About Us

Report from the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection

To the membership of the Germans from Russia Heritage Society
30th International Convention, July 13-16, 2000
Radisson Inn, Bismarck, North Dakota

1. The new Marie Rudel Portner Germans from Russia Room was dedicated on May 26, 2000, at the North Dakota State University Library, Fargo. The Marie Rudel Portner Germans from Russia Endowment for the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection at the NDSU Libray was announced. Marie Rudel Portner was a native of rural Fessenden, Wells County, North Dakota. She was a first-generation of Bessarabian German ancestry. Marie died at the age of 102 in October, 1999.

The new display cases feature until November 1, 2000, the following exhibit: Germans from Russia Weddings: From the Steppe of South Russia & Ukraine to the Dakota Prairies. Ross Rudel, Los Angeles and Rapid City, SD native, great-nephew of Marie Rudel Portner, prepared a sculptural relief mural permanently displayed with the new room.

2. The awarding videotape documentaries, The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie and Schmeckfest: Food Traditions of the Germans from Russia, have received tremendous responses. The 60-minute programs were produced by Prairie Public Broadcasting and the North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo, ND.

A four-page "Teacher's Guide" was prepared for the Germans from Russia documentary. The "Teacher's Guide" and 300 Germans from Russia documentary videotapes were sent free of charge by Prairie Public Television to all North Dakota public and private schools. Funding for this project was from private donations to produce the "Teacher's Guide."

Prairie Public Television and the NDSU Libraries will produce a third documentary on the wrought-iron crosses of the Germans from Russia. Dr. Thimothy Kloberdanz, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, NDSU, will be the researcher, scriptwriter, and narrator for this program expected to air on PPTV in the fall of 2001.

For additional information about the videotape documentary, go to the following web pages: http://www.prairiepublic.org and http://library.ndsu.edu/gerrus/projects.html.

4. Major publications were completed by GRHC in 1999-200: A) The Dark Abyss of Exile: A Story of Survival by Ida Bender (English); B) Memoirs of Father Anthony Kopp by Father Anthony Kopp (English); C) Marienberg: Fate of a Village (Marienberg: Schicksal eines Dorfes) by Johann Bollinger and Janice Huber Stangl (English and German languages in one volume); D) The Open Wound: The Genocide of German Ethnic Minorities in Russia and the Soviet Union, 1915-1949 and Beyond (Der Genozid an Russlanddeutschen 1915-1949) by Samuel D. Sinner (English & German languages in one volume); E) Die Deutschen am Schwarzen Meer zwischen Bug und Dnjestr by John (Johannes) Philipps (German language).

5. In cooperation with the Glückstal Colonies Research Association, GRHC published in the German language editions the following: Glückstal Colonies: Births and Marriages 1833-1990 (1999) and Glückstal Colonies: Deaths 1833-1900 (1999). The English and German editions of these books are available from GRHC. These books were compiled by Harold M. Ehrman.

To review the books available, go to the GRHC web page: "Books, Tapes & Photographs."

6. The sixth Journey to the Homeland Tour sponsored by the NDSU Library was June 6-19, 2000. The next tour is late May/early June, 2001 to Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart, Germany. Further information can be located at the GRHC web page: "Journey to the Homeland Tours."

7. Arlene Kruckenberg Knutson, Tuttle, ND, continues to coordinate the humanitarian project at the English Lutheran Church, Tuttle, ND, making the handmade vivid-colored quilts for the Lighthouse Orphanage, Odessa, Ukraine. The quilts were taken with tour members in June, 2000, to Odessa to present to the children at the orphanage. The North Dakota REC/RTC Magazine, April, 2000, featured the article, "N.D. grandmothers craft quilts for Ukraine orphanage" written by Carol Just Halverson, who visited the Lighthouse Orphanage in Odessa in May, 1998.

8. In May, 2000, the NDSU Germans from Russia anthropology class with Prof. Timothy Kloberdanz visited the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, Institute for Regional Studies, NDSU Library.

9. The GRHC traveling exhibit, The Kempf Family: Germans from Russia Weavers on the Dakota Prairies, is on display at the Public Library, Harvey, North Dakota, until November 1, 2000. Jay Gage is curator of the Kempf Family exhibit.

10. The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection website pages at: http://library.ndsu.edu/gerrus continue to increase in use. The Germans from Russia listserves or electronic discussion groups of the NDSU Computer Center have many new subscribers. The listserves include: A) GR-Heritage; B) GR-Genealogy; C) Bess-GR; D) GCRA; E) Krim-GR. For further information, go to the following web page: http://library.ndsu.edu/gerrus/lists.html.

11. The monthly column of "In Touch with Prairie Living" continues to be published in North Dakota and South Dakota weekly newspapers. The monthly column began appearing in newspapers in November, 1996 to date. To review the column, go to the GRHC website section: "Newspaper Articles."

12. Valuable textiles and clothing of the Germans from Russia have been received. These items are professionally preserved at the Emily P. Reynolds Historic Costume Collection, College of Human Development and Education, NDSU. GRHC works closely with Ann Braaten, Reynolds Collection curator. We are especially grateful to newly received items from Jolenta Fischer Masterson, Sequim, WA; Elaine Levi Bauer, Bismarck, ND; Vernon Wieland, Hankinson, ND; Dr. Elvire Neckar-Eberhardt, Medicine Hat, AB; and Ruth Rasch, Mesa, AZ. Selected photos of textile pieces can be viewed at the GRHC website section: "Textiles & Clothing."

13. Finally, we invite members of the Germans from Russia Heritage Society to inform us of newly published family histories and other historical resource books to be added to the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU Library. We invite persons to visit us at the NDSU Library (Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail: Michael.Miller@ndsu.edu).

Michael M. Miller, Bibliographer
Jay Gage, Exhibits and Textiles Curator

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller