Kraemers convene in Irlach, Bavaria to mark Paul Kraemer emigration 150 years ago

The following story appeared in the Chamer Zeitung newspaper following the dedication of Kraemer-Blattmeier historical marker in Irlach, Bavaria, May 26, 2016. The story has been edited somewhat and photos from the newspaper and elsewhere have been added.

C-Z newspaper story editedExerpt from Chamer Zietung newspaper, 28 May 2016.

A piece of history of our homeland
Historical marker reminds us of the emigration of the Kraemers 150 years ago.

Irlach. “Back to the roots.” The large American Kraemer family, which has been researching for the ancestors since decades, found their results in Irlach. In remembrance of the emigration of Paul and Walburga Kraemer 150 years ago, a historical marker was erected and blessed at the site of the former estate, which since then is in the possession of the Blattmeier family. This occasion offered the unique opportunity for a special festival of the Blattmeier and Kraemer families with their friends and companions in genealogy.

The Blattmeier family
Back row, left to right: Heidi, Claudia, Robert and Albert Blattmeier; Front row, left to right: Robert and Maria Blattmeier, Felix and Winfried Hiob.BlattmeierfamiliePhoto from Blattmeier family.

The Kraemers who traveled to Irlach and friends: Back row: B. Ann (Kraemer) Neviaser, Mayor Progler, Willibald Senft; Middle row: Konrad Blattmeier, Patricia Kraemer (side of her head; see good picture further below), Alexandria Tobey, Brenda (Kraemer)Tobey, Allen Kraemer; Front row: Evonne Kraemer, Ken Kraemer, Debbie Blau, Marty Kraemer, Christa Senft, James Kraemer.Bild 9 amerikanische Gäste mit Bürgermeister Prögler hinten Mitte, Konrad Blattmeier links und Ehepaar Senft.jpg
Photo from newspaper.


Emigration storyboard by Willbald Senft

Many storyboards and objects were on display; also original objects from the time of emigration. Many essays about the genealogy of the families invited people to get informed about the history of the families and the time of emigration. A group of that vast Kraemer family had specially come from the USA. Some of them had visited Irlach before.

Bild 18 Schautafel.jpgPhoto from newspaper.

Paul and Walburga Kraemer artifacts brought by Allen Kraemer.P1150724.JPGPhoto by Ken Kraemer.

Mayor of Tiefenbach, Ludwig Prögler, welcomes guests and opens the ceremonies

Ludwig Prögler, who was the speaker for the event did his welcome speech in two languages and was master of ceremonies throughout the afternoon.  In pointing to the importance of getting back to ones roots, Prögler said “He who does not know about his own roots has no steadiness.”

Ludwig Progler, Mayor of Tiefenbach, opens the eventP1040038Photo by Debbie Blau.

The meeting of the friends from the U.S. and from Bavaria is due to the thirst of knowledge of the Kraemer family whose member Edward Kraemer had tried – already in 1950 – to find the old Kraemer house. In 1983, Prof. Kenneth Kraemer and his friend, Prof. Dr. Heinrich Reinermann were more successful. Meanwhile bonds of friendship have developed between the Blattmeier and Kraemer families. This friendship was put into the center when the historical marker was solemnly unveiled and blessed at this historical site.

After his introduction, Mayor Prögler asked the people to go outside where Ken and Marty Kraemer together with Konrad Blattmeier and Felix Hiob unveiled the marker. A photo of the former house of Paul and Walburga Kraemer is to be seen on the massive bronze plaque. This photo came from Ann (Kraemer) Neviaser – a great, great granddaughter of Paul and Walburga. And the text is in English as well as in German: “Dedicated for the 150th anniversary of the emigration of the Paul Kraemer family from Irlach to America in May 1866. At this site the house Irlach # 27 was situated, the homefarm of the Kraemers from Plain, Wisconsin/USA and the Blattmeiers from Irlach.”

The historical marker – Kraemer-Blatmeier Heritage HouseBild 10 Gedenktafel.jpg
Photo from newspaper.

The historical marker is a common project of the Kraemer and Blattmeier families. The initiative goes back to Prof. Kenneth Kraemer and Tom Kraemer who came up with the idea and moved it forward. Marty Kraemer cared for the production and the transport of the marker to Bavaria. Here in Irlach, Konrad Blattmeier laid the foundation-stone and built the base with the active support of his nephew Felix. Christa and Willi Senft from Waldmünchen helped with the texts and the translations.

Konrad and Felix build the base for the historical markerDSC00253
Photo from Konrad Blattmeier.

Allen Kraemer and Robert Blattmeier             Konrad Blattmeier and Marty Kraemer 
supervise installation                                          attend to last minute detailsP1150680Irlach_Blattmeiers_marker_Marty_Konrad_2016Photo by Ken Kraemer.                                            Photo by Willibald Senft.

Father Hölzl  says prayers and blesses the historical marker

In a solemn devotion Father Albert Hölzl blessed the marker, noted the strong religious base of the emigrants and remarked that “Everything needs a safe base to be able to stand the storms of life.” The emigrants of 150 years ago hoped for a new and better life. “They dared the step into an unknown future and gave up all of their former relationships. Since then a lot has happened,” Hölzl said.

Left to right: Christa Senft, Michaela Babl, Father Hölzl, Georg Blau, Ken Kraemer, Alexandria Tobey, Brenda Tobey.Blessing marker fr Debbie Blau
Photo by Debbie Blau.

After the blessing, people spontaneously said their requests and also thought of their family member Tom Kraemer who would have liked to be part of this visit together with his wife Soni, and relatives Bill and Kraemer, but had fallen ill.

Crowd at event flows over to main street of IrlachP1040045Photo by Debbie Blau.

Young Felix Hoib welcomes people in English and German

The youngest of the Blattmeier family, Felix Hiob, welcomed the guests from near and far distances in Bavarian and in English in their especially prepared barn.

Bild 1 Begrüßung durch Felix Hiob mit Bürgermeister Ludwig Prögler
Photo from newspaper.

Ken Kraemer tells family history while Christa Senft translates

Prof. Ken Kraemer then gave a very interesting survey about the history of the Kraemer emigrants. He said the unveiling of the marker was the end of a 34 year odyssey which started in 1983 with his first visit in Irlach. Christa Senft was active here as an interpreter as she already did with Father Hölzl and other speakers.

Bild 11 Kenneth Kraemer mit Christa Senft.jpg
Photo from newspaper.

In Irlach, Paul Kraemer was a weaver and a farmer. In Plain he was a full farmer who could increase his land, said Ken Kraemer in his look back. Also the children and grandchildren sticked to this occupation, partly until today. Like Allen Kraemer who still runs the home farm of Paul Kraemer. The farm was recently recognized by the State of Wisconsin for being in the same family for 150 years. In the 1920s, the name Kraemer began to be associated with construction. Edward Kraemer led the way here building roads and bridges all over the Midwest. In the 1950s, building construction was added by the the Kraemer Brothers Company, and so the Kraemer name became known more for road and building construction than for farming and weaving.

But life comes full circle. There are weavers again in the family. Jim Kraemer’s niece Brenda Tobey and her daughter Alexandria have a farm where they produce and weave wool from sheep and alpaca. There already was a meeting between the Helga and Johann Kraemer family from Tiefenbach, also a branch of the Kraemer emigrants, and thus contemporary weavers could meet.

Weaver meets weaver: Johan Krämer and Brenda TobeyP1150594.JPG
Photo by Willibald Senft.

Kraemer meets Krämer: Ann (Kraemer) Neviaser, Helga and Johan KrämerP1150697.JPG
Photo by Willbald Senft.

Marty Kraemer thanked the Blattmeier family for making the site available for the marker. He complimented the work done by fellow construction professional, Konrad Blattmeier, in building and finishing the base for the marker. He brought the large poster behind him showing the Kraemer family tree.

Marty Kraemer compliments the Blattmeiers on their work installing the markerBild 12 Marty Kraemer mit Christa Senft.jpg
Photo from newspaper.

Franz Löffler, the District Administrator of Cham and District President of the Upper Palatinate, said “Today there is a wonderful event which will stay unforgotten. Through the historical marker many people and generations have the possibility to be reminded on the happenings in our history of 150 years ago. In the past, people have emigrated and today people come to us. In remembrance, we want to cope well with this task of today.”

Franz Löffler says the Kraemer story illustrates may emigrant stories.Bild 13 Landrat Franz Löffler mit Christa Senft.jpg
Photo from newspaper.

The story of the Kraemers is one out of many stories about emigrants. As we know, 1300 registered people have emigrated from the area of Waldmünchen. During his visit in Plain, Löffler noticed how heartily people care for their own roots. But Löffler also built a bridge to the actual situation.” The world is on the move. We are in a better economical situation and so we have become a land of immigration. Millions of people are on the move today out of various reasons and the county of Cham is trying to accept part of them according to its possibility.”

Konrad Blattmeier looked back into the history of his family, also in two languages. His great-great-grandfather who then lived at Hoffeld purchased the estate Irlach # 27 from Paul and Walburga Kraemer before their emigration. Konrad thanked all participants, above all Ken as well as Tom and Soni Kraemer for their initiative and endless research and Marty Kraemer for the production and the transport of the marker.

Konrad Blattmeier welcomes guests in German and English.Bild 14 Konrad Blattmeier mti Kenneth Kraemer (rechts).jpg
Photo from newspaper.

The mayor of Waldmünchen, Markus Ackermann, was pleased that the Kraemer family set out on the long trip for the research of their roots and their family history. Feelings for the homeland and friendship can’t be stopped by many kilometers and the ocean and not even by two different languages. Ackermann recalled the visit to Plain in 2012 that was initiated by the church choir of Ast. People had been received with great hospitality. Ackermann saw this meeting also from a political point of view: “Citizens of two different countries meet in friendship, trust and positive energy.” This meeting is very important especially in this situation of upcoming nationalism in Germany and in America. “Today in Irlach there has been written a piece of history of our homeland.”

Markus Ackerman, Mayor of Waldmünchen, and Christa SenftBild 15 Bürgermeister Markus Ackermann mit Christa Senft.jpgPhoto from newspaper.

After these words mayor Ludwig Prögler gave gifts for memory to the main participants and ended the event. Together all the guests sang the Bavarian hymn.

Left to right: Willibald Senft, Marty Kraemer, Mayor Ludwig Prögler, Christa Senft, Rudolf Rettinger, Konrad Blattmeier, Ken KraemerKPhoto by Debbie Blau.

Specially for this day friendship T-shirts had been produced by the Kraemer Brothers of Plain, Wisconsin with the printing” Renewed friendship – May 2016″.

Marty Kraemer hands out “Friendship T-shirts” from Kraemer Brothers.IMG_1721.JPGIMG_1798.JPG
Photos by Ken Kraemer.

The Laubmeier family cared for the loudspeaker and the Blattmeier family and Bernhard Ruhland cared for food and drinks. The end of this unforgettable day was the participation of the May prayers at St. Joseph’s church in Irlach.

Lissa and Wolfgang Laubmeier and daughters.Marker_Laubmeier family.JPG
Photo by Ken Kraemer.

Some guests: Front to back and left to right: Hansjorg Schneider, Maria Blattmeier and Prof. Dr. Heinrich Reinermann at first table and the Johan Krämers at the second table. Robert Blattmeier standing.Bild 3 Gäste.jpg
Photo by Ken Kraemer.

More guests: Front to back and left to right: Table 1: Johan Krämer, Brigitta Krämer, Brigitta’s son Lukas, Helga Krämer – the weavers from Tiefenbach. Standing on the right: Robert Blattmeier. Table 2: Tiefenbach historian Richard Bierl and his wife Anneliese and Rupert Rettinger (partially hidden behind Anneliese. Table 3: historians Debbie Blau and Georg Blau, former Mayor of Tiefenbach Johan Müller and historian Bruno Servi. Table 4: Michaela Babl, Stephanie Mauerer, and  Lena and Lissa Laubmeir.Bild 2 Gäste.jpg
Photo by Ken Kraemer.

More guests: Left to right: Table 1: Unknown, Father Holzl, Marty Kraemer. Table 2: Ken Kraemer, Alexandria Tobey, Brenda Tobey (blonde hair), Patricia Kraemer, Evonne Kraemer. Table 3: Christa Senft, Rudolf Rettinger, Ann Neviaser, Amin Rettinger, Hildegard Rettinger.

DSC08965Photo from newspaper.

The Kraemers who traveled to Irlach: Left to right: Patricia Kraemer, Alexandria Tobey, Evonne Kraemer, Allen Kreaemer, Ken Kraemer, Brenda Tobey, Debbie Blau, Marty Kraemer, Christa Senft, James Kraemer, Willibald Senft.Bild 8 amerikanische Gäste mit Ehepaar Senft.jpg
Photo from newspaper.

Candid photos from the event

Ann Neviaser renews friendship with Maria BlattmeierP1040070Photo by Debbie Blau.

Konrad makes last minute review of his speechP1150721Photo by Debbie Blau.

James Kraemer discusses Blattmeier history with Ken KraemerIrlach_Blattmeiers_James_Ken_2016Photo by Willibald Senft.

Patricia Kraemer and Ken touch foundation stone dug up by Konrad and FelixIrlach_Blattmeiers_Ken_Patti_2016Photo by Willibald Senft.

Prof. Dr. Heinrich Reinermann who got the Kraemer family history ball rolling and Ken Kraemer who carried it home2016-05-26 Jubiläum in Irlach 106Photo from Prof. Dr. Heinrich Reinermann.

The necessities of life – portable toilet wagon provided by the Tiefenbach Volunteer Fire BrigadeP1040027Photo by Debbie Blau.

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