Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 10.31.2013

October 31, 2013

This Week: Jon Snodgrass, classification (Rich)

Birthdays: Kurt Ruefenacht (10/30)

Next Week: Northfield YMCA (Kaczmarek)

Last Week:

Germans and Danes needed to travel half way around the world to discover they could live peacefully side-by-side. Weary of war and frustrated by the remnants of European feudalism, both groups migrated in waves to the American Midwest in search of a new beginning and the promise of freedom.

A rebellion by Yogi’s beloved Schleswig-Holstein ancestors in 1848 touched off these migrations. He, Martin Rackirk and Peter Mathieus provided a short lesson on the backdrop for the transatlantic movement.

In the middle of the 19th century, the duchies of Schleswig and Holsteins were under Danish control. A fight for independence broke out in 1848, sparking a war that would last three years. In the end, Denmark prevailed, convincing many disillusioned Danes and Germans to pursue their dreams of freedom and self-determination elsewhere.

The Schleswig-Holstein question was not completely settled until some 20 years later.  In 1864, Prussia and Austria combined to wrest the area from Denmark. When the German Empire was created in 1871, Schleswig-Holstein became part of Germany.

One of the freedom fighters — Christian Muller — settled in Davenport, Iowa and was a leader among ex-patriots who settled there. Yogi has nurtured connections between Davenport and Schleswig-Holstein with his research, writing and exchange trips.


Yogi Reppemann was born in northern Germany in 1957. He grew up reading novels of the Wild West and became obsessed with America. He’s since dedicated his professional life to studying the great German migration from Schleswig-Holstein to the Midwest.

He and Gitta were married in Las Vegas and have disproved the canon that “you can never go home again.” They travel back and forth between Schleswig-Holstein and Northfield on a regular basis. They have five grandchildren in Germany, leaving one to surmise that they come to Northfield for R&R.

Guests: Our exchange students, Yoshino, Gunho, Rodolfo and Lucas were all present and accounted for.

Scholarship Enhancement: Lucas


— There will be a new member orientation Monday, Nov. 11, noon to 1:30 p.m. at First National Bank South. Lunch will be provided. We haven’t had this session for a couple of years, so if you’ve joined the club in the last three years, consider attending. For more information, see Matthew Rich

— If you have a nominee for our annual Good Neighbor Award, please share it with Doug Crane by the end of business hours today. That’s midnight if you work at SuperAmerica. Each year the club recognizes a non-Rotarian for selfless acts of kindness or contributions to community cohesion that reflect our “service above self” motto. Nominees must be residents of the Northfield School District and cannot be a member of a Rotarian’s family.

— Keith Covey announced that November 14th is the last opportunity to declare as a corporate sponsor of this year’s Turkey Trot. The investment is $200, and you will receive good visibility.

— Charlie Cogan reminded us that it was World Polio Day last Thursday.

— Community Resource Bank’s Junior Board is hosting an American Red Cross Blood Drive Saturday, Nov. 9, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the bank. All are invited to make a deposit. You can make an appointment online at The sponsor code is Community Resource Bank.

Coming Up:
Nov. 14 – District Governor Gary Campbell (Bierman)

Nov. 21 – Rep. David Bly and Sen. Kevin Dahl, Legislative Update

Nov. 28 – Turkey Trot

Dec. 5