Germany was in turmoil in 1818. The Napoleonic Wars had left poverty and famine in their wake. At the University, Friedrich Muench, an awkward and shy young man, son of the Pastor of the little church at Nieder-Gemunden, came to learn theology. The influential Follen family had sent young Paul [Follenius] to learn law, an excellent career. This would be the beginning of these two young men’s lifelong friendship, which would culminate with the historical Giessen Emigration Society. Born of the student revolutions, secret meetings, and their membership in the Black Brothers, these two young men would be treated as traitors by their friends for their decision to immigrate to the United States in 1834.
The City of Giessen will host the Exhibition Utopia: Revisiting a German State in America which explores the themes of emigration, loyalty and patriotism, in the Cultural Center, opening November 1, 2013. Join us as we follow the Traveling Summer Republic, as their exhibit follows the original route of those first brave emigrants, from Germany to the U.S..
In 1834, five-hundred people left their homeland together, in order to live together in their Utopia. They came from all over Germany, in search of democracy and freedom. Now, we will come together once again, from all over Germany, and the U.S. to revisit these bold moves – which connects Germany to Missouri to this day.