F. W. Sallet and the Dakota Freie
Rippley, La Vern J. "F. W. Sallet and the Dakota Freie Presse." North Dakota History, 1992, 2-20.
When the Dakota Freie Presse finally ceased publication on February 24, 1954, it had performed an eminently successful eighty-year role as the principal organ of communication for the ethnic Germans from Russia.1 Even more so than the church and the school in a typical ethnic community, this paper functioned like a "central nervous system" for the Germans from Russia. In many respects, it transcended the churches and schools, for these ethnic Germans fell into essentially three separate religious categories: the Evangelical, the Catholic, and the Mennonite.2 Each religious denomination had its own centripetal cohesion. Education and social life revolved in a constellation around each particular religion so that at times even the strong ethnic cohesiveness of the German-Russians was incapable of surmounting their religious differences. This newspaper, however, was nondenominational and neutral in politics; therefore it could do what religion and ethnicity alone could not do. Proudly the Dakota Freie Presse claimed to be the "the oldest and most widely distributed newspaper for the German-Russians in the entire world."3
To the last, the DFP was not particularly interested in reporting the news of a cultural or political nature from the German Reich. Nor did it make an overt effort to explain the American culture to its clientele. It did, however, offer its services in every way possible to promote understanding and cooperation among the Germans in America. But its focus of attention was distinctly on the Germans from Russia and the relations between the Germans still in Russia and those who were living in the United States. In that regard, it assisted the German-Russians immeasurably in maintaining a cohesiveness and a pride in their heritage to an extent that was unknown within any other German immigrant group anywhere in the world.
Throughout most of its years, the DFP actively sought to have as its mission that of serving as a clearing-house of information for, and about, the German-Russians. Illustrating this mission to the end, the last issue carried a notice in which the prices were listed for subscriptions to any place in the world: $5.00 per year for the United States, $5.75 for Canada, $7.00 for countries in South America, and $8.00 for anywhere in Europe. Thus, the DFP as a German-language paper was atypical. Carl Schurz, perhaps the most distinguished of all German-Americans, once said in an address to the press club of New York that the three main purposes of the German-language press in America were: 1) to explain America to those who could not yet read English, 2) to keep the German element informed of the intellectual progress of Germany, and 3) to promote understanding and cooperation among the Germans in the United States.4 Although correct in most respects, Schurz' statements do not apply to the DFP.
In part, the paper maintained its remarkable hold on its far-flung readers because its editor and publisher during the period from 1903 to 1932 was Friedrich Wilhelm Sallet, who showed a genuine flair for brief, but informative, editorial comments. His regular column, "Sallet's Views" (Sallet's Betrachtungen), was fashioned after the then-respected and popular "Today" column of Arthur Brisbane, chief editorialist of the Hearst papers.5 Always on the front page, the Betrachtungen continued right through the Richard Sallet years and always showed the strong opinions of the editor-publisher of the paper. What is remarkable is that the Sallet views were frequently written in the interest of some cause that affected the Germans from Russia—famine in Russia in 192l, shortages and the lack of news about their fate in the mid-1920s, the repeat of famine and hunger in 1933. Sallet's vision of the paper was to foster the well-being of the Germans from Russia and those still in Russia. His essays frequently dealt with the situation in Russia, but his efforts also led to the first systematic publication of narratives about each settlement of German-Russians on the Great Plains.6 Sometimes addressing political leaders in the United States and at other times those in Germany, Sallet expressed shock at the fate of the Germans in Russia during World War I, and he was horrified at their outcome when the Bolsheviks began roaming their territories. Most disgusting of all was the treatment meted out to the Germans left in Russia during the period of Stalinization and the breakneck speed at which their agriculture was collectivized after 1928.
This is not to say that F. W. Sallet and his immediate successor, Richard Sallet, defined and established this socioethnic solidarity; rather their talents reinforced a tendency that had developed naturally. Namely, the Germans who migrated from Reich states to Russia at the invitation of Catherine the Great and her successors to farm lands along the Black Sea and the Volga River always treasured their identity as ethnic Germans; their religion as Catholic, Protestant, or Mennonite; and their language, schools, and culture as German. In fact, they were so conscious of their singularity as Germans in Russia that they refused to assimilate with the surrounding Russian plurality. When these ethnic Germans emigrated from Russia to the United States, largely between the years 1872 and 1914, they continued to a remarkable degree their life-patterns of separation from their neighbors and cohesion among themselves.7 Commenting on the DFP's role in serving these Germans, Der Auslanddeutsche 8, a bimonthly publication of the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (founded in 1917 and known until 1945 as the Deutsches Ausland-Institut) in Stuttgart, Germany, stated in 1920:
The Dakota Freie Presse is the recognized organ of the Russian-Germans in America and perhaps in the whole world. As such, it offers largely the private correspondence of its readers. Although these write-ups are superficial and rather insignificant as far as content is concerned, below the surface they have great importance because the identity and cohesion of the German ethnics who emigrated from Russia has been thereby maintained for nearly fifty years.9
Politicians in South Dakota sometimes referred to the paper as the "bible of the Russian-Germans." In the course of its nearly eighty-year history, the paper was treated like a "bible" for it did accompany many a German-Russian family not only through several generations but across several continents. Often the paper was their political adviser, their economic guide, and the very impetus that set them thinking about migrating to America.10
Founded in April of 1874, the Dakota Freie Presse was originally edited and published in Yankton, South Dakota. From the scant information we have, it was established and at first edited by Bernhard Quinke, who sold it the following year to Judge Charles F. Rossteuscher.11 In turn, Rossteuscher sold the paper to Gustav A. Wetter, who seems to have edited and published the paper from 1876-1885. In 1885 or 1886, Johann Christian Wenzlaff bought the paper. Gustav G. Wenzlaff wrote that Johann Christian Wenzlaff had "this literary urge that finally induced him to acquire the Dakota Freie Presse of Yankton, the oldest German publication in Dakota Territory, circulated in many states, Canada and in the colonies in Europe. He acquired a building lot on Broadway and erected a brick building to house the printing establishment and editorial room."12
A year later Wenzlaff sold the DFP to his oldest son, Salomon Wenzlaff, who had just finished a four-year term (1882-1886) in Tyndall as treasurer of Bon Homme County. The DFP thus became a family affair. A gifted businessman who held hardware stores in Scotland and Tyndall, South Dakota, Salomon Wenzlaff owned and published the paper alone until 1892 when he was joined in the venture by a man named Krause, making it Krause and Wenzlaff until approximately 1901.13 The DFP firm then passed into the hands of Krause, Ellerman, Kositzky, and Lusk until 1903 when it was sold to Friedrich Wilhelm Sallet, the major figure in the paper's next three decades.
Further information regarding the DFP in this period derives from a comment by Gustav Wenzlaff concerning his brother-in-law, Gustav Kositzky (1845-1930) who had been born in Posen, Germany. In 1901, Kositzky "finally returned to Old Yankton....Here he became one of the owners of the Yankton Printing Company, which combined under one management two of the oldest newspapers in the state, The Press and Dakotan, in English, and Die Dakota Freie Presse, in German."14 According to Gustav Kositzky's son, Dr. James Coe (name shortened from Kositzky), Gustav sold his share in the DFP to the co-owners Krause, Ellerman, and Lusk. It was the latter three partners who would negotiate the sale to F. W. Sallet. Note, however, that Gustav Kositzky with Ellerman would repurchase the paper from F. W. Sallet in 1906-1908, and that Kositzky would continue as a correspondent for the paper throughout this time and into the early Sallet years.
At the age of about eighty, John Christian Wenzlaff, Jr., (1860-1951) wrote in his autobiography:
I accepted an offer to work as foreman with the Dakota Freie Presse in Yankton, South Dakota, and accordingly, moved there with my family in August, 1893. The Dakota Freie Presse had been owned by my father Johann Christian Wenzlaff, (Sr.) (1827-1894), and later by my brother Salomon, but when I took employment with the newspaper, it was owned and operated by my brother and a partner under the name of Krause and Wenzlaff. I was employed with the newspaper for twelve and a half years. During these years my brother sold his share in the newspaper to Herman Ellerman and finally, the partners Krause and Ellerman sold the newspaper to a man named Sallet who was the owner when I terminated my long employment with the paper. 15
The early years of the DFP prior to the sale to Sallet were already characterized by its concern for the Germans from Russia, a mission that evolved only after the German-Russian Wenzlaff family acquired it. Initially it had a very low and only local circulation (295 copies in 1875, 1200 in 1880, 2170 in 1890, and 3400 in 1900), and not until after the F. W. Sallet years commenced did the paper take on its transregional nature and a skyrocketing circulation (7,500 in 1905, 9,500 in 1910, and nearly 14,000 by 1920). 16 Since few copies of the paper prior to the 1903 publication date exist, however, it is difficult to make more than generalizing remarks about its appearance, size, focus, and readership.
In 1903, however, the DFP already had its stringers in the key German-Russian settlements, such as S. Müller in Parkston, Franz Tempel in Marion, John Lehr in Delmont, Philip Schamber in Eureka (all in South Dakota), as well as Fred Spiry in Iowa and Samuel Pflugrath in Washington state. There were none in North Dakota at this time, reflecting the fact that the German-Russians had at the time just begun their trek into North Dakota where their settlements almost all date from the early twentieth century. Coverage of the German-Russian settlements in Europe was reflected in reports from Heinrich Reich who roved the northern rim of the Black Sea, Georg Weikum in Rohrbach (Rogowka) Kherson District, Karl Berndt in Neu Danzig (Balazkoje) Kherson District, Martin Radke in Cogelac, and Simon Schilikowski and Emil Arnold in the Crimea, all of whom apparently lived directly in the local villages. At that time the paper was mainly distributed in the area of South Dakota (with a few subscribers in North Dakota) where it was read only by German-Russians from the Black Sea region of Russia.
In passing the torch of ownership in 1903, both the former owners, Krause and Ellerman, and the new one, F. W. Sallet, addressed their readers in the July 30, 1903, issue of the DFP. Sallet reiterated that he had gained newspaper experience with the Wisconsin Thalbote in Merrill beginning in 1894 and then sold it in 1902 to return to Germany to take over a family newspaper there. When he discovered, however, that his children preferred to live in America, he too came to the realization that he wished to spend his life in the United States. F. W. Sallet then traveled the states from the Atlantic to the Pacific in search of an appropriate paper to purchase. In acquiring the DFP, Sallet expressed his gratitude to the employees who would remain with him, in particular his assistant editor, Gustav Lyser, and his print-shop foreman, Christian Wentzlaff, the latter of German-Russian origin.
Friedrich Wilhelm Sallet was born on December 16, 1859, in Langheim, East Prussia, of Karl and Luisa (Bress) Sallet, a family that traced its history back to the thirteenth century when the name was written "Salleyde." During the Reformation, Margarethe, the daughter of Martin Luther, married a man named Kunheim. Kunheim's mother was born Sallet, and thus the family was converted to the Lutheran religion. Five Sallet brothers once served in the army of Frederick the Great (accounting for the family preference for the name Friedrich), and a Daniel Sallet, grandfather of F. W. and the namesake for Richard's father, fought against Napoleon during the Völkerschlacht (Battle of the Nations) at Leipzig.
Friedrich Wilhelm married Ida Rosenbreier (of Swedish extraction) who had been born at Obo, Finland, in 1865. The wedding took place in Helsingfors, now Helsinki, but this marriage ended in divorce.17 There were, however, four children: Carl Friedrich, born June 22, 1889, in Helsinki, who came to America with his parents when he was one year old. 18 Another son, Harald Wilhelm, was born October 20, 1891, in Chicago.19 Daughter Hedwig (Hattie) was born about 1893 in Merrill, Wisconsin 20, while Herbert H. was born October 10, 1896, in Merrill and lived in New Ulm. In a second marriage, F. W. Sallet married Elizabeth Goetz (in Milwaukee) who had been born October 17, 1884, in Yankton, South Dakota, and died December 28, 1946, in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.21 Of this marriage there were two children, Frederick William, Jr., born June 28, 1907, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who married and moved to Florida, and Hans Daniel, born October 28, 1909, who did not marry but ran the farm in Minocqua.
As far as the newspaper preparation is concerned, F. W. Sallet started school in 1865 in Langheim, then continued his studies after 1867 in Rössel and moved with his parents to Königsberg in 1872, where he became an apprentice to a printing firm in 1874. In 1880 he visited Russia, traveling first to Memel, then Riga and finally St. Petersburg, from where he crossed to Helsingfors. Able by this time to speak French, Russian, and Swedish, he married his first wife, had his first son Carl F., and worked on a Swedish paper until about 1890 when he returned to Germany. From there he left almost immediately for the United States, spending the first few years in Chicago.22
By 1894, F. W. Sallet had moved to Merrill, Wisconsin, where he bought the Lincoln County Anzeiger and founded the Wisconsin Thalbote shortly thereafter.23 He published these papers until 1902 when he sold them, left Merrill to pay a visit to his fatherland, and ultimately returned to the United States, where, in Yankton, South Dakota, as we have noted above, he purchased the DFP from the firm of Krause and Ellerman.
No sooner had Sallet bought the paper than he took a trip to learn to know his readers. He went first to Scotland, then Menno, Freeman, and Marion, South Dakota, where he found Jakob Hieb, who later became a continuing contributor to his paper. Everywhere he found people who were interested in keeping up the German language, traditions, and customs, and who viewed the DFP as their medium of solidarity in this undertaking.
In September 1905, the paper moved into new quarters in Yankton and declared itself politically independent, thereby losing the patronage of the Republican Council of Yankton. However, the new publisher gained the support of many German-Russians as a result of which the paper could boast of having not only the finest publishing house in South Dakota but also more subscribers than any English-language paper in South Dakota.
Less than a year later, however, in March 1906, Sallet sold his publishing business, his building, and all his presses to the firm of Ellerman and Kositzky. As mentioned above, Gustav Kositzky had been a traveling correspondent for the paper for years. Involved in operating the newly acquired business were Hermann Ellermann, Gustav Kositzky, John Holmann and W.C. Lusk. These new and temporary owners called the firm the Yankton Printing Company and placed primary editorial responsibility with Gustav Lyser, who had been with the company for some years prior.24 Sallet claimed ill health as the reason for selling the paper. Conjecture might lead to the conclusion that the sale had something to do with Sallet's divorce from his first wife and a financial settlement but the two-year hiatus remains shrouded in mystery. 25
In March 1908, F. W. Sallet abruptly bought back the paper. In a front-page address to his readers he explained that two years earlier he had been severely confused and troubled by an unhappy marriage. Fully recovered now, he declared himself eager to move forward, having outlasted his detractors. Via large print in his column, he vowed anew his intention to keep the paper independent in politics and dedicated to but one task—to cultivate the German mother-tongue and traditions so as to develop "our" immigrant countrymen into fine citizens of the new Republic and to preserve personal freedom which momentarily was being threatened by the ambitious and impatient supporters of prohibition. F. W. Sallet concluded:
With a joyous heart, I once again greet my community of readers and entreat them to reserve for me a place in there hearts. In the future, may the old Freie Presse be the bond that ties us all together wherever we as individual members of this community may be scattered throughout the entire world. 26
A major shift in the paper's "career" occurred on July 1, 1909, when F. W. Sallet advised his readers that the paper was about to leave Yankton. In a front-page poem, the ambitious Sallet concluded, "Die Freie Presse schreitet vorn und vorne soll sie bleiben" (The Freie Presse is moving forward, and forward it shall always remain). In explaining the move to his readers, Sallet said that his manager, John Krause, had advised the move some six years earlier. More likely, it was the inducement of the Aberdeen Commercial Club that convinced Sallet to move closer to a railroad center and commercial hub which would attract more advertising. 27
The very next week, from Aberdeen, Sallet again addressed his readers, this time with a picture of himself followed by a full page in English explaining his intentions. As a part of his move to Aberdeen, Sallet had purchased a lot, erected a building, and bought all new printing equipment. "The experts who were here to install our machinery said this is the finest printing establishment they had ever seen in the United States and they ought to know, as they travel through all of the states," Sallet stated, and went on to explain that he had received no bonuses, no land, no outside inducements as other businesses had, and in turn he asked for the good will of the people of Aberdeen with their advertising and job printing. Several pages in addition to the first were dedicated to pictures of the new plant and equipment. 28
At Aberdeen, Sallet continued the DFP and founded the Neue Deutsche Presse, which enjoyed an extremely successful publishing history, reaching a circulation of over 12,000 by the time it was forced out of existence in 1918. He also established the DFP Travel Bureau, a feature of the DFP which continued for several decades. In this period, also, the DFP broadened its base into a paper not only for Germans from the Black Sea but for Germans from the Volga River area of Russia as well. This was not an entirely new undertaking, rather an expansion of a previously established strategy for reaching all the Germans from Russia. Since 1904 Sallet had maintained a correspondent, Alexander Bauer, and an agent, Jakob Volz, in Merkel (Makarowka) in the Volga district of Frank, but only after 1910 did the editor-publisher make a concerted effort to recruit American Volga German readers in Lincoln, Nebraska; Glen Ullin, North Dakota; and other areas. For example, when Emanuel Dittus visited Glen Ullin in 1905, he boasted bringing back 115 new subscriptions, while Jakob Volz, who visited Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1910, vaunted having garnered 73 new subscriptions for the paper.
F. W. Sallet was able to garner new subscriptions not because the paper's glitz and glamour or its slick advertising, but because the editor was socially and humanely concerned about his chosen readership. Beginning in 1915, Sallet succeeded in establishing contact between German-Russian prisoners of war kept in Germany and their relatives and friends in America. Often the letters they exchanged were published in the paper, while the American counterparts usually sent money and personal gifts.29 Following the passage of the amendment on prohibition in 1919, F. W. Sallet took up for the cause for reasonable consumption of beer and wine, once taking a readership poll to gain sense of how the Germans from Russia wanted him to stand on the issue. Returns on the straw ballot brought in 10,000 votes against prohibition with a mere 50 in favor. This public opinion strategy was repeated in 1933 by Richard Sallet on the question of whether the United States under Roosevelt should recognize the Communistic Soviet Union, yielding a vote of 7,934 to 190 against granting diplomatic recognition. 30
As stated at the outset, the DFP transcended even the church and the parochial school as a unifying force among the Germans from Russia. It is interesting to observe, however, that only John Christian Wenzlaff, his son Salomon Wenzlaff (both born in Alt-Arzis, Bessarabia, near Odessa), and Joseph Gaeckle (born elsewhere, also in Bessarabia), among all the editors and publishers, were actually Germans from Russia. This is quite remarkable! In spite of having editors from Imperial Germany, the DFP did not concentrate on German news or even on world news but on news of the Germans from Russia. To be sure, items of world and national importance were included, but clearly the matters of great significance to the readers were the columns written from Russia, from the various states, and from the German-Russian provinces of Canada. These continued throughout the Sallet years and right up to the outbreak of World War II. From time to time the paper listed all its stringer reporters in Russia, Canada, and the United States.31 Regularly there was a segment of personal notes from the Dakotas, Nebraska, Colorado, Michigan, Oklahoma, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Kansas, and occasionally from Texas, California, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, and Canada. There were also reports, in later years often on the front page, from the German colonies on the Volga, on the Black Sea, in Romania, and even in Argentina. Naturally, in a paper where the personal touch was its success, it was important to have traveling reporters. The DFP had these in addition to those who reported consistently from a given state or area. Moreover, F. W. Sallet himself tried to travel from settlement to settlement whenever time permitted—as did his successor Richard Sallet (certainly with great benefit for future scholars when he wrote his doctoral dissertation as a report about his travels for the paper). 32
Often the paper functioned as a supraregional clearing-house for the sale of farms. Frequently such listings provided information about the community—the presence of German-speaking people in the vicinity, the proximity of German churches and schools, and perhaps some information about the climate, availability of water, etc. Sometimes such organizations as the Evangelical Colonization Company of Merrill, Wisconsin, advertised their lands for sale in the DFP. This is one of the few examples where the organ seems not specifically oriented to a German-Russian clientele. However F. W. Sallet was well-acquainted in Merrill, and it is likely that he recruited advertisements from this agency for the success that might be wrought from and for his German-Russian readers who were always hungry for land.
There was also a weekly column for those searching for a German-Russian's address or for a few particulars about a long-lost relative or friend. Captioned under Addressengesuche, the one requesting whereabouts had to pay fifty cents for each entry. In a typical week there were inquiries, for example, from Karl Karch of Glen Ullin, North Dakota; Frau Kerbs (born Schimpf) of Russell, Kansas; Ludwig Richter of Alberta, Canada; Peter Lieber of North Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Louis Helzer of Gering, Nebraska; Phillip Wanner of Schaffer, Kansas; and many more.
Some DFP services were offered on a more local basis. For example, frequently a traveling doctor, such a Dr. Wm. C. Boteler of Minneapolis, who specialized in eye problems, especially trachoma, with which the German-Russians were all too familiar, would give his itinerary in the paper, noting, for example, that in a given week he would be in Tuttle, McClusky, Medina, New Leipzig, Wishek, and Kulm, North Dakota. The next week he would schedule another territory and always his German-Russian clientele could plan to be at the announced office for treatment on the day of his visit to that community. Another medical specialist who placed such announcements was Dr. Mellenthin, also of Minneapolis. Likewise there were frequent advertisements for salves and ointments to help those suffering from trachoma. The recovered former Augenkranken (trachoma patients) seemed willing to write testimonials about the success of some such Augensalben. In 1908 the DFP was successful in having the United States Immigration Service station doctors at the ports of embarkation in Germany so that Germans from Russia who suffered from trachoma and therefore ran the risk of being sent back to their homeland might be able to avoid the costly two-way trip. The senators from North and South Dakota were persuaded to offer this legislation which subsequently became law. 33
Then there were advertisements placed by the sugar beet refineries that customarily found many of their field workers and plant operators among the German-Russians from the Volga. For example, they were invited to apply for work to Henry Smetana, Owosso Sugar Company, Owosso, Michigan. Sometimes these companies also offered land for rent or for sale through the company if the buyers would agree to raising beets for the company. If work alone was offered, then the advertisements often included provisions for free transportation and accommodations at the work site.
Throughout the World War I period, Sallet was active on behalf of his countrymen. In order to accomplish as much as possible, he cultivated contacts in high places. For example, he received a "thank you" note from Count Johann-Heinrich von Bernstorff, the German ambassador to the United States, for monies collected for the German relief organizations in 1916,34 and he supported the petition to President Woodrow Wilson, asking that America cease the shipment of arms to the Allies. As a result of these actions, it appears, both his house and his business in Aberdeen were broken into and plundered by local authorities. As F. W. Sallet himself put it, "They apparently expected to find in my house the military plans of Field Marshal von Hindenburg. 35
In October 1917, for the first time in American history, Congress passed a law specifically to control the foreign-language press. It provided that exact translations of all matters relating to the war had to be submitted to the local postmaster until such time as the government was sufficiently convinced of the loyalty of the foreign-language paper to issue a permit exempting it henceforth from the cumbersome and expensive process of filing translations.36 As a result of this anti-German legislation, the DFP boldly displayed its authorization to print in the German language: "Published and distributed under Permit (No. 667) authorized by the Act of October 6, 1917 on file at the Post Office of Aberdeen, So. Dakota - By order of the President, A.S. Burleson, Postmaster General."
The first issue of the DFP to appear after the ban went into effect was on October 9, 1917, during the paper's forty-fourth year. In a triple-column headline, F. W. Sallet announced to his readers that the President had signed into law a provision according to which German newspapers were forbidden to print information about the war in the German language only:
Selbstverständlich müssen wir uns allen Gesetzen fügen (It goes without saying that we must obey all laws). Today, as a result, we are bringing the war news only in the English language, as the law requires, and we will be applying for our license from the President in order to be permitted once more to print war news in the German language. In the hope that we will soon be receiving this permit, we request that our readers remain faithful to our paper and that you will send even more news from your local areas, so that each issue will have interesting reading materials. The publishers.
Directly beneath this announcement, Sallet included, in German, Section 19 of the now infamous "Trading with the Enemy" Act which spelled out the restrictions placed on German-language newspapers. One week later on October 16, 1917, the publishers again used the front page to bring the entire content of the Act to the attention of their reading public, this time both in German and in English The Act provided:
That 10 days after the approval of this act and until the end of the war, it shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation, or association to print, publish, or circulate in any foreign language any news item, editorial or other printed matter, respecting the Government of the United States, or any other nation engaged in the present war, its policies, international relations, the state or conduct of the war, or any other matter related thereto: Provided. That this section shall not apply to any print, newspaper, or publication where the publisher or distributor thereof, on or before offering the same for mailing, or in any matter distributing it to the public, has filed with the postmaster at the place of publication, in the form of an affidavit, a true and complete translation of the entire article containing such matter proposed to be published in such print, newspaper or publication, and has caused to be printed, in plain type of the English language at the head of each item, editorial, or other matter, on each copy of such print, newspaper or publication, the words "True translation filed with the postmaster at on (naming the post office where the publication was filed and the date of filing thereof), as required by the act."
Any print that did not conform to these regulations was declared by the Act to be non-mailable, and unlawful to be transported or carried in any way. Only the President of the United States (through his cabinet officer at the post office) could issue a permit for foreign-language publications to return to normal operations and such permits were subject to restriction or revocation at his discretion. Once the permit was granted the papers had to show in bold English type the statement: "Published and distributed under permit authorized by the Act, ect." Any person who was found guilty of making an inaccurate or false translation for the postmaster's file was subject to a prison sentence of one year or a fine or both at the discretion of the court. Readers of the DFP were thus apprised of the restrictions on October 16, 1917, and subsequently all articles dealing with wartime matters were headed by the caption in English: "True translation filed with the postmaster at Aberdeen, S.D. on (that date) as required by the Act of October 6, 1917."
Just three months later, F. W. Sallet included on the front page of the January 22, 1918, issue of the DFP, in both German and English, the following note to his readers: "As the publisher and editor of this publication are charged with transgressing the law of October 6, 1917, regarding publications in the German language, and are being held for investigation, we kindly ask our readers to overlook the fact that today's paper does not contain as much war news as usual." Not only did the war reports shrink dramatically, but all of the articles with war topics appeared in English. One week later, on January 29, 1918, the paper returned to German-language articles about the war and readers learned in a modest article that F. W. Sallet, the publisher, and J.F. Paul Gross, the editor of the paper, had been arrested. They were charged with different crimes: Sallet for having failed to file an English translation for two of the articles printed in his paper and Gross for having worn a ring with a traitorous inscription on it and a watchband that bore an image of Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm and Austria's Kaiser Franz Josef. Sallet was released on bail and the hope was that Gross also would be freed on bond. Since the English-language press was broadcasting wild rumors about high treason and support of the enemy, Sallet begged his loyal readers to await the truth which could be expected from the court hearing.
On February 5, 1918, Sallet addressed his readers with a lengthy statement of the facts, once again in German and English. According to Sallet, on Saturday, January 19, at four o'clock in the afternoon, federal agents accompanied by Sheriff Wyckoff, Chief Coacher, Chairman Kennedy, Colonel Harkins, and a number of policemen as well as members of the homeguard appeared at the office of the DFP Printing Company, displayed a search warrant, and commenced to search the entire office. At the same time, another party of officials searched the home of F. W. Sallet. All of Sallet's correspondence, his newspaper files, and his complete set of documents in the office were taken by the officers, and, at 6 p.m., F. W. Sallet himself was taken into custody. The next Sunday, January 20, editor J.F. Paul Gross was also arrested and both were held at the police station until the U.S. Marshall returned, he being the only one who could serve the warrant. On Monday evening, both men were taken from prison for a hearing before U.S. Commissioner Wallace.
According to the warrant, Sallet was accused of having failed to file the translations of two articles, both of which had allegedly appeared in Sallet's second German-language paper, the Neue Deutsche Presse, on January 11, 1918. One article dealt with the requirement of aliens to register and the other was about a Mr. Fred Henning. We do not know a great deal about the Henning case except that the local Aberdeen Daily American on January 20, 1918, reported: "In this case a German resident of Aberdeen was interned for beating his wife because she went to the Red Cross. This was but one of his disloyal manifestations." The next day on January 21, 1918, the ADA stated:
Both arrests have been hinged largely upon the way the paper (Neue Deutsche Presse) handled the story of the arrest and presumable internment of Fred Henning, an Aberdeen resident who was arrested upon a presidential warrant. No translation of this news item was filed with Postmaster Kelley, the authorities claiming it should have been. They assert that the spirit of the item was clearly disloyal. The item as it appeared contained in substance this statement as characteristic of the tone, FIRE AND FLAME FOR THE FATHERLAND. Naturally, speaking of Henning in extenuation of his pro-German activities, he, as a German naval reservist, was fire and flame for the Fatherland. In another phrase, it was stated that "while he hated to leave his wife and family, he would choose this separation rather to make a murderer's cave of his heart." The meaning of this being taken to be that separation as an interned enemy was rather to be chosen than to kill within his heart the allegiance which he had for the Kaiser. Henning was a German reservist and had taken out his first papers 30 or so years ago and never completed his citizenship tho he has been voting in this city for years
The article on the requirement of the registration for aliens appears
not in the January 11 but in the January 4 issue of the Neue
Deutsche Presse. The article reports straightforwardly that
500,000 unnaturalized German-born persons in the United States had
been ordered by President Wilson to register at their local post
offices of police stations, beginning on Monday, February 4, 1918.
Every German living in the United States was ordered furthermore
to secure and show on demand a certificate obtained from the police
or postmaster, and was forbidden to change domiciles as long as
the war continued, without permission of the authorities. Women
and children below the age of eleven years did not need to register.
The article went on to furnish details of the registration. To today's
reader, the article could in no way be construed as sympathizing
with the unnaturalized German aliens in America.
After Sallet and Gross were charged, both pleaded "not guilty." They were bound over to the May term of the U.S. Court and released, each posting bond of $5,000. F. W. Sallet made a noble plea to his people:
The public looks with suspicion and prejudice upon all citizens of German extraction. That should not be so. The German-American is the most law-abiding citizen in the United States. In particular, the farmers of German extraction, who have done the most to develop our territory into one of the richest agricultural states in the Union, deserve fair treatment. They will all do their full duty to this their adopted country. It is true that their sympathy was for Germany at the beginning of the war in Europe, just as the Anglo-Americans were pro-English and the French-Americans were pro-French. But as soon as the Congress of the United States had declared a state of war against Germany, they turned away from their old mother Germania and followed their chosen bride, Columbia. They forgot the land of their childhood and thought only of the land of their children. Numerous are the boys of German extraction who have followed the call to arms and everyone of them will do his full duty at the front.
The same is true of the German press in the United States. We all abandoned our old home country by our own free will, and by our own free will we selected America to become our new home, and the fatherland of our children. Ours was the noble duty to lead the German immigrant into American citizenship, and how we succeed herein, is proven by the known fact that the German emigrants to America are lost to Germany. No Britisher, no Frenchman, no Italian, whoever came to this country, accepts American citizenship as readily as does the immigrant from Germany. 37
Admitting deep down that pleas of this nature offered little hope for the immediate future, F. W. Sallet conceded the inevitable—that his Neue Deutsche Presse had already lost so many subscribers from its peak of over 12,000 in 1910 that he felt forced to cease publishing it. Against odds that the paper could reestablish operations after the war, he announced that he was discontinuing the NDP and that the remaining subscribers would automatically receive the DFP. The NDP was never resurrected. Sallet closed his report concerning the combined subscription status with the words: "Der bevorstehende Prozess wird uns viel Geld kosten. Wir hoffen, daß ein jeder seine Pflicht tun und seinen Zeitungsmann nicht im Stich lassen wird, dieweil er in Not ist!" (The upcoming trial will cost us a great deal of money. We hope each of you will do his duty, and will not leave his newspaper man in the lurch when he is in dire need.) 38
When the May 1918 term of court rolled around, F. W. Sallet and J.F. Paul Gross duly went on trial. The courtroom was highly charged because the Senate had just passed the infamous Sedition Bill by a vote of 48-26. The Aberdeen Daily commented:
Opponents of the measure who have contended that freedom of speech and the press would be curtailed lost their fight to strike out a clause giving the postmaster general authority to withhold mail believed to violate the espionage laws and restore the France amendment excepting from the law truthful statements made with good motives.
The bill provided stiff penalties of $10,000 or twenty years imprisonment or both, and was needed allegedly "to prevent mob violence which has resulted from the department's inability to secure convictions of persons making disloyal utterances."39 Parenthetically, it should be mentioned that on the same front page of the ADA, under a Sioux Falls dateline, Judge Elliot had denied "Conrad Kornmann, editor of a German language newspaper here," a motion for a new trial. Kornmann was fined $1,000 and sentenced to ten years in prison. Kornmann would join Sallet later in the New Ulm time-frame of the DFP.
Between the date of the arrest and trial of Sallet, the prosecution had discovered that Mr. J.F. Paul Gross was a so-called enemy alien. Believing that he had become a citizen when his father was naturalized at Fargo, Gross now was informed that no naturalization occurred because he was already twenty-one years and fourteen days old when his father became a citizen and therefore he did not qualify for family inclusion. Technically an enemy alien, he was retrieved from bail and interned at Forth Oglethorpe, Georgia, for the duration of the war. Sallet therefore stood alone in Federal Court at Aberdeen.40 Since Gross was not present to hear the accusations, Sallet at once accepted the responsibility for the charges against Gross, whose duty as editor was to file the translations. Sallet acknowledged that as publisher he bore the responsibility for the editor's action and thus pleaded "guilty."
The indictment of Sallet came from a grand jury impaneled from cities across the state of South Dakota. Along with three other men—Edwin S. Rietz, Walter Heynacher, and John Piepgros—Sallet was charged with violation of the espionage act "for failure to file translations of certain war articles on Jan. 11, 1918," but escaped more serious charges "owing to his testifying for the government in the trial of Conrad Kornmann at Sioux Falls."41 Against Rietz the prosecution maintained that he said he would not plant grain if his son were drafted and wished the U.S. a beating at the hands of Germany. Heynacher, a former secretary of the German American Alliance, had said that the war was all foolishness and a Wall Street war. Piepgross was charged for having promised to celebrate "right" when Germany won the war.
Sallet's guilty plea was accompanied by an affidavit filed and read in court by his attorney, J.J. Conroy. (Another attorney retained by Sallet, Miss Dorothy Rehfeld, was the first female attorney to practice law in South Dakota.) In part, the affidavit stated that Sallet had been indicted for having published in the Neue Deutsche Presse articles inserted by J.F. Paul Gross as managing editor. It denied that Sallet knew or had information that the item in question had appeared in the paper prior to the date of January 11, 1918, until after the paper had been printed and was ready for distribution.42 Sallet also swore that he interviewed Gross relative to the article and reprimanded him for not publishing the article the same as it had appeared in the Aberdeen Daily News the night before. This testimony pertained to the article on Fred Henning.
As for the story concerning the registration of enemy German aliens, Sallet testified in his affidavit that the article was taken verbatim from another German-language newspaper. Sallet and his attorney argued that the dispatch that appeared in that other paper was not filed in translation by its editor and neither its editor nor its publisher were investigated, arrested, or charged with a crime. Moreover, Sallet's affidavit claimed, the article appeared in most of the German-language newspapers in the United States and in no other case was it translated into English in order to comply with the October 6, 1917, law. Copies of a number of these articles from other German papers were affixed to the affidavit as exhibits. Finally, Sallet swore in the affidavit that he had always attempted to obey all regulations and laws, that he never knowingly or intentionally failed to comply with the law in all respects, and that if he violated law pertaining to foreign-language newspapers, he had done so unintentionally and without the desire to violate any law whatsoever. Upon hearing the statement, Judge James D. Elliot said he believed Sallet's statement, said he had made his own investigation of the case, affirmed that he had known Sallet for many years as an upright citizen with a faultless life, a high reputation, and good social standing, and that the violation of the law as charged was only a "technicality." Judge Elliot therefore felt justified in imposing the lowest fine possible of $500. Still the English-language paper headlined "5 Pro-Germans sentenced by Judge Elliot." 43
The fine itself may have been financially bearable, but it was only the tip of the iceberg. According to a biographical sketch of Sallet that appeared in the April 8, 1924, issue of the DFP, the publisher also spent a total of $6,000 on attorney's fees for the case, and another $6,000 that he could ill-afford at the time on Liberty loans to prove his loyalty. Worst of all, the rumors and suspicions that accumulated like barnacles on the company eventually threatened to sink Sallet financially. One of his papers had collapsed entirely. The other suffered a decline in subscriptions and therewith advertising revenue. Ever since the January 1918 attack on his honor and his company, Sallet had been trying to move the DFP to St. Paul.
At first Sallet was unable to sell his new Aberdeen building for an acceptable price. In 1920, however, the time was ripe for a new English-language paper in Aberdeen, because the former two papers, the Daily News and the American, had merged to create the Aberdeen Daily American, the only English paper in the city. Square Deal Publishing Company was founded to publish this more liberal newspaper in English and it needed a modern facility. Negotiations with F. W. Sallet therefore proved successful in allowing the latter to disavow Aberdeen. Instead of electing St. Paul, however, Sallet made arrangement with a printing firm in New Ulm, Minnesota, which was operated and managed by Captain Albert Steinhäuser. The latter was already publishing other papers and magazines, had excellent equipment, agreed to install a new and larger press from Minneapolis, and promised to free Sallet from all the burdensome chores of production so that he could devote full time to editing and bookkeeping. 44
Finally, two years after the incidence of arrest, Sallet was forced to announce to his readers that he had just sold his publishing and printing establishment in Aberdeen in order to liberate himself from the heavy burden of his debts. Arrested, imprisoned, bled with attorney's fees, given little evidence that the climate in Aberdeen was about to improve, the DFP moved to New Ulm, with the first issue to appear in the latter city on March 9, 1920. In an apparent answer to an editorial in the Catholic German-language North Dakota Herold of Dickinson, in which the move to New Ulm was called into question, F. W. Sallet explained the paper's motivation, providing in the process some excellent commentary on the personality of the paper. He pointed out that the DFP was not bound in any way to the city of Aberdeen. 45
Since moving from Yankton to Aberdeen, the paper had always had more readers in North Dakota than in South Dakota, he explained, and, moreover, it had a large readership in most other states as well. Furthermore, the paper never before had such a large subscription roster and, like the Lincoln Freie Presse and the New Yorker Staatszeitung (to which Sallet now compared his paper), it was being read throughout the country despite the territorial designation of its title. "As its content readily indicates, the Dakota Freie Presse is a worldwide paper, rooted in the hearts of its readers." Other reasons for the move to New Ulm had already been given in the February 24, 1920, issue; namely, that the owners of the publication turned their backs on Aberdeen because that city was not open-minded and friendly to a German-American community.
Even now, after the whole world is again at peace with Germany, citizens of German birth are still being persecuted with incomprehensible hate there. The Dakota Freie Presse is so independent that it can choose its home wherever it likes best, a choice which is not possible for local papers. It is well-known to all that the pretty, German city of New Ulm is a good place to build ourselves a home. 46
In 1924, F. W. Sallet received an invitation from his friend and politician, R.C. Richards of Huron, South Dakota, who came to New Ulm personally to persuade Sallet to take the DFP back to its moorings in the Dakotas, and also to start an English-language weekly as a second paper, one that would still cater to the needs of the Germans from Russia but would focus on a younger generation. It was a far-sighted proposal but one that failed to trigger the sixty-five-year-old Sallet who by this time lacked flexibility for the move.
From its new base of operations in New Ulm, the DFP, following the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, operated its own relief program for the hungry children of Germany. Editor F. W. Sallet personally sought funds and materials which he shipped to Osterode, East Prussia, where the entire program was administered by the editor's older brother, Daniel Gottfried Sallet, the father of Dr. Richard Sallet who would one day succeed F. W. Sallet in the editor's chair. In his turn, Daniel Sallet not only wrote regular columns for the weekly during the 1920s but had on several occasions financially assisted his younger brother Friedrich W. in obtaining the papers. He also wrote countless reports for the paper, in part to thank the donors, in part also to stimulate further giving. His columns generally appeared under the pen name "Titus," though he also occasionally sent poems and wrote under his other pen name, "Ernst Heiter" (Serious Cheerful). Daniel Gottfried Sallet also relayed stories transmitted to him by refugees fleeing 1920s Russia, especially the episodes of Bolshevist violence in the Volga and Black Sea German regions.
In many other ways as well, the paper fulfilled various charitable functions. It routinely indexed donors' names and amounts for such organizations as the Volga Relief Society 47, the Black Sea Relief Society 48, the American Dairy Cattle Company's projects to send milk cows to Germany 49, the Russian Relief Package Company, and others. Continuously after the war, F. W. Sallet advertised that he could send money orders to Europe for those wishing to aid their relatives. In 1922 he noted that it was becoming difficult to guarantee that money he sent to Russia was being delivered, but that there were no problems experienced with Bessarabia (then the province of Bessarabia, now known as Moldavia) and Germany.
In 1924, the DFP became the first paper published in the United States to be allowed re-entry into the Soviet Union. It was always uppermost in the mind of F. W. Sallet to re-bind and preserve the ties between German-Russian settlements in the Western hemisphere and their old home villages in Russia and Romania. Every issue proves this and demonstrates the role the paper was designed to play as a connecting link bringing together the scattered kinfolk. With respect to the 1924 Soviet re-entry permit, Richard Sallet commented in his 1973 letter, "F. W. Sallet asked the Soviet censorship office to allow entry into Russia for the DFP and it was a noteworthy accomplishment when the official answer from Moscow brought a favorable reply. Alas, the permit was of doubtful value. The Soviets observed their assurance mainly by disregarding them." 50
Weekly, Sallet published the names of refugees who had sent letters to his DFP office, offering to forward them to anyone who would request such letters, if the interested person would remit payment of seven cents. Again, the letters illustrate a case of uprooted friends and distant relatives using the good offices of the newspaper to find each other on distant continents. Frequently, too, the paper published instructions on how readers might send packages to Europe, what rate schedule to follow, and what items were best to send.
Until well into the 1930s, the DFP announced that its Relief Department was in a position to handle the shipment of life-sustaining supplies to the Soviet Union. On January 19, 1932, for example, the list of available packages of food and clothing amounted to forty-three selections from which the donor could choose. Varied as to content and size, the packages could be selected by the customer as suited his taste and ability to pay, by simply sending the number of his selection together with payment to the DFP office. All orders were filled by Tietz department store, Berlin's largest after the Kaufhaus des Westens (Ka De We) and the prices were somewhat lower if shipment was to European—higher if destined for Asian—Russia. A typical, average priced package was:
2 pounds of grits (Griess)
3 pounds of fatty bacon
6 pounds of rice
2 pounds of sugar
4 pounds of flour
25 dried soup dices
$6.98 -/- $7.73
In April 1931, F. W. Sallet retired and his nephew, Richard Sallet, became the official editor, performing nobly from long distance.51 However, when he was appointed to the political science department at Northwestern University, beginning a career in comparative government, it became obvious that the paper would not thrive with an absentee editor. Meanwhile, ownership of the paper passed to F. W. Sallet's three sons.
On September 23, 1932, F. W. Sallet died from a self-inflicted .22 caliber gunshot wound in the head. A brief suicide note explained that ill health and adverse business conditions were the reason for his act.52 Shortly before the tragedy occurred, Sallet had lost a court suit against his sons Carl, Harald, and Herbert for repayment of notes amounting to $2,800 and failed to be awarded an additional $3,000 claimed for the satisfaction of mortgages.53 He was buried in Minocqua, in Northern Wisconsin, where Sallet had already spent the last sixteen summers on his farm site Salletsruh, "Sallet's Restful Retreat," at Lake Minocqua.
Prompted by Richard Sallet, the family now came to realize that the DFP would have to be sold. Bidding for the paper were two German-American publishing firms, that of Valentin Peter with his Omaha Tägliche Tribune and Emil Leicht with his National Weeklies in Winona. During this period of transition, Richard Sallet edited the paper and wrote the Sallet column from Evanston, Illinois, while continuing his studies at Northwestern University Law School. Judging the Leicht firm to be the more sturdy financially, Richard urged his cousins to sell to Leicht in order to guarantee a longer life for the DFP.
During the negotiation period, Richard Sallet looked after the editorial part while insisting that in merging with the Dakota Rundschau, the name of Dakota Freie Presse should prevail while a subtitle might be added reading approximately "Die Rundschau der Russlanddeutschen." Also, Richard's editorial fashioned after F. W. Sallet's "Betrachtungen" was to be continued indefinitely. Richard's most important point, however, was to make the new proprietors understand that as many letters as possible from the German-Russian readers would continue to be published. These together with especially the letters from the old home villages in the Soviet Union and Romania were, according to F. W. Sallet's never-ending admonition, to be the soul and the backbone of the DFP. During the academic recess of 1932, Richard Sallet made his last trip on behalf of the DFP, though now at his own expense, when he visited the principal Black Sea German villages in Bessarabia and in the Dobrudja.
Once this had been accomplished, Richard Sallet in the summer of 1933 discontinued his relationship with the paper in order to accept a position on the faculty at the University of Berlin. Richard died in Madrid, Spain, in mid-July 1975.54 Thus it is clear that the Sallet family was the owner of the paper throughout much of its history and that F. W. Sallet was in one way or another associated with the editorship over three tumultuous decades from 1903-1932. 55
The ownership block for the DFP in the 1930s and 1940s appears as the National Weeklies, Emil Leicht, President; Frederick E. Leicht (Emil's son), Secretary and Treasurer.56 During this period, however, the paper was being edited and blocked out for printing by John Brendel, Dr. H.E. Fritsch, and, for a time, Felix Schmidt, who used an editorial mailing address at 306 Ninth Street, Bismarck, North Dakota.57 Fritsch in Winona was more or less the editor-in-chief of all German-language papers for the Leicht concern while the actual editorial work was done by Brendel in Bismarck.
Johannes Brendel, and Dr. Henry E. Fritsch came to the DFP through a merger of the Dakota Rundschau with the DFP. However the Rundschau itself derived from three previous mergers, involving a) the Eureka Rundschau, a Black Sea German paper owned and published by Gustav Mauser and Otto H. Froh, which was located in Eureka, South Dakota58 and which began publishing in Eureka on June 3, 1915, b) the Bismarck Nordlicht which began publishing on February 1, 1885, and c) the Mandan Volkszeitung, the initial publication date of which is unknown. 59
Exactly when the DFP merged with the Dakota Rundschau is not known precisely, but undoubtedly it was accomplished in late 1932 or early 1933. Indications are that the Dakota Rundschau was purchased by the National Weeklies as early as 1928.60 After the merger of the DFP with the Dakota Rundschau, the DFP became the dominant title while it carried the subtitle "Die Rundschau der Russlanddeutschen vereinigt mit der Dakota Rundschau," and claimed to reach 1,500 German-Russian settlements in thirty-two states, Canada, and South America.61 From the editorial staff of the Rundschau, then, the DFP picked up its principal editors for the1930s and 1940s, namely Brendel and Fritsch.
John Brendel, a post-World War I Catholic Black Sea German immigrant, had experienced the Bolshevist revolutions in Russia. Born in 1874, he was a recognized authority on his Black Sea home area known as the Kutschurgan Catholic colonies northeast of Odessa.62 A native of Vienna with a Ph.D. from Zurich, Fritsch first lived in Chicago, then came to the Leicht Press in 1929. Thereafter he lived in Winona where he worked as an editorial assistant on several of the German papers of the National Weeklies and paid frequent calls on DFP personnel in North Dakota. Upon the outbreak of hostilities between the United States and Germany in December of 1941, however, Fritsch was arrested as an alien and interned first in St. Paul, then in Sparta, Wisconsin. In May 1942 he was returned to Germany on board the Swedish ship Drottningholm, named for the famous royal castle in Sweden, as one party in an arrangement for the exchange of foreign journalists from both warring nations.63 The name of Schmidt was listed in the editorial block of the DFP only until September 16, 1942. From March 11 to September 16, 1942, the names of L. Luedtke, A. Hochscheid, and Frau Grete (obviously a pen name) resided in Milwaukee and was responsible for the section, Für Hausfrau, Gattin, und Mutter (for the housekeeper, wife, and mother). After September 16, 1942, only John Brendel was consistently associated with the editorship in Bismarck until Joseph Gaeckle came into the picture for the first time on August 4, 1948.
After the paper was passed into the hands of the Winona National Weeklies, Inc., in 1933 64, it took on some new aspects. There was one page for national news, another where a novel was serialized, one which was identified as the "National Farmer" - Haus and Bauernfreund (tips for home and farm), and many pictures depicting news stories the world over. Also, it assumed Latin rather than the Fraktur script for some of its articles. Allegations have been made recently that the paper during the mid-1930s was extremist, racist, and pro-Nazi.65 While plenty of evidence can be assembled to prove editorial sympathy with the German cause during the 1930s, there is little convincing proof of a pro-Nazi or racist stance. Nor is it clear that the Auslandsorganisation (the active Nazi unit concerned with the Germans in America rather than the Ausland-Institut as often claimed by some scholars in America) held much hope for the recruitment of Russian Germans for the Warthegau (region along the Warthe River, formerly the province of Posen).66 That perhaps 750 or so responded to a poorly orchestrated recruitment can scarcely be ascribed to any campaign in the DFP that was instigated from Germany.
As early as 1933 Richard Sallet, at first wary of the Little Corporal, within some months of Hitler's ascension to power wrote of the successes the New Germany had in correcting the mistakes of Versailles and the mismanagement of Weimar. More accurately, the paper through the entire 1930s exhibited an almost pathological hatred of the Bolsheviks. Constant pleas went out in editorials and in front-page columns for the plight of the Germans in Communist Russia. German diplomats were requested to help German-Russian escapees reach the United States. In 1933 a panel of prominent German-Russian professionals in the United States called for a blue-ribbon umbrella committee that would spearhead the cause of the forlorn Germans in Russia.67 It seems not to have materialized. Many leaders and editors of the DFP exhorted governments to take whatever action they could that would bring relief to their German-Russians in need. 68
When Lend Lease was proposed for the allies who stood against Nazi Germany, the DFP urged its readers to persuade their representatives in Washington to oppose it. When the war finally broke out, the editors understandably were sympathetic to the German successes, and upon the invasion of Russia in June 1941, the "voice of the Russian Germans" was delighted that their brothers in Russia might now be freed from oppression. During this period the paper never forgot its long-standing mission which in now penned in old handwritten gothic script over the masthead Die Stimme der Russlanddeustchen in Amerika- "The voice of the Russian Germans in America." During the early 1940s there was a great deal of information about German victories in the Ukraine (Black Sea region), coupled with information about the fate of Volga or Black Sea colonists and stories from their more distant past, e.g. about World War I conditions in Russia. Only circuitously could the DFP's stance reasonably be interpreted as pro-Nazi. Rather it was passionately anti-Communist and seems to have found a clear conscience for being pro-German because it could conveniently be anti-Nazi. No conclusive word on this issue can be rendered without a much more extensive analysis.
In 1954, the paper was being edited by Joseph Gaeckle,69 who had received his education in Bessarabia (Moldavia). Born there in 1874, Gaeckle later served as the Schreiber (administrator) of his German village. Prior to assuming the editorship of the DFP, Gaeckle had held civic offices including mayor of Kulm, North Dakota. Although not formally trained as a newspaper professional, Gaeckle had an excellent command of High German and had been contributing reports about the Kulm German-Russians to the DFP long before assuming the editorship. While Gaeckle performed the editorial services in Kulm, printing continued at National Weeklies in Winona.
When the DFP disappeared as a visible organ in 1954, it did not entirely cease publication, for it was consolidated with the America Herold Zeitung. In its last report to the subscribers, the management reported that rising costs justified an increase in subscription prices at that time. But instead of raising rates,
we have arrived at a decision to undertake a small variation or consolidation. Immigration of Germans from Russia has shrunk to a small number and will probably cease altogether in the not-too-distant future. Thus there is no likelihood that the readership of the Dakota Freie Presse will increase. Beginning next week, therfore, DFP readers will be offered a newspaper under the title America Herold. The value of your newspaper will thereby be increased because the usual news from North and South Dakota will be presented on the last page of the Herold. Only in this way can we continue to offer you the paper for the same price. 70
When the paper finally lost its identity in 1954, it had eminently accomplished its task of shepherding Germans from Russia through their unique destiny. Like an old and faithful patriarch, it could now pass away. Its circulation had swollen from 1,200 in 1880 to 2,100 in 1890; 3,400 in 1900; 9,500 in 1910; and 13,800 in 1920; but then shrank to 11,000 in 1935; 5,400 in 1944; and just 1,500 in 1950. The DFP performed its mission, if anything, rather too well than too little. Clearly it smoothed the hardships of long migrations and of pioneer life while it eased the crises of assimilation that the majority of its readers had to endure. When all of this had been done, when all of its children had grown up, then the patriarchal DFP could succumb gracefully and rest in peace. But the paper and its famous editor have not been totally forgotten.
Recently the South Dakota Highway Department erected a historical marker about the DFP in Aberdeen identified as "F. W. Sallet and the Dakota Freie Presse." While the original location of the DFP building was at 524 South Main Street, the marker stands in Nicollet Park next to the Aberdeen Visitor Center, about a half block west of the intersection of 6th Avenue and Dakota Street. The organizational fund drive originated with Dr. Harry Delker, president of the Deutscher Kultur Verein, the Aberdeen chapter of the Germans from Russia Heritage Society. On the bronze marker is a text composed by this author which reads as follows:
Two German-language newspapers, Dakota Freie Presse (DFP) and Neue Deutsche Presse (NDP), were located a short distance from here at 524 South Main St. Owner and editor, Friedrich Wilhelm Sallet, emigrated from East Prussia and published the DFP for Germans from Russia with the NDP for Reich Germans. Aberdeen was a hub for both groups. Begun in 1874 in Yankton, the DFP was purchased by Sallet in 1903 and moved to Aberdeen in 1909.
The DFP was "the oldest and most widely distributed newspaper for Germans from Russia in the world." It claimed to have subscribers in 1,500 (Germans from Russia) communities on four continents. Sallet used the DFP as headquarters for a relief department which sent packages to famished Soviet villages in 1921 and four shiploads of dairy cows to supply milk to German orphanages. The DFP carried weekly columns for people seeking addresses of lost individuals, operated as a clearing house on land and immigration, and in 1924 became the first U.S. paper allowed re-entry into the Soviet Union.
Wrongly suspected of being pro-German, Sallet and his NDP editor, J.F. Paul Gross, were arrested Jan. 19, 1918 in Aberdeen and charged with not filing English translations of two articles with the post office. Following a May 5 trial, Gross was interned in Georgia while Sallet paid a $500 fine and $6,000 in legal costs. Sallet was defended by Dorothy Rehfeld, the first female attorney to practice in South Dakota. The NDP ceased publication in January 1918. In 1920, the DFP moved to Minnesota and continued until 1954. After F. W. Sallet's death in 1932, his nephew (Dr. Richard Sallet) became the editor.
F.W. Sallet at his desk with the Dakota Freie Presse, probably during his stay at New Ulm. In the January 22, 1918, edition of the DFP, Sallet announced in both German and English the distressing news of the arrest of the Editor J.F. Paul Gross and himself for not having translated and printed all war-related items in both languages. -Photos courtesy of the author
The F.W. Sallet family with the three sons from his first marriage to Ida Rosenbreier (Harald, Herbert, and Carl, all standing) and the two from his marriage to Elizabeth Goetz (Fritz and Hans, on father's lap), taken in an Aberdeen studio. -Photo courtesy of the author
Elizabeth Goetz Sallet in center, F.W. Sallet at right, taken at "Salletsruh," their country home near Minocqua, Wisconsin. Man at left is Sallet's lifelong business partner, Conrad Kornmann. -Photo courtesy of the author
F.W. Sallet sitting in the yard with his two youngest sons and his wife at the Minocqua summer home. From left to right, Fritz (F.W., Jr.), F.W. Sallet, Mrs. Elizabeth (Goetz) Sallet, and Hans, taken about 1925. -Photo courtesy of the author
F. W. Sallet, left, with his nephew, Richard Sallet, taken about 1925 at Salletsruh. Richard was recruited by his uncle to come to the United States and train for the future editorship of the DFP. Having lost his oldest brother in the German air force of World War 1, Richard and his second brother, upon being discharged from the army, were planning to study at Konigsberg University when it fell to Richard to give up the idea of law in favor of joining the editorial staff of the DFP in October, 1921. In 1923 he succeeded Conrad Kornmann as managing editor of the paper.
Coming out of a country demoralized by revolution and torn by political hatred, Richard recalled how inspiring it was to become acquainted with the German Russians of America. "Here were simple, and modest people, wholesome and morally sound and altogether of admirable character." In the 1920s, Dr. Sallet wrote, the future of the DFP grew dimmer. At first they reckoned that in the wake of war, revolution, starvation, and harsh Soviet rule in Russia, many thousands of German Russians would be joining their kinfolk in the United States. Instead, the new U.S. immigration laws of (1921, 1924, and 1929 reduced the entries from Russia and Rumania to a mere trickle since quotas were assigned to each nationality in accordance with original American stock. Hence only citizens of England, Ireland, and Germany had high immigration quotas, and the German Russians were not citizens of Germany. Adding to the difficulty was the fact that emigration from Soviet Russia was virtually choked off during the 1920s.-Photo courtesy of the author
A special correspondent for the Dakota Freie Presse in a Russian village, a teacher by the name of Kehrer with his family, featured in the July 5, 1909, edition of the DFP.
-Courtesy of South Dakota Historical Society
Portion of an April 6, 1903, advertisement from the Handelshaus A. Rapport in Odessa, Russia, offering government approved ship tickets for emigrants in the U.S., available by prepayment from the immigrants in the U.S. through the Dakota Freie Presse. -Courtesy of South Dakota Historical Society
Portion of a June 3, 1909, advertisement for one of the trachoma specialists who traveled from the Twin Cities to various Dakota towns to treat people with this disease. -Courtesy of South Dakota Historical Society
The July 8, 1909, edition of the Dakota Freie Press marked the first issue of the paper published in Aberdeen, South Dakota. F.W. Sallet took this opportunity to address the English-speaking citizens of Aberdeen and featured illustrations of the new plant.
F.W. Sallet, photographed on June 13, 1880, at the age of twenty-one, in a Konigsberg, East Prussia, studio at Munz Strasse 14 prior to his departure for St. Petersberg and Sweden. -Photo courtesy of the author
La Vern J. Rippley, professor at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, is the author of The German-Americans, The Immigration Experience in Wisconsin, and is the author or translator of eleven other books, including Russian-German Settlements in the United States.
1This article is a substantially revised
and expanded version of two articles by the same author that appeared
in Heritage Review, 7 (December 1973), pp. 9-17, and 9
(December 1974), pp. 15-20.
2 Hutterites are considered to be in the "Mennonite" category. Most Hutterites moved to Canada as a result of World War I opposition to their lifestyle, but since World War II, they have moved back in large numbers to South Dakota. Here and in adjacent states, they continue their communal lifestyle and their dialect of German.
3 See the masthead that ran continuously in Dakota Freie Presse, e.g., January 1, 1941. Hereafter noted as DFP.
4 Reported in Carl Wittke, The German-Language Press in America (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1957), p. 7.
5 From a humble nineteen-year-old reporter for the New York Sun, Brisbane rose via Joseph Pulitzer at the World, to Hearst in 1897, traveling miles intellectually from the social utopian reformist ideals of his younger days to a dogmatic conservative stance by his death in 1936. At Hearst, Brisbane took the Journal’s circulation up from 40,000 to 325,000 in just seven weeks. Eventually Brisbane’s "Today" column appeared in all the Hearst papers while "This Week" ran in 1,200 weeklies, creating his reputation of being read by more people than any other living human. His style was terse, driving, and cuttingly clear, but often controversial, leading his critics to charge he was reversible, contradictory, and a man with an adjustable conscience. See "Brisbane" in Joseph P. McKerns, ed. Biographical Dictionary of American Journalism (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1989) and Oliver Carlson, Brisbane: A Candid Biography (New York: Stackpole and Sons, 1937).
6 Shortly after his move from Yankton to Aberdeen, F.W. Sallet called for the histories that he published beginning in July 1909, and for several years thereafter. They were translated into English by La Vern J. Rippley and published in the Heritage Review in Bismarck under the title "Contributions Toward a History of the German-Russian Settlements in North America," beginning with No. 12 (1975) and thereafter.
7 For further information about this ethnic group, see Karl Stumpp, The German-Russians, trans. Joseph S. Height, 3rd ed. (Freilassing, Germany: Pannonia Verlag, 1966); Richard Sallet, Russian-German Settlements in the United States, trans. La Vern J. Rippley and Armand Bauer (Fargo, ND: Institute for Regional Studies, 1974); Adam Giesinger, From Katherine to Khrushchev (Winnipeg, Canada: A. Giesinger, 1974); Hattie Plum Williams, The Czar’s Germans (Lincoln: AHSGR, 1975); Fred Koch, The Volga Germans (University Park: Pennsylvania State University, 1977); James L. Long, Russian Language Sources Relating to the Germans from Russia (Fort Collins: Colorado State University, 1976), and From Privileged to Dispossessed: The Volga Germans, 1860-1917 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988); and Michael Miller, Researching the Germans from Russia (Fargo, ND: North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies, 1987). Also valuable are C. Henry Smith, The Coming of the Russian Mennonites (Berne, IN: Mennonite Book Concern, 1927); George W. Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, I (Chicago: Clark Publishing Co., 1915), pp. 703-717, Chapter 57 "The Coming of the German-Russians"; and John P. Johansen, Immigrant Settlements and Social Organizations in South Dakota, Bulletin 313 (Brookings: South Dakota State College, June, 1937).
8 From 1919-1938, the full title was Der Auslanddeutsche. Halbmonatsschrift für Auslanddeutschtum und Auslandkunde. Mitteilungen des Deutschen Ausland-Instituts. From March 1938-1944 the journal switched names to Deutschtum in Ausland.
9 Reported in Richard Sallet, Russian-German Settlements, p. 89.
10Ibid. p. 93.
11 Here I rely for my information on Karl J. R. Arndt and May E. Olson, German-American Newspapers and Periodicals 1732-1955 (Heidelberg: Quelle & Meyer, 1961), p. 421; on the biographical entry on Salomon Wenzlaff in George W. Kingsbury, History of Dakota Territory, 5, pp. 972-975, and on letters that I received from Theodore C. Wenzlaff of Sutton, Nebraska, whose uncle was Salomon Wenzlaff.
12 G. G. Wenzlaff, A Son of Colonia the Forgotten (Los Angeles: David H. Schol Co., 1937). pp. 132-133.
13 After selling the paper, Salomon established a successful chain of banks in the towns of Eureka and Artas, South Dakota, and at Hauge and Linton, North Dakota.
14 G. G. Wenzlaff, A Long and Well-Spent Life, quoted to me by T. C. Wenzlaff.
15 Quoted to me by T. C. Wenzlaff. See also an obituary on Johann Christian Wenzlaff which the T. C. Wenzlaff family clipped from the DFP on September 22, 1894.
16 Arndt/Olson, p. 421.
17 See the obituary for Ida Sallet Marx, 77, in New Ulm Journal, March 22, 1943.
18 He married Margaret Schachte on June 8, 1917, had two sons and a daughter, and died in New Ulm on November 12, 1949.
19 He married Lydia Heiser (daughter of Philip) of Zeeland, North Dakota, and also spent his senior years in New Ulm. See the obituaries for Carl Sallet, New Ulm Journal, December 12, 1949, and for Harald W. Sallet, NUJ, February 1, 1978. Herbert married Catherine, also the daughter of Philip Heiser of Zeeland, North Dakota.
20 Hattie married twice (Johnson of Merrill) and died about 1961 in Milwaukee.
21 Since 1932, after her husband, F. W. Sallet had passed away, Elizabeth Sallet operated a small resort known as Sallet’s Cottages at Minocqua. See obituaries in Rhinelander Daily News, December 30, 1946, and Lakeland Times, January 3, 1947.
23 See the front-page entry by Richard Sallet in the DFP, December 17, 1929, in tribute to F. W. Sallet’s seventieth birthday.
24 See Donald E. Oehlerts, Guide to Wisconsin Newspapers 1833-1957 (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1958), pp. 140-141; obituary of Ida Sallet Marx, New Ulm Journal, March 22, 1943; and DFP, December 17, 1929.
See the front-page article "An die Leser" in DFP, March 29, 1906, and the succeeding new masthead, April 5, 1906, and following.
25 Although the reasons for the 1906 sale are unknown, we do know that 1906 was the year F. W. Sallet was divorced from his Finnish-born wife, Ida Rosenbreier. He married Elizabeth Goetz of Yankton on August 4, 1906. The same year Ida left with their children for Indianapolis, then moved back to Merrill where she married August Marx, but after his death in 1933 she spent winters in New Ulm in order to reside with her son Harald W. Sallet at 409 South Washington Street.
26 See the front-page lead article DFP, March 19, 1908.
27 DFP, July 1, 1909.
28 DFP, July 8, 1909.
29 For example, at the Austro-Hungary Camp Wegscheid. Richard Sallet, Russian-German Settlements, p. 93. Frequently these prisoners eventually made their way to the United States.
30 DFP, April 7, 1933.
31 E. g., DFP, June 9, 1933.
32 Later published as Richard Sallet, "Russlanddeutsche Siedlungen in den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika," Duetsch-Amerikanische Geschichtsblatter, 31 (1931). The dissertation was submitted to the faculty at the University of Königsberg in East Prussia.
33 Sallet, Russian-German Settlements, p. 67.
34 The German and Austrian Red cross was very active in collecting charitable donations in every German-American city in North America. Cf. La Vern J. Rippley, The Immigrant Experience in Wisconsin (Boston: Twayne, 1985), p. 98.
35 DFP, December 17, 1929, p. 8.
36 Wittke, The German-Language Press, p. 264.
37 DFP, February 5, 1918.
39 Aberdeen Daily American, May 5, 1918, front page.
40 DFP, May 21, 1918.
41 Aberdeen Daily American, May 9, 1918, p. 8.
42 In the exact words of the newspaper, "F. W. Sallet pled guilty to a charge of failing to file a translation of an article published in his paper with the postal authorities, under the section of the espionage law requiring foreign language newspapers to file translations. His attorney, J. J. Conroy, read an affidavit showing that the violation of the law was a technical one and that it had been committed by J. F. P. Gross, the assistant editor without Sallet’s knowledge." Aberdeen Daily American, May 16, 1918, p. 8.
43 Aberdeen Daily American, May 16, 1918, p. 8.
44 At the time of the move, the paper was annotated as having begun publication in 1874. It was then in its 46th year of publication, having published its 2,389th issue. Legally it was owned by the Freie Presse Printing Co., which included F. W. Sallet, Conrad Kornmann, C. F. Sallet, and H. W. Sallet, with the address give simply as New Ulm. (Note that Kornmann, who in Sioux Falls had been sentenced to a ten-year prison term, less than two years later was back at work on this German newspaper.) The DFP appeared every Tuesday. At this time, subscriptions in the United States cost $2.50, in Canada and anywhere abroad $3.00. One year later, however, the rates had risen by fifty cents. The editor, of course, was F. W. Sallet. The managing editor and business manager was Conrad Kornmann. Kornmann was a stockholder in the Freie Presse Printing Co., but left the paper in 1923 when Richard Sallet succeeded him as managing editor. Kornmann then joined the St. Paul Tagliche Volkszeitung but died in 1930 in a streetcar accident in Portland, Oregon. DFP, April 12, 1921.
45 See DFP, March 9, 1920, and Arndt/Olson, p. 423. Note that Sallet addresses his comments to a Mr. Brandt, whereas Arndt/Olson refer to an editor H. H. R. Berndt of the Nord-Dakota Herold although they list his tenure of the Herold’s editorship as concluding in the year 1912, therefore indicationg that he was not with the paper in 1920 when the Sallet editorial was written. Arndt/Olson are in error. The Dickinson Herold had only a limited clientele among Roman Catholic Black Sea Germans and never offered much competition to the DFP. On the other hand, the Staats-Anzeiger of Bismarck under Frank L. Brandt was actively competing with the DFP, frequently contacting the DFP’s correspondents in Russia and Romania, trying to win them away from Sallet. On one occasion F. W. Sallet angrily compared Brandt to "a hungry dog trailing a meat wagon." Letter from Richard Sallet, December 10, 1973.
46 See DFP, March 9, 1920. Note also on page 4 the statement that F. W. Sallet had once live for two years in New Ulm, and perhaps this inclined him to move the paper back there.
47 Emma Schwabenland Haynes, A History of the Volga Relief Society (Lincoln, Nebraska: AHSGR, 1982), 130 pp.
48 La Vern J. Rippley, "The Marion Central Relief Committee and the Soviet Famine of 1921-23," Heritage Review, 13 (September 1983), pp. 6-13.
49 La Vern J. Rippley, "Gift Cows for Germany," North Dakota History, 40 (Summer 1973), pp. 4-15, and "American Milk Cows for German: A Sequel," NDH, 44 (Summer 1977), pp. 15-23.
50 Letter from Richard Sallet, December 10, 1973.
51 Prior to October 25, 1932, the DFP had been edited and published in New Ulm, Minnesota. During 1932 the weekly ownership block carried the information: "Published every Tuesday by Freie Presse Printing, Inc., C. F. Sallet, Business Manager, 22 ½ N. Minnesota St., New Ulm Minn." The ownership was listed as F. W. Sallet, Carl F. Sallet, Harold W. Sallet, and Herbert H. Sallet. The editor was given as Richard Sallet of Evanston, Illinois. DFP, January 5, 1932.
52 See obituaries in Daily Enterprise of New Ulm, Brown County, Minnesota, September 26, 1932, in the Brown County Journal, September 30, 1932, p.6, the New Ulm Review, September 29, 1932, p. 1, and the Minocqua Times, September 30, 1932, p. 1. See also the lengthy obituary by Richard Sallet in DFP, October 4, 1932.
53 See the front-page articles in Brown County Journal, January 8, 1932, and New Ulm Review, January 7, 1932.
54 See obituary in New Ulm Journal, July 18, 1975.
55 DFP, October 18, 1932. Arndt/Olson give a confusing report about the editorship of F. W. Sallet, but letters from Dr. Richard Sallet, when he was living in retirement in Spain, indicate that his uncle, F. W. Sallet, was continuously writing for the paper from 1903-1932. A casual glance at the data in Arndt/Olson under both Eureka and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, will show that F. W. Sallet also edited and published other newspapers, notable the Eureka Dakota Volkszeitung from which he acquired his assistant editor J. F. Paul Gross (who went to prison), and the Sioux Falls Deutscher-Herold, from which he recruited Conrad Kornmann, a North German who was an employee of Hans Demuth at the time.
56 In the fall of 1972, I interviewed Dorothy Leicht, Emil’s daughter, who lived in Winona, but I was unable to learn many particulars about the German-language publications. I also made an appointment to interview Otto Hoermann who was one of the last prime movers in the German-language publishing business of the Leicht family but he died before I could speak with him. His son communicated with me but was not well-informed about his father’s work. According to Dorothy Leicht, the building of the Leicht press, which formerly stood at 179 East Second Street in Winona, was dismantled in 1969 and backlogs of the German-language newspapers stored there until that time were hauled to the dump. It is likely that some back issues of the DFP were included in this disposal.
57 DFP, January 1, 1941.
58 For a brief period in 1912, J. F. Paul Gross edited the Dakota Volkszeitung in Eureka and may have been associated with the Rundschau before joining Sallet to edit his Neue Duetsche Presse in Aberdeen where he was arrested. Arndt/Olson, p. 39.
59 Arndt/Olson, p. 422, and Sallet, p. 88.
60 Arndt/Olson, p. 422. Note, however, that it did not continue into 1942 as stated in the report of Arndt/Olson but actually merged by January 1, 1941.
61 DFP, January 1, 1941.
62 Prior to his arrival in Eureka, South Dakota, he had already published his 108-page monograph Aus deutschen Kolonien im Kurschurganer gebiet (Stuttgart: Ausland und Heimat Verlags-Aktiengesellschaft, 1930).
63 Henry Fritsch returned to the U.S. after the war but not to the DFP. He died in 1958 and lies buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Winona. His widow granted me an interview.
64 The National Weeklies, Inc., was an outgrowth of the Westlicher Herold Publishing Company of Winona. The complete story of this large German-language publishing house still remains to be told. Only a brief sketch is provided here. In 1924 the management accepted a merger with the German-language Brumder publishing interests of Milwaukee, resulting in the new name "National Weeklies," which was undoubtedly the largest German-language newspaper syndicate in the United States. In January 1925, the publishers released this statement: "We have, for eight years, published nine different papers in which 43 older papers had been merged; these papers carried practically the same national and foreign news, with local pages added for the various regions. Then, on December 1, 1924, all the Westlicher Herold Publishing Company’s publications were consolidated, and now appear as America-Herold."
65 Jonathan F. Wagner, "Nazi Propaganda Among North Dakota’s German, 1934-1941," North Dakota History, 54 (Winter 1987), pp. 15-24.
66 Arthur L. smith, "The Kameradschaft USA," Journal of Modern History, 34 (1962), 402, and in general the chapter "The Relationship of Nazi Germany to America’s German Element" in La Vern J. Rippley, The German-Americans (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1985), pp. 196-213, esp. p. 208.
67 DFP, August 18, 1933. Among the petitioners were Georg Rath, John Brendel, and Val J. Peter, publisher/editor of the prominent Welt-Post Volga German paper in Lincoln, Nebraska.
68 A good example is the petition published in the DFP, May 19, 1933, and signed by Georg Rath, the pastor at Laurel, Montana; John Brendel, the editor at Bismarck; Dr. Richard Sallet, the editor at Evanston, Illinois; Dr. Theodor Otto, the contributor in Allentown, Pennsylvania; Heinrich Tober, from Fresno, California; Christian Dutt from Tolstoy, North Dakota; and Reverend G. Landgrebe, from Elgin, North Dakota.
69 DFP, August 4, 1948. I am grateful to Dr. Armand Bauer of Bismarck, North Dakota, for biographical information about Joseph Gaeckle. Specifically, Dr. Bauer interviewed Oscar Lang, retired postmaster of Kulm, North Dakota, in September 1973, and visited with Lawrence Koenig of Fargo, who formerly lived in Kulm. Additional specifics about Gaeckle and his brother George Gackle (sic) are available in the 1957 Kulm Jubilee Book, pp. 48 and 86 respectively.
70 DFP, February 24, 1954. For information about the America-Herold, see Arndt/Olson, pp. 233-234. However, the authors do not mention the merger of the America-Herold with the Dakota Freie Presse. In the section on South Dakota, p. 608, the paper is curtly listed under Aberdeen as having been a weekly published between 1874 and 1925. However, in the entry under Bismarck, p. 421, the details are rather correctly cataloged. See also the entry under New Ulm, Minnesota, p. 224.
Our appreciation is extended to the State Historical Society of North Dakota for permission to reprint this article.