Mr. George Glotzbach
Brother Glotzbach was the 2016 honoree and came resplendently attired in his authentic Tracht Anzug! Brother Glotzbach divided his talk into segments which he expertly timed to coincide with various courses of our dinner.
First, Brother Glotzbach told us about his family history. His great-great grandfather, a German immigrant, had the misfortune to be the first recorded death in Brown County, Minnesota, where New Ulm is located. Then, when his great-great grandmother re-married, a necessity for a young widow stranded on the frontier, her marriage was the first recorded marriage in Brown County, circa 1855.
Brother Glotzbach went on to tell us of the founding of New Ulm by refugees from the Revolutions of 1848 who were free thinkers who gravitated toward the Turn Verein Movement. These settlers came to New Ulm by way of the Turn Verein of Cincinnati, Ohio. These first settlers did not adhere to any organized religion. However, they soon found themselves joined by Catholic German-Bohemians as well as by German Methodists and Lutherans.
These German settlers of varying backgrounds were forced to cooperate just to survive life on the frontier. As Brother Glotzbach told us, the city’s very existence was put to the test during two pitched battles with the Dakota Sioux in August of 1862. During this Indian uprising 800 settlers lost their lives.
But the city did survive and it also remained decidedly German in its ethnic makeup.
So proud were these German-Americans of their heritage that, in 1897, the National Order of the Sons of Hermann erected a copper statue of Hermann der Cherusker Furst (the Prince of the Cheruskans) that stands 102 feet tall from its base to the tip of Hermann’s sword. Brother Glotzbach then proceeded to give as a brief history lesson about why Hermann was selected as the subject of the statue.
The story of Hermann goes back to 9 A.D. when this prince of the Germanic Cheruskan tribe lured three Roman legions under General Publius Quinctilius Varus into an ambush near Kalkriese in the Teutoburger Forest. This smashing Roman defeat has gone down in German History as “Die Varus Schlacht” (the slaughter of Varus). Ever since, Hermann has been held up as a symbol of German national pride. Therefore, it should be no surprise that Germany has its own, even larger, Hermann statue located in the town of Detmold in the Teutoburger Forest. Today, the New Ulm statue is recognized on the list of United States historic sites as a symbol of the German element in America.
Ever the showman, Brother Glotzbach ended his talk by leading all those assembled in a rousing rendition of Ein Prosit der Gemuetlichkeit! Our very enjoyable evening then came to an end when Sister Phyllis Kurz and her family joined National Chairman Robert Land in presenting Brother Glotzbach with a certificate of appreciation.