Großliebental - and More

Halbstadt – Balzer – Helenendorf – Chortitza - Großliebental – they were all among the most important cornerstones of our history. Anyone to whom these place names do not have something to say should hold back from trying to contribute to the history of the Germans from Russia, or at least should try to get to know what those members of a generation of experiences report on it.  

Kampen, J. "Großliebental - and More." Volk auf dem Weg, November 2009, 43.

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

Eduard Mack

Well, they are still around – those men and women who personally experienced the birth and downfall of the Soviet Union.. I keep in touch with about a dozen of them by correspondence and by telephone. They’re all around 90 years of age and live in Germany, Ukraine or the US. Some need a cane to walk, others can’t see or hear very well, and others have various minor complaints. Still, they are all tough, for otherwise they would not have survived. And some are in such good condition that an early retiree might envy them for it.   

Last May I was especially amazed and in awe of  Eduard Mack, author of the book Erinnerungen an die deutschen Kolonien des Großliebentaler Rayons bei Odessa [Memories of  the German Colonies in the Großliebental Rayon near Odessa], which was presented to readers of “Volk auf dem Weg” in March, 1999. He sent me his newest books: the latest edition of the Großliebental book (370 pages, large format, with numerous historical images and lists of names) and a new book entitled Zwischen Moldau und Ukraine. Erinnerungen an die deutschen Kolonien im Glückstaler Gebiet [Between Moldavia and Ukraine. Memories of the German Colonies in the Glückstal Area] (160 pages, large format, with many images and tables).  

Eduard Mack provided me with a  few pointers via a four-page letter in a hand-written style that is as handsome and precise as the handwriting of our ancient ancestors during the “good old days.” I quote:

“I am enclosing the latest editions for both books, in which there are now the 1938 lists of victims of repression, which were missing in earlier editions. Please excuse any grammatical errors you might find. At my age of 91 years, everything impossible is possible. In the books you will find descriptions of great personalities such as Kontenius, Duke Richelieu, general Unzov, Hahn, Dr. Karl Stumpp, Prof. Dr. Koch of Odessa (whose former patient, whom he had saved his life, caused him to be exiled in 1938 for ten years in Kolyma), and others.

Today one can find these books in the US (over a hundred copies), Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Holland and France, but also in Ukraine and Russia.

Between 2003 and 2005 several communities in Russia celebrated the 200th anniversary of the founding of our former German villages, but only on a rather superficial level, because they simply no longer knew the requisite history. During a phone call four years ago, I asked the former school principal and today’s community president, Kotavich, whether he would attend the celebration in Freudental, and he said, ‘Yes, but we don’t have historical materials.’”

For four years Eduard Mack had taught school in Freudental, and he continues to stay in touch with the lost homeland and retains good relationships with indigenous Ukrainians. Current visitors of Ukraine (myself among themJ.K.) are getting the impression that older Ukrainians have many bad memories of the years of war against Germany, but know that they welcome their former German neighbors with great cordiality.

The books by Eduard Mack are real gems for any home library and offer a great deal of instructive and interesting materials on our history. They may be ordered directly from him. His address: Reichlestr. 10, 88212 Ravensburg [Germany]. 

Our appreciation is extended to Alice Morgenstern for translation of this article.

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