Friday, July 20, 2012
Pommerscher Verein Unveils Immigrant Memorial Marker
On July 15, 2012, a ceremony was held in the Town of Berlin, Marathon County, Wisconsin, to unveil a granite marker commemorating the Pomeranian immigrants who settled in the area. Organized by the Pommerscher Verein Central Wisconsin, a heritage group that studies the history, culture, and Low German (or Platt) language known to their ancestors, the celebration included singing, dancing, speeches, and even a release of pigeons as the monument was unveiled. The songs included a version of "On Wisconsin" and "You Are My Sunshine" in Platt, as well as "Das Pommernlied," which was written in 1850. The group is believed to be the first to translate the Wisconsin state song into a dialect language.
The six-foot-tall marker is made of locally quarried red granite; not only is red granite Wisconsin's state stone, but many Verein members and their families have found employment at such quarries. One side of the marker features a narrative about the Pomeranian settlement of central Wisconsin; the other shows a map of the Kingdom of Prussia, identifying the area where large groups of immigrants originated, as well as a map of Wisconsin, highlighting the counties of Marathon and Lincoln where so many Pomeranian immigrants settled—often in towns with names like Stettin, Hamburg, and Berlin. In addition, the ground surrounding the marker contains 149 tiles engraved with the names of original immigrant settlers and nearly 400 commemorative bricks established by descendant families.
There is a plan to compile a collection of stories about the immigrants whose names adorn the monument.