German Memoirs - German-brazilians Today

by Rajkumar Kanagasingam - Date: 2007-06-25 - Word Count: 525 Share This!

Most German-Brazilians speak only Portuguese nowadays. However, German was still spoken by over 600,000 Brazilians, as first or second language according to 2005 survey.

German influence can still be seen all across the southern states, be it in architecture, shops, and town names or in the way of life. Many German schools have re-opened during the 50s and are regarded as some of the best places to send children to.

Most German-Brazilians started to get married out of the German community after the 1940s. Some of them mixed with other Europeans, such as Portuguese, Italians and Poles. A few also have mixed with Afro-Brazilians and Brazilian native Indians.

Germans are regarded as good industrialists in Brazil in manufacturing shoes, leather goods, furniture, textiles, charcoal and mechanical devices.

Ernesto Beckmann Geisel, the one time president of Brazil was also a German descendent Brazilian.

Geisel was a son of Lutheran German immigrants. Geisel witnessed and participated in the most prominent events of Brazilian history in the 20th century, such as the revolution of 1930, the Getulio Vargas dictatorship and the 1964 military coup d'etat that overthrew the leftist President Joao Goulart. In this military intervention, Geisel was an important figure and he became Military Chief of Staff of President Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco.

In 1973 Geisel was appointed by President Emilio Garrastazu Medici and other military leaders to be the candidate of the National Renewal Alliance Party (ARENA) for the presidency. At that time, the president of Brazil was chosen by the military and then approved by the Congress in order to give an impression of free elections. Geisel was elected by a vast majority and during the Geisel administration, Brazil imported technology from Germany to install nuclear power plants that gave Brazil a regional superpower status.

Germans participated actively in the industrialization and development of big cities such as Curitiba and Porto Alegre in Brazil.

Many Brazilian towns were built under German architecture and many aspects of the Brazilian culture also were influenced by Germans. Today Brazil hosts an Oktoberfest in Blumenau, Santa Catarina, which is second only to Munich, Germany in size.

Most of the German-Brazilians live in Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Parana, the southernmost states of Brazil. There are around 10 million Brazilians who have German ancestry by some estimates. The percentages become higher in some cities, for example, in the town of Pomerode, in Santa Catarina, 90% of the population are Brazilians of German descent, and the main local language is Pomeranian dialect. It is considered the most German city in Brazil and the Germans there are the richest people in Brazil.

The state Santa Catarina is with the lowest levels of unemployment and illiteracy found in the country and still retain a strong influence of German culture. Even after three or four generations, the Germans there still consider themselves as Germans.

Many towns in Southern Brazil have a majority of Germans descended people, such as Sao Leopoldo, Novo Hamburgo, Nova Petropolis, Sao Bento do Sul, Blumenau, Joinville, Santa Isabel, Gramado, Canela, Santa Cruz do Sul, Estancia Velha, Ivoti, Dois Irmaos, Morro Reuter, Santa Maria do Herval, Presidente Lucena, Picada Cafe, Santo Angelo, Teutonia and Brusque.

Related Tags: technology, textiles, italian, german, architecture, town, brazil, europeans, munich, santa catarina

Rajkumar Kanagasingam is author of a fascinating book - "German Memories in Asia" - and you can explore more about the book and the author at AGSEP

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