Borgholzhausen, Germany, has been New Haven’s sister city since 1994. Borgholzhausen’s mayor, Dirk Speckman, and president of the German-American Friendship Club, Lothar Ropohl, have been communicating with New Haven’s mayor, George Panhorst, and our president of the German-American Friendship Club, David Menke, to make this visit possible. The purpose of this trip was to rededicate the Hands Across The Sea memorial to our German friends.
The rededication took place on March 25th at the Hands Across the Sea memorial in the New Haven city park. Both mayors and presidents of the German-American Friendship Club from Germany and New haven spoke and thanked each other for all the work that went into planning this trip. A tree was then planted to symbolize the friendships that have been made and continue to grow throughout the years.
Our German friends were here from Friday, the 23rd, to Wednesday, the 28th. After 5 days in New Haven, part of the group headed to New York, the rest to Florida. The group was comprised of 34 individuals, ranging from 17 to 85. 20 welcoming families opened up their homes to host the German friends. The families were to show them around the area and some of the history of New Haven.
When the Germans first arrived, there was a welcoming dinner held at the Assumption church. The evening before their departure, there was also a farewell dinner held at the American Legion. The group was treated to several other catered dinners throughout the week and trips to St. Louis. The Germans and their host families enjoyed reuniting with old friends and making new memories together.
A first time visitor, Leonie Niemeyer, had the opportunity to visit the high school for a day. Leonie observed, “There are a lot of kids who get there early and sit in the hallway. In Germany we don't get there early and we get our homework done at home.”
Another first time visitor, Sandrina Lupp, reflected, “I enjoyed everything! I liked getting to go into the Arch but I also enjoyed sitting around playing games with my host family. The candy I got to try was good too!”
The McKernans hosted Sandrina Lupp. Cheryl McKernan stated, “In order to prepare for hosting a German, we bought some sparkling water, cold cuts, and rolls. We also bought a variety of candy for her to try.”
Cheryl continued, “There was a couple of days that we had to come up with ideas of how to entertain and show our guests around New Haven. We took her to downtown New Haven and Washington and gave her many new experiences.”
Thank you to all of our German friends who made this rededication visit a success. We look forward to the next time we get to see your smiling faces.