Seven years ago francesco argentino left his home in southern italy, and came to germany in search of steady work and good pay.
Seven years ago francesco argentino left his home in southern italy, and came to germany in search of steady work and good pay. He found both. But recently he left his factory near munich for the last time. For francesco argentino, like thousands of other foreign workers here has decided he had better leave germany and return home.
Before they could leave, however, francesco his wife giovanna and son donoto, had to pull up the official and personal roots that had grown over seven years. At government offices they received the documents and visas a foreign worker must have to leave germany, francesco also received a 160 dollar tax refund which he plans to use to help build a house in italy.
A year ago these offices were filled with foreign workers coming to germany looking for work.
There are about a million foreign, or guest workers, as they are called here...in west germany. Recruited in poorer southern European countries, these workers were essential to the prosperous post war growth of a labour short germany. But the boom, or economic miracle has ended in germany.
As a result, many germans who once viewed the guest workers as a welcome labour force, now see them a threat to their jobs, as work in germany become harder to get. This fear has led to a growing anti-foreign worker feeling here.
Francesco argentino sensed the changing mood in germany, and that it one of the reasons he decided to leave.
The argentino's celebrated their departure with friends at a traditional arrivederci party.
It was not easy for francesco argentino and his wife to decide to leave germany. Unlike most departing guest workers. They both still had jobs here that together brought them over 400 dollars a month...far more than they can hope to earn in the depressed areas of the southern italy. But francesco was convinced it was time to pack and leave. For him, and his family, the situation in Germany, both economically and socially could only get worse.
There was also another reason. Francesco argentino was one of the early members of the mass migration of workers which moved north into germany in the late 1950's and late 60's. Now he wants to return to italy and find a job before they are all taken by what he fears will turn into a flood of workers returning from germany.
To francesco argentino west germany was a dream land of steady worker and good wages. But he was not the only one who profited. For it was the more than one million guest workers here, was made the economic miracle possible. But now that miracle is gone, and so too is francesco argentino.