In Touch with Prairie Living

July 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 Flasher, ND Centennial, July 19-20, 10 am-5 pm, Community Credit Union Meeting Room. I look forward to my visiting with folks at Flasher and in sharing the history and culture of the rich heritage of the Germans from Russia. Join us at the Flasher Centennial where families will have a chance to review the award-winning videotape documentaries, photo displays, maps, books, and other materials.

The dedication of the Glueckstal Memorial Monument on May 24, 2002, at the village of Glinnoje, Moldova (former German village of Glueckstal) was an important event for the Germans from Russia community. The monument was funded and sponsored by the Glueckstal Colonies Research Association (GCRA) (, and GRHC. I was pleased to join the Americans at this memorable event. Many Glueckstalers immigrated to the Dakotas settling around Ashley, Beulah, Fredonia, Gackle, Kulm, Lehr, Napoleon, Tappen, and Zeeland, ND, and Bowdle, Eureka, Hosmer, Leola, and Selby, SD. Many of these families later moved to the Lodi/Sacramento area of central California, Oregon, and Washington.

The Germans from Russia Heritage Society Convention is August 8-11, Radisson Hotel, Bismarck. Contact GRHS at 701-223-6167 for further information or go to: for registration information.

On August 7, at 7 pm, Heritage Center Auditorium, Bismarck, will be the world premiere of the new Prairie Public TV documentary: "Prairie Crosses, Prairie Voices: Iron Crosses on the Great Plains". The program is free and open to the general public. PPTV airs the program in September, 2002. The documentary premieres on Prairie Public Television in September, 2002. PPTV videotagraphers traveled the Dakotas, western Kansas, and Saskatchewan to film the beautiful wrought-iron crosses.

A new videotape, "Germans from Russia on the Canadian Prairies Then 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.
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"!

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:

July, 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