Living Ancestors

Lebendige Ahnen

"Living Ancestors." Volk auf dem Weg, March 2005, 22.

Translation from the original German to American English by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado

On hearing the word "ancestors" one usually thinks of ancient times and ancient witnesses. Not so in the book "Lebendige Ahnen [Living Ancestors]" by Gerhard Walter, which is a well-paced and moving family history that makes specific life experiences of long lost times appear contemporary and close to today's reader. Still, it remains inseparable from the general history of the Germans from Russia.

During the presentation of this work in the Historical Research Society of Germans from Russia, Anton Bosch commented, "The family chronicle is an example of how the paths of the Germans from Russia formed."

The author, who was born in 1929 in Stuttgart, does not have any connections per se with German-Russians who lived under the Red Star. His father, following an adventurous flight, was fortunate to get to Germany [from the Soviet Union, Tr.] as early as 1923 and thereby to escape the bloody terror in the Soviet Union. His accounts of life in the German colonies in Russia inspired our Schwabian [author] to research the early history of the first settlers, of whom not much was known until now. In addition, Gerhard Walter also delved into the life history of his father, in order thereby to highlight the differences in living in two very different worlds.

Gerhard Walter spent eight years for researching archives in Russia, France and Italy. He comments: "But I did it with great enthusiasm. And during the actual writing I sometimes got teary-eyed over the injustices that occur in history. The worst thing besides war itself is the cruelty people wreak on each other."

With this book, Gerhard Walter wishes to enlighten and explain. Many, many recent German immigrants [from the former Soviet Union] have large gaps in their knowledge of their families' past. The example of the Walter family is therefore intended to substitute for that of hundreds of thousands of German-Russian families whose fate proceeded along similar or perhaps even identical paths.

This book may be ordered directly from the author: Gerhard Walter, Moerike-Strasse 61, 71636 Ludwigsburg Germany; Tel.: 07141-929328 or from Canada and USA: 011-49-7141-928328; E-mail:

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article. [12 point bold italics]

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.

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