Time for Taking Chances: Leaving Germany as a Teenager after the War is an intimate account of a profound transition undertaken by a nineteen-year-old German boy immigrating to Canada in 1951 who saw no hope for his bombed-out country ever getting back on its feet. At the Canadian consulate in Hannover, in whose dramatic ruins he’d lived for six years after the Second World War, Otto Schmalz learned of the possibility for another chance.
Canada, way out there on the other side of the Atlantic, needed electricians like him, they told him. His skills in this trade would allow him to immigrate. But after he arrived in a camp outside Montréal, Otto immediately felt cheated. Penniless, without a job, with no relatives or grasp of the language, this teenage immigrant realized the chance he’d taken in coming to Canada would be followed up with a whole lot more chance-taking, much of it in the company of other immigrants, whose help and friendship were always invaluable.
Here is the immigrant’s story, a story that many people have experienced, and many more will.