We bring HISTORY to LIFE!


December 2006


TRACES First Year in the Landmark Center:

A year ago, in September 2005, TRACES took possession of our new, 2,300-square foot (700-square meter) home in downtown Saint Paul/Minnesota’s historic Landmark Center, the former Federal Courts Building, built 1896-1902. Of the several dozen other cultural, non-profit organizations based in this six-story edifice, there are four other exhibit-focused projects—all free. See  for details.


New Staff Members:

We could not realize our diverse project without the contributions of our many volunteers (see, board members (see or staff, including:


Eric Brandt: A California native, Eric Brandt grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has always maintained strong Midwest roots, however, as both sides of his family hail from Minnesota and Iowa. Eric attended Macalester College in St. Paul and has lived and studied in Berlin during 2003, as well as traveled extensively throughout Europe. After graduating from Macalester in 2005 with a BA in history, Eric lived in San Francisco. He returned to St. Paul in 2006 and joined TRACES in July as Executive Assistant to TRACES Director Michael Luick-Thrams. Eric has always had a strong interest in WWII and German history and is excited to explore these interests further as a member of the TRACES team. His new skills include grant-writing, publicity, etc.


Fall-2006 BUS Tour:

The BUS-eum 1 exhibit Behind Barbed Wire: Midwest POWs in Nazi Germany visited 405 Upper Midwest communities between March 2004 and early summer 2005; more than 37,500 people toured our mobile exhibit in a retrofitted school bus. The BUS-eum 2 hit the highways and byways of Wisconsin and Southern Minnesota in March 2006 with the exhibit VANISHED: German-American Civilian Internment, 1941-48. It visited about 75 libraries, museums, schools, etc. and was seen by some 7,500 individuals. From Labor Day weekend to 1 November 2006, our new BUS visited some 10 communities in North Minnesota, both Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, western Missouri and Iowa, before returning to winter in a Saint Paul storage unit—and enjoy a well-deserved rest! More than 11,000 people saw the exhibit in the BUS, from Labor Day to 10 November 2006.


Recent Events:

Having gone from “zero to 100” since our founding in September 2001 (first housed in the converted loading dock of a former bakery in Mason City/Iowa!), as TRACES grows and matures, it offers a rich variety of programs to realize our mission of preserving and presenting stories of encounters between Midwesterners and Germans or Austrians between 1933 and 1948, as case studies about the nature and effects of war and peace.


2006 Education Minnesota Professional Conference, 19 October 2006: Over 10,000 Minnesota teachers had an opportunity to stop by TRACES’ booth at Saint Paul’s River Centre to learn about our museum, programs, publications and courses. We encouraged Metro-Area as well as Out-State educators to bring their students to tour our museum, as well as use our virtual museum, related books, guest speakers, etc.


Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Genocide Conference, 9 November 2006: As part of its special conference on genocide and human rights, about 30 participants toured TRACES exhibits, with an emphasis on Midwest responses to the Holocaust.


“Degenerate Music” concert series, 12-19 November 2006: Co-sponsored by Saint Paul’s Schubert Club, four performances on three days both entertained and enlightened about 250 concert goers regarding the music of groups (Gypsies) or composers (Ernst Krenek, Hanns Eisler and Friedrich Hollaender) forbidden and, in many cases, persecuted by the Nazi regime. The concerts took place at various times and dates, at Gallery 205 and Cortile, the six-story central atrium around which the Landmark Center was built.


Destination Landmark, 19 November 2006: This inaugural event highlighted the resources and talents that Landmark Center houses, from Stepping Stone Theatre to COMPAS, Young Audiences and more. About 500 visitors joined a Landmark Scavenger Hunt, visited the building’s five museums, watched woodturning courtesy of the American Association of Woodturners, enjoyed historical programs from TRACES Center for History and Culture*, listened to a special gypsy music program from the Clearwater Hot Club (courtesy the Schubert Club), made masks, and more! [*TRACES Board of Directors Chair Pro Tem Stephen Feinstein’s assistant, Vicky Knickerbocker, spoke about Minnesota’s Holocaust legacy. A long-time supporter, Stephen directs the U of M Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies; Vicky is a past TRACES sponsor.]


brown-bag lunch series: Co-sponsored by the Ramsey County Historical Society, “Fighting the ‘Good War’: Minnesota and World War II” lectures have been treating history buffs as well as nearby office-workers-on-break to the expertise of four speakers from noon-1PM Wednesdays at the Landmark Center’s Galleria (2nd floor, immediately in front of museum), from 19 Nov. to -20 Dec. 2006. The speakers consist of:

Nov. 29th—Dave Kenney, author of Minnesota Goes to War, spoke about the Minnesota home front, with special emphasis on “forgotten chapters” of that legacy.

Dec. 6th—Dick Klobuchar lectured on the experiences and impact of the USS Ward in WW II, stressing the contributions of its many St. Paul crewmen, especially during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Dec. 13th—Michael Luick-Thrams spoke about German POW camps in the U.S. during WWII, with emphasis on the 10,000 German POWs at the Algona/Iowa base camp and its 35 branch camps across Iowa, Minnesota and the two Dakotas.

            Dec. 20th—Lionel Greenberg was born in Grafton/North Dakota and during WWII was shot down by the Germans. A Jew, he did not find the Nazi regime summarily separated him and other co-confessionals, and shot them. He tells why not.


Up-Coming Events:


Holocaust and Heartland Series for Educators, 1/8/15 March 2007: The Holocaust and the events surrounding it can seem far removed from the American Midwest, especially for young people born in a post-war world that—on the surface at least—scarcely resembles the world of the 1930s and ‘40s. TRACES' three-part series is intended to “bring the Holocaust home,” to localize global events that took place more than half a century ago, and to make an abstraction literally tangible by familiarizing teachers (and thereby their students) with Midwest connections to Nazi Germany: individual case studies involving refugees, Midwest “rescuers,” the Frank sisters’ Iowa pen pals, Jewish Midwest POWs in the Third Reich, Jewish civilian internees in the U.S., and the experiences of Minnesota or other Midwest soldiers present at Nazi camps. For information or to register for this unique series, call 651.646.0400 or contact To attend one session costs $50, two cost $75 and all three $115; fees include 1 exhibit book and (while supplies last) TPT documentary on DVD/VHS. CEU certificates will be provided for all seeking re-certification/-licensure.


Spring and Fall 2007 BUS-eum Tours: Already we are scheduling our next two BUS-eum tours, with BUS-eum 2 traversing Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan with the exhibit VANISHED: German-American Civilian Internment, 1941-48 next spring, and BUS-eum 1 visiting both Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Iowa in the fall, featuring Behind Barbed Wire: Midwest POWs in Nazi Germany.


We anticipate drawing considerable attention and interest during up-coming conferences:


Friends General Conference, July 2007: This national gathering of U.S. and other Quakers will take place in River Falls/Wisconsin. We expect that many visiting Friends will tour our three Quaker-related exhibits (Scattergood Hostel, Quaker Hill, etc.).


National Trust for Historical Preservation, October 2007: Some 2,000 individuals from across the United States will converge on the Landmark Center, for a week of meetings, presentations and tours, networking, seminars and other enriching offerings.


Recent Grant Awards:

In early 2006 the Otto Bremer Foundation awarded TRACES a $35,000 grant to take the BUS-eum 2 to over 100 communities in Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. More recently, the Kansas Humanities Council supported our fall BUS tour with a $3,500 grant—as did the North Dakota State Historical Society ($3,500), the North Dakota Humanities Council ($2,600), the South Dakota Community Foundation ($2,000), the South Dakota State Librarian ($750) and other bodies. Thank you so much!


New Panels Coming:

Inver Hills Community College instructor Connie Larson’s students began working on “second-generation” didactic panels last winter; this school year she and some of them have resumed drafting and revising panel designs they created, with installation in 2007. The panels—to be hung in the Midwest Main Street and Berlin Opernplatz (Opera Square”) will illustrate how Midwesterners were affected by the rise and fall of Nazism.


TRACES Web Site:

Our board member/web Meister extraordinaire, Leighton Siegel, had done an exceptional and dedicated job of up-dating and significantly expanding since taking over from the previous web master, Nick Cooper, of Ames/Iowa. Send queries, problems, praise or materials to Leighton at


In Memoriam and Dedication

Former TRACES Board of Directors President (and Michael Luick-Thrams’ Clear Lake [Iowa] High School English and journalism teacher) Pat Schultz recently lost her husband Tom, after a short struggle with cancer. Pat was one of the most important sources of support in our first years, and we treasure our dear friend: “You are in our thoughts, Pat!”


Michael Luick-Thrams’ father, Bud Luick, constructed much of the structures in the Behind Barbed Wire: Midwest POWs in Nazi Germany and Scattergood Hostel exhibits, largely in his garage or driveway in Mason City/Iowa, before re-assembling them on-site, first in Des Moines, later in St. Paul after his son’s museum moved. Gifted at improvising and doing the job(s) “just right”, his work has enriched the museum experience of thousands of exhibit visitors. On 13 December 2006 he died unexpectedly: his very personal contribution to TRACES will be enjoyed by many more, for years to come.