Filmbeitrag zum Buch
The Striving Migrants
Emilia was still Emilka, when her parents put her in the car one evening and left the greyness of Poland for West Berlin. That was in 1988. Shortly afterwards, she had a new name, a new language and a new country. She learned to forget where she came from – but now speaks to her own daughter in Polish.
At the age of five, Emilia Smechowski lived in a Polish apartment block, unsuspecting that her parents were dreaming of a better life in the West. Just two years later they were Germans, and the dream had turned into a daily struggle not to draw attention to themselves, to integrate perfectly into their new society. When new colleagues came to dinner, instead of pierogi, mozzarella and tomato salad was served. And when Emilia brought home a German dictation with two mistakes, her mother was horrified: What had gone wrong? The number of Poles migrating to Germany over the past few decades is second to none. And no other immigrant group has been so intent on making itself invisible. Emilia Smechowski tells the personal story of a collective experience: a story of shame and grim determination to be upwardly mobile, a story of liberation and self-assertion.