"The Old God Still Lives": Award-winning
UND writer, UND alum release new book about Germans from Russia
February 27, 2006
UND News, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks
By Peter Johnson, Media Relations Coordinator
A just-published book by award-winning University of North Dakota
instructor Ron Vossler and UND alum Joshua Vossler -- a father-son
details through translated correspondence the persecution endured
German communities in Russia and the Ukraine during Czarist and,
subsequently, Soviet times. The books title, The Old God Still Lives,
adapted from a German-language aphorism that reflects the survival
of the Germans-from-Russia culture: despite the hardships and persecution,
were still here thanks to Gods grace.
Thousands of Germans from Czarist-era Ukraine settled in the United
between 1873 and 1914, says Vossler, who is finishing work on a
documentary to be released this year and another, bigger book about
culture. About 35 percent of North Dakotans can trace their heritage
directly to Germans from Russia immigrants, including many that
the Alsace-Lorraine district on the French-German border.
These immigrant families, who escaped the persecution in their
maintained a regular correspondence with relatives back home, says
Vossler, a veteran UND English instructor who traveled extensively
Ukraine, Moldova, Canada, the Alsace province in France, and the
States to conduct interviews with Germans from Russia who had survived
world wars, the Russian revolution and civil war, two famines, and
concerted efforts by both Czarist and Soviet authorities to eliminate
Vossler, an internationally renowned expert on the subject who
scripted three widely-aired, highly-praised documentaries about
from Russia and their culture both here in their native lands, also
written several other popular books about Germans from Russia. His
include another collection of translated letters, a memoir, and
collection of Germans from Russia folk humor. Vossler also developed
has internationally performed a stand-up comic routine that includes
and anecdotes based on the Germans-from-Russia culture and language.
The Old God Still Lives: Ethnic Germans in Czarist and Soviet Ukraine
Write Their American Relatives 1915-1924 is a compilation of
letters-researched and translated by the Vosslers for this book-from
ethnic Germans in the Ukraine and elsewhere to German-from-Russia
relatives in the United States. The authors provide an extensive
introduction and a bibliography.
Joshua, a 2000 Phi Beta Kappa UND graduate with majors in English
German and a minor in visual arts, also illustrated the book.
The Old God Still Lives is published by the North Dakota State
Libraries' Germans from Russia Heritage Collection.