In Touch with Prairie Living

February 2000

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 as an important part of the northern plains culture.

A new book is available authored by Everett C. Albers and D. Jerome Tweton, "Germans from Russia Settlers." The authors share: "The book collects eighteen of the personal histories of those who came to that endless sea of grass that challenged their strength and spirit as they broke the sod and farmed the land." Many photographs and maps are included with wonderful stories such as "Fighting the Worst of Prairie Fires: The Johannes Baumgartners"; "Searching for Good Land in Logan County: John Gutschmidt"; "Teaching in Russia, Farming in McHenry County"; "Working the Land and Working for God: The Gottfried Kurtz Family"; and Hardship and Heartaches on the Homestead: The August Flegel Family."

Everett Albers is executive director of the North Dakota Humanities Council. Dr. Jerome Tweton is a retired professor of history at UND and a well-known speaker and writer. More information and photographs can be seen at the GRHC website:

Prairie Public Television (PPTV) is pleased to announce the premiere airing on Sunday, March 5, 2000, at 8 pm (CT) of the new documentary, "Schmeckfest: Food Traditions of the Germans from Russia." The program also premieres in March on South Dakota Public Television. We are pleased that SDPTV joins PPTV in partnership for the premiere airings of this second important new documentary on the Germans from Russia. See the wonderful memories and foods including: Annie Roesch Larson, Aberdeen, SD, making Easter bread; Theresa Kuntz Bachmeier, Rugby, ND, preparing cheese buttons (Kaese Knoepfla); Jacqueline Dohn Maas, Plymouth, MN, making pickled watermelon; and Edna Goebel Johnson, Horace, ND, cooking Knoepfla soup and making Strudla. For more information, go to the GRHC website:

Prairie Public Television is seen on North Dakota stations: KBME/2/Bismarck; KDSE/9/Dickinson, KJRE/19/Ellendale, KFME/13/Fargo, KGFR/2/Grand Forks, KSGR/6/Minot; KWSE/4/Williston, and Winnipeg Cable Channel 3. Later the documentary will be shown on other Public Broadcasting Service stations (PBS) throughout the United States, including the central and northern plains. For 35 years, Prairie Public Television has supported the prairie community through broadcast and technological services. PPTV has the largest square mileage of television coverage of any PBS station in the United States.

The new German-Russian foodways documentary is part of Prairie Public's Heritage Series. In 1999, PPTV produced the award-winning program, "The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie." For further information about the new Germans from Russia video, see Prairie Public's website: or the GRHC website at "Video Documentary & Other Projects" at:

On Saturday, March 4, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, at the Civic Center Library Theater (lower level), 3839 Civic Center Blvd., Scottsdale, Arizona, the new Germans from Russia foodways documentary will be shown. The local contact person is Larry Haas, Sun City (Tel: 602-583-2040; E-mail: We thank the Arizona Sun Chapter for hosting this event. The North Dakota Picnic will be on Sunday, March 5, from 10 am to 3 pm at Pioneer Park, Main Street, Mesa, AZ. The NDSU Library will sponsor information tables at the picnic where books and the Germans from Russia videotapes will be available for purchase.

For further information about donating family histories to the collection, German-Russian heritage and culture, the Schmeckfest videotape, March events in Arizona, the newly released books: "Germans from Russia Settlers," "Memoirs of Father Anthony Kopp" & "Tracing Your Dakota Roots," Journey to the Homeland tours to Odessa, Ukraine for June 6-19, 2000 & May, 2001, the "Teachers Guide" to the Germans from Russia video documentary, and other choices of books, 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