1950s Character

In researching the 1960s, I got really interested in Mary Washington’s study-abroad program. Having studied abroad, I’m sort of in awe of students who had that experience in a time before instant communication, who traveled to another country on ships and could only communicate with home through letters.

By the 1950s, Mary Washington had a number of students who came from other countries, and, in 1951, a student from Germany. Since I’m a German major, as well as American Studies, I’m really interested in how she ended up studying in the US. She would certainly have been living in Germany during World War 2, and in West Germany.

Since I could find little information about her besides the fact that she was a student at Mary Washington in the early 1950s, I have chosen to make up a creditable background.


If we assume it’s 1952, that means that I was born in 1930 in Western Germany. I am from a town in northern Bavaria, where I studied at a Gymnasium until about four years ago, when I was ready to go to University. I live with my mother and father, and I have two older brothers who live on their own.

Since I was born in the 30s, I lived most of my life in Nazi Germany. Like most Germans, my family was probably complicit in Nazi activities, but now that the war is over we don’t talk much about the ideologies our country held during the war years. In the decades to come, I will be largely silent on the experience, and so I don’t talk much about it now, either. This doesn’t affect my life on campus a whole lot, but it can be a little uncomfortable knowing that my home country and my host country were recently at war. I have brothers who fought in World War 2, and I know my classmates do, as well. I wonder if that bothers them.

I decided to come to study in the United States because I want to work to promote peace. I know that there is an organization called AFS which is sending American and German students to study in each other’s countries, but I am too old to participate in that, so I came here to University instead. I am studying History and education, because with these degrees I can live and work either in Germany or in the United States.  I live in Madison Hall, and I feel lucky that there is another International student, a girl from South America, who lives on my hall.

Comments are closed.