Sixteen years back, there were many heavy foreigner issues in Germany (Germany to the Germans !). A wind of hate and contemptuousness was blowing so strongly among some German minority groups toward foreigners of any colors —even those with blue eyes and blond hair coming from East Europe— and any origins that the majority of Germany had to stand up and make it clear that ‘Foreigners are deep-heartedly welcome to Germany‘.

Personally I did not feel the hate, surely because I was protected by thick cigarettes fumes and thousands of Bayrish bier bottles. My people were always thirsty. I don’t want to imagine their sufferings had they lived in the middle of the hot sandy desert…

A German citizen from Munich had a dream. Liliane, his life companion, stood by him during the project preparation. But he died before his dream could be fulfilled : A Lichterkette (Light Chain) all around the world. He wanted to illuminate the darkness of our brains. He wanted to lead us to the end of obscurantism. He strived on a world where mankind could live in peace and freedom, working together hand in hand for a better tomorrow.

I did not know that the giant bear (he was 2m tall and stout) had such a big heart. I knew that he was very gentle. But I did not know that he was dreaming something big for us. He belonged to a circle of friends, all smokers and beer drinkers. Although I love them all, I could not spend long hours staying with them otherwise it’d have been the end of me.

They were very tolerant. They let me drink my glass of mineral water without mocking me. But the carcinogenic scents of their cigarettes were too much for me. My head usually turned red, my eyes always burned. Suffocating to death I had to go into retreat.

Friedel, from Austria, who had lived in Munich for over 20 years, was working at SOFT-RESEARCH, one of the best and beautiful companies ever.

There were no walls separating the CEO’s workplace from his co-workers’. They could stare at each other during working hours… and hereafter ! An entire equipment to throw a big party any time on the firm location was available : a big counter, glasses, glasses and glasses, dish washer, big fridges, a cooling chamber, a jukebox, a hifi tower, loudspeakers, shower room. After 5 pm, Feierabend and party time. I recall a mini one where we were only 5 people. But we danced and sang till 5 am. We had much fun making as much noise as 100 hundred people, playing hide-and-seek and dancing the night away.

From top to bottom of the ladder business cards were the same for all company employees. Only the employee’s names personalized the business cards. Very disconcerting state of facts for new co-workers.

During Christmas and New Year seasons, some employees dragged their mattresses into the firm for extra working hours : Their customers had to receive updates in due time.

I could attend many happenings which took place during the period of activity of the unusual CEO. Until he left the company in 2000 he had always had good ideas to add fun to his employees’ lives.

One day, during the extremely unpleasant and hard time of ‘Ausländerfeindlichkeit’ (= hostility to foreigners), there was an important vernissage at SOFT-RESEARCH, in Munich. About 600 people invited. If you add to this number the company employees, their families and friends, you obtain the total of all party members.

Friedel, an Austrian Scherzkeks and I, a foreigner from the moon, we were smalltalking. Friedel, blue eyes and blond hair : ‘…These foreigners..bla bla bla … Too many of them here.’ Hearing him talking that way, I bursted out laughing. Although Germany and Austria do share the same language and the same borderline, an Austrian is still considered a foreigner in Germany. ‘But Friedel, you are a foreigner too. Should I send you back home?’ He laughed. ‘Sure, we are foreigners. But we work as hard as the German.’

Eight long years have passed by. I miss Friedel and Ulla, his German wife. They were good guys. They are surely retired now and probably living their third Frühling somewhere in beautiful Austria, dancing Strauss Waltzes or yodeling in the mountains of Tyrol.

‘Ausländerfeindlichkeit’ is such a nightmarish word that it should be deleted for good from the earth!


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