Valley City, ND (CSi) – The dedication of the Herman Stern Historical Marker at Veterans Park in downtown Valley City was held Saturday, Oct 15. More CSi photos at FACEBOOK
Additional historical accounts, and links to individual family accounts can be found at Minnesota State University website – a very interesting read.
Dedication YouTube Video by Barnes County Historical Society
Jump to the start of the dedication at 6 minutes.
Back in February 2016, the Barnes County Historical Society was contacted by Herman Stern’s grandson, Rick Stern, regarding a proposal by Jerry Klinger, President of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, to present a historical marker to Valley City, honoring Herman Stern and his actions that saved over 125 lives from certain death at the hands of the Nazis in Germany. This is the first marker of its kind installed in North Dakota under a new program through the State Historical Society of North Dakota! Working with the Valley City Park and Rec Department and Valley City VFW Post 2764, we are proud to receive this distinction telling this story of selfless action for generations to come as part of the great story of North Dakota’s history.
Herman Stern Marker for Valley City
By Jerry Klinger, President of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation,
It with sincere appreciation that the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation wishes to thank the Barnes County Historical Society, the State Historical Society of North Dakota and the community of Valley City for the special privilege of joining with you in recognizing Herman Stern.
Stern was an immigrant to North Dakota. He came seeking opportunity and betterment. What was so very special about Stern’s North Dakota experience as a Jew was that he was not pre-judged because of his ethnicity. Instead, North Dakota gave Stern an opportunity to succeed, to prove his metal. Stern was able to show his energy, his integrity, and his willingness to join with all North Dakotans to build positively together their mutual community as respected neighbors. For that unique, very American open doorway, Stern gave back to his beloved Community, State and Country in every way he could.
In the 1930’s, dark clouds of hatred, bigotry and ignorance filled European skies presaging the Holocaust to come. Stern turned to his friend Senator Gerald Nye and friends in North Dakota for help. The help was given without reservation or question. Over 125 lives were saved from certain death. It was a credit to Stern but it also was a credit to all North Dakotans.
The Herman Stern marker project is the first historical interpretive roadside marker of the State Historical Society of North Dakota. It is the first of many more to come that will proudly tell the story of North Dakota.
Jerry Klinger is the president of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation.
www.JASHP.org JASHP has completed projects in 27 states and in five countries reflecting on the commonality of the American experience.
From North Dakota State Historical Society
In 2005 the Fifty-ninth Legislative Assembly of North Dakota authorized the State Historical Society of North Dakota to develop and administer a historical marker program designed to highlight locations that meet one of the following criteria: person of state or national significance; place of state or national significance; or event of state or national significance.
The North Dakota Historical Marker program is administered by the State Historical Society of North Dakota and all costs including production, installation, and maintenance of a historical marker are the responsibility of the applicant or sponsor of the marker.
Although this program was authorized in 2005, the first application was not received until 2015. The marker will commemorate the life and work of Herman Stern, a German Jewish emigrant who moved to North Dakota in 1903 and began a successful business career in Carrington, Casselton, and later Valley City. In the 1930s, with the aid of his wife, Adeline, and cooperation from U.S. Senator Gerald Nye, Stern managed to bring more than 125 Jewish refugees from Germany to new lives in the United States. For his many achievements and contributions to the state, Stern was inducted into the Theodore Roosevelt Roughrider Hall of Fame in 2014. This marker was entered in the North Dakota Historical Marker Register as marker #1 in 2016.
The Herman Stern marker will be located in Veterans Memorial Park in Valley City and is cosponsored by the Barnes County Historical Society and the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation.