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The Ad That Could land You in Jail

The ad below is from the Pecirkuv Narodni kalendar - 1900, published in Prague. It was featured on the back page of the almanac and calendar.

Freidrich Missler was the biggest ticket agent in Bremen, and made an offer of passage to emigrants from Germany to America, Canada, South America, and South Africa in the late 1800's and early 1900's.

In this ad he made an offer of passage to America, Africa, and Australia from the Port of Bremen, Germany.

In the early 1900's there was a wave of immigration from what is now the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic to America and other destinations throughout the world. Featured as the back cover of the almanac, the ad promoted this immigration.

By 1903 the Austro-Hungarian government was making a serious effort to stem the tide of emigration and passed the Hungarian Emigration Law of 1903. The Emigration Law contained some pretty strong measures to slow the immigration from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Ads like this were banned throughout the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It became illegal to bring information like this into the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Article 46 of the law states, "Any one who encourages emigration at a public meeting by speeches, or by distributing printed matter or pamphlets, or by exhibiting these publicly, shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than two months, and by a fine not exceeding 600 crowns."

Taking an ad like this to a inn, meeting place, or church and showing it to other people could land you in jail in Austria-Hungary.

The ad is an interresting piece of immigration history.

If your ancestors came to America or other countries at the turn of the century, a similar ad may have helped them make their decision to emigrate and aided them in making the arrangements to leave.

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