posted on 2023-06-07, 16:55authored byRussell King, Anastasia Christou, Jill Ahrens
This paper is about the children of Greek labour migrants in Germany. We focus on two life-stages of ‘return’ for this second generation: as young children brought to Greece on holidays or sent back for longer periods, and as young adults exercising an independent ‘return’ migration. We draw both on literature and on our own field interviews with 50 first- and second-generation Greek-Germans. We find the practise of sending young children back to Greece to have been surprisingly widespread yet little documented. Adult relocation to the parental homeland takes place for five reasons: (i) a ‘search for self’; (ii) attraction of the Greek way of life; (iii) the actualisation of the ‘family narrative of return’ by the second, rather than the first, generation; (iv) life-stage events such as going to university or marrying a Greek; (v) escape from a traumatic event or oppressive family situation. Yet the return often brings difficulties, disillusionment, identity reappraisal, and a re-evaluation of the German context.