In Touch with Prairie Living

May 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 May 20, I leave for Vienna, Austria and Odessa, Ukraine. Americans with ancestral heritage to the former German villages of Glueckstal District will join me. On May 24, we will have the dedication at Glinnoye, Moldova, of the Glueckstal Memorial Monument at the school grounds. Glinnoye is the former German village of Glueckstal, located about 4 hours from Odessa. The Glueckstal Memorial Monument is funded by the Glueckstal Colonies Research Association ( Villages to be visited include Bergdorf, Eigenheim, Glueckstal, Kassel, Marienberg, Neudorf, and Sofiental.

The Journey to the Homeland Tour group will be in Odessa and the former German villages from May 27 to June 3. The group includes Kuhn family members who grew up on a farm near Napoleon, ND. The Kuhns will travel to visit their ancestral German village of Rosental near Simperofol, Crimea. From June 3-7, the tour group will be in Stuttgart, Germany and Alsace, France. Our next Journey to the Homeland Tour will be May 20 - June 2, 2003. We will tour former German villages of the Beresan, Kutschurgan, and Liebental districts and also Bessarabia. Village names include: Beresina, Johannestal, Kronental, Landau, Leipzig, Neustatz, Rosental, Rohrbach, and Worms.

GRHC information tables and display will appear at the following North Dakota centennials: 1) Strasburg: June 27-29, 10 am-5 pm, Strasburg High School classroom; 2) Zeeland, July 5-6, 10 am to 5 pm, Zeeland High School classroom; and 3) Flasher, July 19-20, 10 am-5 pm, Community Credit Union Meeting Room.

I look forward to my visiting folks at Strasburg, Zeeland, and Flasher this summer and to share the history and culture of the rich heritage of the Germans from Russia. It will be a homecoming for me graduating from Strasburg High School. Join us at these centennials where visitors will have a chance to review the award-winning videotape documentaries, photo displays, maps, books, and other materials.

The new videotape, "Recipes from Grandma's Kitchen: Germans from Russia Food Traditions & Preparations", was well received. The NDSU Libraries and the Germans from Russia Cultural Preservation Foundation has produced the videotape. Review the Foundation's mission and projects at:

The videotape includes these persons cooking in their kitchens while 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.

The GRHC is pleased to announce publication of this 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".

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