German Filmmakers Return to St. Charles This Week

Filmmaker Peter Roloff and historian Ludwig Brake will meet with the public Thursday, Oct. 25.

German filmmakers will spend the week in St. Charles working on a documentary about a group of German emigrants who came to the area in 1834, hoping to create a utopia.

Filmmaker Peter Roloff and Historian Ludwig Brake will spend the week filming in St. Charles and will speak about their work during an open house at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25 at the St. Charles County Historical Society Archives. 

South Main Street will be closed for several hours Monday morning while the filmmakers interview historians and Mayor Sally Faith. 

Dorris Keeven-Franke, archivist at the St. Charles County Historical Society, has been working with Roloff since 2009, the first time the filmmakers came to St. Charles.

Keeven-Franke is writing a book about Gottfried Duden, a German settler who moved to Dutzow, MO and published a book about his experiences which inspired many Germans to emigrate.

Roloff and Brake are focusing on the Giessen Emigration Society, a group which emigrated to the Missouri, inspired by Duden's book, and settled in St. Louis, St. Charles and Warren County.

Roloff and others first came to St. Charles in 2009 to film for their documentary "A Trip to a Forgotten Utopia." They are working on a second documentary and an exhibition called "Utopia, Traces of German Republic in the USA," which will show in Germany, then head to Washington, D.C., and end up in Missouri in 2014. 

The exhibition shows the story of the pioneers and their impact on Missouri. 

Keeven-Franke said it's been rewarding to work with Roloff and Brake on the documentary and the exhibition.

"After doing the research for so many years, it's great to see a way that everybody can share it," she said. "It helps people to connect with their families back in Germany. It helps people in Germany connect with people here."

Learn more about Roloff and Brake here


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