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Local Lives, Parallel HistoriesVillagers and Everyday Life in the Divided Germany$
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Marcel Thomas

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198856146

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198856146.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 31 July 2021

Strangers in the Village

Strangers in the Village

The Marginalization of Newcomers in the Rural Community

(p.119) 3 Strangers in the Village
Local Lives, Parallel Histories

Marcel Thomas

Oxford University Press

The third chapter turns towards newcomers in Neukirch and Ebersbach and explores how the villagers responded to the growing inflow of non-locals into the locality in the postwar era. Unlike previous scholarship, which has often focused on one particular group of newcomers, it examines the continuities between different waves of migration in East and West. The chapter reveals that ethnic German refugees, foreign workers, and urban newcomers were in similar ways marginalized by long-standing locals who tried to claim ownership over the spaces of ‘their’ locality. While migration is remembered through very different narratives in Neukirch and Ebersbach, Easterners and Westerners failed to fully come to terms with diversity in their village. In the booming Ebersbach, locals remembered a continuous inflow of strangers that diversified the community. In the shrinking Neukirch, on the other hand, stop-and-go migration was silenced in a narrative of continued homogeneity of the community. The chapter thus demonstrates how migration and integration in the divided Germany played out in local contexts. Diversity in postwar society, it will be shown, was contested in debates over local identity and belonging.

Keywords:   migration, diversity, ethnic German Refugees, foreign workers, Gastarbeiter, commuters, postwar Germany, divided Germany, East Germany, West Germany

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