In Touch with Prairie Living

November 1999

By Michael M. Miller

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) 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. Begun in November, 1996, I begin the third year of this monthly column. My thanks to many readers with favorable responses with letters and e-mail messages.

In September, Prairie Public TV and I traveled to the central Dakotas and the Twin Cities for filming activities relating to the foodways of the Germans from Russia. We filmed in kitchens of homes in Balta and Rugby, ND, and St. Louis, Park, MN. We filmed at the Schmeckfest at Eureka, SD on September 17-18. The video footage will be important for PPTV's documentary of the foodways and traditions of the Germans from Russia. My thanks to persons for their cooperation: Agnes Bertsch Ripplinger, Balta; Theresa Kuntz Bachmeier, Clara Ebach, Carolyn Weisbeck Hoffert, Theresa Giesinger Jordan and Mary Ebach, Rugby; Sam Brungardt, St. Paul; Bernelda Kallenberger Becker, Betty Lackman Fiske, Carol Just Halverson, Jackie Dohn Maas, Martha Schaefer Suppan and Judy Eman Teske filmed at St. Louis Park, MN, and Laurie Haller Stickelmyer and Edmund & Hulda Opp, Eureka, SD.

Prairie Public TV premieres the new Germans from Russia foodways and customs program in March, 2000. The video program will have an "Arizona Premiere" on Saturday, March 4, 2000, 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, at the Scottsdale Public Library Theater, Scottsdale, AZ. The program will be free and open to the public.

In October, Bob Dambach, director of productions at Prairie Public Television, Fargo, and I traveled to Karkow, Poland, to attend the Third International Ethnic Television Film Festival. The Germans from Russia documentary was nominated as one of twenty-six films chosen for the festival for competition, and the only selection from North America.

Prairie Public Broadcasting has announced the "Cultural Heritage Tour" for September 14-25, 2000. The tour includes southern Germany, (Alsace) France, Switzerland, and Austria. The tour is limited for space. Tour leaders will be Bob & Virginia Dambach and Michael Miller. Dambach and Miller are producers of the award-winning Germans from Russia documentary. For more information, contact Prairie Public, Cultural Heritage Tour, PO Box 3240, Fargo, ND 58107 (Tel: 1-800-359-6900).

My thanks to the Germans from Russia community for their support to contact their local PBS station to air the Germans from Russia documentary. Since February, the program at been shown on these PBS stations: Fresno, Huntington Beach, Sacramento, San Mateo, CA, Minneapolis & Bemidji/Brainerd, MN, Denver, CO, Salt Lake City, UT, Spokane, WA, Topeka & Wichita, KS, Peoria, IL, and Saginaw, MI. State-wide PBS coverage includes Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

The award-winning documentary videotape, "The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie", continues to be well received throughout North America. To secure the videotape, contact Prairie Public 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:

For further information about donations to the collection including family histories, outreach programs, Glückstal publications, videotape documentary, Journey to the Homeland Tour to (Odessa) Ukraine, (Alsace) France, and (Stuttgart) Germany (including the large Germans from Russia gathering called the Bundestreffen), for June 6-19, 2000 tour; 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