Max Kade Institute

for German-American Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison

German Immigrant Oral History Project

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. Census map showing distribution of German Americans as of 2000

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. With this goal in mind, 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.  

Contact Antje Petty: apetty@wisc.edu