In Touch with Prairie Living
By Michael M. Miller
The heritage of the Germans from Russia is a unique part of our
northern plains culture. Through this new column, the Germans from
Russia Heritage Collection at the NDSU Libraries in Fargo reaches
out to prairie families throughout the Dakotas. Reader response
with suggestions and opinions is encouraged.
Mark your calendars to watch Prairie News Journal on Prairie
Public Television December 21 and 22 at 5 p.m. The program will
showcase the Journey to the Homeland Tours of June, 1996, when North
Dakotans traveled to Ukraine to visit their ancestral German villages.
PPTV hopes to produce a television documentary series about this
historic tour and its importance for the Germans from Russia. Brother
Placid Gross, a native of Napoleon and a member of Assumption Abbey,
Richardton, will be featured.
The visit to the former German villages in southern Ukraine was
truly an unforgettable experience for 80 Americans of German-Russian
ancestry. Margaret Aman Freeman of Redondo Beach, CA, writes, "People
in the villages were generous and invited us into their homes, offering
to prepare food for us, which they often did. Chickens, ducks and
geese roamed freely. The ducks and geese seemed particularly pleased
that there had been a rain. Horse drawn carts were hauling feed
for the animals. It would be wonderful if more of our friends and
families with roots to these German villages would have the opportunity
to drive through and visit this country which is much like our Dakota
prairies." The winter 1996 issue of North Dakota Horizons
features an article with photographs about their travel tours to
Germany and Ukraine in June.
Snowbirds join us this winter in Arizona for our Germans from
Russia outreach events. The NDSU Libraries is sponsoring gatherings
on February 27 at Lakeview Hall #1, Recreation Centers of Sun City,
10676 Thunderbird Blvd., Sun City, 1:30-4:00 p.m. and March 1 at
Mesa Regal Resort, Royal Hall, Mesa, 1:30-4:00 p.m. Featured speakers
will be Ukraine tour members describing their memorable experiences.
Our traveling exhibit, "The Kempf Family: Germans from Russia
Weavers on the Dakota Prairies," is on display at the Harvey
Public Library until December . The Kempf family immigrated from
former Bessarabian German villages in South Russia to establish
a new life in McIntosh and Dickey counties.
Growing Up in North Dakota: A Memoir by Philo T. Pritzkau,
born in a sod house near Burnstad in Logan County, ND, has recently
been published. The book provides a wonderful story of pioneer life--harvesting,
hard times, long winters and one room country schools. His stories
formed a basis for his daughter, Patricia MacLachlan's book, Sarah,
Plain and Tall , later screen-written for a popular movie.
How to Learn More
May I suggest that readers with personal computers visit the Germans
from Russia Heritage Collection on the World Wide Web. Students
can use the website to locate valuable information on German-Russian
heritage for project papers . The web address is: http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc.
For further information about the Arizona events, Philo Pritzkau's
new book, PPTV's proposed documentary, future Journey to the Homeland
Tours, family research, and other concerns, contact Michael M. Miller,
NDSU Libraries, P.O. Box , Fargo, ND Telephone: 701-231-8416 E-mail: