In Touch with Prairie Living

September 2008

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

September is a busy time with classes beginning at schools and universities including the campus of North Dakota State University where we expect a record high enrollment.

The American Historical Society of Germans from Russia/Germans from Russia Heritage Society’s first joint international convention at Casper, WY (July 29-August 3) was a tremendous success and a rewarding experience. This was the first time in 40 years that the two societies met together.

“Celebrating Our Common Heritage” was the convention theme. There was a total of 739 registrations with guests from Argentina, Germany, Russia and Ukraine.

Longtime colleagues, Dr. Lewis Marquart, a native of Linton, ND, and Dr. Dona Reeves-Marquardt, both living in Austin, TX presented, “Our German-Russian Communities: A Common Heritage, An Uncommon History.” They expressed in their presentation, “But what really made this a remarkable convention was “unsere leute,” kindred souls from two organizations coming together to celebrate our common heritage. We depart with new friendships and many memorable experiences.”

Dr. Eric Schmaltz, Alva, OK, presented a scholarly discussion; “The Long Trek: The SS Population Transfer of Ukrainian Germans to Polish Warthegau and Its Consequences, 1943-1944.” Eric was employed by the GRHC in the summer of 1994 and 1995. With Schmaltz roots to Linton, ND, Eric is completing a 25-series of articles about the Germans from Russia appearing in the Emmons County Record, Linton.

Gwen Schock Cowherd, White Bear Lake, MN, a native of Leola, SD, presented her AHSGR award-winning stories, “The Pendulum Still Swings.”

Dr. Timothy Kloberdanz of NDSU presented: “One Huge Family: We are Not the Strangers We Think We Were.” He was assisted with his talk by Maria Applehans, Fort Collins, CO, and her daughter, Rosalinda Kloberdanz. The Kloberdanz’ and Maria Applehans appear in the award-winning documentaries produced by Prairie Public.

The Glueckstal Colonies Research Association ( premiered their new hardcover 760 page book, The Glueckstalers in New Russia, Soviet Union, and North America with Dr. Homer Rudolf, Sterling, VA, the editor, and Harold Ehrman, Pacific Palisades, CA, desk-top publishing work. Rudolf is a native of Wishek, ND and Ehrman a native of Eureka, SD. This book will be of much interest to the German-Russian community with roots to the Dakotas. The book is available from GRHC or at this webpage:

The AHSGR 2009 Convention is at Medicine Hat, Alberta (June 14-21) and the GRHS 2009 Convention is at Rapid City, SD (September 9-13).

The 15th Journey to the Homeland Tour to Odessa, Ukraine and Stuttgart, Germany is May 20-30, 2009. Space is still available!

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

September 2008 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