To be clear, I’m pretty sure my fear of Germans has nothing to do with that Hitler/exterminate the Jews thing. It’s more visceral than that…I think I feared Germans before I even heard of Hitler or WW2.
I think it’s the accents. My dad’s whole family had them, including the pediatrician who also had a booming voice. Imagine the terror. A German can say the nicest thing and it always sounds like an order. “Enjoy your cappuccino” sounds like “Enjoy your cappuccino, or else” when a German accent is added. Then there’s the fact that in my travels, I’ve been shoved by more Germans than any other nationality. If there’s a head or person blocking the most scenic photo ever, you can rest assured, it’s a German. And lets face it, they can be a little cold and officious. That being said, I know my fear isn’t rational–there are lots of lovely Germans. But I digress.
A lot of people ask how I handle the visa thing over here. It’s simple. I became a German citizen. As an EU citizen, I can stay and work here without a bunch of paperwork.
Of course, becoming a German citizen, wasn’t exactly a leisurely day in the park. It actually took a lot of effort.
First, my ancestors had to be forced to flee Germany based on religious/racial persecution, which believe me, is a lot of work.
Then someone had to tell me about a little known law that allows US German citizens whose parents or grandparents were persecuted and left Germany due to religious, racial or political persecution, to become citizens. And I had to remember it.
Then I had to tell my niece who was way more hot to trot to get EU citizenship than I was. She had to drag me to the German consulate to hand over the forms, photos and documents most of which she gathered (hey, I filled them out!). It was quite a struggle for her, since I really didn’t want to go someplace full of Germans (scary).
Then my niece had to prod and cajole them to give us our damn citizenship papers already.
It took almost exactly a year of diligent effort, but I’m officially a self-loathing German.
Information on how to get restored German citizenship