The Reisende Sommer-Republik’s visit revealed that there is a lot to still be found of those early German emigrants to Missouri, even things we who live here had forgotten. The journey continues…..
A TRIP TO A FORGOTTEN UTOPIA
AVAILABLE NOW ON DVD
75 minutes – with English subtitles -
A FILM BY
“A democratic German-Republic in the United States of America”
This utopian idea brought Friedrich Muench and Paul Follenius to the United States in 1834, when they abandoned their homeland, along with 500 emigrants, to establish a new home in a Missouri valley.
Today that Missouri valley is known as Dutzow, in the Lake Creek valley, across from Washington, Missouri, approximately 50 miles west of St. Louis, Missouri.
In October of 2009, members of the Sommer-Republik from Bremen, Germany visited the location to see what remained of the sites and the culture brought by the Giessen Society. They visited with local historians, and the sites and museums that remain today, that are dedicated to the history of these early German emigrants.
This film shares that visit, and follows their discoveries of how much of the culture and values remain today. The film was first shown by the Sommer-Republik on September 4, 2010 in Bremen Germany, and was followed by a United States premiere at Blumenhof Winery in Dutzow on November 2, 2010.
A FILM BY
Oliver Behnecke, Monika Kiesewetter
Jana Drescher, Andrea Kuserau
Sala Deinema, Henry Schneider, Don Heinrich Tolzmann
Blumenhof Winery-Dutzow, MO
Boone-Duden Historic Site-New Melle, MO
Deutschheim State Historic Site-Hermann, MO
Friends of the Pelster Housebarn,Washington, MO
Gasconade County Historical Society, Hermann,MO
Gateway Arch Riverboats-St. Louis, MO
Insellfreunde Harriersand E.V.
Missouri Historical Society Archives-St. Louis, MO
Routes to the Roots, Wolfgang Grams
Washington Missouri Historical Society
A PROJECT OF REISENDE SOMMER-REPUBLIK
in cooperation with
HEINRICH BOLL STIFTUNG – Bremen
MINISTERIUM FUR KULTUR – Bremen
PRODUCTION maxim film
©2010 Maxim Bremen
We are a group of joint artists and persons engaged in the cultural sector (filmmakers, performers, photographers, writers, designers, city planners, etc.) named Reisende Sommer-Republik (Travelling Summer Republic) primariliy based in the city of Bremen, Germany. The activities of the Travelling Summer-Republic are inspired by the Giessen Emigration Society, lead by Friedrich Münch and Paul Follen. The 2nd division – lead by Friedrich Münch – had to stay for about 5 weeks on the small river island Harriersand located in the Weser river between Bremen and Bremerhaven. Finally, the Society chartered the ship Medora and sailed to America.
We are fascinated by the utopian aim of the Giessen Emigration Society: the Emigration Society planned the foundation of a democratic German state in America, an ideal German republic. But before the Giessen Migration Society could fulfill their dreams in America, 250 members of the Society had to cope with their everyday life problems on the small, boring and uninhabited island in Germany. They had to “rehearse” the foundation of a state on the island on a small scale. If they fail on the small island how could they build a new state?
Based on this true story we ask for utopian thoughts today. What are our dreams and visions for a better and peaceful society today? Since 2005 the Travelling Summer-Republic stages conferences, film screenings, theatre plays, readings, debates, etc. on the Harriersand island, in the Weser region and in Berlin. Further informations: http://www.sommer-republik.de <http://www.sommer-republik.de> (sorry, in German only).
Why do we would like to get in touch with you? Since 2004 we did a lot of research on the Giessen Emigration Society. Now it is time to go to the original places in Missouri! We would like to get a broader and more detailed picture about the Giessen Emigration Society and their leaders Friedrich Münch and Paul Follen. We want to visit the original places, the museums, historical societies, and archives. We ask: are there any descendants of families of the Giessen Emigration Society living in Missouri, in Augusta, Dutzow, etc. today? Simply everything is inspiring for us: landscapes, buildings, objects, maps, drawings, photographies… and of course meeting the people of the region.