Germans officials to visit NDSU and North Dakota

July 15, 2003

NDSU will host guests from the Federal Ministry of Interior of Germany during their visit to North Dakota from July 29-31. Jochen Welt, federal government commissioner; Klaus Poehle, director general; and Dr. Alexander Schumacher, administrative assistant, travel to Bismarck, Fargo and Germans from Russia communities in south central North Dakota. Hosting the group in North Dakota will be Michael M. Miller, Germans from Russia Bibliographer, NDSU. Miller met with the German officials while he was in Bonn, Germany on June 4.

Jochen Welt is a member of the Deutscher Bundestag and is responsible for ethnic Germans in the former Soviet Union immigrating to Germany. Since 1989, close to three million ethnic Germans have immigrated to Germany from Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Sibieria, and other former Soviet states. His office is responsible for many economic, educational and cultural projects in the former Soviet Union. Many of these ethnic Germans have long lost relatives in North Dakota.

The German officials begin their visit to the USA in Washington, D.C., where they meet representatives of the federal government and the U.S. Senate.

The German officials are interested to meet the with university and state officials regarding small business incubator and economic development projects. They will meet with the Germans from Russia community to learn about how this ethnic group assimilated and adapted to life in North Dakota.

The group travels to Bismarck to meet with Governor John Hoeven and Lee Peterson, Commissioner of the Department of Commerce. They will tour the new building of Germans from Russia Heritage Society and meet with the local German-Russian community.

In south central North Dakota, the group will visit German Russian historic sites including the Lawrence Welk Homestead, Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church and an iron cross cemetery. State Senator Robert Erbele will host the group at his buffalo ranch north of Lehr, ND.

In Fargo, officials will visit NDSU's Technology Research Park, the Northern Crops Institute and the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection. Staff at Prairie Public Television will meet to discuss cooperative documentary projects on the history and culture of the Germans from Russia.

From North Dakota, the German officials travel to the Los Angeles area where they will meet with German Russian families with roots to the the central and northern plains states.

For further information, contact: Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, Fargo (Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail:

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