Year 5 and older

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Seeking your fortune in foreign lands

German emigration to Southeast Europe in the 18th century
Many people made their way to Southeast Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. Why did these people emigrate? How did the settlement process work? What fateful events had an impact on migrating families? What kind of belongings did they bring with them? What structures, cultures and languages did they find on their arrival and how did they deal with them? Pupils get active by dealing with these questions and in doing so get an idea of the history of the Danube Swabians; a history that tells us about leaving one’s home and making a new one in another country.

donau

The Danube – Europe’s blue ribbon

The diversity of Southeast Europe
From its source to its delta at the Black Sea, the river Danube connects ten European countries. Of these countries, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Croatia belong to the European Union – a sign that Europe is growing closer together. But what do we really know about our neighbours in Southeast Europe? It is often still the case that these unknown countries illicit just a few phrases, images or clichés. So here pupils get the chance to gain some insight into politics, everyday life, language and culture in the Danube countries, focussing on Hungary, Romania and Serbia, where there is much more to discover than paprika, Dracula, gypsies and “cevapcici”.

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Hammers pounding, chimneys smoking

Industrialisation and emigration to America
Industrialisation reached Hungary in the second half of the 19th century. Iron and steel production rose and machines increasingly came to determine the pace of work and everyday life. Hopes for better living conditions drove people to leave the countryside for the cities and find work in the factories. Many also made their way to America, hoping they would prosper in the land of opportunity. Pupils see how technological advances made it easier to produce all kinds of goods and what effects working and living conditions had on people. They find out why people undertook the long journey to America and get to know one migrant who would reach worldwide fame as Tarzan.

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Neighbours, nationalities, nationalism

World War One and its aftermath
The start of World War One was the beginning of the biggest military conflict the world had ever seen. In South-Eastern Europe the war coincided with different peoples’ endeavours to set up their own nation states. By the end of the war, Southeast Europe was divided between winners and losers, a situation cemented by the Treaties of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Trianon. Pupils find out how the idea of having one’s own nation state gave rise to intense conflicts between peoples who had previously lived peacefully side-by-side. They take a close look at the Paris peace treaties, how they redrew the political map of Europe and how this impacted on Danube Swabian settlement areas and the people who lived there.

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Escaped, cast out, expelled

Escape and expulsion after World War Two
The end of the war in 1945 was a sign for many that they could finally go home. Yet for others, such as the Danube Swabians, the war’s end marked the beginning of their homelessness: Escape, expulsion and deportation took them to Germany, America and the Soviet Union. Using objects and the stories behind them as well as comments made by contemporary witnesses, pupils deal with the effects of fleeing from one’s home, expulsion and slave labour, and what consequences this had for coexistence in post-war Germany. Comparisons are made between the historical experiences made in the middle of the 20th century and present day refugee movements and issues of integration.