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Happy 40th Anniversary! In 1976 a group of visionary German-Americans came together under the leadership of Pastor Hans Haug to form an organization that would recognize and honor the positive economic, political, scientific, social and cultural contributions Americans of German-speaking ancestry have made to the United States.
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Pentecost

Pentecost, or Pfingsten as it is known in Germany, is a Christian holiday, commemorating the arrival of the Holy Spirit to the followers of Jesus Christ. Pfingsten is celebrated 49 days or seven weeks after Easter Sunday and ten days after Ascension Day. Therefore, it usually falls between the 10th of May and the 13th of June. Pentecost has roots in the Jewish holiday Shavuot, which is both a day of thanksgiving and a remembrance of the day on which Moses received the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai, which is a central foundation narrative for all Abrahamic religions. While the Ten Commandments symbolizes the connection between God and his people, Pentecost celebrates the connection between God and his people in the form of the Holy Ghost, who told Jesus’s disciples to spread the message of Christianity. Since this marks the beginning of Christianity as an official religion for Christians, Pentecost is one of the most important Christian holidays.
The German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA® appreciates the support and cultural programming of our member clubs and organizations, which we are eager to highlight in this edition of GAHF Club Connect.
This Memorial Day we mourn those who gave their lives in defending our country. Over the years, many German Americans have been part of the loss of lives that we reflect upon today. Rituals honoring the dead, especially those who fell in battle against one’s enemy, can be traced back as far as to Ancient Greece. For Americans, Memorial Day is a federal holiday, honoring those in the Armed Forces who fell in service to their country. Germany has a similar day of remembrance called Volkstrauertag, which is observed two weeks before the first Sunday of Advent. On the surface, these two holidays seem very similar, yet there are some noticeable differences: The focus of Memorial Day in America lies in soldiers and those who have served in the Armed Forces, whereas the German Volkstrauertag memorializes all victims of war: soldiers, civilians, and those who fell victim to oppressive systems. This reflects some of the cultural differences regarding how the Armed Forces are perceived in each country. Returning after WWII, American soldiers were praised as heroes and saviors of the Free World. In Germany however, former soldiers were initially eager to play down the Wehrmacht’s involvement in Nazi Crimes and cast themselves as victims, too. Since the 1980s, the perception has changed toward associating Hitler’s Army with Nazi Germany’s shameful past. However, in neither patterns of interpretation did German society give much reason to remember their soldiers as heroes of the nation like in the United States.