German immigrants began arriving to Milwaukee in the 1830s. By 1859, over one-third of the city was German. They opened schools and churches, started businesses, ran for office, and introduced professional German theater, art, and music to the city. Milwaukee soon became known throughout the United States—and even abroad—as the “German Athens of North America.” There is a reason Milwaukee is known as the city of beer and brats, why it is here that the biggest Germanfest in the country takes place, and why still today the German language can be seen and heard throughout the city. As the well-known German newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine stated in 2008, “Deutscher als Milwaukee ist nirgendwo in Amerika” (There is nowhere in America more German than in Milwaukee).
About the Author
Jennifer Watson Schumacher is an associate professor of German and Scandinavian literature at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. This book grew out of a course she taught at the university called German Milwaukee and was inspired by her German students who so enthusiastically embrace their own German heritage and the city of Milwaukee. Nineteen students collected the material for this book and put their hearts and souls into its creation.