Arlington Delegation Visits Germany to Celebrate 65th Anniversary with Sister City Bad Königshofen

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Earlier this month, the City of Arlington flag flew proudly at City Hall in Bad Königshofen, Germany.

The small northern Bavarian town in Germany flew the flag as part of a warm welcome for a group of 22 delegates visiting from Arlington. The Sister Cities of Arlington Texas members toured attractions, attended festivities and met with dignitaries from July 7 through July 11 to not only celebrate Bad Königshofen’s 1,275th anniversary but also the 65th anniversary of friendship between the two cities.

Mayor Pro Tempore Sheri Capehart praised Bad Königshofen’s hospitality during the recent visit, which included a welcoming reception, a tour of a town glass factory and lots of German food, music and cultural entertainment.

They spoke very highly about Arlington and how Arlington chose to help a small German village back in 1951. They were very touched by that. It was very genuine,” Capehart said.

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Arlington’s relationship with Bad Königshofen began 65 years ago when the German town manager Kurt Zühlke visited Arlington at the end of a study tour of the United States. Local historians say the town manager made an unscheduled stop in the city because a German tour participant had a pen pal in Arlington. Through this pen pal relationship, the town manager had an opportunity to meet and visit with then Arlington Mayor Tom Vandergriff.

During their meeting, the visiting town manager told Vandergriff about the difficulties his town was facing because of its location at the border between West and East Germany. He said hundreds of people from the communist east had overwhelmed his small German town, and there was a shortage of food and clothing.

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Moved by the plight of the town, Mayor Vandergriff and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce coordinated a community drive to collect food, clothing and gifts. In 1952, the first of four railroad boxcar shipments left Arlington for Bad Königshofen.

Expressions of thanks from German residents showed that the assistance from Arlington was more than food and clothing, but a true sign of friendship, which residents have continued to recognize and celebrate.

During this year’s visit, Arlington delegates presented Bad Königshofen city officials with coins to commemorate the 65th anniversary as Sister Cities, a new City of Arlington flag as well as an autographed jersey of Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki. In return, delegates received a commemorative clock and copies of Hanns Friedrich’s book “Friendship Solid As A Rock,” which greatly details the relationship between the two cities and photos. Arlington also received a new Bad Königshofen plaque to hang at City Hall.

Bad Königshofen officials were also invited to visit Arlington during next year’s Fourth of July parade, Capehart said.

“The friendships that are formed from this relationship are probably the most meaningful. They are made without an expectation of anything. It’s not political. It’s just genuine friendship based upon two communities that came together to try to solve a problem,” Capehart said.

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Linda Hagedorn Finley
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Linda Hagedorn Finley

Many of my relatives including my great grandfather at the age of 6 months came to this country with his parents from Hamburg, Germany in 1881. I have been to many parts of Germany and would love to visit Bad Königshofen the next time we are in Germany. Ich liebe Deutschland!

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