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An Expanded Bibliography and Reference Guide for the Former USSR's Ethnic Germans: Issues of Ethnic Autonomy, Group Repression, Cultural Assimilation, and Mass Emigration in the Twentieth Century and Beyond

Book review by William M. Wiest, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology Emeritus, Reed College, Portland, Oregon

Schmaltz, Ph.D, Eric J. An Expanded Bibliography and Reference Guide for the Former USSR's Ethnic Germans: Issues of Ethnic Autonomy, Group Repression, Cultural Assimilation, and Mass Emigration in the Twentieth Century and Beyond. North Dakota State University Libraries, Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, Fargo, North Dakota, 2003.


The full title of Eric Schmaltz's book, "An Expanded Bibliography and Reference Guide for the Former USSR's Ethnic Germans: Issues of Ethnic Autonomy, Group Repression, Cultural Assimilation, and Mass Emigration in the Twentieth Century and Beyond," is long and appropriately descriptive. Even so, the title only hints at the magnificent contribution Schmaltz makes, with his publisher (Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU), to research on Germans from Russia (or "Russian Germans" to use the author's favored term). This clearly written compendium of information will enable both the scholar and general reader quickly to grasp the extent and quality of the scattered published works on Russian Germans that have been produced over the years in the USSR, in Germany and in North America. This reader hardly knows how adequately to express his astonishment and pleasure in finding such an impressive and useful work now available for use.

Schmaltz's book is clearly not a quick Sunday afternoon read; it is a serious book that probably will be used chiefly as a reference guide. As an example of what is in store, picture the following: In fewer than 20 pages the book lists a chronology of some 360 events in the former Soviet Union from 1914 to 2001 that impacted the resident ethnic Germans. There follows a scholarly and critical bibliographic and historiographic essay (about 60 pages) which introduces a detailed bibliography (approximately 165 pages) of materials published in English, German and Russian. The essay and the bibliography together comprise an impressive central core which promises to provide grist for the mill of serious researchers for the forseeable future.

In a word, this is a "MUST HAVE" book for any serious scholar of the history and current status of Germanic peoples who trace their ancestry to or currently reside in Russia and the USSR; for the rest of us, this book will be an equally important part of our personal libraries as we struggle to understand the broad sweep of complex and often tragic events that have shaped the lives of "unsere Leute."

Who would have ever known there were so many works about Russia's Germans published in Russia (and in Germany) had Eric Schmaltz not undertaken the labor of love that resulted in this amazing book?

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North Dakota State University Libraries
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