In Touch with Prairie Living
By Michael M. Miller
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo
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.
We have prepared a listing of items of highly recommended books,
maps, videotapes, and cookbooks on the subject of Germans from Russia.
The list provides valuable items suggested for families, schools,
and libraries for research and reading. We can send you this listing
or you can go to this website page: http://library.ndsu.edu/grhc/files/recommended.pdf.
Important archival photography collections have been processed by
GRHC staff. The Victor Knell Collection was donated in April, 2002
by Victor Knell, Fargo, a native of Hazen, ND.
The collection includes photographs, letters, maps, and documents.
The Knoell family lived near Stuttgart, Germany, immigrating in
1817 to Teplitz, Bessarabia, and later moving in 1892 to Friedensfeld,
Jacob Knoell came to the Canadian port of Quebec in 1905. He went
to Winnipeg and then to St. Paul. From there, Jacob went to New
Salem, ND. His brother, Johannes, met him there and took him to
Mercer County, ND, where he worked for farmers to pay off his passage
to the United States. The Victor Knell Collection also includes
the Breitling family who lived in Beresina, Bessarabia; the Oster
family of Freudental, Odessa Region, Russia; and the Adolf family
of Brienne, Bessarabia. All of these families settled in the Hazen,
For website pages of The Victor Knell Collection, go to: library.ndsu.edu/grhc/history_culture/photo/knell_photos.html.
If you have family collections for donation, we invite you to contact
GRHC about these materials.
GRHC staff will have a booth at the following Pride of Dakota Holiday
Showcases events: November 8-9, ND Fairgrounds, Minot; November
15-16, Alerus Convention Center, Grand Forks; November 22-23, Centennial
Hall, Civic Center, Fargo; and December 6-7, Convention Hall, Civic
Center, Bismarck. Saturday times are 10 am - 5 pm and Sunday times
are 12 noon -5 pm. Kristi Krebs Brink, Michael M. Miller, and volunteers
will handle the booth. Visit us at the GRHC booth for the 2003 Holiday
GRHC has published a new cookbook, "Sharing Our Best Recipes:
Members and Friends of United Methodist Churches, Medina and Tappen,
North Dakota." A German-Russian ethnic section includes recipes
for: Fleisch Kuechla, Knoepfla soup, Holapsie (pigs in the blanket),
Borscht (vegetable) soup, Ribble (milk) soup, Strudels, hot German
homemade noodles, dumplings, Spaetzle (tiny egg noodles), cheese
buttons, Kuchen, Baska (Easter bread), Pfefferneuse, Blatschinda
(pumpkin pockets), and much more. Recipes come from the kitchens
with these family names: Bitterman, Bittner, Eisenbis, Enzminger,
Falk, Guthmiller, Harr, Hillius, Hofmann, Hoersch, Ketterling, Kinnischzke,
Kuck, Mayer, Messer, Mittleider, Moos, Moser, Reich, Roemmich, Roesler,
Schmallinger, Schlecht, Sprunk, Staiger, Wasmuth, Wolsky, and Zimmerman.
The cookbook is available by contacting GRHC or at: library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/cookbooks/sharing.html.
German Food & Folkways: Heirloom Memories from Europe, South
Russia, & the Great Plains (2002) by Rose Marie Gueldner continues
to be one of GRHC's most popular books available.
GRHC has recently published, "Escape by Troika: The World War
II Chronicle of a Bessarabian German," by Oskar Zimmermann,
Anaheim, CA. Mr. Zimmermann has many Zimmerman relatives in south-central
North Dakota. The book is available at library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/general/escape.html.
Prairie Public's award-winning "Prairie Crosses, Prairie Voices:
Iron Crosses of the Great Plains" is receiving a terrific response
from viewers. Be watching for this third documentary of PPTV's Germans
from Russia series on other PBS stations in 2003. Iron Crosses stand
as sentinels on the prairie landscape, framed by vast expanses of
grass and sky. Although they stand silent, behind each cross is
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 draw much viewer interest and have been shown
on many PBS stations. Each videotape includes bonus video footage
not shown in the one-hour documentary.
For further information about Germans from Russia heritage, donations
to GRHC including books, videotapes, cookbooks, tours, and the new
Recipe Index Search, contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries,
PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599 (Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
GRHC website: library.ndsu.edu/grhc).
October, 2003 column for North Dakota and South Dakota