The German-American Hall of Fame (GAMHOF) announced their latest German-American inductees that will be celebrated during a special ceremony later this year. This year Heinz C. Prechter, Louis Joseph Freeh, Dr. Henry Kissinger, Amelia Mary Earhart and John Peter Zenger will join other prominent Americans of German ancestry in the Hall of Fame.
Established in 2004, the GAMHOF not only recognizes and honors deserving German-Americans, but also creates awareness and appreciation of the huge impact German-Americans made on the evolution of the United States to present a positive, progressive, and accurate image of Americans of German ancestry.
A special event will be held on October 15, 2014 at the recently opened Paulaner Brauhaus and Restaurant in New York City.
Full information on this year’s five inductees are below:
Heinz C. Prechter
Heinz Prechter (January 19, 1942 – July 6, 2001) a German born entrepreneur who founded the American Sunroof Company (ASC) was a quintessential entrepreneur, legendary visionary, community leader and philanthropist. He was a close friend and avid fundraiser for the Bush Family.
Mr. Prechter began his automotive career at the age of 13 as an apprentice in automotive trim, tool and die making and coach and body building. During his studies, Mr. Prechter gained a wide range of practical experience working for a number of German companies. In 1963, he came to the U.S. as an exchange student.
While studying Business Administration and English at San Francisco State College he began installing sunroofs – then a virtually unknown product in the US. In 1965, with spending $764 on tools, a workbench from an old door covered with aluminum and a sewing machine from a junkyard, Prechter founded the American Sunroof Company (ASC) in Los Angeles. ASC developed into a supplier of highly engineered and designed roof systems, body systems and other specialty-vehicle systems for the world’s automakers. Now headquartered in Southgate, Michigan, the company employs approximately 1,000 employees at facilities throughout the U.S.
In addition to ASC, Prechter founded Heritage Network Inc., a group of Michigan companies involved in the transportation, hospitality and communications industries. Prechter died unexpectedly on July 6, 2001 at the age of 59. Heinz Prechter was recognized for his entrepreneurial accomplishments, broad community involvement and political achievements. His wife, Ms. Wally Prechter, will attend the induction ceremony.
Louis Joseph Freeh
Louis Joseph Freeh was born January 6, 1950 in Jersey City, New Jersey, the son of Bernice and William Freeh Sr. Mr. Freeh’s grandparents immigrated in the late 18th hundreds from the Swabia Province in Germany to the United States.
He received an LL.M degree in criminal law from New York University School of Law degree in 1984 and subsequently joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of NY.
In 1991 Louis Freeh was appointed by President George H.W. Bush as a judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, a position he held until he was appointed the 5th Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and served in this position under two Presidents. He is now a attorney and consultant in the private sector. Mr. Freeh will attend the induction ceremony.
Dr. Henry Kissinger
Henry Alfred Kissinger was born on May 27, 1923 in Fürth, Bavaria, Germany during the Weimar Republic as Heinz Alfred Kissinger. His father, Louis Kissinger (1887-1982), was a schoolteacher. His mother, Paula (Stern) Kissinger (1901-1998), was a homemaker.
In 1938, fleeing Nazi persecution, his family moved to London, England, before arriving in New York on September 5.
Kissinger spent his high School years in the Washington Heights section of upper Manhattan. After enrolling in the City College of New York, studying accounting in 1943 he was drafted in the U.S. Army. Henry Kissinger received his AB degree summa cum laude in political science at Harvard College in 1950.
In 1968 President Nixon made Kissinger National Security Advisor. From 1973 to 1977 was the 56th United States Secretary of State. He left office when Democrat Jimmy Carter became President in 1977. A proponent of “Realpolitik” Kissinger played a prominent role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. Kissinger continued to participate in policy groups, such as the Trilateral Commission and to maintain political consulting, speaking, and writing engagements. He is the founder and chairman of Kissinger Associates, an international consulting firm.
Amelia Mary Earhart
Ms. Earhart was an American aviation pioneer, author and the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. During an attempt to make a circumnavigation flight of the globe in 1937 in a Lockheed Model 10 Electra, Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island.
Fascination with her life, career and disappearance continues to this day. On January 5, 1939 at the age of 41, Ms. Earhart was declared dead in absentina.
John Peter Zenger
John Peter Zenger (born October 26, 1697 in Germany – died July 28, 1746 in New York City) was a German American printer, publisher, editor and journalist in New York City whose famous acquittal in a libel suit (1735) established the first important victory for freedom of the press in the English colonies of North America.
Emigrating to New York City at 13, Zenger was indentured for eight years as an apprentice to William Bradford, pioneer printer of the middle colonies, and established his own printing business in 1726. On Nov. 5, 1733, Zenger published his first issue of the New York Weekly Journal-the political organ of a group of residents who opposed the policies of the colonial governor William Cosby.
For a year the paper continued its scathing attacks on Cosby until, on Nov. 17, 1734, Zenger was arrested for libel. Remaining in prison for nearly 10 months, he was finally brought to trial in August of the following year. Disregarding the judge’s admonition, his brilliant Philadelphia defense attorney, Andrew Hamilton, argued that the jury itself was competent to decide the truth of Zenger’s printed statements. To the acclaim of the general public and the spectators, the colonial jury acquitted Zenger on the ground that his charges were based on fact-a key consideration in libel cases since that time.
Zenger subsequently served as public printer in both New York and New Jersey. His account of the trial was published in 1736 in the Journal and was widely circulated in both the United States and England.