The Amish in Pennsylvania und Ohio –
(almost) like 250 years ago
Grey and black horse-drawn carriages on the country roads, men in dark suits with straw hats and whiskers, women in subdued dresses with
aprons and bonnets over their hair.
Only an hour’s drive away from the East Coast metropolis Philadelphia the gentle countryside of Lancaster County stretches out in front of you with its fields, meadows, villages and
scattered farmhouses. Some ten thousand Amish people and Mennonites of different religious affiliations live here and in the neighbouring Ohio. Fleeing from religious suppression,
their ancestors immigrated to the USA from the Rhineland some 250 years ago.
They still speak a dialect amongst themselves which is very similar to the palatine dialect. Most of them learn German first even though they are now in the eighth generation of the
family who emigrated. English is only taught at the village school as a foreign language. Not much has changed since the 18th Century. Many of the “Pennsylvania Dutch” – their
name stems from an inaccurate pronunciation of “Deutsch” and has nothing
to do with the Dutch at all – still reject machines, electricity and even
television. They farm their land with
horses, pay no taxes, do not go to vote and do no military service.