"Germans from Russia" Class Anthropology 461/661
North Dakota State University
Fargo, North Dakota
Dr. Timothy J. Kloberdanz, Class Instructor
The "Germans from Russia" course is held each spring semester
at North Dakota State University and deals with all of the major
German-speaking groups that settled in the former Russian Empire
(Black Sea Germans, Baltic Germans, Volga Germans, Caucasus Germans,
Hutterite Brethren, Mennonites, Volhynian Germans, Siberian Germans).
Representatives of many of these groups later settled in the Great
Plains region of North America and particularly in the Dakotas.
The class also deals with the topics of colony life, life cycle
and seasonal patterns, immigration, cultural retention, folklore,
linguistics, material folk culture, and many other subjects.
Towards the end of each "Germans from Russia" course, a traditional
dinner is prepared by the instructor and the students. Thirty to
forty separate dishes usually make their appearance. Besides adding
a celebratory atmosphere to the completion of the class, the various
German-Russian foodways that are enjoyed serve as reminders of important
anthropological concepts: acculturation, adaptation, diffusion,
ethnic symbols, and expressive culture. The German-Russian dish
"Fleischkiechla," for example, consists of deep-fried dough and
meat pockets. "Fleischkiechla" may well be of Tatar origin and was
one of many foodways brought to North America by German-Russian
immigrants who traced their origins to the Crimean region. "Baska,"
a frosted and richly-decorated Easter bread, represents a Black
Sea German borrowing from their Ukrainian neighbors. "Bratwurst"
(fried pork sausage), "Knepfla" (dumplings), and "Kuchen" (custard
cake) are examples of German-Russian foods that represent continuing
"German" influences. The diverse foodways of the German-Russians
reflect at least ten generations of family migration, cultural borrowing,
regional adaptation, and ethnic maintenance.
All of the following photographs are from the April 21, 1999 "Germans
from Russia" class, which focused on foodways and other folk traditions.
For more information about the "Germans from Russia" class
that is held each spring semester at North Dakota State University,
please contact the instructor:
For the recipes and foodways of the Germans from Russia, review
the following Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) website
"Recipes and Foodways" (including many recipes)
"Ein bessarabisches Weihnachtsfest" (including Bessarabian recipes)
For cookbooks available from the GRHC website, review the following