We are looking for descendants of the family of Friedrich Muench and Paul Follenius, founders of the Giessen Emigration Society, and all families that descend from the original 500 members of the Society. Every dream begins with a dreamer such as Friedrich Muench (1799-1881). Born in the little village of Nieder-Gemünden, in Hessen, Germany, he first met German Revolutionary Karl Follen at the University of Giessen. Karl’s younger brother Paul Follenius (1799-1844) became Muench’s best friend, brother-in-law and fellow member of the Student Revolutionary group, the Schwarzen Bruders. By 1832 the two young men had begun to turn their attention to the new young democratic United States, with a dream to create a Utopian colony in a “German” State. Their almost forgotten story is shared in the upcoming exhibition Utopia-Revisiting a German State in America, opening in Bremen, Germany in April 2014.
In September the huge exhibit will arrive in the U.S. just as the original Giessen Emigration Society did. It will be on display at the German-American Heritage Foundation’s museum in Washington, D.C. from September 6, 2014 until October 27, 2014, for everyone in our nation’s capitol. On November 22, 2014 the Missouri History Museum will open the exhibit, allowing all St. Louisans, and midwest residents to revisit Muench’s dream of a German state in America – today’s Missouri.
Many have already been in touch and we will be happy to share any information on any family organizations. Family members in Germany have viewed the exhibit as it traveled through Germany, seeking information on what became of their family in the U.S., and we have been able to happily reunite these families across the Atlantic.