By Wayne William Cipriano
Germany is showing the world how to handle the refugees spilling out of the Middle East, especially Syria. Germans are bravely facing the many problems such refugees may bring: pressure upon the lowest levels of salaried positions, potential for terrorists to hide among the refugees, greater needs for education, healthcare, housing more and more demands and costs that can only increase. And yet, Germany, not the most extravagant spender in Europe, has stepped up.
Many look back 75 years, a time when most people now alive in Germany were not, and suggest the horrendous human tragedy of Hitler’s national socialism is now motivating Germany’s open arms. Perhaps so, but is that the only reason? Making up for past ills?
In considering recent German history do not forget that it was not very long ago that there were two Germanys –– one far less developed, far less well off than the other. When the two Germanys were reunited you might have guessed that the amalgamation would mean that for a generation, or surely many years, Germany would weaken along many metrics and after some extended time period slowly begin to ‘catch up’ to its former status.
However, Germany seemed to be energized by the addition of its old countrymates. Economic commentators tell us that the country that was crushed by the Allied War Machine in 1944 and 1945, existed in two severely bifurcated portions for many years, came together and then rose to become the undisputed financial kingpin of a United Europe. How much of this enviable progression was due to the influx of people once estranged now given the opportunity to flourish?
Could there be more than simple humanitarianism involved as Germany welcomes these new refugees to its industrial and technological powerhouse at a time when these persons desperately need a new home? As the generosity and hospitality of Germany is appreciated by the refugees, will that appreciation translate into deep affection for and loyalty to their new country? Will these “novo-Germans” become dependable workers, responsible citizens, serious contributors to German society?
It has happened before, hasn’t it? It happened here to my predecessors and to yours. Germany may be about to reap tremendous benefits from what started out as the kind outreach of an affluent nation to those less fortunate.
Is there a lesson here for the rest of us to study?