Colonists representing ‘new Germany’

This article was sparked by Ross’s visit to California, where he checked settlement opportunities for new colonists, even though it was rather an ancillary activity accomplished while shooting his first world-trip-film and sending reports to the Berliner Börsen-Courier.

In his 1921 guidebook for emigrants, the Südamerikanisches Auswanderer-ABC, Ross enumerated the pros and cons regarding the (pre-)conditions of immigration in South American countries. He warned of exaggerated hopes, but promoted emigration based on sufficient preparatory measures (see “Rather contra than pro”). In  the referenced 1924 article, his recommendations are more unambiguous: “The more experience one gains regarding emigration the more skeptical one becomes and the more definite the admonition: do not emigrate if you have at least a slight chance of having a passable existence in your home country!” The only acceptable destination is California, where local conditions are better than in South America. Ross underscores this statement by depicting its well-developed infrastructural and educational facilities.

However, the colonial aspirations are dimmed and discussed in a conditional mode. With a prospective German settlers’ movement the good reputation of German immigrants in America’s West might later be utilized for political purposes, especially when immigrants are aware of the fact that they “represent the new Germany”, i.e. the social democratic-governed Weimar Republic. It is this argument that would become one of the central points in Ross’s later America books (and strongly disapproved by his American reviewers), but with a different political position: the main agent of a (spiritual) colonization is ‘unser Amerika’, the German immigrants’ of America, who would spread the word of National Socialism (see The blurred Herrenrasse).

Katalin Teller

Colin Ross. Kalifornien als Einwanderungsland. Der deutsche Landarbeiter, der Farmer werden will. - Jungfräuliches Land und Zivilisation. - Schulen. - Der gute Ruf des deutschen Landwirts. Weltreise für den Berliner Börsen-Courier. Berliner Börsen-Courier. 1924 May 20; 56 (236): 5.
Topic: Colonialism
Case: Speaking engagements

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