Tag Archives: Missouri

The Reisende Sommer-Republik

The Reisende Sommer-Republik of Bremen Germany is a group of historians, authors, photographers and film makers interested in the Giessen Emigration Society that arrived in Missouri in 1834. They first visited Missouri in 2009 for their fifth summer “conference” to discuss and share their interest in what remained of the culture and sites of those that emigrated with the Society.

In September of 2010, they shared the results of that Missouri visit with Germany in their documentary, A Trip to a Forgotten Utopia, which received a lot of attention in the media and various parts of Germany, and later in the U.S.. As the Giessen Emigration Society was a politically motivated group, made up of affluent families of many religious groups, but failed to create their planned to Utopian colony in the young State of Missouri, as Gottfried Duden suggested, it is usually considered a failure. However, the group was led by an interesting and charismatic free thinking author, Friedrich Muench, influential in Missouri politics and emigration policies in the mid-19th century, and his writing did much to continue the Society’s ideals. Today, Missouri still enjoys a predominant and abundant connection with its German history and culture.

They are returning to Missouri, for further research, filming for their Utopia project, and to co-sponsor a tour – Utopia Revisited of the sites associated with Gottfried Duden and other leaders of the Giessen Emigration Society. The Missouri Germans Consortium is hosting a reception for some of the members of the group at the Missouri Photojournalism Hall of Fame in Washington Missouri on Sunday, September 18 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm where their photographer Folker Winkelmann’s exhibit A Trip to a Forgotten Utopia will open. The event is free and open to the public

Looking for Descendants

Sailing on the Olbers which arrived in June of 1834, and the Medora that arrived on July 25, 1834 in Baltimore, were 500 emigrants who settled in St. Louis, St. Charles, Franklin and Warren County. The Sommer-Republik is interested in interviewing descendants of the society. A list of the Society can be found here.

Utopia Revisited

On Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm the Sommer-Republik and the Missouri German Consortium will sponsor a bus tour -Utopia Revisited at 1:00 pm which departs from Washington Missouri, and visits the sites of Gottfried Duden’s farm and the leaders of the Giessen Emigration Society, Paul Follenius and Friedrich Muench. Tickets are available only in advance and more information is located here.

For further inquiries about these events:


Revisiting Utopia

On September 24, 2011, participants will have a unique opportunity to re-live and re-visit an important part of Missouri’s German history, yet still go home that night and sleep in their comfortable bed. For the upcoming bus tour Utopia Revisited, sponsored by the Sommer-Republik of Bremen, Germany and the Missouri German Consortium, participants will be sent their “traveling papers” and told to “obtain their proper papers, settle your affairs, and dispose of property and belongings not shipped.” They are given time but told to be prepared to depart promptly! Say all of their farewells, and present their travel pass.

Archivists Ludwig Brake and Dieter Wolf from Giessen Germany will share the history and events of 1833, explaining why co-founders Friedrich Muench and Paul Follenius issued their Call for the Emigration en masse, thus creating the Giessen Emigration Society. Participants will register with the harbor master, and board either the Olbers or the Medora, with their luggage. After the crossing, the group will first visit the former farm of Gottfried Duden, author of a Report on a Journey to the Western States of North America which inspired Muench and Follenius.

Next stop will be the farm of Jacob Haun, where Duden spent much of the years 1824-1827 writing his book which brought thousands to the United States. Then the group will visit the farm of Friedrich Muench, who did much to continue the promotion begun by Muench, making Missouri a destination for more German emigrants. Finally, the group will visit the village of Dutzow, the Lake Creek settlement, and earliest German settlement in Missouri, founded by the Baron von Bock in 1832. At the close of the program, participants will learn how interest is alive today in Germany, of what has become of those early emigrants after their arrival here in America. Participants will have opportunity to view videos, visit with historians and learn more at the close.

Participants can purchase tickets and register for the tour Utopia Revisited online, or by calling 636-221-1524 or visiting Missouri’s German Consortium at MO-Germans.com.