Dr. Joachim (Yogi) Reppmann
Personal & Mission Statement
I’m a historian from Germany’s northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein and expert on the Forty-Eighters. I first came to America in 1978 as a college student after matriculating at the University of Kiel. As a potential Board member, I aim to drive impactful worldwide PR initiatives that celebrate the German-American Heritage Museum’s rich history, educate audiences about the shared German-American cultural journey, and inspire a diverse community to engage with and appreciate the museum’s invaluable contributions.
I was born in Flensburg, Schleswig-Holstein, in 1957, and attended the Altes Gymnasium, a school founded by Danish King Frederick II in 1566. After graduation, I matriculated at the University of Kiel, where I studied history, American literature, and philosophy. In 1984, I completed my master’s thesis entitled Transplanted Ideas: The Concept of Freedom and Democracy of the Schleswig-Holstein Forty-Eighters — Origins and Effects 1846-1856.
I have written several books on notable Schleswig-Holstein emigrants and the mass migration to the United States; served as a professor of German at St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges in Northfield, Minnesota; and chaired several conferences on topics ranging from the Low German language to Forty-Eighter Hans Reimer Claussen. I have been presented with The Steuben Society of America’s History Award, 2014, for my research on the 1848 movement’s democratic impact in Germany, and the USA.
Members of the Forty-eighters made their mark in the fields of politics, education, business, journalism, the arts, and the military. Carl Schurz, perhaps the most well-known of the German Forty-eighters who settled in America, achieved great success in no less than four of these areas. His wife covered a fifth, helping develop the kindergarten in the United States.
Carl Schurz’s solution – assimilation with the retention of each newcomer’s ethnic heritage – is as valid today as it was in the nineteenth century when he first formulated it. The fusion of ethnic identities and German or American values is critically important, and Carl Schurz’s life is a worthy paradigm for all immigrants to emulate.