By ship to South America, 1919

In Ross’s narration of a postwar Atlantic crossing, the ship serves as metaphor for Germany’s compromised global agency.

Ross opens his South America book with a description of scenes of life on the ship during the trans-Atlantic journey, particularly the hardships faced by the German passengers. “Below in the steerage, men, women, and children are crammed in almost body to body. From the cabin deck, it’s like looking into an anthill. Blond heads, German faces, German sounds. The rear steerage is almost completely occupied by Germans. Amongst them are many who would have traveled first class before the war”. While the current French and Belgian first-class passengers enjoy champagne and dancing, the steerage passengers are forced below deck. “In the humid, baking heat hundreds of men and women lie here bathed in sweat, stacked onto scaffolding, stacked alongside and over each other. A fanatical hope for a better future allows them to tolerate almost anything”.

Kristin Kopp








Colin Ross. Deutsche Auswanderer im Atlantik. In: Südamerika, die aufsteigende Welt. 1. Aufl. Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus; 1922; 15-20.


Topic: Weltverkehr
Case: Geopolitics




Scroll to page top