German Americans of Cleveland

Cleveland Press Articles

6 Waves of Germans Set Up Strong Bloc Here

"100 Years of Nationalities in Cleveland"
Fourth of a Series
By Theodore Andrica
Cleveland Press, September 26, 1950

German immigration to Cleveland can be divided roughly into six categories. At the beginning were the Germans who came here between 1830 and 1848 and who were responsible for the establishment of the earliest German churches and organizations here.

Following the unsuccessful revolt in 1848 against German political oppression, waves of so-called '48ers began arriving in Cleveland in 1850.

There was another large influx of German immigrants here in the years immediately before the Civil War just in time to make possible the formation of three regiments from Cleveland, composed mostly of Germans.

Starting again in 1872, after the Franco-Prussian war, another wave of German immigrants hit Cleveland. The wave tapered into steady flow until 1914 when the first World War began.

After 1918, new German immigrants found their way to America and, of course, to Cleveland. Because the American immigration laws favored the coming of western European peoples, Germans came in relatively large numbers till 1938.

Immigration of "Germans" to Cleveland, however, was not confined strictly to people of Germany. Many "Germans" had left their gountry centuries previously and had settled in several central and eastern European countries as far as east as the Urals.

Among such Germans who came eventually to Cleveland are the "Zipsers, " a group of Germans who settled a few hundred years ago on the lower slopes of the Carpathians, in the then Hungary but now Slovakia. An outstanding Zipser in Cleveland was the late Theododre Kundtz, a widely known manufacturer.

Then we have the "Schwaben," who settled in Hungary about 200 years ago and of whom many have come to Cleveland.

Some of these Schwaben lived in the western part of Hungary; others lived in the Banat province, which after the First World War was divided between Romania and Yugoslavia. These Germans are known as "Banaters" and they are very active in Cleveland.

Although they speak German, the Transylvanian Saxons are not included in this story, since they will form a separate chapter of their own.

400 Separate Groups

At the peak of German life in Cleveland, there were 400 separate organizations--churches, singing groups, gymnastic societies and hometown associations.

Today the best estimates show about 75,000 foreign-born Germans and their second generation, American- born, children (but not grandchildren) in Cleveland.

In 1950 the Germans have three publications, a daily and two monthlies; seven halls, eight Catholic and 22 Protestant churches; 20 fraternal benefit lodges; 24 cultural groups; 14 social clubs and four radio programs.