In Touch with Prairie Living

January 2002

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 as an important part of the northern plains culture.

On Saturday, February 23, 2002, beginning at 1 pm, I will be in Sacramento, CA, to speak at a Germans from Russia gathering at the First Christian Church, Folsom Blvd and 39 Street. On Sunday, February 24, 2002, beginning at 2 pm, I will be in Lodi, CA, to also speak to a German-Russian gathering at the First Baptist Church, 19 South Central Avenue. Use the Oak Street entrance.

Joining me at the Lodi and Sacramento events will be Bob Dambach, director of programming and productions, Prairie Public Television, Fargo. John Philipps, Merced, CA, author of the book, “The Germans by the Black Sea Between the Bug and Dnjestr Rivers,” will attend the events and autograph his book.

GRHC and the Germans from Russia Cultural Preservation Foundation will sponsor the “Arizona Premiere” of the new videotape documentary series, “Recipes from Grandma’s Kitchen: Germans from Russia Food Preparations and Traditions,” Volume 1. The event is Saturday, March 2, 2002, 9:30 am-11 am, at the Civic Center Library Theater, 3839 Civic Center Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ. All are welcome to attend.

The North Dakota Picnic is Sunday, March 3, 2002, 10 am-3 pm, at Pioneer Park, Mesa, AZ. Contact me for further information regarding the Scottsdale and Mesa events.

The “Recipes from Grandma’s Kitchen” videotape is available in January 2002 from GRHC. See these persons cooking in their kitchens and reminiscing: Millie Doll Hauck, Dickinson, ND; Helen Gefroh Fischer, Hague Cafe, ND; Bernadine Lang Kuhn, Owatonna, MN; Erica Lang Wangler, Bismarck, ND; and Alma Janke Schott, Gackle, ND.

Traditional foods, savory recipes, and folk memories are important in the history and culture of the Germans from Russia community. The videotape includes vignettes of culinary memories that feed the soul and warm the heart.

We have two new re-designed color-coded 11 by 17 inch laminated maps of the former German villages of South Russia. These maps include the German villages of Bessarabia, Crimea, Dobrudscha, Beresan District, Kutschurgan District, Liebental District, Mennonites, and Hutterites. Ancestors of the Germans from Russia community in the Dakotas immigrated from these villages in South Russia. For further information, contact GRHC or visit: The two maps were completed in 1999, with revisions in 2001. These maps have been popular at GRHC outreach events clearly identifying locations and names of the homeland villages.

GRHC co-sponsors the “Cultural Heritage Tour: Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Alsace, France,” September 12-23, 2002. Tour members will visit the ancestral area of many German-Russians in Alsace and southern Germany. The tour includes: Stuttgart, Strasbourg, Lucerne, Salzburg, and Munich including the Octoberfest. To receive tour information details, contact me. Limited space is still available for the Journey to the Homeland Tour (May 26-June 7, 2002) sponsored by the NDSU Libraries. The tour will include Odessa, Ukraine, and the nearby former Bessarabian, Black Sea, and Crimean German villages; Stuttgart, Germany, and Alsace, France.

GRHC’s new book, “We’ll Meet Again in Heaven: Germans in the Soviet Union Write Their American Relatives: 1925 - 1937,” by Ronald J. Vossler, includes many letters translated from German to English including these family names: Boschee, Dockter, Eckman, Feiger, Goehring, Graf, Heupel, Hochhalter, Ketterling, Kirschmann, Kramer, Lang, Morlock, Opp, Rudolf, Rueb, Schauer, Speidel, Stock, Viel, and Wanner. Vossler writes “The family names clearly show a direct link, one of old love and also of family ties, between the Dakota pioneers and those unfortunate family members who remained behind in Russia.”

The award-winning documentary videotapes, “The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie” (1999), and “Schmeckfest: Food Traditions of the Germans from Russia” (2000), continue to be well received throughout North America. Each videotape includes 20 minutes of bonus video footage not shown in the one-hour documentary. To purchase the videotapes, contact PPTV at 1-800-359-6900, or the tapes may also be purchased by contacting GRHC.

For further information about Germans from Russia heritage, donations to the Collection, including family histories, Arizona and California events, videotape documentaries, tours, German-Russian cookbooks; and GRHC’s publications including 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