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The Immigration Story of Helmut Scheffler (German immigrant)

The Museum reviews and accepts donated personal or family memories and histories into its collection. As a learning institution, the accounts help us understand how individuals recollect, interpret, or construct meaning from lived experiences. The stories are not modified by Museum staff. The point of view expressed is that of the author and not that of the Museum.

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Date of Arrival: 
November 15 1951
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Story Text: 

I left a promising company, Bayer, in Leverkusen. I could have had a good future there. During the war my family had to emigrate from Prussia to the west. There we were considered as strangers in our own country. So, I figure better be a stranger in another country than in your own. I was young, 21 years old, I could always relocate if I was not pleased.

I chose Canada for no particular reason. I was determined to have a new life and ready to face any hardship that a relocation may bring me.

I joined the ship, Ana Salen, in the harbor of Bremenhaven, on the 5th of November 1951. After a stormy crossing of the Atlantic we arrived in Halifax, Pier 21.

After the formalities we took the train to Quebec City. I had chosen to sign a contract with a mining company in the Northwest of Quebec. In Quebec City I had a bout of a bad grippe that made me fear a return to Germany. But I recovered promptly and continued the trip to Malartic Goldfield Mine. I honored my one year and half contract and continue to work for the same company awhile before starting my own company.

I have lived in the same community since 1951. I have married a French Canadian girl and we have a son.

Two years ago, my wife and I returned to Halifax, as tourists, and have seen Pier 21 from a boat trip we took. Many memories have come back. I must add that I have never regretted my decision of having emigrated to Canada. Canada is my country and I am a real Canadian. Many times I have returned to Germany where I feel like a tourist but not as a German.