Carpathian Germans in America 2

History of Carpathian Germans in America 2

The Interwar Years

Thanks to, among others, obituaries in the monthly editions of the Karpatenpost, and a phenomenal article by Kurt Sauter (“Gustav Adolf Weiss & der Zipser Bund von Amerika“) in the 1986 Karpatenjahrbuch (pages 110-115), we now know more about that period. After World War I ended, and mail services started to function again, Carpathian German-Americans learned about dislocation and the atrocities and incredible hunger in their home region.

Relief was not an easy thing to organize. Like other German-Americans, the Carpathian Germans had been vilified and attacked as “hyphenate Huns”, and many of them were surely intimidated so they wouldn’t express their concern publicly with fellow groups of individuals who were German as well. David Kennedy describes that hate-filled atmosphere very well in his work Over Here: The First World War and American Society  (1980), and also Joan Jensen in The Prince of Vigilance (1968) sets a clear picture. Many Carpathian Germans were discreetly and directly helping their families in a great way.

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Carpathian Germans in America 1

History of Carpathian Germans in America 1

The 1860s – World War I (1914-1918)

It could well be that Anton Schmidt, a Pressburg tinsmith, was the first Germany-based immigrant from the area that today is Slovakia in Central-eastern Europe. Already in the mid-1750s, Schmidt married into the Pennsylvania community of the Moravian Brothers. Anton Schmidt was born in Pressburg in 1725 and died in Berks County, Pennsylvania, in 1793. Most probably, some more individuals immigrated to America as well in that period of time.

Later, between the 1860s and the start of World War I in 1914, tens of thousands of Carpathian Germans left Europe and emigrated to the New World. After 1900, many families immigrated to the area around Charleroi, Pennsylvania, especially people from the town of Muennichwies. Around 1940, Thomas Kendrick, a Muennichwies descendant, estimated the number at families in that area around three hundred.

More Carpathian Germans came to America, and families from the village of Metzenseifen settled in Cleveland, Ohio, to work at the factory of Theodor Kundtz (1852-1937). Kundtz was also from Metzenseifen who had gotten wealthy in the late 1800s manufacturing wooden cases for the sewing machines produced by White, at least that’s the story on a website of one of these immigrants’ granddaughter. Quite a few descendants of these Carpathian German families, with names like Eiben, Kundtz, and Mueller, still live in the Cleveland area.

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German Influences – Food

German Food in America

American food is heavily influenced by the Germans, though this influence is largely hidden because it has been around for such a long time. The most reliable accounts state that around 25 percent of the American population is in some way of German descent. In earlier days, German restaurants and their food guaranteed a top notch culinary standard across most major American cities. Nowadays, German restaurants are pretty hard to come by, even in cities that have strong German ties and traditions such as Milwaukee, Cincinnati, or St. Louis.  and Milwaukee. Nevertheless, both the hamburger and the

Anyway, both the frankfurter and the hamburger and many other cured meat and sausage varieties, egg noodles, and numerous other so-called “typical American dishes have “their roots in the German cuisine. Strong German influences are even found in the proud barbecue cooking styles of many central Texas areas that house some major German influence pockets.

Some very popular American dishes, such as sauerbraten (the famous sweet and sour roast) retain their German names, just like sauerkraut, knackwurst (the sausage often referred to as knockwurst), leberwurst (that was slightly altered into liverwurst), and the always highly popular bratwurst. Americans are using the original German names comfortably, regardless whether they are of German descent or not.

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