St Paul's Lutheran Church
Odessa, Ukraine


St. Paul's Realschule and the Odessa German Sports Club/ Deutsche Turnverein

A Brief Chronology of the History of St. Paul’s Realschule

Friedrich Bienemann’s Geschichte der evangelisch-lutherischen Gemeinde zu Odessa provides a detailed history of the St. Paul’s community from 1803-1890.  The author was the son of Herbord Bienemann, pastor from 1868-1890.  Except where noted, the information about the history of the school until 1890 is excerpted from that source. 

St. Paul’s Church school was founded. Within two years, enrollment had grown to 211 children from nine countries: 105 boys, 106 girls.
A community school was founded, and upper-level classes added. Subjects taught were Religion, German, Russian, French, Arithmetic, Geometry, History, Geography, Calligraphy, Drawing, Singing, and basic Bookkeeping. The upper-level classes were placed under the authority of the Imperial Ministry for Volksaufklärung (“Education of the People.”)
1858 -1864
The school building was enlarged. 1858 is regarded as the year in which St. Paul’s Realschule was founded and the new name for the school, “Deutsche Realschule St. Pauli.” was approved. Enrollment grew, so that by 1863, there were 718 pupils of various religious denominations.

Alfred Eisfeld outlines the influence of a formative figure in the history of the school:

Karl Fletnitzer left his mark on the school, first as teacher, then pastor for forty years, and finally as school director from 1857. With the authorization of the Ministry of Education, the school was upgraded from a community school to a Realschule (“secondary school”) consisting of two divisions. In the Boys Division, German, Russian, French, Arithmetic, Geometry, Earth Science, History, Singing, Religion and Drawing were taught. Likewise, in the Girls Division, German, Russian, French, Arithmetic, Geometry, Earth Science, History, Singing, Religion and Drawing were taught, with the addition of Trades and Domestic Science. After graduating from the Realschule, boys could choose to continue their studies in the Business Division, where English, Italian, Physics, Technology, Mechanics and Book-keeping were offered. (9)

The school was rebuilt, and a cistern was built in the courtyard.
The school gymnasium was built.
The Realschule was expanded to seven grades.

Alphabetical List of Teachers, Professors, and Docents

The list of names includes those who worked at St. Paul's Realschule (later known as the Deutsche Schule), the Mullereischule, and the Odessa German Sports Club.

Years Served
Adler Teacher  
Bachmann Inspector  
Bender, L (Frau) Teacher 19??-19??
Barth, K? Teacher 19??-193?
Biere Teacher  
Bipus, Johann Teacher  
Blauberg Teacher  
Breisch, L Teacher 1839?-18??
Chakhotyin Teacher 19??-193?
Fletnitzer, Karl Teacher 1825-1867
Kajander, Vera Teacher 19??-193?
Kaminski, Nikolai Teacher;
1877-1890 or later;
1881-1890 or later
Klein, Wilhelm Teacher 18??-18??
Koppe Teacher 18??-????
Kowaltzig, Georg Director, Realschule 1869-1877
Kraft, Anna Teacher 19??-193?
Krause, Oskar Teacher 19??-193?
Kroenberg Teacher  
Kroenberg, Frieda Teacher  
Kroenberg, Helene Teacher  
Kurz, Malw. (Frau) Teacher  
Kylius, Theophil Teacher 1853?-18??
Langhaus Teacher  
Levi Teacher  
Luedecke, Hans Teacher  
Märtens Director, Realschule 1880-1883
Mittelsteiner, Ernst Director, Realschule 1906-1914, 1918-1922
Mittelsteiner, Oda (Frau) Teacher 19??-193?
Muller (Frau) Teacher  
Oertel, Moritz Interim Director 1867-1868
Otterstäter, Franz Teacher 1853?-18??
Reissig Director, Mullereischule  
Richter, Theophil Teacher 19??-19??
Röder Director of school 1853-18??
Rudolphi, Jonathan Head teacher 18??-1835
Ruff Teacher 1868?-18??
Schmidt, Karl Teacher  
Schomburg, Gustav Ferdinand Adolf Director, Girls School; Teacher, Realschule 1853?-18??
Schöttle, J D Teacher 1853?-18??
Schöttle, Karl Director, Realschule 1877-1880
Schwamberg Teacher 19??-193?
Sieber, Gustav Teacher  
Staub, Dr. Teacher  
Struwe Teacher  
Thauberger, Gottlieb Director, Realschule (after Mittelsteiner) 19??-19??
Thum, Paul Teacher  
Wagner Teacher  
Walter Teacher  
Wernke Teacher  
Wilhelm, K Teacher  
Woelfle (Frau) Teacher  
Wurster, Thomas Director, Realschule 1846-1852; 1867-1869

(Sources: W.H. (26), Bienemann (409, 455-460), and Kraft correspondence, 1920-1937.)
(See Works Consulted.)

If you have further information about any of the people listed, or about anyone who worked at the schools or the Sports Club whose name is not listed above, please contact Michael Miller

Odessa German Sports Club/ Deutsche Turnverein

The German Physical Education Club (Deutsche Turnverein) was founded in 1880. The gym was built in 1881. For many years, administrators and faculty were German, and German was the language of currency.  Admission was open to children and teens of both sexes and of all ethnic and cultural heritages.

The club had the use of the St. Paul Realschule gym and was open from mid-afternoon until late evening.   A wide variety of activities was offered. Indoor activities including gymnastics, dance, and fencing were held in the gym; athletics, football (soccer), and tennis at the sports field in the villa district; and rowing, sailing and swimming were based at the Yekaterininskaya (“Empress Catherine the Great”) Yacht Club. German Physical Education Club members wore white uniforms with black trim and the logo with the club’s initials (Deutscher Sport Klub.)   In 1919, the name of the club was changed to Odessa German Sport Club (Deutscher Sport Klub.) (HB 1956 31-32)

Photos from the St. Paul's Realschule (called Deutsche Schule in the 1930s), and Odessa German Sports Club

These photos show students and teachers at St. Paul's school and the German Sports Club.

Professor Ernst Mittelsteiner was director of the school for twelve years between 1906 and 1922.

Professor Ernst Mittelsteiner
(Courtesy of Konrad Mittelsteiner)

St. Paul’s staff group photograph, early 1900s
Row 1 (front) first left:Teacher Yablonski
Row 2 first left: Pastor Steinwand; second right: Director Mittelsteiner
Row 3 first left:Teacher Basilevitch; third left: Pastor Willigerode
Row 4 third left: Inspector Bachmann
Row 5 extreme left: PE Teacher Sieber; extreme right: Teacher Blumenberg
(Courtesy of Konrad Mittelsteiner)

Graduating class of 1914
(Courtesy of Konrad Mittelsteiner

Parallel bar exercises with Mr. Sieber
 (Courtesy of Konrad Mittelsteiner)

Anna (Bergau) Kraft was a teacher at St. Paul’s School and at the Sports Club. The photos were mailed by Anna over a period of about ten years to her sister Ella (Bergau) Hogg, who emigrated to Scotland in1921 and who collected Anna's correspondence. In 1944, Anna was arrested by the NKVD. In December 1944, she died in prison.

Catherine Yacht Club (14 Sept. 1910)
(Source: Odesskiyi Listok)

Four newspaper photos featuring the anniversary of the founding of the Catherine Yacht Club. In the first photo, a bust of Empress Catherine the Great is prominently displayed. On the left side of the photo, one can see an Orthodox priest wearing ceremonial robes. The men’s team in the second (top right) photo is from high school number 4. The remaining two photos are of the ladies’ rowing team.

School gym (updated)
(Courtesy of the Landsmannschaft der
Deutschen aus Russland.)
School courtyard (updated)
(Courtesy of the Landsmannschaft der
Deutschen aus Russland.)
Deutsche Sport Klub

Instructors/ staff: Kolya Bart, Anna Kraft, Zhenia Kentz, Oskar Krause, Herr Schwamberg, Tapersha, Armand Tapuz, Ivan Tchakhotin, Andrei Zima (“wise director”);
Students: Julius Benke, V. Lazurskii, Tina Shapovalenkova, Sasha Taponaki, Lelia Zima.

Anna Kraft at cistern in St. Paul’s School courtyard. (1928)
Group of students demonstrating group work in balancing; school courtyard. (1928)
PE group photo, Anna Kraft. (1928)
Anna Kraft with girls (snowflakes and flowers) and boys from Classes 5, 6, 7. (1928)
St. Paul’s School Class I, Teachers include: Vera Kajander, Anna Kraft; student: Oskar Bergau. (1930)
St. Paul’s School Class II, Anna Kraft; students: Wirich, Antoshin. (1930)
St. Paul’s School Class II, Anna Kraft; student: Trudchen Fritz. (1930)
St. Paul’s School (?) teachers and other staff, Anna Kraft. (1933)
Anna Kraft. (1928)
Anna Kraft. (1933)
Group of children in the children’s ward, Institute of Tuberculosis; Anna Kraft. (1936)

The old school gym as it looks today
(courtesy of Mats H. Andersson)

If you have information or questions about the photographs or the people in them, or if you have more information about the history of St. Paul’s Realschule, please contact Michael Miller

Text and webpage prepared by Ella M. Melik, Moxee, Washington

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