AGAINST THE ODDS: Angela Merkel’s Rise to Power

AGAINST THE ODDS: Angela Merkel’s Rise to Power. Video of the Power Point Presentation, New Ulm, MN, Public Library, March 26, 2015.
 As the daughter of a Lutheran pastor growing up in communistic East Germany (behind the Iron Curtain), Angela Merkel’s limited opportunities seemed to bar her from success. Dr. Yogi Reppmann discusses this remarkable woman’s journey to the most powerful position in Europe. Since 1961, shortly before the Berlin Wall had been built, Yogi was visiting every summer his grandma in the famous city of Jena, East Germany.

Jena in Thüringen: Kindheitserinnerungen & demokratische 1848er Revolutionäre

video screenshot

1848: demokratische Revolutionaere aus Schleswig – Holstein praegen Thueringen. Dort beginnen auch meine  ersten Kindheitserinnerungen, die ich mit Reisen in Verbindung bringe. Einmal im Jahr fuhren wir zu den Eltern meiner Mutter und ihrer Schwester. Sie wohnten in Jena in der DDR. Die Fahrt war stets ungeheuerlich aufregend. Sie dauerte nicht nur unendlich, sondern wurde auch unterbrochen durch die sagenhafte Kontrolle an der Zonengrenze zwischen Ost- und Westdeutschland. Es war wie Hollywood. Die DDR – Grenzer kamen mit Maschinenpistolen und grimmigen Mienen zu unseren Sitzplätzen.

Meine Mutter, die 1944 in ihrer pommerschen Geburtsstadt, Schneidemühl, heute Polen, ihr Abi machte, kam via Berlin am 2. Mai 1945 nach Flensburg, S-H. Ihre Eltern flüchteten kurz nach Kriegsende westwärts und landeten rein zufällig, weil dort ein überfüllter Zug endete, in Jena. Die Stadt war von den Amerikanern kampflos eingenommen worden. Die Geschichte nahm aber schnell einen  anderen Verlauf: Die GIs rückten am 1. Juli 1945 ab und übergaben den Sowjets die Befehlsgewalt.

So gehörte Jena plötzlich zur Sowjetisch Besetzten Zone und später zur DDR, wo ich als Kind und Jugendlicher in jedem Jahr einen Teil meiner Sommerferien verbrachte.

Yogi Reppmann, Flensburg & Northfield, MN —

Hollywood – Adventures with Yogi (by Joey Kronzer)

Kronzer Braeden April 2015 Riviera Tennis Club

Joey Kronzer & Eric Braeden in Pacific Palisades’ finest tennis club.

The long anticipated tennis rematch had finally arrived. Yogi versus Eric: part II. At a quarter past 4 on Saturday April 4th, 2015, Yogi and I walked onto court 1 of the Rivera Tennis Club for what was sure to be a battle to end all battles – unless we were to lose of course. And ten minutes into the match down 0-3, it was starting to look as though there might have to be third match before Yogi is to be victorious. The point play was action-packed and filled with highlight reel quality shots, but between points the three native Germans were able trash-talk each other in their native tongue – or compliment me, I can never be sure. Eric and his doubles partner Phillip, a UCLA graduate, were able to just squeak out the win, finishing with a score of a highly contested 6-0, 6-0 match. Upon completion of the match, I was able to hit around with Eric for a period of time. Although he is a man of dominating presence and fame, he struck me remarkably human. Never at any point throughout out hitting session did I feel he was looking at me with anything but mutual respect; if anything I believe Eric was actually looking up to me. To have a man as powerful and famous as Eric Braeden (e.g. John Jacob Astor in Titanic) respect my talents and appreciate my time in a genuine fashion meant the world to me. I have not personally met a person who I would consider to be famous – until now –, but I doubt any stars I meet in the future will be as excited to meet me as I was to meet him. It reminds me of the things that truly matter in life: not a big house or fancy cars, but people. The relationships that one forms with others are the things that have a lasting impact upon more than just oneself. I have no doubt I have taken a step in the right direction toward creating life-long friendships with both Eric and Yogi: My friends from northern Germany.

I met Yogi at a tennis doubles clinic in the basement of the Skoglund Field House T, Saint Olaf College, Northfield, MN, in the closing months of 2014. Being a member of the Saint Olaf tennis team, I was one of the instructors assigned to teach a court of doubles; little did I know that I was about to form a friendship that would propel a remarkable journey leading half way across the country to go and meet a movie star. Upon completion of the clinic Yogi was quick to inform me that he enjoyed my teaching style and passion for the game we both cherish: a compliment I accepted with pride coming from a retired college professor. After sharing some initial details about our lives we discovered a mutual love for not only the game of tennis, but for history, neuroscience and conducting research. Yogi gave me his business card as an opportunity to conduct research together: an opportunity to learn from my student.

Santa Monica April 2015

Santa Monica, CA, overlooking the magical Pacific.

Unfortunately, we met at a hectic time for me in my first semester experience of junior year: a time filled with papers and exams, which did not allow me the leisure time to begin another research project. But a few weeks later, after a round of midterms, I found Yogi’s business card on my desk and decided to take a chance. Within a week of emailing him for the first time, we had planned a lunch to discuss our future together as a research team. Yogi, being a freelance historian, was working on multiple projects at the time, but the one that could my eye was a project about post World War II work camp diaries and the rich story that went along with them. Yogi and a few dedicated college students were able to translate the Barbour diaries – belonging to the parents of current Saint Olaf professor John Barbour – into German such that we could create a bilingual story about personal experiences in work camps just after WWII. Helping with the layout design of the novel, I knew Yogi and I were going to be able to accomplish much together in the future.

Having known Yogi for only a few months, his invitation to play tennis in California with a Hollywood star friend of his was startling at first. But the more and more we were able to discuss its possibility, the more comfortable and excited I became. One day I received an email from Yogi saying that he had talked to Eric Braeden and we would be able to fly out to California at the end of my spring break to play in Hollywood. And that’s exactly what we chose to do. We would fly out on a Friday, play tennis on Saturday and return to Minnesota on Sunday. We met up on Thursday night to have one last practice before our big match and to test the recording equipment – this was to be used to record our seemingly inevitable triumph and I only realized at this moment we forgot to record the match. We were feeling confident, we were feeling excited and we were feeling ready for the trip of a lifetime – who goes all the way across the country to play one tennis match and then flies home? That sounds like a unique trip to me. After having lunch with and receiving love from Yogi’s wife Gitta, we departed for the Minneapolis airport. After parking our car, we boarded a shuttle only to find my middle school physical education teacher on his way to start his vacation in Florida!

Braeden Il Forno Restaurant April 2015 birthday

After tennis, Eric Braeden’s birthday dinner party with his close friends in his favorite Italian Restaurant Il Forno, Santa Monica, CA.

Yogi and I have no problems catching our plane from Minneapolis to Los Angeles; we even had time to meet a few new people along the way. I remember taking off on our way to LAX, and it was funny that the second the plane began to gain speed on the runway was the first time I registered our trip was actually happening. One of the best characteristics I can say about Yogi is his dreaming attitude. He is constantly coming up with projects and plans that would be interesting to research or fun to partake. But this was the moment that it hit me: we are doing this. We are taking his dreams and making them realities. This once again opened my mind to the possibilities of all that we may be able to accomplish together. I have been blessed to be friends with one who isn’t afraid of rejection, someone who isn’t afraid to dream big and to put his name out on the line. In this sense, Yogi has taught me more about the importance and application of networking than days upon days staring at my social media sights ever have: a subject he has mastered and one which I still have much to learn. It’s always funny to recall our relationship started with me being the teacher, while now I am often the one learning. But much like the computer work on the Barbour diaries, (German student work camps, 1948), I have been able to teach Yogi about electronics, most often on layovers, and important computer or smartphone shortcuts, which have hopefully had an impact on his quality of life – or at least cut down on his technological frustrations. Reaching LAX airport safely, I am recalling walking off the plane, shaking Yogi’s hand and saying, “We made it!”

Contemporary Art by Women – German Embassy, London

Ammon  Katalog NEU Deckblatt Plakat Contemporary Art LONDON

Contemporary Art by Women
German Embassy, London
34 Belgrave Square
5 February – 5 April 2015

Screenshot 2015-01-31 16.33.14Some say the battle for gender equality is over, at least in principle. Women won. So why does this exhibition set its sights solely on female artists? Is the artist’s gender still relevant in the 21st century?
Up to the early 20th century, female artists, like women in general, found their professional development limited by the societal constraints that forcibly reduced their role to mother and wife. […]
I hope you like the contemporary art exhibited here and you will join me in my belief that societies should make an effort to bring the artistic talents of women to the centre of our attention where they belong.
— Marliese Heimann-Ammon

Legacy of 1848 Conference Talks, Wartburg College, 2013

In short, the Legacy of 1848 Conference will attempt to highlight the timeless legacy of democratic and moral values the Forty-eighters brought to America.

We have the collection of talks of distinguished scholars from both Germany and America from the 2013 Wartburg College Legacy of 1848 Conference. Including such speakers as Professor Karl Fink, Edith Robbins, Michael Meyer, Marvin Kissmer, Tova Brandt, and Amanda Wolfson, these recordings present intriguing research about the 1848ers and their lasting impact on today’s world.

(To skip forwards and backwards through the playlist, use the arrows in the bottom-left. To jump directly to any session, push “Playlist,” in the top left, and navigate from there.)

We have posted the entire Legacy of 1848 Conference program on our website, but we also have extracted an excerpt of the summary of speakers and sessions below.


Opening Remarks
Darrel Colson, President, Wartburg College; Joachim “Yogi” Reppmann, The Forgotten Forty-Eighter: The Wilhelm von Schirach Story and the Stoltenberg Forty-Eighter Institute; Daniel Walther, Gerald Kleinfeld Distinguished Professor in German History, Wartburg College

Session 1AYogi Reppmann
Daniel Nagel
, The Democratic Republicanism of the German Forty-Eighters; David Ellis, The Other Forty-Eighters: Redefining ‘Freedom’ in the Wake of the 1848 Revolution; Martin Rackwitz, Why did the Schleswig-Holstein-Question lead to the failure of the German national parliament in 1848?

Session 2A—Klaus Lemke-Paetznick
Alison Orton, German Anarchists and Bohemian Savages?: Chicago’s Ethnic Militias, 1848 Ideology, and United States Citizenship, 1870 – 1880; Terrence Lindell, Henry Goldhammer, Waverly’s Forgotten Forty-Eighter; Vern Rippley, Albert WolffMinnesota’s German Forty-Eighter

Session 2B—Yvonne Losch
Derk Janssen
, Exchange of Ideas: Transatlantic Political Concepts; Karl Fink, Schiller’s Ode to Joy in Different Tones

Session 3A—Niels Eichhorn
Edith Robbins, Fred Hedde, Immigration Agent for the State of Nebraska; Jan Jessen, Those left behind – The effects of the immigration on the Duchy of Schleswig

Session 3B
Erik Grell,
Prosaic Politics: Early German Liberalism and Berthold Auerbach’s Amerikabild in the Schwarzwälder Dorfgeschichten (1843); Dorothea Nelson, From Farmer to Philharmonic: Hans Balatka’s American Journey; Michael Meyer, 1848 Revolution in Europe and Germany: Influence in America


Session 4A
Niels Eichhorn, Separatist Forty-Eighters: The United States and a Legacy of 1848; Peter Mathews, Harro Harring, Life and struggle of a forgotten poet and knight of freedom; Peter Lubrecht, Mapping the United States and Drawing the Civil War: Charles T. Lubrecht, “Forty-Eighter” Lithographer and Artist

Session 5A—Terry Lindell
Larry Gill, Why were Forty-Eighters in the Civil War?; Joseph Cofield, Franz Sigel and the German Forty-Eighters: Impact on the American Civil War; Amanda Wolfson, The Newspaper as a Site of Collective Memory: The New Ulm Post and the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862

Session 5B
Matthew Lindaman
, Divergent Paths: Context and Opportunity in the Lives of Three Forty-EightersChristopher Brooks, Der Pionier, African-Americans, and Abolitionist America: The Case of John S. RockMarvin Kissmer, Panic of 1857 – Davenport’s Forty-Eighter in the First Global Financial Crisis

Session 6A—Jan Jessen and Yogi Reppmann
Roundtable Discussion, Parallels in Immigrant and Ethnic Museums:
 Tova Brandt, Danish Immigrant Museum, Elk Horn; Laurann Gilbertson, Vesterheim, Norwegian-American Museum, Decorah

Session 7A—Martin Rackwitz
Klaus Lemke-Paetznick, Theodor Olshausen’s History of the MormonsJoachim Bodenstaff, Olshausenstele 2009 – Modern Forty- Eighter Culture of MemoryYogi Reppmann, The Stoltenberg Institute for German-American Forty-Eighter Studies

Amerika – Auswanderung: 10-teilige Zeitungsserie, Flensborg Avis, Jan. 2015 (dt.)

Amerika – Auswanderung, 10 x zwei gr. Doppelseiten von dem hochtalentierten Jungjournalisten, Lennart Adam, Flensborg Avis. Einmalige Qualitaet – bislang hat noch nie ein Journalist so erfolgreich dieses komplexe Thema ‘angepackt’.

Die gesamte Serie in diesem PDF: US-Auswanderung, Len Adam Serie – Flensborg Avis, Jan. 2015.dt. 10 TeileFlensburg Avis

Talk at New Ulm, MN—Charismatic 1848ers

Although Germany will always remain our cherished Vaterland, America has been our beloved “Motherland” since 1992. Since that time, we’ve made twenty-three transatlantic trips “commuting” between our German home in Flensburg, Schleswig-Holstein, and our American home in Northfield, Minnesota.
In the spirit of German-American friendship, we invite you to enjoy an entertaining and informative sixty-minute video of our talk at Minnesota’s New Ulm Public Library, about 1848ers from Europe in America.

Many of us have dreamed of finding a treasure chest filled with riches. For Dr. Joachim “Yogi” Reppmann (Flensburg, Germany/Northfield, Minnesota), that dream came true. The chest he discovered contained a treasure far more valuable to the immigration historian than precious metals or gems. It held riches of a different kind: yellowed historical documents with red wax seals bearing witness to the yearnings of 1848ers Christian Müller and Hans Reimer Claussen.

Together with his colleague Scott Christiansen (Iowa City), Reppmann has studied these remarkable 160-year-old documents, which have yielded deep insights into the intellectual vitality and resoluteness of an amazing group of immigrants known as the “Forty-eighters.” This immigrant group consisted of a relatively small number of democratic revolutionaries who emigrated from Europe in the late 1840s and early 1850s after fighting unsuccessfully with both pen and sword for liberty, democracy, and national unity.

New York’s Steuben Society recently honored Dr. Reppmann (of Germany’s Stoltenberg Institute for German-American Forty-eighter Studies) for his research on the 1848 movement’s democratic impact in Germany and America. Please, enjoy: ‘Forty-eighters and Friends’,