German Arrival - Two Worlds

Anne Siegel. Photo: © Jacobia Dahm

 

Anne Siegel in Iceland

The German Embassy in Iceland, Goethe-Institute in Copenhagen and Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature host a series of events with German writer and journalist Anne Siegel in Iceland in June 2019. She will talk about the history of German women in Iceland, based on her book Frauen Fische Fjorde (Women Fish Fjords) that tells stories of a number of women who emigrated to Iceland from Post-War Germany.

On June 8, 1949 the coast-liner Esja docked at the Reykjavík harbour with 189 German passengers on board. These were agricultural workers, 130 women and 50 men, who were recruited to Iceland to work on farms and elsewhere in Iceland. The total number of German workers coming to Iceland in 1949 was 314, the largest number of immigrants in the country thus far, if the British and US occupying forces are not counted. Some of these German people made Iceland their permanent home and their descendants counted more than 2.000 people about a decade ago.

The German writer and journalist Anne Siegel has written about some of the German women who came to Iceland in her book Frauen Fische Fjorde (Women Fish Fjords). Anne is writer in residence at Gröndal‘s House in Reykjavík this spring, hosted by the Goethe Institute in Copenhagen and Reykjavík UNESCO City of Literature. The Reykjavík City of Literature organizes events with Anne around Iceland in June in cooperation with the German Embassy in Iceland.

Anne will talk about the making of the book and give insight into stories of some of the German women who chose to make Iceland their home.

Anne will speak in English and a short excerpt from the book will also be read in Magnús Diðrik Baldursson‘s Icelandic translation.

The first event will be at Sæmundur Book Café in Selfoss on May 30th and the last one at the Reykjavik City Library in Tryggvagata 15 on June 8th, 70 years to the day from when the Esja docked at the harbour nearby where the library now stands.

All are welcome to these free events!

Events with Anne Siegel

Thursday May 30 May at 16:30
Sæmundur Book Café, Selfoss.

Friday May 31. at 16:30
Safnahúsið Ísafjörður / Ísafjörður Library

Sunday June 2 at 15
Héraðsbókasafn A-Hún / A-Hún Library, Blönduós.

Tuesday June 4 at 17
Orðakaffi Café at Akureyri Public Library, Akureyri

Thursday June 6 at 20:30
Tungulending Café and Guesthous, Húsavík.

Friday June 7 at 17
Félagsheimilið Ásbyrgi, Laugabakki

Saturday June 8. at 14
Reykjavik City Library, Tryggvagata 15, Reykjavik.

About Frauen Fische Fjorde

1949: There is an acute shortage of women on Icelandic farms, while in after-war Germany there are five women to each man. Hundreds of women decide to emigrate to Iceland - a country many of them don't even know exactly where is. Their motives are as different as their biographies. Anne Siegel traces the exciting fates of eight women - and one man - on the basis of selected life stories. Sensitively and captivatingly, the immigrants - who are by now well advanced in years - describe how they were overwhelmed by the hospitality of the inhabitants and the wilderness of nature when they first arrived; how they found a new home as farm workers, how they founded families and ended up staying on.

70 Years Celebrated

The embassy, along with several partners, celebrates the 70 year anniversary of German immigrants in Iceland with projects and events this year. The main partners, in addition to the Reykjavík City of Literature office, are Goethe Institute in Copenhagen, Faxaflóahafnir/Reykjavík Harbours, Reykjavík City Museum, The Icelandic Broadcasting Service RÚV and HeyIceland.

Anne Sigel

Anne Siegel grew up in northern Germany. She lives in Cologne and works as a book author, radio and TV journalist and radio playwright. After several non-fiction books, such as the much acclaimed book at hand, her novel debut Nordbräute (Northern Brides) was published in 2015 and she was shortlisted as best debut for the Hamburg Literature Prize. Her biography of Gerta Stern, Senora Gerta, published by Europa Verlag in autumn 2016, was a SPIEGEL bestseller and is also out as paperback with one more chapter at PIPER Press.

Anne often travels to Iceland, as she is fascinated by the country, its stories and more so its people.

70 Years in Iceland Celebrated

The German Embassy in Iceland, along with several partners, celebrates the 70 year anniversary of German immigrants in Iceland with several projects and events this year. The main partners, in addition to the Reykjavík City of Literature office, are Goethe Institute in Copenhagen, Faxaflóahafnir/Reykjavík Harbours, Reykjavík City Museum, The Icelandic Broadcasting Service RÚV, the art cinema Bíó Paradís and HeyIceland.