The Franconian Society was founded by Dr. Paul Freiherr Tucher von Simmelsdorf on 18th May, 1984, in order to encourage interest in Franconian history and culture and to promote understanding between the German community and English-speaking residents and guests in Franconia. To this end the Society organises lectures and tours as well as numerous other activities, some of them aimed at raising money to support worthy causes. These aims have remained unchanged since our foundation.
It all started as a letter from Dr. von Tucher to a family friend:
Dear Brinda, Over the years, as we became more and more permanent residents of Erlangen, we have also become acquainted with a larger circle of friends; many of these individuals were English speaking persons not raised in Germany. We discovered also that these families from abroad had already been here a few years and to our dismay realized that in some cases they would soon be leaving Germany and returning to the homeland. At the same time we have also enjoyed the fellowship of many others who have English as their first or second language and yet we see so little of them. Then too there are also others whom we personally do not know but are aware of their existence through our friends.
Thus, over the years I have often thought about trying to organize a fellowship group or better a society as an umbrella organization, which we might call “The Franconian Society”, because we do live and move in Franken and we make our livelihood in the northern part of this Bundesland. There are already specific organizations, such as the Deutsch-Britische Gesellschaft, the German-American Club, etc., yet each of these other groups emphasize distinctly the national holidays, events and traditions of the respective foreign lands. What however seems a pity is the fact that many who leave or have left Franken after prosperous years with Siemens, the University, the U.S. army, etc., might have or could have known more about the history, traditions, culture and personalities of this region of Germany, and as well made better acquaintances in that period of time. A still further point for founding such a society may be enhanced by the guidance or assistance we might render a family or friend new to the area and having to cope with the difficulties of a fresh start.
Many Germans, like myself, enjoy the fellowship and the friendly spirit also found in the Anglo-Saxon world and would therefore welcome the opportunity of this contact. There are many more reasons which might be stated, and you certainly have ideas of your own. I have attempted to place down on the accompanying sheet a number of ideas and points as to how such a society may come into existence and how it might function. They are only suggestions at this stage.
There are now two requests which I would like to ask of you; you happen to be one of five persons I am writing this letter to and these persons come from various parts of the world. The requests are:
A possible beginning event might be an outing, a Wanderung through a forest area on October 15 or 22? In the meantime here’s wishing you a pleasant summer now. With best wishes.
(signed Paul von Tucher)