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New Ulm

N German Street
(German Park)

German-Bohemian Immigrants Monument

Leopold Hafner

New Ulm /  German-Bohemian Immigrants Monument   New Ulm /  German-Bohemian Immigrants Monument


Bronze statue of a man, woman and child. On the back, the parents legs are raised to represent their love of music and dancing, valued traditions brought from the old country.


     this monument was erected in 1991 by the german bohemian
heritigage society to commemorate the immigrants to this region
from the german speaking western rim of present-day
czechoslovakia. they emigrated from the counties of bischofteinitz,
mies and taus in the province of pilsen, as shown on the european
map and settled in the townships sketched on the u.s. map. around
the base in the granite slabs are inscribed the over 350 immigrant
family names as they were approximately spelled when the families
departed their old homeland. known at the time of their departure
as bohemia, a crown colony in the austro-hungarian empire, this
region in the 20th century was included in the larger periphery of
the czech nation designated as the sudetenland. more locally it was
called the böhmerwald, bohemian forest, a ridge of high hills that
forms a natural border with germany.
     the immigrants came mostly from small villages, with the largest
numbers from the village centers of hostau, muttersdorf and
ronsperg. these were farm communities where the people lived and
housed their stock, going out daily to work their scattered non-
contiguous fields. most villages had catholic churches or chapels
and the residents spoke a bohemian dialect of german. from new year's
day to christmas each year they observed special traditions, spiced
with large wedding celebrations and funerals attended by the entire
communities. music in every form -- bands, singing societies and choirs --
permeated all aspects of village life.
Two maps:

Die alte Heimat, with inset old homeland vicinity


    many german-bohemian traditions crossed the ocean to the
new ulm region. some immigrants from bohemia were
among the earliest farm settlers arriving by ship on the minnesota
river within two years after german farmers founded the city.
beginning in 1856 they farmed in cottonwood township, then
extended their settlement northward into st. george and westward
into sigel township, sleepy eye and farther west. as more and more
arrived (after 1872 by rail) they could no longer all farm.
beginning around 1880 they acquired homes especially in the
southeast section of the city of new ulm, an area they
affectionately called the gänseviertel, goosetown. they also
concentrated in the wallachei (low land) region to the west.
farther north the city, retired farmers built homes near trinity
catholic church. younger city dwellers often labored in the roller
mills, the breweries and as carpenter, masons and cigar makers.
among them in later years were also doctors, painters, musicians,
butchers and blacksmiths. many women earned extra money kloppling
(making lace) and sewing feather-filled bedding. the bohemian
heritage has been most strongly exhibited in the "old time" band
traditions of southern minnesota.
dedicated july 20, 1991 this monument was created by leopold hafner, a refugee from bohemia in
1946, now of aicha vorm wald near passau, germany
(empty) this granite pedestal was created by
bloedel monument co. new ulm

Next to the monument are two markers with portraits:

Rudolf Kiefner

mar. 5, 1934 bischofteinitz, bohemia
feb. 2, 1993 kassel, germany

rudolf kiefner's leadership, determination, and
untiring zeal were a great inspiration to the
planning and construction of the german-bohemian
immigrant monument. he formed a bond between
people of this area and many in europe. he hoped
the monument would serve as a remembrance for
future generations, and bind together forever the
people whose ancestors shared the same homeland.
this community has lost a good friend.
may he always be remembered

Paul Kretsch

MARCH 25, 1938
AUGUST 23, 2006

"I grew up in an environment which included the German-
Bohemian culture. Already as a young man I recognized
the uniqueness about this culture. Belonging to this organization
has taught me just how unique and special it is. This makes
my job bot one of labor, but rather one of love."

Paul Kretsch, President of the German-Bohemian
Heritage Society from 1989 to 2004, played a
significant role in the planning, fund raising, and
construction of the German-Bohemian Immigrant
Monument. He worked tirelessly to communicate
and foster an understanding and deep appreciation
of the German-Bohemian people, their rich cultural
heritage, unique language and beautiful music.
We are grateful for his many years of leadership
and service to the GBHS and the City of New Ulm.
Paul will not be forgotten,
Dedicated August 18, 2007



N.B. The present, Czech, name of Bischofteinitz is Horšovský Týn.

Sources & Information


Location (N 44°18'57" - W 94°27'33")

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Item Code: usmn16; Photograph: 22 October 2010
Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
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© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt

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