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Letter of the Editors (23 September 1914)

On September 23, the editors of the Berliner Journal published a letter to their readership. They stated that the question of whether the war could have been prevented was irrelevant and encouraged their readership to donate to the patriotic fund. Everybody was also encouraged to contribute towards helping families on the home front. The paper also made it clear that the fund did not pay for weapons at the front but only helped the families of soldiers, so that those who donated would not have to worry that their donations were contributing to the carnage in Europe.

BJ-1914-09-23-Letter of the Editors

(“An den Leser” Berliner Journal, 23 September 1914)


Berlin’s Name weakens Economy (September 1914)

Due to its German name, companies with factories in Berlin faced decreasing profits. This affected the employees and their income because 60% of the working population was employed in these factories. The editors of the Berliner Journal stated that blaming Berlin and its citizens for disloyalty was wrong as the city was “proud to be a Canadian city”. They encouraged their readership to donate to the patriotic fund. The well-known citizen Louis Breithaupt – of German origin himself – stated that although he was proud of his origins he and the other German-Canadians were “British to the core”.

BJ-1914-09-30-Berlin's Name

(“Berlin und der patriotische Fond” Berliner Journal, 30 September 1914)


German Society in Toronto (Fall 1914)

As anti-German sentiment grew, the German community in Canada had to face financial hardship. Due to their German origin, they were often denied jobs. The German Society in Toronto was collecting donations in order to help “needy Germans” in Toronto and established a committee to find jobs for unemployed Germans. Furthermore, several charity organizations told the government about the economic problems of the German-Canadians, hoping for help.

BJ-1914-09-30-German Society in Toronto

(“Deutsche Gesellschaft, Toronto” Berliner Journal, 30 September 1914; “Deutsche in Canada” Berliner Journal, 11 November 1914)


Naturalization of German-Canadians (4 November 1914)

In November 1914, Waterloo’s German community was outraged over a scandal in Haileybury in which a judge would not permit German and Austrian immigrants to get their Canadian citizenship, even though several Russians, Italians and Finns were naturalized. This caused shock, anger, and fear in the German community as they did not know what else to do in order to prove their loyalty. They talked about it with the Dominion representative for Waterloo North, W.G. Weichel. Of German origin himself, he understood the concerns and worries and tried his best to advocate for the German-Canadians and explain their ambivalent situation to the government. He then took care of the incident so the migrants were naturalized in the end.

BJ-1914-11-04-Naturalization of German-Canadians

(“Verweigert Naturalisation” Berliner Journal, 4 November 1914; “In diesen schweren Zeiten des Krieges” Berliner Journal, 18 November 1914)


No Registration of Germans in Waterloo Region (11 November 1914)

In November 1914, the Canadian government imposed registration system on Germans and Austrians without Canadian citizenship. However, many in the Waterloo region and Western Ontario in general felt that this registration was not necessary. As the Berliner Journal announced on November 11, the government knew that the German community in the Waterloo region was loyal to their new homeland. Therefore, they did not have to be registered as enemy aliens.

BJ-1914-11-11-No Registration of Germans

(“Keine Registration unter uns” Berliner Journal, 11 November 1914)


Rising Suspicion (November 1914)

As the war proceeded, suspicion towards German-Canadians grew, and the Berliner Journal reported on several incidents. For example, several Canadian citizens of German origin had been notified by the government to stop expressing their affection for Germany, otherwise they would be imprisoned and their belongings would be confiscated.

Another incident illustrated that the German community was also suspicious. A farm not far from Waterloo had erected a lookout tower. Several citizens of German origin thought they were being observed and suspected the tower was being used by spies. They told the government in Ottawa which sent an officer to investigate. He was able to calm the community down, explaining that the tower had simply been built for the purpose of land surveying.

BJ-1914-11-11-Rising Suspicion

(“Verschiedene wohlbekannte Bewohner” Berliner Journal, 4 November 1914; “Die Spionenfurcht” Berliner Journal, 11 November 1914)


The Situation of German Editors (20 January 1915)

In January 1915, the editors of the Berliner Journal published an article about the difficulties of being the editors of a German newspaper in Canada. They were well aware of their tenuous situation and made it clear that as naturalized citizens they had to show loyalty to their “adoptive homeland”. Therefore, they emphasized that they only published dispatches which were officially confirmed, and were trying to stay neutral. As a result, the newspaper had to face criticism from parts of the German community which accused them of being anti-German. The editors explained their position and stated that living in a country which had always treated them well and provided good living conditions meant they had to show loyalty to their new home. Nevertheless, they wanted to preserve their German heritage. By clearly taking up a neutral or pro-Canadian position they avoided censorship.

BJ-1915-01-20-The Situation of German Editors

(“Der Stand deutscher Zeitungs-Herausgeber” Berliner Journal, 20 January 1915)


Teaching German in Schools (10 March 1915)

In March 1915, German classes in Canadian schools were abolished. The Berliner Journal described the reasons the government had to make this decision and partly justified them. Nevertheless, they also printed articles which were clearly in favor of the German lessons. Supporters stated that learning a second language always has advantages and that since there were many people of German origin in the Waterloo region, the diversity of cultures and languages should be preserved instead of being eliminated. When the teaching of German finally was abolished, the newspaper clearly expressed anger and disappointment. Furthermore, they reported on a meeting of the “Deutscher Schulverein” (“German School Association”) where members of the German community protested against the decision.

BJ-1915-03-10-Teaching German in Schools

(“Das Deutsche in der Schule” Berliner Journal, 10 March 1915; “Deutscher Unterricht abgeschafft” Berliner Journal, 24 March 1915; “Der Unterricht im Deutschen” Berliner Journal, 31 March 1915)


Defamation of the City Berlin (19 May 1915)

On May 19, the Berliner Journal reported that a newspaper in Toronto had published a dispatch from Galt which stated that German citizens in Berlin had celebrated the sinking of the RMS Lusitania. The editors made it clear that this information was only a rumour and was harming the image of the city. They hoped that the responsible persons in Galt would publicly disclaim the truth of their dispatch.


(“Verleumdung der Stadt Berlin” Berliner Journal, 19 May 1915)