University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

[Over Easter vacation from April 3-14 my family and I took a sightseeing trip to Washington, D.C.]

Washington, Easter 1969

Washington Seen Differently

Coming to Washington, one is, compared to European capitals, surprised by the simplicity of the government buildings. There is little splendor in Washington. It is an administration city established in an unassuming republican style. Washington was taken by surprise by the leading role it had suddenly to assume. On the surface was no hint that world politics in grand style was made here. We had just arrived at Pennsylvania Avenue in time when a helicopter with King Hussein of Jordan on board landed on the White House lawn. At the same time, the foreign ministers of the 15 NATO countries had assembled in Washington for the 20th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In both cases without much fanfare, far-reaching questions of world politics were dealt with. President Nixon discussed with King Hussein the conflict in the Middle East, while talks with the NATO partners were held concerning a new peace settlement for Europe.

The White House can hardly cope with all these tasks anymore. On the one side, one state visit follows after another, and on the other, thousands of tourists stand in line to be admitted to the guided tours through the historic rooms. The entire layout of the White House is rather small and modest. It is more like a mansion than the private and official residence of the U.S. president. It would not come as a surprise if one day a new residence for the American president would be made available and the White House remained only a museum.

[The White House stands on a lot of 18 acres on Pennsylvania Avenue. It was built as a manor house in the Georgian Palladian style in part by George Washington in 1792.]

Washington still makes a provincial impression. There is no renowned theater, no opera, and no symphony orchestra to speak of. It is no wonder that the large diplomatic community along Embassy Row feels ennui from time to time.

[The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts was opened in 1971. This building at the Potomac finally gave Washington a center for the performing arts that combines in one large complex stage, concert hall and opera house.]

A special problem for Washington is the sprawling black ghetto. The city presently has a Negro population of 70% who live in the worst slums on the north side of town. The slums extend immediately behind the White House and the government buildings. As employer the capital has accepted the black population from the South. In turn, it created an inner city problem that is difficult to solve. The inner city has become unsafe for visitors to go out at night. After closing hours of museums and offices, everybody is hurrying to get out of town.

[During the previous months, the University of Notre Dame reviewed my tenure application, the decision on my permanent appointment as professor. Coming back from Washington, I found to my pleasant surprise the contract in the mail. It confirmed my appointment as associate professor with tenure. As no other university was taken into consideration, from then on my affiliation with Notre Dame was sealed for a lifetime. Consequently, also my and my family’s decision to immigrate to the United States was a logical follow-up.]

[Upon the recommendation of Professor Lothar L. Tresp of the University of Georgia, I was invited for a guest lecture at the Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. Since the guest lecture had been scheduled for April 24, I took a flight from Chicago to Atlanta the day before.]

Chicago, O’Hare, April 23, 1969

From Chicago to Atlanta: Domestic Flights in America

Coming from Europe, one may be astonished that international flights are only a fraction of the domestic air traffic in America. Proof of that is the O’Hare Airport in Chicago. Domestic air travel has made O’Hare the most frequented airport in the world. This is an intersection of North America. From here within a few hours, one can reach any destination from Miami, Florida, to Anchorage, Alaska. Atlanta, Georgia, is only one hour and a half away by plane. Flying has become the customary mode of transportation for the general public. Modern air traffic and television have joined the North American Continent into a tangible and graspable unity.

Macon, Georgia, April 25, 1969

The Old South

[A commuter plane brought me from Atlanta to Macon located 80 miles to the south. The reception at the Wesleyan College was very cordial. That small liberal arts college founded in 1836 was the first women college in America if not the first institution of higher learning for women in the world. The lecture titled “The Image of Europe in American Literature” was accepted with great enthusiasm.]

Here one still gets an impression of the culture of the Old South, as it flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries. The first important state universities and a number of well-known colleges were founded in the South. The way of living was characterized by aristocratic elegance of which only a reflection can still be sensed today. But at the same time one cannot overlook the signs of decay and provincial seclusion. Milledgeville, the old capital of Georgia before the Civil War, is only a few miles away from here. After Atlanta had become the new capital of Georgia in 1867, Milledgeville declined into a forgotten provincial town. Despite the industrialization that was strongly accelerated by the North, Georgia has remained to a high degree an agrarian state. Although its cotton production has fallen behind, the best peaches in the country are grown here.

From the Colonial History of Georgia: The Salzburgers at Ebenezer

[The stretch of land between the Carolinas and Spanish Florida was founded as a British colony in 1733 by General James E. Oglethorpe (1696-1785) and named “Georgia” after King George II. Oglethorpe, who was appointed governor of the new colony, encouraged the immigration of persecuted Protestant groups from Europe. That facilitated the settlement of the Salzburger Protestants immediately following the foundation of the colony. From 1730-40 about 19,000 Protestants were expelled from the Prince Archbishopric of Salzburg. They first moved to Augsburg where they were taken care of by the Lutheran Mission. Many of them went on to East Prussia, but several hundreds decided to immigrate to the new Colony of Georgia. Professor Lothar Tresp, who as historian had studied the subject of the Salzburger immigrants in Georgia, called the settlement of the Salzburgers at Ebenezer to my attention.

The Salzburger emigrants were under the patronage of the Franckeschen Waisenhaus-­Stiftung (Orphanage Foundation) in Halle. The Foundations created by the Protestant Pietistic theologian August Hermann Francke (1663-1727) included orphanages, hospitals, schools as well as missions for the propagation of faith. They belonged to the most important philanthropic institutions of their time. The Foundation provided two pastors who accompanied the Salzburgers to the unknown New World. Pastor Johann Martin Bolzius assumed the leadership and spiritual guidance of the settlement of the Salzburgers in Georgia. The first transport with 42 persons reached Savannah on the Atlantic coast in March 1734. Three more transports with 50 persons each, mostly families, arrived in the following years. Pastor Bolzius established the Salzburger settlement at Ebenezer 20 miles inland from Savannah. He first built the orphanage, around which the settlement gradually developed. As a multi-purpose building, the orphanage offered shelter for children who had lost their parents and also took care of persons in need. Furthermore, it was equipped as hospital, served as school, and as a house of worship until the church was built. It was the central space for spiritual guidance, and in an emergency it also took care of the social needs of the community.

Pastor Bolzius who was well aware of his unique task kept a diary, in which he recorded the development of the settlement. His diary entries together with the letters he continuously wrote to Pastor Urlsperger in Augsburg gave a vivid account of the progress of the colony. Samuel Urlsperger, Senior Pastor of the Evangelical St. Ann’s Church in Augsburg, had taken special care of the Salzburger emigrants. He organized and assembled in Augsburg the transports for the emigration to Georgia, paid attention to the progress of the enterprise and asked for financial donations for the orphanage. Urlsperger found the reports of Bolzius interesting enough that he had them published by the Orphanage Press of the Francke Foundation in Halle. They appeared under the title, “Der Ausführlichen Nachrichten von der Königlich-Gross-Brittannischen Colonie Salzburgischer Emigranten in America,” vols. I (1735-40), II (1741-46), III (1747-52).

I was given permission to examine the 3 vols. of Urlsperger in the Library of the University of Georgia. Among other places, the settlers had come from Werfen and Radstadt. Names like Steiner, Kogler and Schweighofer originated without a doubt from the Salburg area. Despite their pietistic emotional exuberance, these records by Bolzius of every day events and the living conditions of the colony are exact to the minutest detail. They report of the economic difficulties at the start; of illnesses and deaths; mention the good relationship which Bolzius had maintained with Governor Oglethorpe and the colonial administration in Savannah; tell how the colonists tried to cultivate new plants and of their encounter with the Indians; also mention the difficulties they had in finding an English teacher. The Salzburgers were definitely opposed to the introduction of slavery in Georgia. But economic interests finally outweighed the various voices of opposition so that slavery was introduced in the colony of Georgia by decision of Parliament in London in 1749.

Based on the diaries of Bolzius, Lothar Tresp wrote a comprehensive study of the orphanage of the Salzburger colony titled “The Salzburger Orphanage at Ebenezer in Colonial Georgia.” The article appeared in Americana-Austriaca, vol.3 (Wien: Wilhelm Braumüller, 1974), pp. 190-234. Next to the writings of Johann Martin Bolzius, as they were published by Samuel Urlsperger (1735-52), the Orphanage Foundation in Halle holds extensive archival materials. In their sum total, these materials offer a rare and valuable insight into the way of life and development of a German speaking Lutheran community in the early colonial period of Georgia.]

South Bend, Sunday, April 27, 1969

The Resignation of Charles de Gaulle

One had to listen twice, until one grasped the brief newscast that French President Charles de Gaulle promptly resigned after having lost the referendum. The end of the Gaullist era comes so surprisingly and without further ado that at first one has to become aware of its repercussions. In America the news of de Gaulle’s departure is accepted with restraint and mixed emotions. On the one side, one expects a revival of the North Atlantic Alliance as well as an improvement of the cooperation within the West in general. It should also become easier for Great Britain to join the Common Market. But on the other side, one fears that France could plunge into economic and political chaos. It is taken for granted that the French franc will be devaluated. It remains to be seen how the successors of de Gaulle will be capable of managing the economic and political crisis situation.

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