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. January begins
the 11th year of this column published in North Dakota and South
Dakota weekly newspapers.
The West Acres Shopping Center in Fargo features the Annual Cookbook
Festival on Saturday, February 3, 2007; from 10 am to 9 pm. GRHC
will have its many cookbooks available at this event.
My thanks to the many persons who visited the GRHC booth at the
Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcase events in November at Fargo and
in December at Bismarck. We look forward to these events in 2007.
GRHC has published an important new book, “Death of a Past
Life” by Robert N. Reincke, North Hollywood, CA, a true story
of an elite German-Russian family’s horrific experience of
the St. Petersburg Bloody Sunday Massacre of 1905, the desperate
evacuation to the Caucuses, and to Berlin, Germany, finally ending
in an impoverished immigration to Ellis Island in 1949.
Actual photos of this family illuminate the era they live in as
they experience the horrors created by their country’s leaders
and followers. It is fraught with the external chaos caused by no
less than two World Wars and a Revolutions that threw an entire
civilization into fear and flight. The chapters are based by the
experiences of the author’s grandmother, Omi, who was 100
years old on December 12, 2006. The author, his grandmother and
mother used a little black book that his grandfather kept, which
dated events that occurred during and after the Siege.
I am pleased to announce the dates for the 13th Journey to the Homeland
Tour to Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart, Germany for May 17-28, 2007.
The tour will include four days in Odessa visiting the former German
villages, and six days in southern Germany. Tour members will attend
the large Germans from Russia gathering called the Russlanddeutschen
Bundestreffen, at Wiesbaden on May 26-27, 2007. Please contact me
for further information and registration.
GRHC has available an outstanding new cookbook, “Favorite
Recipes” prepared by the Southern Nevada Chapter in Las Vegas
of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia. It is
one of the best German-Russian ethnic cookbooks available. Recipes
include Grandma’s Halupsy, Kaseknepfle, homemade noodles,
dumplings, Dampf Nudele, Bessarabian Halushka, Kuchen, Platchenda,
and many other recipes. For more information, contact GRHC.
Debra Marquart, a native of rural Napoleon, ND, and an associate
professor of English at Iowa State University, Ames, has authored
an impressive new book, “The Horizontal World: Growing Up
Wild in the Middle of Nowhere: A Memoir”. From the earliest
age, Marquart knows she wanted out - out of the milking barn, out
of the nearly empty nest her farmhouse home had become once her
four older siblings moved away, out of the harvests and the blizzards
and the long dusty summer days full of nothing but hard work. But
even after she got good at leaving, she kept coming back. It is
this process of flight - from both the landscape and the family
and the return that Marquart writes about so exquisitely.
The Dakota Memories Oral History Project continues in 2007. Plans
include interviews for these areas of North Dakota: Beulah/Hazen,
Bismarck/Mandan, Devils Lake/Rugby and Dickinson/Richardton. Jessica
Clark, Germans from Russia history doctoral fellow, is coordinator
of this project. For further information about the Dakota Memories
Oral History Project, go to library.ndsu.edu/grhc/dakotamemories/index.html,
or contact Jessica Clark at 701-231-8419; email@example.com.
The new DVD documentary, “We’ll Meet Again in Heaven”
funded by GRHC is narrated by Ronald Vossler, UND, Grand Forks.
Vossler guides the viewer from the small North Dakota town where
he found the first letter, down the “blood-dark corridor of
ethnic history” to former German villages in Ukraine and Moldova
that were the source of numerous immigrants to the American prairie
The award-winning DVD documentaries: “Germans from Russia
Food Pantry” and “The Germans from Russia: Children
of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie” & “Prairie
Crosses, Prairie Voices: Iron Crosses of the Great Plains”
are also available.
The American Historical Society of Germans from Russia Convention
is June 11-16, 2007, Holiday Inn, Hays, KS (www.ahsgr.org); the
Germans from Russia Heritage Society Convention is July 19-22, 2007,
Ramkota Hotel, Bismarck, ND (www.grhs.org).
For further information about Germans from Russia heritage, Dakota
Memories Oral History Project, donations to GRHC including books,
events, documentaries, CDs, DVDs, cookbooks and the June, 2007 tour,
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).
January, 2007 column for North Dakota and South Dakota