In Touch with Prairie Living
By Michael M. Miller
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo
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.
We are pleased to announce the "Recipe
Index Search" available for use at the GRHC website. The
search includes recipe titles from a variety of ethnic backgrounds,such
as Bessarabian, Black Sea, German, Russian, Ukrainian, Mennonite,
Hutterite, Volga, Crimean, and the Northern and Central Plains of
the USA. The cookbook title, recipe category, recipe name, page
number, and person who submitted the recipe are available through
Kristi Krebs Brink, NDSU Public History major and GRHC student
employee, writes: "While indexing, I found a recipe for Homemade
Cottage Cheese for Strudel from my grandmother, Charlotte Dobitz
Krebs, New England, ND. This search will help anyone looking to
find a specific recipe title, including which cookbooks contain
GRHC has recently published, "Through
the German Colonies of the Beresan District and Colonist Tales",
translated from German to English by Dr. Roland Wagner, San Jose
State University, a native of the Dickinson ND area. Many families
from the former Beresan District villages, today located near Odessa,
Ukraine, immigrated to central and western North Dakota. Wagner
writes: "Nuggets of information can be gleam from Bachmann's
writings about the conditions of life in the German colonies during
the early Soviet era. The consumption of sunflower seeds and watermelons
figure prominently in Bachmann's stories at various points".
GRHC has published this new book, "Gottlob
Lerch: A Story" By F.B. Urban, translated from German to
English. Gottlob Lerch was a simple, hard-working man who immigrated
from the Kuban Region of the Russian Empire to the plains of North
Dakota to make a new life for himself and his family. Ingeborg Wallner
Smith, the translator, writes: "This is a homesteading story
with a twist. This homesteader is not only an immigrant from Russia,
but is the descendant of the German farmers invited to Russia by
Catherine the Great. Lerch was a proud countryman, massive and gnarled
like an oak. He could count up his forefathers unto the fifth generation,
and was convinced that man's destiny was to cultivate the land and
to preserve it."
GRHC has published its third new book by Ronald J. Vossler, freelance
writer and a faculty member at UND, Grand Forks: "Lost
Shawls and Pig Spleens: Folklore, Anecdotes, and Humor of the Germans
from Russia". The book is a companion to, "Not
Until the Combine is Paid and Other Jokes from the Oral Traditions
of the Germans from Russia in the Dakotas", published by
GRHC in 2001.
In cooperation with the Germans from Russia Cultural Preservation
a new videotape, "Reflections
with Monsignor Joseph Senger" is available. A native of
Orrin, ND, Monsignor Senger, Minot, shares his childhood, farm life,
and religious life, as a son of German-Russian immigrants. He shares
his story of the emotional and unforgettable visit in May 2001 to
southern Ukraine and his ancestral German villages.
Prairie Public's "Prairie
Crosses, Prairie Voices: Iron Crosses of the Great Plains"
is receiving a terrific response from viewers. Be watching for this
third documentary of PPTV's Germans from Russia series on other
PBS stations in 2003. 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.
The videotape, "Recipes
from Grandma's Kitchen: Germans from Russia Food Traditions &
Preparations" Volume I, continues to be popular. The NDSU
Libraries and the Germans from Russia Cultural Preservation Foundation
has produced this videotape. Volume II of this videotape series
will be available in the fall of 2003.
Now in GRHC's fifth printing: "German
Food & Folkways: Heirloom Memories from Europe, South Russia
& the Great Plains", by Rose Marie Gueldner, Anamoose,
ND, is available.
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 draw much viewer interest, and have been shown on many PBS stations.
Each videotape includes bonus video footage not shown in the one-hour
The Journey to the Homeland Tour to Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart,
Germany is for May 20 - June 2, 2003. This tour includes visits
to the former Bessarabian, Black Sea and Crimean German villages
in southern Ukraine near the Black Sea.
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).
February, 2003 column for North Dakota and South Dakota