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  1. #111
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    I feel like such an inbred by comparison. I'm a German born to German parents in Germany.

    During the nazi era many people had to investigate their family lineage up to some point in order to apply for a Aryan Certificate (which you needed for different purposes). My grandparents did that which is why I have quite a bit of information at hand. Apparently my maternal grandpa started to take a special interest as he investigated way further than the certificate would have required. He enjoyed collecting as much data as he could from old church registries.

    My mother's side is mainly Northern German farmers who handed the farm from father to son or at least stayed within the region which makes it easy to track. Juicy detail #1:my grandpa and my grandma where remote cousins. Juicy detail#2: apparently one of my ancestors came into a bit of money under dubious circumstances during the Thirty Years War (1618 to 1649) and there were rumours in the village that he was a war profiteer. It seems that this side of the family has been pretty much always been native-native.

    My father's side is from Silesia. Silesia is now a part of Poland but was still a part of Germany when my Dad was born there only months before the end of the war and had been so for centuries (the population has always been mixed with a slight German majority that my family belonged to). My grandma had to flee from the approaching Soviet Army on foot in the winter of '44/'45 with two little girls and a baby in a handcart and started a new life in Northern Germany when all Germans were expelled from Poland and Czechoslovakia. The names in the certificate that I found are all very German sounding names, but there is one ancestor with an unknown father and my Dad always said he'd be surprised if there hadn't been some Polish or other Slavic influence at some point since this was traditionally a very multiethnic region. He liked that thought.

    I have been considering doing that 23 and me thing but am not sure if it's worth the trouble. I'm curious but it looks like the chances for interesting results are slim.

    How do I feel about that heritage? The romantic in me would love for it to be more colorful and adventurous. I am aware of the benefits and comfort of being part of the native population of one of the richest countries on earth, in peacetime and safety, born into a middle class family.

    Being German comes with both a rich cultural heritage and a huge moral burden. To me that mainly means a special responsibillty to be extra watchful when it comes to xenophobic, illiberal and nativist urges. I am neither proud not ashamed to be German as it is nothing I chose but a fact on which I had no influence. Naturally it has shaped me as anybody is shaped by their culture.

    My parents never saw the war and grew up in a peaceful democracy as did I. But when I join a debate on the internet or just read forums on international politics it's a question of time before somebody makes a cheap joke or put-down comment about nazis. It's often seems to be used as a very cheap and low way of boosting ones own ego while generically silencing Germans on any issue from the Euro zone to the best flavor of potato chips ("Of course you would say that, but what you really want is world domination, is it not? Nazi!")
    The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life. - Bertrand Russell
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  2. #112
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Herring View Post
    I feel like such an inbred by comparison. I'm a German born to German parents in Germany.

    During the nazi era many people had to investigate their family lineage up to some point in order to apply for a Aryan Certificate (which you needed for different purposes). My grandparents did that which is why I have quite a bit of information at hand. Apparently my maternal grandpa started to take a special interest as he investigated way further than the certificate would have required. He enjoyed collecting as much data as he could from old church registries.

    My mother's side is mainly Northern German farmers who handed the farm from father to son or at least stayed within the region which makes it easy to track. Juicy detail #1:my grandpa and my grandma where remote cousins. Juicy detail#2: apparently one of my ancestors came into a bit of money under dubious circumstances during the Thirty Years War (1618 to 1649) and there were rumours in the village that he was a war profiteer. It seems that this side of the family has been pretty much always been native-native.

    My father's side is from Silesia. Silesia is now a part of Poland but was still a part of Germany when my Dad was born there only months before the end of the war and had been so for centuries (the population has always been mixed with a slight German majority that my family belonged to). My grandma had to flee from the approaching Soviet Army on foot in the winter of '44/'45 with two little girls and a baby in a handcart and started a new life in Northern Germany when all Germans were expelled from Poland and Czechoslovakia. The names in the certificate that I found are all very German sounding names, but there is one ancestor with an unknown father and my Dad always said he'd be surprised if there hadn't been some Polish or other Slavic influence at some point since this was traditionally a very multiethnic region. He liked that thought.

    I have been considering doing that 23 and me thing but am not sure if it's worth the trouble. I'm curious but it looks like the chances for interesting results are slim.

    How do I feel about that heritage? The romantic in me would love for it to be more colorful and adventurous. I am aware of the benefits and comfort of being part of the native population of one of the richest countries on earth, in peacetime and safety, born into a middle class family.

    Being German comes with both a rich cultural heritage and a huge moral burden. To me that mainly means a special responsibillty to be extra watchful when it comes to xenophobic, illiberal and nativist urges. I am neither proud not ashamed to be German as it is nothing I chose but a fact on which I had no influence. Naturally it has shaped me as anybody is shaped by their culture.

    My parents never saw the war and grew up in a peaceful democracy as did I. But when I join a debate on the internet or just read forums on international politics it's a question of time before somebody makes a cheap joke or put-down comment about nazis. It's often seems to be used as a very cheap and low way of boosting ones own ego while generically silencing Germans on any issue from the Euro zone to the best flavor of potato chips ("Of course you would say that, but what you really want is world domination, is it not? Nazi!")
    I must admit I am more interested in your psyche than your ancestry.

    At first I was thrown off the track by being impressed by your intelligence, and I bumped my head up against your psyche without knowing why.

    You are of course delightfully intelligent but when I try to engage you, I miss the mark entirely.

    I do think you understand yourself better than I do, and so you present to me as a puzzle: I am puzzled by you.

    Of course I could ask you to solve the puzzle for me, and no doubt Mad Hatter could throw some light, and I am sure, in the fullness of time, your daughter will perhaps know you best of all.

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