Of German Descent
The forebears of about 80 percent of the people
of this community came from Germany. It was within communities
of this type that Hitler counted on support for success in his
In the community of Breda can be found good proof
of how miserably Hitler failed in this Idea and how successfully
the American social fabricwith all its racial threadswas
Breda, in northwest Carroll County, has a
population of 532. About 90 per cent of the population is Catholic
but its trade area includes an Ostfriesland settlement four miles
west of town-a Presbyterian community. In the town of Breda there
live a few Hollanders, and one Irish family.
The farm and town families of Breda have sent
129 men and one woman into military service, and they are scattered
on fighting fronts throughout the world. Breda in 1942 led the
county for towns of its size or larger in reaching war bond drive
In fact the president of the towns bankthe
Breda Savings bankhas attracted wide attention by his refusal
to accept any more time deposits at the bank. In a series of three
large advertisements in The Breda News the bank's president, F.
Van Erdewyk, has stated the bank's position.
"This money should be in war bonds," he
said, "and we want to help get it here." He is telling
customers to invest their time certificates in war bonds as they
When the early settlers of Breda built their
town they forgot European tradition. They put up the business
district on a broad street and named it Main St., just as the
Swedes and Irish and Yankees had done in other places.
The store buildings and homes
are typically midwest. Perhaps sauerkraut is more apt to be a
side dish on the restaurant menus and it may be that beer is featured
more prominently in restaurants than in some southern Iowa communities.
Many of the older folks frequently
still speak German but with that the differences just about end.
The melting pot has done its work and Breda at war is one of Iowa's
leading anti-Nazi communities.
Among individuals, the reaction
to the war is just the same as would be found in a hard-bitten
Breda oldest resident 91-year-old Henry Nieland,
born in Westphalia, Germany, speaks for the community. His grandson,
Arthur Nieland, 24, was a soldier in the Philippines when the
Japanese took over. The war department has reported him "missing
in action." Five of 49 other grandchildren are in military
When Henry Nieland speaks the Axis powers,
he does it with the dignified wrath of a patriarch. For Hitler,
he holds an especial hatred.
"Hitler is a mean man," he said, "a
very mean man. There was nothing like him In Germany when I was
a boy there."
The elder Nieland came to America when he was 17.
He was the younger son and the opportunities were
not so good at home. In 1874, he came to Carroll County and has
lived since that time near or in Breda. Twelve of his 16 children
For a good many years, Henry Nieland had corresponded
with the home folks in Westphalia. After his parents died, letters
became very infrequent. When the blood bonds with the old country
were broken, Henry Nieland lost all interest in Germany. The midwest
allowed for great breadth in action and ideas. It was an atmosphere
that Hitler's geopoliticians could not grasp.
In America there still were these many German names
and German speaking communities but the soil and the blood had
Nieland had married and raised his big family. Now
he is grateful for the opportunities for this family life, which
He has greatly increased production in his
The backyard garden plot which this 91-year-old
horticulturalist is caring for at the home of a daughter is, nevertheless,
no new experiment. He always had a garden on the farm and moving
into town is no reason to stop. Every available inch of the back
part of the lot is in cultivation.
"I work about five hours a day in it,"
Nieland said. "I've never been sick and like the exercise.
I think gardening is very good for you and now, it helps so much,
when we must have plenty of vegetables."
Name Is Dutch
Breda was settled largely by German immigrant
farmers but it was a pioneer resident, Mrs. John Le Duc, from
Holland, who named the townestablished when the Chicago
and North Western railway was extended from Carroll, Ia., into
The banker, Van Erdewyk, who came with his family
63 years ago from Linne, Holland, remembers Mrs. Le Duc. He also
remembers the stories about his grandfather who fought under Napoleon
at Waterloo. Even today he has two medals awarded the grandfather.
Van Erdewyk, a banker at Breda since 1906, likes
to be a realist about community and national affairs. A son, Leo,
is a paratrooper in the army. In his blackfaced type advertisements
the father has been urging the community to do its part. The second
I war bond drive quota for Breda was $81,600. It was quickly oversubscribed.
New Deal Banker
Supporting the government in the war effort
isn't something new for Van Erdewyk. He supported it all through
the depression and admits he is one of the few Iowa bankers with
pronounced New Deal beliefs. He likes to point to the works projects
administration as some thing which helped keep up America in good
shape in the pre-war days.
"WPA helped hold a large part of community
life together during the depression years," he said. "And
it meant some wonderful improvements here which now help on the
He mentioned the sewer system, curbings and water
mains, put in or improved as WPA projects in Breda.
Van Erdewyk also approves of New Deal bank
legislation. He thinks the federal deposit insurance plan has
meant much to the bank customers. The government's notice that
the deposits are insured is prominently displayed.
"And the people who come in read it,
too," he said.
Red Cross Aid
Breda is proud of its progressive spirit and
likes to back drives and movements it feels worthwhile. With its
532 population, the town raised $405 in the last Red Cross drive,
Mrs. Ann Olerich, local Red Cross chairman, reported.
When the war began, the German language Ostfriesische
Nachrichten of Breda automatically lost 350 subscribers. These
were the readers In Germany to whom the paper no longer could
But the publisher of the Ostfriesische Nachrichten
had other things to think about. He also farms with a son, 140
acres of highly productive Carroll county farm. Huendling also
is a director in the Breda Savings bank.
The Ostfriesische Nachrichten, a four-page paper
printed twice a month, now has 2,170 subscribers. Before World
War I its circulation had exceeded 9,000 and was a substantial
source of income for Huendling's father, the Rev. L. Huendling,
But today, with the help problem and 440 acres
to keep in full-scale operation to meet war crop goals, the Huendlings
can't think too much about the Ostfriesische Nachrichten, which
the elder Huendling had founded 62 years ago.
A printer and editor, D. B. Aden has published
the paper for the Huendlings for the last 32 years The Rev. Mr.
Huendling started the paper when a professor at the University
of Dubuque, Dubuque, Ia. before he became pastor at the First
United Presbyterian church nearby.
The community had been settled by immigrants from
the Ostfriesland region in northwest Germany. "My father
continued to publish the paper," Peter Huendling said, "and
it prospered. He had subscribers all over the world."
But he wasn't running it for business purposeshe
wanted to print it so that people here could keep their relatives
informed about themselves.
He had advertising, but he never encouraged
It. And that's the way we've kept the papera newspaper about
the subscribers and their friends."
Old Time Press
The paper is set in the old style German script.
All the composition is done on a linotype. A 40-year-old Potter
flat bed pressstill in perfect condition--prints it.
The publisher of the paper has two sons, Carl, who
lives nearby, and Vernon, now completing his army signal corps
training at the war training school at West High school in Des
Moines, and a daughter, Mrs. C. A. Jacobs, at home while her husband,
an army major and surgeon, serves at a base hospital in China.
In addition to printing local correspondence and
obituaries from communities where subscribers live, the Ostfriesische
Nachrichten is urging citizens to buy war bonds.
In World War I, several residents in a nearby community
talked about painting the rural print shop yellow. But the paper's
patriotic content is now well known and there has been no such
talk during this war.
Banker Van Erdewyk, who also is the mayor,
receives many inquiries about young people of Breda who are seeking
jobs in war industries. Because so many of them are of German
descent he probably receives many more such inquiries than most
other bankers and mayors in towns of that size. "And I don't
spare any words in telling what good Americans the people of Breda
are, either," Mayor Van Erdewyk declared.
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