“Bitte, Fraulein”

Foster Village 003-B

Orchids in my neighbor’s yard (2014).


I love German classical music, particularly the music of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms.  However, the German people leave something to be desired.  They are so rude.

In January 1970, I was standing at a bus stop in Munich, Germany.  I was the first person in line, mind you.  So, the bus showed up, and the door opened.  I was just about to step into the bus, when this big, fat Bavarian woman elbowed me and said, “Bitte, Fraulein!”  Then, she stepped into the bus.  I was forced to wait until this parade of big, fat Bavarian women entered the bus.  So, instead of being first in line, I became the last in line.

Bah!  I should have elbowed the woman back and said, “Bitte, Frau!” and stepped in first.  But, that would have led to a brawl, so common sense prevailed.

It was either racial discrimination or age discrimination or both.  In January 1970, I was a 24 year old petite Korean American woman.

I told David yesterday that I now know how the Blacks felt in the South.

11 Responses to ““Bitte, Fraulein””

  1. David Says:

    I have also experienced racial discrimination at work. My co-worker frequently called me a “Damn fu…king Haole”. Needless to say I did not appreciate the comment, then I had pity on him. His parents raised him to be a racist and he spent his whole life in hatred. My parents raised me to respect all and look for the good in everyone. To them I am eternally grateful.

  2. Olga Says:

    Unfortunately, rudeness can be encountered anywhere. The rudest person I remember interacting with was a clerk at a convenience store in the South — where they are supposed to be known for their great politeness. I kind of assumed at the time that it may have been my VT license plate marking me as a liberal Yankee. I was having trouble with gas pump and that man was very disinclined to help me, seeming to prefer to lose the sale. Can’t imagine how it must feel to face such interactions every day.

  3. Christine Says:

    Awful experience Gigi.

  4. Kay G. Says:

    Oddly enough, I just asked my Dad last week about his experiences in Germany in 1945, just after WWII. “Did the German people resent the Americans ? How were you treated?” He paused, and then said, “They were just the nicest people to us.”
    So, I am thinking that there are rude people everywhere. I wonder how many people don’t like Americans since they might base all of us on an encounter with an “ugly” American!
    In regards to blacks in the South, I am also thinking of a book, “Black Like Me”. Fascinating book, it was written by a white man who altered his skin color so as to “pass” as a black man. He traveled the South in the 1960’s. He came by bus to Conyers! And what he experienced was very subtle racism on the bus. You will now need to read the book! (Of course, racism it was, no doubt, and I am not belittling it, just … well, read the book!)

  5. dkzody Says:

    Germans are bossy and outspoken. I like that in people so I’ve enjoyed being around Germans here in California. You always know where you stand with these folk.

  6. B.B. Says:

    I’ve never been to Germany, but I am of German decent. I admit, we can be a bit bossy. I’ve found that to be especially true with my older sisters. LOL But that’s probably a sibling rivalry thing. And maybe they would say the same of me. 🙂 It’s hard to tell what degree of our personality is derived from nature vs. nurture.

  7. mary sampson Says:

    I am the darkest in my family, I know how people feel about dark skinned human beings, my mother was dark skinned. but she loved everyone..But I heard stuff and asked her and she always said their family taught them hate and racism and to pray for them a lot..Well I think people who base their feellings on outward appearances are just plain nuts..I have many native friends who are of Hawaiian and Polynesian backgrounds, they are truly loving and wonderful people..My husband was stationed in Germany during the Vietnam war, he found the people cold and blunt and hateful of American gi’s I have no desire to travel there ever..Aloha and good year of health, love Peace and Joy…

  8. Hank Chapin Says:

    My great-grandfather was from Germany. He deserted his family in the 1880s, but his name is mud among his descendants to this day. I guess some of his blood courses through my veins or, more accurately, I have a bit of his DNA. I try to get along and be polite.

    Bowel, gas, and intestine jokes are considered quite hilarious by some travelers I have seen in Europe. I had a German girl friend once and she was very cold, I don’t mean sexually, just in general, no generosity, a warm trait to me, at all. Well, Americans have little to brag about these day, so I’ll let this subject go.

    I have a feeling you both know music well enough that you left Mozart out on purpose. Personally, I have gotten more pleasure from his music than from any other composer, bar none.

    Hard to imagine an accounting job where fellow workers were on the “effen haole” kick.

    • gigihawaii Says:

      Mozart was born and raised in Austria, so technically he was not a German. I love Mozart, too.

      As for David, he worked as a comptroller for a trucking company, so you can imagine the types of people who worked there. Hint: Most of them came from Waianae.

  9. Tom Sightings Says:

    I think it’s hard to generalize. But I remember bumming around Europe in 1969, and the only bad experience I recall was on a German train and the conductor/guard — somebody in a uniform — confronted me and threatened to throw me off the train simply because I had my feet up on the other seat. On the other hand, I was a snot-nosed American kid who was probably smirking and rolling my eyes, and probably deserved to be told off. Anyway, that was a long time ago. When you consider all the refugees the Germans have taken in, they seem to be doing better than Americans these days.

  10. wisewebwoman Says:

    I try not to generalize nations of people, it is too easy but I do sympathize with your experience, how awful for you. I’ve had similar from the British (I’m Irish) when I travelled a lot in the UK and interestingly enough in Quebec here where the intolerance of the ‘anglaise’ even though fellow Canadians, can be appalling. But again, not all Quebecois, not all British.


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