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August / September 2008

Volume 56, Number 4

By: Darlene Fuchs

It may be called “Oktoberfest,” but the big event starts in September. It all began with a wedding in October 1810. On the 12th day of October that year, Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I of Bavaria) wed Princess Therese von SachsenHildburghausen and held a big party near Munich (München) including a large horse race on October 17. It was so popular, that the party (complete with horse racing) took place again the following year, prompting the start of a traditional German celebration that has become world famous. Other than for interruptions caused by war or disease, Oktoberfest has been celebrated every year since 1811. Back in the 1800’s Munich was a smaller town than it is today, so Oktoberfest participants had to journey out to the Theresienwiese, which now lies within the city. In the year 1812, the Oktoberfest was cancelled since Bavaria was involved with the Napoleonic war. In 1819, The founding citizens of Munich assumed responsibility over festival management. It was agreed upon that the Oktoberfest festival would be celebrated each and every year without exception. Later, it was lengthened and the date pushed forward since the end of September in Bavaria often has very good weather. The high temperature in the first week of Oktoberfest nears 30 °C (86 F) stimulates the thirst of the visitors. In 1854, 3,000 residents of Munich succumbed to

an epidemic of cholera, so the festival was cancelled. In 1866, there was no Oktoberfest since Bavaria fought in the Austro-Prussian War and in 1870, the Franco-Prussian war was the reason for cancellation. In 1873, the festival was once again cancelled due to a cholera epidemic. In 1880, the electric light illuminated for the first time over 400 booths and tents. In 1881, booths selling bratwurst opened and beer was first served in glass mugs in 1892. The large beer tents (actually large halls) didn’t appear until 1896. In 1887, the Parade of Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries took place for the first time, showcasing the splendidly decorated horse teams of the breweries and the bands that play in the festival tents. This event always takes place on the first Saturday of the Oktoberfest and symbolizes the official prelude to the Oktoberfest celebration Oktoberfest celebrated its 100th birthday in 1910 where 120,000 liters of beer were poured. In 1913, the Bräurosl was founded, which was the largest Oktoberfest beer tent of all time, with room for about 12,000 guests (today, the biggest tent is the Hofbräu-Festhalle, which holds 10,000). From 1914 through 1918, World War I prevented the celebration of Oktoberfest. In 1919 and 1920, the two years after the war, Munich celebrated See O’ZAPFT IS! on PAGE 11

German American Day By: Darlene Fuchs

German Day was celebrated in the 19th century and revived in 1987 as German-American Day. Most instrumental in establishing German-American Day at the time were President Elsbeth Seewald of the German American National Congress (D.A.N.K.), Drs. Eberhard and Ruth Reichmann of the German Heritage Society of Indiana, Dr. Don Heinrich Tolzmann of the Society for GermanAmerican Studies and the many thousands of individuals who petitioned Congress. In 1988 D.A.N.K., the United German American Committee of the U.S.A., Inc., (VDAK) and the Steuben Society of America, joined hands and founded the German American Joint Action Committee (GAJAC). GAJAC has subsequently petitioned Congress and Government leaders to issue resolutions and proclamations for the annual German American Day, enlisting nationwide support. The goal was to have German American Day be a recurring holiday on October 6th each year. German American Day honors German immigration to the USA, beginning with the arrival of the first 13 Mennonite immigrant families from Krefeld, seeking religious tolerance, on October 6, 1683, who subsequently founded Germantown, Pennsylvania. However, individual Germans had been in America since the start of European immigration. Germans were part of the Jamestown settlement in 1608. And Peter Minuit, a Rhinelander, was the famous director of the Dutch colony who bought Manhattan from Native Americans in 1626. October 6, 1683 marked the beginning of waves of German immigration that would ultimately be bringing more than 7 million people to our shores. Today, nearly a quarter of all Americans can trace their ancestry back to their Germanic roots. On August 6, 1987, Congress approved S.J. Resolution 108, designating October 6, 1987 as German-American Day. It became Public Law 100104 when President Reagan signed it on August 18 of that year. A proclamation (#5719) to this effect was issued October 5, 1987 by President Reagan See OCTOBER 6 on PAGE 16


Member Profile




Looking Back

Chapter News




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German-American Journal

President’s Corner Liebe Mitglieder und Freunde! Dear Members and Friends, As the busy summer season progresses, I am already thinking of the upcoming fall. Things are really going to get busy for us German-Americans with Oktoberfests and German Fests everywhere. Already, as you receive this newspaper, we will have participated in Milwaukee’s Germanfest, Cleveland’s Stadtfest and the many other festivals that are a prelude to the fall festivals. It gives us a chance to celebrate our heritage and at the same time show others the fun loving spirit of Germania. Yes, there is much more that Germans and German-Americans so proudly have to offer, but this gives us a chance to celebrate our accomplishments and to make new friends and introductions. It’s been more than six months that we have had new leadership at the helm of our organization and I am proud of the accomplishments that we have achieved so far. There is so much more to do and we intend to make our members proud to belong to DANK. Please note the short article from Erik Wittmann, membership chairperson, in this issue. We still have some members that have not paid their dues for this year. For them this will be their last issue of the journal. We are hoping that they will rejoin so they can share the joy of our future achievements. You should have received your DANK raffle tickets in the mail by now and I want to thank the DANK Chicago-West chapter for their helping hand in mailing the tickets out to our members. If you did not receive your tickets please contact our office in Chicago to have them mailed to you. We have had a lot of compliments about our National Office remodeling project. When they visit, folks usually are quite surprised to see the drastic change and improvements. I once again would like to thank everyone involved with the project. I also send a special “Dankeschön” to Carol Norton and her husband of the Springfield, Illinois chapter. They so kindly donated a new office refrigerator so that we can store some cool refreshments (and dessert for Eva, our secretary). When Carol found out about our completed project, she thought that we needed a fridge and called us right away to find out how she could one get us. With much appreciation we thank you! Besides having updated our office, we also have undergone a minor change on our National Board. Linda Voit, our National Treasurer, resigned from her position due to personal and professional reasons. We are fortunate to have Maria Thompson, of the Fox Valley, Illinois chapter, step up to the plate and volunteer to serve in the Treasurer position for the rest of the term. Our National Executive Board voted at a special meeting, this July, to confirm Maria for the position. Maria is a certified public accountant and brings with her a vast resume of qualifications. I would like take this opportunity to thank Linda for her devoted service to the National Board and to DANK. Her insight and vision will be missed. I hope that everyone will have a fun time attending our late summer and fall festivals and I look forward to seeing the many reports and pictures from our chapters in the next issue of the Journal. Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

William Fuchs National President

DIE BRUECKE ZUR ALTEN HEIMAT “Building Bridges to Germany” Visit our website,, to listen to Live German radio from “Radio Heimatmelodie” in Germany. You will also find a list of additional live German radio stations that you can listen to online for free.

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August / September 2008

Mission Statement

D.A.N.K., a society of German Americans today, was founded in 1959, and is active coast to coast,with the purpose of representing all German Americans in the United States. D.A.N.K., a non-profit organization, supports German cultural landmarks and events, sponsors German American student exchanges and the study of the German language and culture. It promotes harmony and goodwill among German American clubs and societies across the United States. D.A.N.K.’s cultural almanac, with its many programs and suggestions for local events and its D.A.N.K. Journal are the visual and communication links between its members and its corporate headquarters in Chicago.

D.A.N.K. also acts as an information center and exchange on a variety of subjects concerning the German American community at large We welcome your inquiries, contributions and donations for a United German America. Benefits to belong to D.A.N.K. D.A.N.K. was chosen by many because of our leadership in representing the interests of all German Americans on a national level. D.A.N.K. has many Chapters across the United States of America. D.A.N.K. has over 30 Associated Member Societies. D.A.N.K. offers German Language classes for both children and adults

Editor’s Column Throughout the ages and in every culture, people have used the seasons as a metaphor to mark life’s transitions and to help understand the purpose and meaning of our lives. As summer comes to a close I am reminded that just like life our organization must learn to observe the natural cycles of the seasons. Each season emerges from the previous and gently turns into the next. Just like Winter snows feed the ground for Spring’s blossoms and Summer’s heat ripens the plants for Fall’s harvest we must also change and grow. Our organization, just like any business, must progress through the many cycles in order to meet the needs of our members. Winter is season full of potential. Spring is the time of structure. Summer, a time of accomplishment and Autumn is the time of reflection. Winter is a cycle full of potential where many creative ideas occur. Everyone is energetic and wants to be doing, accomplishing, and acting. Sometimes the current DANK board gets so many requests and ideas that it is hard to organize all of them. Once things have been prioritized and the new projects are supported by the members, it is time to move on to the next phase, the Season of Spring. Spring is a developmental phase. As new ideas begin to take form your national board is busy planning and organizing the direction of DANK. This is the phase that involves committees, dedication and creativity. To make new projects become a reality everyone must participate in order to get results. One such example is the new look of the German-American Journal and it’s dedication to the coverage of all DANK’s chapters. We are all anxious for results and must not forget to enjoy the process as we move to into the next phase - the Season of Summer. Summer is a time to complete some projects and to become financially productive. We reach the height of our projects success, such as the remodeling of the national office, with your help. All that we worked so hard for is now realized. When our organization has become successful we need to prepare for the future and move into the next phase - the Season of Autumn. Autumn is a time to realize that our organization is not just about the things we have accomplished. It’s also about the positive things DANK does in our society and to discover our true purpose for being here. It is a time to be committed to the organization and its goals as DANK becomes a prestigious organization within its communities. It is important to honor the natural cycles of the seasons - to experience each phase fully and openly, and then move on. When we hold on to a past season, we cannot enjoy the current one. As our organization grows we may pass through these seasons multiple times. As DANK passes through the many cycles, everyones assistance and support is appreciated, knowing fully that things change, as we anticipate moving into yet another season. Our organization must enjoy each season and make it the best ever!

Darlene Fuchs Managing Editor

Submission Deadline For The October/November Issue: September 1st, 2008

Der Deutsch-Amerikaner DANK National Executive Board President: William Fuchs 1. Vice President: Erich Wittmann 2. Vice President: Donna Lippert Treasurer: Maria Thompson Secretary: Beverly Pochatko DANK National Executive Office

4740 N. Western Ave Chicago, Il 60625-2097 Call (773) 275-1100 Toll Free (866) 926-1109 Fax (773) 275-4010

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Editorial Staff Darlene Fuchs, Editor Harald Pitz, Editorial Staff Margita Mulsoff, Editorial Staff Stephen Fuchs, Layout & Design Beverly Pochatko, Chapter News Editor Erik Wittmann, Membership Eva Timmerhaus, Office Manager

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7/17/08 1:04:29 PM

August / September 2008

German-American Journal


Letters From Our Readers To The Editor:

I disagree completely with the commentary of Werner Baroni, “Wer spricht in hundert Jahren noch Deutsch?” First, individual languages attain dominance only to be replaced in time. Greek was the accepted international language in the Mediterranean. Later Latin gained dominance which continued until the Renaissance. This was in spite of the fact that Latin disappeared as a commonly spoken language during the Dark Ages. In Fact, Isaac Newton wrote his “Principia Matematica” in Latin in1687. French began its dominance during the Crusades and was considered as the language of diplomacy through the Nineteenth Century. Frederick the Great preferred to use French in correspondence. The treaty ending the Franco-Prussian War was written in French only. English has become dominant internationally during the last century. All languages are in a constant state of change. German is no exception to this phenomenon. German has acquired considerable vocabulary from Latin, French and more recently from English. The German language will change but will not disappear. Germany is the strongest economy in Europe. It could well be that the German language will become dominant in Europe as Germany’s economic power improves, and the United States loses its economic and political influence in Europe.  

William Russell Sigel, PA Redakteur Journal:

Ich übereinstimme überhaupt nicht mit der Behauptung Werner Baronis daß die Deutsche Sprache in hundert Jahren verschwinden könne. Zuerst, eine Sprache kann mit der Zeit die Vorherrschendsprache werden, dennoch nach der Zeit wird man sie mit einer anderen Sprache ersetzen.  Einmal war Griechisch die Hauptsprache in dem Mittelmeer. Später, hatte sich Latein die wichtigste Sprache gemacht, die bis in der Renaissance dauert hatte. Es war trotzdem Latein als eine Sprache, während des frühen Mittelalter, nicht mehre gesprochen wurde. Allerdings, Isaac Newton hatte seine „Principia Matematica“ auf Latein im Jahre 1687 geschrieben. Französisch hatte sich als diplomatische Sprache in Mittelalter gegründet, und hatte auf diese weise bis zum ende des neunzehnten Jahrhundert  gedauert. Tatsächlich, Friederich der Große hatte seine Korrespondenz auf Französisch geschrieben. Trotzdem Preußen den Krieg gegen Frankreich gewonnen hatte, schrieb man den Vertrag in 1871 nur auf Französisch.   Alle Sprachen verändern sich immerzu. Deutsch ist keine Ausnahme dazu. Die Deutsche Sprache hat viele Wörter aus Latein, Französisch und später   Englisch genommen. Deutsch wird sich selbstverständlich verändern,

Von Steuben Day

aber sie wird gar nicht verschwinden. Deutschland hat heutzutage die stärkste Wirtschaft in Europa. Als seine wirtschaftliche Macht sich verstärkt, könne die Deutsche Sprache als Hauptsprache Europas werden. Das kann passieren, wenn die Vereinigten Staaten wirtschaftlichen und politischen Einfluß in Europa verlieren.

William Russell Sigel, PA

My Dear Friends,

Karlheinz A. Halter Dear William:

Please accept my congratulations as you celebrate the 49th anniversary of your publication German-American Journal. Your community is better for the service you provide it. Bringing a publication such as yours is done only by overcoming great challenges - and by possessing a great commitment to the mission. Because of your commitment, your community maintains its heritage and, therefore, its identity. The value of your service simply cannot be estimated except to describe it as immense and vital. In serving your audience you strengthen our entire community. I honor your service and wish you all the best for a long and productive future.

Wer suchet, der findet! Und wer edel ist, “den suchet die Gefahr”. And so we see, that most of our friends are “safe”! The Declaration of Independence, unanimously declared by the thirteen United States of America -- as Darlene Fuchs reminded us in the “German-American Journal” [June/July 2008] -- was adopted by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776. “Much of the tradition inherent in the way we cel­ ebrate today was evident almost from the beginning. Sound, spectacle, and sentiment played an important role in that tradition.” “One of the most elaborate celebrations in 1777 and the first organized celebration of its kind occurred in Philadelphia. This event had all of the Sincerely, elements of typical future celebrations­ -- the discharge of cannon, one round for each state in the union, the ringing of bells, a dinner, the use of music, the Maria Pappas drinking of toasts (it would subsequent- Cook County Treasusrer

troops. Von Steuben is still regarded as one of the most important German-Americans, as his training of the young American troops made victory against the By: Darlene Fuchs British possible and thus his work helped in gain independence for the United States of America. German-American Steuben Parade is an annual After the war, von Steuben resettled to New York parade held in various cities across the United States. City, where he died in 1794. The New York City parade is held every third SaturThe first Steuben Parade was held in the Ridgeday in September. It was founded in 1957 by German- wood section of Queens, where many German immiAmerican immigrants who, being part of the largest grants lived. Over the years, as the event grew bigger ethnic group in the United States, wanted to keep the and drew an ever larger number of spectators, the Patraditions of their homeland alive. A number of U.S. rade was moved to Fifth Avenue. To this day it starts at cities and counties are named for von Steuben and to- 64th Street moving uptown to 86th Street. The Parade day he even has his own holiday. As part of the Ger- finale on 86th Street has a special meaning for German-American Friendship Week, the Steuben Parade man-Americans, as that street and the entire Yorkville draws huge crowds in New neighborhood was home to York City and several other many German immigrants becities around the U.S. This tween the first half of the 20th year the parade will be held century until the 1970s. The September 20th, 2008. neighborhoods most important Friedrich Wilhelm Ludholf street - 86th Street - was lovGerhard Augustin von Steuingly called “Sauerkraut Bouben was born in Magdeburg, levard” and hosted many GerPrussia in 1730. He became man-American establishments, an officer at a young age in ranging from coffee shops and the Prussian army and was a restaurants to dance halls. member of the infantry. Due to Every year the Germanexcellent service he was comAmerican Steuben Parade is led mended to serve at Frederick by cadets representing the Gerthe Great’s headquarters. man Language Club of the MilEventually, von Steuben Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben itary Academy of West Point, would use his knowledge which was founded by General von Steuben. But the gained through his years in the Prussian military ser- rest of the parade is dominated by traditional German vice to join the Continental army in America. In 1777, brass music groups and marching bands, by clubs and von Steuben emigrated to the United States and, with organization wearing traditional German Tracht, as the help of Benjamin Franklin, he reported to Wash- well as by carnival groups, marksmen or other tradiington at Valley Forge and was commissioned to train tions. For many years, the parade has had a strong the troops. Bavarian theme and was dominated by men wearing Speaking no English, he communicated with the Lederhosen, women in Dirndls and groups dancing soldiers in French. Under von Steuben’s training the the traditional Schuhplattler. Recently though, the paarmy became more successful in fighting the British rade opened up to represent more German themes.

DANK Aug-Sept 08.indd 3

ly be traditional to have one toast for each state in the union), ‘loud huzzas,’ a parade, fireworks, and the use of the nation’s colors.

The Annual German-American Steuben Parade of New York is one of the largest observances of German heritage throughout all America and the world. With tens of thousands of German-Americans marching up Fifth Avenue every year in September, the parade is also a showcase of the strong friendship between the two countries. While the Parade honors great German-Americans of times past, like Steuben himself, it is also a celebration of contemporary German tradition and culture. Among the Parade’s recent Grand Marshals were famous German-Americans like Donald Trump and Siegfried & Roy as well as the highest representatives from German politics. Each year, the week preceding the Parade is officially declared German-American Friendship Week by the Mayor of New York City. That week is packed with a huge variety of German-American events showcasing a broad cultural spectrum from art exhibits and concerts to sport events. On the occasion of the 50th Annual GermanAmerican Steuben Parade the Empire State Building Company agreed to coat the top of New York’s famous landmark in black,red and gold during the whole weekend. This parade held on Saturday, September 15th, 2007 was the biggest parade ever with 100,000 of marchers and spectators alongside Fifth Avenue from 63rd to 86th Street. Chicago’s annual Von Steuben Parade is on September 6th, 2008, at 2:00PM when hundreds of participants march, dance, play music or ride on the many beautiful floats on Lincoln Avenue and join the festivities later at the German Day. The German Day Festival, begins on Friday evening, September 5th and continuing through Sunday, September 7th at Lincoln Plaza. Lincoln Plaza is located at Western, Lincoln and Leland. Admission is free to all. There will be traditional cultural programs with the participation of many societies, plus German music. Not to forget - GREAT FOOD, beverages and other attractions for everyones enjoyment.

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German-American Journal

August / September 2008

Ehrenpräsident Ott und seine Verpflichtung für die Deutschamerikaner By: Werner Baroni

Als ehemaliger Industrie-Manager kann er aus einem reichen persönlichen Erfahrungsschatz schöpfen, der bis heute seine Arbeit prägt. Eine Arbeit, die instituelle Bindungen ebenso mit einschließt, wie die vielen Beziehungen nicht nur mit Deutschen, sondern mit Angehörigen aus anderen Nationen. Ernst Ott, Ehrenpräsident des Deutschamerikanischen National Kongress, langjähriger Vorsitzender dieser Organisation und Nummer Eins auf der Kommandobrücke der rührigen Gruppe Nord in Chicago, hat in unterschiedlichen Einsatzbereichen dazu bei= getragen, das Bild der Deutschamerikaner nicht nur in der Politik dieses Landes dort zu erhellen, wo es nachhaltig zu verdunkeln drohte. Dies alles, nicht zuletzt aber das Gefühl der Verpflichtung für die Deutschen draußen, das Gefühl der Zusammengehörigkeit mit ihnen, prägten den Jubilar, der am 7. September 80 Jahre alt wird, mit starker Aussagekraft. So hat er in jahrelanger Fleißarbeit die deutsche Dokumentation 11 Verbrechen an den Deutschen in Jugoslawien von 1944 bis 1948 „ in die englische Sprache übersetzt. Das 224 Seiten umfassende Werk wurde im Kongress in Washington und dem Europarat in Strass= bürg vorgelegt. Es wurde darauf hingewiesen, dass das Thema in Amerika und England niemals ausführlich behandelt wurde. Die donauschwäbische Dokumentation macht auf sechs Vernichtungslager in der Woywodina, zwei Vernichtungslager in Kroatien und zwei Vernichtungslager in Slowenien mit insgesamt 64 000 Toten aufmerksam. Die Vereinigung der Donauschwaben in den USA hat Ernst Ott mit dem Kulturpreis 2004 ausgezeichnet.

Für den Jubilar, der als Buchautor (u.a. Heimat Nordamerika) hervortrat, trifft zu, was Robert Mueller-Sternberg schrieb: „Keine Vergangenheit ist im letzten anders zu bewältigen als dadurch, dass den Spannungen der Gegenwart standgehalten wird. Das ist jedoch immer nur in einem verbindlichen Traditionsbewusst- sein möglich. Es schafft Zukunft, weil es sich angesichts der Zeitprobleme ständig in dem Glauben erneuert, dass schließlich nicht der äußere Erfolg über den Sinn des Schicksals entscheidet, sondern die Haltung, in der dieses Schicksal nach großen Vorbildern und von den Menschen unter Opfern erlebt, ertragen und gemeinsam zum Wohle der Nachkommen getragen wird.“ Gelegentlich ätand der ideenreiche Anreger Ott auf steinigem Boden. Der in Lugasul de Jos bei Oreda 1928 geborene Rumäniendeutsche wurde 1936 mit seinen Eltern des Landes verwiesen, nachdem sich der Vater weigerte, als so genannter Reichsdeutscher die rumänische Staatsbürgerschaft anzunehmen. Sein Weg war vorgezeichnet. Er besuchte in Deutschland eine Real- schule. Büffelte Deutsch, Französisch und Spanisch und wird nach Kriegsende von einer amerikanischen Militärstreife festgenommen. Tage später stellt ihn der Kapitän als Dolmetscher ein. Der Weg wird schwer. Wie viele Pfade vieler Auswanderer, die das Rot-weiß-blau im Land der unbegrenzten Möglichkeiten auf ihre Familienfahnen schrieben. Ernst Ott begann seine amerikanische Karriere als Helfer auf einer Farm in Wisconsin. Sein Handwerkszeug, typisch für ihn: Eine Reiseschreibmaschine, eine Kamera und

ein Klepperfaltboot. Sein Besitzer arbeitete als freischaffender Journalist u.a. für die Kanusport-Nachrichten. Der Farmer wird sich gefreut haben. Die Unternehmungen und Abenteuer, die der Jubilar oft auf dem Mississippi unternahm, wurden von der US Army unterbrochen, die ihn von 1953 bis 1955 nach Deutschland und nach Frankreich schickte. In seinem Berufsleben, er kam 1985 als Chairman Public Relations zum D.A.N.K., bewährte er sich als Manager eines Industriekonzerns in mehreren Bundesstaaten, in Deutschland und in Belgien. Ernst Ott referiert im Mittelwesten an vier Universitäten, ist Mitbegründer der German American Heritage Society in St. Louis und wird 1996 mit dem Friedrich-HeckerFreedom Award ausgezeichnet. Unter der Überschrift „Die amerikanischen Freunde“ berichteten die „Husumer Nachrichten“ am 7. Juni 2008 über ein Treffen von Auswanderern und Einheimischen, die sich in das Buch der Stadt Husum eintrugen. Mit dabei, Ernst Ott und seine Frau Alexandra Pradella Ott, eine Deutschlehrerin aus Schlesien. Die Zeitung wörtlich: „Der amtierende Buergermeister empfing die Gäste mit einem Brief der amtierenden Generalkonsulin in Hamburg, Karen E. Johnson. Die Repräsentantin der USA an der Elbe ließ verlesen, dass die deutschen Auswanderer seit jeher die Geschichte der USA prägten.“ „Ihre Energie und die geteilten Werte von Freiheit und Demokratie machen den Erfolg der Vereinigten Staaten aus.“ Für ihre nimmermüde Arbeit um die deutsch-amerikanische Freundschaft zeichnete die Bundesrepublik Deutschland vor Jahren Ernst und Alexandra Ott mit dem Bundesverdienstkreuz Erster Klasse aus. Zum 80.Geburtstag gilt dem Jubilar der Glückwunsch vieler Deutschamerikaner. Allen voran der Deutschamerikanische Nationalkongress und die Vereinigung der Donauschwaben in Chicago, deren Mitglied Ernst Ott ist.

Honorary President Ott and His Commitment to the German-Americans By: Werner Baroni Translated By: Ernst Ott

As a former international business manager Ernst Ott can draw from a rich personal experience treasure-trove which, still today, characterizes his work. Work  which includes institutional bonds not only with Germans but also members of other nations. Ernst Ott, Honorary President of the GermanAmerican National Congress, for many years the head of the organization  and number one on the conning tower of the bustling Chapter Chicago North, has contributed in diversified manners to highlight and brighten the image of German-Americans, not only in the political arena of the country but also where it was in the danger of growing gloomy. All of  that and particularly the sentiment of commitment to the Germans on the outside, the feeling of belonging together, strongly characterized the Jubilee who will be 80 on September 7.   Thus he undertook the yearlong task translating the German documentation „Verbrechen an den Deutschen in Jugoslavien 1944 -1948“ (The crime against the ethnic Germans in Yugoslavia). The 244page document was submitted to the Congress in Washington and the European Parliament in Strassbourg, France. It was emphasized that neither in America nor in England was this situation ever adequately dealt with. The Danube-Swabian documentation draws attention to the extermination camps in the Woywodina, two extermination camps in Croatia and two extermination camps in Slovenia. The Society of the Danube Swabians in the USA awarded the Kulturpreis 2004 to Ernst Ott. The following definition by Robert Mueller-Sternberg can be applied to the Jubilee, who distinguishes himself as a book author (among others as co-author

DANK Aug-Sept 08.indd 4

of Heimat North America): „In the final analysis there is no other way to cope with the past than to withstand the tension of the present. However, this is only possible by being tradition-conscious. It creates future because, due to time problems, it constantly renews its belief that it is not the outer success over the meaning of fate but is based on great examples  and sacrifices experienced and endured by the people  and maintained for the welfare of posterity.”   Occasionally the initiator with many ideas stood on stony ground. The Romanian- German, born September 7, 1928 at Lugasul de jos, near Oradea, and his parents were expelled in 1936 since his father, being a „Reichsdeutscher“, refused to become a Romanian citizen. His path was predestined. In Germany Ernst Ott attended the Oberrealschule and studied English, Spanish and French. At the end of the war he was arrested by the American Military Police. A few days later the arresting captain hired him as his interpreter.  The path became more arduous, as was the path of many emigrants who put the colors red-whiteblue onto the family flag in the „land of the unlimited opportunities.“   Ernst Ott began his American career as a farm hand in Wisconsin. His trade tools, typical for him: a travel typewriter, a camera and a Klepper folding kayak. The farm owner worked as a freelance journalist, among other publications also for the KanusportNachrichten. The farmer must have been delighted. The adventures and other undertakings, often on the Mississippi, were interrupted by the USArmy

which sent him,1953-1955, back to Germany and France.  In his civilian life, he joined D.A.N.K. in 1985 and in business he advanced to President of an international company, working in several states, Germany, Belgium and Bahamas. He is guest lecturer at four Midwest Universities, co-founder of the GermanAmerican Heritage Society in St. Louis and1996 awarded the Friedrich-Hecker Freedom Award.The „Husumer Nachrichten“, in the June 7, 2008 issue, under the headline „Die amerikanischen Freunde“ writes about a get-together of emigrants and local citizens who signed the guest book of the city of Husum.   Also present were Ernst Ott and his spouse Alexandra Pradella-Ott, a German language teacher, born in Schlesien. The newspaper writes: „The Acting Mayor receives the guests with a letter from the US Acting Consul General in Hamburg, Karen E. Johnson, citing that from the very beginning German emigrants put their stamp onto America‘s history. Their energy and the shared values of freedom and democracymake America successful.“ Recognizing their untiring work fostering German American friendship the German Government  awarded Ernst Ott  and Alexandra Pradella -Ott the Bundesverdienstkreuz.On the occasion of his 80. Birthday the jubilee receives the greetings and best wishes of many German-Americans and in particular from the German American National Congress and the Society of Danube Swabians of which he also is a member.

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August / September 2008

German-American Journal


In Alten Zeiten - The Way We Were In honor of the “back to school months,” we are including a page from the DANK Newspaper dated August 8, 1961. There is a German poem “Pflegt die deutsche Sprache,” or Nurture the German Language. and an article encouraging American kids to learn a foreign language. Our DANK German language schools continue, still today, to encourage students to learn German. Being bilingual has a positive effect on intellectual growth while enriching a persons development. Through language development

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we learn to understand and appreciate people from other countries. There is also the fact that job opportunities may arise in careers where knowing another language is a real asset. Furthermore, experience with another culture enables people to achieve a significantly more profound understanding of their own. Every language a person masters will enhance their enjoyment and reduce their frustration and isolation as they travel abroad.

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German-American Journal

August / September 2008

National Board Member Profile: VICE PRESIDENT ERIK WITTMANN This is a new series in which we would like to introduce to the membership the various members of our national board. The board consists of the elected board (President, two VP’s, Secretary and Treasurer) along with two representatives from each of the three regions of our organization. We hope that you will enjoy these articles which are intended to familiarize our members with the Organization’s leadership. By: Erich Wittmann Membership Chair and National Vice President

Everyone knows him as either Erik or Erich Wittmann, but professionally he is known as R. Erik Wittmann, and while retired from having worked for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for 35 years, he still functions as a Consultant to the Commonwealth and other governmental entities as well as private sector organizations. His professional back ground was primarily in the field of Human Services. He graduated with a double Masters in Social Work and Psychology from West Virginia University, having received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. Over his professional years he ran Residential Centers for the Developmentally Delayed, Psychiatric facilities and community programs serving special needs populations. For several years he oversaw Pennsylvania’s State-wide community Programs for the Developmentally Delayed. After retiring at a young 58 years of age, the Commonwealth requested that he come back as a consultant to run 2 Crisis Counseling Programs, the latter involving the victims of Hurricane Katrina who settled in Pennsylvania. Since then he continues as a part time consultant in the area of Disaster Response. His involvement in DANK started in November of 1985 when a friend named Erna Jochum, a DANK member asked him to attend a social function held by the Pittsburgh Chapter. Within two years of joining the Chapter he served as Chair of the Chapters annual Oktoberfest celebration, which drew several thousand visitors in just three days. He chaired that activity and the Rhineland Karnival for numerous years

until the chapter decided to hand the events over to the Alliance of Germanic Societies of Pittsburgh, who unfortunately changed the event to a Summer fest, which never took hold or drew the crowds as the DANK Oktoberfest. As with most of the DANK Chapters, the Pittsburgh chapter underwent the need to transition from primarily a membership of ethnic Germans to a membership of Americans of Germanic ancestry. This understanding was one of the driving forces that caused Erik to agree to allow himself to be nominated for a position on the National Board. He is convinced based upon his years with DANK and understanding human nature that unless DANK makes that transition, the organization will continue to struggle and may go the way of so many ethnic groups that were in existence but discontinued due to a drop in membership. On the current National Board he serves as Membership chair to address the issues of a declining membership and working with others like our Regional Presidents in assisting to revitalize existing Chapter or establishing new Chapters/sub chapters. During the past several months due to the assistance and hard work of individuals like Cobi Stein, Terry Viebek, Christa Garcia and Chris Decker, one new chapter is being established in Columbus, Ohio, one sub chapter was created in Pittsburgh, and one chapter is being resurrected in Peoria. If our membership responds to our “Just add ONE “drive it is hoped our membership decline can be reversed. He also is on the Committee that is working on initiating Travel Services to our membership. Erik was born in Austria, the youngest of three to parents who were ethnic Germans (Donau Schwaben) and were forced to flee the former Yugoslavia at the end of 1944. His family was one of approximately half a million ethnic Germans who had to flee the former Yugoslavia due to the ethnic cleansing initiated by the Tito regime during the war, despite Germans having lived in Yugoslavia for the past 100 years. He immigrated with his family to Cleveland, where relatives from his father’s side resided. While never personally experiencing prejudice or name calling because of his heritage, he often overhead derogatory remarks

made against new immigrants such as DP (displaced persons) or in the case of Germans – Nazi or Kraut. He found that many of his American friends were very hesitant to acknowledge their Germanic heritage unlike other ethnic groups such as Italian or Irish. While

having become very Americanized, he still took pride in the achievements of his own parents and extended family, many of whom started with nothing, having to have re-establish themselves twice but yet were able to fulfill the American dream through hard work and the values inherent in German culture. It was not until he started attending DANK functions that he again saw the prejudices carried by some against German –Americans. When he chaired the Oktoberfest he interacted with both local news media and Advertising groups. Two incidents stand out in his mind- sort of Kodak moments- based upon interactions. One was while doing a morning Radio show on Pittsburgh’s most popular Morning show, the lead News announce pulled him aside to whisper that he was also German and remembered fondly his grandmother and her cooking skills. When asked why he was whispering this information, he indicated that no one at the radio station was aware of his Germanic background, despite the obviousness of his Germanic name. It totally amazed him that someone in a public forum could be so hesitant to acknowledge that fact.

Have You Paid Your 2008 Dues? We have close to 800 members in the total DANK organization who have yet to pay their 2008 membership dues. Are you one of them? Please find your dues reminder statement and send it in with your payment. If you can not locate it simply take the application you find in this edition and send it to the DANK National Executive Office with your check and a note that you misplaced the dues statement form. Should you have special issues, such as inability to pay or other circumstances please contact your

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chapter leadership and I know that they may be able to work out something to assist you. We want to keep you part of the DANK family so please don’t hesitate to contact your chapter leadership and share with them what the issues are be it financial or any other factors that prevent you from staying a active member. It becomes counter productive to loose members while we try to re invigorate this organization with our membership drive and active changes to the organization. Dankeschön!

The second “Kodak moment” incident was in working with a major national advertising group who was a part sponsor of cultural events in Pittsburgh. The vice president of the group during a preliminary planning meeting on the annual Oktoberfest asked if there were going to be demonstrations. Somewhat taken back, Erik asks why would anyone demonstrate against an Oktoberfest – only to be told by that Vice President- “well it is a German event”. The shock of seeing both the shame some Americans of Germanic ancestry have and the blatant inappropriate comments made by some American business leadership only served to drive Erik further to both share with the public the achievements of both Germans and Americans of Germanic ancestry. Just as other ethnic groups, validate and honor their ancestry so should Germans. Allowing that people of Germanic ancestry have over the last 100 years ( including the time periods of World War I and World War II) made up the American fabric and served America’s interest, it is Erik’s view that it is long overdue that as Germanic people ( and that includes Germans – Austrians and Swiss) take pride in their ancestry and accomplishments and contributions. Now I know some of you who may have read this article are still stuck on what does the R. stand for in R. Erik Wittmann? Having been born in Austria he was named after Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria. While going by the first name of Rudi at home while growing up, he found it necessary to switch to Erik because in college, one of his fraternity brothers was named Rudy, so to avoid confusion everyone in the fraternity and university switched to the middle name of Erich. Allowing that most Americans can not pronounce Erich without stress the “ch” sound, he changed it to Erik and thus you have Erik Wittmann. The mystery is solved!

German Unity Day By: Darlene Fuchs

Tag der Deutschen Einheit

Germany’s national holiday (German Unity Day) is celebrated on October 3, the date when the reunification treaty was signed between West and East Germany in 1990, following the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989. An alternative choice would have been the day the Berlin Wall came down, November 9, 1989, which coincided with the anniversary of the

founding of the first real German Republic in 1918 and the defeat of Hitler’s first coup in 1923; however November 9 was tainted by the first large-scale Nazi-led pogroms against Jews in 1938 (Kristallnacht), and the day was thus considered inappropriate as a national holiday. Before 1990 West Germany’s national holiday, created in 1949, was on May 23. In East Germany, also created in 1949, the national day was October 7. Therefore, October 3, 1990, the day of formal reunion was chosen.

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August / September 2008

German-American Journal


Davenport and Amana Iowa Chapter Motorcoach Trip By: Cobi Stein DANK Chapter Lake County, IL

Iowa Agriculture by the Numbers (from the USDA – Associated Press): In the most recent ranking, did you know that Iowa placed first among the 50 states in the production of corn, soybeans, hogs and eggs? Did you also know that this state ranks in the top 10 in the production of wool, milk, turkeys, sheep, cattle and meat chickens? And now specifically Davenport, Pella and Amana, Iowa by the Numbers (factual information from the May 1-4, 2008 trip) and affectionately dubbed the “Home Improvement (Motorcoach) Tour” because Davenport is known for the John Deere Tractor, Pella for windows and doors and Amana for kitchen appliances: 24,000 pounds – is the weight of the monument near the bank of the Mississippi, commemorating a group of German patriots who fought for liberty, democracy and national unity from 1848-1850 in a war with Denmark, many of which emigrated to Davenport and the surrounding area. Please see the accompanying photo and read the caption. The stone was dedicated on March 30, 2008, through the efforts of the American/Schleswig-Holstein Heritage Society and the Davenport Schuetzenpark Gilde. DANK Chapter

Lake County, Illinois’ sincerest thanks to James Stelk, Membership Chair of the ASHHS and Foline Koch, President of DANK Chapter Quad Cities for each of their roles in offering us the oppor-

Members and friends of DANK Chapters Davenport and Lake County, Illinois pose around a 24,000 pound monument honoring a select group of German immigrants known as the “Fortyeighters” from Schleswig-Holstein.

tunity to view and learn about this link between Davenport and SchleswigHolstein. 23 rooms - were called home for three nights by 41 passengers and one driver at the Royal Amsterdam Hotel, in the middle of the downtown historic area of Pella, and which by all accounts drew high praise. The location could not be beat and the canal with

By the Summer Shore of Lake Erie By: Beverly Pochatko

Erie, like other cities situated on one of the Great Lakes, benefits in summer with the cooling breezes off the lake and is protected in winter by the ridge just a few miles south of the city that ‘catches’ the fierce winter snows. A saying in the Erie area is “if you stay around long enough, some days you can experience all four seasons in one day.” Now it appears that summer is here to stay with balmy breezes during the day and cool sleeping in the night. Erie’s DANK Chapter, the German Heritage Society of Erie, remains pretty active throughout the year. Our meetings have guest speakers or perhaps videos of Germany. Some nights , such as our June meeting, we gather to just socialize and play a few rounds of Po-KeNo and eat good German Cheese Cake baked by our super baker, Margaret Potocki-Kodrzycki. At our May meeting, Leo Gruber, PhD, a Professor at Edinboro University, spoke on the “German Practice of Dueling in German Universities”. His talks on old German practices are always very interesting. A special welcome to Ursel Altsman and James Bello, who joined DANK at our June meeting. Our German classes are continuing on through the summer and at the end of the Spring session, a pot-luck dinner was held. That evening, twelve of the students joined our Honorary German Schmidt Family in an adoption ceremony held at St. Joseph’s Social Center,

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drawbridge out front added Old World charm. Hats off to Francesca and Fritz Sauter for this excellent recommendation and Walter Veile, who year in and year out keeps accurate track of the

where the classes are held. The group has the distinction of bringing in the youngest member – 3 month old Adam Gearhart – as a Schmidt offspring! In July, DANK members will be gathering on Friday, July 18th at Mount Carmel Church Picnic Grove for their annual Family Picnic. It’s a fun time with great food and Gemütlichkeit. Special this year is that it will be the 1st Annual Schmidt Family Reunion as well as our annual picnic. August is a busy month for us as we plan for the German Heritage Festival on Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day Weekend. In our 12th year since DANK started the festival, we are hopeful to continue for many years to come. The festival incorporated as a separate entity from DANK four years ago. We are fortunate to have a strong, albeit small, core of volunteers who continue to support the fest. (They are honored guests at a volunteer’s recognition night following the festival.) Volunteers are the heart of any organization and without their support, the celebration of our heritage in a big way would not happen. Attracting around 6,000 people over a two day period from the tri-state region, it’s a great time to share our heritage. Plans are in the works for a Studenten Deutscher Tag to be held in October. There will be an essay contest and a variety of activities throughout the day. Students will be invited from the nearby high schools who host German language classes.

dollars and cents received and spent for these trips. 200,000 bulbs – is the estimated number of tulips that are planted for each year’s Tulip Time Festival in Pella. I am unable to provide the statistics on how many pictures our trip participants took of the various tulips in the gardens, but can only guess many, many! Did you know local volunteers dig up

the bulbs every year and plant new ones to insure the finest blooms? 7 villages – is the amount of colonies in Amana, which became America’s longest-lived and largest religious communal society. Mai Fest was being celebrated while we were there and it included a Wine and Beer Walk, with special taste treats and wine/beer samples. A few additional highlights of the trip included lunch at Biaggi’s in Davenport, a lighted evening parade, a step on guided tour, the Bob Ralston (on the Lawrence Welk Show for over 40 years) Concert at the Opera House, a Dutch themed buffet dinner at the Monarchs Restaurant, lunch at the Tulip Tea Room, a pancake breakfast and Fly-In at the airport, dinner at the Bos Landen Conference Center-Golf Course and unexpectedly bumping into our own Helen Hartung (of DANK Chapter Chicago South) in Pella, plus a communal dining experience and historical presentation at the Ox Yoke Inn in Amana. We welcomed Gundi Rentz, Hella and Erwin Goering, Jerry Thompson and Sharon and Don Kramer, who traveled with us for the first time, and while many members and friends brought home souvenirs from this DutchDeutsch trip, to my knowledge no one purchased any tractors, windows, doors or appliances!

Milwaukee Chapter Summer 2008 News By: John Dienhart

in our Wisconsin schools. This will be a yearly grant awarded to one or more teachers by application to assist them financially in promoting and teaching German in their school. To kick things off this Fall we are providing four $500 grants to four teachers of German language in the Milwaukee area. Three of the teachers are members of D.A.N.K. Milwaukee Chapter. All four teachers have consistently and continuously supported D.A.N.K. Milwaukee in its activities and have consistently and continuously supported German language education. Ed Mueller agreed to head up the new committee as its Chairperson. The awards will be presented at our Fall membership meeting. We look forward to supporting German language education in Wisconsin well into the future. The D.A.N.K. Milwaukee Summer

D.A.N.K. - Milwaukee continues to keep busy this Spring and into the 2008 Summer. Our Spring membership meeting included an excellent presentation by the new Vice President of GermanFest and Assistant Fest Director, Mr. Kobi Scheel. Kobi was so engaging and informative that the 90 minutes of presentation flew by quickly. Members in attendance expressed their appreciation with Kobi’s knowledge. Everyone walked away with a better understanding of the inner working and structure, and the stability and strength of GermanFest. Kobi also gave an up to the minute outline of the changes taking place for the 2008 Fest. Check the GermanFest website for details. ( Following a presentation by Milwaukee Chapter member and retired See MILWAUKEE on PAGE 9 schoolteacher Mr. Ed Mueller several months ago and after much discusATTENTION DANK MEMBERS sion in our recent board meetings we reached a very important and new milestone. Anyone who has an interest in German We are proud to offer you a lapel pin that language educashows your heritage with the organization’s logo. tion watches with This attractive pin comes in two sizes: dismay as schools Men - Cost $6.00 (Large) drop the German Women - Cost $5.00 (Small) language programs. The D.A.N.K. You may phone your order by calling our Milwaukee Chaptoll free number at: (866) 926-1109 ter voted unanimously to set up a or write/email to our National Office at grant award for the teachers of German

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German-American Journal

August / September 2008

DANK South - Josephine Walthier Pavilion Dedication Dedication Ceremony By: Nancy Moser Chicago South Chapter

Dank South held their May Meeting on Sunday May 18, 2008, which was followed by a very touching dedication of our “New Pavilion” in honor of the late Josephine Walthier. President Osterhout thanked all the workers who helped with the storage building and pavilion. Our First Vice President Bill Schmidt, President Dank Regional Coby Stein and Anita Walthier gave touching, beautiful speeches honoring Josephine. We thank all who came to join us on this very special day. There were many former Vorstand Members, with guests from Dank National, Dank North, Dank Bentonharbor, Rheinischen Verein and Burgenländische Gemeinschaft. We wish to acknowledge the presence of Vice President Dank National Eric Wittmann, Vice President Dank National Donna Lippert and husband Reinhard, President Dank North Dagmar Freiberger and husband Erich and National honorary past President Ernst Ott and wife Alexandra Pradella-Ott, DANK Northern Suburbs President Dora Totzke and National Secretary Eva Timmerhaus. Wally Hartung thanked all who made monetary donations for these buildings. We had a great crowd, with entertainment by the Dank South schoolchildren and music by “Bruno”. There was plenty of good food and drinks for everyone to enjoy.

Memoior By: Anita Walthier

On behalf of my father-Martin, sister-Christine, brothers Eddy & Marty along with thier families I want to say “Thank you” for this honor of dedicating the new DANK Chicago South pavillion in my mother’s name. My parents joined DANK in November of 1968 and was in Beirat and served as membership secretary through the reign of 8 DANK South presidents. She was also in charge of ordering food for the kithcen, arranging bus trips & German concert   activities.  My  mother and father always worked hard so other could have an enjoyable time at the dances as well as so many other events.  One of my earliest memories is that she was in charge of advance ticket reservations prior to dances. She would tell us if someone calls up for tickets get their phone number and how many tickets they wanted and write it down in this spiral notebook.  The Walthier basement was the place of many Vorstand meetings which was followed by food and drinks.  The day after a dance before our clubhouse existed was always fun washing dirty glasses-yes in the 70’s we used glasses, counting the bar & kitchen tickets, and taking inventory.  We can not forget the times in which  the “East side Frauen” (Emmy Bozevic, Marianne Mrzik, Karin Dethleff, Elizabeth  Marizich) and all the couples from the Vorstand would gather at our house and prepare Christmas goody bags-1 apple, 1 orange, Lebkuchen, walnuts, and of course chocolates.  Much laughter and fun took place. Probably the

favorite part was all the times Christine & I helped our mother peel the cooked 100lbs or more of potatoes for German potatoe salad for the dances. If we can’t peel potatoes by now we never will she would tell us.  It was my brother Marty and mom who made it into the movies “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” sitting on the DANK float in the Stueben Parade in Chicago.  She was also proud when the club would hire the Phenix aka Tempos in which Eddy would play the drums. This club has brought many enjoyable moments to our family who am I kidding-also aggravation, tears, and alot of fun and laughter and after 40 years my family is still an active part of this chapter--not too many people can say that.  But most of all it is the friendships that have lasted for years.  That is clearly what we see here today.  Perhaps that is truly what this

organization is all about. People sharing thier German speaking cultural heritage and passing it on to the next generation. There is a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place and now I know that it’s the Spirit of Frau Walthier, Josephine, Josie.  There are sweet expressions on each one of your faces and I know you feel her presence here today.  There are blessings you can not receive unless you have known her in her fullness and believe that you’re the one to profit when you say I will walk with her memory all the way.  Now she rests with a smile on her face on the wall in the corridor between the kitchen and the entrance door ticket table in which she sat greeting everyone. So now I smile like my mom always did and say thank you once again and we miss her every day.

Greetings From Benton Harbor/St. Joseph Chapter By: Walter Patzer Chapter President Benton Harbor/St. Joseph Chapter #13

In December 2007, during very unusual weather (rain/snow) our Chapter’s Haus had a new roof installed. The funding for the roof was made possible by the Gary/Merrillville Chapter(s) who merged with us a few years back. Ella Schulke was the story teller and Wilma Wallat made the hats given to all the young ones in attendance at the children’s Christmas party, In March 2008, our Volunteer Appreciation Dinner was held and a wonderful meal was prepared by Primo Catering (Joe and Marion Edwards). Entertainment followed and President Walt Patzer acknowledged and thanked all those present for their

New Roof

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South Bend DANK presents check to DANK #13 to purchase new plastic round table.

dedication and time spent at their chapter to keep it viable. In April 2008, South Bend Chapter President Christine Weiss and John Tarwocki presented a check to President Walt Patzer toward the purchase of a new round plastic table. Later in April 2008, our chapter hosted the annual German Student Award Night. Megan Hauch from Bridgman High School, a third (3rd) year German student, earned the Josep Baumann Memorial Award. The award was presented by Elsie Baumann and President Walter Patzer. Ms. Hauch received a score of 99 on the NATG test and missed only 16 points out of 1200. She is planning a three (3) week trip to Germany this summer.

Megan Hauch - Bridgman High School Josef Baumann Memorial Award.

German student award night.

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August / September 2008

German-American Journal


Bus Trip to Fort Wayne’s Germanfest By: Christine Weiss South Bend Chapter #36

German Fest began in 1981 as a project to bring another festival to Fort Wayne. Since then, it has continued to grow and has now become a highlight of the summer festivals in Fort Wayne. There are four German organizations: the Fort Wayne Turners, the Heritage Society and the Fort Wayne Maennerchor/ Damenchor, which make up the German Fest Committee. Each of these organizations has a rich tradition in Fort Wayne. On June 7 we chartered a bus for 29 people to take us to Fort Wayne’s German Fest. Upon arrival, we walked to the festival tent where a reserved table was waiting for us. After having a good, hearty meal, a cold glass of beer and listening to the entertainment by the Freudenmacher, we soon felt right at home. The rest of the afternoon we could do as we pleased.

People were free to stroll around the festival grounds, do some dancing or watch the Pommersche Tansdeel Freistadt and D’Oberlander Bavarian dancers. If anyone wanted to, they could also venture across the river to visit an old fortress and learn some more about the

history of Fort Wayne. Before we knew it, it was already 7:30 pm, our departure time had come way too soon! A heartfelt thank you to John Tarwacki, who arranged our trip and thanks to all who participated.

(Left-Right) Reinhard Lippert, Christine Weiss, Mike Wilson, Clara Cluster, and Sonja Wilson.

South Bend DANK at Fort Wayne Germanfest.

A Tale of Two Cities By: Cobi Stein Photo Credit: Terry Viebach Peoria / Decatur Chapter

During the last weekend of May into June, Willi Gohs, Terry Viebach, Erich Wittmann and I did not get much sleep, but that was quite alright with us! We were working toward a bigger goal and the resting would just have to wait! Erich Wittmann (heading up membership at the national level) was the spark that ignited our visit to DANK Chapter Peoria. This is a chapter that for some time has not had a working board in place. Erich encouraged me to write a letter to each of the chapter members to find out if a mutually agreed upon date and location could be found to come together and discuss the possibility of revival. It is my privilege to report that the meeting was held on Saturday, May 31st and determining an election date and place for this chapter is now in the works! My personal thanks to Jack Hall for reserving the meeting room at the China Village Buffet (which

The future is happening here! (from left) seated: Terry Viebach, Marlies Schmidt, Jack Hall; standing: Willi Gohs, Cobi Stein, Clark Krieger, Katie Viebach, Sarah Lynn Spencer and Erich Wittmann; missing from photo: Erika Lange and Hilda Starkey.

had great food, I would like to add) and (along with Jack) Marlies Schmidt, Katie Viebach, Sarah Lynn Spencer and Clark Krieger for attending; Erika Lange and Hilda Starkey were unable to be present, but have expressed interest in helping to reestablish the chapter. More good news to come as developments take additional shape! “Yes, they can” – to coin a phrase from Barack Obama! After we said our good-byes in Peoria, Terry, our designated driver, set her GPS (which we affectionately called Zoe) in the direction of Decatur. We arrived at Rusty’s Clubhouse and Grill right on time and received a warm welcome from the chapter members and friends there. This is a smaller chapter than many, but full of positive energy and we were on a first name basis with our hosts in no time at all. A brief business meeting was held and our compliments go to Margit Machalek (DANK Chapter Decatur President) for her ability to bring out the very best in people. We chose dinner from an abbreviated menu and the portions were quite generous and very tasty. An unexpected treat was entertainment by this chapter’s very own Howard Mayberry, who played the guitar and sang with an enthusiasm that was contagious and a talent of which we were envious. In short order he had folks singing along and/or dancing to the music. If the truth be told, Willi, Terry, Erich and I were not ready to leave this congenial group, and I am here to say that while our time with these chapter members and friends was short, their impact on the four of us was powerful! Before closing, please know that I genuinely feel it was my good fortune to spend all of that Saturday in a car with three people (Willi, Terry and Erich) who bring sunshine into this world. For that I would like to publicly thank each of them!

Our mothers had it right - get out of the house and play! (middle row, 4th from left: Margit Machalek, DANK Chapter Decatur President)

Entertaining members and friends on the guitar is Howard Mayberry.

Sunday, June 1st found Erich boarding a plane back to Pittsburgh and Willi, Terry and I headed off to the DANK Region One Dessert and Tea in Chicago, in honor of the superintendents, directors and teachers of the German Language Schools – please read more about that within this edition of the German-American Journal.

Milwaukee (Continued from page 7) picnic took place July 6, 2008. Besides our membership, we also invite the volunteers who work for our chapter at GermanFest. This year Bavaria Sausage ( owner Alfred Voll (Meisterprufung), a former DANK Sauk City/Madison member, went out of his way for our chapter and made up a special 50 lb. batch of authentic Thüringen bratwurst for our picnic. We really appreciate Fred’s support of our chapter. Vickie Ohde provided many activities for the children. Bob and Christel Miske handled the grilling with Gene Brunner and Edwin Gunther watching

DANK Aug-Sept 08.indd 9

over the refreshments. The Milwaukee Frauen as usual came through again with their fine baking and salad (From left to right) Christel Miske (l)  with Magrit Heitmann at the 2007 picnic.

presentations. We can never thank these members enough for their help. We all felt a void and missed one important fixture at this year’s picnic. Magrit Heitmann attended every event we put on from the summer picnic to our Fasching. Magrit joined the D.A.N.K. - Milwaukee Chapter in 1964 and although she transferred her membership to the Lake County Chapter she was an honorary member of the Milwaukee Chapter.

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German-American Journal

Erie Männerchor Gesangverein Hosted June Sängerfest By: Beverly Pochatko

On Saturday, June 7th, the Erie Männerchor Gesangverein hosted choirs for its first Sängerfest. The choirs are members of the Pittsburgh Berzirk of the North American Sängerbund Association. The Erie Gesangverein was surprised to learn that evening from the President of the North American Sängerbund , Mr. Elmer Menhart, that this was the first Sängerfest held in 47 years! We noted that evening, that no matter the size of the choirs, whether four or seventy-five singers, everyone enjoys singing and helps to keep the traditional music of Germany alive. Interestingly, the date chosen was the anniversary of the 18th Annual Sängerfest held in Erie in 1935. At that time, the Sängerfest was a three-day event and ended on a Monday with a picnic at the Erie Waldemeer Picnic Grove. There were over 1,000 singers from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania participating with an estimated 2,000 guests arriving with them for the occasion. Each of the choirs sang individually and then on Sunday evening the Bundes-Konzert climaxed the program accompanied by a thirty piece orchestra. The Pittsburgh Männerchor, Damenchor und Gemischterchor was one of the choirs returning in 2008 for the Sängerfest. The Erie Männerchor Club is an associate member of DANK and in 1996 welcomed the return of the Gemischterchor after an absence of singing in the club for 47 years. The small group of 10 singers wanted to bring music back to the club restarting the original tradition for which it was founded. Current officers of the Gesangverein are: Karen Smith, President, Beverly Pochatko, Vice President, William Schubert, Secretary and Margaret Kodrzycki, Treasurer. The Director is Joan Miller. The day started with a rehearsal of the massed numbers and then singers and guests sat down for a dinner of Stuffed Chicken Breast or Swiss Steak. Allowing sufficient time after dinner, a warm welcome was extended by Beverly Pochatko of the hosting choir and Mr. Elmer Menhart, President of the NASA

and Pittsburgh District President Mr. Jim Liebmann. It was unfortunate that due to unforeseen circumstances, the Eintracht Männerchor from New Castle PA was unable to attend as planned. Promptly at 7 pm, the musical program began. Selections of the individual choirs were: Bloomfield Liedertafel (Ed Helgerman Diretor) Die Wacht am Rhein by Carl Wilhelm, and Alles geht vorüber by Max Orrel. They were joined by the East Pittsburgh Sängerbund and sang: Fruehling du golden Zeit; Der Fruehling ist da; Mein Mund der singet; and Muss I denn. The Pfadfinder Studentenchor directed by Stephen Lipnichan sang Schoener Rhein Vater Rhein; Still ruht der See; and Wagner’s Pilgerchor aus Tannhaeuser. The Teutonia Männerchor, directed by Ed Helgerman, sang Wuertteberger Wei by Gurgeler and Franz Abt’s Nach der Heimat. The Teutonia Damenchor performed Wenn der weisse Flieder wieder blueht and Wien, du Stadt meiner Traeume. The Teutonia Gemischter Chor sang Max Orrel’s Heimatlied followed by Blaue Jungs und blonde Mädel. The hosting Männerchor Gesangverein sang Tanzen und Springen; Himmel und Erde, Ich will den Herrn loben; Musica begleite unser Leben; Sonntagsfeier; Wenn zwei sich lieben and Herr, deine Gute reicht so weit. The grand finale was the massed chorus numbers: Music Speaks and a medley of American the Beautiful and God Bless America. Gemütlichkeit reigned as the singers enjoyed the “After-Glo” before boarding their bus or cars for the return trip home.

August / September 2008

Chicago-North Summer Events By: Nicholle Dombrowski

A little event named EuroCup was big at Dank Chicago. Weekday games were drawing 20-40 people and when Germany made the Final, we packed in almost 200 people. 200 very exuberant people all done up in face paint and every German shirt known to man. Rumor has it the event has inspired formation of a Sports Committee… watch for future details. Summer is all about the music – from Jazz with Karl Seigfried to karaoke, to Elvis swiveling his hips at Stammtisch, and to the Stuttgart Musikschule free concert performance on July 31. There is certainly no better way to spend a lazy summer evening than looking out at the beautiful Chicago skyline from the flower-filled terrace all the while surrounded by the relaxing and sound of music. It is truly lovely. German Cinema Now is back on track after a special venture for the Joe Louis - Max Schmeling commemoration: July 20, The Edukators, August 17, Barefuss and September 21, Kein Ohrhasen. Even Saturday Kino, Kaffe und Kuchen starts up again September 13 after a nice summer break. The Summer Children’s Theater performance, Bremer Stadt musickanten on

August 9, stars a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a rooster! Along with the parents of these aspiring young bilingual actors, Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm would be proud to see their tale displayed with such heart. In hopes of Chicago hosting the 2016 Olympic games, Dank Chicago has started its contribution by working with to reach out to the German community. At a meeting on June 9 we accepted the responsibility to help make the German teams feel welcome giving them a “home field advantage”. Representative Mike Murane is coming to the monthly membership meeting on August 11 to give a short presentation and also attend Stammtisch that Friday. In addition an Olympic float will be marching in the Steuben parade September 6. August Stammtisch will be an Olympic event with music source spinning traditional songs. Togas = Greek = Olympic = Olympic Stammtisch! Those will be some interesting pictures. Winding down with summer, fall will be just as exciting. Special events include Bach & Beyond on September 14, and Oktoberfest as well as Paloma Band & The Polaholics on September 27. Events galore!

Carol Snippert, Phil Smith, Marge Santabene, Paul Stadler, Margaret Kodrzycki, William Schubert, Bev Pochatko, Fred Huttel, Sr., Karen Smith and Hildegard Marschall.

“Weeds Like Us” - Book Review author’s family tried to make its way safely to the west. Weeds Like Us by Gunter Nitsch reads more Although he was only a small child at the end of like a page-turning true adventure story than a the War, the author remembers in sharp detail the memoir. Told from a child’s point of view, Weeds events of that turbulent time when all of the baLike Us brings alive the experiences of millions sic necessities of life were suddenly swept away. of civilians who were uprooted Food was in desperately short from the eastern German provsupply; there was no school and inces following World War II no proper medical care. The by focusing on the author’s own burden of holding together his family and the hardships they family of five adults and sevfaced after they were trapped in en children fell mainly on the East Prussia when it fell under author’s mother and grandparSoviet control in early 1945. ents. Under the threat of a slap The author’s earliest years from his grandmother’s wet were spent in relative comfort dishtowel the author also had on his grandfather’s farm in responsibilities -- begging for a East Prussia during World War few kopeks or a slice of bread, II. For him, life in Hitler’s collecting mushrooms, berries Germany was the natural order and stinging nettles in the sumof things. Then, just after the mer, and chopping wood. Still, author’s seventh birthday, the the book does not focus only on Soviet Army rolled into East hardship since, despite everyPrussia. Full of unexpected thing, young Gunter still found twists and turns, Weeds Like Us time for childish mischief and tells the story of what happened adventure. over the next six years, as the “Weeds Like Us” author Gunter Nitsch Told without recrimination

By: Ernst Ott

DANK Aug-Sept 08.indd 10

or self-pity, Weeds Like Us is an unforgettable journey into the lives of real people who experienced first-hand the affects of the aftermath of war. Weeds Like Us can be ordered directly from the publisher through (1888-280-7715).

7/17/08 1:05:22 PM

August / September 2008

O’ZAPFT IS! Continued from page 1

only an “Autumn Fest” and in 1923 and 1924, the Oktoberfest was not held due to inflation. In 1933, the Bavarian white and blue flag was replaced with the standard swastika flag and between 1939 to 1945, due to World War II, no Oktoberfest took place. From 1946 to 1948, after the war, Munich once again celebrated only the “Autumn Fest” and the sale of proper Oktoberfest beer was not permitted; the guests had to make do with beer that had an alcohol content under 2%. Since its beginnings the Oktoberfest has thus been canceled 24 times due to war, disease and other emergencies. To honor the marriage of King Ludwig I and Therese of Bavaria, a parade took place for the first time in 1835. Since 1850, this has become a yearly event and an important component of the Oktoberfest. The Tracht and Riflemen’s Parade has about 7000 performers from over 1000 Trachtenvereine (traditional clothing associations), lasts 3 hours and covers a distance of 7 km. The huge procession, mostly from Bavaria and in traditional costumes, winds its way through the city centre, accompanying the horse-drawn carts bearing barrels of beer and over 100 “Oompah bands,” to the Oktoberfest. The march is led by the Münchner Kindl, “Munich Child”, the symbol on the coat-of-arms of the city Munich. This symbol has been the coat-of-arms of Munich since the 13th century. The massive Bavarian Volksfest begins each year on a Saturday in September and ends 16-18 days later (usually) on the first Sunday in October. If the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or 2nd, then the festival will go on until October 3rd, German Unity Day.

German-American Journal In 2008 the dates are September 20 - October 5. It is one of the most famous events in the city and the world’s largest fair, with some six million people attending every year, and is an important part of Bavarian culture. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the Munich event. Oktoberfest will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2010. Although the horse racing (Pferderennen) didn’t become a lasting part of Oktoberfest, just about everything else did! Today, the world’s most famous beer festival (das Bierfest) is held on a large 31-hectare field in Munich known as die Theresienwiese (named for Princess Therese) or just die Wiesn if you’re a local. With the exception of the obvious emphasis on beer, visitors also eat huge amounts of food, most of it traditional hearty fare such as sausage,

hendl (chicken), käsespätzle (cheese noodles), and sauerkraut, along with such Bavarian delicacies as roast ox tails and Äpfelpfannenkuchen (apple pancakes). Since 1950, there has been a traditional festival opening. The festivities get off to an official start after a twelve gun salute and when Munich’s Oberbürgermeister (lord mayor) taps the first beer keg and yells the traditional O’zapft is! (“It’s tapped!”in the Austro-Bavarian dialect) at 12 noon on the Saturday. This Oktoberfest tradition is relatively recent—it only began in 1950, when the then mayor, Thomas Wimmer, Fun Oktoberfest Facts tapped the first keg. By 1960, the Visitors: Over 6,200,000 Oktoberfest had turned Employees: 12,000 people of these, 1600 are waitresses (Barmaids). into an enormous worldSeating: available for 100,000 people. famous festival. After Oktoberfest Breweries: 6 - (Spaten, Augustiner, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, this foreigners began Hofbräu, Löwenbräu) to picture Germans as Beer: 6,940,600 mugs wearing the Sennerhut, Wine: 79,624 liters Lederhosen, and the girls Coffee & Tea: 222.725 liters in Dirndl. Horse races Water & Lemonade: 909.765 1/2 liters ended in 1960. Roasted Oxen: 104 There are problems Sausages: 142,253 every year with Roast Chickens: 521,872 young people, who Fish: 38,650 kg overestimate their ability to handle large amounts 30% of the year’s production of beer by Munich breweries will be conof alcohol. Many pass sumed in the two weeks of Oktoberfest. out due to drunkenness. These especially drunk 60% of visitors arrive by public transportation. patrons are often called “Bierleichen” (German Nearly 1,000 tons of refuse result annually from the Oktoberfest. The for “beer corpses”). They mountains of refuse created are hauled away and the ways cleanly washed are brought by staff to a down each morning. The cleaning is paid for in part by the city of Munich medical tent where they, and in part by the sponsors. as well as sick people, are treated. One of the biggest talking points among citizens of Munich in the lead-up Oktoberfest is much to the Oktoberfest each year is how much a liter of beer will cost. In 2007, more than a beer party. the price range of a Maß was between €7.30 and €7.90, depending on the One of its biggest brand of beer.. In 2008, the price will range between €8.00 and €8.30 or draws is a large array approximately $12.00 to $13.00 per liter at todays exchange rate. Water is of amusement rides €6.00 and soft drinks €6.50 to €7.00. In the past, price hikes have been a and attractions found contentious issue. at any large fair: die

DANK Aug-Sept 08.indd 11


Oktoberfest Words You Should Know das Oktoberfest - Oktoberfest die Wiese - meadow die Wiesn - meadow (Bavarian dialect) - site of the Oktoberfest der Wirt (-e) - bartender der Kellner - waiter   die Kellnerin - waitress   das Bier - beer der Bierkrug (-krüge) - beer mug/stein die Brezel (-n) - pretzel   das Radi (Bavarian dialect) - radish A popular snack with beer die Wurst (Würste) - sausage die Festhalle, das Bierzelt - beer hall/tent  Oktoberfest has 14 large beer “tents” or beer halls) die Blaskapelle - brass band  (plays Blasmusik, oompah, brass-band music) das Karussell - carousel, merry-go-round   die Achterbahn - roller coaster   das Dirndl, das Dirndlkleid - dirndl   (traditional female Bavarian costume) der Familientag - family day  (family-friendly Oktoberfest prices and attractions on selected afternoons) Ozapft is! - “It’s tapped!” = traditional opening cheer for Oktoberfest) Achterbahn (roller coaster), das Riesenrad (ferris wheel), das Karussell (carousel, merry-go-round), die Schießbude (shooting gallery), der Kettenflieger (swing ride), and other attractions. Oktoberfest’s carnival aspect didn’t begin until 1818 and then it only consisted of a single carousel and a few modest rides. To keep the Oktoberfest, and especially the beer tents, friendly for older people and families, the concept of the “quiet Oktoberfest” was developed in 2005. To encourage family attendance, each of the two Tuesday afternoons of the Oktoberfest are designated Familiennachmittagen (from 12:00 to 6:00 PM) with special prices for public transportation and entry. During this time the tents play quiet music, for example traditional wind music. Only after 6:00 PM will Schlager and pop music be played. With these measures, the organizers of the Oktoberfest hope to curb the party mentality and preserve the traditional beer tent atmosphere. The Oktoberfest is known as the Largest People’s Fair in the World. In 1999 there were six and a half million visitors. 72% of the people are from Bavaria.15% of visitors come from foreign countries like the surrounding EU-countries and other nonEuropean countries including the United States, Japan, Brazil and Australia.

7/17/08 1:05:22 PM


German-American Journal

August / September 2008

Dessert and Tea By: Cobi Stein

Realizing the enormous importance the superintendents, directors and teachers have on the students within our DANK Region One German Language Schools, the members of the Region One Board were inspired to host a Dessert and Tea in honor of the faculty. Once we got started, nothing got in our way! Invitations were printed and sent, linens were reserved, a flower arrangement was selected, gourmet pastries were ordered, and a presentation by Dale Roberts, a wellrespected handwriting analyst, was arranged. In keeping with the spirit At dessert and tea for faculty of the DANK Region One German Language Schools, of the occasion, held at the historic DANK Chapter each guest was Chicago North Haus, many gathered to asked in advance enjoy a sense of camaraderie. to bring their prettiest tea cup and saucer for a friendly competition and white gloves for the ladies and Panama hats for the men were encouraged, but optional! The 6th floor Skyline Room of the historic DANK Chapter Chicago North Haus served as a splendid backdrop for this rather formal affair, with board members greeting guests at the door by way of warm handshakes of welcome and chilled mimosas in champagne flutes. The event began with an opening address, offered by DANK Region One President Cobi Stein, that included the following excerpt: “The school year has


drawn to a close and the DANK Region One Board would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to you…the superintendents, the directors and the teachers…for your hard work and dedication to the children and the adults in the DANK German Language Schools.” With several dozen looking on, heartfelt congratulations were extended to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place “tea cup and saucer” winners: Christa Gartner, Hannelore Zydel and Virginia Apel. An honorable mention for creativity was awarded to the quick thinking Joe Osterhout (DANK Chapter Chicago South President). He inadvertently left his tea cup and saucer at home; however, undaunted by this, he entered the competition with a Styrofoam cup on which he wrote “prettiest tea cup!” High marks for unflappable energy and enthusiasm go to DANK Region One Board members: Willi Gohs, Terry Viebach, Dora Totzke, Maria Thompson and Dagmar Freiberger (plus Bob Miske and Harald Pitz in absentia). Fur- Trudy Hoyer, Gertrud Golsch, ther, grateful ap- Margaret Plank and Dora Totzke offer congratulations to “prettiest cup and preciation for saucer at the dessert and tea” winner, organizational Christa Gartner. strengths and genuine interest also goes to DANK Chapter Chicago North Haus’ (banquet room rental coordinator) Nicki Dombrowski and (custodian) Dennis! Thank you to everyone who helped to make this afternoon so special.

By: Terri Merrow

Fox Valley GATES received scholarship applications from seniors attending several Fox Valley High Schools. Board members met with a panel of independent judges in April for a nice meal at Corfu Restaurant in St. Charles. Each member of the panel of judges was given an essay, a teacher recommendation letter, and a character chart from each applicant. The applicants remained anonymous and were referred to only by the number given to them upon their receipt. After careful deliberation, the judges decided that Beth Goldberg from Nequa Valley High School in Naperville, Illinois, was the 2008 recipient of the $1000.00 GATES Scholarship. Congratulations to Beth and her German educator, Anna Hog, for Beth’s outstanding educational accomplishments. We express our sincere thanks to all those that submitted applications and we are pleased that they continue to get better each year. Our outstanding panel of judges were Margita Mulsoff, Margret Schrant, Regina Kania, and Willi Gohs. While the judges were deliberating, our GATES Board, Christine Hunter, Maria Thompson, and Terri Merrow had a meeting. Unfortunately the ability to continue making decisions about 2009 scholarships needed to be tabled with the idea that we will solicit donations for the scholarship fund. A letter will be sent to all Fox Valley Oktoberfest sponsors with the hopes that they will support Fox Valley GATES with a generous donation. Also, on the DANK membership renewal forms, all DANK families have the opportunity to support Fox Valley GATES by checking the box and sending in a personal donation. We are a 50lc3 tax-deductible organization.

McLean County Students Win German History Award During Annual Illinois History Expo $100, recognizes students who study Americans of German oriTwo Students from the gin in Illinois and their influence McLean County community of on the progress of the state and Downs won the Ernst Ott Award country. for German American History More than 1,400 junior and during the annual Illinois Hissenior high school students from tory Expo held May 8 in Springacross the state participated in field. the May 8 Expo. The students “This award is presented for were winners selected during re(Left to Right) The presenter, Dr. Anne Marie the best paper, project or perfor- Fuhrig, Connor Laesch, Logan Lanier and gional history fairs held earlier mance dealing with the history their teacher, Robin Roberts. this year. of Germans in Illinois,” said IlliThe regional fairs and the nois Historic Preservation AgenTheir teacher is Robin Roberts. Illinois History Expo are coorcy (IHPA) Director Jan Grimes. The award was presented by dinated by the IHPA’s Education The Agency sponsors Expo in co- DANK, the German-American Services Program, which also operation with the Chicago Metro National Congress, in honor of publishes the on-line student hisHistory Education Center. their former president and self- tory magazine Illinois History, and Connor Laesch and Logan La- less supporter Ernst Ott. The pre- Illinois History Teacher, which nier of Tri-Valley Middle School, senter was Dr. Anne Marie Fuhrig contains teaching materials. For Downs, each won a $50 prize for of the Education Committee of more information on the program, their entry, “The Laesch Dairy.” DANK. The prize, which includes visit

By: Cobi Stein

School Graduation Ceremony By: Terri Merrow

The 2008 Combined Graduation ceremony of the DANK Fox Valley German Language Schools was held at Wesley United Methodist Church in Naperville on Saturday, May 17th, 2008. Terri Merrow, DANK Fox Valley Vice President, welcomed everyone to the ceremony. Thanks went out to Maria Thompson, School Director, the students, the parents, DANK Chapter Fox Valley, and the other supporters of the German Language Schools. Maria introduced each of the teachers, Melanie Kozakowski, David Chase, Randall Mueller, Anna Hog, and Margaret Rose. Each teacher’s students had participated in learning the German language as well as our German heritage and culture. A short presentation was given by each class. We are so proud of all the students! Report cards and awards were given out. The well-attended ceremony concluded with a short snack. Several families were already inquiring about next year’s classes. Please watch the website, for particulars as they become available.

ZfA Schulmanagement Weltweit By: Christa Garcia

Every June for the last seven years the ZfA (Zentralstelle fuer das Auslandsschulwesen, Central Office for Schools Abroad, part of the ZfA Schulmanagement weltweit Federal Office of Administration, Cologne) organizes a weekend conference for German language school teachers. This year’s 7th June ZfA-conference in Washington DC centered around: “Grammar in the German classroom – always integrated, never isolated.” The three-day seminar was superbly planned and organized by Dr. Inke Pinkert-Saletzer (ZfA-Fach-

DANK Aug-Sept 08.indd 12

beraterin, USA East). Other ZfA-Language Coordinators were also involved in presenting sessions: Gert Wilhelm (Midwest), Frank Mueller (Los Angeles), Wieland Peterman (Edmonton, Canada), and Hanne Mueller (Toronto, Canada). This conference is sponsored by the German government, providing 80% of the travel expenses for each of the participants. Seventy school administrators, directors and teachers came from Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Houston, Knoxville, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Monmouth and Morris Counties, St. Louis, and Union, N.J. Dr. Inke

Pinkert-Saeltzer had organized eight workshops which ran simultaneously Saturday from 9-6 and Sunday from 9-12. All participants had time to get reacquainted and do some ‘fachsimpeln’ (shop talk) at the same time. Ricarda Redeker, the head of the cultural department, had invited all participants of the Seminar to a reception on Friday night at the German Embassy to which we were driven in our own ‘German School Washington DC’ bus! The cultural department contributes to the Embassy’s mission of fostering German-American relations in numerous ways. The department’s

seven staff members organize cultural events and collaborate on other, privately organized events; monitor the administration of university and high school exchange programs; support the instruction of the German language in the U.S.; support German schools in the U.S.; promote German sports in the U.S among other activities. Several of the participants were honored with individual gifts, among them Christa Garcia, DANK Superintendent. Ricarda Redeker & Dr. Inke PinkertSaeltzer surprised her with a picture of the Residence and original signature of German Ambassador Klaus Scharioth.

7/17/08 1:05:23 PM

August / September 2008

German-American Journal


Chicago Northern Suburbs Language Schools Celebrate Successful Year By: Ursula Hoeft

Celebrations at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights on Saturday morning, May 17, and at Palatine High School in the evening on Monday, May 19, concluded another successful school year for the Chicago Northern Suburbs Language schools. Directors Gertrud Golsch and Astrid Herod presented diplomas to students and congratulated them on their achievements while proud Muttis, Papas, Omas, Opas, brothers, sisters and friends watched. A number of students – 13 of them, in fact – were exceptionally dedicated to their German studies and never missed a day of class. For their perfect attendance Ethan Fischer, Kai Jaeger, Nina Jaeger, Rebecca Metheny, Torsten Molina, Stefanie Murschel, Alyssa Schmidts, Hai-

Kindergarten 4 and 5-year-olds with Frau Molina, left, and Frau Musick, right.

Back To School By: Darlene Fuchs

A “Schultüte” (or School Cone), even though the word “Tüte” translates more as “bag”), often called Zuckertüte (sugar bag) especially in Eastern Germany, is a paper (and later plastic) cone. The first day of school is especially sweet and memorable in Germany. On this day each child entering the first grade receives a large cone decorated with paper and ribbon. Inside they find small gifts, school supplies, and lots of chocolate and candy. It is given to children to make this anxiously awaited first day of school a little bit sweeter. Often the entire family, including the grandparents, accompanies the child to school. After a brief classroom introduction, the students are allowed outside to rejoin their families and to take individual and class photos. Each child poses, clutching their cone and a sign designates the name of

ley Schmidts, Chandler Schwabe, Steven Tarver, Heidi Trettenbach, Jessica Weber and Luke Weber received German books to enjoy over the summer. Ms. Herod commended students who had taken the annual National American Association of Teachers of German test. She explained, “The test is designed for high school students … most Graduating students of our students who took this test are not high school students yet; however, they did extremely well, and we’re very proud of them.” Students who took the Level 2 AATG tests were Matthew Cepiel, Elisabeth Crotser, Margaret Crotser, Zach Deutschmann, Connor Novak, Jesse Sipiorski, Jeremy Sue, Renata Wettermann and Julie Winter. The Level 3 AATG test was taken by Cassandra Bacher, Eric Fischer, Ryan Toher, Michelle Wachs and Emily Winter. Students who took the Level 4 AATG test were Andrew Fischer, Krista Ruddick, Rachel Ruddick, Oliver Segurado, and Marcus Winings. This year, the DANK Chicago Northern Suburbs schools also participated, for the first time, in the DSD-

Neu-A2-Prüfung. This exam required students to demonstrate their written communication, reading and listening comprehension, and spoken German skills. Andrew Fischer, Krista Ruddick, Rachel Ruddick, and Marcus Winings took this very demanding exam. Graduating students were also recognized. Matthew Cepiel, Torsten Molina, Janet Sanoica, Ryan Toher, Michelle Wachs and Julie Winter will be missed. The excellent foundation they gained during their years of study will serve them well in their high school German classes. But attending DANK Chicago Northern Suburbs language schools wasn’t all work. In addition to weekly language and culture classes, students, their family members and friends also had an opportunity to experience good old-fashioned German Gemütlichkeit during German-American Day, Christmas, and Faschings holiday celebrations. Plans for the next school year are already underway. Enrollment information can be obtained by calling Gertrud Golsch at 847-392-5352 or Astrid Herod at 262552-7337.

the school and the year. Some of the cones dwarf the five- and six-year-olds. The custom of the “Schultüte” goes back to about 1810, to Saxony and Thuringia at Germany’s easternmost borders, where sweets were given to the children on this day. Marked with the students’ names, they were taken to the school by parents or godparents and in a habit reminiscent of the Mexican pinata, hung on a metal “Schultüten-Baum” (Schoolcone tree) from which each child had to pick their cone. Without breaking them, of course. The story told to the children goes, that there is a Schultütenbaum growing at the school, and if the fruits (the Schultüten) were ripe enough to be picked, then they themselves were ready for school. The first documented report of the cone-shaped Schultüte comes from the city of Jena in 1817, closely followed by reports from Dresden (1820) and Leipzig (1836).  It started in the bigger cities but spread quickly to the small towns and villages, soon becoming an

institution all over Germany. The only custom that has changed in the later half of the 20th century, is that less and less sweets seem to appear in the Schultüte, with more practical gifts such as crayons and pencils, small toys, CDs, books and even articles of clothing replacing the traditional chocolates and candies. Spreading from city to city and then eventually to all of Germany, the Schultüte has always been representative of the times. During the period before WWI the face of the last emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, often adorned the cones. Under Hitler, the cones were given a uniform size symbolizing the equality of those within the “Aryan” race. Today many parents buy cones pre-decorated with their children’s favorite cartoon or book characters.

Proudly Announcing German Contest for Students in DANK Schools Students should study one German-American from a list (found on for a project. In September they should bring their work to German class, so that the teacher can bring or send it to the DANK-Haus by October 3 for judging by the D.A.N.K. jury on October 6. DANK National will award prizes and exhibit the best projects at the National DANK House. Projects should Be on poster board, no larger than 17 x 11 inches Have text and images and Present the chosen person well. On the back, students should write 1. first name, 2. last name initial, 3.age, 4. class, and teacher name.

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DANK Aug-Sept 08.indd 13

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7/17/08 1:05:24 PM


German-American Journal

JULY 2008


Fayette County Fair will have a German 19- Aug. 2 booth sponsored by the Pittsburgh Mason Dixon sub chapter. 25-27

Germanfest In Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


The German Society of Maryland, German Festival at Timonium Fairgrounds. For information call: 410-825-7166.


DANK Chapter Pittsburgh, Summer Picnic, Fairview Park- South Fayette Twp.

AUGUST 2008 1

DANK Chapter Benton Harbor, MI, Fish Fry, 6-8 PM


DANK Chapter Pittsburgh, PA., German Summer Picnic. Brats, desserts, beer and a live band will be available.


Pommersche Verein, Central Wisconsin, First German Festival at Oak Island Park, Wausau. Call: 715-359-5189. DANK Chapter Chicago-South, August Picnic, at the German American Heritage Center, Frankfort, IL, call: 708-448-8731.


DANK Chapter South Bend, IN, Annual Picnic – 1 PM Potluck at Kison’s Farm, 63620 Maple Rd., South Bend.


Anderson, Christa Anderson, Elden H. Anstett, David R. Anstett, Jennifer N. Argianas, Christina Bauer, Rudolf Baum, Michael A. Beccue, Gerda Bolle, Johann Bolle, Polyne A. Brooks, Serena Burchard, Klaus M. Butts, Jason Cormier, Glenn Dean, Ilona M. Dean, John T. Diamond, Louie

American/Schleswig Holstein Heritage So. Zither concert. For information contact the German American Heritage Center, Davenport, Iowa. 563-322-8844.



Salzburger Echo presents the: 1st Annual North American Alphorn Retreat in the Rocky Mountains of Utah.Phone: 801-9432480.


131st Cannstatter Volksfest at the Schwaben Center, Buffalo Grove, IL.


Saxonia House, Janesville, WI., Summer Membership Meeting.


American/Schleswig-Holstein Heritage Soc., ASHHS quarterly meeting at the American Legion Hall, 121 Bryant ST, Walcott, Iowa. For more information call: 563-284-6640.


DANK Chapter Milwaukee, Board Meeting, at 6:30 PM, German Fest office. For information please call: 414-698-9151.


DANK Chapter Pittsburgh, Board Meeting at 7 PM, Carnegie, PA.


The German Society of Maryland, Augustoberfest is a charitable foundation which pays tribute to Hagertown’s German heritage.




DANK Chapter Phoenix, AZ, German School begins the 10th year.


DANK Chapter South Bend, IN., End of Summer Party at Sonja Wilson’s. 1 PM Potluck, 11361 Brundydge Dr, Osceola, IN.


DANK Chapter Benton Harbor, MI, Membership Meeting, 4 PM.


DANK Chapter Milwaukee,WI., Membership Meeting German Fest office, 2:30 PM, Member recognition.

DANK Chapter Lake County, depart for 2-night Motorcoach Trip to New 19-21 Harmony, Indiana (advance reservations).

World Fest, on the Bevedere in Downtown Louisville, KY.

DANK Chapter Benton Harbor, MI, Fish Fry, 6 – 8 PM.


DANK Chapter Pittsburgh, PA, Oktoberfest, Canonsburgh, PA.


DANK Chapter South Bend, IN, Oktoberfest at Wise Guys - 6 PM, 3421 W. Sample St, South Bend.,IN.


DANK Chapter Phoenix, AZ., Board Meeting at BFM.


Pommersche Verein Central Wisconsin, Chippewa Falls Oktoberfest. Call: 715-359-5189.


DANK Chapter Chicago-West, Board Meeting 1:30 at PM.


The German Society of Maryland, Annual Ecumenical Service.

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS Dowling, Merle Eichhorst, Karl Gast, Lori Goldman, Emily Grabmayr, Franz Graf, Birgit Gurnig, John Gurnig, Margaret Hau, Eric Hau, Lara Helm, Allen Herod, Roger Herrmann, Anne K. Hornack, Leroy Hornack, Lynn Hughes, Harry F. Hughes, Nancy

Jutaszek, Tegan Kaltenback, Ingrid Konrath, Christina Konrath, John P. Konrath, Kelly Konrath, Kewin Konrath, Luke Konrath, Michael R. Leinweber, Kate Mantel, Matthew J. Miller, Edwin L. Miller, Shirley Nudrak, Angela Orosz, Christopher Orosz, Michelle Orosz, Nicholas Orosz, Timothy


Fill in the attached form and send it with your check made out to DANK - Membership Fund

Support our national membership activities by purchasing a German Life Cookbook. DANK is joining with the people of the German Life Magazine to bring you this collection oftasteful rememberances. Allow taste and aroma to transport you to Germany as you read and try the many recipes of our culinary heritage. You may find that forgotten dish your GroBmutter cooked in years gone by. Just $10 plus $4 shipping will add this collection of traditional Germanrecipes to your kitchen. The book is also available through many DANK chapters and our National Office.

Name ______________________________

DANK Aug-Sept 08.indd 14

August / September 2008

Address ____________________________ City_____________ State____ Zip______ Amount enclosed $_____ # of books____ Please remit this order form and check to: DANK EXECUTIVE OFFICE 4740 N. Western Avenue Chicago, IL 60625-2097 Attention: Cookbook Orders

Phillips, John L. Phillips, Mary H. Priemer, Gudrun Raley, J. Michael Reichart, Daniel St. Reiter, Emilie Skursha, Julia Spansail, Jacob Spansail, Jeff Spansail, Jon Uffner, Bridgette Wade, Carl G. Wiederanders, Sarah Zigman, Erika R.

RAFFLE TICKET DEADLINE NOVEMBER 1, 2008 Return stubs and $$$ to the DANK National Office

7/17/08 1:05:24 PM

August / September 2008

German-American Journal


DANK To Sponsor European And Domestic Tours

If you have a desire to travel stay tuned to a new service being offered by your National organization. Starting with the next issue and just in time for Holiday gift giving, you will find travel options for you and your friends that will include the 2010 Oberamergau Passion play, a 2009 Kriskindlemarkt tour, a Alaska Cruise and more. The price of these tours will be very competitive and are being created for DANK members and their friends. The National Board has selected two separate Tour operators to provide this service. Further information will be forthcoming in the Fall/Oktoberfest, October/ November, issue so keep an eye out for this service. I feel assured you will be pleased with the offerings.

The early birds catches the worm!!! But, the second mouse catches the cheese!

Happy Birthday

Full Service Video Editing Photo Montage Photo Preservation & Restoration DVD Design

Need your personal or chapter events made into an exciting and enjoyable edited video? Do you have old fading photos that you want to preserve for years to come?

Whether you like to remember your birthday or not, we do. We wouldn’t think of letting the occasion go by without special notice. On behalf of your family, friends and members of DANK, best wishes to you, Bill Fuchs, our DANK National President on your 55th birthday. We are in search of German couples or families who plan on returning to their home country, German, after living and working abroad for several years. We would like to accompany them with a camera for a successful documentary series on German TV channel VOX. Contact Us at: Sagamedia Film- und Fernsehproduktion GmbH Juliane Metten-Gardiner Neusser Str. 3 50670 Köln Tel. +49 (0)221 80 10 79-18 Fax +49 (0)221 80 10 79-20

Help Wanted Chicago non-profit organization looking for office manager. Must be a self starter and possess great organizational skills and be proficient in English and German language, filing systems, computer operations using Microsoft Windows, Word, Excel, Outlook and database operations. Good phone and people skills required. Please send resume to

Edwin Knauz

was taken from our midst on the morning of June 22.  Left to mourn are wife of 59 years, Helga, two sons, Rolf (Patricia) and Axel (Cheryl).  A cherished DANK member since 1967.

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Visit us at to find out how we can help!

THE FIRST MOON LANDING MEDALLION Industrious men and women of German descent have played an important role in making the United States the great country it is today. In tribute to both nations, the German-American National Congress, Inc., is issuing a medal commemorating the progress and contributions of outstanding Germans and GermanAmericans here and throughout the world. This medal honors three men of German extraction who contributed immeasurably to America’s achievements in space: Willy Ley, whose writings inspired a generation of young Americans to regard space as a frontier of their time; Dr. Hermann Oberth, a pioneer in the field of rocket propulsion, and Dr. Wernher von Braun, whose concepts convinced President Kennedy that America should direct its space program toward the goal of landing men on the moon. The reverse of this medal commemorates the first actual moon landing, which took place on July 20, 1969. This medal is designed and produced by The Franklin Mint, the world’s largest and foremost private mint. It is available only through the German-American National Congress, Inc. Measuring 39mm in diameter, the “Pioneers of Space and Rocketry” commemorative is available in solid bronze at $25 each. German-American National Congress, Inc. 4740 North Western Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60625 My check or money order is enclosed for: ____ 39mm Solid Bronze Medallions (Mint Finish) @ $25 each ……………………….. ..$_______ qty NAME _______________________________ STREET ______________________________ CITY _________________________________ STATE ____________________ ZIP _______ *Illinois residents add 5% sales tax

7/17/08 1:05:24 PM


German-American Journal

August / September 2008

EURO LLOYD TRAVEL Announcing a special service for members of the German American National Congress **Low discounted airfares from major cities in the USA to major cities in Europe and beyone on scheduled airlines. Also, domestic airfares. **European Railpasses (Eurail, German Rail and many others) plus single rail tickets and reservations. **Car rentals with special low dollar rates in most European contries. **Cruise in the Caribbean, Alaska, Orient, Mediterranean and North Cape on all major cruise lines. Worldwide tours - independent, hosted and fully escorted. When calling, you MUST identify yourself as a DANK Member. Rates are subject to availability and change. Several more rate categories are available at higher prices should these not be available. Sale prices offered when available. SPECIAL FARES TO GERMANY from Chicago. Chicago prices starting from, PLUS TAX: Sep 10 - Oct 28, 2008 Oct 29 - Dec 13, 2008 Dec 14 - Dec 24, 2008 Dec 25, 2008 - Mar 20, 2009 Mar 21 - May 17, 2009

$768 $492 $768 $509 $509

To above rates, add Taxes and $25 for Weekend Surcharge for travel Friday, Saturday, or Sunday each way. Unpublished sale specials may also be available on different airlines at time of request.

Call now for information: 1-800 572-3149 or 1-312-332-0090 Visit us at: Audrey L. Hess-Eberle EURO LLOYD TRAVEL GROUP Partner of Lufthansa City Center 309 West Washington St. - Suite 1225 Chicago, Illinois 60606

Other US departure rates as well as multiple airlines are available.

October 6: German American Day Continued from page 1

in a formal ceremony in the White House Rose Garden at which time the President signed the proclamation and called on Americans to observe the Day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. In 1991, Chancellor Helmut Kohl sent cordial greetings from Bonn to the celebrants of German-American Day: “When President Reagan proclaimed German-American Day in 1987 for the first time, Europe was still divided by the Iron Curtain. We Germans did regain our unity and freedom in a peaceful way. The thanks for this deservedly is owed to the American people, who secured European peace over 40 years. America stood by our side in the most difficult times, and we will never forget the contributions of U.S. Presidents.” Kohl declared that the “friendship and partnership between Germans and Americans” is “a guarantee for a successful future.” In 1998, President Clinton said, “Germans and German-Americans have pro-

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Rates are subject to change at any time.

foundly influenced every facet of American life with their energy, creativity, and strong work ethic. They have enriched the economic and commercial life of the United States, and it is befitting that we set aside this special day to acknowledge their many contributions to our liberty, culture and democracy. All of us can take pride in the accomplishments of German-Americans; as soldiers and statesmen, scientists and musicians, artisans and educators. It is fitting that we set aside this special day to remember and celebrate how much German-Americans have done to preserve our ideals, enrich our culture, and strengthen our democracy.” President Clinton made equally incisive proclamations in 1999 and 2000. Ethnic holidays are part of immigrant culture. GAJAC’s member organizations including D.A.N.K. are once again asking its members, all German-Americans, their friends everywhere, the media, legislators, schools and clergy to initiate appropriate remembrances and celebrations. One such celebration held each year is the “German American Day Commemoration” in Chicago, celebrated with a solemn service at St. Benedict’s Church in the presence of many club flags and dignitaries. The “Deutsche Tag Vereinigung” which comprises most German American societies of the Chicago area, including many D.A.N.K. chapters, congregates at the church for a two hour program that features musical presentations by the various choirs as well as speeches by personalities from the local community. A keynote speaker gives this day a special meaning. This year’s celebration is on Sunday, October 5th, 2008 at 2:30 at St. Benedict’s Church, located at 2215 W. Irving Park Road, Chicago, Illinois.

7/17/08 1:05:37 PM

German-American Journal | August/September 2008  

Volume 56, Issue 4