Memoirs of Father Anthony Kopp Published
6 December 1999
The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC), NDSU Libraries,
Fargo, is pleased to announce publication "Memoirs of Father Anthony
Kopp". The original manuscript of Father Anthony is housed in the
archives of the Assumption Abbey Library, Richardton, ND. The book
tells the story of Father Anthony's German-Russian youth and his
life in North Dakota capturing the unique dialectal German speech
as he himself directly translated into English text.
Father Kopp was born on December 11, 1891, in Krasna, Bessarabia.
Anthony Kopp attended elementary schools near Harvey, ND. He completed
high school, college and theological studies at Assumption Abbey,
Richardton, ND. Father Kopp finished his seminary studies at St.
Paul Seminary, St. Paul, MN. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese
of Bismarck, ND, on June 21, 1917, at St. Mary's Catholic Church,
Father Kopp served five parishes in the Bismarck diocese including
Rosebud, Odense, Mott, Bowbells and Foxholm. He was Pastor of St.
Mary's Catholic Church at Foxholm from 1933 to 1962. Father Kopp
died at Garrison, ND, on July 10, 1964. He is buried at Assumption
Abbey Cemetery, Richardton, ND.
Jolenta Fischer Masterson writes in the Foreward: "Several years
ago, I received a copy of the Memoirs of Father Anthony Kopp. The
document was a bit hard to read, because Father Anthony thought
in German and wrote in English. He started telling his life story
in 1964 while he was Chaplain at the Garrison Hospital in Garrison,
ND. The typewriter that he used was certainly not new in 1964; many
of the letters were blurred and difficult to read.
Father Anthony's phrasing was so reminiscent of the language familiar
to those of German-Russian descent. We very likely spoke that way
ourselves as we were growing up in North Dakota. When he spoke of
Father Bernard Strassmeier, I remembered that I had met that venerable
old priest when I was eight years old.
The opportunity to work with Father Anthony's autobiography has
been a privilege for me. I have learned much about the life and
time of my grandparents and their family and relatives during their
early years in this country. I hope that my efforts will help preserve
their precious story."
Reviewing the book, Father Jonathan Fischer, St. Paul, MN, writes:
"I found Father Kopp's autobiography a truly fascinating work. His
description of his family's trip to America and their getting situated
in North Dakota was most revealing. He also details the effect of
having to homestead on this vast prairie, how families had to live
isolated and apart from each other instead of in a friend "Dorf",
or village, as was the case in the old country. For personal reasons,
I found the author's coverage of the various types of farm work
Father Leonard Eckroth, Strasburg, ND, writes: "I knew Father
Kopp personally. What I appreciated in his Memoirs was his humble
willingness in western North Dakota, especially during the drought
and the flu epidemic. No doubt, he was able to do what he did for
his people because of the strong faith that was handed on to him
by his parent and family, who moved from South Russia to America.
They settled first in the Krasna area west of Strasburg, then to
Harvey and finally to Richardton, ND."
Family historian Mary Lynn Axtman, Fargo, ND, comments: "Memoirs"
give the reader a non-romanticized journey through the settlement
years of North Dakota that helps them to realize these immigrant
folks. In honest, factual and plan language, the reader's journey
with the Kopp family, and later with Anthony as North Dakota becomes
settled, communities, churches and schools are established, and
life becomes a bit easier."
The GRHC website page for the book is - http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/nd_sd/kopp.html.
Price of the book is $20 plus postage and handling ($3 postage in
US & $4 to Canada). Make check payable to NDSU Library. Mail to:
NDSU Libraries, Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, Father
Anthony Kopp Book, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599. For more information,
contact Michael M. Miller at Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail: Michael.Miller@ndsu.edu.