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From the Land of Westphalia to the Shores of the Pacific.  A Summery


I wrote this book  in honor of my parents, in memory of my Husband, for my sons and their families and for the many German-Americans who immigrated after World War II, who like I suffered not for what we had done but simply for, who we were, namely, German. People of all background can identify with this book for all of us have to, at one time or another, deal with prejudice.


 I was born in 1936 and raised in the Westmuensterland, near the Dutch border which was very much cut off from the rest of Germany.

We spoke Low German, a dialect related to the Dutch language.


I wrote about the War years and the bombing as I remember it as a young girl and about the hunger years that followed; about the little formal schooling I received on account of the war.


I wrote about life in a working class home in Germany and how we celebrated the many Catholic holidays within the family and community. We participated in processions, walked through the fields and prayed for a good crop. In the fall we took part in the harvest as well as in the harvest-festivals.

I wrote about special events like a farmer’s wedding etc.


At the age of 14 I left home to do housework in another city. Later I worked in a textile factory, saving my money to pay for the journey to America. My brother was already in Milwaukee. He had immigrated in 1954. I came in 1956 at age twenty.


In my first job I worked as a chamber maid in a big hotel in Milwaukee. At night I went to school to learn the English language.


After 4 years in Milwaukee, the travel bug again bit me and I moved to Hawaii. This is where I met my husband also from Westphalia and this is where we were married. We both worked in the hotel business. When my husband’s contract was over we moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where we raised our two sons.


We worked hard and accumulated some real-estate.


In 1985 the world celebrated the 40th anniversary of the ending of World War II.

This was a rough awakening for me, because the press presented the German side of the war extremely harsh and in my opinion, unfair.  


Now I am 74 years old and decided to write a book to vent the frustration which accumulated over the years. As a German immigrant, I had difficulty dealing with being stigmatized as a member of the most evil people on this earth. I knew this was not so, but still, the relentless German bashing went on and on and continues into the twenty first century, and it still hurts.


I thought of my children and grand-children who never learned about the contributions the Germans had made to this country in the past 400 years, since they first set foot on American soil at James Town in 1608.

They only learned about the Holocaust of which their extended families might have been victims on either side. I hope the book “From the Land of Westphalia to the Shores of the Pacific” will bring some balance and fairness.


 For many years I believed all the bad stories I heard and saw on TV about the cruelties committed by the German People toward the Jews during World War II.   

I cried for them many times.


At the 40th anniversary of the ending of the War, in 1985, I became aware of the fact that the Western World used a different yardstick when judging the war-crimes of the German People.


I began to compare my People to the other Europeans and also Americans I met and concluded, the German people were at least as good and decent as their counterparts.


 I found the German people to be more honest, and more willing to face up to the crimes they were accused of, more willing to compensate the victims as much as was possible. Even the generations born after the War were trying to make good and paid financially, not to mention emotionally.


I wondered why the war-crimes of the allies were never mentioned. I watched some of the Holocaust movies and it seemed to me the brutalities the Germans supposedly committed were getting progressively worse as time went on. Why was this? Who were the producers of these movies? Who were the people who benefited from showing these atrocities?

Most of the names that appeared on the screen after the showing were Jewish names. Was it profitable for them to portray themselves always as victims and the Germans always as henchmen?


Why did the Germans hate them so much?

“Nothing comes from nothing” the song in the “Sound of Music” states.

Why was and is the Holocaust a TABU subject which can never be further or investigated

 not even in democratic societies?



The Jewish people are always eager to talk about their experiences as Holocaust victims and survivors, be it in schools or any where else, even in the obituaries. They never miss an opportunity; They seem to thrive on it.


The German people and people of other nationalities who have suffered their own Holocaust at the hands of other perpetrators, hardly ever mention their suffering; they want to go on with life. Does not every psychiatrist recommend to the victim, to deal with the past’ and go on with life?  All peoples have been, at one time or another victims as well as perpetrators.


I know, the Germans have paid and still pay vast sums of money to Israel and the survivors of the Holocaust, and rightfully so.

But how long are they expected to pay? Sixty years, I wondered, and it is still not enough? Did the Jewish people as a minority in Germany own everything, all the real-estate, all the art works and everything else of value?


Did the German people own nothing? Should Germany in reality have been called Judea?


How is it possible that all the people working in Germany ( including

 foreign workers) pay for six decades to make up for the material losses the Jewish minority suffered and still, it is not enough?


 I thought about it and wondered could it be possible that the Jewish people use the Holocaust and its victims as an instrument to further their own agenda; mostly for material gain and other privileges and entitlements? This would really be an insult to the memory of the Holocaust victims. -


Are the Holocaust victims being used to extract money and favors from Germany and the USA to finance the other Holocaust against the Palestinians?


How many Crystal Nights has Israel inflicted upon the Palestinians in the last years?


I came across a proverb which made me think: “An issue will survive as long as you can milk it.” Could greed be the main reason to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive?


All these thoughts went through my mind. The more I thought about it the prouder I became of my German heritage.


I became interested and researched the contributions the Germans had made to this country over a period of four centuries. I wanted to share the information of German contributions and achievements with my fellow citizens. My husband and I exhibited the material we had gathered all over the San Francisco Bay area at fairs, festivals and multi-cultural events.


I wish other German Americans as well as citizens of other backgrounds would do the same for their country of origin as well as being proud Americans.


America has been good to us and we are very grateful. I also know that America was blessed for having so many Germans come to these shores. Most had learned a craft in Germany and were ready to apply these skills from day one, when they stepped off the boot.


In the fifty-five years I have lived in this country, I have yet to meet a German immigrant on welfare or in jail.


I do not know why the press finds it necessary to trample on the German character. I guess they know the Germans can take it.


My book will show letters I have written to Senators and Congressmen regarding issues of our time concerning our people, and their replies.


My husband and I were honored for our efforts by the German Government in the year 2000 and by the German American Heritage Foundation of the USA in 2003.


My husband and best friend of 45 years passed away unexpectedly in 2005.


Maria Brand