The German American Family Album

Thompson, Mary. "The German American Family Album." Fargo Forum, 25 August 1996, C-12.

By Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, Oxford University Press, New York City, NY, 1996, 127 pages, softcover and hardcover. Germans from Russia E184.G3H65 1995. (not available on interlibrary loan).

Book available at the following Germans from Russia Heritage Collection website page:

Book review by Mary Thompson

German American Album is a vivid and varied portrait Includes immigrant memories of life on the Dakota prairies with Pauline Diede, Fred Martin, Sally Roesch and others

Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler have assembled an educational, entertaining portfolio featuring Germans who immigrated to the United States, beginning with the colonial period. Descendants of German immigrants form the largest single ethnic group in the U.S.

The book is composed of sketches, interviews, historical documents and quotations from letters and individual perspective. The striking photographs are wonderful. The result is a vivid and varied portrait of German Americans as they were then.

German immigrants treasured their language and culture after they arrived in the new and strange land. They worked to preserve both, but things changed radically when the United States entered World War I. Almost overnight the German Language was banned, treasured German literature was burned and symphony orchestras were prohibited from playing Bach and Beethoven. Some kindergartens were closed because they were the brainchild of a German American. German Americans were suspect.

The persecution faced by the ethnic group during World War II was less severe. Perhaps Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, a military hero in Americans' eyes long before he was a president, was part of the reason: His parents were German American.

Other well-known German Americans whose reminiscences are included in the book are Babe Ruth, Herbert Hoover, Lawrence Welk, author Kurt Vonnegut and recent hero Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf.

The German American Family Album features immigrant memories of life on the Dakota prairies with Pauline Neher Diede, Fred Martin, Sally Roesch, Sister Reinhardt Hecker andSophia Kallenberger Beck. Michael M. Miller, North Dakota State University's bibliographer for the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, details his 1994 journey to Odessa, Ukraine. This is the latest volume in the American Family Album series, which profiles various ethnic groups. The Hooblers have written more than 60 books and have been honored by the Library of Congress.

Reviewed for The Forum, Fargo, ND, by Mary Thompsen of Moorhead, MN.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller