|Standing in front of wreaths commemorating thousands of Germans from Russia who have lost their lives from persecution are, from left, Arthur Leno of Bismarck, Mrs. Frank Voeller of Rugby, choir director, Rev. Francis Grow of Rugby and Rev. George Unruh of Rugby. They participated in a memorial service at the Pease Gaarden.|
"Germans From Russia Draw 424 at Rugby Convention." Minot Daily News, 8 July 1974.
RUGBY - The annual convention of the North Dakota Historical Society of Germans from Russia closed a three-day program Sunday with an interdenominational song and memorial service in the amphitheater of the International Peace Garden north of Dunseith in honor of hundreds of thousands of their people who have been victims of deportation, starvation and political persecution over the years.
With a total registration of 424, people came to Rugby from a considerable number of states. Karl Ehni of Lodi, California formerly a farmer at Fessenden, received special recognition for coming to the convention from the longest distance.
Among those joining their American counterparts were two German army captains who came to Rugby with 120 soldiers from training at a camp near Brandon, Manitoba.
In addition to selecting Minot for the 1975 convention city, the society re-elected LeRoy Oberlander of Dickinson as president.
Other officers include Arthur Leno of Bismarck, vice president, and Mrs. Paul Retzlaff of Aneta, secretary.
Board members for the coming year will be Albert Hausauer of Bismarck and Jake Roemmich of Mott, who were unable to be in Rugby for the festivities; Mrs. Walter Essig of Denhoff; Thomas Wentz of Minot, John Gross of Rugby, Fred Fiechtner and Dr. Armand Bauer of Fargo, Rev. George Unruh of Bismarck and District Judge Ray Friederich of Rugby.
Gross, president of the host Heart of America chapter at Rugby, presented charters to the Mott chapter, organized in March, and to the Minot chapter, of which Mrs. Lewis R. Larson is secretary.
Other charters went to the Rugby, Bismarck and Linton chapters.
Rev. Frank Grow, pastor of the Little Flower Catholic Church in Rugby, gave the address for the memorial service.
Memorial readings in both English and German were presented by Leno, editor of the Heritage Review, published for the society at Bismarck, and by Pastor Unruh.
Services commemorated 400,000 Germans from Russia who have died as victims of deportation "after years of utter degradation and deprivation of all inherent human rights," 300,000 who died from starvation during the great famine of 1921-22 and another famine in 1933-34 and those who have died far from home in the icy seas of the North, in Siberia or in the desert of central Asia.
Through the placing of memorial wreaths, the service also commemorated the pioneer forefathers who left Russia to seek freedom and opportunity in America and the plight of 1,800,000 of their numbers who have been dispersed to Asia from above the Arctic Circle to the borders of Outer-Mongolia, China, Afghanistan and Persia and who are not allowed religious freedom.
Leno served as song leader for the service with Mrs. Frank Voeller of rural Rugby as director of a choir.
Portions of the memorial service were written in memory of Paulina Friederich, mother of Judge Friederich, who died June 13. She was born in 1887 in South Russia of German parentage and had lived in McIntosh County on a farm six miles southwest of Fredonia following her marriage.
Dr. LaVern Rippley, chairman of the Department of German at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota was the speaker for a Saturday night banquet at Andrew's Steakhouse in Rugby. He outlined the role which the Dakota Freie Presse, a German language paper, had played in providing news about Germans from Russia on four continents.
Originally published at Aberdeen, South Dakota the Presse ran into difficulties during World War I during anti-German sentiment among Americans as spelled out by the passage of the "Trading with the Enemy Act" which placed strict regulations on war news, with publication only in the English language.
F.W. Salled, the publisher, subsequently was charged with transgressing the law. He pleaded innocent, contending that he had complied with the law.
Arrested with Salled was his editor, J.F. Paul Gross, who was charged with failure to abide by the act in that he had worn a ring with a "Traitorous insignia" and a watch band with a picture of Kaiser Wilhelm.
However, Gross subsequently was determined to be an enemy alien, since he was 2l years and 14 days old at the time his father became a citizen, according to Dr. Rippley.
Gross was interred in Georgia for the duration of the war and Salled was left alone to face his charge. According to Dr. Rippley, the judge ruled that Salled had only technically violated the act and he was fined $500, but Salled had spent a considerable amount of money in his defense.
Two years after the incident, on February 21, 1920, he sold publishing and printing business in Aberdeen and moved the paper to New Ulm, Minnesota.
Dr. Rippley was introduced by Dr. Joseph S. Height, professor of languages at Franklin College, Franklin, Indiana.
Two German songs were sung during the banquet by Mary Kay Voeller, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Voeller of rural Rugby.
Special honored out-of-state guests at the banquet were presented with gifts by Gross.
Beer steins went to Dr. Rippley; Dr. Adam Giesinger, chemistry professor at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg; Dr. Height; Theodore Wenzlaff, retired Army colonel and member of the Nebraska state legislature from Sutton; Fred C. Koch, former correspondent and editor of newspapers in the state of Washington from Olympia; and Dr. Anthony Becker, radiologist at Saskatoon, Sask.
Mrs. Gwen Pritzkau of Riverton, Utah, who presided at the Saturday afternoon genealogy workshop, received salt shakers.
James R. Griess of Lincoln, Nebraska discussed "Pioneers on Two Continents" during a Saturday noon luncheon.
Rev. William Sherman from the Newman Center at North Dakota State University in Fargo, participated with Drs. Becker, Geisinger, Height, Rippley, Col. Wenzlaff and Koch in a Saturday afternoon author's symposium with Dr. Bauer presiding.
Reprinted with permission of the Minot Daily News.