I am Ostfriesland

I Am Ostfriesland

By DM

I never  thought much about my  Low German roots until a few years ago when a friend of mine (who happens to be from Germany) explained to me the distinction between High  and Low German ( Plattdüütsch)

High German is the language of today, spoken by pretty much anyone who says they are German.    Low German   (depending on who you talk to)  would be considered  slang,  spoken by the  uncultured, back woods poor peasant types).  My Grandpa (Opa) came from Low German stock, where as  Grandma (Oma) came from the city, was  more refined and spoke both.

There should be no shame in having  Low German roots but just between me and you, ever since hearing the distinction, I’ve  felt just a wee bit second rate….until this week.

      I’d  heard growing up  that my ancestors came from the Northern part of Germany called “Ostfriesland” (pronouned  Aush-Freeze-land)   ( or the Freeland).   This week I’ve done some reading…

It seems that way back in the time of the Roman empire,  the people of Northern Germany lived in freedom and did not want to submit themselves to the bully called Rome. The area they lived in was in fact called ”The Free lands”     Rome decided to conquer these farmers,  instead, they (the Romans)  got their butts kicked in the  Battle of the Teutoburg Forest  (A.D.9)   The peasants knew there would be hell to pay  and there was.  It resulted in 7 years of bloody conflict, but in the end, Rome never was able to completely subdue them.

I told my wife this morning, the Ostfrieslanders  were too busy fighting off Roman soldiers to care how many spoons you needed to formally set the table.   :-)     And yet, as I’ve read more about my ancestors this week,  I also learned they were not the brute savages you might think.  Taticus (Roman historian) mentions they were fiercely monogamous.

I say all of this to tell you, I embrace  the fact that there is “Freelander” blood coursing through my veins.  It gives me a rich heritage I didn’t realize I had.

If you want to know more…check out this link:

Ancient German people

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2 Responses to I am Ostfriesland

  1. Delaine Fruhling Jimenez says:

    I also am proud to say I come from people that were Ostfriesland people. My grandfather Fruhling came here to the states by himself as a teenager. He worked hard to have his own land here and so did my mothers side of the family. They moved into an area of Illinois called Flatville. I just started looking at information about my people lately. Although, I have heard the stories for year.
    ________________________________________________
    Delaine, Ostfrieslander’s are a hearty folk. If you find out anything new about our forefathers, be sure and stop back and let me know..DM

  2. Margret says:

    Hello, my ancestors came from Ostfriesland my father was born in Norden. August Dreesen was a great uncle of mine and his poems in low German are in a little book called SmÜsterpadd. I was wondering if I posted a short poem if you would translate that for me.
    _________________________
    Margret, that would be great if you posted a short poem here…I personally won’t be able to translate it, but I’m betting we can find someone who can 🙂 DM

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