Regarding Volga German Dialects

Gassmann, Amando."Regarding Volga German Dialects." Volk auf dem Weg, July 2017, 37.

Translation from the original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, CO. Editorial assistance by Dr. Nancy A. Herzog.

[The author of this article is from Argentina. – Tr.]

The April 2017 issue of Volk auf dem Weg included on page 39 an article by Ernst Müller-Marschhausen on the dialects of German Russians, particularly of those who had emigrated from Bergwinkel/Schlichtern in southern Hesse.

As noted therein, the concept of Volga German dialects really means a mixture of dialects which correspond more or less to a specific region in Germany.

Regarding this topic, I would like to mention that my father and my mother spoke two different dialects. My maternal ancestors (Holzmann, Hergenröder, Lell/Lehl) all were from the [Volga region’s] “mountain” side, and the villages in question are Leichtling, Marienfeld, and Pfeifer. My mother, nee Holzmann, likely spoke a mostly South Hessian dialect, possibly stemming from south of Frankfurt, perhaps between Frankfurt and Darmstadt.

In contrast, my [other] ancestors were from the “meadow” side (Gassmann, Hermann, Kinderknecht, Obholz, others from Marienthal/Pfannenstiel; and Krapp and Kranewitter from Ober-Monjou.) Again, the result was two different, mixed dialects.

Professor Georg Dinges

Prof. Dinges as well as Prof. Dr. Wolf of Unwerth, and other language scientists, researched the different dialects in Volga German villages. In the end they identified the original regions, which were overwhelmingly Rheinish-Franconian, to which the dialects related the strongest. Specifically, the dialect of the Karaman villages (Marienthal, Louis, Graf, Herzog, Rohleder) corresponds to the South Palatinate--a conclusion I have been able to examine and confirm.

The examples of dialects listed by Ernst Müller-Marschhausen at the end of his article in part match our dialects, including my father’s and my mother’s.

A question to the readers:

An article in VadW, issue 4/2017 contains congratulations on the 90th birthday of Oskar Holzmann, to which I would happily like to add my own. The article mentions that the birthday celebrant was born in Kamenka. Perhaps some reader might be able to let me know whether his [Oskar’s] parents or grandparents were, like my ancestors, from Leichtling. After all, the two villages were not all that far apart.

Our appreciation is extended to Dr. Nancy Herzog for editing and Alex Herzog for translation of the article.


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