Pennsylvania Dutch Flag
In Keeping with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s 1976 proclamation to establish a Pennsylvania German Day each year on June 28, we would like to honor folk artist, musician, and poet, Peter V. Fritsch (1945-2015) of Longswamp Township, Berks County, who designed the Pennsylvania German Flag, but humbly never publicly took credit for having illustrated it.
Peter created the flag at the request of the Groundhog Lodges, with whom he had been very involved as an artist and playwright. The flag’s distinctive imagery highlighted several important aspects of the regions culture including (1) the arts – symbolized by the tulips and heart motif; (2) early technology and trades – epitomized the Conestoga wagon; (3) agriculture – depicted in the moldboard plow; (4) religious denominational diversity – symbolized by the country church; (5) the Keystone State as home to the development of the culture; and (6) the ship, “the Concord” – which brought the first immigration in 1683 of German-speaking families who founded Germantown. The motto reads in Pennsylvania Dutch language:”Dear Lord in heaven, let us Pennsylvania Dutch be what we are.”
This Flag was approved by a committee of members of the Groossdaadi Grundsau Lodge (Grandfather Groundhog Lodge): Carl D. Snyder, Peter V. Fritsch, Richard K. Miller, and Sterling G. Zimmerman. It was dedicated at the Allentown Court House on October 6, 1989, exactly 306 years after the Concord landed at Philadelphia in 1683.
The Pennsylvania Germans were one of many groups that settled in Pennsylvania because of opportunities afforded by William Penn’s “Holy Experiment” – a utopian vision aiming to establish a welcoming society for all people and all faiths. Although Pennsylvania was once the most ethnically and religiously diverse of the 13 colonies, Penn’s vision was never fully realized in his time, and we still have a lot of work to do to achieve this goal. We look to this welcoming and inclusive vision for inspiration in shaping an equitable and just society for all people in Pennsylvania and beyond.