The Reisende Sommer-Republik of Bremen Germany is a group of historians, authors, photographers and film makers interested in the Giessen Emigration Society that arrived in Missouri in 1834. They first visited Missouri in 2009 for their fifth summer “conference” to discuss and share their interest in what remained of the culture and sites of those that emigrated with the Society.
In September of 2010, they shared the results of that Missouri visit with Germany in their documentary, A Trip to a Forgotten Utopia, which received a lot of attention in the media and various parts of Germany, and later in the U.S.. As the Giessen Emigration Society was a politically motivated group, made up of affluent families of many religious groups, but failed to create their planned to Utopian colony in the young State of Missouri, as Gottfried Duden suggested, it is usually considered a failure. However, the group was led by an interesting and charismatic free thinking author, Friedrich Muench, influential in Missouri politics and emigration policies in the mid-19th century, and his writing did much to continue the Society’s ideals. Today, Missouri still enjoys a predominant and abundant connection with its German history and culture.
They are returning to Missouri, for further research, filming for their Utopia project, and to co-sponsor a tour – Utopia Revisited of the sites associated with Gottfried Duden and other leaders of the Giessen Emigration Society. The Missouri Germans Consortium is hosting a reception for some of the members of the group at the Missouri Photojournalism Hall of Fame in Washington Missouri on Sunday, September 18 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm where their photographer Folker Winkelmann’s exhibit A Trip to a Forgotten Utopia will open. The event is free and open to the public
Looking for Descendants
Sailing on the Olbers which arrived in June of 1834, and the Medora that arrived on July 25, 1834 in Baltimore, were 500 emigrants who settled in St. Louis, St. Charles, Franklin and Warren County. The Sommer-Republik is interested in interviewing descendants of the society. A list of the Society can be found here.
On Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm the Sommer-Republik and the Missouri German Consortium will sponsor a bus tour -Utopia Revisited at 1:00 pm which departs from Washington Missouri, and visits the sites of Gottfried Duden’s farm and the leaders of the Giessen Emigration Society, Paul Follenius and Friedrich Muench. Tickets are available only in advance and more information is located here.
For further inquiries about these events: