Posted: April 1, 2007

Ambassador Ischinger Hails New Initiative by American Leaders of German Ancestry

At the October 6th reception to mark German-American Day and the Day of German Unity, the Federal Republic’s Ambassador, His Excellency Wolfgang Ischinger, announced the kick-off of the German-American Hall of Fame, and extended a special welcome to the new organization’s Board of Trustees. The Washington, D.C. reception for over 2,000 people took place at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, with many notable Americans and Germans present, including U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). Ambassador Ischinger, who was joined by Mrs. Jutta Falke Ischinger, said that:

“I wish the German-American Hall of Fame, which highlights the achievements of the more than 60 million Americans of German descent living in the United States, all the best and every success. It is important that organizations such as the German-American Hall of Fame represent and call to mind the contributions of German-Americans to the daily life and society in the United States.”

William Hetzler, Founder and Chairman of the German-American Hall of Fame (GAMHOF), added that: “I thank Ambassador Ischinger for hosting the Trustees of the German-American Hall of Fame, and pledge that GAMHOF will take a leadership position in fostering better understanding and relations between the United States and Germany. By bringing to light the incomparable contributions of German immigrants and their offspring to the United States, GAMHOF emphasizes what Americans and Germans have built together, and the cooperation and friendship we can certainly build upon and hope for in the decades ahead.”

The German-American Hall of Fame will honor, one-by-one, the contributions of outstanding Americans of German ancestry in such areas as government, education, sports, the arts, business, national defense, religion, sciences, philanthropy, media a other sectors of American life. The first inductions into the German-American Hall of Fame will take place in 2005. The organization’s website ( features the mission statement, ways to donate, and will identify inductees into the Hall of Fame and describe their impact on American society. GAMHOF is seeking an appropriate Manhattan location as a home for the Hall.

GAMHOF’s founding Board of Trustees numbers seven American leaders, some born in Germany , and others born in the U.S. They are: Hon. William Hetzler (Chairman & Founder), a noted New York business leader, Assistant to the Governor of New York for German Affairs and General Chairman of the German-American Steuben Parade; William O’Brien Esq. (Vice Chair & General Counsel), a Boston attorney specializing in international trademark protection and active in New England’s German-American community; Dr. Ronald F. Docksai (Vice Chair), vice president of an international pharmaceutical firm and HHS Assistant Secretary (1986-88); Olivia Hetzler, Esq. (Treasurer), a New York attorney and former Assistant District Attorney; Hon. Herbert W. Stupp (Vice Chair & Secretary), chief executive of a major New York non-profit agency and Commissioner (1994-2002) in the administration of NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani; Ralf Bahr (Vice Chair, Financial Development), CEO of Sovereign Consulting Group, an international business consulting firm based in Florida; and Dr. Horst Saalbach (Vice Chair), founder and Vice Chairman of FESTO Corporation – USA.