An Evening with Author Claudia Clark

by Claudia Clark

Bookclub Reading and Discussion

22 January 2019

When was the last time you heard a politician say: "It´s fun to work together"? It may seem like a lifetime ago, but those words were spoken by President Obama describing his relationship with Chancellor Angela Merkel. We were privileged to hear these and other revelations during the evening our Bookclub spent with Claudia Clark, author of My Partner, My Friend.

Exhaustively researched, the book details a relationship that started with caution, progressed into trust, and grew into friendship. Especially in today´s polarized world, it seems almost quaint to observe the interaction between the two leaders who were able to relax with each other while tackling the world´s problems because of their own authenticity and their affinity and respect for each other.

Claudia, a Democrats Abroad member, was compelled to write the book because, especially in light of what is happening today, it is instructive to re-examine how personal relationships between those in power contribute to peace. What has been lost—communication, working through differences, the willingness to compromise—should be a lesson for us all. We look forward to reading more when the book is published, both in English and in German.

Text by Maryann Schmunk



Tax Information Event for Americans Living Abroad

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Following a tradition of offering information for all Americans living Abroad, we were pleased that once again, certified public account David Opperman agreed to talk us through the responsibilities and potential confusions involved in tax filing from abroad. The room was packed to capacity on this grey afternoon as David patiently described what most of us found to be a confusing set of rules navigating between the German and American tax systems. There was plenty of time for questions and the attentive group was visibly relieved by the end of the afternoon, even finding comical moments despite the serious subject matter. After listening to what some people have gone through in the past, and how hard it is to receive answers, we can only express our gratitude to David for his advice once again.

*The generous support of the SPD made it possible to hold this event in the heart of Hamburg.

Text by Maryann Schmunk



Women´s March Hamburg, 19 January, 2019

Even the weather was perfect as we gathered in front of the Rathaus--posters, banners and hand scrawled signs blazing in the bright sunshine. After a week of greyness, literally and figuratively, suddenly progress seemed possible--as Chesney told the gathering-- if only each of us would make the effort. She reminded the rapt crowd of the upcoming vote in Virginia for the Equal Rights Amendment and urged us to write in support of this affirmation of women´s equality. After nearly 100 years of activism on its behalf, the measure needs only the votes of one more state to pass!

Energized and motivated, the march began with some 200 participants winding their way, singing, chanting and drumming along the shimmering Alster to the U.S. Consulate, colorful posters held high: "Empowered women empower women!" "Equal pay for equal work;" "My body, my rules;" not to mention numerous clever original variations. Many of us commented, with a certain weariness, on one poster: "My arms are tired from holding this sign since the 1960´s." Elaine, however, in her closing speech, urged us not to give up, and noted with gratification how many young people there were in the audience to carry on the struggle to achieve what we deserve, no matter how long it takes.

Thanks to all who made this a joyous afternoon and a worthwhile demonstration!

Photos by Eric Shambroom
Text by Maryann Schmunk


Hamburg Chapter Elections - January 12th, 2019

Over the past two years, the Hamburg Chapter has grown and become more active than ever.  It has been a pleasure to have acted as Chair during this time, and my thanks go out to the entire Chapter membership, and especially to our leadership team who have done so much to make it all possible.  I will not be seeking a second term as Chair, but plan to remain active in the Chapter.

So it is time for Chapter Elections in Hamburg, to be held this January 12th.  We are looking for you to help fill the following chapter positions:

- Chair
- Vice Chair
- Treasurer
- Press & Communications Officer
- Membership & Volunteer Coordinator
- Get Out The Vote Coordinator

If you are interested in, or have questions about running for any of these positions, please let us know! [email protected] 
More details about the time and location will follow.

- Marc J. Castagnera


Election Night 2018

The Democratic Party made progress this past election day, flipping the House and ensuring more headwind for the Trump Administration and the Republican Party in the next 2 years.  The Hamburg Chapter was tuned in to see the first preliminary results at a viewing event in Eimsbüttel until late into the night.  It was a great crowd, including some German and other European guests.  The night's festivities included a very successful raffle of GOTV and other politically charged items.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this a very special night.  And thank you to everyone living abroad who voted, or helped others to do so.  We know it is not a simple task, making it all the more important.

Hope to see you at our next event, a movie night featuring Ava DuVernay's 13th, and a political discussion led by special guests - more details here .


Chapter Meeting - October 14th, 2018

Thank you to everyone who attended our most recent Chapter Meeting.  It included our first ever New Members Coffee, ideas for 2019, and some last-minute voter registration help.  Below you will find the minutes.

First I want to share my announcement from the meeting.  My two-year term as Chapter Chair began in February of 2017, and is coming to an end soon.  I have thoroughly enjoyed being Chair, getting to know and working with so many of DA's Hamburg members, and putting together events of all sorts with you.  For personal reasons, I will not be running for re-election.  I plan to stay active after my term's end.  But most importantly, this means that we have a position to be filled.  If you are interested, please reach out to
[email protected] at your earliest convenience!  I am happy to answer any questions.  The election will take place in January or February, before the DA Germany AGM.


- New Members Coffee - This proved to be an excellent way to start the meeting, giving
   members (new and old) a chance to talk and get to know each other better.

- Fundraising - We raffled off a book ("How I Resist") during the meeting, raising 17€ ! 
   We want to make raffles a more regular part of our events.  Let us know if you have
   ideas for raffles or have something you want to donate, and other fundraising ideas.

- Treasury - We currently have 500€ in our treasury.  150€ will go to DAG by year's end
   to pay for a tablet and portable printer we received for GOTV efforts.

- Membership - Our membership just recently reached 622, from around 400 at the start
   of 2017.

- 2019 - non-election year, time to train, organize
     - Regular events, i.e. monthly or bi-monthly - Chapter Meetings (2nd or 3rd Sunday of
        every month, or every other month?), pub nights, book club meetings
     - One month of every year is focused on one caucus - that caucus leads the Chapter
        Meeting in that month
     - Equal Rights Amendment - only one more state needed to ratify.  Could this be a focus
        of 2019?

- Black Caucus - Black History Month, February 2019
     - Black American Night - mid-February, featuring American performers
     - Other ideas include an American finger food buffet, a raffle table, a favorite dish or pie contest.

- Women's Caucus - Berlin Workshop, September 22nd, 2018
     - One of our Chapter members attended and summarized - more details here .
     - Many are interested in putting together a similar event here in Hamburg.

- Impressions from the USA
     - One of our members just got back from a trip to see family in Mississippi.  She also campaigned for Democratic candidates and attended a
        town hall meeting.
     - From her conversations, and talks she listened to, we can see a silver lining in the current situation as people are motivated to take
        action, and Democratic candidates have better chances in red states.
     - Reminder - Every state has an abroad Facebook page.

 - Last-minute voter registration
     - Some states' deadlines for registration and overseas ballot requests have not been reached yet.  It is worth checking.
     - Emergency Federal Absentee Ballot - If you requested a ballot and have not received it, you can vote (in Federal elections) using this
     - Both of the above can be done at .


A Prideful Weekend in Hamburg

CSD was a huge success for Democrats Abroad Hamburg this year.  We were at the street fest all three days and spread the word to Americans, Europeans and others from all over the world.  We hope to be inviting new members to our chapter as a result, and have also compiled a list of non-US citizens living in Hamburg who want to receive information about our future protests and events.

This past weekend was a group effort, and would not have been possible without everyone's contributions.  We accomplished a lot, which will help with our further GOTV and other goals, this year and beyond!


4th of July Celebration at The Bird

It had been a tough few weeks for Democrats. Our worries about the situation on the U.S. borders culminated in an emotional protest before the U.S. Consulate the Saturday before. Next came the shock of the new vacancy on the Supreme Court leaving us fearful about stopping the relentless dismantling of the rights and values we all cherish. There was a great deal to talk about as some thirty five of us gathered at The Bird for a traditional hamburger and beer.

It was an animated and colorful group of old members, new members and even nonmembers, plus their families, and it included a proud new citizen who had just voted for the first time in an important Florida election. Thank you all for your commitment and enthusiasm, which gives us hope for the upcoming election campaign!

Photos by Chesney McKinley Severance; Text by Maryann Schmunk


Families Belong Together, from Hamburg

Thank you to everyone who joined us in front of the US Consulate in Hamburg to take part in the international movement on June 30th, calling for an end to the inhumane immigration policies being enacted and enforced by the Trump administration.  Several people spoke, sharing their thoughts and experiences, and making it clear that we as Americans do not support what is happening along the US border.  As one of our speakers put it, let's make America America again!

pictures by Margaret Metzler, text by Marc Castagnera


Juneteenth & GOTV

Despite a bit of Hamburg weather, our chapter went forward with the planned Juneteenth picnic and GOTV stand in the Planten un Blomen area.  Thank you to everyone who made all of this possible, and a special thanks to Elaine, Love and the entire Black Caucus in Hamburg for hosting!

Reading the Emancipation Proclamation together as a group brought the words, their meaning and their gravity to life. It reminded us all that freedom can never be taken for granted, especially at a time when basic rights and freedoms of people are being trampled upon in the United States of America.

We all left the get-together determined to resist and persist, undeterred by the stubborn recklessness of our president.  Please join us on June 30th in front of the US Consulate in Hamburg to protest the Trump administration's inhumane immigration policies!