In the bad old days of anti-German prejudice, many Americans of German ancestry were compelled, like Rapunzel, to truncate their long, beautiful names and circumcise them of their umlauts to make them more plain-vanilla WASP-sounding.
And just today, I learned that Christopher Walken could have — nay, should have, been born “Christoper Wälken”: “He is the son of Rosalie (née Russell; May 16, 1907 – March 26, 2010), a Scottish emigrant from Glasgow, and Paul Wälken (October 5, 1903 – February 23, 2001), who came to the U.S. from Horst, Germany in 1928. His father owned and operated Walken’s Bakery in Astoria.”
I’ve never been one for online petitions, but Im tempted to start one to convince this giant of screen and stage to re-insert the two dots into his last name. Times have changed, the Vergangenheit has been bewältigt, and it’s time for members of the Volk to show some ethnic pride. Without going overboard, of course. Pfotenhauers unite!