In Touch with Prairie Living

October 2007

By Michael M. Miller
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
North Dakota State University Library, Fargo

In September, GRHC received valuable historical books donated from Ashley, ND. Leona (Woeszner) Neu, local historian, donated German language hymnals and Bibles she gathered from the former rural Lutheran churches in McIntosh County, ND. Robert Wishek donated books from his great-grandparents, John and Nina Farley Wishek. We invite you to contact us if you have historical books in the German language for the GRHC’s Special Collections: Music Archives & Theology Archives.

Matthias Hofmann, majoring in English and American Studies at the university in Chemnitz, Germany, has an internship at the GRHC until Nov. 2, 2007. Matthias shared his thoughts on his time here in Fargo and North Dakota State University:

“Working with the GRHC is becoming a very valuable experience for me. My first contact to the life and history of Germans from Russia was established through the interpretation work at the Amerika Haus information tables at the Russlanddeutschen Bundestreffen, Wiesbaden, Germany on May 26, 2007. I curiously listened to the various abstracts of the life stories of the German Russians who were looking for lost family members who might have immigrated to North America.”

Hofmann also said,“Since I started working at the GRHC in September 2007, I have been increasingly involved with the history, culture, and heritage of the Germans from Russia, which before I was unaware of. Working with the GRHC is an unbelievable adventure for me as I have the opportunity to translate very interesting memoirs of German Russians. I also get to know so many fantastic people who introduce me to doing pleasurable things such as water-tubing, going to Bison football games, and just having a great time.”

We are excited to announce the newest feature to our website. Visit our new blog at The blog is our way of staying in touch with our faithful website visitors. Make sure you check back often and leave comments, as we will frequently update.

Join us for the Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcase events where the GRHC will have a booth: Alerus Center/Convention Hall, Grand Forks (Saturday, 10 am - 5: pm & Sunday, 12 pm - pm, Nov. 3-4); Civic Center/Centennial Hall, Fargo (Saturday,
10 am - 5 pm & Sunday, 12 pm - 5 pm, 17-18 November); Convention Hall/Civic Center, Bismarck (Saturday, 10 - 5 pm & Sunday, 12 - 5 pm, Dec. 1-2). We will have many new items including more than 45 cookbooks.

We will also offer a special discount at the Women’s Showcase and Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcase events. If you spend $50 or more, you will receive a 10% discount on all items.

We have several new reprinted cookbooks available for purchase. These cookbooks are from several areas in North Dakota including: Beulah, Wishek, Lehr, Kulm, and Gackle. The cookbooks were originally published in the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s, and include many German-Russian recipes.

The dates for the 14th Journey to the Homeland Tour to Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart, Germany is May 20-30, 2008. The tour includes four days in Odessa visiting the former German villages and five days in southern Germany including Alsace, France. For further information, contact me or visit

Janis Weisz Piotrowski, Tallahassee, FL, a member of the 2007 Journey to the Homeland Tour writes, “I really enjoyed the trip. It was a rewarding experience on many different levels — spending time with other people with the same background and on the same quest, learning more about the history and current situation in the Black Sea area, as well as seeing, meeting, and talking to people from the area were worth the trip.”

For further information about the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, Dakota Memories Oral History Project, Journey to the Homeland Tour and donations to the GRHC such as family histories, contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU Library, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599 (Tel: 701-231-8416; Email:; GRHC website:

October 2007 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