In Touch with Prairie Living

June 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.

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

A new videotape, "Germans from Russia on the Canadian Prairies Than and Now" is now available. There are wonderful segments including music, medicinal remedies (Brauche), cookery, games, religion, and other Germans from Russia folkways. Germans from Russia carried their traditions, culture, and language across two continents and an ocean, breaking sod on the Canadian prairies. More information is available at this web page: or by contacting GRHC.

The videotape, "Recipes from Grandma's Kitchen: Germans from Russia Food Traditions & Preparations", continues to be well received. The NDSU Libraries and the Germans from Russia Cultural Preservation Foundation has produced this videotape.

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.

GRHC's latest book is now in its third printing since February, 2002: "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 GRHC.

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.

The next Journey to the Homeland Tour to Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart, Germany has been announced for May 20 - June 2, 2003. The tour includes visits to the former Bessarabian, Black Sea and Crimean German villages in southern Ukraine near the Black Sea.

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:

June, 2002 column for North Dakota and South Dakota newspapers.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller