North Dakota's former Congressman Otto Krueger's
nephew, Paul Krueger, from Germany and Siberia Visits NDSU Campus
and North Dakota
April 15, 1996
Paul Krueger who immigrated from a village near Omsk, Siberia,
to Siegen, Germany, in 1994, is coming to the United States for
his first meeting with his American Krueger relatives in May. Paul
and his wife Anna, who will visit Fargo-Moorhead and NDSU May 2-7,
will be hosted by Paul's second cousin, Marilyn Lenzmeier, and Michael
M. Miller, Germans from Russia Bibliographer at the NDSU Libraries.
The Kruegers will review the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
at the NDSU Libraries which is one of the major resources in North
America for Black Sea, Bessarabian, and Crimean German research.
Miller will conduct oral history interviews with the Kruegers. Filming
of their visit will be done in cooperation with Prairie Public Television.
During their visit to North Dakota, the Kruegers will travel to
Fessenden on May 4-5 to see the area where five of Paul's uncles
lived and where Karl and Mary Krueger homsteaded in Wells County.
There will be a program and reception open to the public at the
old school gymnasium in Fessenden from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on Sunday,
May 5. At the reception, Paul Krueger will speak about his difficult
life in Siberia, and Michael Miller will assist as English translator.
On Saturday, May 4, the Kruegers and Miller will visit the Harvey
Public Library. Paul Krueger will speak from 2-3 pm about his life
in Siberia followed by a public reception. People are welcome to
meet Paul and Anna Krueger of Germany and Michael M. Miller of NDSU.
The library events are free and open to the public.
Paul's father, Bernhardt Krueger, was only 13 when he watched
his 19-year-old brother, Otto Krueger, leave for America in 1910.
Bernhardt and his sister Martha decided to stay in Russia. The other
eight children of Gottlieb and Helen Krueger all went to America,
settling in Wells County. Paul's great-grandfather Karl Krueger
was the first of the Krueger family to immigrate to America in 1898.
He sent money to help bring the rest of his family to the United
Paul's uncle, North Dakota Congressman Otto Krueger, served three
terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1952 to 1958. The
Kruegers who remained in Russia had no way of knowing that Bernhardt,
Otto's brother, had lost touch with his brothers and sisters after
he and his parents and sister, Martha, were relocated to Siberia
in 1914, at the onset of World War I.
One of Karl Krueger's sons, William living in Bismarck writes,
"My father got them all over here but Bernhardt. Karl said he sent
him money to come over here too, but Karl never heard from Bernhardt.
He imagines that Bernhardt used the money to get married and stayed
One of Emma Krueger's daughters, Olga Kraenzler of Wisconsin writes
in a letter, "My mother, Emma Krueger Wagner and four of us children
were living in Siberia during the Russian Revolution of 1917. My
mother with her four daughters miraculously were able to make our
way out of Russia into Germany in 1919-1920. Eventually we emigrated
to the United States in 1921.
In a Grand Forks Herald article dated September 29, 1991,
Lance Nixon writes, "In 1944, when Otto was thinking of running
for state office in North Dakota, Bernhardt Krueger, age 47, was
working beside his son in a slave labor camp in central Asia. Their
crime was being German at a time when Germany and Russia were at
While Paul Krueger was living in Siberia for the past 50 years,
he never gave up trying to find his cousins, the children of his
aunts and uncles who immigrated to North Dakota in the early 1900s.
In 1991, he saw a story in the German newspaper published in Moscow
called Neues Leben, where NDSU German-Russian Bibliographer
Michael M. Miller had written an article about North Dakota's German-Russian
After extensive correspondence in German, Miller was able to locate
Paul Krueger's relatives throughout North America. Krueger wrote
to Miller in August 1991, "You write you are interested in the lives
of the German-Russians in Siberia. I will try to tell you as much
as possible about their distress and plight. Now there is so much
work to prepare for winter. As you know there are problems with
getting enough food and we have to survive with what we have. But
when everything is gathered, I will tell you more about the adventures
of myself and my family."
Paul continued to write in later letters: "I live in Siberia about
70 km from the city of Omsk. Our town is a train station, Piketnoje,
of the Trans-Siberian railroad. Here are about 1,500 residents:
Russian, Germans, Ukrainian, and Tartars. I was born in 1923 and
my father Bernhardt Krueger came here in 1914 from Volhynia, where
he was accepted by the community as a teacher. Later my grandfather,
his aunt, and his grandparents were sent to Siberia."
"In 1933 we all had to go to the Kolkoz farm. In 1942, all Germans
were assigned to the so-called Trud Army. I was sent to such a camp
where I was building a train until June, 1946. My brother Karl was
in the camp where he worked in a coal mine until 1945." Krueger,
a former teacher, has now begun to write his autobiography, which
will be published by the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
at the NDSU Libraries.
In 1994, Lorenz Krueger of Tennessee, son of Julius Krueger, was
the first cousin in the family to travel to Germany and personally
meet Paul Krueger, who had recently immigrated to Germany from Siberia.
Now in 1996, Lorenz will host his newly found cousin at family reunions
in Arizona and California, before Paul comes to North Dakota May
In June 1994, at the large German-Russian gathering in Stuttgart,
Germany, called the "Bundestreffen," Paul Krueger and his family
met Michael Miller and the American delegation of German-Russians
for the first time. This year, Paul plans to attend the Bundestreffen
in Stuttgart on June 22, where 70,000 people are expected to gather
in seeking their lost relatives. Paul will be one of the featured
speakers there at the "America House for Black Sea Germans" sponsored
by the NDSU Libraries' "Journey to the Homeland Tours".
Only with recent reforms sweeping the former Soviet Union, are
the descendants of the Krueger brothers and sisters who came to
America -- Karl, Adoline, Maria, Emma, Julius, Leopold, Gustav,
and Otto -- beginning to learn what happened to the family members
who stayed in Russia.
Since 1991, almost 200,000 ethnic Germans have immigrated to Germany
each year from the former Soviet Union, totaling about 1.2 million
immigrants. The difficult life story of Paul and Anna Krueger and
their three sons who immigrated from Siberia to Germany is the typical
story of thousands of German families who lived in the former Soviet
Union and who have recently immigrated to Germany.
Michael M. Miller, NDSU's Germans from Russia Bibliographer has
been assisting German families in the former Soviet Union and in
Germany to locate their American relatives. In December 1995, he
visited the former German village of Selz (today Limonaskoe) near
Odessa, Ukraine. There he met Antonia Welk Ivanova (76) who is a
relative to the Welks in North Dakota including families living
in the Harvey/Selz area. Antonia is a relative to the late bandleader
Lawrence Welk. The Selz settlement in Pierce County is named after
the Black Sea German village of Selz formerly in South Russia (today
To document the history of the Germans from Russia for future
generations, the NDSU Libraries staff is continually enlarging its
compendium of oral history interviews, including recollections by
some members of the Krueger family. With the help of volunteers,
they are pursuing a global project to interview Germans from Russia,
in both English and German languages, in the Dakotas and elsewhere
in North America, as well as in Germany, in Siberia and in southern
The NDSU Libraries traveling exhibit, "The Kempf Family: Germans
from Russia Weavers on the Dakota Prairies", will be displayed a
the Harvey Public Library from October to December 31. The heritage
of the Kempfs who settled in McIntosh County - another story of
the Germans from Russia - reflects the story of the Krueger family
and many immigrants who settled on the North Dakota prairies. The
1996 spring edition of North Dakota Horizons features an
article about the Kempf family exhibit.
For further information about Paul Krueger's visit to North Dakota,
the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, the "Journey to the
Homeland Tours", oral histories, and traveling exhibits, contact
Michael M. Miller, Germans from Russia Bibliographer, NDSU Libraries,
Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105; 701-231-8416; Michael.Miller@ndsu.edu.
Michael M. Miller
Germans from Russia Bibliographer
NDSU Libraries, Fargo