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John Maynard memorial...

 

 

The City of Buffalo, New York, in the United States and the City of Dortmund in Germany have been sister cities for more than twenty years. The numerous exchanges between the cities over the years have enriched the lives of the people in both cities. But the Germans who have visited Buffalo as a result of this relationship have often been frustrated to discover that most citizens of Buffalo have never heard of John Maynard and have no idea where to find his grave. This is not surprising, given the facts that Theodore Fontane's famous poem about John Maynard had not been translated into English until recently and that John Maynard is a fictitious name for the real hero of the real event.

One of the many activities held to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of this sister city relationship was the dedication, by Mayor Anthony M. Masiello of Buffalo and Lord Mayor Samtlebe of Dortmund, of a four foot by four foot John Maynard Memorial Plaque at the Erie Basin Marina on September 27, 1997. Many enthusiastic people from both Buffalo and Dortmund attended this ceremony. Although the plaque was not ready to be installed by the time of the dedication, a paper mock-up of it was on view, and the real thing was promised. By June 10, 1998, the plaque was finally ready and was "rededicated" by the Buffalo-Dortmund Sister City Committee. Now the many German tourists who know Fontane's poem and who come to Buffalo hoping to find John Maynard's grave will be able to visit this plaque at the waterfront.

It's hard to take a good photograph of the plaque because one can't get high enough above it to include the whole thing without some distortion. This was our best effort until we got a digital camera. The photo we took with the digital camera takes a while to load and is so large that you'll have to scroll to see it all, but you can actually read the poem and see the rest of the inscription on it. If you want to give it a try, click here. The picture below should give you an idea of the beautiful setting of the plaque on the Buffalo waterfront.

 

In Buffalo, the local newspaper of the German-American community has reported on the planning of the anniversary celebration and the dedication and rededication of the plaque. The translation of "John Maynard" by the editor of this paper, Burt Erickson Nelson, appears on the plaque. You'll enjoy the final "John Maynard" story from the November/December 1999 issue of Der Volksfreund/People's Friend. Below is information taken from this newspaper and included for those who might be interested in subscribing to it.

Der Volksfreund/People's Friend is a bimonthly, bilingual newspaper published in German and English by Erickson Enterprises Inc. Business office: Suite 941 Ellicott Square Bldg., 295 Main St., Buffalo, N.Y. 14203. Tel: (716) 852-1829. A year's subscription, six copies, costs $5.00 in U.S., $10.00 Canada, $11.00 overseas.


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