Middletown had a rather small German community, and Carl Hermann’s Delicatessen is no more. The Middlesex County Historical Society reports the following about a pivotal night in the lives of Hermann Family:

“At 1:45 a.m. on August 3, 1918, Carl Theodore Herrmann was awakened by the sound of shattering glass. Hurrying downstairs in his pajamas, he found an angry mob of 100 men who had broken down his door and strewn garbage on his veranda. One of the men shouted that Herrmann had been heard making pro-German remarks. Someone in the crowd pushed an American flag in front of Herrmann’s face and forced him to kiss it. When those in the mob demanded that he give a speech, Herrmann was too frightened to speak. His 20-year-old son, Carl F., stepped forward and angrily proclaimed his father’s patriotism. As the situation began to escalate, police arrived and dispersed the crowd.

Carl Herrmann had lived in Middletown over half his life when the mob accused him of being un-American. Born in Germany about 1866, he had arrived here as a young man and began working as a baker for Jacob Stueck, another German. About 1910, Herrmann opened his own delicatessen on Main Street. The Herrmann family was not the only one targeted by the mob. With war fever at a high pitch, anyone with a German surname might fall under suspicion. In Middletown, where the German community was relatively small, each member was vulnerable.”

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