Category Archives: Die Zeitung


Christmas  /  Weihnachten  (pronounced Vi – nock – ten)  The Christmas holidays are a time for tradition! So much of our customs have been passed down for generations from our German ancestors. This month we gathered just a few and packed them into this christmas-treenewsletter just for you! We hope you enjoy and invite you to add your own (on our Facebook Page and share the JOY with everyone. We wish you the happiest of holidays, from the First day of Advent to Three Kings Day!  Enjoy! Here is our list of some of our favorite things… Advent Calendar (Adventskalender), Advent Wreath (Adventskranz), Christ Child (Christkindl), Christmas pyramids (Weihnachtspyramiden), Christmas Trees (Tannenbaum) , Cookies (Springerle), Nutcrakers (Nussknacker),, Santa Claus (St. Nicholas). There are so many more, we can’t possibly share them all in this newsletter! We’ve packed this newsletter full and hope you enjoy the Springerle Cookies and the Calendar of Christmas Events we’ve packed into the end!

The Advent Wreath Adventskranz is adorned with four candles, one of which is lit on each of the four Sundays preceding Christmas. The first Advent wreath, which appeared in the mid-19th century, had 4 larger candles and 19 smaller ones. Each day one additional candle was lit to help the children count the days until Christmas. Today only the four larger candles remain. The tradition of a ring of light existed among the Germanic tribes many centuries before the celebration of Advent. It is believed that fewer candles were lit with each progressive lighting to represent the shortening of the days until the solstice, at which time the Julfest celebrated the return of light. (Incidentally, the English word yule is a cognate with the Germanic Jul). The Advent Calendar – Adventskalender is a German invention that was originally designed to involve children in the festivities leading up to Christmas. The calendars are usually made of cardboard and have 24 small windows or flaps, one of which is opened on each day leading up to Christmas. Behind each window is a Christmas scene or motif. Nowadays, calendars may contain chocolate or candy behind each window, and sometimes even small toys. The Advent calendar is a more recent invention of modern capitalism. Originally, families would mark the 24 days of December preceding Christmas with a chalk line on the wall. The first hand-crafted Advent calendars were produced in the mid-19th century; the first printed calendar appeared in Munich in 1903. Eventually the custom was exported all over the world.

Santa Claus –  St. NicholasSt. Nicholas Day is celebrated on December 6th in Germany. On the evening before the 6th, children place their newly cleaned shoes in front of theshoes door in the hope that Nicholas might fill them with nuts, fruits, chocolate, and sweets. If the children have behaved well, their wishes will be fulfilled. Children who have caused mischief will receive only a switch, which symbolizes punishment for their bad deeds. The real St. Nicholas lived in the 4th century and was the bishop of a region located in nastsantBW150present-day Turkey. Through stories and legends associated with him, he became known as the protector of children and the anonymous bestower of gifts upon them. Over the centuries, the life and deeds of St. Nicholas were celebrated on the saint’s appointed day, the 6th of December. By the Middle Ages, the observance had already become a celebration of children and a day on which they received gifts. It was the German Martin Luther who sought to sever the connection between the saint and the gift-giving celebration for children, because in his Reformation theology, there was no place for the glorification of saints. Rather than abolishing the custom outright, Luther replaced the persona of Nicholas with that of the Christ child; in his Protestant teachings, not Nicholas but rather now the baby Jesus was attributed with bringing the children gifts, and not on the saint’s day but rather at Christmas. Today in many regions of Germany, not Saint Nick, but rather the Christkindl leaves Christmas gifts for children on December 24th.

Christmas TreeTannenbaum – Born in 1796, Karl Follen grew up in Hesse-Darmstadt, one of the scores of principalities that made up the Germany of that day. It was there that, as a boy, he experienced each year the magic of the brilliantly-lit Christmas tree. In 1813 Follen began law studies at Giessen University, but soon interrupted his studies to Tannenbaumenlist with his older brother in the Hessian volunteers fighting Napoleon. He was caught up in revolutionary activities, and  fearing for his liberty and even his life, he fled from Giessen to Jena, then to Switzerland, and finally to Paris. There he met the Marquis de Lafayette, who urged him to go to America. So in 1824, at age twenty-eight, Follen began his career in America. During his first year he taught German and gymnastics at the Round Hill School in Northampton, Massachusetts. The year 1830 was a banner year for Follen, as he became a U.S. citizen, and was appointed to a full-time chair in German language and literature at Harvard, and their first child was born. Follen wanted his son ”little Charley” to experience the same magic of the lighted Christmas tree that had enchanted him as a boy in Germany. When Charley turned five, the Follens set up a tree in their home and invited little Charley’s friends and their families to a party, at which the unveiling of the tree would be a special surprise—doubly so, because up to this time Christmas trees were unheard of in Puritan New England. They also invited a distinguished guest for this occasion, Harriet Martineau, a widely-read British author who was traveling in America.  She was in on the surprise, and came early to help with the preparations. She also took careful note of the event as it unfolded in the Follen household that evening, and subsequently published her account. “I was present,” she wrote, “at the introduction into the new country of the spectacle of the German Christmas tree. In 1834, Karl Follen’s brother Paul, had emigrated to Dutzow, Missouri, with his brother-in-law Friedrich Muench, co-founders of the Giessen Emigration Society. Undoubtedly the custom of the Tannenbaum had also made its way all the way to the Far West frontier as well!

And to top off our gift to you, we are sharing our springerle cookiesfavorite Christmas Cookie – the Springerle – with you as well!

Springerle Cookies

For eating quality, ease and quality of prints this recipe is just perfection! What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 teaspoon baker’s ammonia (Hartshorn) or baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar (1 1/2 #)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened but not melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of anise (if substituting fruit flavored oils, use 3 teaspoons)
  • 2 lb. box sifted cake flour (Swansdown or Softasilk)
  • grated rind of orange or lemon – optional (enhances flavor of the traditional anise or the citrus flavors)
  • more flour as needed

Dissolve hartshorn in milk and set aside. Beat eggs till thick and lemon-colored (10-20 minutes). Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, then the softened butter. Add the hartshorn and milk, salt, preferred flavoring, and grated rind of lemon or orange, if desired. Gradually beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer, then stir in the remainder of the 2 lbs. of flour to make stiff dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead in enough flour to make a good print without sticking.

On a floured surface, roll dough into a flat pancake approximately 1/2 inch thick. Roll thinner or thicker based on the depth of the carving in the cookie press you are using. Shallow carvings will need to be thinner while deeper carvings will need to be thicker. SpringerleFlour your cookie mold for each and every pressing. Press the mold firmly and straight down into the dough, then lift, cut and place the formed cookie onto a flat surface to dry. (I like to put the formed cookies directly onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, but you may put them on a countertop or tabletop covered with flour sack cloths if you do not have enough cookie sheets.)

Do not cover the cookies while they dry. The goal of drying is to set the design. Let the cookies dry at least 12 hours;24 hours is best. Larger cookies and warm humid weather may require longer drying times. Cookies that are not dried long enough will not retain the beautiful designs, but will taste fine.

Bake on greased or baker’s parchment-lined cookie sheets at 255° to 325° till barely golden on the bottom, 10-15 minutes or more, depending on size of cookie.Store in airtight containers or in zipper bags in the freezer. They keep for months, and improve with age. Yield 3 to 12 dozen.

And to tie up our gift for you, here are some holiday events to enjoy this holiday!

November 29 – GERMAN CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS – Speaker: Dorris Keeven-Franke  St. Louis Community College Continuing Education – Missouri History Museum 10:30 am Free For More info

mouth-watering-german-christmas-traditions-we-can-2-22882-1417195346-0_dblbigDecember 1 – St. Louis-Stuttgart Sister Cities – ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARTY Info 636-530-1010 or

December 8  – Bayern Verein – ANNUAL CHRISTMAS DINNER & DANCE German Cultural Society Hall Info 314-381-2814 or 314-518-6327

December 9 – German Cultural Society/German School Assoc – WEIHNACHTSFEIER – German Cultural Society Hall –

December 9  – KRISTKINDL MARKT Blumenhof Winery, 13699 MO-94, Dutzow, MO 63342, USA (map) 800 – 419 – 2245

ChristkindlmarktDecember 10 – St. Charles County German Heritage – WEIHNACHTSFEIR  –  RSVP 636.928.8056 $25 per person

December 10- German Cultural Society WEIHNACHTSGOTTESDIENST (German Christmas Service) German Cultural Hall  Peace Lutheran Church Info 314-771-8368

December 11 & 12 – OLD FASHIONED HOLIDAY STROLL – Zumwalt Fort & Heald House – City of O’Fallon $3 per person –

Christmas in the Heald House

December 31 – German Cultural Society – SILVESTERFEIER (New Years Eve Dance)

We want to wish all of you a very happy and memorable Christmas, and may the coming year be filled with PEACE! LOVE! And JOY!


Dorris Keeven-Franke, Executive Director

Missouri Germans Consortium



All things German in Missouri

There is so much German going on this month! Read our entire newsletter so you don’t miss anything! This is where everything German in Missouri begins!

Das Oktoberfest dates from 1810. In 2010 the event celebrated its 200th birthday, but that year marked only the 177th Oktoberfest, what with wars, epidemics and such. The original Fest was the celebration of a Bavarian royal wedding. Princess Teresa (Therese) of Bavaria (1792-1854) had married crown prince Ludwig I (later king of Bavaria) on the evening of October 12, 1810. The next day, the city began celebrating the wedding with various activities, including concerts, parties, balls, and even a horse race on the 17th. It all went so well that the Bavarian royal family decided to hold another race a year later, beginning the Oktoberfest tradition. [From] In Missouri, we’re so German that you can find an Oktoberfest in every city and on ALMOST every weekend!

St. Louis now has a new German restaurant!  Check out the beautiful new renovated Das Bevo and enjoy the style Busch made famous with his world famous Bevo Mill!

Missouri’s German Heritage on Nationwide Survey!  The German American Heritage gahf_logoFoundation of Washington, D.C. is creating THE GERMAN HERITAGE SURVEY which is an inventory of all of the German organizations, historic sites and heritage across the U.S. and asks you to enter your submission. Visit today and submit what you want to see preserved for future generations.

cropped-cropped-mgclogo.jpgFor more of Missouri’s German heritage, news, and events visit our website available 24/7 or follow us on Facebook!Interesting stories about our German Heritage, visit historic sites and meet interesting people, and follow all of the events happening across Missouri and the U.S. …

September events you won’t want to miss….

September 9 & 10 is the first of the St. Louis German Cultural Society’s OKTOBERFEST in Donau Park on Old Hwy 21 /West Four Ridge Road. This is definitely dkvlogotransTHE MOST GERMAN OKTOBERFEST IN ST. LOUIS! Enjoy music and dance by the Deutschmeister Brass Band, Folk Dancing by the Jugendgruppe, Kindertanzgruppe, and Mittlere Tanzgruppe, and singing by the local Sangervereins. Check out the history and displays of the local German organizations, enjoy great German food, beer and wine, or watch the soccer game. Something for everyone of all ages!

September 17   Missouri’s German Heritage Bus Tour  Missouri Germans Consortium, St. Charles County German Heritage Society, and the Boone’s Lick Road Association. GHlogoBecome a German emigrant of the 1830s for an afternoon as we follow the Boone’s Lick road across St. Charles County for an afternoon of history, wine, and German food! Spend the afternoon at Blumenhof Winery in Dutzow, enjoy a German dinner and wine (for those over 21) and music. Bus will return to St Charles through America’s first Viticultural Area passing through Augusta and the former village of Hamburg. Bring a friend and spend the day exploring your German Heritage. Tour leaves St. Charles at 1pm and returns at 5pm. Tour guide is Dorris Keeven-Franke, Director of Missouri Germans Consortium. Reservations must be made in advance, no refunds.For more information call 636-221-1524  $40 For tickets: Uses Eventbrite and PayPal but no PayPal account is necessary.

oktoberfest_final_314x281September 22, 23, 24 St. Charles Oktoberfest –  Don’t miss the German Cultural Tent where all the German activities happen!

September 26 The German Culture Center is hosting noted historian and genealogist Roland Paul at 7pm in the University of Missouri St. Louis. For more information and to register (Free) by September 12 send email to or call 314-516-6620

Coming up in October… mark your calendars now

October 4 – St. Charles County German Heritage Society meeting. Everyone is welcome.
October 7  – GERMAN AMERICAN DAY CELEBRATION AND OKTOBERFEST at Donau Park Old Hwy 21 /West Four Ridge Road – Info
October 8  OKTOBERFEST German Cultural Society –  – Donau Park Old Hwy 21 /West Four Ridge Road – Info
October 14 – Deutscher Maennerchor’s FALL CONCERT AND DANCE  St. Louis German Cultural Society Hall -Info 314-487-9296 or
October 21 Schuetzenverein – HUBERTSFEIER, German Cultural Society Hall Info: or


October 28 –  Germanic Genealogy Society -GATHERING  Info 636-537-2784 or
October 28 –  Volksmarsch Club – WALK BELLEFONTAINE CEMETERY –  Info 314-379-4493 or

Also…  For more news from Germany and other important information Missouri Germans Consortium follows

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Die Zeitung: October Newsletter


October 3, 2016

October is the month when you can almost find an Oktoberfest around every corner. Here are some other events happening in Missouri that you may also find interesting!  We hope that you are able to attend some of these very interesting programs. Don’t forget to look for Missouri Germans when you do!

October 3rd, 2016  Day of German Unity! A National holiday in Germany, with 2016 being the 26th Anniversary.

October 5, 2016 Wednesday– 7pm- St. Charles County German Heritage Society – Stegton Regency  Banquet Center (1450 Wall Street) Speaker Dorris Keeven-Franke will share the German Heritage Corridor – an initiative of the Missouri Humanities Council.  Keeven-Franke will explain the history of the corridor and what the plans for the future are.

October 6, 2016German-American Day is a National holiday in the U.S. observed annually on October 6 each year,   which celebrates the German-American heritage. This day commemorates the date in 1683 when 13 German families from Krefeld near the Rhine, landed in Philadelphia.  Those families subsequently founded Germantown, Pennsylvania, the first German settlement and organized the 1st petition in the colonies to abolish slavery in 1688. Originally just “German Day”, the holiday was celebrated for the first time in Philadelphia in 1883, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the settlers from Krefeld; and similar celebrations developed across the country.The custom died out during World War due to the anti-German hysteria that prevailed at the time.  The custom was revived in 1983, when President Reagan proclaimed October 6 as German-American Day to celebrate and honor the 300th anniversary of German-American immigration and culture to the United States.

October 8, 2016 Saturday – 7:30 pm Deutscher Mannerchor Annual Fall Concert and Dance St. Louis German Cultural Society Hall 3652 Jefferson Dance music by the Wendl Band.

October 15 & 16, 2016 Saturday and Sunday – 9am-5pm  Deutsch Country Days A Living History Weekend at the Historic Luxenhaus Farm on 18055 State Hwy O. This is the 35th year that the Luxenhaus Farm has come to life, sharing the folkways and skills of the early Germans in Missouri. Spend a beautiful autumn weekend visiting with artisans from across the country that come together to share the story of our early German immigrants and pioneers. This is a wonderful educational event for the entire family. Some demonstrators do have their beautiful handcrafted items for sale as well so you can begin your Christmas shopping too – with items we guarantee you won’t find online! Visit with Oma (Grandma) Huber (Dorris Keeven-Franke) on her front porch as she shares the history of these early Germans, and to learn more about the Luxenhaus farm and its fascinating history. For more information visit or call 636-433-5669.

 October 27, 2016 Thursday 6:30 pm – Maplewood Public Library – 7550 Lohmeyer Maplewood, Mo. 63143 314-781-2174 Exploring Missouri’s German Heritage: Stories from the German Heritage Corridor  From the first Germans to follow Gottfried Duden, and the German Abolitionist Muench family to the traditions and customs that enrich our communities today, Missouri’s largest ethnic group celebrates its history. Hear the stories of those that came, like Minna Bock Morsey. Minna came to Missouri in 1834, after her father the Baron von Bock founded Dutzow in 1832, the first German settlement in Missouri. She married Col. Fredrick Morsey, who guarded the Missouri railroad during  the Civil War. Thousands of Germans worked to save Missouri from the Confederates and keep it for the Union. To download a PDF click on this link:  german-heritage-corridor-program-flyer-october-2016-1

October 30, 2016 Sunday – 2pm – Missouri History Museum – Lee Auditorium – Refugee Resettlement: Best Practices in St. Louis and Germany

Experts from Germany and St. Louis have been participating in an exchange to learn from each other about successful refugee resettlement and immigration integration. Attend this town hall meeting for presentations and roundtable discussions with Dr. Yemi Akande-Bartsch, president of FOCUS St. Louis; Betsy Cohen, executive director of the St. Louis Mosaic Project; Anna Crosslin, president of the International Institute of St. Louis; and Dr. Frances Levine, president of the Missouri Historical Society. This is program is presented in partnership with the International Institute of St. Louis and the Mosaic Project. Download a PDF refugeeresettlement_oct_pdf_90697

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