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German Leckerbissen –                                                                       glass. Sometimes over the summer trict B on Main Street at the corner
                                                                                                  the  ornament  hook  hanger  fairy of Tupper Street which was close to
                                                                                                  stole  the  hook  from  some  of  the the location of Helm’s house. Since
         by Daniel Schwarz
         One of the closest words to tidbit                                                       ornaments,  and  a  new  hook  was the unit’s founding, monthly meet-
                                                                                                  needed. It was always a puzzle be- ings  have  been  consistently  held
      in German is Leckerbissen. Literally
      Leckerbissen means tasty morsels or                                                         cause the ornaments were put in the  year-round on the 3  Wednesday of
                                                                                                  box with the hangers on! Now, after
      bits.  The  following  may  include                                                                                        the month, meeting in German res-
      some  tidbits  of  German  culture,                                                         putting on the tree topper, came the  taurants,  except  when  they  were
                                                                                                  delicate work of placing the Lamet-
      foods/drinks,  traditions,  history,                                                                                       mandated closed due to the pandem-
      language, and current events.                                                               ta (tinsel). There was a time before  ic. Meetings have always been very
                                                                                                  plastic tinsel, when it was made of
         Christkindlmarkt  Glühwein                                                                                              informal, structured as Stammtisch
      Mugs  –  When  visiting  Germany                                                            very thin shinny tin. Because of the  type  gatherings,  with  friendship,
                                                                                                  war,  and  lack  of  available  metals,
      during the Christmas season, a fun                                                                                         fun,  and  good  German  foods  and
      experience is to go to a Christkindl-                                                       tinsel  was  very  precious  and  was  drinks as the main agenda. Member-
                                                                                                  saved from year to year. To save it,
      markt (literally means Christ Child                                                                                        ship is open to any interested Ger-
      market but is commonly known as a                                                           the Lametta was carefully taken off  man-American that enjoys honoring
                                                                                                  the tree and was placed and wrapped
      Christmas  market).  These  markets give you a token so that they know that represent the US, the Republic                 and learning more of their German
                                                                                                  in newspaper to be stored until the
      are  throughout  Germany  in  all  the that they held your deposit. If you of Germany, and German American                 heritage and culture. For unit infor-
                                                                                                  next  year.  Also,  it  was  put  on  the
      large  cities,  towns,  and  even  in want more Glühwein, just pay for a organizations pay tribute on this day             mation,   contact   Lou1Dan2@
                                                                                                  tree, one strand at a time. Wow, how
      many of the smaller villages. They refill of your mug. However, if you to the German prisoners of war bur-       
                                                                                                  times  have  changed.  But  what  has
      open in mid-November and are open want, you can also return the empty ied on US soil. There are approxi-                      Did U Know? – That all youths
                                                                                                  not changed, nor will ever change is
      daily until about a day or so before mug for a refund, or just keep the mately 40 such sites in the US, with               living in Germany and born in 2005,
                                                                                                  that those that celebrate Christmas,
      Christmas.                     mug as a great souvenir of the mar- one of these POW cemeteries locat-                      that are now 18 years old, are eligi-
                                                                                                  celebrate  the  birth  of  the  Christ
         As you walk through any one of ket. The deposit covers the cost of ed at Fort Drum in NY. It is sad that                ble to attend cultural events across
                                                                                                  child,  and  the  beautiful  decorated
      these  Christmas  markets,  besides the mug.                  this holiday exists, but it does, just                       the country for FREE. The German
      seeing  and  smelling  the  sausages  As you can see in the photo of as Memorial Day exists in the U.S.  tree reminds us of this special time  Culture Minister initiated this pro-
                                                                                                  of faith and family.
      cooking,  and  other  foods,  and  ad- the  varies  Glühwein  mugs,  they As U.S. General Douglas McArthur                 gram of a KulturPass. This Kultur-
                                                                                                     November  9th  Charter –  A
      miring  the  many  sweets,  pretzels, vary  from  market  to  market,  and once said, “Only the dead have seen             Pass is a voucher program that can
                                                                                                  milestone has been reached this year
      and crafts, you will always see one always have the name of the town or the end of war”. Sad statement, but                be used to purchase entry tickets to
                                                                                                  2023 when The Samuel Helm Unit
      or  more  huts  serving  Glühwein place on the mug. The mugs shown true!                                                   concerts, museums, cinema, opera,
                                                                                                  144  of  Buffalo  celebrated  its  10th
      (mulled  warm  wine).  It  is  pro- starting on the top left going clock-  Lametta – As a child growing up                 theatre, memorial sites, and can also
                                                                                                  anniversary  year  of  receiving  its
      nounced Glee-Wine with your lips wise, came from Christmas markets after WW2, I remember Christmas                         be used to purchase books, music,
                                                                                                  charter as a new member unit of The
      ready for a kiss. Each vendor serves in: Vienna, Austria; Nürnberg, Ger- tree  decorating  and  the  process.              and even buy a musical instrument.
                                                                                                  Steuben  Society  of  America.  The
      their  own  homemade  version  of many;  Passauer,  Germany;  Biber- First getting the tree to stand straight              After registering for the program, a
                                                                                                  date November 9 also corresponded
      spices  that  flavor  the  wine.  Most ach  an  der  Riss,  Germany;  Ulm, in the tree stand was the first chal-           KulturPass is issued worth 200 Eu-
                                                                                                  with the day in 1989 when the Ber-
      often they use red wine, but white Germany; Buffalo, NY (yes, at the lenge, then deciding which was the                    ros, redeemable online with partici-
                                                                                                  lin Wall fell and German reunifica-
      and  rose  Glühwein  are  sometimes Hofbraühaus Buffalo, NY); Chica- best side to face out, and getting the                pating  venues  and  businesses
                                                                                                  tion  began,  highlighting  a  new
      available.  There  are  even  those go, USA; Vienna, Austria; and Buf- box  of  string  of  lights,  ornaments,            throughout Germany, and valid for
                                                                                                  beginning  for  all  Germans.  The
      warm drinks without alcohol called falo again.                and of course tinsel out of storage.                         one year. Part of the reason for this
      Kinderpunch.  In  Germany  age  14  Volkstrauertag – Is the German The lights were always first tested to  unit’s namesake Samuel Helm was  youth program is to stimulate inter-
                                                                                                  selected for one of the earliest Ger-
      may drink beer and wine in the pres- National Day of Mourning held in see if they still worked. If not, then               est  in  cultural  activities  after  the
                                                                                                  mans  to  own  property  in  1809  in
      ence of their legal guardian, and at November that commemorates both mom took over the task of checking                    horrible  Covid-19  pandemic  shut-
                                                                                                  Buffalo when it was still called the
      age 16 without supervision, but spir- military  and  civilian  casualties,  as each light by replacing it with a new       downs.
      its must wait until age 18.    well as all victims of violence and bulb  until  the  string  of  lights  Village of Buffalo. The Steuben unit  What a Date! – This December
                                                                                                  number 144 was chosen as his prop-
         Since the Glühwein is warm, it is tyranny,  and  those  that  are  left  to worked.  These  ornery  string  lights      2023 there is a date that will never
                                                                                                  erty lot number as purchased from
      served in a ceramic mug. Each year mourn,  from  Germany  and  other were  the  series  type,  where  if  one              be seen again but is not noticed in
                                                                                                  the Holland Land Co.
      and in each Christmas market a new countries as a result of armed con- light  was  faulty  or  burned  out  it             Germany. It is not noticed because
                                                                                                     At the 5th anniversary celebra-
      mug design is used and is available flicts.  It  was  originally  founded  in would  stop  the  whole  string  from        dates  in  Germany  are  written  as
                                                                                                  tion  of  the  unit,  a  pole  mounted
      at all the Glühwein vendors at that 1919  to  commemorate  those  who lighting! Once the lights were on the                Day/Month/Year.  In  the  U.S.  it  is
                                                                                                  marker honoring Samuel helm and
      market.  When  purchasing  the  first died  in  WW1.  However,  since  the tree,  ornaments  were  then  placed            Month/Day/Year,  so  in  December
                                                                                                  his homestead was unveiled in front
      mug full of Glühwein, they charge a early 1950’s it has evolved to this carefully since many of them were                  we will have 12-31-23! Yes, that’s
                                                                                                  of  the  Buffalo  Police  Station  Dis-
      deposit (pfand, pronounced “font”) national holiday that is celebrated in                                                  123123.
      of several Euros on top of the wine Germany  two  Sundays  before  Ad-
      cost.  When  there  are  several  ven- vent.  Even  in  the  US,  dignitaries Germans and Teddy Bears
      dors  at  the  market,  they  also  may
                                                                      by Martin Ederer            geist.  She  worked  in  her  sisters’ the president, they had hounded out
                                                                        s we approach the Advent and tailor shop and started to give zither a  bear,  chased  it  to  exhaustion,
                                                                   AChristmas  seasons,  it  is  per- lessons.  With  the  money  she clubbed  it  and  tethered  it  so  that
                                                                   haps appropriate to look at what has earned,  she  bought  a  sewing  ma- Roosevelt could shoot it. He could
                                                                   been an enduring child’s Christmas chine.                     not do so, finding the whole set of
                                                                   present now for many generations.  In 1877, Steiff opened her own circumstances  distasteful  and  un-
                                                                   A  few  initial  observa-               felt store and became a sporting – although he did ask that
                                                                   tions  are  in  order  here.            subcontractor for a large the bear be killed just the same to be
                                                                   First, well before the ex-              Stuttgart  firm.  In  the put out of its misery.
                                                                   plosion of a massive toy                meantime,  her  own      The Washington Post ran a po-
                                                                   industry  and  the  over-               business  grew  as  she litical cartoon on the incident show-
                                                                   commercialization   of                  took  on  employees  of ing  an  adorable  bear  down  on  his
                                                                   the Christmas holidays,                 her own. Inspired by the luck,  and  the  Teddy  Bear  concept
                                                                   stuffed  bears  and  rag-               design of a felt elephant was born. From here the story gets
                                                                   dolls  were  some  of  the              she  saw  in  a  fashion somewhat  unclear.  Morris  Mich-
                                                                   basic  toys  for  children              magazine in 1880, Steiff tom,  a  Russian  Jewish  immigrant
                                                                   of  all  socioeconomic                  started  to  make  her who ran a candy store in Brooklyn,
                                                                   groups. Second, somehow bears got Elefäntle, which she designed to be created a plush bear that he called
                                                                   really excellent press and a reputa- a pincushion. What she discovered “Teddy’s Bear.” He displayed it in
                                                                   tion as being fun and cuddly. Need- was  that  her  customers’  children his window, and sales took off.
                                                                   less to say, the realities of nature are loved to play with the pincushions.  Because of Steiff’s PB 55 expo-
                                                                   very different, which may well be a A new concept (and business) was sure  to  world  markets  about  the
                                                                   multigenerational  disservice  to  our born: stuffed animal toys. In 1893 same time, orders began to pour in
                                                                   youth. Third, Germans, who have a Steiff,   Filzspielwarenfabrik from the United States. Steiff’s PB
                                                                   strong history with forests, are a big Giengen/Brenz was officially regis- 55 thus became a hot commodity for
                                                                   part of the teddy bear’s popularity.  tered.  More  animal  designs  fol- the   U.S.   market   almost
                                                                      The story starts with a Swabian lowed,  many  designed  by  her overnight…and  the  rest  is  history.
                                                                   seamstress,  Margarete  Steiff.  Born talented  nephew,  Richard  Steiff, In 1904 Margarete’s nephew Franz
                                                                   in Giengen at the edge of the Swabi- who joined the firm in 1897.  Steiff  pioneered  the  ear  button  for
                                                                   an  Alb  in  1847,  Steiff  contracted  Margarete  Steiff  was  fortunate Steiff animals to prevent the manu-
                                                                   Polio  as  a  baby,  which  made  her to  have  a  supportive  family:  her facture of cheap knockoffs.
                                                                   unable  to  walk,  and  left  her  with parents,  her  sisters,  and  now  her  From  that  point  on,  Margarete
                                                                   pain in one arm. Unwilling to con- nephews.  Richard  Steiff,  who  had Steiff GmbH grew into a huge busi-
                                                                   sign Margarete to a life of disability, studied art and design in England, ness. Margarete Steiff died in 1909.
                                                                   her parents insisted that her siblings was responsible for developing PB Her  company,  however,  continued
                                                                   wheel her to school.           55, the first plush bear with move- to grow – even through the difficult
                                                                      While children her own age of- able parts, in 1902.        times that lay ahead – into the larg-
                                                                   ten  ignored  her  for  more  fun  pur-  Although initial sales were rath- est manufacturer of plush toys in the
                                                                   suits,  Margarete  quickly  became  a er  slow,  an  incident  during  U.S. world  by  the  1960s.  By  that  time
                                                                   hit  among  the  younger  children, President  Teddy  Roosevelt’s  late Steiff  toys  had  gone  well  beyond
                                                                   whom  she  entertained  with  games 1902  hunting  trip  in  Mississippi being just kid stuff. Steiff products
                                                                   and stories. Despite her disabilities, changed everything. While most of managed to gain a cult following of
                                                                   she  trained  to  be  a  seamstress  and Roosevelt’s  buddies  had  managed collectors who value Steiff designs
                                                                   learned how to play the zither. It was to bag something, the president had and quality.
                                                                   clear that she had Unternehmungs- been less lucky. In order to placate
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