Grant Recipient for 2009
Alex Bogdanoff student at Gannon University, Erie PA. The grant
money was used to help sponsor a trip to Germany. The prupose of the
trip was to study German culture and customs.
Grant Recipient for 2010
The Erie Siebenburger Sachsen Gesang Verein received
a check for $500. The money will be used to help support the Music
Director, purchase music, and transportation to singing engagements
outside of Erie.
The German Flag
by Christian Mueller
What do the colors of the German Flag stand for? The answer is
somewhat complicated! Here is what your research department has found.
The story starts with a legend. When emperor Barbarossa was
crowned in 1152 in Frankfurt, the path from the church to the palace
was laid out with a black-red-gold cloth. After the ceremony the cloth
was cut into small pieces and distributed to the crowd. These
improvised little flags were fasten to sticks and the crowd walked the
street in celebration. In the year 1184, the colors were formally
adapted by the Reichstag (Congress) and stayed "in power" until 1806
when Napoleon distroyed the first German Empire.
following period, the colors were used by various groups in different
arrangements - like gold, red, black. This went on until King Friedrich
Wilhelm IV of Prussia formally decided that the black-red-gold sequence
was to be the final and firm choise. Rumor has it that the King uttered
the phase "From the night, through blood, towards the light" to
describe the German colors. Later this was reinterpreted as "Black is
the past, red (bloodly) the fight and golden the future".
Consequently, the flag was again formally readapted in 1848 by
the Frankfurt Parliament. It was again abolished in 1852, readapted as
the flag of the Weimar Republic on August 11, 1919 and abolished and
replaced by the flag of the Third Reich on March 12, 1933. It was
finally readapted on May 8, 1949 as"Die Bundesflagge" - federal flag,
although most Germans simply calli it "Die Deutschlandfahne".
There are many more details attached to this story, that could be
explored. Not at least there is the question of the definition of the
specific color shades, particularly gold - some have called for the
gold to be made from metallic material instead of being a dark yellow
There you have it in a nutshell.
As you see from the story about the flag, history plays an
important part in understanding connecting events. It is for this
reason, that I have chosen to inject some basic outline of German
history so you can refresh your mine.
German Folk-Dance Class
The GERMAN CULTURAL SOCIETY of Erie, PA holds
GERMAN FOLK-DANCE CLASS every Tuesday night at 7:00 PM. FREE!
Beginners welcome! The steps are easy and our experience dancers are
happy to assist you. It is a great way to exercise to music with
friends and to appreciate our German heritage. Our reperiture
includes a Contra Dance
by Ludwig van Beethoven and a Waltz
by Johann Baptist Strauss II. Call 814-864-8417 for location.
May 2013 Newsletter
German Cultural Society of Erie
Newsletter: May, 2013 Printer: Gannon University
Press. Website: www.gesoe.org
of The German Cultural Society of Erie,
Pennsylvania is to preserve German values, customs, language and music
through education and activities. The Cultural Society of Erie Pennsylvania
aims to unite German-Americans, share our German culture in the community
through special events and charity functions.
Meeting Location and Date:
All are invited to attend our meetings and
events. We meet the second Thursday of each month at 7:00 PM at the Erie
Männerchor Club, 1607 State St.
Officers - 2013:
Bill Schubert, President 217-9425 Rose
Paul Fischer, Vice President 838-4315 Wayne Koble
866-1321 Mike Stephany 520-8851
Alice Niebaurer, Board
Secretary 864-9474 Carol
Programs: Paul Fischer
& Means: Betty Schubert
Dance/Luau: Bill Matheis
Programs: Paul Fischer
Newsletter: Wayne Koble
Highlights of April 11 Meeting
Presenters (Marilyn Voshall-Reporter)
George, born in Puerto Rico, was brought up in San Juan. Her mother was Susanna Elizabeth
Obermanns, whose family had a paper mill in Germany known as Mammermühle. Her
father was William Reichard Esteves. The Reichard family has an estate in
Hannover Minden, Germany. Her family moved from Puerto Rico to Erie because her father obtained a job at the
Hammermill Paper Company here. She also has family connections with the Behren
family. Carol is a retired language
teacher with specialties in Spanish and French. She is also part of the German
Folk Dance group of the GCSOE.
Cheryl Adams is
editor of Senior News and runs a travel agency. Her father’s doctor was Dr. Sam
Shepherd of Bay Village, Ohio. Her mother, whose maiden name was
Schlimlein, was a Protestant and divorcee. Her father, a Catholic, was
excommunicated when he married a divorcee.
Nancy Rae Rusnak. Her
mother’s maiden name was Zeifert von Prussia and her father’s family name was
Duerr. Nancy, born in California, married and had three children
with her first husband who died in 1989. She was music major in college,
performed as a singer, and taught music education. In 1994 she married Dr. Andy
Rusnak who died in 2007. Today she has 5 grandchildren, sings with the Erie
Philharmonic singers, and served in several musical events of the GCSOE. She
has served as the Board and General Secretary for the GCSOE.
regular May monthly meeting of the German
Cultural Society of Erie will not be held at the Maennerchor Club.
We’ll meet at the same time and date as usual but as described below.
Thursday, 9 May, 7 PM. . . . . . MEETING
AT ST. PAUL’S UCC CHURCH,
BETWEEN 10TH AND 11TH STREETS
free on-street parking after 6 PM or
in the lot on the south side of the Church or
in the Erie Bank parking lot directly to the north of the Church Garden.
Do NOT park behind the Church or you may
the main doors on Peach Street
or through the Garden Gate entrance.
Saint Paul’s UCC Church was built in 1851 after its original location in the
area of 23rd and Peach Streets was deemed to be ‘too far out in the
country’! St. Paul’s has rich German roots as well as many priceless
artifacts such as its stained glass windows dating from 1895 and a vintage
mechanical action pipe organ that was manufactured right here in Erie in
St. Paul’s has also been the subject of several legitimate
paranormal studies with documentation of paranormal activities within the
Join our hosts Hildegard Marshall, Cheryl Adams and Alice
Niebauer for a walk back in time with some strong German connections and
fascinating stories about this hallowed and interesting piece of Erie history.
Upcoming Events and Announcements
Thursday, 13 June We will have a presentation by Michael Weber, President of Smith
Provision Company. Mike will share
the German heritage roots of the Weber Family as well as how the family
immigrated and built the family business into one of the most successful
businesses in the region. He has also indicated that Smith will have door
prizes to share.
Thursday, 11 July Annual Picnic: Scott Park.
Saturday, 10 August Annual German Luau: St. Francis
Center, McKean. Cost: $12 per person. More information to follow.
Locations for Picnic and Luau are different from last year!
Folk Dance (Tanzen) Classes
Cultural Society of Erie holds a German
Folk Dance class every Tuesday night at 7:00 for FREE. Beginners welcome! The steps are easy and our
experienced dancers are happy to assist you.
It is a great way to exercise to music with friends and to appreciate
our German heritage.
Classes are held at St. Joseph Church,
147 West 24th Street Erie, PA.
Call Bill Matheis, 814-864-8417, for
We will be leaving around 9:00 AM on the 21st and returning around
9:00 PM on the 23rd. The bus and hotel rooms have been reserved.
There are still a few openings available, if you are interesting in having a
good time. Contact Betty Schubert,
217-9425 or Cheryl Adams at
By Roy E. Voshall
This is a tale of two different families
who arrived in New York City
in 1710 and the relatives from these families met in 2012. One family was
German, Kobel, from the Palatine
region in Europe and the other family, Voshell
(Woschel), was from Alvey, Alsace,
arrival in New York, both families were transported
to Lutheran camps on the shores of the Hudson River,
one to the East shore camp known as East Camp and the other to the West shore
camp known as West Camp. Both camps are approximately 100 miles North from New York City. In 2012, Wayne Koble joined the German Cultural
Society of Erie and gave a talk on the history of his family in the United States. Hey! My family arrived at the same year
in New Amsterdam. I checked the Historical
Plaque outside of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
at West Camp, NY which shows the names of the first families that were sent to
the Lutheran camps up the Hudson River. Supprise ! The Kobel name was listed
under the East Camp and the Worschel name under the West Camp.
plaque lists the family names of these people who arrive in October 6, 1710,
led by Rev. Joshua Kocherthal and Rev. Johnn Frederick Hager. These people
suffered ravages of war, poverty, persecutions, and other ills. Queen Anne of
England sympathizes with these people and supported their voyage to the United States.
However, they had to serve the Queen by supplying wood from the forest for the
English Naval Stores.
Apparently, Augustin Worschel had changed their family
name from Voshell to Worchel to appear more German. The Voshells were French
Huguenots persecuted for their religion. However, they must spoke both German
and French because the town of that region was listed as Alvey in Alsace. This region had
a history of being alternately occupied by the French and then the Germans.
Today Alvey is named Alzey, Germany.
Why is Roy Voshall, having a French name, a member of a German
organization? His Grandmother was Swiss German, having a maiden name of
Broadbeck. She grew up in Orbisonia,
PA. Her Father was a very successful business man
and established several German Reform churches in the area. Originally, the
Broadbecks came from Basel,
remember, it may take years or generations for the probability that relatives
of different families may meet in unusual places such as Erie, PA.
Brothers Grimm (German: Brüder Grimm or Die Gebrüder Grimm),
Jacob (1785–1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786–1859), were German academics,
linguists, cultural researchers, and authors who together collected and
published folklore. They are among the most well-known storytellers of German
folk tales, popularizing stories such as "Cinderella"
(Aschenputtel), "The Frog Prince" (Der Froschkönig), "Hansel and Gretel" (Hänsel
und Gretel), "Rapunzel", "Rumpelstiltskin"
(Rumpelstilzchen), and "Snow
White" (Schneewittchen). Their first collection of folk tales,
Children's and Household Tales (Kinder- und Hausmärchen), was published in
The brothers spent their formative years first in the
German town of Hanau
and then in Steinau. Their father's death in 1796, when Jacob was eleven and
Wilhelm ten, caused great poverty for the family and affected the brothers for
many years. They both attended the University of Marburg where historian and
jurist Friedrich von Savigny spurred their interest in philology and Germanic
studies—a field in which they are now considered pioneers—and at the same time
developed a curiosity for folklore, which grew into a lifelong dedication to
collecting German folk tales.
The rise of romanticism in the 19th
century revived interest in traditional folk stories, and represented a pure
form of national literature and culture to the brothers. With the goal of
researching a scholarly treatise on folk tales, the brothers established a
methodology for collecting and recording folk stories that became the basis for
folklore studies. Between 1812 and 1857 their first collection was revised and
published many times, and grew from 86 stories to more than 200. In addition to
writing and modifying folk tales, the brothers wrote collections of
well-respected German and Scandinavian mythologies and in 1808 began writing a
definitive German dictionary (Deutsches Wörterbuch), that remained incomplete
in their lifetime.
The popularity of the Grimms' collected folk tales endured
well beyond their lifetimes. The tales are available in more than 100
translations and have been adapted by filmmakers including Lotte Reiniger, and
Walt Disney, with films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Sleeping
Beauty. In the mid-20th century the tales were used as propaganda by the Third
Reich; later in the 20th century psychologists such as Bruno Bettelheim
reaffirmed the value of the work, in spite of the cruelty and violence in the
original versions of some of the tales that were sanitized.
A good 200 kilometers long and 60 kilometers
wide, the Black Forest is not only one of the most varied, but also one of the
biggest and best known holiday regions in Germany. The Black Forest maids,
Black Forest farms, Black Forest gateau, Bollenhut hats, and cuckoo clocks -
the Black Forest embodies everything that one
might expect of a German picture book holiday.
The TV series “Black Forest Clinic” -
(Schwarzwald Klinik) - brought images of this perfect cozy holiday world to
over 40 countries in 17 languages. With around 28 million overnight stays per
year in the 138,000 beds of the Black Forest’s
hotels and guest houses, and a further 60,000 in private accommodation, tourism
is of great importance for the federal state of Baden-Württemberg and the wine regions of the south-west. The Black Forest possesses a high density of restaurants with
top chefs and Gault Millau or Michelin stars, and even in small village
restaurants delicious variations on the hearty regional cuisine can be found.
Thermal baths like Baden-Baden,
Badenweiler and Bad Wildbad have a long and rich tradition.
Nowhere else in Germany
has as many springs in such close proximity. The location, at the border of Germany, Switzerland
places guests within easy reach of diverse cultures and varied landscapes.
The Black Forest was the birthplace of skiing
in central Europe, with the first ski club being founded at the Feldberg Mountain, which rises to a height of
1,493 meters. It was here that the first wooden skis were produced and the
first ski lift built. Today, the Feldberg region is one of the largest ski
resorts outside of the Alps.
The Black Forest
Association, (Schwarzwald Verein), was founded over 130 years ago and since then
has signposted walking trails of over 23,000 kilometers in the Black Forest.
Cyclists and bike
enthusiasts of all kinds will also find ideal conditions in the south- western
parts of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg. More than 8,000 kilometers of
cycle trails have been signposted especially for mountain bikers.
The German Cultural Society of Erie
PO Box 67,
Girard, Pa. 16417
Membership Renewal, Year 2013
Address (if new)
Phone______________________ E-mail Address
Birthday & Anniversary
Type of Membership: (
) Basic or Head of Household $25,
( ) Spouse $5, ( )
All membership fees go to the GCS operations in Erie
Children under 17 are free of charge with a
Basic or Family Membership.
includes monthly newsletters, monthly programs, and reduced fees for special
Make checks payable
to German Cultural Society of Erie
to: Betty Schubert, 6377 Dickens
Ct., Erie, Pa.