My ethnicity is German


Mary Heynig

My ethnicity is German. My ancestors came from the city of Leipzig, in the Free State of Saxony, which joined the German Empire in 1871. My great-grandfather brought the family to Boyne City, Michigan in 1882. On the voyage were his four children and pregnant wife; my grandfather was 8 years old and his sister Anna was born on the ship. My uncle George told me that the lure of adventure was what brought about the family's migration.

The geography of Germany is quite diverse; there is coastline along the North and Baltic Seas, rivers such as the Rhine, woodlands in the Black Forest region, and the mountains of the German Alps. The climate is temperate, with average winter temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, summer temperatures of 65 degrees, and an average rainfall of 27.5 inches. The neighbors of Germany are France, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark.

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With the fall of the Third Reich after WWII, the country was separated between the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and the United States. The U.S. and Britain formed West Germany with the portions under their control, and the U.S.S.R. segregated its portion of the country, thus splitting the country in two. The East and West were reunited in 1989, and the German citizens have been rebuilding the country since then.

Some famous people from Germany include the composers Mozart and Beethoven, the physicist Max Planck (who was the founder of quantum theory), and the philosophers Goethe and Leibniz.

A small amount of hunting/gathering can be found in the Black Forest, where mushroom hunting is popular. The technological tool needed is a basket or bag to hold the mushrooms. The labor is divided into the people with the knowledge of the edible mushrooms and legal areas to hunt, and the people that do not have this specialized skill set.

Horticulture can be seen in the Rhine region where Riesling grapes are grown. The tools used in this form of subsistence strategy are grape harvesting shears and baskets to catch the grapes. Some larger vineyards may use mechanized pickers. The work is divided between the land owner and the people hired to do the manual picking.

Pastoralism is practiced in Cloppenburg in Lower Saxony, where pig farms can be found. The tools used are: housing pens and gates, automated watering and feeding equipment, environmental control, weighing and handling equipment, and pest/disease control. The labor is divided between the farm owners, managers, and the manual laborers that work on the farms.

Agriculture is a very common subsistence strategy used in Germany. According to Deutsche Welle, 52.5 percent of German land is used for agriculture; over 57 percent of products grown are grains. The tools needed for grain production include: tractors with plowing and planting attachments, irrigation, fertilizer, combines/ harvesting machinery and storage for harvested grain. The labor is divided among the property owner or manager and the manual laborers need to operate the farm.

Industrialism is practiced in Munich where the auto manufacturer BMW produces its own name brand vehicles as well as the Mini and Rolls Royce labels. The tools needed in this industry on the assembly line are: robots, welding equipment, conveyor belts, metal stamping, upholstery equipment, and many more automated systems and hand held tools. The division of labor is broken down as follows: the president/ CEO, upper level management, research and design, mid level management, floor managers, assembly line workers and maintenance crews.

Computer Technology is practiced at the Max Planck Institute, where with an infrared eye, "Astronomers have discovered the most primitive black holes in the universe with the help of the Spitzer Space Telescope." The tools used are computers and an infrared telescope. The labor is divided between scientists/astronomers, professors and graduate level researchers.

The political system is

The economic system used is global capitalism. Germany is known for many goods that are exported for distribution around the world including computer technology (the MP3 format was invented by the Fraunhofer Institute) and industrialism in the form of auto manufacture (5,819,614per year as of 2006) (Worldometers). Among the imports to Germany are crude oil for fuel (3 million barrels per day), rice ($174.6 billion per year), beans ($38.6 billion per year) (U.S.D.A). Negative reciprocity is used in the German market place, where businesses make profits on sales of goods such as bakery items and clothing. Redistribution is used in the national health plan, where people that earn more pay more, and the low wage earners or the unemployed get reduced or free health coverage. The monetary unit used in Germany is the Euro.

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The religions practiced in Germany are: Christianity (67%), Islam (4%), Buddhism (<1%) and Judaism (<1%). The majority of Christians are Reformed Protestants (±30%), or Catholics (±30%). "After the reunification, there has been a revival of religion in Eastern Germany, but it is still much less than the west" (Schroeter). One famous church reformer was Martin Luther. Although Germans are growing more secular, Christmas and Easter remain favorite holidays.

Germans practice monogamy, with individuals choosing their own "Love Match". There are only minor restrictions on marriage: endogamous marriage between close relatives is not culturally accepted, but individuals are free to choose a native German, an exogamous marriage to a non native, or a minority group member within the country (Schroeter). The rules of post marital residence are not formal. "If a family rents their home, the children will usually move out after marriage, if the home is owned, one of the children will stay in the home with their spouse, but it is not based on birth order" (Schroeter); there is the potential for 3 generations in the extended family if the grandparents are still alive. The post-marital residence is left to the choice of each couple: they can choose either patrilocal, matrilocal or neolocal, as deemed prudent by employment needs or preference.

Kinship is traced using both bilateral and patrilineal descent. Germans feel a strong connection with their Family Name, and trace their lineage, but it is also the practice to know the maternal line. The family is important in everyday life. Parents, siblings and cousins are heavily involved in the lives of Germans (Schroeter). Germany currently has a very low birth rate, 1.4 children per woman (U.S.D.A.).

The Sorbs are a minority group in Germany; they are related to the Serbs and have kept their language and culture in the midst of the surrounding German culture. They live one hour south of Berlin in the Spreewald, which is an area of rivers and canals that are navigated in much the same way as Venice, Italy.

Many East Germans are nostalgic for the days of communist rule. Under communism there was no unemployment and child care was free (Schroeter). "Germany is an affluent country with one of the world's highest income levels" (U.S.D.A.). However the high unemployment in the former East German towns has caused many young people to move to the west or leave the country.

There are many dialects in Germany, if you travel 10-20 miles there will be a different dialect, and the differences can be so extreme that speakers of one dialect might not understand speakers from another part of the country. .....

Germany is well known for beer with many brands exported around the world. One of the most famous brands, "Weihenstephaner" is alteste Brauerai der Welt, or "the oldest brewery in the world". The Reinheitsgebot or "purity order" is a strict law that German brewers must adhere to in order to call their product "Bier" (Schroeter).

Germans are avid beach goers. Their love of the sand and surf is inhibited by the lack of warm sunny beaches, (the only sea coasts are on the chilly North and Baltic Seas). For those unwilling or unable to travel to exotic islands, there is a new phenomenon springing up all over Germany, "Beach Clubs". Many families enjoy the sand and palm trees, which are imported and kept under glass domes in order to survive the winter. There are wave pools for surfing, and beaches for sunbathing year round.

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  •,,5332352,00.html. (2010, 3 28). Retrieved 3 28, 2010, from Deutsche Welle.