German Society of Maryland



To preserve and promote the German heritage, language and traditions through educational, social, and benevolent programs; and to develop the unity and continuity of the German American community in the State of Maryland.


President Anton Smoot
1st Vice President Dr. James Schaub
2nd Vice President Shelley Arnold
Treasurer Theodore J. Potthast, Jr.
Secretary Dr. Maureen Helinski
Counselor Gerard W. Wittstadt
Office Manager Bärbel Otto, (410) 685-0450


The GERMAN SOCIETY is one of the oldest institutions in America.  It was organized in 1793 to protect and assist German-speaking immigrants.  It received its charter from the Maryland legislature in 1818.  In the 1800’s it was the social service agency of the State of Maryland, which provided aid to German immigrants.  In the early 1900’s it persuaded Congress to enact national laws for the protection of immigrants.

The Society holds its annual meeting and casual dinner in April.  To encourage the study of German in Maryland high schools, the Society has been presenting cash awards to students who excel in the national German language proficiency examinations, in cooperation with the Maryland Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German. An awards ceremony is held in May. The Society also presents four Merit Awards of $800.00 each to college students from Maryland majoring in German.  Family reunions, games, music, and dancing are part of the annual summer picnic at which food and drink is provided at a nominal charge. Each year the Society holds a dinner-dance in November, honoring a Marylander of German ancestry who has made substantial contributions to our state or country.   The Society holds an ecumenical service to commemorate the fall of the Berlin wall and to celebrate freedom from persecution for all German peoples. Other activities include participation in events of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, providing native speakers to the annual Sprachfest for German students, and community service activities.

The Society publishes an excellent newsletter which informs members of upcoming events of the Society and events of other German American groups in Maryland and surrounding areas.  The newsletter also includes news from Germany and articles on the role German-Americans  in Maryland and U.S. history.  The German Society of Maryland encourages its members to participate in the activities of other German-American organizations locally and nationally.

Persons interested in learning about the Society may obtain information by writing our office at P.O. Box 22585, Baltimore, MD 21203-4585, or calling (410) 685-0450.

The Society is a member of the national organizations, Deutsche Amerikanischer National Kongress (DANK) and the United German-American Committee of the USA, Inc. (UGAC-USA).  The Society attempts to work in close cooperation with other local and national German ethnic organizations.