Category Archives: Emigration

Giessen Emigration Society

In July of 1833, the organizers of those that became Members of the Giessen Emigration Society as found on the Ship Arrival Lists, Friedrich Muench and Paul Follenius published the Call and Declaration on the subject of mass emigration from Germany to the North American free states. They began with

“We the undersigned, together with many of our most respected friends and fellow citizens, have decided to leave Germany and to seek a new homeland in the states of North America. This intention awoke in us once we had become convinced that, as far as we are concerned, conditions in Germany, neither now nor in the future will satisfy the demands that we as persons and citizens must make of life for ourselves or our children. This is since we have become aware that only a life such as is possible in the free states of North America can suffice for us and our children. The political situation of that growing state is well known to those who are informed. Lands, especially in the almost immeasurable regions west of the Mississippi, have opened only in the most recent times by the perfection of the means of transportation, lands with which almost non on earth may be compared for richness and the beauty of nature. Swiftly the primeval forests are being cleared, swiftly arise country estates and cities, and the great waters permit the liveliest commerce with all parts of the earth.  It is our idea that the better part of the many Germans who have decided to emigrate should settle as a group, united as a whole in keeping with the purified and presently existing political form and received into the great federation of states, so that in this way the survival of German customs, language, etc., should be secured, so that a free and popular form of life could be created. This is our idea, whose execution appears grandiose and desirable, appears to us to be possible and not too difficult.”

This treatise went on to provide the major reasons for the creation of their society, their plan and their goals. After its’ conclusion it was signed by the organizers:

Paul Follenius, Court Advocate in Giessen and Friedrich Münch, Grand Ducal Hessian Pastor at Nieder-Gemünden (Alsfeld District)

To read a translation of the Call and Declaration

To see the ship arrival lists

Members of the Giessen Emigration Society

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Immigrants and Refugees

[This is a re-post of our January 2017 post which was a re-post of our May 2, 2014 post that we felt has become even more relative today and needed to be said again. America’s strength is in its’ diversity. How many ways can we say it – America is a country of immigrants and it is what makes us great!]

This grapevine is growing on a trellis on the island of Harriersand in the Weser River near Bremen, Germany. Not where you expect grapevines, but these are very hardy, and from Missouri, just like the German Utopischer Weinanbau - Harriersandemigrants that gathered there as members of the Giessen Emigration Society, in 1834.  Looking forward to a new life in Missouri, “where the sun of freedom shines” their ship, the Olbers had left with one woman ill on board, and  her disease spread like wildfire, nearly killing the entire ship.  The second group was just beginning to gather in Bremen 180 years ago, only to soon learn that the ship that they’d booked, would never arrive. They would spend weeks on the island, some families even taking shelter in the huge old hausbarn on the island. Others pitched tents and some who could afford to found lodging in the nearby village of Brake.  An emigrant needs all the funds they have saved for that new life.

Unless you have emigrated from one country to another, it is difficult to understand all one faces.  On one level, there is the heated discussions with family and friends, if one’s chosen to share that plan. Some don’t because of this. When the Giessen Emigration Society left Germany, there were close friends very angry with the leaders, Muench and Follenius’ and their decision, labeling them traitors to “the cause”. Some of these same friends would be imprisoned and executed within two years.  Others considered them leaving for an impossible dream, a Utopia.

On another more personal level when one is leaving behind all that one knows, whether good or bad, and giving up all one possesses in the world, it takes a great leap of faith.  One hopes one will find one’s destination everything needed, and hoped for. When one arrives, one often faces discrimination; labeled an illegal emigrant when one isn’t, simply because of a name, one’s  appearance or birthplace.

Others don’t understand how often emigrants make the best U.S. citizens. Why?  Because an immigrant has chosen, worked hard, saved, and has given up everything to be a citizen. Immigrants often know the Declaration of Independence better than a natural born citizen. Why? Because they studied it, believed in it and chose the U.S. because of those words.  Immigrants are very hardy stockholders in a better future for the U.S., because they have already paid a high price to make it their own.

One cannot go back.  America is a melting pot for so many, as nearly all of our families were immigrants once. Once our own ancestors came here with their own dreams pinned with hope for a better future.

 

 

From the Traveling Summer Republic

Today, our post is the newsletter of the Traveling Summer Republic:

Strandurlaub auf der Weserinsel Harriersand
photo by Folker Winkelmann

The Utopia exhibit makes you eager to visit the original places where we crazy Germans come from? German Heritage Travel offers to you “The Dawn of Utopia,” a 9 day trip to the historic places of the Giessen Emigration Society in Germany. Visit Giessen, low-Gemünden, Bremen, Bremerhaven, the Harriersand Island and many more places from September 23 to October 1, 2015. Here you’ll find more information and the entire program: https://mo-germans.com/travel/ . This trip is organized by Travel Bridges GmbH (Germany) in co-operation with the Missouri Germans Consortium , the German-American Heritage Museum and the Traveling Summer Republic. Please contact Dorris Keeven-Franke for more information or talk with her ​​at the exhibit Closing Weekend Festival on April 18 and 19th

The parish church of Pastor Friedrich Muench in Nieder Gemünden by photographer ©Folker Winkelmann
The parish church of Pastor Friedrich Muench in Nieder Gemünden by photographer ©Folker Winkelmann

Only 10 days remain for a visit to the Utopia exhibit at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis! This is therefore the last chance to deliver on emigration object to the Muss i denn Tours travel agency desk in the Utopia exhibit and make new contacts to Germany. Open from 10 to 5: Thursday, May 11; Thursday, May 18; and Sunday April 19th

Please, the extensive program for the Closing Weekend Festival find here .

Heartfelt greetings,
the team of the Traveling Summer Republic