Bilingual: Greek and German
The 50th anniversary of the German-Greek Labour Recruitment Agreement was celebrated in 2010. Many of the Greek immigrant workers in Germany had found their home in Germany and started fami-lies. There have been many books published about the lives of these immigrants and many of them have also dealt with the life abroad in a literary form. A large number of migrants have returned to their na-tive home, bringing with them their children and German partners and friends.
Little is known about the fact that these German immigrants to Greece have described their new lives in a literary way. This gave us – the Groessenwahn Verlag and the Goethe Institute in Thessaloniki – the idea of a competitive tender for short stories in which the German immigrants tell about their lives as Xenos (Foreigner). We wanted to find out how they have integrated in the new country, how they have dealt with the mentality, and with the often very different sort of life. The ten best stories were to be published in a book – should we get so many. We had never anticipat-ed such a great response to our call – 53 entries arrived, all of which speaking about the life in Greece. They were coming in various literary forms: poems, stories and pure lists of survival data. The jury consisted of representatives of the Goethe Institute in Thessaloniki, the Groessenwahn-Verlag in Frankfurt, the German General Consulate in Thessaloniki, the German School of Thessaloniki, the Germanic department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Romiosini-Verlag in Cologne . They had to decide which of the entries satisfied the identified criteria: to give a literary answer to the question of how German or German speaking foreigners feel in Greece, whether and how they have in-tegrated, and what they can report about living in a strange land. The quality of the stories was so good that the jury decided to increase the number to be published in the anthology to 19. The selected stories were also translated into Greek, so also their partners and Greek neighbours can read how their German speaking friends and family members have perceived them as a foreigner. (Excerpt from the foreword) Ute Petkakis, Goethe Institute Thessaloniki
UTE PETKAKIS Born in Berlin in 1952, she grew up in Wiesbaden and Kelkheim/ Taunus, and later graduated in Library Science in Stuttgart . After two years of employment as a qualified librarian in Hohenheim, she began to study architecture in Karls-ruhe. In 1979 she followed her Greek husband to Thessaloniki. Since then she is working as Director of the Library at the Goethe Institute of Thessalonki. Ute has two grown children.