The German Hungarians & The Schuhplattler

As we head this week towards Atlantic City and the Gaufest hosted by our friends from Edelweiss Passaic, our members are getting things together, holding the final rehearsals, prepping Tracht, organizing decorations, food, drink, and music, and all together getting excited about once again being together at a Gaufest.

Recently a question came to my committee about how the German Hungarians got to be dancers in the Schuhplattler style and members of the Gauverband Nordamerika. Below are selections from our various written histories telling that story.

-Michael Fricker

“This is our Cultural Group; they are the heart of the
Schuhplattler Group, our Night in Vienna Dancers, and tonight they are
our Kirchweih Group. You have never met a more hardworking group of
young people.”

-Susi Hartmann

“In the late 1960s the Cultural Group began performing Schuhplattler dances. Our first chairman, Emily Fricker had often sent away for folk dances and music to teach to the dance groups. Andy Weyershaeuser, who had prior knowledge of the dance style and had once performed with the Philadelphia GTV Almrausch, later bolstered our instruction. He instilled in us his love and knowledge of this dance form. This eventually led to the official formation of the Schuhplattler group in 1976. Vorplattlers of our Schuhplattler Group have included: John M. Blank, Joe S. Reiter, John Reiter, and our current Vorplattler Alex Blank. In February of 2013, John Reiter passed on the title to Alex Blank, as is the custom, bringing the next generation into leadership roles within our club. Shortly thereafter at
the Gaufest in Sandusky, Ohio, Alex Blank, named John Reiter, our Honorary Vorplattler and presented him with a “Ehren Vorplattler” medal.”[1]

“Through our friendship with the Auerhahn Schuhplattler Verein of Oley, PA (our Patenverein – Sponsoring Club), Alpenveilchen of Silver Springs, MD., and the Germania Almrausch of Poughkeepsie, NY, we became aware of an international organization known as the Gauverband Nordamerika. The organization preserves and perpetuates the cultural heritage of Bavaria (Germany) and Tyrol (Austria) including its customs, ethnic costumes, language, folk music, and folk dances. A biennial gathering of the Gauverband Nordamerika (Gaufest) is held in odd-numbered years. In 1985, several members of our Schuhplattler group traveled to Vail, Colorado to perform for the Vail Fourth of July festivities. While performing in Vail, we found out that there was a Gaufest being held in Denver, Colorado. We decided that we wanted to see what it was all about, so we hopped in our cars and drove two hours to Denver. We were in awe of what we experienced, so we decided then and there that we wanted to be part of this. In April, 1988, we applied for and were accepted as a member of the Gauverband Nordamerika, Inc.”[2]

“One of the highlights of the Gaufest is the Schuhplattler Competitions: In addition to the Gruppen Preisplatteln (Group Competition), individual couples may also compete in the Jugend (Youth) or Adult Einzel Preisplatteln. The German Hungarians began competing in Parsippany, New Jersey in 1989. By 1993 we achieved our initial goal and placed third in Buffalo, New York. For the next two Gaufests in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1995) and Newark, Delaware (1997) we maintained third place. In St. Paul, Minnesota (1999), we achieved our ultimate goal taking home the Wanderpreis, and First Place Gold Medals!”[3]

“In 2003, the United German Hungarians hosted the 19th Gaufest in
Philadelphia. In addition to undertaking this task of hosting the event, our group was also able to place second in the Gruppen Preisplatteln. This win led to an invitation to perform in Ingolstadt, Bavaria. In 2007, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the group once again placed first in Gruppen Preisplatteln. In addition to this win, Sasha and Janet Malofiy placed first in the Adult Einzel Preisplatteln. After the 2007 win, the group was again invited and competed in Planegg, Bavaria.”[4]

“On the 2014 tour of Germany and Austria our group participated in the opening ceremonies of the Munich Oktoberfest. Together with members from the Gauverband Nordamerika we were honored to be a part of these historic festivities.[5]

After the trip Anna Martini wrote:

‘Walking in a parade is like stepping into familiar territory. So when we
were asked to march in the opening sequence of the world famous
Munich Oktoberfest, these things we already knew: we’d have to be
dressed in our best Tracht and we’d have to smile and wave happily and
endlessly. These are immutable parade truths after all and we wouldn’t
want to have it any other way. What we didn’t realize was this was just the
starting point for this international and over-the-top cultural extravaganza.
To add just a sprinkling of paprika to this huge honor (we’re Schwowe
after all) was the fact that this would be the first time the Gauverband von
Nordamerika, or simply “the Americans” as we were called, were invited
to take to the streets of the storied Bavarian city.’

[1], [2], [3], [4], & [5] from A History of our Cultural Group 1965-2015

“In 2011, our dance group attended the Gaufest in Orlando, Florida and had a great time. With a young team once again taking the competition floor, our club placed 8th that year. We have attended the Gaufest every two years, competing in Gruppen competitions. In 2013 in Sandusky, OH, we placed 6th. Milwaukee, WI in 2015 ushered in a series of 4th place finishes continuing in 2017 in Buffalo, NY, and again 4th place in Washington, DC in 2019. Our members continue to participate in Einzel competitions often placing in the top 5.”[7]

“As we moved into 2018, another trip to Europe was set. This time three of our members would be competing in Einzel Competition at the Bayerischer Lowe held that year in Haldewang, Bavaria. The Gaufest festival took place under a huge tent out on the rolling fields and hills in Bavaria. Kyra Malofiy placed 5th, Janet Malofiy 5th, and Paul Ulrich 15th. The Gaufest was another unique experience for our club. We took a walking tour in the next town over Altusried, where we saw the local dance group’s clubhouse, toured their large outdoor theater, their old millworks, and witnessed their Schutzenverein’s firepower. As we often do, our trip was extended with different families traveling to places in Austria, Italy, and to Serbia, and Romania.”[8]

[7], & [8] from A History of the German Hungarians 2010-2020


    • Denver, CO—1985Attended as observers while performing in Vail, for the 4th of July.
    • Milwaukee, WI—1987: Performed “Sud Tirol Edelweiss Laendler,” as an Ehrentanz.
    • Parsippany, New Jersey—1989: 14th place
    • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada—1991: 6th place
    • Buffalo, New York—1993: 3rd place
    • Milwaukee, Wisconsin—1995: 3rd place
    • Newark, Delaware—1997: 3rd place
    • St. Paul, Minnesota—19991st place
    • Ellenville, New York—2001: 4th place
    • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—2003: 2nd place
    • Buffalo, New York—2005: 7th place
    • Hershey, Pennsylvania—20071st place
    • Toledo, Ohio—2009: 5th place
    • Orlando, Florida—2011: 8th place
    • Sandusky, Ohio—2013: 6th place
    • Milwaukee, Wisconsin—2015: 4th place
    • Buffalo, New York—2017: 4th Place
    • Washington, DC—2019: 4th Place
    • Atlantic City, NJ—2022: 3rd Place
    • Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Germany—2003: 5th place
    • Planegg, Munich, Germany—2008: 6th place
    • Hershey, PA —2007
      • Janet & Sasha Malofiy (Ages 35-49): 1st place
    • Orlando, FL—2011
      • Kristen Reiter: (Ages 13-15) 3rd Place
    • Sandusky, OH—2013:
      • Allysa Reiter & Werner Fricker III (Ages 16-34): 3rd Place
      • Stevie Paul (Ages 13-15): 3rd Place
      • Emma Walter (Ages 13-15): 3rd Place
    • Buffalo, NY—2017:
      • Kyra Malofiy (Ages 12-15): 2nd Place
      • Paul Ulrich Jr. & Janet Malofiy (Ages 34-49): 1st Place
    • Washington, DC—2019:
      • Jakob Hubert (Ages 12-15): 2nd Place
      • Paul Ulrich Jr. (Ages 35-49): 1st Place
      • Janet Malofiy (Ages 50-59): 2nd Place
    • Atlantic City, NJ—2022:
      • Evangeline Noel (Ages 12-15): 3rd Place
      • Nichole Deely (Ages 35-49): 1st Place
      • Janet Malofiy (Ages 50-59): 3rd Place

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