Karl Stumpp Exhibit to be Relocated

Carlson, Mark. "Karl Stumpp Exhibit to be Relocated." Pierce County Tribune, 18 February 1976, 7.

This spring, after our supply of snow has disappeared, members of the local chapter of the North Dakota Historical Society of Germans from Russia will be busy relocating a historical exhibit at Rugby's Geographical Center Museum.

The exhibit, named for Dr. Karl Stumpp, a world renowned authority of German-Russian history, will be moved from its present location within an original museum building, to a "home" of its own only a short distance away.

A collection of books, manuscripts, maps and artifacts relating to Germans from Russia history which makes up the Stumpp exhibit will be relocated in a house which was moved to the museum site last fall by the local historical group.

Before the new "home" of the exhibit can be occupied, it must be revamped to accommodate the artifacts. The structure, which was donated to the chapter and museum by Rugby's Walt Miltenberger, served as a local residence until it was moved to the museum site.

Frank Brossart, President of the local historical group, and Mr. and Mrs. Pete Koenig, who were instrumental in developing and furnishing the original exhibit, said the house will provide an excellent location for items in the Stumpp collection.

The three-room home at the museum will be filled with artifacts unique to Germans from Russia history. In addition to items which once graced area Germans from Russia homes, the house will accommodate documents, photographs and publications relating to German-Russian history.

One such publication will be an addition to the Stumpp exhibit.

The latest addition to the exhibit is a priceless book recently given Stumpp by an organization called Landsmanschaft Der Bessarabien Deutschen, which is concerned with the history of Germans from Russia who once lived in Besserabia, a province of Russia.

The book of photographs and documents was recently presented to Stumpp by the organization, commemorating his 70th birthday. In turn, Stumpp is giving the publication to the Rugby exhibit which bears his name.

Dr. Stumpp, often called the "The Treasurer of Lost People," has visited Rugby twice; first in 1971, and again in 1973 for the dedication of the Stumpp exhibit.

Stumpp, who is now retired as an instructor of geology at Tuebingen University, Tuebingen, Germany, has devoted the past several years to writing and compiling history of a German migration to Russia, and subsequent scattering around the world.

Stumpp began his career in education by teaching school in the Russian Black Sea area before World war I. While teaching in Russia, Stumpp became fascinated in the movements and history of Germans from Russia.

During World War II, Stumpp was commissioned by Adolf Hitler to follow the German army into Russia to salvage records of Germans living in Russia. What Stumpp gathered on his fact-finding mission accompanied him back to Germany where he compiled the data into a book, which is presently used as a genealogical reference by persons with German from Russia backgrounds.

Stumpp was chosen to travel to Russia with the German army because he knew the territory and people from his teaching experiences. In addition, he had the ability to gather and interpret data vital to a complete history of Germans living in Russia.

The subsequent repatriation of Germans living in Besserabia, Russia, and relocation to German-occupied Poland in 1940 also served as a subject for Stumpp's research. When Germany began losing the war and was pushed out of Poland, Germans living there were, in many cases liquidated, and generally scattered. Not only had the Germans been suspected as enemies of Russia when they were living there, they were considered enemies when relocated in Poland near the war's end.

While Stumpp was familiar with the movements of both the Black Sea and Bessarabian Germans, the formation of the organization designed to assist Bessarabian Germans kept his attention for many years.

In recent years when the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia was
organized in Greeley, Colorado, Stumpp was invited to the group's convention. At the time, Ray Friederichs, Rugby, was an active member of the national organization's board of directors.

The American Historical Society group was formed in Colorado because Colorado is an area originally settled by many settlers from Volga, Russia. Because the Colorado based organization was formed mostly of Bessarabian-background Germans from Russia, Stumpp accepted an invitation to attend their convention.

While at the convention, Stumpp was persuaded to journey to North Dakota, where, for the first time, he had an opportunity to meet descendants of Black Sea Germans from Russia, and compile data on their American lives.

While conducting meetings in North Dakota, Stumpp was a guest of the local, then fledgling, Germans from Russia organization. He was invited to return, and he did so in 1973 when the exhibit at the Geographical Center Museum was dedicated in his name.

Spokesmen for the local organization said Stumpp's happiness with the creation of a museum containing historical data on Germans who once lived in the Black Sea area of Russia has resulted in his subsequent donation of several publications, documents, etc.

Just as Stumpp's research subjects have moved from place to place in the world, so will the exhibit which bears his name. Wherever located at the local museum, the Stumpp exhibit commemorates the work of a man who has become known as, "The Treasurer of Lost People."

Reprinted with permission of The Pierce County Tribune.

This photo of Dr. Karl Stumpp, for whom an exhibit at the Geographical Center Museumm is named, was taken during Stumpp's second visit to Rugby in 1973.
This is the present location of the Karl Stumpp exhibit at the Geographical Center Museum. Contained in the collection are publications, documents and other artifacts pertaining to local Germans from Russia history.
Here is where the Stumpp exhibit will be after it is moved from a main building at Rugby's Geographical Center Museum sometime this spring. This three-room house, which was donated to the local Historical Society of Germans from Russia chapter and the museum by Rugby's Walt Miltenberger, was moved to the museum site late last fall.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller