Saturday, October 03, 2009



By Kevin Anthony Stoda, Wiesbaden, Germany

A special German holiday, perhaps the most important new German holiday in more than half a millennia, is known as The Day of German Unity. It has been celebrated since 1990 on October 3 each year. However, it is a fairly quiet affair this year. No one mentioned it at work all this past week in the three towns I work in.

There was a lot of discussion on which date the national holiday should be in 1990, i.e. one year after the Berlin (and East German) Wall came wide open and soon broke down forever. Within less than 12 months the two long separated peoples of the West German and East German republics were united as one officially known state (or single entity) on the world’s political maps (again) as of October 3, 2009.

This date of October 3 was not the first German Unification or Unity dates. As far back as the takeover (namely Alsace and Lorraine ) from territory of France by the Prussian governments in a vicious war in 1870-1871, days of German unity were called forth and celebrated in Germany . There are many streets and public squares throughout East and Western Germany to this very day which are called DEUTSCHE EINHEIT or German Unity. However, most of these streets and city squares date from the 1870s wars of Prussia , the era immediately after German speaking peoples were “united” through a series wars of aggression. As well, great statues of the Prussian Kaiser were constructed throughout the German and Prussian states of the regime.

Likewise, the divided Cold War world of both Western and Eastern Germans often found the divided volk considering different times of the year for national unity dates: From 1949 through1989, the Eastern German Democratic Republic officially recognized October 7 as The National Day for Germans. That date was also the founding of the DDR or Democratic Republic of Germany, i.e. with Eastern Berlin as the head of governance.

In the same Cold War era, many pro-unification Western Germans, with Bonn as their capital, considered the date of the 17th of June to be for Germany the best date for soberly calling for “German Unity” or unification of the divided peoples. This date was selected after 1953 because on this date in that year, Eastern German and Russian forces violently put down a march by thousands of workers for better wages and equalization with the West economically and socially. Over one-hundred Germans were killed and many others sent to jail or concentration camps for months and years.

Originally, many Germans in 1990 had considered having November 9 as the day of German unity as that was the very day in 1989 when Eastern Germans had forced the East German communist regime to open the Walled boarders in Berlin (and around the East German state) for the first time in nearly three decades.

These Eastern Germans had succeeded in a manner the Prussian and Hitler regimes had never contemplated. They had unified lands and peoples, peacefully—without firing a shot. This seemed to be a laudable event in modern German history.

However, November 9 was already filled with both bad and very complex but disuniting memories in the 20th Century. For example, there were:

November 9, 1918—the day the German Sailors’ and workers kicked out the Prussian leadership in a series of street battles starting in Hamburg , leading to the end of the First World War and a fairly messed up Weimer Republic .

November 9, 1923—the date of Adolf Hitler’s first coup attempt, which took place in Munich and led to the imprisonment of Hitler, a jail where Hitler wrote his book Mein Kampf.

November 9, 1938—the date of the so-called Reichskrystallnacht, which was a Nazi-orchestrated pogrom to destroy most every German synagogue in a single night.

So, without November 9 available, the Eastern and Western German leaders looked for a date that had little negative garbage to its name. In early summer of 1990, Eastern Germans had been united by a financial monetary union. Later that year, on October 3, 1990, the official political unification of Germans under the Basic Law of West Germany went into effect.

In short, October 3 was a fall-back date. This may be why there is little hoopla on October 3, this 2009. Also, perhaps because October 3, 2009 falls on a Saturday, many are just staying home in bed and resting from their workweeks.


I spent this past week pondering what “unity” means.

One definition of the word “unity” is “the quality of being united into one”.

That sounds like marriage—not a culture where everyone should look and act the same. Nonetheless, some countries are using one-size-fits-all immigration policies.

I wonder what the average German thinks about the people who occupy German territory today. Is each and every German feeling a sense or quality of being united into one or to one

That is not likely. (Although among those young East Germans and West Germans living together in the part of Hessen where I live, do a better job of feeling one-with-the other than those in the Eastern half of Germany appear to do.)

Moreover, the growing tolerance in Central Europe in the 1990s which had led ever more-and-more open German populations through 2004 has ended somewhat in the wake of the Islamic-Christian and East-West cultural wars of this decade.

Part of the backlash to these cultural wars has been an unbearable pressure against emigrants, foreign-born Germans, and potential immigrants (via the Innenministerium and Auslandministerium). There is a lot of talk about integration in Germany, for example, the Foreigner Office is now known as the “Integration office” in each city, but little progress and training of the aging German ministry officials, who know much better “how to keep immigrants
out” than how to integrate them, has really taken place in this decade.

Integration Officials, in Wiesbaden , for example, have been using a one-size-fits-all visa procedure to keep my wife (from the Philippines ) from joining me in my life and work in Germany . That is, these ministry personnel at the Integrationsamt are doing their best to fight “Unity and Unification of Family”—my and 100s or 1000s of others.

I’m sure that means for the reality of most people living in Germany in 2009 that the idea of UNITY as “the quality of being united into one” is being fought at both the interior ministry level and exterior (foreign ministry) level in
Germany this October 3, 2009.


Both my wife (Maria Victoria M. Baradero)and I have extensive experience working cross-culturally and could certainly aid and support Germany to really figure out how to integrate the millions of foreigners who plan to immigrate here or who are already living here.

For example, in my blog yesterday, I noted that my wife, Maria Victoria of the Philippines , has a lot of care-giving experience and experience working with Christians and non-Christians from the Middle East . We, Victoria and I, also both have experience teaching and training youth and young adults. The decision by German officials to make immigration hard for non-Europeans began with fervor in 2004, when the Madrid Bombings took place. This has led to keeping out successful multi-culturalists and other peoples who can serve peace and development in Europe even as the population and demographics change here over coming years.

I, myself, am interested in improving the quality of life for elderly peoples. I have worked in 10 countries, including Germany , where on December 31, 1989 I, myself, climbed over the Wall at the Brandenburg Gate and walked down Unter Den Linden without a passport. In short, that is one way I supported German Unity in 1989.

Twenty years later, I do not know what to think of what has happened to the optimism ofGermany in the late-Kohl and Schroeder Eras.

Despite all this current talk of integration, UNITY is being denied Maria Victoria and me as we have been separated by over 12,000 kilometers for most of 2009. This was fully due to a very discriminating blackballing of my wife from entrance to Germany since April 2009 when she applied at the German Embassy inn Kuwait and her application was delayed 5 weeks.

Some Integrationamt officials here in Wiesbaden candidly tell me that Germany is using the same Visa procedures as my homeland, the USA . To a great degree this may be true—many letters or emails from husbands (in the USA ) whose wives have not been allowed to travel to the USA . These have come my way in recent months since I have blogged publically about my wife’s visa treatment in Germany . All of these mails confirm the craziness of a one-size-fits-all emigration policy for both Germany and the USA in 2009. (I have applied for a USA visa for my wife but expect no immediate reply either.)

People are not all the same and treating my wife as though she was a terrorist since she came from a SE Asian country and has Middle East experience is not fair—nor is it good for either Germany or the USA . That is narrow and poor analysis. It is also parochial to fear foreigners because they may take jobs away or partially change your way of life.

Life never stays the same and migration has been the natural course for man in both the USA and in Germany since their inceptions.

Long before deciding to return to work in Germany for the first time in two decades this January 2009, I read a great book on Germany by Bernt Engelmann. The influential work is called DU DEUTSCHE? (Steidl, 2004) and demonstrates that for more than 2000 Years Germany has been a land of immigrants and children of immigrants.

Engelmann was such a close friend of East Germans in the 1970s that West German secret agents considered him a spy. In short, he was listened to both in East and West German in the cold war days. (The book DU DEUTSCHE? was published first just before his death in 1994.)

What better voice could Unification of “minds and unity of reality” than hearing this man’s, Bernt Engelmann, sober analysis that Germans and Germany have been made up of Africans, Asian, American, Eastern-Southern-Northern Europeans since time-eternal?


When two people fall in love and marry, they take a vow—and this is a vow of Unity. Isn’t it?

This doesn’t mean that once we are married that we will be perfect or perfectly one entity (we will have our foibles), but simply that we will be committed to maintaining the quality of oneness or wholeness in our relationship. Being divided and apart is not one-ness. Is it?

Because I had visited Germany several times in the 1990s and the first decade of this century, I had carefully considered returning to Germany to live in 2009 because I felt I wanted my wife to know Europe and a different way of life before we settled down and retired in a few decades. (I had lived over 4 years in Germany in the 1980s.)

Until now, my wife, Maria Victoria, knows only the hard life of a foreign laborer in the Middle East and the hard life in underdeveloped parts of the Philippines . I wanted to grow with her in our marriage vows in Germany first in 2009 because (1) by October 2008 I had a good job offer and (2) I wanted to live with my wife for a few years in a more developed land than the Kuwait where we had known each other since 2005.

I felt Maria Victoria needed a better vision of what could be on planet Earth. She had worked and had a hard life. I envisioned, therefore, that my lifelong partner-to-be, Victoria, could visit and live in both Europe and the USA with me before possibly we would turn to or return to the Philippines at some future date and empowering her family and her people.

Victoria and I had planned this out in 2008.

We did not know that the Germans who had gladly read Bernt Engelmann’s writings between the 1990s and 2004 had already changed. That is, that tolerant and open-minded multi-cultural-striving Germany had disappeared. Germany today, instead of being ambitious and becoming a truly vibrant multicultural land, had decided on an about-face with its EU partners starting in 2004-2005.

Now, the Fortress-Europe-mentality is in charge of Germany and the EU and is running integration and immigration on the continent. It uses both lies and fear tactics to propagate hate amongst peoples within and outside of the continent.

As a lifelong history teacher, I recall where this xenophobia took Europe (and America & Asia) in the 1920s and 1930s. It led to border closings, euthanasia, genocide, and wars. In short, the Fortress Europe mentality will be deadly for the continent in the next decades unless reform and real sense of oneness is built on the continent—i.e. a oneness not built on fear, hate or misunderstanding or marginalization of the other.

On the evening of October 2 through October 3, 2009, I determined to shave my head as another type of vow. [For marriage in German, a “marriage” or lover’s “vow” is a “Treueschwuere”. For a religious vow, the word “Geluebde” is used. Normal statements of a vow to do something are sometimes translated as “Geloebnis”. The verb form of “vow” is often “etwas globen, zu

I had returned from my July-August 2009 journey to the Philippines with my wife to her home island of Palawan with a vow on my heart. That vow was that I would shave my head in remorse and in remembrance or recognition of the anti-unity model of Nazi-Germany in the 1930s. I planned to do this on October 3, 2009.

Within a 10 to 12 year period a few Germans attempted to erase 2000-plus years of German Jewish history and made wars on other peoples living within boarders of the Reich—Slavic peoples, the French, non-Aryans, gypsies, Jehova Witnesses, Masons, certain churchmen, emotionally handicapped, socialists, communists, and humanists.

The shaved head for that era refers to the prisoners of the concentrations of the death camps and concentration camps of Nazi-Germany of 1933-1945. Since that decade, Germany has made a little- to great progress in integrating the other into their self-image. Now, this DAY OF GERMAN UNITY 2009, I must say that it appears progress has stopped.

I will use the shaved head as both a sign of mourning and a sign of warning to German bureaucrats and others who oppose the unification of husbands and wives or families in Germany in 2009. I will likely keep my head shaven until November 9, 2009.

In short, shaving my head and writing this article are how I, separated by 12,000 miles and bureaucrats of Germany from my wife, have spent part of this DAY OF GERMAN UNITY 2009.

Germany tear down the wall between me and the arrival of my wife. Allow our unification now. --KAS



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