In Touch with Prairie Living

April 2011

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

As I write this April column, I am pleased to announce the new CD, “German-Russian Food Traditions” of the Germans from Russia Radio Series, produced by Prairie Public Radio. The program airs on Prairie Public Radio on Wednesday, April 13 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. (CST) during the “Here It Now” radio show. The program features stories of narrators from the Dakota Memories Oral History Project about canning, butchering and traditional German-Russian dishes.

Leona (Kuhn) Hoff of Richardton, N.D., recalls her mother making some type of noodles at every meal during the 1930s. She says “we were very poor, but we didn’t know we were poor.” She goes on to tell that her mother was a wonderful cook and could prepare a meal from almost anything. Orion Rudolph of Ashley, N.D., remembers how they kept perishables like milk and butter from spoiling, “Everybody had a habit of having a pail with a long rope that was let down into the well where it was kept cool,” he said. The narrators featured are from the Dakotas and Saskatchewan. To secure this new CD, contact the GRHC.

I am preparing for the 17th Journey to the Homeland Tour for May 18-28. Tour members will arrive on May 19 at the Frankfurt, Germany Airport with a welcome dinner at the Ibis Hotel. On May 19, we depart for the Austrian Airline flight to Odessa, Ukraine, where we stay for May 20-24. My May column will be written while I am in Odessa and Stuttgart, Germany.

Tour members will be from Alaska, California, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin as well as Saskatchewan. They will be visiting these ancestral German villages: Bessarabia villages -- Alt-Postal, Borodino, Dennewitz, Friedenstal, Hoffnungstal, Katzbach, Kloestitz, Kulm, Mathildendorf, Neu Elft, Paris, Sarata, Tarutino and Wittenberg; Black Sea German villages -- Bergdorf (Glueckstal District); Kandel, Mannheim, Selz and Strassburg (Kutschurgan District); Karlsruhe, Kathariental, Landau, Rastatt and Rohrbach (Beresan District); Gueldendorf and Karlstal (Odessa Region).

Family names joining the May tour include Dieterle, Eckroth, Henke, Hofer, Kleingartner, Littau, Mastio, Miller, Nickisch, Pfeifle, Pietz, Ruff, Schmaltz, Schropp, Weist and Zaiser.

From Odessa, Ukraine the tour group travels to Stuttgart, Germany for May 24-28. While in Stuttgart, they will visit the Bessarabian German Museum (Bessarabien Heimatmuseum) and Germans from Russia Society offices (Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland). On May 26, the tour group takes a one-day bus tour to Alsace, France along the Rhine River with a stop at the Seltz Museum and town square. Lunch in Alsace will be in historic Sessenheim serving famous Alsatian Flammkuchen.

Gilbert E. Schauer of Longview, WA, who was May 2010 member, writes, “It is a dream come true, which has been many years ago when my mother said, “It would be nice if one of my children could go and see where I was born.” Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think it would be possible. It was almost like coming home. That is what I felt like when I was there in Neudorf and Kassel. We sure thank our God that our parents and grandparents left and migrated to America. I understand why my parents, especially my Mother, were satisfied with so little. As long as she had a roof over her head and three meals a day she was happy.”

Gilbert Schauer grew up on a farm south of Dawson, N.D., the youngest of twelve children. He was baptized and confirmed at the Glueckstal Lutheran Church south of Tappen, N.D. his father, Emanuel Schauer, born in Neudorf, Russia, in 1886, was twelve years old when he came to the United States with his parents and three brothers, August, John and Jacob. Gilbert’s mother, Carolina Ketterling, born in 1889, came to America with her mother, sister, Katherina, and her husband, Carl Frey. Her father, two brothers and three sisters died of diphtheria in Russia.
Emmanuel and Carolina (Ketterling) Schauer, parents of Gilbert Schauer, married in 1907, were instrumental in building the sod church. Later a wooden church was built in 1908 as the Glueckstal Lutheran Church, south of Tappen, N.D. Gilbert Schauer was baptized and confirmed at this church which still stands today.

For further information about the “German-Russian Food Traditions” CD, Friends of the GRHC, Dakota Memories Heritage Tour (September 15-18, 2011), 18th Journey to the Homeland Tour (May 17-27, 2012), and donations to the GRHC (such as family histories), contact Michael M. Miller, The Libraries, NDSU Dept. #2080, PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050 (Telephone: 701-231-8416; Email:; the GRHC website:

April 2011 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