Kaiserslautern office aids American, German concerns
August 31, 2003
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — It can be difficult for Americans to know how the local German community operates — and vice versa.
The German-American Community Office is trying to help both sides get answers.
“We’re here for [servicemembers] who have any questions related to the German side of the house, if somebody doesn’t know where to go,” said Mark Tracy, the 415th Base Support Battalion’s representative at the office. “They can use us as their starting point without losing a lot of time.”
The office is across Ludwigstrasse from the 24-story City Hall building in downtown Kaiserslautern. It opened Feb. 19 and closed for a month after the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom before reopening April 30.
Tracy said servicemembers can ask about issues such as obtaining hunting and fishing licenses and other German permits.
Claudia Beavers of the 86th Airlift Wing’s Host Nation Office said new residents can use the German-American Community Office to help get settled.
“We can help people who know they are going to transfer [to Kaiserslautern] if, for example, they want to enroll their child into a German school,” said Beavers, who is the Air Force’s representative at the German-American office. “Sometimes people are afraid to walk into a [German] public office.”
The small staff also can provide some language assistance, such as translating a German phone bill.
Germans are invited to the office to seek solutions to problems such as noisy U.S. neighbors and military truck traffic, as well as to get information on German-American friendship clubs and where to go to learn English.
Small German businesses also can contact the office to find out how to bid for jobs at U.S. bases.
“If we don’t know the answer, we’ll take your phone number and call you back so we don’t leave you hanging,” said Jolanta Jurasinska, who represents Kaiserslautern Mayor Bernhard J. Deubig at the German-American Community Office.
Groups who already serve members of the Kaiserslautern Military Community can advertise their services at the office.
The United States established a military presence in Kaiserslautern more than 50 years ago. About 38,000 Americans live in the area.
Tracy said the Japanese ambassador to Germany has visited the center and might try to establish something similar in Okinawa.
Through Friday, the German-American Community Office had served 805 customers — including 308 Americans and 452 Germans, according to statistics it provided.
The office is funded by the U.S. Air Force, the Army’s 415th BSB and the city of Kaiserslautern. The city donated the office space.
For more information:
Address: Lauterstrasse 2, 67657 KaiserslauternPhone: 0631-363-3010Fax: 0631-363-3011E-mail: email@example.comOn the Web: www.gaco-kl-deOffice hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday; and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday