of Father Anthony Kopp
Book review by Paulette Tobin
Kopp, Father Anthony. Memoir’s of Father Anthony Kopp. North Dakota State University Libraries, Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, Fargo, North Dakota, 1999.
Charm and heritage: Two books tell the stories of Germans from
Russia in North Dakota
More North Dakotans can trace their ancestry to the Germans from
Russia than to any other ethnic group, and both these books have
something to contribute to telling the story of this group's rich
Memoirs of Father Anthony Kopp was taken from Kopp's original
manuscript, which he pounded out on an old typewriter shortly before
his death in 1964. Born in Krasna, Bessarabia, in 1891, Kopp attended
elementary school near Harvey, ND., and completed high school, college
and theological studies at Assumption Abbey near Richardton, N.D.
Ordained in 1917, he served North Dakota parishes in Rosebud, Odense,
Mott, Bowbells and Foxholm. He was a chaplain at Garrison (N.D.)
Hospital when he died at age 73.
Kopp's manuscript was published faithfully with spelling errors
and what the publishers call "the unique dialectical German
speech" spoken by Germans to whom English was a second language.
This may be colorful, but it also makes for some seriously strangled
syntax at times.
Kopp's good nature and sense of humor shine through his stories
of his family and of the joys and hardships of being a priest in
western North Dakota. Some of what he wrote could have used more
background. His stories of church infighting and Bishop Shanley's
visits to Harvey, for instance, are more meaningful when you know
that Bishop Shanley disliked the Germans from Russia intensely and
Kopp's eldest brother,Pius, was the first in the family sent to
Richardton for education, but rather than becoming a priest he fell
in love, leading to nuptials not only for Pius, but for their sister,
Angela. She met her future husband, John Bleier, at Pius' wedding.
At the wedding, Pius asked his friend John "whether or why
he does not get married," Kopp wrote. "John Bleier said,
"Give me your sister,' or 'Can I get your sister,' and the
answer was, 'Go ask her.' He did ask her and she said 'yes.'"
Jolenta Fischer Masterson of Sequim, Wash., a native of Strasburg,
N.D., who worked on the publishing of this book, said she came across
several names and families that were familiar to her. If you had
family members in western North Dakota, especially if they were
Catholic, don't be surprised if they turn up in this book.
Reprinted with permission of the Grand Forks Herald.