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The northern states under President Lincoln were victorious. And Konrad Krez returned to his home in 1865 bedecked with glory, -- a picture of his homecoming shows him in front of his house in Sheboygan, bearded, on a horse with his comrades, -- and he became again a lawyer, a public speaker and a poet. His wife bore him eight children, and one daughter died as an infant. And he burned with homesickness for Germany, the attention of his public, forgotten. His mother had died in 1859 and noone looked after the house there for him. And so he wrote the poem that should make him famous for all time, -- An Mein Vaterland' (On My Fatherland). It was the moving emotion that revealed every emigrant German's bleeding heart, and it touched at that time the hearts of everyone, and was set to music and performed, -- and again forgotten. Konrad Krez probably wrote it in the year 1869. He heard news from old Germany, he followed it from a distance, he hurt and struggled along and he saw the freedom war of 1870 and the German Empire emerge. He greeted the news with jubilation. The dream of his youth was realized.

But he never more returned to his homeland, not after Germany had so deeply struck the wound to his heart. Hence he carried on in America the struggle for German unity. He toiled no more with rifles and cannons; he fought with words and deeds of leather; -- and in the government. He became a regent of the University of Wisconsin in 1873, a lead delegate for the United Germans of Milwaukee, -- there were 700 members, -- he was appointed in 1886 to a federal post and he made speeches in German and English on behalf of German language and literature that had been suppressed. Where Konrad Krez spoke, he fought in glowing words for German culture. And he had followers. After a four year battle with Sheboygan's city hall in 1875, the state funded the drilling of an artesian well, which on his advice went to a depth of 1,472 feet, to a mineral source that flavored the surrounding ground water. It later became famous as 'Sheboygan Mineral Water'. The water streamed from the well at a rate of forty gallons a minute and when it was tapped the gusher soared to a height of 97 feet. One saw with what tenacity Konrad Krez pursued his ideas and plans.

In 1875 he published his third book of poems, 'Aus Wisconsin' ('From Wisconsin')(New York by E. Steiger) which also included verse from his earlier books. The president of the United States, Cleveland, appointed him as the Director of Customs for the port of Milwaukee. His children had grown up; he kept an open house in which every German was welcome, -- his old comrades and friends, Karl Schurz, Franz Sigel, the German soldiers and generals sank into the grave. Homesickness for Germany still burned in him.

On March 9, 1897, at age 69, Konrad Krez died in Milwaukee, the German poet and American general that Germany had forgotten. A line of successors live in North America, whose names, Krez, Jennings, Montague, Mayrose, Weidner, -- they embody the word German more, perhaps, than what their grandfathers and thereafter the first pioneers had been for German language and writing. This is a still ongoing process. From then until now went first the old dream of realizing a united Greater Germany. And so becomes also their other vision and dream yet to be fulfilled. -- Descendants of Konrad's brother, Paul Krez, who became a salesman in Neustadt in the Pfalz, and Helene Raffiga who he married, live still in Germany in Munich and Wuerzburg, the Laforets.

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