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August, 2006 - Nr. 8


The Editor
Paul Bernhard Berghorn
Petition an Deutschkanadier
KW & Beyond
My Secret Fuel Saver
Dick reports...
Jenna Elfman Speaks Out
Jenna Elfman about Criminon
30 Human Rights Videos
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Toronto Arts Awards
Beethoven Fest in Bonn
"The Ring" at CBC
IndieUNLIMITED at Harbourfront
Award Winning Artist
Centenary Music Invites
Canadian Blind Sailing Team
FIFA U-20 World Cup
Jan Fitschen Wins Gold
Germans & Washington, DC
"German Athens"
Old Economy Village
From Pork to Solar

The "German Athens":
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

   TWIG - The government of Wisconsin played an active role in attracting German immigrants to the state. In 1852, Wisconsin established a Commission of Immigration with a resident commissioner in New York whose duty it was to distribute pamphlets extolling Wisconsin’s attributes.

This lovely card invited German immigrants to join the Milwaukee Turnverein
This lovely card invites German immigrants to join the Milwaukee Turnverein

Disbanded in 1855, it was re-established in 1867 during the second great wave of German immigration. But the greatest motivation for German settlers was the firsthand accounts of friends and family members who attested to the quality of their new lives in the state, where land was relatively easy to come by and the German community had firmly established itself.

German organizations and clubs were instrumental in creating a German consciousness in Wisconsin. Much of German social life revolved around the many musical and athletic societies, freedom of thought organizations, horticultural societies, cultural clubs, socialist groups, and religious organizations.

A strong German-language press and the informal institution of the beer hall also played key roles in keeping with the traditions of the homeland while assimilating to their new home. All of these gave Milwaukee the nickname "the German Athens."

One of these was the Turnverein, or Turner Society, a group suppressed by then prince Metternich of Austria because it focused on an atmosphere of congenial, lively debate. The Turners, who were primarily gymnasts but also interested in disseminating political theory, became active in many German-American communities. Milwaukee’s Turnverein is perhaps the most famous.

Today, Milwaukee citizens play an active part in revitalizing and celebrating German culture in their city. Milwaukee is now home to the largest German Fest in the United States, in its 25th year in 2005.
Republished with permission from "The Week in Germany"


Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau


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