In the 18th century, more than 20,000 Lutheran Protestants in Salzburg were denied their religious freedoms in their home country, Austria, and were expelled and exiled from their homeland.
On March 12, 1734, a group of 37 German Protestants known as the “Salzburgers” arrived on the banks of the Savannah River, not far from where James Edward Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia, landed further. a year earlier.
According to the German Friendly Society of Savannah, Oglethorpe welcomed the refugees with open arms and helped them explore and establish their new settlement.
The Voyageurs were fortunate enough to survive intense hardship and were instrumental in helping Oglethorpe found Georgia.
According to a report by George F. Jones: “The German Element in Colonial Georgia,” the Georgian Salzburgers founded the town of Ebenezer at Effingham Co. and established what some members of the German Friendly Society called a âThriving and culturally unique community. . “
âBy the time the Salzburgers reached Georgia, the Germans had already found their way to all the former British colonies, sometimes in large numbers. However, they did not contribute to the founding of the colonies.
It is only in the case of Georgia that they can be said to have been a factor in the initial settlement plan of Georgia’s philanthropic founders, according to Jones’ report.
So, there is no doubt that Savannah was influenced by these settlers, from the Lutheran Church to the conception of Telfair Academy, food and culture.
If you’re looking for more information on the German influence on Savannah, just take a tour of the Historic District:
âGiant pretzels are a thing of glory,â said Kelly Roetta, photographer from Savannah. âThere are several places that serve bigger than the plate Bavarian style pretzels. They are warm and heartwarming and go very well with a party with friends.
Roetta recommends German pretzels at Crystal Beer Parlor, as well as Lizzie’s on River Street.
The new Plant Riverside offers German dishes in their waterfront beer garden.
âYou can’t beat the view while you enjoy their German style cuisine.â
Further down East Bay Street is the Salzburger Park and the Reconciliation Monument, in honor of the 37 refugees who first came to Savannah. The monument is made of stone from Hohe Tauern, Austria, and Anton Thuswaldner, a renowned Austrian sculptor, chiseled the story of the Salzburgers’ exile into stone, according to the Georgia Salzburger Society.
In the middle of Place d’OrlÃ©ans, one of Savannah’s 22 squares, the German Memorial Fountain honors the first German immigrants to Savannah.
âIt was installed in 1989, to commemorate both the 250th anniversary of Georgia and Savannah,â said Mindy Shea of ââVisit Savannah. âIt is a wonderful place to visit, sit and reflect.â
For more German influence, the Evangelical Lutheran Ascension Church, founded in 1741, is located in Wright Square at 120 Bull Street. This church was originally established by Johann Martin Boltzius, the minister of emigrants in Ebenezer, Georgia. The main spiers stretch 190 feet high, and the two towers house 1,923 German bells.
âNothing like visiting historic churches. They were the very center of the lives of our ancestors, âsaid a visitor from Illinois. âI have seen a lot of historic churches and this one is beautifully preserved and just as relevant.â
In the ghost town of Old Ebenezer, the Lutheran Church of Jerusalem (pictured left), completed in 1769, is the oldest church in Georgia and the oldest working Lutheran assembly in America.
The church also served as a field hospital during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
For authentic Bavarian cuisine, the German restaurant and grocery store Zum Rosenhof in Hinesville is worth a visit to try this cooking, hand-made by people who know what they are doing.
Their menu consists of a variety of cutlets, juicy bratwurst, sauerbraten and spÃ¤tzle.
âIf you go away hungry, it’s your fault,â said Mary Holstein of Savannah. âPeople come from Germany and really put all their heart and soul into the food.â
A soldier from Fort Stewart paying his bill threw over his shoulder, “I have been stationed in Germany for three years and this is the best German food I have ever found since leaving the real place.” .
The market next to the restaurant is full of authentic food items from Germany, including mustards, pickles, chocolates and seasonings.
âTake a look and appreciate the varied influences here in our city,â said Shea. âWe’re hostess town, sure, but we’ve borrowed so much from so many other cultures here in this rich melting pot. “
New Georgia Encyclopedia Photo and Map of New Ebenezer