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What is What They Can Teach Us?

What They Can Teach Us: Stories from German-Canadian Women, 1950-1993 is a digital collection of edited interview transcripts and full unedited audio recordings from interviews conducted in 1993 by Dr. Alexander Freund (University of Winnipeg) with four German women who migrated to Canada in the early 1950s. The creation of this website was generously funded by the Waterloo Centre for German Studies (WCGS) and German-Canadian Studies Program at the University of Winnipeg (GCS). 


In 2021, Claudia Dueck, the project assistant at GCS, was tasked to transcribe the fourteen interviews from Dr. Freund’s Master’s research (Identity in Immigration, 1994). In discussion with Sofia Bach, the program assistant at GCS, and Dr. Freund, the Chair in GCS, the idea to bring new life to this rich resource arose. Claudia and Sofia, remembering their high school History education in Quebec and Manitoba, wished they had encountered accounts of lived experiences, especially from women and migrants. They chose to focus on four women, each with a variety of distinct experiences. In order to make this resource accessible to as many students, teachers and interested people as possible, they decided to devote the great part of the funding to create an English, a German and a French version of this project.

The aim of this digital collection is to encourage the use of Oral History accounts (both the recorded audio files and transcriptions) within multiple educational fields, including History, Translation Studies, and other areas of the Humanities. On this website, you will find primary sources in the words of ordinary women, available in both Canadian official languages and in German. The edited transcripts and the original audio recordings are accompanied by three lesson plans to use in a classroom setting and to help integrate Oral History to your curriculum.

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