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Puntos de vista - a personal Spain blog

Musings about Spain and Spanish life by Paul Whitelock, hispanophile of 40 years and now resident of Ronda in Andalucía .

Wir sprechen Deutsch in Montejaque!
Friday, January 28, 2022 @ 5:28 AM

As Pablo de Ronda thinks back to his first ever Christmas spent in Spain, 13 years ago, he is reminded of a fascinating situation that arose back then.

I was spending my first Christmas in Montejaque, near Ronda (Málaga), staying with my German girlfriend (now my wife) and her two sons, Johannes and Jonathan, who were also visiting for the festive period. One night we got a proper linguistic shock!

When the three of us went out for a few drinks in the village, we were astonished to end up in a bar in the square where everyone present could speak German!

As we arrived at the bar talking together in German, the landlady greeted us fluently in that language. Ani, together with her husband Antonio, both from Montejaque, had emigrated to Knittlingen, south Germany, with their two young boys, to work there as part of the German Gastarbeiterprogramm, the scheme offering jobs to foreigners to help rebuild the German economy in the post-war years.

The boys, Diego and Juan, were brought up and went to school in the Swabian town, now Montejaque’s official twin town, and are naturally bi-lingual.

When the family returned to their home village Antonio and Ani took over Bar El Rincón, while Juan has his own building firm in Montejaque and Diego works with German tourists in Málaga.

Another amazing thing we found out was that Juan and Jonathan attended the same high school in Knittlingen!

Back to that night in 2008 ….. suddenly, up piped a little old lady who had overheard us: “Ich sprechen Deutsch. Ich Putzfrau Knittlingen. Mein Sohn sprechen Deutsch auch. Er kommen jetzt. Er arbeiten an der Küste. Er sprechen gut Deutsch.”

This lady, María, had been a cleaner in Knittlingen for many years. Her German wasn’t very good, bless her, but at least she could communicate. She’d told us that her son, who was due to arrive shortly from his job on the coast, also spoke German.

With that, in breezed her son, also called Juan, and we quickly struck up a conversation - in German, of course. Unlike his mother his German was perfect – in fact, we were told later, it’s better than his Spanish! Well, he was born, brought up and educated there, so that’s understandable.

As the evening wore on our conversation became more fluid as the beer flowed. There we were: six Spaniards, two Germans, and an Englishman in a tiny bar in a small village in the mountains of Andalucía, all speaking German together. Something I will never forget.

¡Feliz Navidad! Frohe Weihnachten!



In the 1960s several hundred inhabitants of Montejaque and neighbouring village Benaoján emigrated to Germany in search of work. Many went to the town of Knittlingen near Stuttgart to work in the factories there as Gastarbeiter. Quite a lot have since returned to their home villages with their families, giving rise to the surprisingly high number of German speakers in this part of the Serranía de Ronda.

The strong links between the three villages developed into an official partnership which was signed and sealed in 2010.


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