From the Omaha World-Herald, dated May 30, 1954:

The Liederkranz

The most easily recognized "throwback" to the German influence here is the Liederkranz, a "singing society" organized more than a half a century ago. Although it compares somewhat with Omahaís Ak-Sar-Ben organization, there is really no other civic group in the state quite like it.

As the name implies, the original purpose was for "singing, fellowship and a general good time," in the words of one longtime member. Its activities today give less accent to the singing - although there has been a recent move to reinstitute group-singing and other music - and have expanded to include philanthropic work.

Home of the club is a large brick building near the main business district. There is a large auditorium, club rooms for cards, bowling and other recreation, a dining room.

Over the back bar in the drinking room that has the atmosphere of a German rathskeller, there appears in Germanic print a rhyme epitomizing the Liederkranz: "Wer Nicht Liebt Wein Weib Und Gesang, Der Bleibt Ein Narr Sein Leben Lang." (Rough translation: "He who does not love wine, women and song will remain a fool his whole life long.")

Although the club has known ups and downs and felt the pinch when slot machines were ruled out in the state, membership is about at a saturation point near 1,200.

Second German Club
Invitations to membership are coveted. Officers donít fool around in lining up members. When the time comes for membership drives, prospective members are given one day in which to remit dues.

The membership provides a good cross-section of Grand Islandís people.

Among the names of past officers, whose pictures adorn the walls of the clubrooms, are these: August Engel, Henry Schuff, George Gunther, William Heidtkamp, Hans Mickelmann, Theo Boehm, Henry Joehnk, Simon Sinke, Rudolph Boch, Henry Locke, Theodore Jessen, Otto Pfautsch, August Buechler, Joseph Sondemann, Bernard Koebeck, Claus Sothman; Mesdames Adolph Egge, Metta Joehnk Meves, Fred Roth, Alma Bernstein Guthman and many others of obvious German origin.

Only a handful of the old-timers, however, still play the popular German card game called skat. "Itís too complicated," complained a young member.

In recent months a similar club called Platt Deutsche (low German) has tied with the Liederkranz.

The Liederkranz still provides an auditorium used by the city. A municipal auditorium is one of G.I.ís post-war projects not yet realized.



Return to Grand Island Liederkranz

Return to News Articles