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Germans in America 2 : The price of freedom (2005) RatingRatingRatingRatingRating

Germans in America 2 : The price of freedom
The year is 1862. A group of 65 young men are fleeing across the Texas prairie. These sons of German-American farmers are desperately trying to break through to the North to fight for the Union army. Suddenly, they run into trouble in the form of Confederate troops. Their riverside camp is surrounded and half the party is summarily executed. The rest are tracked down on the prairie; only a few make it across the Mexican border to safety.

Two decades earlier their families, full of hope, had crossed the Atlantic to Galveston. Back in the German principalities, aristocrats and speculators had been touting a plan for massive settlement in Texas. Thousands left, only to find that neither transportation nor land awaited them. It was a gigantic swindle. Nevertheless the immigrants set out toward Austin on a trek that soon became a death march. Four thousand, about half their number, died of hunger, thirst and sickness.

The The Mainz “Committee of Nobles” (The „Mainzer Adelsverein“) has had the ambitious idea of founding a German colony in Texas. The nobles are convinced that their plan makes good business sense. At the same time, they hope to be rid of the increasing number of malcontents in the country. Prince von Solms becomes their agent in Texas and naively agrees to acquire lands for the new colony some 300 miles inland. Lands that he’s never set eyes on. Lands that are completely inaccessible and that are the hunting grounds of the much feared Comanches.

In 1846 the first settlers arrive in Texas after a strenuous and stressful ocean voyage. The wagons needed to carry them inland are not available. The settlers build temporary camps in the swamps and are dependent on the Committee of Nobles for supplies and food. Hundreds become ill with yellow fever. The desperate Prince Solms acquires 1,300 acres of good land on the Guadelupe River, situated halfway between the coast and the lands that the Committee had purchased before. New Braunfels is founded in this spot. But time is of the essence as even more ships have set sail from Germany with would-be colonists. The designated settlers start off on the hard journey in a few oxcarts.

Today the descendants of those survivors, the distant relatives of those young men, live on in the hill country beyond Austin. And there, still today, their culture and language continue to thrive in the lively festivals of New Braunfels and Fredericksburg.

Until recently a German-language newspaper continued to be printed here. A German society keeps up the contact with the old country. And each year there’s a Peace Treaty Pow-wow where the treaty between the Germans and the Comanches is honored and celebrated. The only treaty with Native Americans that has never been broken.
Laufzeit: 52 min.
Sprache: English
Genre: Documentarys, English, Fremdsprachen, Germans in America, Series
Land: Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika
Produzent: Axel Engstfeld
 

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