National Geographic : 2016 Oct
The New EuropeANS 101 The refugees are arriving on a continent that since World War II has become home to a third of the world’s immigrants. Europe’s major coun- tries, which once sent their huddled masses to the United States, now have foreign-born populations comparable to that of the United States. But only some European minds and fewer European hearts have adjusted to that reality. Even in the U.S., which John F. Kennedy called “a nation of immigrants,” immigration is a divisive issue—and always has been. In the 1750s Benjamin Franklin worried that too many Germans were coming to Pennsylvania. He said they had a “swarthy complexion.” Germans have a word for what Franklin was afraid of: Überfremdung, or “overforeign- ization.” It’s the fear that home will become unrecognizable, because there are too many strangers in it, talking in strange languages and behaving in strange ways. Most of us, if we look into our hearts, can probably at least imagine the feeling. In Germany this past year Cultures cross paths and sometimes meet at a café at the Kottbusser Tor in Kreuzberg. Since the 1960s the Berlin neighborhood has been a haven for Turkish immigrants. Germany did little to welcome them—but as it faces a new wave of immigration, “we’ve learned our lesson,” says German State Minister for Europe Michael Roth.