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Amando Sá Rodrigues, the one-millionth "guest worker"

Amando Sá Rodrigues, the one-millionth "guest worker"
Source: dpa

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The one millionth Gastarbeiter

At Cologne station there's a welcoming party with a bunch of flowers and a brand new moped. On 10 September 1964 Germany shows her appreciation for the arrival of the one millionth "Gastarbeiter", Armando Rodrigues de Sá from Portugal.

The bulletinflux of guest workers is widely seen as a symbol of Germany's economic miracle. The economy is booming, labour is in short supply.

In 1955 the Federal Republic concluded the first bilateral agreement on labour recruitment with Italy. Arrangements with other Mediterranean countries follow, most importantly Turkey in 1961.

The foreign workers are mainly employed in manufacturing industries, only a few in mining. All together some 14 million people come and, as "guests", are supposed to return home after several years.

A miscalculation: although over 80% of foreign migrant workers do leave by the mid-seventies, the others remain. Most of them are Turks who have been joined by their families to make a new home as bulletforeigners in Germany. Foreign restaurants, foreign businesses and foreign workmates become a part of everyday life.

Dirk Bitzer

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