Germany July 1959-August 1961
Rigato Cesare, born in Spresiano (TV), Italy, June 14, 1937. Left for Germany, Baden Wuettenberg – Murg Valley in July 1959, together with other 5 countrymen; we were needed by a factory which made cardboard coasters for beer. This first group was immediately followed by many other compatriots in the territory of Baden Wuettenberg, because the demand for labor was very high. Many Italian workers were subjected to a medical check and addressed to various companies requiring labor through a sorting Center, arisen in Verona in the meanwhile (other two Centers came into operation in Milan and Naples), but many others came directly in Germany, called by family or friends that already lived and worked there.
I had studied to get a diploma in accountancy in my city and I could get a job at a company or in a local financial institution. Perhaps I had the desire to learn about other cultures and so learn other European languages in depth. At school I had studied English and French language but not German, nevertheless I decided to leave for Germany. The year before that, I had spent 3 months in England with the same goal, doing various jobs such as farmer and janitor in a College.
In the Murg Valley we were well received. The company, like all the others who took foreign workers (Gastarbeiter), made available rooms or small apartments in private households for us. I worked at the paper mill until August 1960, in exactly one year and despite working taking turns I was able to speak and write fluently in German so that I can transfer to Stuttgart at a major construction company specialized in construction of buildings and roads. This company employed about 1,500 people, and among these at least 2-300 (laborers, masons, carpenters) came from different Italian regions, in particular the Veneto, Naples, Sicily and Sardinia. I had the task of assisting our fellow countrymen in all their needs, hiring, dismissal, destinations to building sites, practices for sicknesses, holidays, residence permits, etc..
In the second half of 1960, the arrivals of Italians decreased and the first Spanish workers began to arrive. Every morning at the door of my office I met at least a dozen workers, of which about half was from Spain. To be able to understand, since rarely one of them spoke German, I bought a booklet German-Spanish “Spanish in der Tasche” “Spanish in your pocket” which I jealously kept in my memories. There are many words or phrases that approache Spanish to my Venetian dialect so, at the beginning we tried to understand each other in this way. And it worked! From that moment I fell in love, and still are, with the Spanish language.
I decided to go back to Italy in August 1961, having achieved my goal: a good knowledge of the language of Goehte. In the following years, this allowed me to insert myself more easily into the labor market in the import-export business. These were years of great economic expansion throughout Europe and beyond, and my good knowledge of foreign languages and cultures, that I obtained by the sacrifice of the emigrant, was important for me in terms of cultural and professional.