The History of the „Rommerstube“
The “Rommerstube” (Rommer room) in the “Ente” is a reminder of a tragic incident in the year 1883: More than 100 years ago, the “Swabian songbirds” from Biberach were celebrated artists throughout Europe. Folk songs made the three siblings Georg, Auguste, and Kathinka Rommer renowned stage performers and they were close to a breakthrough towards a world career. With their Swabian accent and an ingenious mixture of Alpine folk music, and fragments from operas and operettas the three children of the “Entenwirt” (landlord of the “Ente”) attracted the attention of the Americans and prepared a grand tour of the USA.
The Rommer family had taken over the Ente inn and the musical performances of the three gifted singers were an integral part of the cultural activities in the region and beyond. The local paper on April 17, 1879 wrote “After a 14day stay in their parents’ home the Rommer singers, called the “Swabian Nightingales”, have left their home town again to travel, so we hear, to Leipzig first and then on to Denmark and Sweden in the summer. Their two concerts here strongly confirmed the great acclaim that accompanies them everywhere; some of the audience were moved to admiration and even ecstasy.”
On January 4 the Rommers performed a concert at the local theatre to bid farewell to Biberach and start a new career on the other side of the Atlantic. It was to become one of the last concerts of the “Swabian songbirds”. Twelve days later they boarded the mailboat “Cimbria” to travel to the United States. Thick fog and foul weather delayed the departure of the “Cimbria” with her 380 passengers and her crew of 110. At last the boat left harbour but the Rommers should never see the New World. Hardly one day later the “Cimbria” hit the British steamer “Sultan” and sank within 15 minutes. Eye witnesses reported that the Rommers had been able to board a lifeboat. But that also capsized because too many shipwrecked people had climbed into the boat. All three siblings between the ages of 21 to 27 drowned on their journey to the New World.
The Biberach population financed a commemorative plaque mounted outside the Church of the Holy Spirit and ever since the tragic accident, the side room of the “Ente” has carried the name “Rommer room”.
A picture of the Rommers can be seen here.
Please ask us if you are interested in a detailed biography of the Rommers or other events in the history of the