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'We Are All In the Same Boat': Author Stresses Importance of Preservation of Culture for Immigrants

SAN JOSE, Calif., July 7, 2010 — Maria Brand found herself frustrated with living in a post-WWII America where fellow Germans faced constant media bashing; so, she decided to do something about it. Her autobiography, From the Land of Westphalia to the Shores of the Pacific (published by AuthorHouse) is a testament to the struggles and successes she experienced as a child in WWII Germany, but also as an immigrant in America, where she found love, family and an opportunity to help fellow German-Americans.

"America is a nation of immigrants; to a great extent we all share the same anxieties and have to learn to deal with them in our own way," said Brand. "It helps to know that others have been there as well so that something can be gained from such experiences."

From the Land of Westphalia to the Shores of the Pacific not only covers Brand's early days in Germany and subsequent immigration to the U.S., it also opens a window into what it means for an immigrant to be caught in-between cultures. Brand tells of how important it became to her to maintain her heritage and to keep alive customs and practices from "the old country."

Brand also discusses at length the plight of German-Americans over the years, particularly separating themselves from the stigma of Nazi association — a generalization often times unfairly applied. Brand generously shares correspondence with American officials, politicians and diplomats detailing her strident activism in this regard.

Maria Brand grew up in Vreden, Germany; experiencing the horrors of World War II as a child. An immigrant to the United States, she later moved to Hawaii where she met her husband, Walter, also from the same area in Germany. Together, they raised two sons in the San Francisco bay area, where she resides to this day. Brand and her husband were a good team for 45 years until his death in 2005. Winners of the 2003 Distinguished German-Americans of the Year award, their work promoted and educated the public on German-American heritage throughout the bay area.

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