Two Centuries of History of the Germans from Russia
-- Chronological Table from the Emigration to Russia until the Establishment
of the Landsmannschaft
|Reinhard Uhlmann was born on May 3,
1950 in Chemnitz [then in East Germany], where he attended school
and not only completed the training for tool and die maker,
but later also finished engineering studies. In 1984, he and
his wife, who was originally from the Altai region in the Soviet
Union, managed to move to West Germany, where the couple soon
joined the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland and became
very active members. Reinhold Uhlmann has presented various
slide shows and has provided title page pictures and various
cards to Volk auf dem Weg and the Heimatbuecher. He has diligently
collected extensive materials on the subject of Germans from
Russia and their Landsmannschaft. He and his family currently
reside in Schwabach, Bavaria.
by Reinhard Uhlmann
Zwei Jahrhunderte russlanddeutscher Geschichte -- Zeittafel von
der Auswanderung nach Russland bis zur Gruendung der Landsmannschaft
von Reinhard Uhlmann
Published in Heimatbuch 2000, Teil I, Landsmannschaft
der Deutschen aus Russland, Stuttgart, Germany, pages 8-15
Article is accessible in the German language at this website:
(under the title "Zeittafel ...")
Translation from German to American English by Alex Herzog,
students in Tuebingen, 1920: Dr. Karl Stumpp, author of the
major book on the emigration of Germans to Russia, is pictured
in the second row, fourth from the left.
of Germans from Russia on June 8, 1938. This picture is from
the estate of the family of Josef Hopfauf, which in 1928 emigrated
from Odessa to Neuss [Germany]. Participants pictured very
likely are emigrants from all over the world.
June 17, 1931: The German editorial staff of the wall-poster
news-sheet "Freundschaft [Friendship]" for the active
faculty at the State University of Saratov. From left to right:
Prachnau, Meser, Faust, Weinbaender, Frank, Schaefer, Sager,
Koch, Kolman (dean of the faculty), Euchmann, Hartmann, Krieger
(secretary), Saub, Junker, Hanke.
1756 - 1763
Seven-Year War, including clashes between Prussia and Russia.
Death of the Tsarina Elisabeth I, her successor is Tsar Peter III,
grandson of Peter the Great. He thereby extends the Romanov Dynasty
into the purely German line of Romanov-Hostein-Gottorp (Silesia).
In 1945, as the Duke Karl Peter Ulrich of Holstein-Gottorp (House
of Olderburg), he marries the Princess Sophie Friederike Auguste
Peace agreement between Prussia and Russia.
Peter III is murdered. His wife ascends the Russian throne as Catherine
Catherine II the Great's Manifesto containing the call to foreigners
to emigrate to Russia.
Codex for the Colonies establishes the agricultural policies in
the areas of colonization.
1764 - 1768
Mass settlement in the Volga region: the overwhelming majority of
immigrants comes from Hesse.
Founding of Nishnaya Dobrinka, the oldest Volga-German colony. Balzer
founded in 1965.
Followers of the Herrenhut Brothers Community, established in 1727
in Oberlausitz/Saxony, settle in Sarepta, near Zaryzin, their purpose
being the mission to the Kalmucks.
1765 - 1767
Laying out of the "Northern Colonies" in the vicinity
of St. Petersburg, by settlers from Hesse, Prussia, Wuerttemberg
(Swabia) and Baden.
1765 - 1766
Founding of Riebendorf near Voronesh by Swabians, and of the Belovesh
colony near Chernigov by Hessians and Rheinlanders.
1782 - 1783
German colonists from the Danzig area settle in the Black Sea area,
near 1782 at Cherson, in 1783 at Yekaterinoslav (Dnyepropetrovsk).
1786 - 1789
founding of Alt-Danzig (1786), Fischendorf and Josefstal near Yekaterinoslav
by Prussians and Swabians.
1787 - 1791
West-Prussian Mennonites found six settlements in Volhynia.
Mennonites emigrate to "New Russia" and establish Chortitza
("Ilitsbau") on the shores of the Dnyepr. About 17,000
Germans now reside in St. Petersburg.
Establishment of the port city of Odessa.
Act of Special ["Grace"] Privileges granted to the Mennonites;
they then establish the Halbstadt Colonies and Gnadenfeld.
1802 - 1859
Nearly 110,000 Germans emigrate to the South of Russia (Black Sea
region), the majority of them Swabians (Wuerttembergers) and Alemannen
(from Alsace and Baden).
Germans (primarily Swabians) settle in Odessa. Establishment of
an Evangelical community. Grossliebental Colonies and Neusatz on
the Crimean Peninsula founded by Swabians from Calw.
Alexander I's Manifesto inviting immigration of Germans to the Black
Sea region; exemption from military service.
Settlers from Baden, the Palatinate, and Swabia establish the Prishib
Colonies in Taurien near Halbstadt, and the Liebental Colonies near
1804 - 1810
Settlers from Swabia, Baden, Alsace and Switzerland settle on the
1808 - 1810
People from Baden, Alsace and the Palatinate establish the Kutchurgan
and Glueckstal Colonies in the Odessa region.
Beresan Colonies; Bavarians among the settlers.
1812 - 1813
War of the Fatherlands. Turkey forced to cede Bessarabia to Russia.
Napoleon enters Moscow and is defeated shortly thereafter.
1814 - 1815
The Congress of Vienna ("Reform of Europe"); as King of
Poland, Tsar Alexander I is given the area around Warsaw ("Congress
1814 - 1824
German settlements in Bessarabia. Immigrants are primarily from
Swabia, the Palatinate, Bavaria, Mecklenburg, Pomerania, Silesia,
Brandenburg, plus Germans from the Warsaw region, as well as Saxons.
Establishment of Wittenberg (1814) and Leipzig (1815) [colonies].
1816 - 1861
Immigration to Volhynia from West-Prussia, the Rheinland, the Palatinate
1816 - 1818
Swabian separatists take up land in the South Caucasus.
1822 - 1831
Swabians establish colonies near Berdyansk.
1823 - 1832
Catholics and Lutherans, primarily from Swabia, establish the Plan,
Grunau, and Mariupol colonies on the Northern shore of the Sea of
Establishment of Neu-Stuttgart in the Caucasus.
Tsar Nicholas I reaffirms the privileges granted to the colonists.
Codification of all privileges, duties, and rights of the colonists;
granting of rights of citizenship throughout the Tsarist empire.
1853 - 1856
Crimean War. Russia suffers considerable losses. Fall of Sevastopol
1854 - 1861
Mennonits from WEst-Prussia establish colonies near Samara.
Serfdom of Russian farmers is lifted.
Immigration by Germans from Swabia and Warsaw to Volhynia. 100 years
following Catherine's Manifesto, the wave of immigration of Germans
to Russia is largely concluded.
Second Slavic Congress in Moscow. Panslavist movement 9a term coined
in 1826 by J. Herkel) strengthens under Russian leadership.
1869 - 1873
Establishment of Kronau--Orloff, daughter colonies of the Prishib
and Halbstadt Mennonites.
Bismarck establishes the German Reich.
The government of Alexander II cancels the Colonists' [privileged]
status. Cancels autonomous government in the German regions. Onset
of wave of immigration to North America.
1872 - 1873
About 13,000 Mennonites emigrate to North America.
Universal compulsory military service introduced. The Mennonites
are offered substitute service in forestry.
Immigration to North and South America on the upswing.
1877 - 1878
Russia-Turkey War. First political success by panslavism. Onset
of German-Russian estrangement.
Situation for Germans in Russia worsens as result of Germany's pact
Alexander III takes the throne. Russification efforts subsequent
to Alexander II's assassination begin, via "Pan-Russianism"
directed against Germans.
German settlements (daughter colonies) near Pipshpek (Frunse) and
Aulie-Ata (Dshambul) in Russian Turkestan.
German settlements near Chiva, south of the Aral Sea.
Establishment of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Tashkent.
Alexander III's Manifesto: "Russia must belong to Russians."
Russian is introduced as compulsory language of instruction in schools.
New wave of "Russianism." Names of some German settlements
are replaced with Russian names.
The last Russian Tsar from the house of Romanov-Holstein-Gottorp
ascends the throne. German settlements (daughter colonies) near
German settlements near Akmolinsk (Zelinograd) in the Kasachian
A census provides the following figures: 390,000 Germans living
in the Volga region; 342,000 in South Russia; 237,000 in Western
Russia; and 18,000 in Moscow.
1901 - 1911
Circa 105,000 German settlers emigrate from Russia to America.
German settlement in Turkestan is prohibited. Pogroms against Jews
in Bessarabia (Kishinyov).
1904 - 1905
Russo-Japanese War. Russian defeat leads to partial liberalization.
Settlers stream into Siberian areas of Omsk and Tomsk.
1906 - 1910
Agrarian reforms by Prime Minister Stolypin (assassinated in Kiev
1906 - 1907
German settlements near Ufa in Western Ural area (1906) and near
Aktyubinsk in South Ural area (1907).
Closed German settlement area near Slavgorod in the Kulunda Steppe.
As a result of the Stolpyin Laws, onset of massive immigration by
new settlers in West Siberia and North Turkestan, establishing daughter
colonies (Pavlodar, Karaganda, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk,
A census puts the number of Germans living in Russia at 2,416,290.
Excluding the Baltic area, Eastern Poland, and Volhynia, over 1,700,000
Germans live in Central Russia.
Onset of World War I. The German Reich is designated as enemy of
the Tsarist Empire. Still, about 300,000 Germans serve in the Russian
army. Despite being Russian citizens, their land holdings are seized.
German place names are replaced with Russian ones.
Laws of liquidation: those Germans living within 150 kilometers
of the border are to be resettled to Siberia. More than 50,000 Volhynia-Germans
are deported to Siberia.
Pogroms directed against Germans in Moscow. Many shops plundered.
40 Germans wounded, 3 murdered.
Nicholas II abdicates during the February Revolution. Liquidation
laws are lifted by the Provisional Government under Prime Minister
First All-German Congress in the history of Germans in Russia, in
Odessa. Establishment of a Central Committee for all German-Russians
(86 representatives from German settlement areas of 15 Governments).
First Congress of Volga-Germans in Saratov; Second Congress of Volga-Germans
Bolshevist October Revolution in Petrograd. Start of Lenin's Soviet
dictatorship. Overthrow of the Provisional Government under Kerenski.
Peace Agreement of Brest-Litovsk between Germany and Russia. Repatriation
clause benefiting German-Russians. By request, residents of Germany
may send Letters of Protection to ethnic Germans, but very few are
aware of this provision, and only some individuals succeed in getting
to the West. Russia cedes the Baltic area and Poland. Bessarabia
is ceded to Romania.
April of 1918
Establishment of a "Commissariate for German Affairs on the
Volga" under the direction of Ernst Reuter.
According to a census 1,621,000 Germans live in Russia.
Murder of the Tsar's family in Yekaterinburg.
November Revolution in Germany. Removal of the monarchy, abdication
by Kaiser Wilhelm II. Trotzki's Communist "Permanent Word Revolution"
efforts fail in Germany.
Bolshevists requisition the entire harvest. Rebellions in the Odessa
region against the army of the new rulers. So-called "Red Massacre"
of the farmers. Many men shot after military court ruling.
Catholic seminary closed.
1921 - 1923
Heaviest failed harvest, famine caused by revolution, cicil war,
and dispossession. Strong wave of emigration from the settlement
areas. Population of Germans decreases by 26.5 percent.
1921 - 1927
New economic policies (NEP). Temporary recovery in the German areas.
Rapallo Pact between the German Reich and the Russian Socialist
Federative Soviet Republic by Rathenau and Tchitcherin. Mutual renunciation
of financial demands, plus taking up of diplomatic relations.
The First Soviet Congress announces the formation of the "Union
of Socialist Soviet Republics."
Establishment of the All-Russia Mennonite Agrarian Society.
Renewed attempt by Sinovyev and Radek to continue the "World
Revolution" in Germany.
Establishment of the Autonomic Socialist Soviet Republic of Volga-Germans,
with Engels (Pokrovsk) as its capital city.
According to another census, 1,238,539 Germans reside in the Soviet
Union. Final attempts at emigration to America via Siberia China.
The USA makes available ships in Vladivostok. Some of the refugees
are halted on the way and resettled in the Omsk and Tomsk areas.
Establishment of the German Rayon in the Altai region. German settlements
on the Amur; these constitute the last foundings of new settlements.
Onset of collectivization, deportation of dispossessed owners into
the Far North and to Siberia. Churches are closed.
Toward the End of 1929
About 14,000 Germans from all parts of the country go to Moscow
in hopes of receiving permission to emigrate. Subsequent to lengthy
negotiations 5,671 are allowed to travel through, but only through
Germany and handed off toward North and South America. The others
are returned by force.
50,000 Germans included in the first wave of mass deportations.
1932 - 1933
Second failed Soviet harvest, resulting from forced collectivization
and dispossession. Untold numbers of Germans on the Volga and in
the Ukraine die of hunger.
1933 - 1939
Wave of terror secures Stalin's dictatorship. The Moscow hotel "Lux"
becomes a place of exile for German Communists from the fatherland.
600 Germans are deported from Azerbaidzhan to the Karelian Republic.
Establishment in Germany of the Society of Germans from Russia.
All churches, without exception, are desecrated; not a single German
pastor remains in his position.
1937 - 1938
beginning of the darkest prewar chapter for Germans in Russia. Numerous
Germans killed during the Stalinist "cleansings."
Russian or Ukrainian become the compulsory language of instruction
of in all schools outside of the Volga-German Republic.
1938 - 1939
Dissolution of all so-called German Rayons outside of the Volga-German
Signing of the German-Russian Mutual Nonaggression Pact by foreign
ministers von Ribbentropp and Molotov.
Onset of World War II. A census reports 1,424,000 Germans in primarily
closed communities in the Soviet Union (95 percent name German as
their mother tongue).
80,000 Germans leave Bessarabia and resettle in the Warthegau [area
in the Warthe River valley in Poland]. Bessarabia and the Baltic
States are annexed into the USSR.
Start of the German-Soviet war. During the summer German and Romanian
troops occupy Odessa, and the Red Army leaves it behind after 69
days. Germans living in Crimea, the Caucasus and parts of the Black
Sea area east of the Dnyepr River are deported to Siberia and Central
Stalin takes over the position as the People's Commissar for Defense
and, thereby, overall command of the Red Army.
Romanian troops enter western areas of the Black Sea region. Churches
The German army occupies Dnyepropetrovsk. Germans living west of
the Dnyepr River for the most part escape deportation [by the Soviets].
The famous, infamous ukase by the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union
leads to the dissolution of the Volga-German Republic and to the
deportation of the entire population to Siberia into the camps of
the Trud Army. Within only ten days about 350,000 Germans are dragged
off to the Eastern regions of the USSR.
1941 - 1946
Nearly a million German-Russians are affected by the fate of deportation.
Untold numbers fall victim to this insanity. Families are separated.
By agreement from the German Reich, the area between the Dnyestr
and the Bug Rivers, including Odessa, are placed under Romanian
administration. The region is called Transnistria. Included are
the old German mother colonies of the Grossliebentalers, Kurschurganers,
Glueckstalers, and Beresaners. Members of the German population
receive papers attesting to their Germanness.
The Red Army exits the left bank of the Dnyepr. Ukraine finds itself
under German administration. Formation of the Reichs-Commissariate
Ukraine under the leadership of A. Rosenberg.
Battle of Leningrad, turnaround on the Eastern front.
1943 - 1944
German-Russians of eligible age are inducted into the German Wehrmacht.
March - April, 1944
Because of the retreat of the German Wehrmacht, about 350,000 Germans
from the Ukraine and Transnistria are evacuated and resettled in
the Warthegau, some to the Sudentenland. They are given German citizenship.
Reconquest of Odessa by the Red Army.
The entire population of newly naturalized men is drafted.
Beginning of the Soviet Western offensive. Escape to the West. Arrival
in towns in Saxony, Thueringen and Brandenburg.
American forces occupy all of Thueringen and a large portion of
Saxony. Later, toward the end of 1945, they retreat and leave Saxony
and Thueringen to the Soviets.
Unconditional capitulation by the German Wehrmacht in Berlin-Kahlhorst.
The "Berlin Declaration" by the four winning powers partitions
Germany into four zones of occupation.
Signing of the "Potsdam Agreement," including a deal allowing
each occupation power to repatriate "its" own citizens
into its country. Each former Soviet citizen of German nationality
about to be deported has a sum of $200 placed on his head, as compensation
for the Germans' debt due to the war.
An economic crisis and the failed harvest of 1946 brings about a
catastrophic famine within the USSR. Great numbers of German-Russians
in the Trud Army fall victim.
By decree from the Supreme Soviet, German-Russians are banished
"in perpetuity;" leaving the places of resettlement without
special permission is to be punished with up to 20 years of forced
The Constitution of the federal Republic of Germany is announced.
Establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany; a day prior, the
formation of the first federal government, under Chancellor Adenauer.
Establishment of the German Democratic Republic.
The establishment of a "Working Group for Resettlers from the
East" is decided in Stuttgart, Archivstrasse 18.
"Charter for German Displaced People" presented in Stuttgart
by the Landsmannschaften of refugees; among the singers: Dr. Gottlieb
Leibbrandt, spokesman of the "Working Group for Resettlers
from the East" (as of August, 1955 it would be called the Landsmannschaft
of Germans from Russia).
First countrywide meeting, with constitution, in Kassel. Its first
country president, Dr. Gootlieb Leibbrandt. Further important persons
of those first days were: Superintendent Johannes Schleuning, Pastor
Heinrich Roemmich, Academician Dr. Karl Stumpp, Gertrud Braun, Prof.
Dr. Benjamin Unruh and Prof. Wilfried Schlau.
Toward the End of 1950
12.2 millions of refugees now live in Germany, among them 8.1 millions
in the Federal Republic, but only 70,000 Germans from Russia, that
it, less than 1 percent, among those; there are 4.1 million refugees
in the DDR [German Democratic Republic], but only 5,000 Germans
from Russia among them.
Appearance of the first edition of "Volk auf dem Weg,"
monthly paper of the Landsmannschaft, at the time still subtitled
"News from the Working Group for Resettlers from the East,"
with its headquarters in Stuttgart.
The very first federal (countrywide) convention of Germans from
Russia (Resettlers from the East), in Stuttgart.