In Touch with Prairie Living

March 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.

The GRHC outreach recent events at Lodi, Sacramento, Mesa, and Scottsdale were well attended with appreciative audiences. Thanks to the many people who traveled distances to attend these programs. We look forward to returning to Scottsdale and Mesa for the events on March 1-2, 2003.

The new videotape, “Recipes from Grandma’s Kitchen: Germans from Russia Food Traditions & Preparations” was well received. The videotape has been produced by the NDSU Libraries and the Germans from Russia Cultural Preservation Foundation.

The videotape includes the following people 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.

GRHC is pleased to announce the publication of the outstanding new book, “German Food & Folkways: Heirloom Memories from Europe, South Russia & the Great Plains,” by Rose Marie Gueldner, Anamoose, ND. The book is available at this website: or by contacting me.

Dr. Timothy J. Kloberdanz, NDSU, writes: “Although there are German-Russian cookbooks currently on the market, this one is quite unusual because of the way it interweaves background history, ethnic heritage, and so many mouth-watering Old Country recipes. If the German-Russians have a Martha Stewart anywhere in North America, it may very well be Rose Marie Gueldner!”

Brother Placid Gross, German-Russian folklorist, Assumption Abbey, Richardton, ND, writes: “This book is the crowning achievement of all cookbooks. It is a great and wonderful tribute to our pioneer mothers who knew how to hold body and soul together with hard work and creativity to make a banquet with the simplest of basic ingredients.”

Rev. William C. Sherman, Grand Forks, ND, author of “Plains Folk” and “Prairie Mosaic,” writes: “This is not just a compilation of recipes - it is a genuine survey of foods which are unknown to some, exotic to others, and delightfully routine to many who have Eastern European roots. It is history, geography, ethnicity, and the passage of time, all combined; a treat for the mind, a treat for the taste buds.”

GHRC’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, Ruebl, 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 in Russia.”

GRHC is co-sponsoring 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 Oktoberfest. To receive tour information details, contact me. 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 contact GRHC.

For further information about Germans from Russia heritage, donations to the Collection including family histories, books, videotapes, cookbooks, and tours, 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