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 Convention is August 8-11,
Radisson Hotel, Bismarck. Contact GRHS at 701-223-6167 for further
information or go to: www.grhs.org
for registration information.
Appreciation is extended to communities of Strasburg, Zeeland,
and Flasher, ND, and to the many visitors who visited the GRHC information
tables during the centennial days in June and July.
On August 7, at 7 pm, Heritage Center Auditorium, Bismarck, will
be the World Premiere of the new Prairie Public Television documentary:
"Prairie Crosses, Prairie Voices: Iron Crosses on the Great
Plains". The program is free and open to the general public.
The documentary premieres on Prairie Public Television on September
12, 2002 at 8 pm (CT). PPTV videotagraphers traveled the Dakotas,
western Kansas, and Saskatchewan to film the beautiful wrought-iron
Iron Crosses stand as sentinels on the prairie landscape, framed
by vast expanses of grass and sky. Though they stand silent, behind
each cross is a story. "Prairie Crosses, Prairies Voices"
evokes these stories: memories of the Germans from Russia, a frugal
and tenacious people whose blacksmiths used wagon-wheel rims and
scrap metal to fashion markers for their dead.
"Prairie Crosses, Prairie Voices" explains the traditional
iron art form that corssed continents and oceans, also survived
famine and war - to be reborn on the Great Plains of North America.
Dr. Thimothy J. Kloberdanz, writer and narrator, states: "The
wrought iron grave crosses ofthe German-Russians - with their unborken
hearts of metal, brightly painted stars, endless circles, banner-waving
angels, exquisitely formed lilies, and rose blossoms that rust but
never wilt - evoke the defiant spirit of their mortal makers."
A new videotape, "Germans from Russia on the Canadian Prairies
Then and Now" is now available. There are wonderful segments including
music, medicinal remedies (Brauche), cookery, games, religion, and
other Germans from Russia folkways. Germans from Russia carried
their traditions, culture, and language across two continents and
an ocean, breaking sod on the Canadian prairies. More information
is available at this web page: library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/tapes/canadianprairies.html
or by contacting GRHC.
The videotape, "Recipes from Grandma's Kitchen: Germans from Russia
Food Traditions & Preparations", continues to be well received.
The NDSU Libraries and the Germans from Russia Cultural Preservation
Foundation has produced this videotape. Review the Foundation's
mission and projects at: www.grculture.org. The videotape includes
these persons cooking in their kitchens while reminiscing: Millie
Doll Hauck, Dickinson, ND; Helen Gefroh Fischer, Hague Cafe, ND;
Bernadine Lang Kuhn, Owatonna, MN; Erica Lang Wangler, Bismarck,
ND; and Alma Janke Schott, Gackle, ND.
GRHC's latest book is now in its third printing since February,
2002: "German Food & Folkways: Heirloom Memories from Europe, South
Russia & the Great Plains", by Rose Marie Gueldner, Anamoose, ND.
The book is available at this website: library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/cookbooks/gueldner.html
or by contacting GRHC.
Dr. Timothy J. Kloberdanz, NDSU, writes: "Although there are German-Russian
cookbooks currently on the market, this one is quite unusual because
of the way it interweaves background history, ethnic heritage, and
so many mouth-watering Old Country recipes. If the German-Russians
have a Martha Stewart anywhere in North America, it may very well
be Rose Marie Gueldner"!
The award-winning documentary videotapes, "The Germans from Russia:
Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie" (1999), and "Schmeckfest:
Food Traditions of the Germans from Russia" (2000), continue to
be well received throughout North America. Each videotape includes
20-minutes of bonus video footage not shown in the one-hour documentary.
To purchase the videotapes, contact PPTV at 1-800-359-6900, or contact
The next Journey to the Homeland Tour to Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart,
Germany has been announced for May 20 - June 2, 2003. The tour includes
visits to the former Bessarabian, Black Sea and Crimean German villages
in southern Ukraine near the Black Sea. Dr. Harley Roth, San Jose,
CA, writes of his May, 2002 tour experience: "It was a great trip.
A trip that will impact my life forever. I made great friends, met
wonderful people, ate great food, visited the most interesting places,
former the most endearing memories, and found my roots!"
GRHC has produced the new "Scripture Memory Greeting Cards, Series
I". The set of eight cards (4" by 5 1/2") featuring color lithography
were printed before 1920s. These cards contain German Bible verse
text on the front cover, with translate on the inside. The back
cover contains the story of the cards. They were donated to GRHC
in 2002, by Adeline Kusler McCloy, a native of Kulm, ND. The card
designs can be seen at: library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/notecards/scripturemain.html,
or contact me.
For further information about Germans from Russia heritage, donations
to the Collection including family histories, books, notecards,
videotapes, cookbooks, and tours, contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU
Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599 (Tel: 701-231-8416;
GRHC website: http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc).
August, 2002 column for North Dakota and South Dakota newspapers.