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.
Special holiday regards and the best in 2006 to readers of this
We appreciate the warm receptions we received at Gackle and Wishek,
ND, for Dakota Memories Oral History Project Public Forums. This
was a heart-warming experience to be with the interviewees, families
and our Germans from Russia communities. We were impressed with
the attendance and the interest at these events.
It was interesting to review the family names of the attendees:
Aberle, Ackerman, Bauer, Becker, Bitz, Boschee, Bradner, Burlack,
Deile, Dewald, Diegel, Dockter, Drefs, Eiseman, Eszlminger, Fercho,
Fiechtner, Fischer, Gackle, Graf, Gross, Hauck, Herman, Heupel,
Heyne, Iszler, Janke, Just, Kaseman, Kauk, Ketterling, Kleingartner,
Klundt, Kramer, Lacher, Lippert, Meidinger, Miller, Mueller, Neu,
Nickisch, Pressler, Rath, Remboldt, Rieger, Schaffer, Schauer, Schilling,
Schlecht, Schlenker, Schott, Vossler, Walth, Wanner, Wiest, Woehl,
Ziegenhagel and Zimmerman.
We look forward to the spring and summer of 2006 when Jessica and
Will Clark travel to central North Dakota for additional interviews
with our Germans from Russia community.
GRHC is pleased to announce The Thomas J. Hoffman Collection available
with an index search. GRHC became beneficiary of this valuable historically
significant donation upon the request of the late Thomas Joseph
Hoffman, a native of Mandan, ND. Hoffman's primary research and
publishing interests related to the Beresan Colonies of South Russia
(today near Odessa, Ukraine). The collection focuses on the Catholic
Beresan villages and families. Many of these family from Beresan
Colonies immigrated to North Dakota especially in the Mandan and
Dickinson/Flasher/Richardton/Mandan/St. Anthony areas of central
and western North Dakota. The Hoffman Collection website is: library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/thc/intro.html.
Jay Gage, GRHC exhibits and textiles curator, writes: "Thomas
Hoffman's genealogical vision reflects an extensive undertaking
of seeking and integrating various archival sources, thus providing
a rare overview of family relationships, often with generational
The new book, "The Old God Still Lives: German Villagers in
Czarist and Soviet Ukraine Write Their American Relatives, 1915-1924",
by Ronald J. Vossler, teaching at UND, Grand Forks and a Wishek,
ND native. These letters chronicle a substantial and on-going correspondence
between the ethnic Germans who left Ukraine between 1873 and 1914,
and who sent much money, food and clothing to those wishing that
they had left South Russia also.
There is much in this new book for persons who desire to learn more
about villages which were the source of one of North Dakota's most
distinct, and most numerous, ethnic groups. There are 150 letters
where were translated from the old German script to English, published
in five German language newspapers in North Dakota. Families receiving
these letters include: Boschee, Morlock, Wanner, Schauer, Dockter,
Bender, Ketterling, Ackermann, Doerr, Kurtz, Bohlander, Schock,
Mindt, Wiest, Schoepp, Schaible, Wacker, Bauer, Kessler, Frank,
Schaeffer, Rohrich, Wolf, Heinle, Stockburger, Hieb, Spitzer, Huber,
Rueb, Sauter, Ammon, Schweigert, Rohrbach and Wentz.
Prairie Public Broadcasting has announced a new DVD, "Germans
from Russia Food Pantry"
which brings combines three award-winning public television favorites
that have been broadcast throughout North America. Enjoy "Schmeckfest:
Food Traditions of the Germans from Russia" and "Recipes
from Grandma's Kitchen: Food Preparations and Traditions of the
Germans from Russia, Volume I and II".
The DVD documentary and performance CD, "A Soulful Sound: Music
of the Germans from Russia" 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 German colonistis 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, as well as their
vocal and instrumental music.
Also, Prairie Public Broadcasting has produced a 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 the Thomas J. Hoffman Collections,
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).
December, 2005 column for North Dakota and South Dakota