What Once was Will Never be Again! In Memory of Alexander Wormsbecher (b.
10/23/1914, d. 09/27/2007)

Was war, Kommt nie Wieder. Zur Erinnerung an Alexander Wormsbecher (geb.
23.10.1914, gest. 27.8.2007)

Wormsbechert, Alexander. "What Once was Will Never be Again! In Memory of Alexander Wormsbecher (b. 10/23/1914, d. 09/27/2007)." Volk auf dem Weg, November 2007, 28-29.

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

A considerable portion of the work of my grandfather Alexander Wormsbecher, be it in his paintings or his writings, deals with the suffering of the German-Russians (Cf. Volk auf dem Weg, October, 2007, pages 44-45).

Alexander Wormsbecher and his Wife Lydia

Sometime ago I asked him to write down for me what in his life simply gave him pure joy, and to forget all the suffering for a moment. This was five years ago, and I promptly forgot about it. I would never have thought that he had in fact composed such a piece of writing. Five years later, two days after his death, a machine-typed piece of paper came into my hands - one he had not shown to anyone. It dealt with the joys of his life, and nothing is more fitting than this - allowing a great person to talk about his life's work.

Much is said when such a personality passes from us. What he/she accomplished, what we lose with the passing of this person. The most important thing, though, is that this person has a led a personally happy and fulfilling life. Therefore I shall not speak about him, but let him speak himself.


So many years have gone by now in which there was joy, but heartache, too. Today only memories remain, but also a tired body and a weak spirit. And still, many things flare up in the heart, and a stream of joy flows through the body, and a person suddenly becomes livelier and brighter. And that's the way it is with me, too.

By Alexander Wormsbecher: Our Farm in Alexandrovka (painted in the 1980s)

The greatest joy was when our children Tamara, Elsa, Konstantin, Svetlana and Alexander were born. We built a little house for ourselves, and I was pleased that we had our own little place and were happy.

I was glad to be able to work as a teacher in the local kindergarten. During my work I had many moments of satisfaction. In 1947 our kindergarten received Third Prize in a lay art competition for the Omsk region.

A great joy for me was my work on an exhibition about the activities in our regional Children's Home. Every year there were athletic competitions for the young, in which ours were especially successful and won honored places in certain categories of sport. I had prepared many of them and was therefore especially proud.

After nearly ten years of working in the kindergarten I became a school teacher specializing in drawing, sport, and singing, and there, too, many of my pupils were successful - which always filled me with pride.

During performances of lay art I was the director and tried to actively to unite the everyday life of the country with its successes. Our best appearance took place during the 30th anniversary of WW II. A choir and an orchestra accompanied the program.

By Alexander Wormsbecher: In the Ural Mountains - a Memory (1990s)

Our lay art company made appearances in the entire region, including in Omsk and on television. All certificates of accomplishment and award pins are kept in the Museum of the village of Alexandrovka.

A great joy for me was that five of my students completed art and graphic studies at the Omsk University, something that was denied me personally.

I was happy for every certificate of accomplishment honoring my artistic work and at every one of my exhibitions.

I felt satisfaction when I was able to do something to preserve and cultivate all things German, which in the long run I succeeded in, at least within the limits of my powers, by writing the book "Ein deutsches Dorf in Sibirien [A German Village in Siberia], establishing a museum with the help of my nephew and of many village residents, and addressing this theme in many of my paintings.

I was happy in succeeding with the help of friends and relatives in organizing a large exhibition on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the village.

I am happy when I can get up without pain in the morning and am able to say my morning prayer while standing. In it I express thanks for the grace that God has again given me during the night and allowed me to enjoy another day.

I am happy when breakfast is on the table and I am able to enjoy it. I especially like to eat my favorite kuchen, apple kuchen, baked by my wife Lydia in the Marxstadt manner. During breakfast I am already asking what's for lunch, for I still love to eat. Before lunch I like to eat sauerkraut, prepared by Lydia just the way our people make it. This sharpens my sense of taste.

I am glad when the pains while walking become more tolerable and I can take a few more steps than the day before. But that happens only rarely ...

Also when a new topic occurs to me and I can work on it and complete it.

An inner joy envelops me when I think of the fact that we are here and that God gave His approval for our immigration - something I am thankful to this day.

In the evening, when I go to bed and can say that I have been able to accomplish this or that - that satisfies me.

When I think of my our children, whom God has preserved for us. When they provide us with some sign of life, by word or by letter.

When I can evoke old memories in which the good moments of life are contained.

When my former students call me and thus give me a sign that they still think of me.

By Alexander Wormsbecher: Evening on the Volga - a Memory (2002)

When I embrace Lydia and give her a kiss, I am happy, and even though our
lips by now have folds in them and sunken in, I feel a closeness that is dear to me and is always in me. She is the one who accompanies my life.

I am also warmed by the hope that a spark of faith may be present in our
children, and I hope that it may become a flame of faith. That we both hope for.

When I receive the Holy Last Supper, I feel lighter and I can approach the future.

When the sun shines in our window, it makes one brighter, and one feels happier.

When I can provide someone else with some kind of joy, be it by word or by a telephone call or via a letter.

When I take my paintings from the wardrobe, put them up and observe those that I painted after my stroke.

When children are singing.

When I think of my writings that I will leave behind. Whether they might be read, I don't know, but I will leave them behind, and I can be satisfied with that.

When I can hear the voice of Anna German. When I put on her recordings, my being warms up completely. My favorite song is "Gori, gori moya zvezda." [Russian - I am unable to translate this. - Tr.] My vocabulary is too sparse for me to be able to express my feelings when I hear this song.

Thank God for the grace that I have had this life and that today I can still evoke all these memories. What once was will never be again.

Alexander Wormsbecher

Milestones in Alexader Wormsbecher's Life

10-23-1914 Born in Marxstadt on the Volga
1924 - 1930 Pupil at experimental model school in the city
1930 - 1931 Teacher in the Chutor Maynga in the Wittmann settlement
1931 - 1935 Studying at the Aricultural Technikum in Hussenbach
1935 - 1936 Agronomist at the Dittel MTS [machine tractor station - Tr.]
1936 - 1937 Military service in the Protective Regiment
1937 - 1941 Teacher at the Hussenbach Middle School
1941 - Deportation to Siberia
1942 - 1946 Serving in the Work "Army" in the Ivdellag camp
1946 - 1957 Teacher in the kindergarten at Alexandrovka
1957 - 1977 Teacher at the Alexandrovka Middle School
1995 Stroke; immigration to Gemany
08-27-2007 Died in Leer/East Friesland

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