MKI News and Upcoming Events

Outside the Kaiserreich: The German Diaspora in the World War I Era
International Symposium, October 8–10, 2015 

Organized by the Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies
and the UW–Madison German Department

Free and Open to the Public, on the University of Wisconsin–Madison Campus

During the era of the “Great War,” many nations had significant numbers of first- or second-generation ethnic Germans living within their borders. Speakers of German could be found in the United States, Russia, Denmark, southern Africa, China, and Latin America. This symposium will look at the complex situations and dynamics of societies with German populations on the periphery or outside the borders of the German Empire in this period of global armed conflict.

Schedule of Events

October 8, Thursday, 5:00–8:00 pm [University Club]

5:00 Exhibit Opening and Reception
From the Archives of the Max Kade Institute: The German-American Press During the World War I Era

6:00 Keynote Address
Imperial Germany as a Country of Emigration and Immigration, Werner Sollors, Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Research Professor of English, Harvard University

7:00 Reception

October 9, Friday morning [Pyle Center]

9:00 Words of Welcome

9:30–10:15 The German-American Experience in World War I:
A Centennial Assessment, Walter Kamphoefner, Texas A&M University

10:30–11:15 Fissures in the Element: German-American Disunity and the First World War, Cora Lee Kluge, UW–Madison

11:30–12:15 Urban Language Shift and the German Language in Early 20th Century Metro Detroit
Felecia Lucht, Independent Scholar

October 9, Friday afternoon [Pyle Center]

2:00–2:45 Conflicting Loyalties in Wartime: The “Germanness” of British and American Jews during World War I, Sarah Panter, Leibniz Institute of European History, Mainz, Germany

3:00–3:45 The Impact of World War I on American Classical Music, Pamela Potter, UW–Madison

4:00–4:45 Enemy Alien Internment in the British Empire during World War I, Stefan Manz, Aston University, Birmingham, UK

October 10, Saturday morning [Pyle Center]

9:30–10:15 Rethinking “National Indifference”: German and Polish Activists in Łódź during the First World War, Winson Chu, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

10:30–11:15 Brothers in Arms but Strangers at Home: Germans in Schleswig-Holstein during and after WWI, Julie Allen, UW–Madison

11:30–12:15 The Immediacy of the Unapproachable: Writings on China by German POWs in East Asia during World War I, Weijia Li, UW–Madison

October 10, Saturday afternoon [Pyle Center]

2:00–2:45 The Martyrs of Alcatraz: A Narrative Account of Hutterite Conscientious Objectors, Duane Stoltzfus, Goshen College

3:00–3:45 Pennsylvaniadeutschtum: Pennsylvania Dutch Identity and the World War I Era, Mark Louden, UW–Madison

4:00 Wrap-up Discussion

For abstracts, directions, and other information, contact Antje Petty:

The symposium is the forty-eighth Wisconsin Workshop, an annual interdisciplinary forum in German studies.

It is made possible through the generous financial support of the UW–Madison Anonymous Fund, the Jay and Ruth Halls Visiting Scholars Fund, and the UW Lectures Committee*.

It is co-sponsored by the Department of History, the Center for European Studies, the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies, as well as the Friends of the Max Kade Institute.

Conference Program (PDF)


German-American Genealogy Workshop
Saturday, November 7, 2015
8:30 a.m.  - 4:00 p.m.

Memorial Library - room 126, 728 State Street, Madison
$30, box lunch included 
(10% discount for Friends of the MKI and members of the WHS)


Join Lori Bessler (Wisconsin Historical Society) and Antje Petty (Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies) as they share a variety of tips and strategies to help you research your ancestors from German-speaking Europe.  

View the detailed program
Please register online at the Wisconsin Historical Society:

Lori Bessler:, 608-264-6519 or
Antje Petty:, 608-262-7546


Make the Max Kade Institute Library a Part of Your Family's History

Are you interested in German-American publications from a specific state?  Do you feel a personal connection to a special collection in our Library? Would you like to honor a family member or immigrant ancestor and his or her contributions to the American experience? At the Max Kade Institute, we would like to recognize your contribution to our Library Campaign with the following naming opportunities.

  • Adopt a book: choose your favorite publication in the MKI collection and have a nameplate added to the book ($200–$500)
  • Adopt a state in the Published in America (PIA) Collection: the MKI’s PIA collection is organized by state. Put your name on the shelf of your favorite state: ($500-$5,000)
  • Sponsor a Collection, such as the North American Dialect Collection, Carl Schurz Collection, or Family History Collection ($5,000 - $10,000)
  • Name a room ($10,000 - $20,000) 

Additional naming opportunities exist. Please inquire!

Our move to the University Club almost one year ago has brought all the benefits we anticipated. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all our Friends for their tireless work and crucial financial support — It is humbling to know that so many people appreciate what we are doing, use our resources, and in many cases see their own family’s history reflected in the Institute’s research.

We are close, but we are not quite finished — Our Library Project Campaign and our fundraising efforts need to continue. 

Please help us raise the remaining matching funds for our National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant, which will go to an endowment to fund the Librarian/Archivist position. 

Help us reach this year’s goal of $50,000 by July 31, 2015

Your support in securing our future is both crucial and deeply appreciated!

Cora Lee Kluge:
Mark Louden:
Antje Petty:

Or call the Institute at (608) 262-7546



In the twentieth century, over two million German-speaking immigrants came to America. Nearly 600,000 arrived in the 1950s alone, making up 23% of all immigrants in that decade. For the most part, the stories of these immigrants have not been documented, and very little research has been done on their experiences and their impact on American society.

Using the knowledge and resources of the University, the Max Kade Institute is reaching out to citizens across Wisconsin, the Midwest, and beyond, seeking to create a collection of nearly forgotten immigrant stories. We will preserve them in the Institute’s archives, make them available to scholars and for educational purposes, and allow them to be added to narratives of American and global history.

We are interviewing and recording first-generation immigrants from German-speaking regions in Europe who now live in the United States. We include individuals who speak German or lived in a German-speaking community in Europe, people who migrated directly to the United States or via another country, and individuals who came as adults or as children.

There are as many different experiences as there are people. The German Immigrant Oral History Project is a growing repository of personal accounts of emigration and new settlement, journeys near and far, triumphs and losses, assimilation and acculturation, and traditions and customs kept in a new world.

If you are a first-generation German immigrant and would like to contribute your story to this project,
please contact the Max Kade Institute.
For further information contact Antje Petty: or 608-262-7546
Max Kade Institute, 901 University Bay Drive, Madison, WI, 53705


New Publication!
Wisconsin Talk
Linguistic Diversity in the Badger State

Click here for more information

The MKI Library Project: A Capital Campaign

MKI's move to the University Club on the UW Library Mall
provides us with a unique opportunity to raise funds to:

1. Create a state-of-the-art library and archival facilities
(with environmental controls to protect irreplaceable or valuable materials);
2. Enable new acquisitions to be made that will augment our holdings
and fill some of the critical gaps in the collections; and
3.  Support a paid, regular library staff position.

Gifts can be made by check, made out to UW Foundation, with MKI Library Project in the memo line and mailed to Max Kade Institute, 901 University Bay Dr., Madison, WI 53705
online through the UW Foundation
(this form already designates the MKI Library Project in the special instructions box).

Thank you for your support in preserving our past and building our future!

Click HERE for additional information on the Library Project


Language Matters for Wisconsin
A Community-Based Initiative
addressing local and regional language-related
issues and concerns.

Click here for more information

The MKI Library is searchable on-line at:


New Library Acquisitions

Please Click Here


MKI Publications

Please Click Here

Newsletter Archive


Back to the Max Kade Institute