German History Intersections is a source-based digital project that examines three broad topics – migration, knowledge and education, and Germanness – from 1500 to the present. By charting these topics across centuries, the project offers an alternative to traditional histories that focus on discrete historical periods.
Almanya – Welcome to Germany (2011) was a very successful film and is one of my favorites. It tells the story of a Turkish immigrant family—a culture-clash comedy told from an affectionate point of view. Newly naturalized Hüseyin Yılmaz takes his six-year-old grandson Cenk and the rest of the family on a road trip to Turkey, recounting his labor migration to Germany. The film offers an entertaining take on the difficulties faced by the first generation of so-called guest workers in Germany and shows how a foreign country eventually became a home. The film delights in playing with clichés and thus holds a mirror up to Turks and Germans alike. As the daughter of a former “guest worker,” I can relate to many of the scenes in the film. The story of the Yılmaz family is also part of my own history and that of many other descendants of “guest workers” in Germany.
Sakine Yildiz, member of the “Migration” working group