It's Official: Clinton Gets German Sister City

Published: August 21, 2009 11:23 pm
Jason Nevel
Herald Staff Writer
Published by permission from the Herald

CLINTON — The German city of Erfde, located in the northern peninsula, officially will be Clinton’s sister city.

On Thursday, Clinton officials received a letter agreeing to the partnership from Erfde’s mayor along with a sign, a copy of the local newspaper, several books about the city’s history and the city’s flag.

The Clinton City Council established a sister city relationship with Erfde, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany in April but Thursday’s letter from Mayor Jurgen Swazinna made it official.

The city of 2,120 people was selected because more immigrants from the province of Schleswig came to Clinton County than anywhere else in the world, according to Second Ward Councilman Mike Kearney, who lived in Germany and helped trigger the relationship.

“If you were to draw a 50-mile radius around Erfde a tremendous amount of people in Clinton would at least have an ancestor who came from that territory,” he said.

The migration began after the Civil War and peaked in the 1880s when people lost their jobs shipping goods up and down the Eider River in Germany, Kearney said.

People moved to Clinton because it offered the opportunity for work in the sawmills and on the railroad.

Kearney said the partnership lets schools link up and makes it easier for students to communicate with one another.

“The whole idea is to promote social interaction with people on either side,” Kearney said. “It's just like a friendship.”

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Descendents and Immigrant Lists from Erdfe, Germany:

Parish Erfde Germany records