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German documentary filmed here debuts

Ste. Genevieve

The Ste. Genevieve Herald received an e-mail from a German documentary film maker that the project he filmed in the county last year made its debut.

“We are happy that our documentary ‘New Offenburg’ is going to be premiered at the Biberacher Film Festival 2013 on Wednesday, October 30,” Johannes Suhm announced by e-mail from half a world away.

According to the Herald, the Berlin actor turned film director, along with his cinematographer, traveled to Ste. Genevieve last October to shoot a documentary about Badisch, a dialect of Baden (a historic region in southwest Germany) still spoken in various places locally.

The Herald stated “Google Translate, two other similar websites and a bit of poetic license yielded this transliteration of the documentary’s summary from the festival’s website:

‘‘New Offenburg’ is a fascinating portrait of the last generation of Baden-speaking people in Missouri. Thousands of Germans in the mid-19th century immigrated to the U.S., and among them, some natives of Baden settled around Ste. Genevieve along the Mississippi River, where they founded three settlements: Weingarten, Zell and New Offenburg.

“Even though this hardly seems enough to remember their German heritage, the Baden culture and the Alemannic dialect of 150 years ago slumber in the memory of the older residents there to this day. A final snapshot of a small regional German culture in the United States: its strict Catholicism, nature-loving life, work and remarkably dirty sense of humor, inherent in the dialect of the farmers from the area around Offenburg.”

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