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 Germans from Russia
as an important part of the northern plains culture.
I plan to attend the Canadian Festival of Germans from Russia during
September 23-25, 2005 at Medicine Hat, Alberta. The Medicine Hat area
today has many families of Bessarabian and Black Sea German ancestry.
We are pleased to announce the following public programs in these
North Dakota communities called the Dakota Memories Oral History
Project: 1) October 30, 2005, Wishek: St. Luke's Lutheran Church
107 Centennial Street South, 2 pm; 2) November 13, 2005, Gackle:
American Legion Hall, Main Street, 2 pm. The programs are free and
open to the general public, and are sponsored by the North Dakota
Humanities Council, the NDSU Development Foundation, and the NDSU
Program participants will be: Jessica Clark, coordinator of the
project; Tom Isern, NDSU Department of History; Kimberly Porter,
UND Department of History; and Michael Miller, NDSU Libraries. For
further information, go to the GRHC website at "Oral History
Jessica Clark writes: "Every interview has been enlightening
and full of wonderful childhood memories. I have thoroughly enjoyed
meeting and visiting with everyone in the Streeter, Gackle Ashley
and Wishek areas. I have learned a lot about growing up German-Russian
in North Dakota through a variety of childhood memories and different
At these programs, we will share their childhood and other memories
of the interviewees.
GRHC has published Duane Stabler's new book, "Researcher's
Guide to McPherson County, South Dakota Cemeteries", which
summaries information form over 100 family plots, gravesites and
cemeteries. McPherson County was a key destination for many immigrants
from South Russia to settle in the Dakotas. The book contains and
historical overview, photo postcards, names and locations of cemeteries,
data of individuals buried and maps to the cemetery or gravesite.
Stabler writes: "This book was an idea that stemmed from my
visit to my Great Grandpaents gravesite at the Neudorf Cemetery,
McPherson County. It was then that I realized that informtion about
these ancestors, buried in gravesites throughout McPherson County,
needed to be recorded."
The new DVD and performance CD, "A Soulful Sound: Music of
the Germans from Russia" which premiered on Prairie Public
TV in April, are available. In the 18th and early 19th centuries,
thousands of German-speaking peoples established major German settlements
in Russia, first along the Volga River in the north, and secondly
along the Black Sea in South Russia and nearby Bessarabia. Eventually,
many migrated yet again, this time to North and South America. Throughout
their travels, these Germans - now Germans from Russia - maintained
their traditional religious music, their lullabies and folk songs,
their vocal and instrumental music alike.
"A Soulful Sound" blends expert commentary with performances
of traditional music from regional talent including St. Andrew's
Lutheran Church Centennial Choir, University of Mary and Jamestown
College concert choirs, Young People's Hutterite Singers, ALIVE
Gospel Choir, Harvey area Centennial Men's Choir, and the Napoleon/Kintyre
area folk singers. Singers featured included Maria Appelhans, Rosalinda
Kloberdanz, John J. Gross, Tony Wangler, Robert Erbele and Ron Volk.
Enjoy Marv Zander and Victor Schwahn and their bands as they perform
accordion music and recreate a traditional wedding reception at
the Blue Room in Strasburg, ND.
Prairie Public Broadcasting has produced a new DVD which includes
these two award-winning documentaries: "The Germans from Russia:
Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie" and "Prairie
Crosses, Prairie Voices: Iron Crosses of the Great Plains.
The 12th Journey to the Homeland Tour, sponsored by the NDSU Libraries
is scheduled for May 23 - June 2, 2006. The tour includes Budapest,
Hungary; Odessa, Ukraine and the former German villages; Stuttgart,
Germany; and Alsace, France.
For further information about Germans from Russia heritage, donations
to GRHC including books, documentaries, CDs, DVDs, cookbooks and tours,
contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND
58105-5599 (Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
GRHC website: library.ndsu.edu/grhc).
September, 2005 column for North Dakota and South Dakota
to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested
by contacting Michael