Das Buch der Deutschen in America: Pages 785 - 789



theatrical works along with the best German stage productions; the former would offer rich material for demonstrations of German-American life.

Professor Karl Otto Schönrich of Baltimore presided over a discussion of the blessed activity of the National German-American Teachers Seminary, where upon the following resolutions were passed by the delegates:

"1. The convention of the National German-American Alliance, assembled in the hall of the German Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, has taken great satisfaction in the bountiful work of the National German-American Teachers Seminary in Milwaukee and the honor it received recently at the International World Exposition in Paris, where this model institute was awarded a medal of honor and a diploma by the prize judges for its contributions.

"2. The convention offers its heartiest congratulations for this achievement to the energetic seminary director, Mr. Emil Dappich, and his professional staff along with its devoted administrative officers.

"3. The convention extends an urgent plea to all the German societies in the country, all their individual members and all friends of our efforts to contribute in whatever way possible towards energetic financial support for the Teachers Seminary, the only national creation of the German-American people. The seminary has great significance because it assures the continuing development of our schools, an important factor in the education process of our people."

Mr. Rudolf Cronau of New York suggested the placing of a memorial to Franz Daniel Pastorius in Germantown and promised to get the members of the Albrecht Dürer Society of New York to produce the sketches. The suggestion received unanimous applause from the assembly.

The German Warriors Alliance of Wisconsin, the Schiller Society of St. Louis, Missouri and the German-American Central Alliance of Cleveland, Ohio, announced their enrollment in the National Alliance.

After the decision was made to keep Philadelphia as the national headquarters and to hold the next convention in Baltimore, the first convention was adjourned. The proceedings had gone smoothly but there had been many suggestions for further action on the part of the National Executive Board, such as those actions taken by the individual state associations.

Before we turn to a description of their actions and the growth of the national associations, two deeds of the Pennsylvania Central Alliance are deserving of mention here, and although they are appear to be isolated actions, when set down together there exists a certain causal connection. It is mainly thanks to the vigilance and energetic actions of the Central Alliance that multiple assaults made by the Pennsylvania Legislature on the personal freedom of residents were put down - the Legislature had tried to enact laws requiring the licensing of association halls. This would have led to the ruin of a larger portion of them. Through the successful agitation by many county associations, two lawgivers, Representatives Acheson and Craven, were recalled and hindered so that their legislative "mole's work" was brought to an end. These men had proven themselves evil foes of liberal views and as such they were willing and compliant servants of the muckrakers, the hypocrites and the bigots.


On September 12, 1903 a thoroughly impressive number of delegates assembled at the invitation of the committee of the Independent Citizens Association of Maryland. They met in the festively decorated hall of the Vorwärts Turnverein [Forward Gymnastics] in Baltimore, presided over by the Alliance's president, Dr. C. J. Hexamer. The long list of associations and societies and their delegates belonging to the alliance, read off by Secretary Adolph Timm, gave the best proof to the alliance's growth. The full list was as follows:

California - The German-American Association of California: H. F. Urban, Noah Guter and Alphons Heins.

Delaware - Wilmington Gymnastics Community: C. F. Feldmeier and Georg Weth.

District of Columbia - The German Central Association of the District of Columbia: Kurt Völckner, Gustav Bender and Wm. Feldhaus.

Georgia - Amity Alliance of Atlanta: John Frech and J. Keefer.

Idaho - German-American Central Alliance of Idaho: F. O. Martin.

Illinois - The German-American Historical Society of Illinois and the Alliance of German Societies and Citizens of Chicago and the surrounding area: Emil Mannhardt.

Indiana - The United German Associations of Indianapolis: Joseph Keller and Jakob Löper.

Iowa - The German Societies of Iowa: Joseph Eiböck.

Louisiana - The German Societies of New Orleans: Prof. J. Hanno Deiler.

New Jersey - The German-American Central Alliance of Newark: C. C. Linau, Chas. Hoffmann and Max Grossmann.
The German-American Central Association of Elizabeth: F. Schlichter and Henry S. Altai.
The German-American Central Association of the City of Hoboken: Alexander Wiederhohl and Julius Nelson.
The Turner Men's Choir of Atlantic City: Jakob Hernig, Jakob Müller, John Freitag and Carl Völker.

New York - The United German Societies of the City of New York: Dr. Albert J. W. Kern, Rudolph Cronau and Dr. H. A. C. Anderson.

Maryland - The Independent Citizens Association of Maryland: J. Tjarks and Karl A. M. Scholtz.

Massachusetts - The Boston Gymnastics Association: Carl Eberhard.

Minnesota - The German-American Central Alliance of Minnesota: H. J. Nienstedt.

Missouri - The Schiller Society of St. Louis: Mrs. Fernande Richter.

Ohio - The German-American Central Alliance of Cleveland: Gustav Halback and H. Theuner.

Pennsylvania - The German-American Central Alliance of Pennsylvania: Dr. C. J. Hexamer, Arno Leonhardt, Prof. M. D. Learned, J. Weber and Adolph Timm.
The Western Branch of the German-American Central Alliance of Pennsylvania: H. C. Blödel, John Yenny, Wm. Kaiser and Theodor Lamb.
Johnstown Branch of the Central Alliance of Pennsylvania: Conrad Hahn and John Meise.

West Virginia - The German-American Central Alliance: C. W. Bente and Albert Beltz.

Wisconsin - The German Societies of Milwaukee: Victor A. Gangelin.

Texas - The German Societies of Texas: Julius Schütze.

National - The German-American Teachers Seminary of Milwaukee: Prof. C. O. Schönrich.
The German-American Teachers Union: Prof. N. H. Ferren and Prof. C. O. Schönrich.


From the board of Directors of the National Alliance, Vice-President and Professor M. D. Learned was also present at the convention.

The report presented by Dr. Hexamer gave detailed information on the activity of the Alliance's Executive Board between the first and second convention. Among other things the following was stated:

"The Headquarters of the National Alliance had to take a position in a number of issues before the Congress in Washington. Of these we need to give special attention to one such issue, previously mentioned in the committee's report describing the Buren matter, in which protest has been registered with every senator and the president concerning the proposal of immigration legislation and petitions for the appointment of an immigation commission. Although the proposal (to appoint a panel of experts for an immigration commission) did not pass, by a narrow margin the House passed other propositions, such as the raising of the duty tax to $3.00 per person and the even more dreadful "Education Test," which now goes to the Senate for vote.

Efforts to erect in our country's capitol a statue of General Steuben on horseback, a tribute worthy of his service, were successful. Petitions were sent to every senator and the president and they were rewarded with an endowment of $50,000. Support was also sought for the granting of a pension to the widow of General Franz Sigel. In its capacity as Executive Board of the Central Association of Pennsylvania, the Board brought the Fox Local-Option Proposal, drafted at the Methodist Conference, to a second reading in the State Legislature. The same fate awaits proposed legislation, which forbids Sunday excursions. Just as successful was the State Association's support of proposals, through which a well deserved monument shall be erected in the State Capitol to the German-American, Michael Hillegas, who was the first Treasurer of the United States.

After Dr. Hexamer's report followed those of the individual State Associations through their respective presidents. President Kurt Völckner of Washington, D.C. reported about the terrible difficulties, which his organization had to overcome since the nation's capitol has only a small number of residents of German heritage. Oscar F. Martin of the Central Alliance of Idaho drew the delegates' attention to the fact that his state is as large as New York and Pennsylvania put together but it only has 162,000 inhabitants, mostly farmers. Of this number there are 2974 men, women and children, who were born in Germany. It's self-evident that there won't be many German associations forming there. He closed his interesting address with the following words: "I would like to remark here that what has been said about Idaho also holds good for the states of Washington, Montana, Oregon, Nevada and Wyoming. What a future is in store for us if the bounty of the fruitful valleys and plains of Idaho is brought forth by the hard work of German agriculturalists and the treasures of the mines in our mountains, from which our state earns the name 'Idaho, the Jewel of the Mountains,' should be unearthed by the strong army of German mountaineers, taken from their natural state and refined into pure silver and gold by Germans, schooled in the methods of processing. For this reason it should be the task of the D. A. N. B. [National German-American Alliance] to especially make new immigrants aware that the western regions of our country still offer them the same opportunities, which our fathers and grandfathers had in the East and the Mississippi Valley."


President C. C. Lienau of the Central Association of New Jersey, one of the youngest members of the organization, could point out with pride that the membership roaster of the six cities of Newark, Paterson, Hoboken, Elizabeth, Carlstadt and Trenton had already reached 20,000 in number. In his detailed presentation of its history the reporter also indicated the energetic progress of the state associations. The the list belongs, among other things, the successful organization of six German theater productions by Director Wurster's Ensemble from Philadelphia in Newark, the establishment of the Public Law section, of course, further lobbying on the immigration question based on the suggestions given by the Alliance's Executive Board and finally two recent celebrations of German Day.

Dr. H. A. C. Anderson, president of the United German Societies of New York, announced that the visit of Prince Heinrich in 1901 has given momentum to the establishment of the United Societies, which by the first German Day celebration of November 9, 1902 numbered 105 societies. Currently the United Societies has 148 associations with about 30,000 members. Among other things the speaker stated: The Nativists of our state have provoked us to battle since the German language, which has been successfully taught in many elementary schools for the past 35 years, has been shoved aside; and although we registered vehement protest with Mayor Seth Low and the Board of Education, our protest was not heeded. A 25-member committee was appointed, an appeal was issued to the entire German community to consider our fight to maintain the German language in the elementary schools a matter of honor and to support us to the best of its ability by joining our union either as an association or as individual members.

"I am fully convinced that the United German Societies of New York have a great future for as has been remarked, the slumbering German giant is waking; Germans must realize that our beautifully crafted societal existence will certainly fade into the past without German unity; German immigration is declining because Germans outside this country know well that America is no longer the promised land and our sons no longer join German associations because they are ashamed to be children of German parents; if, however, we bring all the Germans of this country together in one united cause, it will be heeded, respected and even politically feared; then our children will be proud that German blood flows in their veins, then the associations will obtain younger members and flourish instead of dying."

President John Tjarks of the Independent Citizens Association of Maryland gave the following well-chosen remarks:
"In order to reach its goal, from the beginning the Citizens Association has considered it necessary to conduct a cultural campaign on two fronts, first to educate American citizens of German ancestry of their rights and duties as American citizens and second to convince "Stock-Americans" that the requests, made by their fellow citizens of German ancestry, are justifiable and important.

"The first campaign is by far the most difficult task. Experience has taught us that the Stock-American can be won over and afterwards he becomes a fervent advocate


"for what we seek, whereas the German wallows in such inertia and indifference that it's painful and often impossible to overcome.

"The truth in this statement was demonstrated during the session of the State Legislature at the beginning of last year. Our legal advisor drafted a proposed amendment to the Blue Laws as they apply to the City of Baltimore, which was then submitted to the Legislature. In order to make it clear to the Legislature why it was necessary to amend the law and to combat the bias of the general public, a small brochure, which laid out the history of the Blue Laws, was published by the Citizens Association. A copy of the same was sent to every member of the Legislature, every judge, states attorney and newspaper publisher in the State of Maryland.

"After all this was accomplished, a day was set aside on which to advocate the issue before the Legislative Committee. A request was placed in the newspapers to all, who had an interest in the amendments, to come to Annapolis. The day arrived but not the Germans — the mass delegation consisted of eight men. If the matter had been energetically supported, we would have had some hope for at least a partial victory, since many of the members of the Legislature agreed with our public sentiments."

Mr. Tjarks stated that despite the evident lack of public participation he was generally satisfied with the work of the Citizens Association since its establishment and he trusted that it could meet the challenges of the future.

Nienstädt of St. Paul reported that in Minnesota, Germans have nothing to complain about concerning various issues. With regard to political situations the German finds himself at the forefront; that is, there is a German as State Treasurer and Germans are considered for other positions of honor. It's also been conceded that the State will designate $2000 each year for German books. As a result of reports from many church schools and the constant complaints of politicians that there is no money at had, the Central Association has not yet followed through on proposals for the introduction of German instruction in the public schools. However it will eventually prevail.

Mrs. Fernande Richter of St. Louis spoke of universal demands: "Women are key to the issue. Without us women the National Alliance can do nothing. The German language is not a piece of ready-made clothing. We cannot demand of our children that they think and feel German if we do not teach them to speak German."

Among the most important resolutions passed at the convention we list the following:

New Jersey proposed that the representation of the various state associations and societies at conventions, which is currently set at two votes per state, be set in proportion to number of members.

It was proposed that this important question be turned over for consideration by a special committee, which would render recommendations at the next convention. Accepted.

The proposal, to abstain from holding any national conventions in Washington, was rejected.

Another proposal from the Central Association of Washington, to abstain from holding more than one convention per year like the political parties, was held over for consideration until the next national convention.

A proposal from the State of Pennsylvania to alternate the convention venue so that


Go to Pages 790 - 794


Text provided by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Buffalo NY
Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks