Return of the Turners

Yesterday I received information from Shirley Schwoerer of the Redwood City Library, that said my ancestor, Carl August Janke, was instrumental in establishing a Turnverien in Belmont, and the Bay Area. Was it the first?

“He erected the old amusement hall of the Turnverein, and managed this for several years.”

Janke may be the first real estate developer in the San Francisco bay area.

“In 1849 the family came around the Horn on an old Clipper ship, and Mr. Janke brought with him on the trip the material for six portable houses. He set up these houses, and at once engaged in a successful business, as a building contractor.”

This information confirms my theory that the Tanforan cottages in the Mission, are the Turnverein cottages that Janke brought around the Cape in order to establish a German comminity of Freethinkers in the New Western Land of the Free -free of church rule! The Jüdischen Turnverein was established for the same reason. For awhile Jews and Germans shared the same Turnverien in Berlin, and were seen as Liberal-Socialists. San Francisco is considered the most Liberal and ethnically diverse city in the world where folks from the old world can practice their traditions of total freedom. Hitler banned and persecuted the Freethinkers, and outlawed the Turnverein because he was a devout Christian. Consider the support the Sephardic Jews gave William of Orange in his war against Papal rule in Britain. Members of the Jüdischen Turnverein were instrumental in the founding of the Socialist state of Israel, and thus can be seen a Messiahnic orginazation that did name itself after the Messiah, Bar Kochba, “son of the star”.

It is time for Democrats to reach out to members of the Republican Party and show them their traditional roots.
Down with Big Brother Jesus and the ‘one arm workout’ that makes the rich and powerful – stronger! Let us rescue our obese children from the Fat Cat Billionaire Club, and launch a new Physical Education Program that will get young people away from their electronic gadgets made overseas.

Jon Presco

1. Postcard of “Bar Kochba” Sports Club: Turnergruss vom Jüdischen Turnverein “Bar Kochba”, Berlin. Postcard in color, in lithographic printing, produced by Bruno Bürger & Ottillie, Leipzig. Sent by mail in 1900. Good condition. Minor stains, creased corners. Mailed.

2. Postcard with photo and writing (photomontage), produced for “Maccabi World Winter Games”, (Banská Bystrica), Slovakia, February 1936. Good condition. Mailed.

“Charles August Jaxke came to CaHfornia in the gold rush days
of ’49, and as a contractor erected some of the very early homes and
other huildings around the bay. He was especially interested in the
development of that section known as Belmont, in what is now San
Mateo County.

He was born in Saxony, Germany, in 1809, and he married there
Dorothy Peterson, who w^s born on one of the Islands of the North
Sea in 1814. In 1849 the family came around the Horn on an old
Clipper ship, and Mr. Janke brought with him on the trip the material
for six portable houses. He set up these houses, and at once engaged
in .a successful business, as a building contractor. He had served his
apprenticeship and had become a very thorough workman in Germany. He
erected the old amusement hall of the Turnverein, and managed this for
several years. He secured a tract of land and established Belmont Park,
opening it and developing it and putting it on the market, and continued
to operate Belmont Park proper until his death. He died in 1881, and
his wife passed away at the age of sixty-three.”

Maccabi World Union

Original Maccabi logo
Kfar Maccabiah[1]
Ramat Gan, Israel
Region served
Jeanne Futeran
The Maccabi World Union is an international Jewish sports organisation spanning 5 continents and more than 50 countries, with some 400,000 members.[2] Maccabi World Union organises the Maccabiah Games, a prominent international Jewish athletics event.
The organisation comprises six confederations: Maccabi Israel, European Maccabi confederation, confederation Maccabi North America, confederation Maccabi Latin America, Maccabi South Africa and Maccabi Australia.

1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Background
3 See also
4 References
5 External links
5.1 World Maccabi bodies
[edit] Etymology
The movement is named after the Maccabees (Hebrew: מכבים or מקבים, Makabim) who were a Jewish national liberation movement that fought for and won independence from Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
The origin of the word is not clear but the common opinion is that the word “Maccabi” (מכבי) is an acronym of the biblical sentence: “Who is like unto Thee, O LORD, among the mighty?” (Exodus 15:11), in Hebrew: “‘מי כמוך באלים י”, “Mi kamocha ba’elim YHWH”.
[edit] History
The Maccabi World Union was created at the 12th World Jewish Congress in Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia in 1921. It was then decided by the secretariat of Jewish sport leaders to form one umbrella organization for all Jewish sports associations. Its aims were defined as working “foster physical education, belief in Jewish heritage and the Jewish nation, and to work actively for the rebuilding of our own country and for the preservation of our people”. [2] In 1960, the International Olympic Committee officially recognized the Maccabi World Union as an “Organization of Olympic Standing”.[3]
[edit] Background
As early as the 19th century, Jewish sports clubs were founded in Eastern and Central Europe. The first club was the Israelite Gymnastic Association Constantinople (German: Israelitischer Turnverein Konstantinopel) founded in 1895 in Constantinople, Turkey by Jews of German and Austrian extraction who had been rejected from participating in other social sport clubs. Two years later, haGibor was formed in Philipople, Bulgaria and 1898 saw the founding of Bar Kochba Berlin along with Vivó és Athletikai Club in Budapest, Hungary.
Other clubs that followed were named after “Bar Kochba” or Hebrew names such as “Hakoah” or “Hagibor” that symbolized strength and heroism. One of the basic premises behind the founding of these clubs was Jewish Nationalism. The concept was that Jews were not only a religious entity, but also one based on a common historical and social background, having special cultural and psychological concepts that have been preserved to this day, resulting in a strong recognition of collective belonging.
In 1906, the first Jewish gymnastics club was formed in Palestine. Clubs later would spring up in other cities. By 1912, all of them joined the Maccabi Federation of Israel. That same year, the first relations were established between them and their European counterparts, when a decision was taken at the Maccabi Conference in Berlin to begin group trips to Palestine.
Maccabi GB is a member of the English National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS)[4] because of its work promoting the personal and social development of young people.

The Maccabiah (Hebrew: מַכַּבִּיָּה‎) is an international Jewish athletic event similar to the Olympics held in Israel every four years under the auspices of the Maccabi Federation, affiliated with the Maccabi World Union.
The third Maccabiah, scheduled for 1938, was delayed until 1950 due to the rise of Nazism in Europe and the outbreak of the Second World War. The Maccabiah has been a quadrennial event since 1957.
Maccabiah is open to Jewish athletes as well as Israeli athletes regardless of religion. Arab Israelis have also competed in it.[1]

Simon bar Kokhba (Hebrew: שמעון בר כוכבא‎) (died A.D. 135) was the Jewish leader of what is known as the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire in 132 CE, establishing an independent Jewish state of Israel which he ruled for three years as Nasi (“Ruler”). His state was conquered by the Romans in 135 following a two-year war.
Documents discovered in the modern era[1] give us his original name, Simon ben Kosiba (Hebrew: שמעון בן כוסבא‎). He was given the surname Bar Kokhba, (Aramaic for “Son of a Star”, referring to the Star Prophecy of Numbers 24:17, “there shall step forth a star out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite through the corners of Moab”) by his contemporary, the Jewish sage Rabbi Akiva.

Nordau also, at the 1898 Zionist Congress, coined the term “muscular Judaism” (muskel-Judenthum) as a descriptor of a Jewish culture and religion which directed its adherents to reach for certain moral and corporeal ideals which, through discipline, agility and strength, would result in a stronger, more physically assured Jew who would outshine the long-held stereotype of the weak, intellectually sustained Jew. He would further explore the concept of the “muscle Jew” in a 1900 article of the Jewish Gymnastics Journal.[3]

The Maccabees, central figures in the Hanukkah saga, are thought to be the inspiration for what would become the worldwide Jewish sports association known as Maccabi. It is Max Nordau, right-hand man to Zionist visionary Theodor Herzl, who is typically credited with the creation of what would become the Maccabi organization. His 1900 call for a “Muskel Judentom” (Muscular Judaism) which appears below, refers in passing to other influences on the creation of this movement. In actuality – and perhaps with some irony – it was the German gymnastics “Turnen” movement, begun a half century earlier, combining physical fitness, patriotism, and social causes, which served as a model for the emergence of Jewish pride through sport. The “Deutsche Turnerschaft” (German gymnastics movement) championed the idea of “mens sana in corpore sano” – a healthy mind in a healthy body – and made gymnastics the basis of a political program fostering patriotism and social/political awakening, and already included Jewish members in the early 1800’s.
Nordau saw sport as serving the Zionist idea of “awakening Judaism to new life.” His critique concerning the poor physical condition of Europe’s Jews helped to spur on the creation of Jewish sports associations. The Bar Kochba club in Berlin, which Nordau looked to for his inspiration, actually came out of the German “Turnerschaft” movement. As sports clubs in Germany and elsewhere in central Europe became a vehicle for the expression of patriotism, they began to adopt strong anti-Semitic policies, excluding Jews from participating. When the German gymnastics club in Istanbul formally voted to exclude Jews in 1895, the Jewish members formed their own club, calling it “Israelitische Turnverein”. Nordau’s push of sport as a critical component of Jewish life, coupled with the centrality of Istanbul as a hub of international Zionist activity, put the Istanbul club center stage, and it benefited from visits by and support from Zionist leaders. With the growth of gymnastics clubs promoting physical fitness and Jewish pride, the Union of Jewish Gymnastics Clubs (“Judische Turnerschaft) was founded in 1903, and its affiliate in Palestine, Maccabi of Eretz Yisrael, was founded in 1912. This, in turn, led to the World Maccabi Union, established in 1921.
Following are remarks made by Nordau at the World Zionist Congress in 1900:
Two years ago, at the Zionist Congress in Basel, I spoke about the need to create, once again, a muscular Judaism. I say “again”, because, as history shows, such a Judaism existed once before. For too long now we have neglected matters of the flesh.
Truth to tell, it was others who engaged in the death knell of the physical side of Jewish life, and with particular success. Consider the hundreds of thousands who fell in the ghettos of Europe, in the plazas outside the cathedrals, and on the roads during the Middle Ages. We should certainly forego such piety. We would have done well to be fit, and not be fodder for those who sought to kill us.
In crowded Jewish quarters, deprived of air and sunshine, our bodies became weak. In darkened homes, we feared the persistent persecution in silent trembling. But now the chains of this duress are broken, now we fear no such constraints, we are allowed to live our lives fully, at least from a physical standpoint. Let us, therefore, re-establish the bonds with our ancient past; let us again be wide of body and strong of gaze.
The intention is to return to a proud past, as reflected in the name selected by the gymnastics association of Berlin: “Bar Kochba”, a hero who recognized no defeat. When victory turned in retreat, he accepted death. He embodied a Jewish history forged in war but taking up arms. If someone takes of the cry of Bar Kochba, then the striving for honor beats in his breast. Such a hope befits the gymnasts, who strive for advanced development.
In no other nation or race does physical exercise fulfill as educative a role as it must fulfill among us Jews. It must bring us to full upright stature, both physically and in our character. It must prompt a self-awareness. Our detractors claim that, in any event, we are too arrogant. But we would do well to acknowledge how distorted is such a claim. A quiet belief in our strength is lacking in us altogether.
Muscular Jews of our age have yet to reach the degree of heroism of our ancestors of old, who erupted into the arena to wrestle the well-trained Greek athletes and the strong barbarians of the north. But from a moral perspective we are their superiors, because they were ashamed of their Jewishness and tried, by way of undoing their circumcision, to hide the sign of the covenant that was sealed in their flesh while others, such as members of the “Bar Kochba” club have openly and freely proclaimed their ties to their people.
Let the association for Jewish gymnastics flourish and set an example in all centers of Jewish life.

“The first major immigration wave occurred in 1848 when the
Czech “Forty Eighters” fled to the United States to escape political
persecution by the Habsburgs.”

“Among the many social clubs Brandeis joined in Boston, he went to a
Turnverein for exercise and, as he frankly stated, to cultivate
useful business contacts.”

“When the Brandeises and their close friends set up a reading room
in Louisville it was not a German reading club, nor were the friends
all German-Americans. It was a congenial group of Forty-Eighters and
cultivated native Americans that the Brandeises found for themselves
in the Kentucky town.”

My great grandfather, Wensel Anton Prescowitz, was a Forty-Eighter
that immigrated from Bohemia located in Czechoslovakia.

“Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941), descended from a Jewish family that
immigrated to the United States in 1849, became the first Jewish
Supreme Court Justice (1916-39). He helped to draft the Czechoslovak
Declaration of Independence, issued in 1918.”

Here is a biography of Brandeis. He was a President of the Zionist
Organization of America.


In Quest of Freedom. The Forty-Eighters

IF Louis BRANDEIS knew how to use freedom, it was because his
parents, Adolph Brandeis and Frederika Dembitz Brandeis, knew how to
acquire it. Though neither family actively participated in the
European revolutions of 1848, they suffered from the severity with
which the revolutions were crushed. Along with thousands of
other “Forty-eighters,”

Freethinkers” Of the Early Texas Hill Country
By Edwin E. Scharf
Between the years 1845 and 1860, a large contingent of German Freethinkers immigrated to the Texas Hill Country. Unlike the thousands of Adelsverein-sponsored German farmers immigrating to the United States and Texas to escape overpopulation and economic problems, the Freethinkers, being ardent advocates of democracy and freedom from religion, were fleeing primarily from political and religious tyranny. They came to the United States seeking freedom from dictatorial monarchies and clerics.
The Freethinkers refused to accept political absolutism and the authority of a church, religion, or its supposedly inspired scripture. They insisted on the freedom to form religious opinions on the basis of intellectual reasoning powers and not on blind, unquestioned faith. Freethinking became fashionable in the German state of Prussia during the reign of Frederick the Great, who ruled from 1740-53, within a period known as the “Age of Reason.”
The Age of Reason began in the late 1600s and extended into the late 1700s. It was the period in history when philosophers emphasized the use of reason as the best method of learning truth. Its leaders included Descartes, Voltaire, Bacon, Locke, and Paine. The period produced many important advances in such fields as anatomy, astronomy, chemistry, mathematics, and physics.
Philosophers of the Age of Reason organized knowledge in encyclopedias and founded scientific institutes. They believed that the scientific method could be applied to the study of human nature and thoroughly explored issues in education, law, philosophy, and politics. These intellectuals openly attacked tyranny, social injustice, superstition, and ignorance. Many of their ideas contributed directly to the outbreak of the American and French revolutions in the late 1700’s. They stressed the importance of education and believed that knowledge is power.
The Texas Hill Country Freethinkers numbered an estimated 1,000 individuals with close to 250 documented surnames. This group came primarily from the intellectual core of the German states, with many of them being highly respected nobles, philosophers, scientists, physicians, and engineers.

Besides being well educated, many of the Freethinkers had been quite affluent while living in the German states. When they immigrated to Texas, they brought with them not only clothes and guns, but books, linens, china, paintings, musical instruments, and especially, a new philosophy. As a matter of survival, these intellectuals rapidly engaged in the effort to master the art of pioneer farming. For this endeavor, they drew on the expertise of the Comanches and some local Mormons who taught them how to raise the crops best suited for the Texas climate and soil.
They quickly learned to clear land; build cabins, cabinets, wagons, and fences; cut trees; split shingles; shoe horses; distill wine; roll cigars; hunt and fish; and raise corn, cotton, tobacco and cattle. However, their time was divided between fields and education. Higher ideals, classics, and cultural affairs were studied, discussed, and debated. Their children early on were schooled in these areas.
Education was of paramount importance to these intellectual immigrants. They built schools and libraries which also served for defense against occasional renegade Indian attacks. They educated their children to be independent and self-reliant, and with minds free from prejudice. They strongly encouraged a skeptical outlook on the pronouncement of others in their own study of right and truth. Very important in their education was the development of a spirit which would sustain the courage of their convictions without regard to personal consequences. Girls, as well as boys, were strongly encouraged to pursue their highest potential level of aptitude.
These intellectuals would frequently gather at the schoolhouse or one of their rustic frontier homes to contemplate the important issues in philosophy, science, literature, politics, and music. Their meetings were often conducted in Latin or Greek, mystifying their neighbors and creating the name “Latin Colonies” for their settlement areas. Even large numbers of friendly Comanches would observe these sessions in bewilderment through the open windows and doors.

In May, 1854, the annual state convention of German singing groups, called a Saengerfest, was held in San Antonio. This convention, instigated and dominated by the Freethinkers, drew up numerous resolutions, some of which demanded:
that laws be enacted, so simple and intelligible, that there should be no need of lawyers,
the abolition of the grand jury,
the abolition of capital punishment,
the abolition of all temperance laws,
that people be taxed on the level of income–the greater the income, the greater the tax,
that there should be no religious instruction in schools and no preachers could be teachers,
the abolition of laws respecting Sunday or days of prayer,
the abolition of the oath as a matter of religious sanction, and
that Congress should never be opened by prayer.
The slave-holding and religious communities of San Antonio became highly incensed that these newcomers to America could propose such radical ideas. They feared that the German-Americans were forming secret societies, to unite in a conspiracy with similar Freethinking societies in the North, in order to destroy their institutions, laws, and religious ministries.
Dr. Carl Adolph Douai’s newspaper, the San Antonio Zeitung, was totally abolitionist. He boldly published all questions of public interest in the light of social progress and came out strongly against slavery. In 1855, his newspaper offices were destroyed by irate local citizens who opposed his views on freedom for all people.

Texas in the late 1840’s and 1850’s offered what any liberty-loving immigrant could ever hope to seek in the way of refuge far away from the oppressions of Europe. This indeed was the promised land of liberty that attracted the German Freethinkers to the United States. They strongly admired the ideals of the great American patriots: Washington, Jefferson, Paine, Adams, Madison, and Franklin.
They brought to the United States the highest ideals of freedom for all, academic education for children to realize their greatest potential in building a better future, limited government, and medical and scientific advancements for the benefit of all humankind. However, after only a few glorious years, they ended up sacrificing their homes, fortunes, future, and very lives for these ideals, largely annihilated by repressive forces of a political, religious, social, and economic nature.
Civil War broke out on April 12, 1861, after the Southern states had seceded from the Union. Confederate military authorities in Texas moved to eliminate any internal threats to the confederacy by issuing to the young men of the state an ultimatum: take oaths of allegiance to the Confederacy or leave the state. Martial law was declared in Texas on May 30, 1862, due primarily to perceived threats in the Texas Hill Country.

Founded amid the nationalist enthusiasms of the War of Liberation, the German gymnastic movement, or Turnverein, had fundamentally changed by the time of the 1848 revolutions in the German lands. Although Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, the gymnasium instructor who had originated the idea of nationalist gymnastics in Berlin in 1811, was still venerated in the organization, his anti-Semitism, hatred of the French, and loyalty to the Hohenzollern dynasty left him out of step with an organization committed to national unification and political liberalism. While the Turnverein’s ideological stance reflected the prevailing spirit of the German Vormärz, it also bespoke the peculiar circumstances of the organization’s history. The German Confederation of Metternich had viewed the patriotic enthusiasms of the War of Liberation with suspicion and had banned the Turnverein following the murder of the conservative journalist August von Kotzebue by the young student Karl Sand in 1819. Turnverein practice areas had been closed, the apparatus dismantled, and the leaders prosecuted. Jahn himself had been imprisoned at the Kolberg Fortress until 1825, and barred from teaching or gymnastic work after his release. This period, which Jahn called the Turnsperre, lasted in Prussia and most German states until the 1840s.
The lifting of the Turnsperre in the more liberal atmosphere of the 1840s reawakened the Turnverein to a vigorous new life. The center of the revived movement shifted out of Prussia, which had been its heartland under Jahn’s leadership, to the South and West German States, where the Turnsperre had generally been shorter and less restrictive. The membership of the new clubs was more inclusive, as the cor of students and academics which had made up the rank and file of the Turnverein in its early years was joined by a large contingent of craft workers, along with many Jewish members, often in positions of leadership. These gymnastic clubs were often closely aligned with workers’ organizations and democratic clubs with whom they shared a desire for reform and a rejection of traditional hierarchies.

. The “Germans” who came to America in the 1800s tended to form communities within their own regional groups. Bavarians and Prussians were the two biggest German speaking groups who settled in New York City.

The book begins with a summary of the early nineteenth-century German gymnastics movement, which provided the initial model for the founders of the Sokol. Beyond specific gymnastic practices, the Sokol also drew on the Turnverein’s blend of cultural and political nationalism. Following a standard Czech argument, however, Nolte stresses that the Sokol was very different from its German prototype. As George Mosse has shown, the totalitarian potential of German mass gymnastics was realized under National Socialism. [2] For the most part, Nolte plays down the integral nationalist tendencies of the Sokol, as the movement seems to have flowed benignly into a democratic Czechoslovakia in 1918. Perhaps this is too sanguine a picture, as Czech radical nationalists—drawing ideological sustenance from the Sokol tradition—achieved their own “final solution” of the German question after World War II with the expulsion of Czechoslovakia’s three million Sudeten Germans. [3] To her credit, Nolte later notes a rhetoric of “cleansing” among fin-de-siecle Sokol publicists, though the implications of such concepts for subsequent events remain unclear.

The German Freethinkers League (‘Deutscher Freidenkerbund’) was an organisation founded in 1881 by the materialist philosopher, and physician Ludwig Büchner,[1] to oppose the power of the state churches in Germany.[2] Its aim was to provide a public meeting-ground and forum for materialist and atheist thinkers in Germany.
By 1885 the group had 5,000 members.[1] The first organization of its sort founded in Germany, by 1930 the German Freethinkers League had a membership numbering some 500,000. The League was closed down in the spring of 1933, when Hitler outlawed all atheistic and freethinking groups in Germany. Freethinkers Hall, the national headquarters of the League, was then converted to a bureau advising the public on church matters.[3]
Among the League’s chairmen was Max Sievers, whom the Nazis executed by guillotine in 1944.

In the Milwaukee postcard from around 1900 shown here, the central figure bears an unmistakable resemblance to stereotypical representations of ethnic Germans that were common at the time. The stout, good-natured, and quite evidently beer-loving Dutchman rides in a fanciful beer-barrel automobile through the city. Outfitted with overflowing steins for reflective headlights, the vehicle has compartments for limburger cheese and frankfurters, while a dachshund chases along after a sausage link. In the background one sees a cheese factory, pretzel factory, malt house, and brewery—all the comforts of a Dutchman’s adopted “Heimat.” While the references to Milwaukee’s brewing industry are historically correct, those to cheese and pretzels are not. Wisconsinites are known today as“cheeseheads,” to be sure, but the state’s cheese industry owes more to Yankee immigrants than to Germans.
The emphasis in the image on alcohol reflects an early division between people of German heritage and Yankees over the cultural and political issue of temperance, often arising from the fondness of German Americans for drinking on Sundays, especially in connection with their family-oriented tavern culture.

This historic heterogeneity was and to some extent still is reflected in the plethora of clubs and societies linked to German ethnicity. These “Vereine” (clubs, societies, associations) allowed members of the growing middle class to associate publicly with one another and became an important social expression of the changes brought on by industrialization in Germany during the nineteenth century. German-speaking immigrants brought the “Vereinswesen” (club culture) with them to America, where it represented not only an example of direct cultural transfer, but also a means through which the transition from the Old Country to the New could be eased.

Some of the more radical Forty-Eighters and Turners were also Freethinkers. Freethinkers promoted an attitude of liberalism and rationality unencumbered by religious dogma, and many supported progressive ideas such as public education reform, improved working conditions, voting rights for women, and the abolition of slavery. These issues were often raised among the Turners as well, and may explain in part the fact that large numbers of Turners enthusiastically responded to Lincoln’s call for volunteers in the Union army.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to Return of the Turners

  1. Reblogged this on rosamondpress and commented:

    My hand is being forced. I have predicted the future – that has arrived!

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