Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC), Collection Point for the Cultural Heritage of Germans from Russia

News from North Dakota

Miller, Michael M. "Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC), Collection Point for the Cultural Heritage of Germans from Russia." Mitteilungsblatt, January 2010, 12-13.

Translation from the Original German-language text to American English provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado

The GRHC Team. left to right: M. Miller, Acacia (Jones) Stuckle, Jessica Clark, and Jay Gage.

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC), a collection point for cultural heritage of the Germans from Russia, was established in 1978 as a component of the Library System of North Dakota State University.

In the meantime, the archives of GRHC have come to count among the most extensive collections of German Russian materials. These include books, family histories, photos, maps and oral histories concerning the Germans from Russia in Western Canadian provinces, particularly Alberta and Saskatchewan. Special emphasis in the collections of GRHC with regard to Western Canada is given to materials concerning life on the steppes, the Mennonites and the Hutterites.

The mission of GRHC is collecting, documenting, conserving, exhibiting, translating, publishing, and increasing the access to the culture, history, folklore, textiles and clothing, and the food ways of the Germans from Russia, with an emphasis on Germans from Bessarabia, the Black Sea, the Crimean Peninsula, the Dobrudzha, and Volhynia, as well as their descendants in North Dakota and the Northern Plains, including the Western Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

By now the GRHC has extended its activities and projects even further to include audio recordings of interviews of oral histories, clothing, textiles, a project called "Memories of Dakota – Oral Histories," electronic discussion groups, online resources, programs for making contacts, photo archives, publications and translations.

Beginning with the summer of 1996 up to the present, GRHC has organized, led, and supported financially fifteen tours into the homeland areas ("Journey to the Homeland Tours"), to Odessa, to Ukraine, and to Stuttgart for anyone who wishes to visit homes of ancestors in  the former Bessarabian, Black Sea and Crimea German villages.

The Jabner/Jobner Brothers in front of a replica of a sod house from the initial settlements.

In collaboration with the TV institution "Prairie Public Television," GRHC has worked on the following five prize-winning documentaries: 1) The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie; 2) Schmeckfest: Food Ways of the Germans from Russia; 3) Prairie Crosses, Prairie Roses: Iron Crosses of the Great Plains; 4) A Soulful Sound: Music of the Germans from Russia; 5) Heaven is our Homeland..     

In 2005, GRHC originated the "Dakota Memories Oral History Project" (DMOHP). The organizers of this project designed it to document the cultural heritage and to preserve the childhood memories of Germans from Russia of the second and third generations in the Northern Plains. Between 2005 and 2009, interviews have been recorded with more than 200 people. With the support of the Canadian Embassy, twenty-eight speakers were interviewed in Regina, Saskatoon, Unity, Tramping Lake, Allan and Kronau in Saskatchewan.

In August 2009, Dr. Alexander Freund, chairman of the "German Canadian Studies Program of the University of Winnipeg" visited in Fargo to discuss with GRHC a combined project regarding oral histories.

The main staff members of GRHC are: Michael M. Miller, Director and Bibliographer (; Acacia (Jones) Stuckle, responsible for Special Collections; and Jay Gage, Curator.

You may establish contact via: Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU Libraries, Dept. 2080, PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-5040; tel: 701-231-8416, or 701-231-6596; via the Internet at:

Michael Miller has been a member of the University’s faculty since 1967. His personal mission can be expressed succinctly as follows: "My lifelong dream has been to preserve and to support the cultural heritage of the Germans from Russia."

(Michael Miller originally sent this article in English to our publication, the translation to German having been provided by Claudia Schneider and Jack Stewart. – [who, in the opinion of this translator, has rendered it back into English, did a fine job. –AH])

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