Germans From Russia Draw 424 at Rugby Convention
|Standing in front of wreaths commemorating
thousands of Germans from Russia who have lost their lives from
persecution are, from left, Arthur Leno of Bismarck, Mrs. Frank
Voeller of Rugby, choir director, Rev. Francis Grow of Rugby
and Rev. George Unruh of Rugby. They participated in a memorial
service at the Pease Gaarden.
"Germans From Russia Draw 424 at Rugby Convention." Minot Daily News, 8 July 1974.
RUGBY - The annual convention of the North Dakota
Historical Society of Germans from Russia closed a three-day program
Sunday with an interdenominational song and memorial service in
the amphitheater of the International Peace Garden north of Dunseith
in honor of hundreds of thousands of their people who have been
victims of deportation, starvation and political persecution over
With a total registration of 424, people came to Rugby from a considerable
number of states. Karl Ehni of Lodi, California formerly a farmer
at Fessenden, received special recognition for coming to the convention
from the longest distance.
Among those joining their American counterparts were two German
army captains who came to Rugby with 120 soldiers from training
at a camp near Brandon, Manitoba.
In addition to selecting Minot for the 1975 convention city, the
society re-elected LeRoy Oberlander of Dickinson as president.
Other officers include Arthur Leno of Bismarck, vice president,
and Mrs. Paul Retzlaff of Aneta, secretary.
Board members for the coming year will be Albert Hausauer of Bismarck
and Jake Roemmich of Mott, who were unable to be in Rugby for the
festivities; Mrs. Walter Essig of Denhoff; Thomas Wentz of Minot,
John Gross of Rugby, Fred Fiechtner and Dr. Armand Bauer of Fargo,
Rev. George Unruh of Bismarck and District Judge Ray Friederich
Gross, president of the host Heart of America chapter at Rugby,
presented charters to the Mott chapter, organized in March, and
to the Minot chapter, of which Mrs. Lewis R. Larson is secretary.
Other charters went to the Rugby, Bismarck and Linton chapters.
Rev. Frank Grow, pastor of the Little Flower Catholic Church in
Rugby, gave the address for the memorial service.
Memorial readings in both English and German were presented by
Leno, editor of the Heritage Review, published for the society at
Bismarck, and by Pastor Unruh.
Services commemorated 400,000 Germans from Russia who have died
as victims of deportation "after years of utter degradation
and deprivation of all inherent human rights," 300,000 who
died from starvation during the great famine of 1921-22 and another
famine in 1933-34 and those who have died far from home in the icy
seas of the North, in Siberia or in the desert of central Asia.
Through the placing of memorial wreaths, the service also commemorated
the pioneer forefathers who left Russia to seek freedom and opportunity
in America and the plight of 1,800,000 of their numbers who have
been dispersed to Asia from above the Arctic Circle to the borders
of Outer-Mongolia, China, Afghanistan and Persia and who are not
allowed religious freedom.
Leno served as song leader for the service with Mrs. Frank Voeller
of rural Rugby as director of a choir.
Portions of the memorial service were written in memory of Paulina
Friederich, mother of Judge Friederich, who died June 13. She was
born in 1887 in South Russia of German parentage and had lived in
McIntosh County on a farm six miles southwest of Fredonia following
Dr. LaVern Rippley, chairman of the Department of German at St.
Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota was the speaker for a Saturday
night banquet at Andrew's Steakhouse in Rugby. He outlined the role
which the Dakota Freie Presse, a German language paper, had played
in providing news about Germans from Russia on four continents.
Originally published at Aberdeen, South Dakota the Presse ran into
difficulties during World War I during anti-German sentiment among
Americans as spelled out by the passage of the "Trading with
the Enemy Act" which placed strict regulations on war news,
with publication only in the English language.
F.W. Salled, the publisher, subsequently was charged with transgressing
the law. He pleaded innocent, contending that he had complied with
Arrested with Salled was his editor, J.F. Paul Gross, who was charged
with failure to abide by the act in that he had worn a ring with
a "Traitorous insignia" and a watch band with a picture
of Kaiser Wilhelm.
However, Gross subsequently was determined to be an enemy alien,
since he was 2l years and 14 days old at the time his father became
a citizen, according to Dr. Rippley.
Gross was interred in Georgia for the duration of the war and Salled
was left alone to face his charge. According to Dr. Rippley, the
judge ruled that Salled had only technically violated the act and
he was fined $500, but Salled had spent a considerable amount of
money in his defense.
Two years after the incident, on February 21, 1920, he sold publishing
and printing business in Aberdeen and moved the paper to New Ulm,
Dr. Rippley was introduced by Dr. Joseph S. Height, professor of
languages at Franklin College, Franklin, Indiana.
Two German songs were sung during the banquet by Mary Kay Voeller,
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Voeller of rural Rugby.
Special honored out-of-state guests at the banquet were presented
with gifts by Gross.
Beer steins went to Dr. Rippley; Dr. Adam Giesinger, chemistry
professor at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg; Dr. Height; Theodore
Wenzlaff, retired Army colonel and member of the Nebraska state
legislature from Sutton; Fred C. Koch, former correspondent and
editor of newspapers in the state of Washington from Olympia; and
Dr. Anthony Becker, radiologist at Saskatoon, Sask.
Mrs. Gwen Pritzkau of Riverton, Utah, who presided at the Saturday
afternoon genealogy workshop, received salt shakers.
James R. Griess of Lincoln, Nebraska discussed "Pioneers on
Two Continents" during a Saturday noon luncheon.
Rev. William Sherman from the Newman Center at North Dakota State
University in Fargo, participated with Drs. Becker, Geisinger, Height,
Rippley, Col. Wenzlaff and Koch in a Saturday afternoon author's
symposium with Dr. Bauer presiding.
Reprinted with permission of the Minot Daily News.