The most influential person in my life was my grandmother. She was born under the German empire, saw two world wars, the moon landing and Microsoft 95.

She went to Dresden to take her daughter home from “Landverschickung” during the war and forced the headmistress to give her daughter back. Then she took her home (the daughter not the headmistress) through half of Germany and all the chaos of the destroyed railway system. Dresden got bombed the next night, my mother would not have survived.

My grandmother taught me to judge everyone by what they DO, not what they say.

When my brother became friends with an American GI, she proudly walked on his arm. A tiny, grey haired lady with her huge, black American “date”. (Chuck was nearly 2m tall, my granny hardly 1,60m.) She did not care about the color of your skin, your income, your status or your education.

She cared if you were a good person.

Oma always said: “Give a man a uniform and you see his character.” I saw this was true when I watched how high politicians, prime ministers and rich people treated the “service personal” around them. (You spot the fakers, since they lack the self-worth to treat everyone well.)

My Oma would not take bullshit. I remember her chasing Jehovah’s witnesses from our door with a broom.

She had a hard life and believed in action, not hand wringing. She never complained and the one time she made a joke in my entire childhood she totally floored me.

My Oma shaped my value system without ever giving me concrete advice. She was born 1901, her name was Elisabeth and we named our daughter after her.

I hope she will be as strong as her great-grandmother.

Happy WomensDay!

PS: When I started Immigrant Spirit, I based it on values. The values that I learned from the way how my Grandmother carried herself.


If you embrace the  “Immigrant Spirit”, then I am your ally. Find help and advice on your way here.

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