At home at the Rhine and in America

At home on the Rhine and in America, an emigrants' story

  • Map Colonies
  • Merry Dragon Country Inn
  • Bergmann brothers, Castle Garden, New York
  • Revolution 1848/49
  • Years of War
  • Rhine Steamer Aimée
  • Ellis Island
  • Imperial fleet
  • Great War, tank attack
  • Great War, American Expeditionary Forces
  • Fortress Ehrenbreitstein
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History books tell us a about emperors and kings, princes and archbishops, but not about people like you and me. Little is known about those people who in the early modern age left their beloved homeland because they were suffering hunger and hardships, or persecution for their beliefs.

This story is about Rhinelanders who left their home to build up and new life for themselves in America. Nonetheless, they always kept in touch with their German relatives. We will accompany them through German and American History from the time of Louis XIV of France until the Great War and the Allied Rhineland occupation.

An important historical person in his story is Carl Schurz, a Rhinelander who had to flee after the failed revolution of 1848/49 and emigrated to the United States of America, where he became an important statesman. While doing research for the English version, I found an interview with Barack Obama in Harper's magazine, and in it the following passage (shortened). "[..] it is time to remember that the Republicans did far better in the past [..] once they elevated the nation's political dialogue, gave us hope and preached a new form of patriotism which sought to include rather than divide, which valued education and chastised ignorance, which extolled the liberties of our constitutional order and cursed tyrants and slaveholders. [..] Among those Republicans [..] I remember Carl Schurz."

I was deeply touched by the words "to include rather than divide". Today, a sense of togetherness within a society, within Europe and the international community of states is conjured in every time more urging words, but at the same time more and more deep rifts appear. Now my story got longer - I wanted to write about people who lived openness, tolerance and compassion. Let us give our best attention to the courageous and upright people, because its them who give us hope and courage - not the often destructive headlines.

Found here:

Schurz: The True Americanism, Harper's Magazine: http://harpers.org/archive/2008/11/hbc-90003773
retrieved on November 8, 2011