Although Germany has been populated for thousands of years, the country achieved nationhood approximately 120 years ago.  In the mid-twentieth century, following World War II, Germany was partitioned among the victors of that war, France, Great Britain, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  The partition caused a division of the country; the western portion became the Federal Republic of Germany, controlled by the countries promoting democracy, and the eastern sector became the German Democratic Republic, under the control of Soviet communists.  For over forty years a “Cold War” existed between the East and West.  In the fall of 1990 the Russian Premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, altered his position and allowed the two sectors of Germany to re-unite. 

Germany is centrally located on the European continent.  It is densely populated, with over ninety percent of its citizens of native birth.  In the most recent census there were over 91,000,000 residents.  The capital is Berlin. The climate in Germany has cool, cloudy, and wet winters along with wet summers with occasional warm winds.  Germans highly value education and vocational training, research and the sciences.

Germany is among the leading industrial nations of the world, ranking third in economic output, and second in world trade. Its well-educated workforce makes it an attractive market for foreign investors for research and development capabilities.

The official language of Germany is German.  About ninety-nine percent of the population speaks German, although there are several dialects. Germany is nominally a Christian nation with approximately one third of its citizens being Catholic and another third being Protestant.

The Federal Republic of Germany is a democratic, multi-party country, and voting is done by proportional representation.   Germany’s government has a president and a prime minister as well as two legislative houses, the Federal Council and the Federal Diet.

 

The history of our Relationship with Gera

Jim Sack and Kenneth Scheibenberger were instrumental in the development of the relationship between Gera and Fort Wayne.  The alliance stemmed from the large population of citizens of German heritage. 

Gera, located in the state of Thuringia, forms a triangle with the cities of Leipzig and Dresden, and is about three hours south of Berlin.  Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening of former East German cities, visits from Fort Wayne were made to Gera, where interest in establishing a sister city relationship was high.  The Fort Wayne German Heritage Society was asked to participate in and support this partnership. The formal agreement was signed in Gera, June 6, 1992, by Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke and Gera Mayor Michael Galley.  Also signing the agreement were Gera City Council President, Mathias Reif, Gera Sister City Committee President, Gunter Friedewald and Fort Wayne Sister City President, Mary Ball Brant.

There have been numerous exchanges between the two cities as artists, musicians, government officials, and students have participated in special events in both communities, most prominently Germanfest in Fort Wayne and Hohlerfest in Gera.  Several students from Gera have been awarded a Chapman Scholarship for study at high schools in the Fort Wayne area.

Sister-school relationships have been established between Gera Zabel Gymnasium and Fort Wayne North Side High School; Gera Goethe Gymnasium and Fort Wayne Northrop High School; and Gera Staatiches Regionales Forderzentrum and Fort Wayne Blackhawk Middle School.

Gera is governed by a mayor and a city council.

To learn more about Gera, click here.

Information above was obtained from the following websites:
www.germany-info.org/relaunch/index.html
www.germany-info.org/relaunch/business/doing_business/doing_business.html
www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/gm.html

Fort Wayne German Organizations 
www.germanfest.org
www.germanheritagesociety.com
www.fortwaynemaennerchor.us
www.fortwayneturners.org
www.fortwaynesportclub.com