Alta Verapaz, Alta Vista, Arbenz, Baja Verapaz, Bavaria, Belgium settlers, Cobán, Coffee plantations, Company store, Czechoslovakia, debt, Dieseldorff, El Salvador, electricity, Finca, German coffee growers, German Guatemalans, German landowners, German settlers, Germans in Central America, Germans in Latin America, Haiti, indigenous people, Industria Chiquibul, Jacobo Arbenz, Jakelin Caal Maquin, Jimmy Morales, jobs, La Matanzas, Luders affair, Mayans, Middle East, Nazis, Nazis in Guatemala, Palestine, palm oil plantation, palm-oil, potable water, Quetzaltenango, Soviet block, Swiss German, Syria, Turjam, United Fruit, World War II
Alta Verapaz is the district from which Jakelin Caal, the little girl who died in US custody, was migrating. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaths_of_Jakelin_Caal_and_Felipe_Gómez_Alonzo
“Jakelin’s small white coffin arrived at the airport in Guatemala City Sunday and was brought 354 kilometers north to the dirt-poor village. Among the while balloons and flowers surrounding the casket was a hand-written message to Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales saying “We ask you for jobs, electricity, potable water, roads…so we don’t have to emigrate.” See: “Christmas Day Funeral Planned for Guatemalan Migrant Girl” December 24, 2018 6:42 PM, VOA News, https://www.voanews.com/a/christmas-day-funeral-planned-for-guatemalan-migrant-girl/4714516.html
Currently, the palm oil plantation/producer near where she lived is owned by Industria Chiquibul, a subsidiary of Unisource Holding, Inc., which seems to be owned by the Turjman family. The Turjmans came from the Near/Middle East – probably Syria or Palestine. So, Germans aren’t the only exploiters.
Nonetheless, (ethnic) German landowners have dominated the Alta Vista region, especially as coffee growers. The farmlands provided to the Germans were indigenous lands which had previously been off-limits to outsiders. So, why do we only hear of the United States’ role in the problems there?
Latin America’s history of European colonization is older than North America’s and it is more diverse and complex than we are led to believe.
The category of “Hispanic”, especially as a “minority” provided with subsidies and contract set asides by the US government, as well as provided diversity quota slots in various circumstances, is patently absurd.
Wealthy ethnic Germans or Middle Easterners who have exploited the indigenous, non-“hispanic”, peoples of Latin America apparently get to be considered a “minority” once they move to the USA, whereas North Americans whose ancestors migrated directly from Europe or the Middle East do not.
Jakelin’s mother reportedly did not speak Spanish, but rather sn indigenous Mayan language. This raises the question of if the indigenous of Latin America who preserve their culture are hispanic and hence eligible for special treatment? Or only the Spanish speakers, who might be 100% European or Middle Eastern, and may be well off?
Both parents of Carlos Slim, the richest man in Mexico and Latin America, were Maronite Catholics from Lebanon. His wife was also Lebanese Soumaya Domit Gemayel. His father migrated to dodge the draft into the Ottoman army, much as Trump’s grandfather migrated to dodge the draft into the German army. Carlos Slim’s brother “worked in one of Mexico’s top intelligence agencies.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Slim
The term Finca used in the following article means estate and in the context apparently means plantation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finca Note the strange term, below, “oppressions of the United States“, which apparently means that the United States pushed for Nazi sympathizers to be expelled from Guatemala during World War II. Wasn’t that a good thing?
One must wonder if the land reforms under Swiss-German Arbenz and his half-German wife were designed to preserve the land of large German farmers? 672 acres is still a large farm. He expropriated uncultivated land from landholdings greater than 673 acres. His German father-in-law, a coffee planter, participated in the infamous massacre (“La Matanza“) of the indigenous peasants in El Salvador in 1932. One must wonder if United Fruit simply made an easier target for expropriation? (See more on Arbenz after the article on Germans in Guatemala.)
Agustín Farabundo Martí of El Salvador
From Wikipedia (more information after the article):
“A German Guatemalan is a citizen of Guatemala whose ancestors were German settlers (along with other settlers from Belgium) who arrived in the 19th and 20th century. Guatemala had a massive immigration of Germans in the nineteenth century. 
The government of Justo Rufino Barrios provided them with farmlands for coffee in the departments of Quetzaltenango, Alta Verapaz and Baja Verapaz, and by the early 20th century Germans populated Guatemala City, Zacapa and Jutiapa.
Guatemala currently has a strong community of Germans who make up the majority of European immigrants in the country, and it is also the most numerous German community in all Central American countries.
In the 1940s, 8,000 German immigrants lived in Guatemala. Although by 1944, these Germans were expelled by the oppressions of the United States and are now estimated to be 5,000, or between 7000 and 10000, it still forms the largest community of Germans in all of Central America.
The first German colonists arrived in the mid-19th century, and soon German settlers acquired land and operated coffee plantations in Alta Verapaz and Quetzaltenango.
Cobán became an important center for German settlers. Other German operations cultivated tea, cocoa, and vanilla. While most Germans went to Cobán, others went to San Juan Chamelco and Xelaju (Quetzaltenango). Cobán later came to be monopolized by German trade in wholesale stores, but they and, to a greater extent, the fincas dispersed throughout almost the entire region of Alta Verapaz. They paid workers with coins minted by each owner. These currencies could only purchase in the company store of the finca, whereby the employer obtained extra pecuniary gain.
The first German immigrant to Guatemala was Rodolfo Dieseldorff, in 1863, whereof he spoke very well of the place, and many Germans followed. According to the book The Germans in Guatemala, 1828-1944 by Regina Wagner, what attracted Germans to Verapaz was its “natural insulation, mild climate and fertile soil, and the possibilities of agricultural and commercial development.” By the end of 1890, two-thirds of coffee production in that region was in hands of Germans.
With the passage of time, the economy of Alta Verapaz became entirely headed by Germans, and formed its own world in Alta Verapaz, organized in a very united and supportive community. They had social activities at the German Club, or Deutsche Verein, in Cobán, founded in 1888, later renamed the Charitable Society. Initially, this group had only German members. The Cobán German Club was improved upon, being equipped so as to lend a pleasant environment where Germans could feel at home. A library was formed with donated books and magazines brought back by those who traveled to Germany. Today it is the Charitable Society.
Dieseldorff formed a complex of farms over three periods: between 1890 and 1898 it acquired the Seacté, Chiachal, Click, SECAC-Ulpan, Santa Margarita, Paija, Panzal and El Salto farms; between 1898 and 1910 became the Raxpec, Santa Cecilia, Cubilgüitz, Chamcarel and Sacchicagua of Secol, San Diego-Yalpemech, Chichochoc, Chichaíc Santa Margarita, Rio Frio Pocola and estates; and, after 1924, it acquired the Sachamach, Tzimajil, Chiquixjí Raxahá and haciendas. At the same time, it became Dieseldorff of many indigenous plots and to fully utilize the facilities of its coffee benefit and increase the volume of its exports, buying coffee cherry to small producers in the region of San Pedro Carchá by ratings or cash advances, and also received other parchment coffee farmers as the German Brothers Sterkel, for processing into gold.
The Germans were organized in a close-knit and supportive community. They made their social activities or Deutsche Verein German Club in Coban, founded in 1888. It is currently the Benevolent Society. At its inception, this group had only German partners. The place was remodeled and equipped to provide a friendly atmosphere where Germans feel at home, had a library of books and magazines donated by those who traveled to Germany. In 1938, every Sunday in Coban, a group of young Germans using traditional shorts, notes the book Soul Mates, “marched in military form of Magdalena farm to the club, singing songs extolling Deutschland and its mission in the world “.
In Guatemala, according to the embassy, there are more than 5,000 Germans living permanently in Guatemala, as well as several thousand more of German descent. This is the largest German community in Central America.
It is difficult to know exactly the number of Guatemalans of German descent, counting only in Alta Verapaz, Zacapa and Guatemala City there are a large number of descendants of German (and without other strong areas of Quetzaltenango, Baja Verapaz, El Peten, Sacatepequez and El Progreso). It should be taken into account that in Alta Verapaz and Baja Verapaz many German settlers were mixed with indigenous women Q’eqchi’, and German settlers in the capital and eastern were mixed with women of mestizo or white/Spanish origin. In conclusion, the number of Guatemalans of German origin unmixed is very low. Currently, there are still people with German last names like Winther, Euler, Buechsel, Henstenberg, Quirin, Kouffer, Noak, etc.
Guatemalans with German ancestry share Spanish language and German. The majority professes Protestantism followed by those who are Catholic and Atheists, Agnostics and Jews. Many kept German traditions and holidays. The descendants of the Gregg and Dieseldorff family still have several fincas in Alta Verapaz where coffee is still grown.
Notable Guatemalan Germans
* Luis von Ahn, Professor, Entrepreneur.
* Jacobo Arbenz, president of Guatemala (1951–1954).
* Arabella Arbenz, actress and model.
* Eduardo Suger, politician. He has German and Swiss ancestry.
* Alcina Lubitch Domecq, writer.
* Alfred Jensen, abstract painter.
* Gert Rosenthal Königsberger, politician and diplomat of German -Jewish origins, was Foreign minister between 2006 and 2008
* Soluna Samay, singer. She has German and Danish ancestry.
* Dieter Lehnhoff, orchestra conductor.
* Friedrich Nottebohm, subject of the Nottebohm case heard before the International Court of Justice
* Oscar Archila Euler, journalist and photographer.
* Maria Elena Winter (Nana Winter), in 1960 she won a national competition, India Bonita; she has German and Q’eqchi’ ancestry.
* Fritz García Gallont, mayor of Guatemala City (2000-2004). He has a German and Swiss ancestry.
* Álvaro Arzú, former president of Guatemala (1996-2000), mayor of Guatemala City (2004–present). He has German and Spanish ancestry.
* Otto Langmann, Nazi evangelical pastor, was coming from Germany but was nationalized Guatemalan, and then Uruguayan.
* Efrain Recinos,
German Missionaries in Guatemala
In Guatemala arrived several German missionaries who gave the Lutheran church history of the country, although some of these belonged to the Nazi Party
The arrival of Pastor Otto Langmann (1898-1956) in 1930 in Guatemala can be described as the beginning of the Nazis in the German Colony. He supported an evangelical community in Guatemala; a year later he joined the NSDAP and founded the first Nazi groups abroad, Shortly after his arrival in Guatemala, which came with some members of the congregation, Langmann was the founder of the Epiphany of the Evangelical Church in Guatemala, Langmann did a very important role in rural areas of Guatemala and Guatemala City
The family Dieseldorff
The Family Dieseldorff in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala
The name says a lot Dieseldorff the people of Alta Verapaz, who besides having several coffee farms in the region, were the first Germans who came to the department.
By the end of his long career at sea, Dieseldorff Gualán chosen as the target, Zacapa. He experimented with the cultivation of cotton, but lost crop pests. This forced him to seek other routes and started a new project in the trade that brought him to Alta Verapaz, where he settled.
In 1934, the German consul invited all members of the community to receive the ambassador; the Dieseldorff were not invited because they were not considered as pure Aryans, as they had Jewish blood.
The descendants of this family still have several farms in Alta Verapaz where coffee is still grown.
Among Germans who immigrated in the 1930s were followers of National Socialism. Not all immigrants were followers. The older, present generations in Alta Verapáz were not demonstrably attracted to the movement nor the Nazi party. In 1933, with the accession of National Socialist Movement in Germany, Nazi patriotic and cultural anniversaries began to appear in the small confines of Cobán and Alta Verapáz, and a local National Socialist Party formed among Germans there. It has been claimed that in the mid-1930s all Germans in Alta Verapaz were Nazis; however, this claim is unfounded, as it is only anecdotal, and not all of German descent were in effect also Nazi. One writer does note that “there wasn’t a German finca where the Nazi flag did not occupy a place of honor, nor a German finquero who did not participate in local events organized by the Nazis.”
In 1938, a seminal event impacted the German community in La Verapaz; the Third Reich asking their expatriate citizens to vote on the German annexation of Austria, the Anschluss. Some Germans in Guatemala held dual citizenship. A German boat anchored in Puerto Barrios to facilitate the vote. Those who attended were designated as sympathizers of Adolf Hitler. In 1936, 381 Germans in Guatemala voted for Adolf Hitler. Subsequently, most of these were deported, under pressure from the United States, for supporting the Nazi Party.
Cabinetry-maker Heinrich Gundelach and Protestant pastor Otto Langmann were founders of the Party’s organization in Cobán. According to the book Almas Gemelas by Regina Wagner, that same year (1938) the long-since present German School formed a Hitler Youth, practiced the salute, and discussed National Socialist race theory, disregarding that the German school also had students of Jewish descent. Thomas M. Leonard notes in The General History of Guatemala that the Buenos Aires newspaper Crítica de Buenos Aires reported in 1938 that Germany was building airfields in Guatemala. This claim was found to be untrue, but nonetheless garnered Washington’s alarm, considering Guatemala to be the core of Nazi propaganda in Central America, as three quarters of the German population of the entire Central American isthmus at the time lived in Guatemala.
German culture in Guatemala
The Germans introduced much of their culture in Guatemala Christmas traditions…
In other traditions, the Oktoberfest is held in Guatemala City, Cobán, San Juan Chamelco, Zacapa, Quetzaltenango and Antigua Guatemala, this celebration was introduced by the Germans and became very popular.
Today in Cobán, the Alta Verapaz departmental governmental seat, extant 19th century German stylistic and cultural tastes can be noted in houses, cathedrals, parks, clock towers, in the administrative palace, and as well in other Alta Verapaz cities such as San Juan Chamelco.
As a consequence of expropriation of indigenously-owned land, which were deemed putatively as ejidos in the 19th century, dire poverty continues to affect indigenous peoples in Alta Verapaz….
German language in Guatemala
The Alexander von Humboldt Association created a German school in Cobán, followed by schools in Quetzaltenango and Guatemala City. After World War II, the school was closed since it was associated with the Nazis, but reopened for 1958. The Asociación Alexander von Humboldt runs the German School, the German Language Institute, the German Cultural Institute and the Club Alemán. After twelve years of instruction, the more than 1,000 students attending the German School. The people of interest in studying in Germany has constantly grown in recent years. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has seconded an academic teacher to Guatemala.
Die Zivilisationsbringer (documentary film)
In 1998, documentarians Uli Stelzner and Thomas Walther filmed a documentary, The Civilizer (Die Zivilisationsbringer), interviewing members of current German entrepreneurial elite in Alta Verapaz and Guatemala City and finding claims to have “unmasked the German racism”, that the offspring of scions of the first Germans who came to Guatemala in the 1880s are “still convinced of belonging to a superior culture”.
German Communities and contributions in Guatemala currently
Guatemala is one of the partner countries with which Germany enjoys close development cooperation based on intergovernmental agreements. Germany is one of the country’s largest donors. Cooperation focuses on the priority areas of “democratic governance with equity” and “education”. Germany also contributes to the economic, industrial development, and contributes to security in the country. Germany is the main trading partner of Guatemala in Europe, also is the European country that more has diplomatic relations in Guatemala.
Associations and cooperations
The German Embassy in Guatemala assert that there are approximately more than 10,000 Germans living permanently in Guatemala in 2010, also asserts that these German citizens who are made to live in Guatemala tourist, business, and cooperatives.
* The German Embassy in Guatemala
* the German-Guatemalan technical cooperation.
* German farmers cooperative in Guatemala.
* German club of Guatemala
* Economic cooperation
German Industries in Guatemala
* Industrias Salchichas Bremen. (this industry is Guatemalan and their owners are descendants of the German family bremen)
* Industria Alemana de Alimentos, S.A. en Guatemala.
* Cámara de Comercio e Industria Guatemalteco-Alemana.
* MULTINACIONAL ALEMANA-GUATEMALA.
* Ventanas Alemanas, S.A.
* AHK Guatemala
* Henkel Guatemala
This page was last edited on 5 January 2019, at 19:44 (UTC)” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Guatemalan
One must ask if the land reforms under Swiss-German Arbenz and his half-German (Bavarian) wife were designed to preserve the land of large German farmers? 672 acres is still a large farm: “The official title of the agrarian reform bill was Decree 900. It expropriated all uncultivated land from landholdings that were larger than 673 acres (272 ha). If the estates were between 672 acres (272 ha) and 224 acres (91 ha) in size, uncultivated land was expropriated only if less than two-thirds of it was in use. The owners were compensated with government bonds, the value of which was equal to that of the land expropriated. The value of the land itself was the value that the owners had declared in their tax returns in 1952…” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobo_Árbenz
And, if United Fruit simply made an easier target for expropriation? Considering that East Germany was in the communist orbit, and Arbenz bought weapons from communist Czechoslovakia, it is less surprising that the United States intervened to overthrow the government. Why are we never taught this angle of the history? In the 19th and early 20th century there was a mostly overlooked conflict between the US and Germany in the Caribbean and Latin America. Think, for instance, of the Luders affair in Haiti: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lüders_affair
President Arbenz’ father was a Swiss German pharmacist. Arbenz’ wife was at least half German. She was born in San Salvador, El Salvador in 1915 into the upper class. Her father, José Antonio Vilanova Kreitz, was a German coffee planter from Bavaria. She was educated in elite European institutions. Her father was a fervent anti-communist and was implicated in massacres of the mostly indigenous peasant population of El Salvador in 1932. https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Cristina_Vilanova https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1932_Salvadoran_peasant_massacre https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobo_Árbenz
“On October 19, 1944, a small group of soldiers and students led by Árbenz and Francisco Javier Arana attacked the National Palace in what later became known as the “October Revolution”… the revolutionary junta did not immediately threaten the interests of the landed elite. Two days after Ponce Vaides’ resignation, a violent protest erupted at Patzicía, a small Indian hamlet. The junta responded with swift brutality, silencing the protest. The dead civilians included women and children …
Arévalo described his ideology as “spiritual socialism”. He was anti-communism and believed in a capitalist society regulated to ensure that its benefits went to the entire population….
The land reforms brought about by the Arévalo administration threatened the interests of the landed elite, who sought a candidate who would be more amenable to their terms….
The election was held on November 15, 1950, with Árbenz winning more than 60% of the vote, in elections that were largely free and fair with the exception of the disenfranchisement of illiterate female voters…
Árbenz also set out to reform Guatemala’s economic institutions; he planned to construct factories, increase mining, expand transportation infrastructure, and expand the banking system. Land reform was the centerpiece of Árbenz’s election campaign. The revolutionary organizations that had helped put Árbenz in power kept constant pressure on him to live up to his campaign promises regarding land reform. Agrarian reform was one of the areas of policy which the Arévalo administration had not ventured into; when Árbenz took office, only 2% of the population owned 70% of the land.…
some of his policies, particularly those involving agrarian reform, would be branded as “communist” by the Guatemalan upper class and the United Fruit Company.”
What’s the deal with Czechoslovakia? It’s surprising that it is central considering that they expulsed Germans: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudeten_Germans Its centrality to Trump is also strange. His first wife was from there and his children spent summers there.
CIA Guatemala https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/ciacase/EXE.pdf
“Guatemalan farms shift to palm oil, fueling family migration“, Reuters, 6 Jan 2019, Published: 07 Jan 2019 Short URL: https://farmlandgrab.org/28654
“Vilanova de Arbenz est née à San Salvador en 1915, où ses parents appartenaient à la classe supérieure de la population. Son père, José Antonio Vilanova Kreitz est un cultivateur de café originaire de Bavière2. Elle a reçu une éducation privilégiée dans des institutions européennes d’élite3. / Son père, fervent anticommuniste, fut impliqué dans les massacres de population autochtones aux idéaux communistes en 1932. Cela marquera beaucoup la personnalité de Vilanova, qui eut de fréquentes discussions avec son père sur les questions idéologiques2. https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Cristina_Vilanova
Harbour, Tiffany Kwader, “Creating A New Guatemala: The 1952 Agrarian Reform Law” (2008). Browse all Theses and Dissertations. 855. https://corescholar.libraries.wright.edu/etd_all/855
Emphasis our own throughout.