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November 2007  

Message from our President, Virgil Gress

A big thanks goes out to Matthias Hilger and Dan Gutgsell for their hard work on a great meeting. Congratulation to Dave & Janet Kluemper winners of the German Heritage Day award.   Past recipients of the German Heritage Award are Mary Jo Meuser, Claude and Martina Eckert, Dave Buehler, Linus and Sally Lechner, Joe and Irene C. Eckerle, Danny and Linda Wehr, Leo and Lora Lou Eckerle, and the late Lowell and Joan Glendening.   Also congratulation on the essay contest winners and a big thanks to the German American Bank for sponsoring this great program. And most of all thanks to Kristen Ruhe for keeping us on the edge of our seats for more than 40 minutes as she help us understand what tourist are looking for when they come to Jasper Indiana and what we can do to make it more interesting.

German Heritage Award Winners

Dave and Janet Kluemper
2007 German Heritage Award Winners

The award is given annually by the Jasper Deutscher Verein, Sister Cities of Jasper, Inc. and the Jasper Partnership Commission to a couple or individual who has contributed in an outstanding way to preserving, maintaining, and building upon the community’s German heritage.

In announcing the recipients of the award, Jasper Partnership Commission President, Matthias Hilger said “I have had the honor of being helped by both of them so many times.   If we need host families, be it for a weekend, weeks, months, or even years, their doors are wide open all of the time.   While we are here especially talking about our German heritage and culture, they have expanded the cultural exchange with young and old from all over the world.  

And they have taken their valuable time to visit their friends for life in their respective countries.  

They truly enjoy make their guests comfortable with their positive, fun loving personalities.   They involve their guests in their everyday lives make them feel very much part of their family”.

“Both are active in Precious Blood parish.   Precious Blood is Dave’s home parish and he is continuing the tradition of his parents, who were a part of the founding parishioners of Precious Blood.   Janet was instrumental in establishing the Irish Days at Ireland Elementary where she taught for many years.   Students were encouraged to study their ancestors and portray them for a day telling the other students about a particular ancestor.   This helped the students learn of their heritage”.

He cited both as being active in the Dubois County Museum by collecting items, creating special exhibits, maintaining the building and the collections.   He noted that one nominator wrote in their nomination letter, “They are doers and not talkers”.    He noted that “Dave and Janet are a very big part of this preservation in our community which is built on heritage and pride”.

The ninth annual award was announced during a German-American Day Dinner Celebration on October 9 th at the Schnitzelbank.  

Previous recipients of the award are Mary Jo Meuser, Claude and Martina Eckert, Dave Buehler, Linus and Sally Lechner, Joe and Irene C. Eckerle, Danny and Linda Wehr,   Leo and Lora Lou Eckerle, and the late Lowell and Joan Glendening.

Mr. and Mrs. Kluemper are the parents of a son and a daughter and have one grandson.

Upcoming Events of the Deutscher Verein
Mark your calendars!!!!

November Meeting
Annual Auction for Student Exchange
Thursday, November 15, 2007

Place:   VFW in Jasper
Time: 6:00PM Social Hour
  6:30PM Appetizer and Dessert Buffet
  7:00PM Club Meeting

Members with last names beginning A – P are asked to bring an appetizer and members with last names beginning Q – Z are asked to bring a dessert.

Dan Hoffman has graciously agreed to conduct our annual Auction of donated items with 100% of the proceeds donated to support the Jasper High School German Student Exchange program.    A half of pig processed at Merkley and Sons Meat Packing

to the owner’s specifications will be the top item to be auctioned.   The donation includes the processing charges.   It has been donated by Lisa and Jeff Mann. 

Everyone is encouraged to bring an item or two for this Auction.   Please be generous!   

Items donated in previous years have included baked goods, crafts, furniture, homemade wine, German items, and Holiday items.   Be creative – the more variety and quantity of items we have in the Auction, the more funds will be raised to support the Exchange Program.   Come prepared to have some fun...and to bid! 

December Deutscher Verein Meeting
Thursday, December 6, 2007

The December meeting will be on  Thursday, December 6, 2007 and will be our Annual Christmas Party.   The Christmas Party will be at the VFW. Fran Johnson will be creating a great meal for us again this year.   Make plans to bring in the Christmas Season.   

January Deutscher Verein Meeting
Thursday, January 17, 2008

The January meeting will be on Thursday, January 17, 2008, at the VFW.  As has become our custom, this meeting will be our annual beer and wine tasting/judging gathering.  Members are encouraged to bring samples of their beer and wine making for the annual competition.  Categories will be judged in Grape Wine, Non-Grape / Other Wines, and Beer.   Let’s have a great turnout and let us know which beer or wine you feel is the best

 February Deutscher Verein Meeting
Thursday, February 21, 2008

The February meeting will be on Thursday, February 21 st, 2008 at the VFW. This is the month we will be giving out sweet hearts our special valentines. We are planning a great meeting for that special night

See upcoming newsletters for more details!


The Deutscherverein held their annual Family Picnic Saturday, September 14, 2007 at the Jasper Outdoor Recreation Clubhouse. Father Donald Ackerman had Mass for all members present at 4:30.  Members then enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by Wolfgang Erhardt and Bob Fleck, and the many dishes brought in.

A short business meeting followed the meal.  President Virgil Gress thanked Matt Hilger and his committee for the great job of decorating the hall.  He also thanked Judy Gress, Sharon Dilger and Martina Eckert who greeted the guests as they came in. Pres. Gress then thanked Dan Wehr for his great job managing the booth at the Strassenfest and had him give a short report on the success of the booth, despite some hurdles.  He also thanked Fr. Ackerman for the   Mass.

President Gress introduced the new high school German teacher, Erin Doboze. Pres. Gress presented her with a club check for $1000 to help her with supplies etc. to get her program started.  Ms. Doboze is originally from Evansville.   She and her students, Dominik Klein and Eileen Earhart and  Sandy Wehr set up a large display of pictures from their visit to Germany in early summer.

President Gress also introduced and welcomed to the club new members, Harry and Gaby Guensche. Pres. Gress spoke of the bus trip to Missouri Deutsch Country October 20-21. If interested in going, contact Jackie’s Travel.

October meeting will be the German/American Day at the Schnitzelbank on Tuesday, October 9.  Kristin Ruhe, Director of Tourism in Dubois County, will be the guest speaker. Reservations need to be made by calling Patti Goepfrich at 482-4821 as soon as possible.

Attendance prizes of large potted mums went to:  Virgil Gress, Linda Wehr, Viola Wehr, Betty Luegers, Gary Egler and  Dean Lininger.  Special prizes went to Alma Kreilein and Dean Lininger.   Next year's family picnic will be held at the same place on September 20.

Dan Hoffman and his Bluegrass Band entertained for the remainder of the evening.

Ruth Wibbels

German-American Day Celebrated

The Jasper Deutscher Verein, Sister Cities of Jasper, Inc., and the Jasper Partnership Commission sponsored a German-American Day Dinner and Program on Tuesday, October 9 th, at the Schnitzelbank Restaurant in Jasper.   Over 75 individuals celebrated the occasion.

Virgil Gress, president of the Jasper Deutscher Verein, welcomed all present.   He introduced Dan Gutgsell and Matthias Hilger, who read the proclamation recognizing October 6 th as German American Day in Jasper.

Mr. Hilger recognized and thanked Lois Kuntz and Patti Goepfrich for their efforts.

Dan Gutgsell, president of Sister Cities of Jasper, Inc., introduced the essay winners of the German Heritage in Dubois County essay contest which was held in conjunction with German-American Day.   This contest was open to all seniors in the four Dubois County high schools.   There were three essay topics.   The students chose one of the three topics.   They were “What does German heritage mean to me?”, “What can we, as the younger generation, do to help maintain and preserve our German heritage?”, and   “Note local or family German names as they relate to the towns or villages that immigrants came from, the meaning of the family names, relationship to geographic location, occupation, etc.”   Over 50 entries were received.  

The winner from Forest Park Junior Senior High School was Kelsey Vonderheide and her parents are Joe and Carol Vonderheide.   The winner from Northeast Dubois High School was Jordan Seng.   Jordan is the daughter of Greg and Kelly Seng.   Megan Messmer was the winner from Southridge High School.   Hannah is the daughter of Christine Kemp and Patrick Messmer.   Each student presented their essay as part of the program of the evening.   Their teachers were also recognized.  

Mr. Gutgsell also introduced Mrs. Kristen Ruhe, Executive Director of the Dubois County Visitors Center and Tourism Commission.   Mrs. Ruhe gave a very entertaining and informative program on tourism in Dubois County and how it relates to our German heritage.   She noted that Dubois County had 1.2 million visitors in 2006.   She mentioned that many visitors come to Dubois County to visit relatives, visit our local landmarks, and others visit because they have heard and seen information in the media on Dubois County.   She encouraged all in attendance to be tourism ambassadors.   She noted how our German heritage translates in how our visitors view Dubois County.   She was presented with a token of appreciation.

Matthias Hilger, president of The Jasper Partnership Commission, presented the 9th annual German Heritage Award.   This award is presented to an individual or group who has contributed generously of their time, talents, or resources in maintaining, improving, or building upon the German roots in Dubois County.  

Sister Cities of Jasper and the Jasper Partnership Commission created the award in 1999.   The Jasper Deutscher Verein sponsored the award.   This recognition is open to all people not just residents of the City of Jasper, who give what they can in order to make a difference.   A nomination will recognize the work of those who generously support the German heritage.   A committee, consisting of the presidents of the Jasper Deutscher Verein, Sister Cities of Jasper, Inc., and the Jasper Partnership Commission, judges the nominations and selects the winner.  

Mr. Hilger noted that there were many nominations this year of many deserving people and encouraged all present to continue to nominate persons who deserve the award.

The 2007 German Heritage Award was presented to Dave and Janet Kluemper.  

Mr. Hilger noted the many areas that Mr. and Mrs. Kluemper had been active in supporting the Jasper Deutscher Verein, the Dubois County Museum, and Precious Blood Church .  

They are a true example of people doing things behind the scenes and getting very little recognition.   They have opened their home to many visitors for weekend, days, months, and even years.   They continue to correspond with those whom they have hosted.    

On behalf of the German American Bank, Jay Baker, Sr. Vice President, Retail Banking and Laura Knies, Retail Support, then presented each essay winner with a $250 scholarship and certificate.   

Mr. Gress then thanked the German American Bank for their financial assistance of the essay contest.   He also thanked Rita Egler for attending the greeting table and thanked Matthias Hilger and Dan Gutgsell for organizing the evening’s activities and thanked all for attending the dinner and supporting the German heritage.  

The remainder of the evening was spent socializing.

 2007 German Essay Award Winners
Jordan Seng, Kelsey Vonderheide, and Megan Messmer
German American Bank Representatives
Jay Baker and Laura Knies

Megan Messmer
Daughter of Christine Kemp and Patrick Messmer
Southridge High School

What Does German Heritage Mean to Me?

What does German heritage mean to me?   German heritage plays a big role in my community and also in my personal life.   The citizens of Dubois County proudly display the love they for have their German heritage by holding German – themed festivals, which help the community to better embrace their German roots.

My German heritage means a lot to me personally.   My Grandmother, Rose Mary Messmer, and my Grandfather, Orville Rudolph Mesmer, have done many things to help me maintain my German heritage.   My Grandmother helped me to develop a great love for German food.   Suppertime at Grandma’s house meant a hearty German meal of German fries, or sauerkraut and sausage.   My Grandmother always had homemade sauerkraut on hand, one of my favorite foods.   Even though my Grandmother passed away this past summer, I still have this great memory to remember her by.  

My Grandma and Grandpa Messmer always spoke German to one another.   I remember my Grandfather saying things to me in German that I could not at first understand.   That’s when I decided to take German in high school.   I am so glad that I took this class because I was able to communicate with my Grandparents in the language of their ancestors.   This skill will stay with me for the rest of my life.   I am so thankful that I could share the German language with my Grandparents and, hopefully, one day encourage my children to embrace the language themselves.

When I think of my German heritage, I also think of my Grandmother’s voice. She had a very subtle, yet distinct German accent.   Although I never met her, I have heard that her Mother also spoke in the same way.   I will always remember the way her voice sounded.  

Being of German ancestry, I have a greater pride in being who I am.   In this area, there is a large concentration of people with German ancestry.   However, in the rest of the United States, German ancestry is not prevalent.   This make me feel unique in the land of immigrants.

I am not ashamed to embrace my German heritage.   When I think of my German ancestors, I think of good, faithful people who worked hard to make a living.   This makes me so proud to have German blood running through my veins.

When I think of German heritage, I think of the German festivals our community holds.   I truly enjoy the Herbstfest and the Strassenfest.   It is a time for us, as people of German ancestry, to come together and embrace our heritage.   These festivals, especially the Strassenfest, help the citizens of our community to better understand the German culture.

My German heritage means so much to me.   I try my best to keep it present in my everyday life and to remember the things that make up that heritage.   In the future, I will maintain my heritage and pass my knowledge of the German culture on to my children in hopes that it will continue on.

Jordan Seng
Daughter of Greg and Kelly Seng
Northeast Dubois High School

My German Heritage

My heritage comes from a group of people who sought freedom in a new land.   They were honest and proud, hardworking and stubborn, and passed down their love of God and family from generation to generation.

My ancestors, who are primarily German, came to America around 1850.   They came mainly from a small village in Bayern, Germany.   My Grandmother told me that one of the main reasons for them leaving was because the area they lived in was being taken over by gypsies, who were believed to have been robbers.   They came to this land not knowing what was in store for them but brought with them their faith and hope for a better life for themselves and their families.   They faced many obstacles, both on their journey and after they settled on what was to become their new homeland.

These German immigrants came to America as workers of the land.   They not only cared for their own families, but looked out for their neighbors, too.   My Grandmother told me how her Grandmother would tell her stories of how the neighbors grouped together to plant and harvest their crops.   There were no motorized tractors.   A team of horses pulled their plows.   They had no air conditioning, fans, or refrigeration, and the women cooked over wood burning stoves.   Their lives were difficult in many ways at times, yet they never gave in to a self-centered attitude.   When someone was sick, the others helped carry the load.   When their work was done, the women would prepare a huge meal.   There would be music and dancing and they would enjoy sharing stores with one another.     They were happy and proud of the accomplishments.

Even today during this time of computers, space travel, and high tech advancements, our ancestors still touch our lives through the many characteristics and traditions they have passed on to us.   The manicured yards, the hard work and long hours put in by local farmers, the German celebrations held annually in all the cities and towns of Dubois County, the caring about our fellow man, and the importance of God and family are just a few that come to mind.

Germans then and Germans today are, for the most part, perfectionists.   They take pride in the results of the long hours of labor.   So when asked what my German heritage means to me, my answer is simply:   Sacrifice, Strength, and Stamina.

Kelsey Vonderheide
Daughter of Joe and Carol Vonderheide
Forest Park Jr. Sr. High School

For the Future

Exactly where did we come from?   A common person may answer this question by saying we all came from our parents.   This response is precisely correct; however, where did our parents come from?   Where did our parents’ parents come from?   The answer to these questions lies far across the ocean.

Dubois County , Indiana , located in the middle of the great American heartland and thousands of miles away from Germany, teems with residents having German backgrounds.   On just about every corner of every street, you can find at least one family whose ancestors came to America from Germany.   They might have come to escape the war or for other essential freedoms.   Now it is up to us, the descendents of these immigrants, to preserve and maintain our great German heritage.

Preservation of German heritage can already be found throughout Dubois County.   The Dubois County Museum provides an archive for documents, letters, and pictures of our ancestors through the years.   Throughout the summer, festivals take place to commemorate and celebrate our German heritage.   One such festival, the Strassenfest, takes place in Jasper and welcomes people from across the country and across the world to experience the German tradition of Dubois County.   Bratwurst, fried chicken, German potatoes, and traditional attire can be found during this fun-filled week.   The authentic German food enjoyed at the Strassenfest can be found year-round at the Schnitzelbank restaurant in Jasper.   This famous dining location provides a menu full of delicious German delights served by waitresses in traditional German dresses.

Although food and festivities offer a great way to preserve heritage, I believe that as the younger generation, it is our responsibility to learn and discover what our German heritage truly means.   We need to read books and visit local museums to find out about the lifestyles of the generations who came prior to us.   We can compare and contrast the ways in which we are alike and different from our ancestors.   Another excellent information source could simply be talking to our Grandparents and other relatives and friends; their priceless stores will not be available forever.   An eager approach to learning is, in my opinion, the best way to pass on our German culture.   If we don’t know the facts about whom our ancestors are and where they came from how will we be able to pass on this information to the generations following us?   I believe knowledge is the key to understanding and preserving every aspect of our lives.

So, the next time you hear someone use a German phrase, take a second to learn what it means.   Ask older family members the origin of your last name.   Take a virtual trip online to discover the lifestyle in our hometown across the globe.   Take a German class in high school or college.   The possibilities for learning are endless.   We must utilize our many resources to gain the knowledge necessary to pass on our heritage and our lives.  

JHS Student German Exchange  Program Fundraisers

Erin Doboze, JHS German Teacher, the parents of 12 students in the JHS Student German Exchange Program, and the students will be selling hamburgers on Friday, November 2 nd, at Buehler’s Buy-Low in Jasper beginning at 4pm and ending at 7:30pm.   They will also be selling hamburgers on Saturday, November 3 rd beginning at 10:00am and ending at 2pm.   Along with the Hamburger Sale, they will offer Buehler’s Buy Low Coupon Books for $5 each.   You may use the coupon for $5 for purchases over $50 from Buehler’s Buy Low.  

Members of the JHS Student German Exchange Program will visit Poessneck and Staufen, Germany in June of 2009.

News from Norb Krapf

Norb Krapf and Monika Herzig will perform from their forthcoming jazz and poetry CD, Imagine – Indiana in Music and Words at the following venues:

Fri., Nov. 30, 7:00-9:00 p.m., Earth House Coffee Shop, CD release party for Norbert Krapf and Monika Herzig’s Imagine - Indiana  in Music and Words

Sun., Dec. 9, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Dubois County Museum, Jasper, IN, Norbert Krapf and Monika Herzig perform from Imagine – Indiana in Music and Words

Address Changes for Newsletters

If a member has an address change, please notify Rita Egler at P. O. Box 15, Jasper, IN   47547-0015 or call her at 634-9068.  

Any help you can give in maintaining postage costs is greatly appreciated!!!!

Potential New Club Members

If someone knows of a potential new club member and would like information about the Deutscher Verein forwarded, please contact Ruth Wibbels at 482-5403 or Rita Egler at 634-9068.


Please remember to return any empty beer bottles from the Picnic to Bob Sunderman or Matthias Hilger.

The following is a series of articles that appeared in The Dubois County Daily Herald in 1957.   These articles also appear on the DeutscherVerein website.   Enjoy!!!!

Erinnerst Du Dich?

From The Dubois County Daily Herald
Monday, July 1, 1957

Das Music Fest Will Provide Varied Music

“Das Musik Fest”, a musical variety program sponsored by the Philharmonic Club, will climax Friday’s program of Pioneer German Days activity.   The program will be staged in the Tivoli theatre, beginning at 8:00 P.M.

The majority of the musical numbers scheduled to be presented have a German flavor and the type of music offered runs the gamut from pioneer German ballads to the more serious work of Beethoven.   While the program committee has aimed at including music of all types, most of the works are those popular with all who enjoy music.

The Tivoli’s stage will be transformed into a German beer garden setting, replete with bearded and costumed patrons.   Jack Newton will serve as master of ceremonies and the German band will consist of Arch Schwinghammer, Dennis Eckerle, Herman Kiefer, Dan Hoffman and Dave Sermersheim.

Singing waiters, “The Four Krauts”, will take part.   The quartet, made up of Ray and Ralph Birk, Charles Schuch and Tom Vollmer, will include an old German ditty they are working up especially for the program.

Sprinkled in with the light and the serious German music will be several numbers by contemporary composers.   A mixed quartet consisting of Mrs. Flora Stenftenagel, Mrs. Martha Pittman, Tom Thomas and Tom Wuchner, will sing Cole Porter’s “Wunderbar” and a sextet, Mesdames Marilyn Gramelspacher, Pat Fritch, Louise Newman, Stella Joseph, Marie Gramelspacher and Louise Traylor, will render the ever-popular “Make Believe”, by Jerome Kern.

German songs of pioneer days will be offered by “The Schnickelfritz Band”, headed by Albert Kapp and including Joe Altmeyer of St. Meinrad and Oscar Kunkler and Herbie Obermeier of Fulda.   A German polka folk dance will be presented by Ruth Weaver and Randolyn Potter.

Mrs. Dot Graves will do German dialect monologues and a trumpet duet, “The Polkateers”, will be played by Dennis Eckerle and Arch Schwinghammer.   The Philharmonic chorus, under the direction of Mrs. Rosina Schuler, will sing two numbers.

Piano solos, both classical yet popular, will be presented by Mrs. Lou Newman, who will play Chopin’s “Fantasie Impromptu”, and Mrs. Margaret Wilson, offering “Moonlight Sonata”, by Beethoven.

The melodious combination of flute and soprano voice will be heard in the “Swiss Echo Song” by Karl Eckert.   Mrs. Schuler will sing while Phyllis Schneider will play the flute and Mrs. Jane Krempp will provide the accompaniment.

“Neu, Wer die Sehnsucht Kennt” (None but the lonely heart), will be sung by Mrs. Pittman, a mezzo-soprano, accompanied by Mrs. Dorothy Collins.

The audience will take part in the closing number, the old German drinking song, “Schnitzelbank”, lead by Mrs. Della Krodel and accompanied by the German Band.

Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, der Gemut-lich-keit, Ein Prosit Ein Prosit, der Gemut-lich-keit, Eins Zwei, Drei…G’suffa

A toast, A toast, To happy times, A toast, A toast, To happy times, One, two three… drink up

Jasper Deutscher Verein (German Club)
German Heritage Endowment

A donor-advised endowment to benefit generations in ensuring that our German heritage is preserved and enriched in Jasper and Dubois County.

Claude and Martina Eckert
Sister Cities Endowment

A designated endowment to provide support to Sister Cities of Jasper, Inc. to support the Jasper/Pfaffenweiler relationship.

A gift to the Jasper Deutscher Verein (German Club) German Heritage Endowment or to the Claude and Martina Eckert Sister Cities Endowment is a wonderful way to remember that special someone. A gift in honor of someone or in memory of someone may be given. The Dubois County Community Foundation will send a letter of acknowledgment to the individual being honored or to the family of someone being remembered. Send your gift along with the appropriate information to the Dubois County Community Foundation, P. O. Box 269, Jasper, IN 47547-0269. Envelopes are also available at the greeting table at each club meeting.


Enclosed is my gift of $___________.   Please direct my gift to the __________________________________ Endowment (Please specify appropriate Endowment).  

Name: _______________________________________

Address: _____________________________________

City/State/Zip: _________________________________

I want my gift to be in memory of/in honor of:



Please acknowledge gift:

Name: _______________________________________



If you have any comments, questions or suggestions please contact Matthias Hilger or Patti Goepfrich.

Deutscher Verein

Officers :

Directors :

Virgil Gress - President
Al Bennett - Vice President
Rita Egler - Treasurer
Ruth Wibbels - Secretary

Die Zeitung
Editor:  Patti Goepfrich
Phone: 482-4821
e-mail:  pmgoep@fullnet.com

Fr. John Boeglin
Dave Buehler
Bob Dilger
Raymie Eckerle
Dan Gutgsell
Jim Gutgsell
Matthias Hilger
Janet Kluemper
Linus Lechner
Danny Wehr