This is to announce the publication of my new book:
Erlangen - An American’s History of a German Town.
This book is a history of Erlangen, a university town near Nuremberg where
I spent three years in the 1960s as a US Army military policeman. It is
the culmination of over four years of research into the city’s history
from its beginning in 1002 to the present time. It is also a result of
a recent research trip to Erlangen in which I visited the city archives,
Jewish community center and university library as well as interview local
historians, professors, a former mayor and others.
Below is a description of the chapters:
1- Origins- 1002-1648.
This chapter describes the earliest settlement of Erlangen in 1002 and
its growth under King Charles (king of Bohemia and emperor of the Holy
Roman Empire), its activities during the Reformation when it became a
Lutheran town, acquisition by the House of Hohenzollern, and destruction
during the Thirty-Years War.
Under the House of Hohenzollern to Bavarian Rule- 1648-1810
This chapter describes the various Margraves (Princes) of Brandenburg-Bayreuth-Ansbach)
who ruled over Erlangen. During this reign, Erlangen served as a secondary
residence for the princes. Most notable was Christian Ernst, who supervised
the building of the margravial palace and invited French Huguenot refugees
from France to settle in Erlangen in 1686, a pivotal point in the city’s
history. Also described is the attempt by Crown Prince Frederick (later
Frederick the Great) to escape from Germany, in which Erlangen played
a role and almost cost Frederick his life. Frederick’s sister, Wilhelmina,
margravine of Bayreuth, who was instrumental in founding the university
in 1743 is also described. The history of the city is also recounted during
the Seven Years War, the Napoleonic Wars, occupation by the French and
acquisition by the kingdom of Bavaria in 1810
Figures at the Erlangen University in the 18-19th centuries
This chapter lists many of Germany’s notable figures who either studied
or taught at Erlangen. A brief summary is given for such figures as the
philosophers Schelling, Fichte, as well as leading Lutheran theologians
who led the so-called Erlangen School of Theology of the 19th century.
Under Bavaria 1810-1900
This is an account of Erlangen under the Bavarian kings including the
Austro-Prussian War and the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). Also described
is the rise of the student university fraternities and their role in political
activism, especially during the revolutionary period in Europe in 1848.
Also notable in this chapter is an account of the small Jewish community
in Erlangen and the rise of the beer industry, which achieved prominence
during the 19th century. (These two themes run throughout the book.) The
chapter also describes Erlangen’s beginnings as a military garrison town
and the building of three casernes.
War I, Post-War Revolution and Weimar Republic
The chapter describes the city and its military garrison during WW1, the
turmoil of the post-war years, the activities of Erlangen’s students in
the Freikorps movement as well as the Weimar republic. Also described
is the beginning of the Nazi Party in Erlangen.
This chapter begins with the rise of the Nazis, especially as a force
in the university (which was the first German university where Nazis achieved
a majority in the student body). Also described are Hitler’s five appearances
speaking in Erlangen, (1923-1931) as well as accounts of other Nazi leaders
in the city etc. Other events, such as the book-burnings in 1933, Night
of the Broken Glass (1938), Christian religious suppression, resistance
to Nazi rule, medical abuses within the university clinics, as well as
Anti-Jewish measures culminating in the deportations and killings of Erlangen’s
Jews during WW2 are also described. In what is otherwise a dark chapter
in Erlangen’s history, I also take note of those in the city who resisted
the Nazis, even after Hitler took power. Finally, the chapter describes
the city during WW 2 and the final surrender to the Americans, a dramatic
story in itself, in which the city narrowly escaped destruction.
chapter describes the years of American occupation, denazification measures,
the rise of Siemens in Erlangen and restoration of the university. The
chapter also begins to describe the American presence in the city, fraternization,
German-American relations etc.
8 My Erlangen
is a personal account of my own experiences in Erlangen as a US Army MP.
I use my own experiences to draw a picture of German-American relations,
social life, GI relations with German women, and relations between black
and white GIs during the turbulent 1960s. Some of these accounts, many
of which are anecdotal, give a picture to Erlangen’s German residents
of American life within the caserne as well as outside.
faces the future and confronts its past
This chapter brings the history of Erlangen up to the present-day as the
city becomes a center of ecology and medical research. As the city grows
to over 100,000 residents, it is also periodically forced to face the
Nazi past as efforts are made to reach out to surviving Jews who had managed
to leave Erlangen and Germany before they were caught up in the Holocaust.
In the 1990s, the city also welcomed a new Jewish community from the former
USSR. Also in the 1990s, the American base closed and the GI presence
Erlangen’s GI Bars
a brief history of Erlangen’s GI bars, many of which trace their beginnings
back to the 17th century.
to above, many of the chapters include a chronological account of the
Jewish community of Erlangen, the university, as well as Erlangen’s beer
industry, which in the 19th century exported more beer than any other
city in Bavaria, including Munich. The book also includes historical accounts
of Erlangen’s famous neighbor, Nuremberg, including the events of the
Third Reich and how they impacted Erlangen itself. There are also brief
historical references to other nearby towns including Bayreuth, Fürth,
Bamberg and Grafenwöhr.
Don’t overlook the footnotes- there are several interesting tidbits there
is being published by University Press of America (UPA) in Lanham, Maryland,
a well-known academic publisher, which also published my first two books.
The manuscript has already been submitted and approved. However, before
printing can begin, the author (me) has to arrange for 75 pre-publication
orders. Therefore, I am reaching out to you to help push this project
over the top.
publication will be in paperback and consists of 396 pages. Yes, there
are photos, but not as many as I would have liked since there was a $20.00
per picture cost to me for the cost of including them. The photos are
a mix of historical and current photos. The historical photos were provided
by the Erlangen City Archives. I should also note that the book will not
be sold in book stores since UPA markets principally to university libraries.
I wish that I could present each of you with a free copy of the book,
especially those who provided me with their own recollections of experiences
in Erlangen. Unfortunately, the publisher does not provide me with any
free copies, and I would go broke sending copies to everyone who deserves
one. Royalties do not even begin until 500 copies have been sold. Such
is the world of academic publishing. I hope you will all understand.
I have to admit that the cost is rather high, which I have no control
over. Previously, pre-publication orders came at a sizable discount, but
that is no longer the case at UPA, which I unfortunately just learned.