Order of the Sons of Hermann (SoH)

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The Order of the Sons of Hermann (SoH) was formed in New York City on July 20, 1840, by Dr. Philip Merkel, George Heiner, John Blatz, A. Auer, R. Schwendel, W. Kohler, and Philipp Germann in response to anti-German sentiment during a period of heavy German immigration to the United States. The name “Hermann” is based on a Germanic Chieftain and folk hero, also known as Arminius by Roman historians, that commanded an alliance of Germanic tribes at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD. During this battle, three Roman legions were annihilated.  For this he was hailed as a symbol of German unity and freedom.

Symbolism and Motto

The Order of the Sons of Hermann has three symbolic colors; black, red, and gold. Black stands for darkness, ignorance, indifference, and prejudice. Red typifies light and enlightenment, especially as spread by German culture. Gold symbolizes freedom through knowledge and labor. The Order’s official Motto is Friendship, Love, and Loyalty.


The Order was originally founded as a mutual aid and benefit society for German immigrants. It has historically promoted the preservation of German language and traditions. However, it has moved from a mere benevolent organization, caring for its sick and needy, burying its dead, and caring for widows and orphans, to a fraternal insurance society. Membership is no longer restricted to those of German extraction.


Although the Order has never utilized a degree system, it does retain an initiation ceremony and burial ritual. However, the initiation ceremony is longer mandatory. Also, unlike other Fraternal Orders, a belief in a supreme being is not a requirement for membership.  At one point the order had a female auxiliary called the Daughters of Hermann, open to the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of the Sons.








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