Yoakum hosts state German Society convention
March 3, 2012 at 9:04 p.m.
Updated March 2, 2012 at 9:03 p.m.
Getting in touch with their inner German
It was a "guten morgen" at the Texas German Society Convention in Yoakum.
The 28th annual Texas German Society Convention was dedicated in memory of Monroe Rathkamp, a member of the host organization, the Lavaca-DeWitt County Texas German Society. Rathkamp, 82, died in February. A collection of German dance costumes worn by Monroe and his wife Betty Rathkamp were on display at the convention.
YOAKUM - "Guten morgen" was the most popular refrain in Yoakum on Saturday.
The German greeting of "good morning" resounded time and time again as more than 400 people gathered for the 28th annual Texas German Society Convention at the Yoakum Community Center.
Yoakum Mayor Annie Rodriguez and DeWitt County Judge Daryl Fowler were among the local dignitaries who greeted the guests.
"I am delighted and excited to be here to welcome you to DeWitt County," Fowler said. "The fact you are here to hold your convention is very significant.
"I also enjoy a very rich and deep German history and genealogy. This is an opportunity for me to get more acquainted with my German heritage," said the county judge.
In addition, Charles Soehnge, president of the Lavaca-DeWitt County Texas German Society; Robert Herridge, the state president of the Texas German Society; and Klaus-Jochen Guehlcke, deputy consul at the German consulate in Houston, also made brief remarks.
The day included musical entertainment from the New Braunfels Village Brass Band, the Houston Saengerbund Choir and the Houston Shanty Choir.
The Die Rathkamp Deutsche Volkstanz Gruppe also performed German folk dances.
Presentations were made by Judy Soehnge about her family's immigration to Texas, Don Kaspar about the history of Kaspar Wire Works in Shiner and Patsy Hand about the Indianola database.
An authentic German meal was also served.
For attendees, the convention was a time to reinforce their German heritage.
"It's important. My family came from Germany and I appreciate the German heritage," said Herbert Schumann, of the Bluebonnet Chapter of the TGS based in Austin County. "I try to keep my children involved. It's important to maintain our roots and keep our families aware of where they came from so they can think about the future."
That theme resounded among numerous attendees.
"That's my background - my grandparents, our culture, our food, our dancing, our reading of the Bible," said Lydia Dozler, of the South Belt Chapter in the Houston area.
Glenn Guettler, one of the founding members of the Texas German Society and a member of the North Harris County chapter, put it succinctly.
"It's our family and our life," he said.