Emigrating to America
Curse or Blessing?

Broadcast date 03.05.23 at 20:15 on SWR television

No future in Germany? More and more people just want to leave and make a fresh start in the USA. The Francisco family from Bremerhaven also want to find the freedom they miss in Germany in the land of opportunity. Is the "American Dream" still alive? Or has the dream long since been shattered?

The American dream
"We're risking everything," says Mandy from Bremerhaven. They are putting all their eggs in one basket: Their house, their entire fortune, their relationship, their previous family life. She sees no future in the German welfare state with her husband and two children - instead she wants to swap taxes for freedom. They sell their home in Bremerhaven, give away the furniture and start afresh in the land of opportunity with thirteen suitcases. The educator and the teacher from Germany want to make a career and real money in the USA. But their very first days in the land of opportunity put them to the test. Will the dream become a curse?

The American nightmare
67-year-old Michael Schmich sees things very differently. He is originally from Heidelberg - but has lived in Miami for almost 40 years. Now he wants to return to his old home. Even though he has actually fulfilled his dream in Florida: A wife and children, a house with a pool and a pension. However, natural and political disasters are increasingly affecting him in the USA. Hurricanes are becoming more and more violent and the cost of living is exploding. Michael has seen how many of his neighbors have lost everything and are now facing ruin. Before he and his family suffer the same fate, he wants to return home.

The American and German reality
Around 200,000 German citizens from Germany emigrate every year. And the trend is rising. The United States of America is a role model for some and an enemy for others. So which of these is true? The film "Emigrating to America - curse or blessing?" accompanies German emigrants and compares the American dream with reality. What do they leave behind in their old homeland and what do they hope for in the new one?

Author Heinke Schröder
Editor: Dirk Hergenhahn
Camera: Sebastian Hattop
Producer: Valentin Thurn
Editorial: Claus Hanischdörfer