|To order videotape, click photo
Remarks given at premiere events
Dr. Richard W. Bovard
Arthur E. Flegel
Stuart and Cindy Mitzel Longtin
Kathleen Pavelko - Welcome Remarks
Kathleen Pavelko - Acknowledgements of Donors
Kathleen Pavelko - Introduction of Bob Dambach
Kathleen Pavelko - Introduction of Michael Miller
|Richard Bovard, Interim Director of Libraries,
North Dakota State University, Fargo
Comments from Dr. Richard W. Bovard
Interim Director of Libraries
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo
I am pleased to represent North Dakota State University on this
occasion, an occasion when we celebrate a documentary that honors
the history and culture of one of our state's important ethnic groups.
As you know, for over 100 years NDSU has been an influence upon
the well-being of this state through its many agricultural offices,
programs, and Extension Services. Likewise, the College of Human
Development and Education (formally the College of Home Economics)
has been a force in improving the living conditions of many North
But for almost all of this time, from 1907 and the hiring of A.
G. Arvold, NDSU has been interested in promoting the cultures of
the state and culture in the state. Before this founder of the Little
Country Theatre retired, the Institute for Regional Studies was
founded. Since 1950, this Institute has existed to preserve and
study the history and culture of the state and region. With a publication
program exemplified by its recent award-winning Magnificent Churches
on the Prairie, the Institute has promoted the study of North Dakota.
With an archives enriched by the recent acquisition of forty years
of the Jules Lebrun farm records, the Institute has preserved vital
documents of the state.
Over time, many scholars have jointed the faculty to study North
Dakota history, rural culture, and ethnic cultures. And they have
taught others to know and appreciate the people of this land. In
our History Department, Bill Reid, the first Institute archivist,
was eventually joined by such scholars as David Danbom and Tom Isern.
In Sociology/Anthropology, Father William Sherman, a pioneer in
the study of North Dakota ethnic cultures, was eventually joined
by such scholars as Tim Kloberdanz and Gary Goreham.
And at the NDSU Libraries, where the archives of the Institute
are housed, Michael Miller has enthusiastically nurtured the development
of a special, focused collection: The Germans from Russia Heritage
Collection. Since 1978, that collection has developed from a traditional
book collection into an oral history project, four international
listservs, and an annual Tour to the Homeland-among many other things.
So, at NDSU, we delight in the production of this documentary.
We honor a significant group of immigrants to this land. And we
maintain our long tradition of commitment to this state.
|(left to right): Michael M. Miller, Cleora
Rauscher Flegel & Arthur E. Flegel presented Prairie Public
Television's "Donor's Edition" Germans from Russia videotape
& plaque for their major financial contribution, Menlo Park,
California, 25 February 1999.
Written remarks Arthur E. Flegel, Menlo Park, California
Major donor to the documentary (read by Dr. Richard W. Bovard)
Since early youth I have been intrigued with the thought, "Why
and under what conditions did my ancestors migrate from Germany
to Russia?" Oldsters whom I questioned could at best give a vague
response which included something about the Russian Czarene, Catherine
Names of towns and villages mentioned by my parents and their
friends as they reminisced about the "old country" could not be
located on the maps which my elementary school geography book provided.
Consequently, the more remote the reasons behind these ancestral
movements appeared the more determined I became to search for the
This, however, became more of a challenge than I had anticipated.
Finally, I made a vow, that if the Lord would provide the means,
I would devote and dedicate whatever talents He might bless me with
towards uncovering this perplexing riddle. I can now gratefully
state that the Lord provided most abundantly and the answers to
those questions did indeed become an over- riding event and interest
in my life.
My major breakthrough came while researching in the Hoover Institution
at Stanford University when I came upon an impressive card file
referring to Germans in Russia. This led to an acquaintanceship
with Dr.Karl Stumpp of Tuebingen, Germany and my eventual involvment
with the printing and distribution of his magnificent volume, The
Emigration from Germans to Russia in the Years 1763-1862. [title
of book in italics] Dr. Stumpp may very well be regarded as the
patriarch of German from Russia historical research.
By the time of the creation of the American Historical Society
of Germans from Russia in 1968, I had already assembled a substantial
collection of material on this subject and was pleased when asked
to become a part of the creation of a society dedicated to the research
and preservation of our unique German from Russia history and genealogy.
As a matter of fact, this endeavor has become the primary activity
of the past forty years of my life.
It is indeed my sincere desire and hope that the unique heritage
which we of German from Russia background possess will be preserved
for many generations to come. To that end I have been privileged
to make a fairly substantial monetary contribution to the work spearheaded
by Mike Miller and Richard Bovard and intend to continue to support
the effort as long as it is the Lord's will for me to do so.
|Stuart Longtin, Fargo, speaks on behalf
of Cindy Mitzel Longtin and himself, major financial donors
to the documentary, expressing gratitude for the completion
Comments from Stuart and Cindy Mitzel Longtin
Fargo, North Dakota
Major donors to the documentary
What you are, is what you were, when. How can anyone know where
they are going when they don't know where they came from? Doesn't
everyone wonder what particular set of circumstances brought them
to where they are and what they are?
This documentary, and others to follow, is important, very important.
The history and tradition it shows are part of the unique history
of a people. It shows the power of a people in overcoming adversity.
It shows the drive of a people to succeed. It shows the ingenuity
of a people to adapt and incorporate traditions and techniques of
another culture to their own. It also shows the faith of a people.
A faith that sustained them, through wars, droughts, famines, prejudice,
and even a police state.
This what the German-Russian people were, are now, and are passing
on to future generations.
This documentary will hopefully raise an interest in our young
people and cause them to want to learn about their heritage. This
is a heritage that served their ancestors well and will serve today's
and tomorrow's generations as well.
When we found out about the documentary project from Michael Miller,
we became enthused with the same excitement that he felt. We feel
very fortunate to be able to be part of this wonderful heritage
experience. Our trips to the Ukraine fired our zeal to learn and
help to spread this learning. We have had the privilege of walking
the village streets of our ancestors. We've seen the same churches
where the families prayed, worshiped, were married, and were buried.
This experience was something that can't really be explained. We
sincerely hope that more German-Russian young people will become
interested in their heritage as a result of viewing this splendid
We want to thank Michael Miller for his drive and enthusiasm about
something about which he feels so very strongly. Our thanks also
go to Bob Dambach for his superb production talents. The efforts
of these two people, and all the rest involved in the project, brought
about a result that is clearly first-rate and professional.
May this be the start.
|Kathleen Pavelko, President of Prairie
Public Broadcasting, Fargo, welcomes guest to the documentary
Kathleen Pavelko, President
Prairie Public Broadcasting, Inc., Fargo, North Dakota
Good evening, and welcome to an evening of celebration, acknowledgement
We are here to celebrate the completion of an important work of
history and heritage, to acknowledge the historians and others who
shared their expertise, to thank the donors who provided financial
support for the program, and to present to you the first public
screening of The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children
of the Prairies.
The Germans from Russia documentary is historically sound, emotionally
striking, visually beautiful.and I think a real contribution to
the history and heritage of the Prairie region. We hope that through
this program, many hundreds of thousands of viewers nationwide will
come to understand the remarkable qualities which make this ethnic
group unique in the history of Europe and North America.
Tonight you will meet the individual whose passion and knowledge
about the Germans from Russia created the original idea. You will
also meet the television producer who took an idea and created a
visual history. And you will meet one of the project's most significant
donors, a family whose commitment to their heritage led them to
support this documentary effort to tell the Germans from Russia
I'd like to begin tonight with the partnership between two North
Dakota institutions that made The Germans from Russia documentary
possible. The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection and the staff
expertise of the Libraries at North Dakota State University are
the intellectual heart of this project. Archives, oral histories,
letters and artifacts are all part of this rich resource.
But the Libraries did more, drawing on its far-flung connections
with the Germans from Russia community nationwide and raising the
funds needed to produce the project. And, as the program neared
completion, the Libraries devoted its considerable electronic resources
to getting out the word that the program was about to emerge.
Acknowledgements of Donors by Kathleen Pavelko
In your program is an impressive list-the complete list-of contributors
to The Germans from Russia. The financial support came in amounts
both large and small, from within North Dakota, across the country
and abroad. Major funding for the program came from the members
of Prairie Public, from the North Dakota Humanities Council, and
from Arthur E. and Cleora Flegel. Although the Flegels could not
be with us tonight, Art Flegel has sent a message to share with
you and here is Richard Bovard to present it.
|Bob Dambach, Executive Producer
and Director at Prairie Public Television, shares his thoughts
about the completion of the documentary
Introduction of Bob Dambach by Kathleen Pavelko
Making a television program can be a mysterious process to the
outsider. It seems clear that pictures are necessary, and sound,
and some words, too. But how do you go from an idea-let's make a
documentary! - to the carefully crafted story you will see tonight?
That's the work of the producer, and a complicated task it is.
A producer brings together content experts, a script writer, videographer,
graphics specialists, video editors and composer. Each one of these
professionals has strong views. A producer must keep the ultimate
goal in mind, even while handling thousands of technical and organizational
Bob Dambach, the producer of this program, is the director of
television programming and production at Prairie Public. This program
has been his special focus for the past four years. When it seemed
the project was stalled, he kept it going. In addition to being
the producer, he's also been a part time videographer, writer, fundraiser
In fact, a producer worries about everything. Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like you to meet the most accomplished and productive worrier
at Prairie Public Broadcasting, Bob Dambach.
Introduction of Michael Miller by Kathleen Pavelko
This project has many proud parents, but none is more proud, or
more significant, that Michael Miller. As bibliographer of the Germans
from Russia Heritage Collection at the NDSU Libraries and as a German
from Russia himself, Michael brings considerable historical expertise
to this topic. But after a 1994 trip to the Ukraine, it was Michael's
idea and Michael's passion to bring the Germans From Russia story
to the screen. Throughout the long production process, it was Michael
who provided the entry to the German From Russia community. It was
Michael who kept the community connected and informed electronically
via his newsletter, messages and web site. It was Michael who communicated
his passion for the project to the many potential donors. And it
was Michael who graciously and generously participated with other
scholars and experts in telling the story.
|Ryn Pitts, Chair of the Prairie Public
Broadcasting Board of Directors, extends greetings
Remarks from Ryn Pitts, Chair, Board of Directors, Prairie Public
On behalf of the board, I am very pleased to welcome you to this
evening's reception and screening of The Germans from Russia: Children
of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie.
And I'm especially pleased to celebrate the partnership with the
NDSU Libraries which helped make it possible.
It is Prairie Public Broadcasting's mission to be the region's
most trusted provider of news, information, education and cultural
programming. Partnerships such as the one with the NDSU Libraries
are essential in fulfilling that mission.
We look forward to future projects with North Dakota's universities,
the State Historical Society of North Dakota, the Humanities Council
and with individual authors and scholars. By combining their expertise
with ours, we plan to continue to tell the story of the prairie
region in compelling and thoughtful ways.