Eisenach delegation to visit Waverly

The Wartburg castle resides in Waverly’s Sister city of Eisenach, where several delegates will be traveling from to visit Waverly. – Submitted Photo

A 17-member delegation from Waverly’s sister city in Eisenach, Germany will be coming to visit in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the protestant reformation as well as the 25th year of the Waverly-Eisenach Sister City organization,

The delegation, which includes the Lord Mayor of Eisenach, Katja Wolf, will be greeted by Waverly mayor Charles Infelt on Oct. 9 at the Waverly Civic center from 10:30-11:30 a.m. The Waverly community is invited to come and greet the visitors.

Social and educational events are scheduled throughout the delegation’s ten-day visit to Iowa. The events will focus on the common heritage of the sister cities, as well as discussion on the advancement of the Sister City partnership.

Brian Pfaltzgraff, president of the Waverly Sister City organization, said the visitors will stay with designated host families and get the chance to enjoy things that Americans generally don’t think about as fascinating, such as going fishing and eating barbecue.

“What’s interesting is what we take for granted,” Pfaltzgraff said. “We are given the opportunity to see things with new eyes.”

The delegates will also travel to other Iowa cities such as Des Moines and Davenport during their stay.

The combined efforts of people from Wartburg College, Waverly, and Eisenach established the Waverly-Eisenach Sister City organization. It was formalized in 1992 through Sister Cities International, and the two cities have been working to continue the relationships built through the program.

According to Pfaltzgraff, when the program was first proposed, Waverly residents reached out to the mayor in Eisenach asking to become their sister city. The mayor of Eisenach then informed them that there were two other cities competing to be the sister city. Each city may only partner with one city per country, so the decision was an important one.

The president of Wartburg College gathered a few people together and took them on a trip to Eisenach and went to the door of the mayor. They introduced themselves and convinced the mayor to partner with Waverly, and they have been sister cities ever since.

Edie Waldstein, member of the Sister City organization, said she has been a part of the program since it began and that it has grown into a lively relationship as more people join the organization.

The Sister City program involves many different elements, including exchange student programs and visits between the two cities.

“It’s a real people to people exchange,” Waldstein said.

Eisenach is home to the Wartburg Castle, the namesake of the college and historic site where Martin Luther translated the Bible from Greek into German. Waldstein said  many Wartburg College students have enjoyed traveling to see the castle as part of the Sister City organization.

Pfaltzgraff said that one of the joys of working in the sister city program is building lasting relationships with people around the world.

“I have met people who have become family for me,” Pfaltzgraff said.

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