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DANK Chapter Milwaukee’s Holiday Spirit


By DANK Chapter Milwaukee member Jane Nacker On a serious note before the holiday spirit began, members of DANK Chapter Milwaukee traveled on Nov. 15 to Fort Sheridan, IL for Volkstrauertag, the German Day of National Mourning. The day honors those who have died as a result of war. Deputy Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chicago, Mario Soos, spoke at the ceremony. In attendance from DANK Milwaukee were President William Bessa, 2nd Vice-President Brigita Roth, Membership Secretary Ursula Günther, and Board Members Edwin Günther and Gerhard Roth. The ceremony was hosted by DANK Chapter Lake County. Other DANK representatives were present, including DANK National President, Michael Ianni. The ceremony reminded those present of the need for peace in the world.

The holiday spirit was aroused when the Milwaukee DANK Chor joined other Milwaukee area German choirs for the United German Choruses of Milwaukee Christmas Concert. The concert was held at Nathan Hale High School auditorium on Nov. 29. The DANK Chor performed their songs with the Schwaben Männerchor and then joined with the mass choir for a resounding concluding performance.

The holiday atmosphere continued as DANK Chapter Milwaukee held its Christmas party on December 13 at Sacred Heart parish in Milwaukee. Approximately 100 people attended—it was heartwarming to see the many DANK members, and also volunteers who worked in DANK booths at German Fest who had been invited. As people arrived, President William Bessa invited them to enjoy hors d’oeuvres and beverages, some donated by Board members. The highlight of the beverages was homemade Glühwein. The Milwaukee DANK Chor, directed by Dr. James Norden, opened the festivities with songs of the season. Songs were sung in German and English. The audience joined in with sing-along sheets, and wonderful voices were heard in the crowd. As Jingle Bells was being sung, Santa entered. This year, to the surprise of many, he came wearing lederhosen over his red suit! Even though he looked a little different, children came to visit him and received a treat.

Donations to German Education Programs: L to R: Treasurer Victoria Ohde, 2nd Vice President Brigita Roth, Waldorf Tamarack School German teacher Mechthilde Moser, 1st Vice President Don Wohlfeil, President William Bessa, Cedarburg School German teacher Teresa Karrels.

It was appropriate that the spirit of giving continued, as DANK Chapter Milwaukee had invited special guests to the Christmas party: two teachers of German from local schools were in attendance. DANK Chapter Milwaukee awarded the teachers a monetary donation to assist them in teaching German language to future generations. The audience listened attentively as the teachers spoke in German and English, sharing descriptions of the challenges and successes of their programs.

As the afternoon drew to a close, the DANK Board was introduced, and they altogether wished everyone a “Frohe Weihnachten!” The Board then served cookies and stollen. Gifts, donated by members, were raffled off. New members completed their application forms. THANK YOU to everyone who attended, because YOU made the holiday spirit happen!

Back to business--Looking forward to 2016, DANK Chapter Milwaukee is busy making plans to participate in Germany Under Glass at the Milwaukee Domes (Mitchell Park Conservatory) on Saturday, March 5, 2016. The event is a “mini-German Fest” in the middle of winter, in the comfort of an indoor horticultural conservatory. Many of Southeast Wisconsin’s German clubs participate to showcase their music, dance and culture. German food and beverages are also part of the event.

DANK Chapter Milwaukee is on Facebook! See photos, videos, and chapter news. “Like” us at

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