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A New Village, Rosenfeld

By Walter and Irene Wahl Neuharth, Long Beach, California


We began to locate a village, Rosenfeld, as we ran out of time to see it on Monday. Tuesday morning the driver, Valentin, and guide translator, Galina Moochan, joined us in a travel van for Rosenfeld. The guides reminded us that it was possible the village may no longer be there, and they were uncertain as to the location.

Walter had the map from Dr. Stumpf's book and showed the guides where our village was. So when we returned from touring on Monday evening, we were heartbroken because we had not found our village. Elvira of Intourist and Michael Miller decided to send us with a driver and guide to attempt finding Rosenfeld.

We drove near the location where the village was supposed to be on the map, stopping along the road for more information on Rosenfeld. In the first two villages, the persons we asked did not know about Rosenfeld.

At the third village, we found an elderly lady who said, "Yes the village is just ahead". You can't imagine how elated we were to find Rosenfeld, where my grandfather, John Dietrich, was born and later imigrated to America.

The church was pulled down six years ago, while the cemetery behind the church was bulldozed for planting an orchard. There was an old water well built of stone, which was originally located at the church, so I found two sentimental stones to remember my grandfather.

We requested the guide to view a German home, before we went to tour the kindergarten there. The kindergarten principal asked us to come to her home, as she lived in a historic German house. First they brought a table into the yard and served us coffee. Then we were invited into their house and served us champagne. The husband taught music at an Academy and his wife was a kindergarten principal. We had left a bag of school supplies at her school.

Our hosts were a wonderful Ukrainian family with a daughter, son-in-law and grandmother 90 years old. The husband and wife had not received wages for 18 months. Their daughter directed a cultural center, where she was paid. The entire family lived on her salary. This village is a Communist loyalist populace, where elderly people voted for the communes as a better living choice. This family cared for a cow, geese, ducks, chickens and a garden. We were given six prime ripe tomatoes as gifts. The husband is doing all carpentry work of remodeling this house.

Grandmother told us that a family named Jelinsky had previously lived in this house, before they were taken to Siberia in 1944. The grandmother and I thoroughly enjoyed each other. She spoke Ukrainian and I spoke German, while we smiled gladly at each other. The guide remarked later that it appeared we understood each other perfectly.

They told us that the national State directs that every loyal Ukrainian volunteer their time to hoe by hand in corn and bean fields two hectares during two days. There were 10-20 people hand-hoeing in these fields with no mechanized machinery in sight.

The husband brought out his accordion for musical fun. I started to sing, "O Du Liber Augustine", as he picked up the tune with his accordion. He also played a portable piano, when they sang Ukrainian songs. This delightful time was a wonderful experience of sharing.

They gave us two poetry volumes written by T. BOPH, BABOX TOMAX and the other volume by I. BAH, APPAHKO, T. BOPH BAROX TOMAX. They feel complimented that we have traveled to learn more about our ancestors who had lived there. We enjoyed a wonderful day of satisfaction to find grandfather John Dietrichs' ancestral village.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller
North Dakota State University Libraries
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
Libraries
NDSU Dept #2080
PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Tel: 701-231-8416
Fax: 701-231-6128
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Director: Michael M. Miller
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