Research links personal and public histories of German-Canadians

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Researchers at the University of Waterloo would like to talk to members of the German-Canadian community for a book and archive project that will both document and reveal the connections between personal life stories and public history.

“We would like to gain a better understanding of the history of the whole community, people's experiences, and their connections to all things German, both past and present,” said Professor Mat Schulze, director of the Waterloo Centre for German Studies (WCGS) and the project co-ordinator. “The significance of individual experiences and achievements within the context of a whole community will be highlighted.”

The project is looking for people who would like to be interviewed about their years in German-speaking Europe, their arrival in Canada during the 1950s, 1960s or later, and their lives in Waterloo Region. Participants can be German immigrants or their family members, such as first-generation Canadians, who would speak with a researcher in German or English for about an hour.

Marga Weigel, the president of the German-Canadian Education Fund, approached the WCGS with the idea of producing a book that will tell the stories of German immigrants to this area. Helene Schramek and Ernst Friedel, community representatives on the WCGS Advisory Board, are also helping with this ambitious project. All three are in the first group of people who are participating in the interviews.

“The book will be of relevance not only to the local community, but also to a broader audience,” said Professor Schulze. “It will represent development of the German-Canadian community in an historical context by creating an in-depth account of personal experiences, as opposed to studies that highlight only individuals or solely focus on collecting quantitative data.”

To learn more about this project or to register as a participant, please contact the WCGS at or phone Professor Mat Schulze at 519-888-4567, ext. 36627.

About the University of Waterloo

In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's technology hub, has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with 35,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For more information about Waterloo, please visit


Media Contact:

Pamela Smyth

University of Waterloo


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