|What Have we Done to Armando Rodrigues?|
|What have we done to Armando Rodrigues?
On September 10th 1964 Germany hailed the “one millionth” labor migrant recruited in southern Europe as a “Gastarbeiter” when Armando Rodrigues de Sá was randomly picked from the transportation list of the train which carried him to Cologne and the “magic number” got assigned to him. The event was staged at Cologne/Deutz station and received extensive media coverage. Since 1964 pictures taken on that day – and through them the puzzled face of Armando Rodriguez – have become icons in various representations of labor migration to Germany during the post war economic boom.
The proposed paper uses this historical event to trace the construction of representations and collective memories within specific spheres: Fist, the event itself is scrutinized to present the actual historical background and the “realities” of what actually happened and what was intended on the date of Armando Rodrigues’ arrival. Secondly, the legacy of the “one millionth guest worker” in public discourses will be traced as represented in the media, academic publications as well as a number of events modeled after the 1964 ceremony. Thirdly, the memoralization of the “Armando Rodriguez” complex will be analyzed using its representation in the “Haus der Geschichte” (Bonn) on the one hand and within the original setting at Cologne/Deutz station on the other.
The presentation aims at linking up a highly significant historical event and its transformation through various processes connected to the construction of memories and representations of migration in Germany. Key actors who drive such processes and their intentions will be identified as well as the varying roles those transformations played in the negotiation of Germanys identity as a non-immigration/immigration country. This will finally lead to a measure of the distance between historical events and their representations as determined by the purposes and intentions which drive such processes.|