Bamberg welcomes Soldiers with reception, tour
June 11, 2009
- City of Bamberg hosts U. S. Soldiers
BAMBERG, Germany -- The city of Bamberg welcomed Warner Barracks Soldiers in a celebratory manner June 3, treating them to a guided tour of the city's historic district followed by dinner and drink at the Greifenklau Brewery. The event marked the middle of German-American friendship week, a time celebrated annually by Bamberg residents from both nations.
Dressed in Class B uniform for the occasion, participants included Soldiers new to the Garrison as well as those interested in expanding their understanding of Bamberg's history.
Due to the large number of attendees, 73 Soldiers were split into three groups. Soldiers reconvened at the Greifenklau Brewery for the evening reception.
The tour embarked from the tourist information center downtown and was run by city-appointed tour guides.
The excursion incorporated many sights in Bamberg's historic district including the old and new Town Hall buildings, the city's original port, Schlenkerla Brewery, the New Residence and the Bamberg Cathedral.
Tour guide Eberhard Haar discussed the history, culture and demographics of the city. He stopped at many nondescript streets with his group to point out little-known historical facts and recite local anecdotes. Details of the history of Bamberg's Little Venice, the struggle of local farmers, the area's Catholic heritage, and the invention of 'rauch' or smoked beer were all described during the two-hour tour.
"Bamberg was incredibly lucky during the second World War," Haar said, noting the minimal bomb damage the city sustained. "When you are walking through Bamberg, you are walking through a history book made entirely of stone."
Pvt. Alan DeLeon, part of B Battery, 4th Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment, had visited Bamberg prior to being stationed here four months ago, but had never toured the city so extensively.
"Bamberg has a lot of history," DeLeon said, "I had been traveling in Germany and heard it was a great place to visit."
His favorite part of the tour was learning the history of Bamberg's famous smoked beer, Rauchbier, he said.
Greifenklau, located on one of Bamberg's seven hills, is one of the city's nine breweries. Founded in 1719, the brewery has been under the management of the Brockard family since the current owner's grandfather bought it in 1914. Sigmund Brockard has held the owner/manager title since the 1980s.
Brockard's son, also named Sigmund, has been Greifenklau's brewmaster for the past three years. He agreed that having the American military post in Bamberg has been good for business, and for the city, and that a high number of Greifenklau's consumers are tourists and foreigners.
"American involvement has grown very much in the past years," he said. "Americans like the traditional restaurant and they like that it is family-run."
Lord Mayor of Bamberg Andreas Starke spoke briefly, welcoming the American military and foreign nationals who represent the U.S. Army in Bamberg.
"Living together as citizens and neighbors is not only conducive to an incident-free German-American future in Bamberg, it also contributes to a better understanding between the nations and to the development of a better and more peaceful world now and in the future," Starke said.
He closed by saying, "Bamberg is a great place to be and the extremely high re-enlistment rate in Bamberg shows that U.S. Soldiers and their families feel comfortable here."
The Soldier who most recently joined Warner Barrack's community was then invited to tap the keg with Starke's assistance, a local custom for the German-American friendship week event.
A traditional Bavarian platter was served which included bread, cheese and assorted meats.
The units represented by Soldiers in attendance included 173rd Brigade Support Battalion, 173rd Special Troops Battalion, 54th Engineer Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, 793rd Military Police Battalion, and 4-319th Field Artillery. Some Soldiers from the medical and dental units were also present.