Between the World Wars: Articles from the Syracuse Union, available through the New York State Newspaper Project

Webpage 5 - January through December 1920

January 8, 1920, p.1

Ludendorff Sees Disaster Approaching.


The Entente has only itself to blame if it pushes us into the abyss


Paris, January 6 — The Matin published an interview with General Ludendorff in which the former German Army Leader declares that "As a result of the politics of the Allied countries" Europe is threatened with disaster. The General refused to answer questions posed by the Berlin correspondent for the Matin since Germany's home situation will be determined by the Versailles Treaty. He stated:

"After the shameful manner in which Germany has been treated by the Entente, I must refuse to publish anything in the Entente Press. Our inevitable ruin must follow and if the Entente Nations are dragged into it, then they'll have nobody but themselves to blame. Sooner or later Europe will be plagued by dreadful catastrophes caused by the political shortsightedness of the Entente."

April 15, 1920, p.2

From the Life of Deadwood Dick


One of the Last Postal Coachmen goes to his last Outpost.

At the relatively young age of 75 years Richard Bullock, best known to the masses and internationally famous under the nickname "Deadwood Dick," has left this temporal plain. With this we are one more veteran shy of the classic, rough and tumble Wild West.

He drove postal and passenger coaches for many years, taking countless dispatches of gold from the mines and encountering all sorts of bandits and law breakers on the way back to Omaha. Few characters of the West were so feared and yet so loved — and for good reason! His reputation for fearless courage and his practically unfailing accuracy with a revolver and a rifle made certain that, no matter how great their lust for banditry might have been, scalliwags avoided his gold-laden coach like the devil avoids holy water. But under his coarse exterior Deadwood Dick hid a good and tender heart.

And woe be to the horse thief or anyone else who entered his corral without the purest of intentions. Dick didn't depend on a lynching mob's justice. He prefered to take the law into his own hands and strike out like an avenging angel after a bounty. He scarcely ever was at fault in a judicial proceeding. Whenever he wanted to attest to anything he initialled it "D.D." No other signature was necessary because his word stood behind the initials. Like a modern King Arthur or Robin Hood he galloped off day and night on secret assignment over the western frontier in swarms of adventures and flies. And often like King Arthur he often had a round table of capable experienced men with six-shooters. And it didn't appear to be a "dry" round table either!

Dick had an open had for the needy and a strong arm for the oppressed. In every one of the 17 states where his esteemed reputation reigned the older generation circulated stories, in most cases of which he was the savior who appeared at the time of greatest need and danger or the vanquisher of a dozen evil men. But you need not take all these stories absolute truth, dear reader! Even though Dick belongs to the most recent generation of western folk heroes, there's a colorful mixing of fiction and truth—which only provide proof of his enormous popularity.

His own accomplishments have contributed much to the wealth of material in the dime novels, but then again the sagas and anecdotes have been greatly exaggerated, and in some cases completely reinvented. Sometimes these stories carry his own name and some carry the name of a newcomer such as "Handsome Harry," "Lightning Lew," etc. And even if all the wondrous marvels did not occur exactly as described, they corresponded perfectly to the character of our hero though committing poetic license. They certainly will not disappear despite the world war.

Deadwood Dick's life and deeds seem to have found a middle class following. After retiring for about ten years to Santa Monica and Venice, California he succumbed to the ravages of time in 1919 and never recovered.

April 15, 1920

French Academy in Quandary

What the French Academy is to decide in connection with the national directory concerning the introduction of current slang terms created by and during the war is disturbing the peace of its honorable members. Should such words as "poilu" be recognized? Opinion varies. Is "boche" to be academic? "Poilu," literally "hairy one," is generally considered not to be a worthy synonym for the heroic French soldier. In regard to "boche," M. Brieux writes: "In the next edition of the dictionary of the academy our successors will decidedly be obliged to inscribe the word "boche" as a term of contempt earned by the Germans during the last war."

April 22,1920. p.3 col.6

The Letter from a Traveler


The German Overseas Institute of Stuttgart delivered the following letter to the mother of a son emigrating to Argentina. The letter speaks for itself; additional commentary would be superfluous:

                               Estancia, .....

My Beloved Mother!

I'm finally able to write to you. Things have not gone well for me in the interim. As we arrived in Buenos Aires I discovered that my large suitcase did not come with me. I had no clothes other than the suit I was wearing and it's completely tattered. I wanted to find work in Buenos Aires but all positions are filled. There are hundreds of jobless here. Only fully qualified candidates in desperate need can find work in my field. Add to this the German-hostile atmosphere and the verbal abuse of the natives! In utter despair I was transported 900 kilometers into the interior to Estancia. I arrived with only 20 Centavos in my pocket. Out of the frying pan and into the fire! S.., K... and I became laborers. From sunrise to sunset we have to work in the heat hacking at weeds, harvesting corn, etc. When I think back ar how good I had it at home it makes me crazy. Everything in Argentina is a disappointment. S. and K. are going back home. They're sailing on the Frisia. Here in Estacia we sleep in a coorugated metal hut. Day in and day out we get meat and hardtack. We can barely keep it down! I'll work two whole weeks to earn 40 Pesos, then I can go back to the city. I'll work any job I can find there just to earn enough to get me back to Germany where I'll be among my countrymen, who greet others with a smile. And even if I have to work as a day laborer in Germany it can't be any worse than I have it here. I have learned what real work is! Dear Mother, when you receive this letter I'll be in the city and at least I'll have good food again. Please don't take this letter too lightly, for if I deserved punishment, this certainly wasn't it. I'm not the only one in this situation. S and K. are also coming home. It's not that we care about the natives. It's just that in time people die here. Don't worry about me, Mother, and write back soon if you understand my situation. Your loving son, ...

April 22, 1920, p.3, col.3 bottom

Due to Paper Shortage

Chicago — The Illinois Staats-Zeitung, the only morning newspaper in the German language published in Chicago, has announced it will temporarily suspend publication of the daily edition due to the impossibility of getting paper. As announced, the Sunday newspaper will probably be published.

April 22, 1920, p.4

Nowadays, Everything is "Less."

The people are penniless,
The debts are countless,
The government clueless,
The taxes endless,
The politics thoughtless,
The press godless,
The morals heedless,
The explanations witless,
The cheating limitless,
And the outlook joyless.

April 22, 1920, p.5

Notification to our Readers


The shortage of printing paper has come to such a crisis in the entire country that publications everywhere have to be suspended.

It's not a question of ordering it 6 months to a year in advance but whether there's any to be had at all when we need it.

The Union has always placed its orders in advance. Although we still have a ton of paper, six weeks ago we ordered another 6 tons. We haven't received a pound of it. Today we placed a telephone order directly with the mill for another ton to be delivered immediately. The response was that can get a ¼ ton in about a week.

We had enough paper to publish a 12-page issue of the Union this week. To prevent having to suspend publication entirely we are forced to print an 8-page issue for at least the next four weeks.

We hope our readers will understand the situation and be patient with us.

The reduced page count will continue for as long as this crisis persists.

Certain events will be omitted which used to require full articles. The newspaper will continue to publish newsworthy items, despite the forced limit of paper, as fully as it always has. — The Editor

May 6, 1920, p.6

The Germanic Tribes


by Siegfried Hirth.

It's truly noteworthy: Everyone speaks of the Germanic tribes but no one really knows what the term means. It's unbelievable what ignorance our politicians and journalists possess. Newspapers write about the preservation of the Germanic tribes but they don't do research into what they are and where they live.

In their defense let's just say that in retrospect, even the intellectuals have committed errors. In all the school atlases and textbooks false and unclear ethnological relationships have been drawn. Even Otto Bremer, who worked on the excellent maps of German dialects in Brockhaus's Conservation Lexicon, made some bad errors in the designations. The boundries of the German dialects are correctly drawn on these maps but the designations are unclear and incorrect. He intermingles political ideologies, dynasties, geographies, and ethnographies. He does not know that Austrian is part of Bavarian, that Alemanish and Schwabian are identical. He does not know that the Rhine Palatinate people and the Mainlanders are not Franconian, that Thuringians are not Upper Saxons. He thinks these examples may be correct but he doesn't actively acknowledge the erroneous designations.

If we wish to come up with a correct and clear nomenclature of the Germanic tribes, we need only return to the names of the ancient tribes: Bavarian, Schwabian, Hessian, Thuringian, Franconian and Saxon. The Frisians have practically all merged with the Saxons. The Rugians, Longobardians, and Ostrogoths merged with the Italians; the Visigoths, Burgundians and Alani went to Spain, and the Vandals went into the mountains. That leaves only the six aforementioned Germanic tribes. We may differentiate the subdialects by compass heading, waterway locations, and districts. We must avoid all merely political designations such as Austrian or dynastic such as Mecklenburg, Baden, Württemberg, Palatinate, then non-germanic ethnographies such as Prussian, Pomeranian, Silesian. The Prussians were Letts, the Silesians Poles, the Pomeranians Sorbs. We must also avoid divisions within the Germanic tribes such as Upper Saxon or Saxon for Thuringian or Franconian for Mainlander and Rhine Palatinate. These divisions occurred partly for dynastic affiliations and partly for political reasons and have nothing to do with ethnography.

With this we go back to Bremer's maps of German dialects and establish the grouping of Germanic tribes:

  1. East Saxon (Pomeranian)
  2. North Saxon (Mecklenburg, Holstein, Bremen, Hamburg, Oldenburg)
  3. South Saxon (Hannover, Göttingen, Paerborn)
  4. Middle Saxon (Braunschweig, Halberstadt)
  5. West Saxon (Dortmund, Osnabrück)
  6. Coastal Franconia (Brussels, Amsterdam, Krefeld, Duisberg)
  7. Erst River Franconia (Cologne, Aachen)
  8. Moselle River Franconia (Siegen, Coblenz, Trier, Diedenhofen, Lützemberg)
  9. Havel River Franconia (Brandenburg and Berlin, Magdeburg)
  10. Vistula River Franconia (Danzig, Thorn)
  11. Pregola River Franconia (East Prussia)
  12. Oder River Thuringia (Silesia)
  13. Eger Stream Thuringia (Annaberg, Leitmeritz)
  14. New Thuringia (Dresden, Leipzig, Halle)
  15. Old Thuringia (Saalfeld, Nordhausen, Altenburg, Eschwege)
  16. Main River Thuringia (Plauen, Meiningen, Würzburg, Bamberg, Ansbach, Lohr)
  17. New Hesse (Darmstadt, Aschaffenburg, Mainz, Wiesbaden, Frankfurt)
  18. Old Hesse (Kassel, Marburg, Fulda)
  19. North Swabia (Heilbronn, Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Bingen, Rhine Palatinate, Lothringia)
  20. East Swabia (Landeck, Reutte, Augsburg, Stuttgart)
  21. West Swabia (Oberstdorf, Bludenz, Friedrichshafen, Freiburg, Strassburg, Bern, Zermatt, Chur)
  22. Northern Bavaria (Oberpfalz, Eichstädt, Eger, Marienbad, Karlsbad)
  23. Greater Bavaria (Neuburg, Munich, Vienna, Warburg, Steiermark, Klagenfurt, Bozen).

From this we see that the borders of the various tribes have absolutely nothing to do with the borders of the German States.

Col. 4

The princes split borders in the 13th century and the old tribal duchies were dissolved. It is the duty of the German Press to once again point out the ancient historical and ethnographic divisions so that Germans may finally learn from which tribe they descend.

May 13, 1920, p.2

The Syracuse Union

Established in 1852 by Georg Saul

Printed every Thursday at 632 North Salina St.,
Syracuse, N.Y.

(entered as second-class mail at the Post Office of Syracuse, N.Y.)

The Oberländer Press ........Publisher
Christian Peil ...............Editor


Subscription Prices for the Syracuse Union are as follows:
One Year .........$2.50
Six Months .......$1.25
Three Months ......  .65
Single Issues ......  .05
Yearly sent Abroad .......$3.00


Notices and Advertising for the Union must be submitted by Wednesday Noon. They must be addressed to the "Syracuse Union." If you do not receive your newspaper in a timely manner or it is in poor condition, please contact the office immediately. All complaints will be carefully reviewed if you telephone us at James 4319.


Agents for the Syracuse Union in the State of New York are:
Oneida — Rudolph Müller
Liverpoole — G. Stumphaus

The German Language Newspapers in America

The importance of the German language newspapers in the United States for the intellectual, political, and economic life of this country over the past few years has been underappreciated in many circles, including the government. For this reason it would not be arrogant for us to point out to the people of German descent the importance our press has in their lives. It's not just a matter of presenting facts but also of performing the function of developing a healthy process of naturalization for our people. This also plays a part in the developmental history of humanity as a whole.

The German language press splendidly performs its task by informing our readers about world events as well as the events, conditions and shortcomings in the United States, expecially in our own states, cities, and surroundings. The press takes particular care to present the facts as thoroughly as possible in a clearcut manner so that the attentive reader can get an accurate picture and reach his own conclusions. Through its discourse and treatment along with relevant comments on things and people, outlooks and intentions, the press presents what is needed in this country and what might cause it harm regardless of personal interests, political affiliation, or individual preference. The press is fearless and true in what it deems proper and good. Braced by these guiding principles, editorial articles are of essential significance to the enlightenment of the populace. No less important is the role played by informing immigrating Germans to give them a proper understanding of the conditions and institutions of this country and thus lighten their path towards naturalization and americanization. In this respect our work should be appreciated more than ever by respected men in public life and by the government.

At the same time the German language newspaper strives to be a proper family publication for the edification and entertainment of the household. Literature and art are well represented. To entertain during leisure hours there are stories and useful tips, geographic and cultural images, and don't forget reports on trends and fashions since clothing also belongs to the necessities of everyday life. There are select advertisers giving the male and female readers an idea of where they can get the best bargains. Content and print design are clean and clear: there's no gossip or dirt in these newspapers. These newspapers stand in service to pure humanity and the proper evolution of the populace. The German language newspapers in America thus fulfill a cultural role. They deserve respect and appreciation and above all else the support of the Americans of German extraction.

July 29, 1920, p.8

Foolishness Costs A Life

Niagara Fall, N.Y. — Charles G. Stephens of Bristol, England was killed when he went over the Horseshoe Falls in a barrel.

Even though the barrel in which he made the journey was made of sturdy Russian staves and steel bands, the craggy cliffs at the foot of the Falls shattered the barrel like an eggshell.

Pieces of the barrel were found on the Canadian side near the river bank but Stephen's body was not recovered. Rivermen say that he may not come to the surface for a week to ten days.

Stephens was 58 years old and had a wife and eleven children in Bristol, where he worked as a barber. He served three years in France in the British Army and had planned a lecture tour throughout England if his Falls adventure had turned out successfully.

According to reports from Bristol, Bobby Leach, who went over the Horseshoe Falls in 1911, said that his trip would be a failure. He indicated that the barrel would not stay together upon the 158 foot drop into the Falls, but Stephens would not be dissuaded.

The barrel Stephens constructed was six feet, three inches high. It had Riemann circuitry and an electical light system.

Stephens was the third to attempt to go over the Falls in a barrel.

Mrs. Annie Edson Taylor made the trip in October 1901 in an oak barrel and Bobby Leach made it in a steel barrel in 1911. Both survived.

September 2, 1920, p.8

Goethe and the Banned St. John's Eve Bonfire

The ban against the St. John's Eve Bonfire by the Jena Police Department brings to mind a similar ban instituted during Goethe's time. More than a hundred years ago during the time of the French occupation, the bonfire was also banned. A group of disappointed youths went to Goethe, highly favored by the regime at the time, and asked for his assistance. And Goethe helped. A few days later an official decree appeared in the newspaper announcing the lifting of the ban. Underneath the announcement (and not official) stood the following verse by Goethe:

               May St. John's Bonfire no longer be banned,
               It's ceremony never forgotten!
               Brooms always need to be replaced,
               And young boys forever begotten."

September 23, 1920, p.8, col.2

America excludes Germans

Washington. Many Americans of German or Austrian heritage have sought out all possible sources of information to ascertain if, when the time comes, their friends and relatives can emigrate from their countries and settle in America. They also wish to know what conditions must be satisfied in order to emigrate.

Some are waiting patiently until all the pieces fall into place once the United States and Germany reach a peace agreement. Others are impatient. It's been nearly two years since the end of hostilities but the ban has not yet been lifted.

Those who have turned to the State Department has been told that German and Austrian nationals may only come to the United States under extreme circumstances as defined by the State Department. They are told that the wartime regulations against foreign nationals are still in place and that German and Austrian citizens must apply directly to American diplomats or consular agents in their countries or apply directly to the State Department in order to secure a visa, therby receiving permission to stay here temporarily. Only 32 Germans and 53 Austrians were permitted to enter in 1919, the first year after the world war.

October 7, 1920, p.5

Statement of the Ownership, Management, Circulation, etc.
Required by the Act of Congress of August 24, 1912.


Of the Syracuse Union, published weekly at Syracuse, N.Y., for October 1st, 1920


State of New York, County of Onondaga, ss.

Before me, a Notary Public in and for the State and county aforesaid, personally appeared Alexander E. Oberlander, who having duly sworn according to law, deposed and says that he is the owner of the "Syracuse Union," and that the following is, to the best of his knowledge and belief, a true statement of the ownership, management (and if a daily paper, the circulation,) etc., of the aforesaid publication for the date shown in the above caption, required by the Act of August 24, 1912, embodied in section 443, Postal Laws and Regulations, to wit:

1. That the names and addresses of the publisher, editor, managing editor, and business managers are:
Publishers: The Oberlander Press .........Syracuse, N.Y.
Editor: Christian Peil ............ Syracuse, N.Y.
Managing Editor: Alex E. Oberlander ......... Syracuse, N.Y.
Business Manager: Alex E. Oberlander ....... Syracuse, N.Y.

2. That the owners are: (give names and addresses of individual owners, or, if a corporation, give its name and the names and addresses of stockholders owning or holding 1 per cent or more of the total amount of stock.)
            Alex E. Oberlander, Syracuse, N.Y.

3. That the known bondholders, mortgagees, and other security holders owning or holding 1 per cent or more of total mounts of bonds, mortgages, or other securities are: (If there are none, so state) — None.

4. That the two paragraphs next above, giving the names of the owners, stockholders and security holders, if any, contain not only the list of stockholders and security holders as they appear upon the books of the company but also, in cases where the stockholders or security holder appears upon the books of the company as trustee or in any other fiduciary relation, the name of the person or corporation for whom such trustee is acting, is given; also that the said two paragraphs contain statements embracing affiant's full knowledge and belief as to the circumstances and conditions under which stockholders and security holders who do not appear upon the books of the company as trustees, hold stock and securities in a capacity other than that of a bona fide owner; and this affiant has no reason to believe that any other person, association, or corporation has an interest direct or indirect in the said stock, bonds, or other securities than as so stated by him.
               Alex E. Oberlander
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 6th day of October, 1920.       Christian Peil, Notary Public

(My commission expires March 30, 1921.)

October 7, 1920, p.5

German Pilot will attempt a Transatlantic Flight


London, October 4. — Our correspondent in Berlin wired the London Times that one of the best aviators in Germany will attempt to make a transatlantic flight around the middle of this month. He will fly a four-engine aluminum monoplane built by the Zeppellin Group. The pilot hopes to complete the journey in 26 hours. He will take a copilot and several mechanics with him.

December 2, 1920, p.8

The Zipfer in America


The "Zipfer in America" is a newly established German language newspaper which should be of particular interest to those who call the Zipfer Mountains in Carpathia their home. Due to the reordering of both large and small nations, this region and its people may be threatened with the extinction of their Germanic heritage. The newspaper sent us the following announcement and we are happy to publish it here.

A Call to the Countrymen of Zipfer

Pursuant to the folk festival held in Newark New Jersey last September, which called for the uniting of all the countrymen from Zipfer living in the United States, we announce the creation of the

The Zipfer Association of America

Its goal is the advancement of Zipfer interests both here and in the old homeland.

The association has also decided to publish a monthly periodical titled The Zipfer in America. Its first issue will appear in the middle of November. It will be sent free of charge to countrymen. If the association does not have your address, you may send it to our secretary, Miss Elia Feisz, 111 Lexington Ave., New York.

December 9, 1920, p. 5

The Syracuse Union becomes Agent for the "United American Lines."


Regular Steamship Service with Germany Recommences. Regulations for Vacation Trips and Immigration.

The "United American Lines" has merged with the Hamburg America Line . On the 25th of this month regular steamship service to Germany will begin again. The publisher of the Syracuse Union, Alex Oberlander, has become an agent for the line. The price for a ticket one way from New York to Hamburg or from Hamburg to New York will be $115. Children under 10 travel half-price. Children under the age of one travel for $5.50. There is an additional surcharge tax of $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for children. No surcharge for infants.

Foreigners coming to the States will be charged an $8.00 entry fee per person. There is no entry fee for children under the age of 16.

There is an additional import tax of $5.00 for adults and $2.50 for children for those coming from countries east and south of Germany and Switzerland plus room and board for a stay in Hamburg.

In order to gain permission to ship out from New York travelers must provide proof of filed income tax statement or certificate of tax-exempt status. It's advisable to make all sleeping arrangements in advance in order to partake of the most comfortable setting possible.

U.S. citizens must apply for a visa from the Swiss Consulate in order to enter Germany. Visas from other countries must be secured from the consulates of the countries they plan to enter or from the country's duly appointed representative. Austrian visas may be obtained at the Swedish Consulate.

Foreign passengers (non U.S. citizens) must obtain their visas from the country of their citizenship. They must present themselves in person to the U.S. police authorities or consulate in their native countries where they must get permission to enter the United States. At time of visit they must bring 3 small photographs of themselves along with a sworn statement of sponsorship from a relative living in America attesting to the fact that the traveler will not cause trouble.

Such a sworn statement should fulfill any conditions required for an exit visa from the authorities of the traveler's native county as well as the authorities or consulate of the United States.

Travellers who cannot provide the documents with the official stamp of the United States authorities or consulate will not be allowed to come ashore.

Until the time when an official peace treaty is signed, citizens of Germany and Austria are prohibited from entering the United States except under the following conditions:

Business representatives who can prove that their visit is to the advantage of American business interests. In such cases a recommendation from an American firm must be presented in order to justify the visit.

Relatives of naturalized American citizens when they can prove satisfactorily that they are dependent upon said naturalized citizens.

Women born in America who have married German citizens.

Germans and Austrians who served in the Army will not be allowed to enter under any circumstances until the Peace Treaty process is concluded.

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Translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks