from his PhD thesis, Patrick Farges' first book compensates by studying the narratives of many German-Canadians in their quest of identity. Prior to this, Farges had already published the detailed story of a German immigrant named Michel Bader, who went to Canada in 1929 (p. 65).

During the Second World War, many German émigrés living in England because they were no longer welcome in their native country became prisoners of war because of their ethnic descent; from 1940, about 1200 of those 'suspects' were sent to Canada and more than 600 of them disappeared in the Atlantic ocean when their ship was targeted by the Nazi submarines (p. 111). The transfer of these thousands of young German prisoners - mostly Jewish and anti-Nazis - from England to Canada was secretly decided by the British government; as Patrick Farges puts it in an elegant formula, this exile was a British episode that occurred on Canadian soil (p. 105).

Nevertheless, these thousands of German-speaking refugees (as they were labelled then) stayed in Canada during and even after the end of war; but as the author demonstrates, many of them felt homeless and could not really integrate into Canadian society or feel they were part of an 'ethnic group' inside Canada, even after decades away from Europe (p. …

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