July 4, 2007

IF ONLY WE'D HAD A FENCE....:

FROM HAMBURG TO THE NEW WORLD: New Museum Pays Respect to Europe's Emigrants (Cameron Abadi, 7/04/07, Der Spiegel)

On Wednesday, a new museum devoted to the vital role Hamburg played in sending vast numbers of Europeans on their way to the New World opened its doors. Carefully scheduled to coincide with America's Independence Day on the Fourth of July, the new BallinStadt-Port of Dreams exhibition will highlight Hamburg's role as a point of departure for the "tired, hungry and poor" on their way to the shores of Ellis Island. More than that, though, the museum seeks to restore ties with tens of millions of Americans who can trace their lineage back to the city's docks.

"We don't want to look at emigration simply as a list of historical facts and figures, but as an ongoing and complex issue to which everyone can relate," says Volker Reminers, BallinStadt's managing director.

It's an ambitious mandate. Between 1850 and 1939, more than 5 million Europeans left for the New World via Hamburg -- resulting in 40 million present-day Americans with German ancestry.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 4, 2007 2:17 AM
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