In Touch with Prairie Living
By Michael M. Miller
The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) at the NDSU
Libraries in Fargo reaches out to prairie families and former Dakotans.
In various ways, it affirms the heritage of the Germans from Russia
as an important part of the northern plains culture.
The Germans from Russia Heritage Society's 30th Anniversary Convention
is July 13-16, at the Radisson Hotel, Bismarck. For more information
and registration, contact GRHS at 701-223-6167, or visit their website
From July 18-26, I will be traveling with Prairie Public Television
staff to Saskatchewan for videotape documentary filming of historic
sites of German-Russian settlements. We travel to areas around Regina,
Allan, Saskatoon, Tramping Lake, Luseland and Leader. Many German-Russians
live in Saskatchewan who have relatives in the Dakotas.
On Saturday, August 5, 2000, I will be in Devils Lake, ND, for
a Chautauqua presentation. The event takes place at 3 pm at St.
Joseph's Catholic Church. I will speaking about the Germans from
Russia of the central Dakotas and the settlements in north central
GRHC's traveling exhibit, "The Kempf Family: Germans from Russia
Weavers on the Dakota Prairies," is on display at the Harvey, ND
Public Library until November 1. Harvey's library has a fine collection
of books on the Germans from Russia.
The NDSU Library features the exhibit until November 1, "Germans
from Russia Weddings: From the Steppe of South Russia & Ukraine
to the Dakota Prairies." The exhibit is featured in the new display
cases as part of the Marie Rudel Portner Germans from Russia Room
at the NDSU Library which was dedicated in May, 2000.
I am pleased to announce that GRHC has published this important
book, "Marienberg: Fate of a Village," by Johann Bollinger, Wuestenrot,
Germany, and Janice Huber Stangl, Sterling, VA, native of Bowdle,
SD. The book is published in one volume both in the English and
German languages. Many families from the daughter colony of Marienberg
(Glueckstal District) immigrated to the Dakotas.
Author Janice Huber Stangl writes: "The book is a chronicle describing
the fate of all the peoples of South Russia during the first half
of the twentieth century. Through two world wars, two major famines,
as well as the terror and executions during the imposition of Communism,
their society, as the Germans in Russia once knew it, was completely
destroyed. Despite this, the spirit and heritage of the Marienbergers
has survived and lives today in its descendants in America and Western
Europe. Therefore, the plea of Christine Schnabel Ahl to Johann
Bollinger that `they should at least be on a bit of paper,' has
been fulfilled in this book."
Translator Dr. Homer Rudolf, University of Richmond, VA, and Wishek,
ND, native, writes: "The book includes the rich collection of letters
published in the 'Eureka Rundschau' between 1916 and 1932. One cannot
help but grieve when reading the stories of hunger and want, as
well as being truly grateful for those in the United States who
were were able to help their relatives in Marienberg. In addition
to providing genealogical information for many families, other interesting
items are included regarding everyday lives of the people remaining
in Marienberg and immigrants homesteading in eastern Montana. A
special treasure is the small number of humorous stories in dialect
that were submitted for publication by Jakob Ahl, the official correspondent
for many years from Marienberg to the 'Eureka Rundschau,' Eureka,
The award-winning 1999 documentary videotape, "The Germans from
Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie," and the
new videotape, "Schmeckfest: Food Traditions of the Germans from
Russia," continue to be well received throughout North America.
To secure the videotapes, contact Prairie Public at 1-800-359-6900.
"Schmeckfest" has recently received the "Bronze Telly Award" as
one of America's best documentaries in 2000. The videotapes can
also be secured by going to this GRHC website at "Videotape Documentary
& Other Projects." The videotapes include 20-minute bonus video
footage, not shown in the one-hour documentary. See many interesting
pages about the documentary at the Prairie Public Broadcasting website:
For further information about donations to the collection, including
family histories, textiles and clothing, exhibits, outreach programs,
the new book, "Marienberg: Fate of a Village," videotape documentaries,
Journey to the Homeland Tour including Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart,
Germany (late May/early June, 2001) and German-Russian heritage,
contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND
58105-5599 (Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail: Michael.Miller@ndsu.edu;
GRHC website: http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc).