Category Archives: Emigration

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: . 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

April Issue of Der Anzeiger

The latest issue of Missouri German Consortium‘s new e-journal, Der Anzeiger is out!  With subscribers from all across the U.S., Germany, and Europe, readers are giving great reviews!

Here are some of the interesting stories in this issue….

Missouri: A German State in America

In the aftermath of 1789, when the French Revolution had been inspired by its predecessor in America, a worldwide desire for freedom and democracy was sparked. Germans observed these profound movements for social and political change in America and France and grew increasingly restless. Having suffered for decades from overpopulation, famine, rising taxes, and oppressive rulers, Germans as well felt change was needed.  Numerous movements mushroomed which espoused more liberal thinking: Friedrich Ludwig Jahn founded the Turnverein, students in Giessen, Erlangen, Marburg, Erfurt, Leipzig and elsewhere joined fraternities like the Giessen Blacks, and people everywhere increasingly struggled to bring about change….

Read More….

Another article is a translation by Dr. Steven Rowan of the Constitution and Statutes of the Giessen Emigration Society written by the groups founders Friedrich Muench and Paul Follenius explaining their plans….


The Call and Declaration on the subject of mass emigration from Germany to the North American Free States was printed at Ricker Publishing house in Giessen, Germany in the spring of 1833.  It was read in Hesse, Saxony, Thuringia and Bavaria without much publicity, just secretly passed along, and sold by select discreet booksellers. But the readership proved to be both widespread and enthusiastic.  This was astonishing to its authors, Friedrich Muench and Paul Follenius, who soon published two further editions.

Friedrich Muench wrote “such that we had gathered considerable participation and then published the Society’s statutes. It was excellently received, and encouraged us to become bold; thousands wanted to join us, and to help with the plans necessary for the realization. This certainly would have happened, had everything gone according to our expectations.”

Read More….

Also included are

  • Franz Schwarzer….. the Zither King of Washington, Missouri 
  • The St. Louis Liederkranz…. the oldest west of the Mississippi
  • Truth or Fiction?  Did German Almost Become America’s National Language?

Subscribe now! and have our new magazine for “all things German in Missouri” delivered to your in box! 

  • History of the people and places that make Missouri German
  • Finding your German heritage in the Old World
  • Travel to historic German sites in the U.S. and Germany
  • Customs and traditions through the ages are shared 
  • Beautiful photographs, maps and artwork
  • Today’s German events that relate to our history

Our FREE PREMIERE ISSUE of the Missouri Germans E-Journal is downloadable by clicking here at DER ANZEIGER


Subscribe NOW and you won’t miss an issue of DER ANZEIGER Don’t forget!