The Life and Times of Jewish Families In A Very German Town
NEW ULM, MN - They were scrap collectors, merchants, and even soldiers.
Vicki Pieser, who extensively researched the Jewish experience in Brown County, said: "Everyone loved Morrie Bieber, he was Mister New Ulm." Morrie Bieber ran a department store in downtown New Ulm, and was well respected in the community.
These are the lives of the Jewish families that made Brown County their home. The historical society presented a history lecture called "Jews in Germantown: Stories of Jewish Residents of Brown County."
Early on, some of the families faced discrimination. Storefronts were vandalized and the children were frequently bullied.
"Marion wrote me, boys would pull my hair and hit me and call me a Christ killer. I come home and tell my people, and my brother Sol would go into town and beat them. I told them, I don't even know Christ, so how could I kill him? ", said Pieser, telling the story of one of the Salsberg children. The family ran a scrap business in New Ulm and were often the targets of discrimination because of their ardent adherence to their religion.
Over time, most of the Jewish families were accepted into the mostly Christian and German community.
"Jack Pink was also very active in the community, and very well liked and he was a first generation immigrant. He was born in Romania.", said Pieser.
These pioneering Jewish families had a lot to overcome, but eventually they found Brown County to be their new home.