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Silent Night

Ein Weihnachtsbaum
Christmas tree ornaments
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The web site has been developed by Maria and Walter Brand. Maria has gathered an extensive history of the activities of German American Pioneers in the region now known as Silicon Valley (the City of San Jose, CA and the surrounding Santa Clara Valley).

My husband of 45 years passed away

Oct. 21, 2005. He suffered a cardiac arrest.




Frohe Weihnachten und ein gesundes neues Jahr wuenscht Euch von Herzen, Maria Brand



Christkindel Markt in San Jose, California?


The answer is yes, some 108 years ago.


Mercury News, Jahrmarkt at Turn Verein Hall

Friday, December 15, through Sunday December 17, 1899.


The Turner Hall on Third Street was decorated with evergreen and white and red bunting; both extended around the spacious hall. Mrs, Schoog, Martin, Roehr and Miss Dohrmann were in charge of the Konditorei, (pastry shop). The fragrance of Ginger bread, short breads, honey cake, coffee and cider was so inviting.

Men women and children dressed in native costumes from 8 different regions of Germany enlivened the scenery in the “make believe market square.” Every hour on the hour the night-watch-man appeared to sing out the hour of the night. Everyone participated, the traveling German Jew as well as the Tyrolean street band.

Students in their “Studenten” garments, standing at the corner watched the girls go by. Mrs. Webber demonstrated her craft on the spinning wheel, which had been in her family’s   possession for over a century, and had survived the journey to California.

Mrs. Holtz, Hellisen, Krieg, Otter and Mrs. Huff operated the gambling booth.

One could try his luck with dice or on the wheel of fortune.

The Heidelberg Fass, or barrel of sherry was a special attraction and would be raffled off before the fair closed.

They even had a circus ring with trained animals and clowns. This really proved to be a main attraction for the boys and girls. There were many other side shows like the bridal procession with the young couple and brides maids in their native dress. The wedding crown worn by the bride was much admired.

Then there was music, singing and dancing. Mr. Brohashka and his orchestra played the Overture from Robin Hood as smoothly as it accompanied the choir, quartet and duet and solos, and later played for dancing pleasure of the guests.

The performances of the Turners warmed the hearts of those present. The program included: The Chapel, by Kreutzer; An old romance, by Mendelson : Oh, fly with me; One night there came and Over the grave, was sung by Miss Pieper, Miss Webster, E. Wentzel and H. Dykmann. Other songs included, were: Serenade, Calm as the night; The shepherd’s Sunday song; and the mass chorus moved the audience with their performance of: On Guard.

Then the dancing began and people danced into the night.

On Sunday afternoon there was a special program for children.

On that evening the attendance was greater than on the two previous nights. Additional entertainment was offered by the Shubert’s Orchestra and the Zither duet.

The three day “Jahrmarkt” or Chirstkindel Markt closed with the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. The Turners were pleased with the results and the fruit of their labor. The Sick Fond had been replenished and guests had gotten their money’s worth and had left in good spirits. Christmas was around the corner and everyone was in the right frame of mind to embrace the holidays.


Just a short explanation: The event started 10 days before Christmas, which lets me assume the Turners and the German immigrant in general considered this the Christkindel Markt. (a fair where Christmas items, food etc. is sold.) In Germany every City has its own Christmas Markt, and some cities, such as Nuremberg have had one for centuries.


Music in general, but singing in a group in particular, had been introduced and was much promoted as a means to bridge the social and economic gaps, which at the time of the Turner movement was much more pronounced in Germany then now. A proverb is very telling: “Singen heisst Verstehen” meaning: People, who sing together, understand each other better.

 ( from: Deutschkunde, Karl A. Krause, Charles Scribner’s sons, New York 1020, Page 63.)



Everything to do with Christmas

December, Erich Kaestener

Die Tanne

Desiderata. Max Ehrmann

Desiderata, Enlish, Way of Life

Immigration to the USA from around the World

incl. Germany, fascinating


 Recent and current German American high achievers:

Dr. Rudi Schmid, liver transplant pioneer, Swiss


Dr. Guenter Bloebel, Nobel Prize winner in Medicine

Al Wurz, Inventor in the automatic identification field

Max Ehrmann,German-American Poet


Dr. Don Heinrich Tolzman, educator & author


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Die Lorelei, The Loreley,


Declaration of love, country style


Der Kachelofen, the old tile stove


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