I’m quite the fan of Ian Fleming’s James Bond; 007. That’s the character of books, radio shows, comics, and of course feature films. Often much is made about that number with two zeros and seven. In Die Another Day Pierce Brosnan’s Bond utters the line, “It’s only a number…” Similarly in the most recent film, Daniel Craig states, that the 007 is “just a number.”
Since the end of 2019 our club, the United German Hungarians has been making a lot of reference and waiting to celebrate, well, a number; 110. I’m not going to rehash the reasons why we’ve been waiting, by now we all know, and I also have made a personal decision that this sentence will be the last reference I make in any writing to the debacle that came from a Chinese virus.
What do those lines from Bond mean? How are they relevant to the German Hungarians?
Well, James Bond is agent code named 007, and to many that 007 means something, but it has meaning because of the man behind the number.
I feel the same about 110. We pride ourselves in the history of our club. To be over one hundred years old is an accomplishment and we never shy away from a reason to have a party and celebrate. But that number, 110, it has meaning for us like one hundred did 11 years ago. It has meaning not just because it’s a big number. It has meaning because of the individuals, the families, and the club that is 110 years old. Yes, our history is important, and it guides us, yes, we should and have celebrated anniversaries, but most important is the club, and the people that make it up.
On Saturday, October 23, we held our Gala 110th Anniversary, at the Cannstatter V.V. The event put on display and gathered together the things and the people that make the number 110 have meaning at all. It was easy also to see the threads and materials of our future success in the many aspects of our club life in action that evening. What follows is a review of the event written in sections by Karina Fricker and I.
Michael N. Fricker
SOUVENIR ANNIVERSARY BOOK
A number of years ago our leaders made a decision that every 5 years our club would compile, print, and publish a souvenir anniversary book. We have a rich history of putting together these materials and each one is unique to its time. In 2010 our 100th anniversary book was the last to be printed in black & white and featured one hundred years of written history for the first time ever.
In 2015-2016 (due to a reschedule because of a snowstorm) we held the 50th Anniversary of our Cultural Group and also printed the first full color book chronicling the history of our dance groups.
Then in 2020 we printed our 110th Anniversary book covering this anniversary and including the history since we finished our centennial in 2010. The cover is a modern take on covers we have had in the past. Again, the full color copy has a variety of photos of our members, dance groups, soccer teams, lists of our achievements, award winners, a letter from the president and an abundance of other features.
Emily Fricker taught us that these published books, and the 110th one is no exception, are not “ad books,” or mere “event programs,” they are pieces of history, printed examples of who we are.
If you could not attend, you can see a digital version by clicking here.
COCKTAIL HOUR & MEMORABELIA
There’s just “something” about putting on your best attire and having a cocktail, don’t you think? The cocktail hour started at 6pm, and as members and friends arrived, the excitement in the air was palpable. Imagine walking through the long hallway of the entrance at the Cannstatter Volksfest Verein, making your way to the Main Ballroom, greeting friends, finding your table, and finally getting that first beverage of the night. Smiles were seen on guests of all ages. As you entered, to the left was a large display of German Hungarian memorabilia. Displayed on these tables were soccer and dance trophies and awards, accomplishments from years past. Next you saw a large television displaying photos, old and new. Many stories and laughs were shared watching this and it was a perfect way to remember our past and celebrate it. Mens and Womens Soccer uniforms were up for all to see. Our German Hungarian tracht, Banater and Bavarian, were displayed as well. We are proud of our history and look forward to our future.
Special thank you to all of our members who helped make this display as beautiful and intricate as it was.
The names and bios below are the dedicated members who received the Ehrenwürdig Award. Each of the individuals above were awarded with a gold pin to wear proudly on their chest.
Michelle Avrich – Michelle has been a member of dance group since she was a little girl; for over 30 years. She participated in the annual Kirchweih Shows, danced with the Schuhplattler group and was a member of a Gau Preisplatteln team. For many years, Michelle has organized the Toys and Games for all our outdoor festivals and special events. Michelle is currently on the Cultural Group committee. She is dedicated and reliable and also known to be the GH baby whisperer as she truly she has the magic touch!
Alexander Blank – Alex has been a dancer for over 25 years! He has participated in the Children’s group, Kirchweih shows, many Cultural events and our Schuhplattler Group. Alex was a member of the first place Gau Preisplatteln team in 2007 and has led our Preis team on the floor many times. Alex served as our Grounds Chairman, Special Event committees, he was a Bar and catering committee member and also served on soccer cup and tournament committees. Alex currently serves on the Board of Governors, is the Entertainment Chair and the Vorplattler of our Schuhplattler group. Alex supports all areas at the club and can always be seen at a Sunday soccer game. Alex will also let you know that he is related to the most Presidents here at our Club.
Nichole Deely – Nichole currently serves as the Club General Secretary and in recent years has been named Schuhplattler Preis Team Coach. She is passionate about dancing and has been dancing here all her life in the Children’s Group, Kirchweih shows, Schuhplattler group as well as a Preis team member. In addition, she is a member of the Women’s Auxiliary committee, entertainment committee, has served on other Special committees and has represented the club in many ways. Though she is small in stature she has a large heart and is very dedicated!
Werner Fricker, III – Werner currently manages our Men’s soccer team and in addition he has grown up in the club culturally; dancing in the Children’s group, Kirchweih shows, Schuhplattler group, was on the first place Gau Preisplatteln team in 2007 and was also a third place national Einzel Schuhplattler winner. He has served as House Chairman, Fahnentrager, served on many soccer Cup and tournament committees and is currently a Board of Governor and 2nd Vorplattler of the Schuhplatter group. Werner is dedicated, dependable and is passionate about the Club and he will let you know so too!
Michael Fricker – A true German Hungarian historian Michael serves as our Publicity & Editorial chairman and his work speaks for itself. A lifetime member, he has been a member of the cultural group for over 20 years, a Kirchweih show participant debuting as the Oscar Meyer Bologna kid, Schuhplattler dancer, Preisplatteln team member, bar and catering committee, soccer committee, special events and currently serving as a Board of Governor. Michael’s energy and commitment to the German Hungarians is exemplary.
Daniel Galgon – Danny was a Kirchweih baby, born into this club family and has been very involved ever since. A member of the Cultural group for over 25 years, Children’s group, participating in Kirchweih shows and a Schuhplattler dancer as well. Dan has served as Fest Parking Chair, Fahnentrager, Grounds committee, Catering/bar committee and wherever else needed. Dan was also a member of many Schuhplattler Preisplatteln teams with a first-place win in 2007. Dan’s unwavering dedication makes him a true German Hungarian.
Jason Karasow – Jason made his way to our stadium soccer field as a boy watching the US national team play us as well as other high level local games and after a successful youth and college career, he joined us when he was eighteen. As a player and captain on the field he was always working to lead our team to victory. Over the years he has served on soccer committees for national cup finals, regional finals, and alumni events. He is the head coach of the men’s team and is passionate about winning, Club life and recently brought home the cup from the US National Donauschwaben tournament this past summer in Ohio.
Wayne Lepp – Introduced to the club through music Wayne is a fine, dedicated gentlemen who has supported the club for many years. Spending many years as a decorated Mummer and Philadelphia Wedding band he then made his way to the Club as a part of the band and cast for over 20 years in our famous Kirchweih Shows, and then he eventually joined the Heimatklaenge. Wayne was a major contributor to our largest annual fundraiser for many years; he can always be counted on for those extra practices and time needed for our dance group events. And by the way, I am not sure anyone can beat Wayne’s banjo version of the Eagles fight song!
Sasha Malofiy Jr. – Sasha has been active all of his life; a member of the cultural group for over 20 years, Schuhplattler dancer, member of several recent Preisplatteln teams, a third-generation German Hungarian soccer player playing both youth and adult level with a 9-time participation in the National Donauschwaben soccer tournament. Sasha has served on committees such as Cup and tournament, Special events, Bar, and catering and currently is our 2nd Fahnentrager. Sasha has a great respect for our club, shield, and everything German Hungarian!
Michelle McFadden – If you know Michelle, you know that she screams enthusiasm and dedication when it comes to the club! Michelle has grown up at the club, in the dance group for over 20 years, member of the Children’s group, Kirchweih Shows, Schuhplattler group and a Preisplatteln team member. She is currently the Schuhplattler groups booking agent, serves on the Board of Governors and manages the women’s’ soccer team. Special mention that Michelle was extremely determined and recently rebuilt the women’s soccer team which is a very talented and successful group.
Cindy Proll – Cindy is dynamic and energetic! Cindy came to our club though her husband’s family and very quickly got involved after having her sons Christening at our Club. She was immediately a breath of fresh air providing great enthusiasm when serving on special committees. She has been a member of our Women’s’ Auxiliary, Soccer committee, assisted with Pee Wee Soccer and served as the Entertainment Chair for many years. Cindy had a vision for expanding and creating some new events for our members.
These bios on the awardees were written by President Malofiy and read during each presentation by Master of Ceremonies Chris Deely. This award is not to be taken lightly, and we are thankful and PROUD of our honorees this year. Congratulations!
ATMOSPHERE OF FRIENDS
I’ve written once before about the affection of our people for “suiting up,” for dinner jackets, and donning of gowns all in atmospheric halls filled with smiles and music.
Our 110th Banquet, had all of that and more. Even the tiniest of members, with the biggest of personalities looked the business that elegant evening. The members of our Children’s Cultural Group are a spirited, sometimes mischievous, but true-blue group of friends. It’s an honor for us to have each of them as members of our club and I look forward to seeing their already burgeoning loyalty to each other age into a steadfast dedication to club-life and family.
All ages could be found on the dance floor socially the night of the event, thanks in huge part to our Heimatklänge. This band as an institution is our ever-frequent collaborator in the fun times of our events. The atmosphere of any affair we have is always heightened with their inclusion. More so than that the men of the band itself are each one a part of the German Hungarians.
Of course, we were joined by friends from the local German-American clubs. What we do as an organization we hope provides an enjoyable time to our fellow clubs. Friends traveled as well from other states nearby and not so nearby and we are always happy when they do so.
For many years, the emblem of the United German Hungarians of Philadelphia & Vicinity as well as the Banater Männerchor before that included the image of shaking hands. Still today that emblem of the original club is woven into the fabric of our beautiful club flag. That flag served as the backdrop for many family photos taken the night of the 110th.
I know that as we move forward all of our German Hungarians will continue the tradition of extending our hands in friendship as we have since the year 1910.
The German Hungarians love to dance. So much so, that we prepared an extensive performance to showcase our abilities and inspire a sentimental feeling in our guests, members, and even ourselves. The dances that were chosen by Alex Blank, Marlene Fricker, and I were as follows:
Kovorovska Polka: This polka was choreographed by Marlene Fricker in conjunction with our 100th Anniversary in 2010, and first performed at the Landestreffen der Donauschwaben in Oakford. This is a dance filled with power and energy, starting at the center back of the dance floor-with our HK behind us- and taking off. Our dancers have known it by heart since we first learned it over 10 years ago. It’s a piece of music and a dance that has turned into a core memory for us and elicits such a feeling of pride. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed performing it.
Böhmischer Traum: A beautiful piece of music, this song, translated into “Bohemian Dream,” was choreographed by Marlene Fricker for this event. We were immediately excited by the version of the song by Meeblech. It has multiple timing and style changes and gives the dance and the song a lot of character. This dance takes many shapes on the floor, and is edgy, yet classic.
Czardas: The Hungarian Czardas has become a staple for the German Hungarian Dance Group. A czardas is a Hungarian dance to music in duple time in which the dancers start slowly and finish with a rapid whirl. It is another dance that each of us knows by heart, but each time it is performed it is still as exciting and new as the first time it was learned. Our Heimatklänge leads this dance for us as well and makes it even more special. The footwork is sharp and together. Kicks, swivels, stamps, claps, and a lift at the end.
Urlauber Polka: Originally choreographed by Josef Wenczel, this dance was adapted from our friends from Hungary. An epic polka, it is fast, technical, and powerful. This was the most difficult dance we learned for our 110th anniversary. This dance also makes many shapes across the floor. Starting diagonally, it moves into lines, into a circle formation, back into lines, and ends in a U shape. This dance became a project for us, striving to make it as clean and precise as possible. “Urlauber” may translate to “vacation,” but it sure took a lot of hard work and dedication to complete, and we are so proud of how it turned out.
Bis Bald Auf Wiedersehen: The German Hungarians can sing! A popular song and dance in the Donauschwaben culture, we decided to put our own twist on this song. This piece, also choreographed by Marlene Fricker, is the perfect way to say goodbye. Short and sweet, we sang “Bis Bald,” or “See ya later,” in a line, and completed the performance.
The Landesverband der Donauschwaben USA provides awards to its member clubs that include a certificate and an accompanying gold pin. On the occasion of our 110th Anniversary five of our members were presented with this award the night of the banquet. Region Ost President, Marlene Fricker presented these awards on behalf of the Verband stating that these individuals were being recognized for their service over the years “doing whatever it was that needed to be done.” Reading the following names, it’s easy to understand the deserving nature of each and every one:
Janet Fricker Malofiy
Joseph S. Reiter
Congratulations and thank you to Susi, Janet, John, Joe, and Michael for all of their service and leadership to our shared Danube Swabian-German Hungarian culture. We also thank the Landesverband for their leadership, their welcoming nature and for connecting us with likeminded folks we share a culture with across a whole nation. You can read a very well written and fitting letter from Verband President, Robert Filippi by clicking here.
There’s a song by my favorite musical artist that perfectly encaptures my feelings towards the night of our 110th Anniversary. It starts off by saying,
“I said remember this moment… in the back of my mind.”
From the cocktail hour to the last song of the night, the evening was nothing but spectacular. Let’s remember the faces, the photos, the smiles, the songs sung, the history made. Let’s hold onto the memories of years past. 110 years of trials and triumphs have brought us here, today. That is something to be proud of. We are continuing a proud tradition.
“You held your head like a hero
On a history book page
It was the end of a decade
But the start of an age…”
Let’s make the next 110 years as powerful and traditional as the last. Let’s hold our heads up high, and walk together towards the future. The United German Hungarians are a close-knit family unit. It is truly special to be a part of something larger than yourself, and the German Hungarians do just that and more.
“Long Live, the walls we crashed through
I had the time of my life, with you…”
“Long Live” the German Hungarians.
Karina E. Fricker
Song Credit: “Long Live” by Taylor Swift
The featured image features the end of the cultural group’s performance of Böhmischer Traum the evening of the banquet. The authors of this writing felt that our young members, hand in hand, arms raised in pride was the perfect accompaniment for this review.
Below you will find various photos from the evening courtesy of many of our members and friends who shared these on social media. Enjoy: