Memoirs of Father Anthony Kopp Published

6 December 1999

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC), NDSU Libraries, Fargo, is pleased to announce publication "Memoirs of Father Anthony Kopp". The original manuscript of Father Anthony is housed in the archives of the Assumption Abbey Library, Richardton, ND. The book tells the story of Father Anthony's German-Russian youth and his life in North Dakota capturing the unique dialectal German speech as he himself directly translated into English text.

Father Kopp was born on December 11, 1891, in Krasna, Bessarabia. Anthony Kopp attended elementary schools near Harvey, ND. He completed high school, college and theological studies at Assumption Abbey, Richardton, ND. Father Kopp finished his seminary studies at St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul, MN. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Bismarck, ND, on June 21, 1917, at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Richardton.

Father Kopp served five parishes in the Bismarck diocese including Rosebud, Odense, Mott, Bowbells and Foxholm. He was Pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church at Foxholm from 1933 to 1962. Father Kopp died at Garrison, ND, on July 10, 1964. He is buried at Assumption Abbey Cemetery, Richardton, ND.

Jolenta Fischer Masterson writes in the Foreward: "Several years ago, I received a copy of the Memoirs of Father Anthony Kopp. The document was a bit hard to read, because Father Anthony thought in German and wrote in English. He started telling his life story in 1964 while he was Chaplain at the Garrison Hospital in Garrison, ND. The typewriter that he used was certainly not new in 1964; many of the letters were blurred and difficult to read.

Father Anthony's phrasing was so reminiscent of the language familiar to those of German-Russian descent. We very likely spoke that way ourselves as we were growing up in North Dakota. When he spoke of Father Bernard Strassmeier, I remembered that I had met that venerable old priest when I was eight years old.

The opportunity to work with Father Anthony's autobiography has been a privilege for me. I have learned much about the life and time of my grandparents and their family and relatives during their early years in this country. I hope that my efforts will help preserve their precious story."

Reviewing the book, Father Jonathan Fischer, St. Paul, MN, writes: "I found Father Kopp's autobiography a truly fascinating work. His description of his family's trip to America and their getting situated in North Dakota was most revealing. He also details the effect of having to homestead on this vast prairie, how families had to live isolated and apart from each other instead of in a friend "Dorf", or village, as was the case in the old country. For personal reasons, I found the author's coverage of the various types of farm work most interesting".

Father Leonard Eckroth, Strasburg, ND, writes: "I knew Father Kopp personally. What I appreciated in his Memoirs was his humble willingness in western North Dakota, especially during the drought and the flu epidemic. No doubt, he was able to do what he did for his people because of the strong faith that was handed on to him by his parent and family, who moved from South Russia to America. They settled first in the Krasna area west of Strasburg, then to Harvey and finally to Richardton, ND."

Family historian Mary Lynn Axtman, Fargo, ND, comments: "Memoirs" give the reader a non-romanticized journey through the settlement years of North Dakota that helps them to realize these immigrant folks. In honest, factual and plan language, the reader's journey with the Kopp family, and later with Anthony as North Dakota becomes settled, communities, churches and schools are established, and life becomes a bit easier."

The GRHC website page for the book is - Price of the book is $20 plus postage and handling ($3 postage in US & $4 to Canada). Make check payable to NDSU Library. Mail to: NDSU Libraries, Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, Father Anthony Kopp Book, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599. For more information, contact Michael M. Miller at Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail:

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