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Steuben Society of America

The Steuben Societyís National Council announces that its Education Committee will again offer the Erick Kurz Memorial Award for 2014 as a German American History Project. The idea is to get students to do research and write on the theme "Tracing German-American life in my community."

This will require observation of the names of local streets, landmarks, schools, businesses, parks, etc. It should not be a mere listing of the findings, but show originality in researching a bit deeper in gathering, interpreting, and presenting the information. The student can work with teachers, local librarians, historians, politicians, civic or social groups, or elders in their community and get as much information as they can compile in the time allotted till submission on Mar 31, 2014. We will also consider awarding teamwork. The submission will ideally be accompanied by a teacherís or mentorís recommendation.

The winner(s) of the $1,000 Erick Kurz Memorial Award will be announced in late April 2014. The results can and hopefully will be used to request a local German-American Month proclamation for September/October 2014. This may perhaps stimulate a flag raising or other local celebration of German American history and friendship.

The text length of essays may depend on the harvest of data but should be no more than 1000 words. Please submit photos (in jpg format) and other support material electronically to SteubenSocietyNatl@yahoo.com with a surface mail postcard alert to the Steuben Society office confirming that an email has been sent. (We like to avoid overlooking any submission). The postal address of the Steuben Society of America is 1 South Ocean Avenue, Suite 217, Patchogue, NY, 11772

Co-Chairs: Historian Dr. Don Heinrich Tolzmann & National Secretary Ilse Hoffmann PDF

Interested in becoming a member of the Steuben Society?
We are always looking for new members.
Please complete the application form. (PDF)

"Steuben: The Lost New York City Years and Dreams of a Dignified Retirement"

Discover the rich history of Friedrich Wilhelm Von Steuben, as explained by Curator of the Steuben Historic Site in Remsen, NY, an avid Steuben history researcher, Nancy Demyttenaere, at the Erick Kurz Memorial Lecture at Fraunces Tavern, New York City, 9/6/2012. Video broken into five parts.

Part 1 of 5
Part 2 of 5
Part 3 of 5
Part 4 of 5
Part 5 of 5

Greetings From The National Chairman

Welcome to the official website of the Steuben Society of America. For those of you who are not familiar with our organization, here is some basic information about us. The Steuben Society of America was founded in May of 1919, in the aftermath of the First World War, by patriotic Americans of German descent. Our mission from the inception of our organization to the present day has remained essentially unchanged. Our goals are to foster good citizenship in the German-American community, to educate the public as to the positive role our ethnic group has always played in American society, and to preserve a sense of ethnic pride amongst German-Americans.

By no means was it an accident that our founders chose to name our organization after one of the greatest German-Americans. Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben epitomizes all the virtues our society holds most dear. The baron dedicated his life to public service. Von Steuben was recruited to the cause of American Liberty by Benjamin Franklin who persuaded the baron to offer his services, without compensation, to the Continental Congress. <
Monument of Von Steuben at Monmouth Park, NJ. Dedicated May 2004 by Paul Bette with the Molly Pitcher and Peter Muehlenberg Units,

Photo by C. Zorn-Scott

The baron, a Prussian officer by training, was given the rank of Major General in the Continental Army and distinguished himself as our country’s first effective Inspector General. He trained the troops through the brutal winter at Valley Forge where he converted a loosely assembled hodgepodge of untrained militia into a fighting force capable of standing toe to toe with the mighty British Army. General Washington credited the training and discipline that von Steuben brought to the Continental Army as being indispensable to America’s victory in the Revolutionary War. After the war, von Steuben, unlike other foreign generals who fought on our side, remained in America and became a citizen. The baron’s commitment to public service did not end upon his retirement from the Army. He was a founding member of the Order of Cincinnati, our country’s first veteran aid organization. He was also a charter member of the New York State Board of Regents.

The baron’s commitment to public service and to education has served as a template for the Steuben Society itself. Today we promote civic awareness and ethnic pride via numerous scholarship programs at both the local level and national level. We also support the teaching of German in schools and the promotion of the field of German-American Studies. One of our proudest moments occurred in May of 2004, when the Steuben Society, in partnership with the Friends of Monmouth Battlefield, unveiled a statue of Baron von Steuben at the Monmouth Battlefield State Park in New Jersey.

If you are an American citizen of voting age who descends from at least one ancestor whose native tongue was German, I encourage you to consider joining us. Also, all donations made to the National Council are tax deductible. Your financial support of our programs would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to call our Executive Office at 718-381-0900 if you would like more information.

Very truly yours,

Governor Charlie Crist declares October to be German American Month in Florida

Randall J. Ratje

The National Council's Education Committee announces the availability of the annual Annual Steuben Society of America Student Award for Outstanding Achievement in German-American Studies. For many years, we presented this award to graduates at the University of Cincinnati, now we are opening up the competition...details

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President ObamaThe American story has been written by those who have come to our shores in search of freedom, opportunity, and the chance at a better life. The German men and women who braved numerous perils to cross the Atlantic long ago left a legacy of millions of Americans of German ancestry who have been an integral part of our national life. On German-American Day, we pay tribute to the role this community has played in shaping America and contributing to our progress and prosperity.

On October 6, 1683, 13 courageous German families arrived in Pennsylvania to start a new life. They began a chapter in the American narrative that has influenced our country in all walks of life, and their resolve lives on in the men, women, and families of German descent who enhance civic engagement, steer our industries, and fortify our Nation's character. With their dedication and determination, the United States has been a leader in ingenuity and entrepreneurship, and has delivered a message of hope and opportunity that resonates around the world. Today, German Americans innovate and excel as leaders in all sectors of our society.

On this occasion, we honor not only the countless achievements and rich heritage of German Americans, but also the strong ties between Germany and the United States. Our two nations share unbreakable bonds as allies with solemn obligations to one another's security; values that inspired those brave settlers four centuries ago; and a vision for a safer, freer, more peaceful, more prosperous world.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 6, 2010, as German-American Day. I encourage all Americans to learn more about the history of German Americans and reflect on the many contributions they have made to our Nation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.



In Memoriam
Hanswalter Ratje
Cuxhaven, Germany, April 5, 1937 -  †Patchogue, NY March 8, 2013
Past National Chairman of the Steuben Society of America

Brother Hans distinguished himself throughout his life by his tireless commitment to any endeavor. For him there could be no half measures taken whether he was playing soccer, running a successful business, serving the German-American Community through the Steuben Society, or whether he was a loving husband, father and grandfather. --- We have lost a warm and wonderful leader and friend who will forever live in our hearts and minds. Our heartfelt sympathy goes to Hans’ wife of 50 years, Priscilla Ratje, his son Randall J. Ratje, daughter Heidemarie Ratje, granddaughter Adele Ratje-Mundell, and sister Margret Kus in Germany.

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The National Council of the Steuben Society of America
Patchogue, NY 10772 – SteubenSocietyNatl@yahoo.com

©2014 Steuben Society of America, Inc. | Cynthia A. Zorn-Scott