In Touch with Prairie Living

August 1999

By Michael M. Miller


The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection at the NDSU Libraries in Fargo reaches out to prairie families and former Dakotans. In various ways, it affirms the heritage of the Germans from Russia is an important part of the northern plains culture.

My thanks to the many persons who visited the GRHC information tables at the Linton and Medina, ND, centennials on July 2-3. This was a valuable outreach experience. We continue to be impressed with the interest of the German-Russian exhibits shown at the National Buffalo Museum at Jamestown, ND.

My days with our Journey to the Homeland Tour group to Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart, Germany in May, will be shared with future messages in this column. Louis and Corrine Bollinger Haussler, Gwinner, ND, write, "God Bless America - Land That I Love. How fortunate we are that our ancestors made the move to America when they did and in the process made a better life for us. We had quite an emotional experience at the children's Lighthouse Orphanage in Odessa. The group presented the children with gifts, quilts, mittens, and personal hygiene supplies. Father Alexander and the children prayed with us in Ukrainian and in return asked us to pray the Lord's Prayer. We sang a song, "America the Beautiful."

The Minnesota History Center and the North Star Chapter of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, present a special showing of the award-winning 60-minute video documentary, "The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie", on Sunday, August 22, 1999, at 2 pm at the 3M Theatre, followed by a reception. The History Center is located at 345 Kellogg Blvd., West, St. Paul, MN. The program is free and open to the public. We expect many of our German-Russian community in the Twin Cities area to join us for this festive event. The documentary received the Telly Award from the Center for Creativity. The Telly Awards are for excellence in the field of video and television production. "The Germans from Russia" was the overall winner in the Documentary category.

Prairie Public Television now films in central and western North Dakota locations on the foodways and recipes of the Germans from Russia. This new video documentary premieres on PPTV in March, 2000. The program will focus on the cooking traditions still served in German-Russian homes such as Borscht, Halupsy, Plachinda, and noodles.

To secure the landmark documentary videotape, contact Prairie Public Broadcasting at 1-800-359-6900. This "Collector's Edition" of the videotape includes 20-minute bonus video footage, "Ukraine Places & Faces" of beautiful filming from the former German villages near Odessa not shown in the one-hour documentary. See many interesting pages about the documentary at the Prairie Public Broadcasting website:

The National Buffalo Museum at Jamestown, ND, features the GRHC traveling exhibit, "The Kempf Family: Germans from Russia Weavers on the Dakota Prairies", until October 15. See the GRHC website at "Outreach Programs" for Kempf family and German-Russian clothing/textile photographs: Also on display is the "German-Russian Architecture" traveling exhibit from the State Historical Society of North Dakota, Bismarck.

For further information about the donations to the collection family histories, outreach programs, the Kempf display, the videotape documentary, the Journey to the Homeland Tour to Odessa, Ukraine; Alsace, France; and Stuttgart, Germany (including the large Germans from Russia gathering called the Bundestreffen); for the June 6-19, 2000 tour, "The German American Family Album", GRHC's latest publications, "Tender Hands: Ruth's Story of Healing" and "Homeland Book of the Bessarabian Germans", and German-Russian heritage, contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599 (Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail:; GRHC website:

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