Bodensee vor den Bergen
Bodensee vor den Bergen

Bella Germania - an Italo-German declaration of love

The Institute for Advanced Study Konstanz (Kulturwissenschaftliches Kolleg) invites all interested parties to a reading and discussion with author Daniel Speck

On 7 July 2015 at 20:00, Daniel Speck will offer unique insights into the genesis of a historical novel. The author will read from the as-yet unpublished manuscript, which he has been writing as artist-in-residence at the Institute for Advanced Study Konstanz, followed by a discussion with Professor Juliane Vogel of some of its themes: Italian “Gastarbeiter” (foreign labourers) in Germany, their integration into German society and their depiction in literature. The public event will be held at the Konstanzer Zimmerbühne in Niederburg (St. Johanngasse 2).

“Platform 11 at Munich central station was the German equivalent of Ellis Island. Every day, special trains arrived from southern Italy. But whilst the Americans erected a statue to proudly welcome arriving immigrants, the Germans sent us to the bunker”. Giovanni, a Sicilian, is 21 years old when he, along with hundreds of unemployed Italians, arrives in Germany. In his new novel “Bella Germania”, Daniel Speck, who has also penned the script for “Maria, ihm schmeckt’s nicht”, tells a story of conflict and reconciliation set within a wider narrative juxtaposing Germany and Italy.  

“The part that I’ll be reading at the Konstanz event is set in the 1950s”, Speck announces, “when Wirtschaftswunder-Germany (economic miracle), via TV spots broadcast in the ‘Wochenschau’, actively invited foreign labour from southern Italy. The Sicilian Giovanni, twin brother of protagonist Giulietta, is one of the pioneers seeking to make their fortune in the north”. In spite of conflict and sacrifices made along the way, this decision ultimately leads to a successful integration into a Germany occupied with conceptualising, negotiating and renegotiating the impact of immigration since the 1950s on its political and social landscapes.

In Speck’s works, cross-cultural relations play a prominent role, and this is not simply for personal reasons: “Powerful stories require powerful conflicts. When people from different social milieus and with different lifestyle habits and morals meet, emotional friction is guaranteed”. Since May of last year, he has been artist-in-residence at the Institute for Advanced Study Konstanz, which has enabled him to work full-time on his novel, which he is planning to finish in the autumn. The Institute for Advanced Study Konstanz is a research facility founded in 2006 and affiliated with the Cluster of Excellence “Cultural Foundations of Integration” based at the University of Konstanz. It is housed in the Bischofsvilla by the Seerhein.

Admission is free.

Further information on the event and an interview with Daniel Speck can be found here:

The author is available for advance interviewing. Please address your request to:

Claudia Marion Voigtmann, Center of Excellence “Cultural Foundations of Social Integration” at the University of Konstanz: Phone: +49 75 31/ 88 47 41,