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Yogi Reppmann’s Moving Legacy of 1848 Research: America’s Intellectual Vitality

Yogi Reppmann proudly displays an 1848 Schleswig-Holstein Provisional Government document from the Hans Reimer Claussen trunk, which he discovered in Davenport. The trunk also contained several documents chronicling the valorous service of Claussen’s son-in-law (Christian Müller) during the Schleswig-Holstein War of 1848-50. New York’s Steuben Society recently honored Dr. Reppmann (of Germany’s Stoltenberg Institute for German-American Forty-eighter Studies) for his research on the 1848 movement’s democratic impact in Germany and America.

Davenport / Flensburg, Germany. Many of us have dreamed of finding a treasure chest filled with riches. For Dr. Joachim “Yogi” Reppmann (Flensburg, Germany/Northfield, Minnesota), that dream came true. The chest he discovered contained a treasure far more valuable to the immigration historian than precious metals or gems. It held riches of a different kind: yellowed historical documents with red wax seals bearing witness to the yearnings of Schleswig-Holsteiners Christian Müller and Hans Reimer Claussen.

Together with his colleague Scott Christiansen (Iowa City), Reppmann has studied these remarkable 160-year-old documents, which have yielded deep insights into the intellectual vitality and resoluteness of an amazing group of immigrants known as the “Forty-eighters.” This immigrant group consisted of a relatively small number of democratic revolutionaries who emigrated from Europe in the late 1840s and early 1850s after fighting unsuccessfully with both pen and sword for liberty, democracy, and national unity.

Many of the German Forty-eighters immigrated to the United States, with a large number from the present-day state of Schleswig-Holstein (including the dynamic Christian Müller) choosing Davenport & Scott County, Iowa as their adopted home. After settling in America, these unique and talented individuals provided an intellectual transfusion affecting not only their fellow German immigrants, but also the political and social history of the United States during one of its most critical periods. In an attempt to highlight the Forty-eighters’ contributions, Christiansen is currently working on two biographies, Indomitable Will: The Christian Müller Story and The Forgotten Forty-eighter: The Wilhelm von Schirach Story.

The moving educational video “Forty-eighters and Friends,” which highlights the efforts of Repp-mann and Christiansen in chronicling the lives and achievements of Davenport’s Forty-eighters, will be shown after Dr. Reppmann’s presentation on Sunday.

For more information contact Yogi Reppmann, 507-645-2584; c. 507-581-6734 or

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