I was raised in a small village in South West Germany in the Palatine region. Kwinana is really the best, beautiful value. There are so many facilities and it is so beautiful. I tell everyone, come to Kwinana!
But you have to actively engage with people and not wait for them to hold your hand. You have to mix with people and learn.
The only stories I remember of my grandfather that he was, during the Second World War, in prison in Russia. He was always saying he was treated fairly and he never hated the Russians. He also told me – I mean – he still has his school bag, and his school books and so their school was interrupted because of the Second World War. How hard that life actually was I was taught, and when I see my life and my daughter’s life I think it’s, yea, easy peasy.
In Germany the Germans are always the bad people. So, it started just let’s say a decade ago that people actually started talking what happened in the eastern part in Germany, and how much German public suffered from the Red Army. Yea, all Germans, including civilians, were the evil ones. It was a topic you could not discuss. What Germans did, which was horrible – we all know that – we actually were raised with a sense of guilt. Honestly speaking I hate it, and I find it unfair. I think every nation did things that were horrible. And I think it is important to talk about it, and I am very proud that Germany, compared to other nations, did talk about it and did actually commit to say it’s wrong.
It was quite difficult for me, when I was from 2003 to 2004, I was in Indonesia, and I was to live together with Japanese, Korean and Chinese students. So, especially the Japanese, they were so proud of being Japanese. Being proud to be a German is something you actually can’t say.
Well it also penetrated subjects at school and I remember one incident that was in high school, so our teacher, she was asking us ‘would you have taken Jews in? Would you have protected them?’ So everyone else in the classroom said ‘yes’, and I thought about the question and I said ‘well I don’t know. I would have put my family first, to be honest.’ And then they kicked me out of the classroom.
I lived in a village and most of my other friends, they were farmers, you know, it was quite different than it is now. And I really hated it in my village because my parents knew most of the other parents from my classmates, so which resulted that we actually had, all of us, we had total control. Because if something, if we wrote, for example, an exam, our parents already knew from talking to the other parent, even before Facebook and internet, what actually happened. So we were all, really, very good kids. Didn’t bully each other, because if we would have done, one of the other parent would have called and then it would be really bad. Because, at that point in time it was not like positive parenting. At that point in time it was like ‘what did you do? *bang*.’
I remember once, we were 16, when I gave a, you know, when you start to give each other left and right a kiss. And my best friend, she is female, and so when we separated we gave each other left and right side a kiss. And our neighbour saw that. And then the following day my parents had a talk about my sexual orientation. So, so much to the surveillance in the village. Total control, and that was West Germany!