The Buffalo Volksfreund [The Buffalo People's Friend], a German newspaper published from 1868 until 1982. Microfilm coverage begins at January 2, 1891.

Wed., Jan. 14, 1891 - Page 2, column 5 middle

A Friend of the German Language

So, what is a boomerang? Not every German knows. German dictionaries don't list the word. Everyone does not have the might Webster Dictionary at hand. And once we do have a copy to seek Webster's advice he gives as a clarification the definition a weapon of war used by aboriginal people of Australia. Surely that can't be your meaning of the word. Each time you use the word it seems to mean the trampling of intentions and deeds by the Republicans. Every word you use seems to say that. It's just slang, and I'll take the liberty of remarking that the word has no place in your excellent lead articles. The only place its belongs is in an English spelling book with quotation marks around it.

Now as we fight so vigorously for the preservation of the German language, German schools and German customs, will the noble champion of German-American Catholic thought, the wonderful "Buffalo Volksfreund", forgive us this brief remark?

I am no "Purist" in the sense of the famous German purification attempt proposed by Postmaster Stephan of Berlin. But with zeal for the good cause couldn't we do something to deliver to our progeny a pure German language.

The "Volksfreund" has accomplished much in this arena and is still doing it. For this reason I make this statement.

Having lived among American for 25 years and seldom coming together with Germans, I can't tell you how many foreign words become adopted into the vocabulary - but it seems to me the fewer, the better.

The above well-intented comments come from a worthy friend of the "Volksfreund". The use of foreign words is not always avoidable. Sometimes a foreign word delivers a meaning more precisesly while a true German word skims only the surface of the meaning. Such was the case of our use of the word "Boomerang."

Wed., Jan. 14, 1891 - Page 2, column 7 bottom

The German Language

The German language is a very beautiful language with a very rich vocabulary. It's beautiful because its sound mimics nature. By that we mean sound gives impression. For instance "Blitz" [lightning] is fast and sharp; "Donner" [thunder] rolls and rumbles mightily; "Baum" [tree] is a word giving a feeling of being strongly rooted into the ground; "Stein" [stone] is a rich word that's hard for Americans to pronounce! It's not necessary for Germans to borrow words from other languages to make themselves understood; herein the German language is completely independent, self-supporting and free of Americanisms.

However the language of this land is English. What does this mean? We always mean that English is the language of England. Here we really have no native language since no American has decided to adopt any of the many Indian dialects; fewer Americans learn these languages than German. We Germans who have become naturalized citizens and those who have been born here are true Americans just are those who speak English.

We are all free citizens, and as we all assume the rights of religious profession and other freedoms, so we have the right to linguistic freedom. They insult us by calling us foreigners, but they were immigrants too - or their ancestors were. Since they're borrowing the language of England they have as little right to insist that we Germans use their language as we have to force them to use our precise, beautiful, vocabulary-rich native language.

So is it a shame to speak German? It's a shame and a sign of spinelessness to shun the German language. Anyone who does it looses his German manners, his German sense of nobility and his character along with his German tongue.

Our opinion concerning the language question is this: the main language of the German people in America should remain German; but since other languages are necessary for business with other nations, these too must be taught and learned. This applies especially to English without which business could not be conducted. As we have written in various letters, let English be the language of commerce, but German should remain the language of the heart for Germans.

Wed., Jan. 14, 1891 - Page 2, column 3 top

A Commemorative Celebration


Yesterday's Meeting of the German Young Men's Association


On May 10th the German Young Men's Association will be 50 years old and the association intends to celebrate its golden jubilee in a appropriate fashion. Towards this end there was an extra meeting called yesterday at which about 40 members were in attendance. President F. Augustus Georger headed the committee and announced that the purpose of the meeting was to entertain motions on whether a commemorative celebration of the association's founding should be sponsored. Mr. Matthias Rohr made a motion that the day should be celebrated in a fitting way. After this motion was accepted several proposals were considered. Most were pleased with Mr. Louis Allgewähr's idea to hold a banquet in the Music Hall which would be followed by a ball.

J. Adam Lautz asked whether the association would pay the expenses or charge for admission to the celebration. It was generally resolved that the festival was not intended to be a money-making venture. Mr. Lautz motioned that a committee of five people be appointed to do the necessary planning and make a report for the next meeting. The motion was accepted and the association officers appointed Messrs. J. Adam Lautz, Georger, Schmidt, Curtis and Allgewähr to the planning committee. The meeting adjourned until Wednesday evening.


Canada Gas

Residents of the Westside are now getting their natural gas from Canada through a line passing under the Niagara River. The Pennsylvania Gas has been turned off and consumers may be assured that they are getting the pure imported article. No one knows how high the charges may be for the gas.


Germania Theater

The beloved comic actor Benno Sachse will give a benefit performance next Sunday. It's already been acknowledged that this artist of Buffalo's own German population has given us many richly entertaining and happy evenings. He deserves to have a sold-out house for his performance and we have no doubt whatsoever that the artist will be greeted on Sunday by a theater filled to the rafters. The three-act farce "The Juggler" by Pohl will be performed.

Wed., Jan. 14, 1891 - Page 2, column 4 top

Installation of Officers


Last evening Branch 16 of the C.M.B.A. [Catholic Mutual Benevolent Association] held its first meeting of the new year. Included in the meeting was the installation of the officers voted-in for this year. A large portion of the membership was present. The installation was presided over by Senior Chancellor Georg Zimmermann and Chancellor Wilh. Warchus.

Mr. John Neukirchen, the re-elected president of the Branch, made a speech before the assembled brethren in which he thanked his subordinant officers for their help and support with the governance of the society in the past year and ardently pledged to work to the best of his ability to further the interests of the Branch.

Following this suitable speeches were made by Vice-President And. Holz and Treasurer Casp. J. Drescher. Both gave extensive details on the fine work done by the association. When the installation was complete and the association agenda was finished, those in attendance adjourned to the premises of Mr. Michael J. Fenzl, where a snack awaited them.

Members of the association gathered at a round party table where humor and joking prevailed. Mr. Fenzl set a fine table, which came from the kitchen of the wife of Mr. C.C. Drescher.

There was good food with plenty to drink and the meal was spiced up with many toasts and jokes, making the affair and thoroughly welcome and pleasant one. The participants gave thanks to the ladies who provided the meal, Mrs. Mary Drescher and her helpers. The ladies were reimbursed for the costs.

Branch 16 has 250 members. Their current officers are:
Spiritual Advisor - ****** Keitz
President - John H. Neukirchen
First Vice-President - Andrew Holz
Second Vice-President - Math. ***haupt
Recording Secretary - John C. Knoll
Assistant Secretary - Jos. G. Wimmer
Finance Secretary - Frank J. Bissing
Treasurer - Caspar J. Drescher
Marshall - Michael Lehner
Sergeant-at-Arms - Anthony Kramer
Trustees - John Sperl, M*** Logan

Go on to coverage beginning January 16, 1891

Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
August 9, 2003