Conducted by Michael M. Miller (MM)
27 December 1993, Bismarck, North Dakota
Transcription by Lena Paris
Editing and proofreading by Jay Gage and Beverly Wigley
MM: Good Morning. It's December 27, 1993 and this is Michael
Miller, the Germans from Russia Bibliographer at North Dakota State
University in Fargo. I'm in Bismarck, North Dakota at the Marillac
Retirement Center and I am with Rosa (Hochstein) Kuntz. And Rosa
we are going to talk a little about your life and what you recall,
what you folks used to do, your childhood, and so forth.
First of all, I wonder if you could tell me, Rosa, when you were
RK: Nineteen hundred and one, February the 23rd, 1901.
MM: 1901, and where did you grow up?
RK: In Canada.
MM: Oh, you grew up in Canada?
RK: Saskatchewan, Canada.
MM: Where in Saskatchewan?
RK: That was just a post office and a church there. It was,
Amber was our next town, closest town. We lived 4 miles from the
MM: Um hum, what was the name of your father?
RK: Frank Hochstein.
MM: Frank Hochstein.
MM: And your mother?
RK: Elizabeth Schuler.
MM: Now your parents, Elizabeth and Frank, they immigrated
RK: We come to Estevan, Saskatchewan, that's where we landed.
MM: Now you were born in Russia.
RK: In Robusafuta, (Sulz) that's a little village out of
Landau. That's where my dad worked for a millionaire there, Edelman
they called him.
MM: Um hum, what was his name?
RK: Edelman was - that little village, Robusafuta they called
it. I don't know if I spell it, pronounce it right or not. And I
found out through my birth certificate, I had it in Russia, and
Father Aberlee translated it in to English in 1962. So that's Landau,
I was baptized in Landau (a Beresan village).
MM: In Landau?
MM: In Landau, huh? Um hum, that's interesting. Yes, that
was of course in the Ukraine. It was a Catholic, Black Sea German
Colony. Now let me ask you, your father and mother had how many
RK: They had 12 children.
MM: Twelve children, and were they all born over in Russia?
MM: When they came to North Dakota, excuse me, when they
came to Canada how many children were there?
RK: I was the smallest when they come. I had two sisters
before that, but I lost a brother the night before we went on the
ship. This is one thing I remember from Russia. Two soldiers come
and picked him up. He died that night; in the morning he was suppose
to go on the ship. We had to leave him back.
MM: How old was he then?
RK: About six months.
MM: Only six months um hum. Now you were two years old when
you left the village, the German village.
RK: This is what I remembered. And I always wondered if
it was really so; if it was a dream what I remember when two boys
come, soldiers and took him in a little box and took him away. That's
the one thing I remember from Russia. It's my first remembrance,
and then I asked my mother and she said, "Yes, that's so."
MM: Um hum.
RK: And then we had a shipwreck on the way over. My oldest
sister, she just died last January in Estevan and she was 97. And
they thought that was land already. And it was a ship for rescue
them. She said how they went over on the ladders, you know, on the
other ship and stuff. And I don't know how many - they were in the
ocean pretty long to come across because they were transferred from
one ship to another.
MM: Right, you were only two years old, so you only remember
what they would tell you.
RK: Yah, what my sister had seen in her history. She wrote
her history in Estevan.
MM: Oh! um hum.
RK: And then I don't remember anything until Christmas,
around Christmas time we come to Estevan; and the lady had white
hair and that's the first person I guess I seen with white hair.
Her name was Caroline. That's all I remember then from then on.
And we lived - dad worked in the brick yard in Estevan and mother
used to go and scrub floors and stuff. Then 1903, 1905 we moved
out to a homestead, to Mariental.
MM: Um hum.
RK: We farmed there on the farm and mother died on childbirth.
And a brother after the last one we lost; my brother died before
the last one was born. The last one was two weeks old when mother
MM: Um, how old were you then?
RK: I was eight.
MM: So you remember that yet.
RK: Oh, I remember everything.
MM: So there was 12 children in the family.
RK: But they died, those other infants.
RK: I had five brothers; and they all died as infants.
MM: Um hum.
RK: In January now I start a year and then the second was
Katie. She died in 1969, she was older than I a year. And then a
sister, younger than me, she died in 1916. She was married to my
husband (Jake's) brother, and then I had to work out. The only schooling
I got, I went about two summers to parochial school. We had four
miles to go. In wintertime we could never get to school. The winters
were too severe. And dad took care of us for three and a half years
and my grandmother then, that was my dad's mother, that's the only
grandma we knew. The rest was all, she was, my mother's mother was
still in Russia. And then mother died the 25th of September and
grandma died the 1st of November, the same year. Then my uncle and
aunt took my little sister baby and they raised her for three years
and then dad got married. Then we took her home and she's still
MM: How old is she today?
RK: She was 80 years old on her last birthday.
MM: I see. Now let's go back a little bit to life in Russia.
I know you don't remember because you were only two, but did your
dad and your mother, of course you were only eight when your mother
died, but did they talk much about life in Russia?
RK: Oh yes! They always talked about how nice fruits and
stuff they could raise there and all that stuff.
MM: What did your father do for a living there in Russia?
RK: He was a hired man. He was the head man in the hired
men, but then he had four or five men under him working. And grandpa,
that's my dad's mother, she remarried. Her husband died; she married
the Faul and he paid the fare over. That's what I found out when
my, when my sister wrote her (history).
MM: Um hum.
RK: And then the Fauls and Uncle Adam, that was my dad's
real brother, we just lived not far from Mariental there on the
farm. And then after my mother died, dad remarried in 1912, I guess
or '13. He married again and then she had a family of six but only
one lived with us. He was just a year older than I, one is still
in Russia and one was a carchidena. You know what that is?
MM: What was that?
RK: Carchidena. He could play music and he had a little
school; he had the school, a teacher he was.
MM: Oh I see, he was a choir director.
MM: And what was his name?
RK: Felix Weisgarber.
MM: Felix Weisgerber?
MM: This what we are talking about up in, up in -
RK: In Canada.
MM: In Estevan.
RK: No, that was in Mariental, that was on the farm.
MM: How far was that from Estevan?
RK: Twenty?five miles northwest.
MM: I see, um hum.
RK: And then I took three months of German school.
MM: Out in the country school?
RK: We had, in the houses we had school; in my uncle's place
we had it.
MM: Who was the teacher that taught the German?
MM: Oh he taught it too then.
RK: He taught. He was a music teacher and he was - all we
studied was Bible and Catechism and arithmetic.
MM: Well, when you grew up Rosa as a child, you know, before
you left Russia coming on the ship and so forth, what language did
MM: German then.
RK: We couldn't hardly speak English when my dad died. It
was pretty hard when we had to start to work out, and the first
place I, he hired me out to a Bonagosski.
MM: What was the name?
MM: That was the family name?
RK: Yes, she gave birth to a baby and that was the third
child. I was there a month.
MM: How old were you then?
RK: 15 going on 16.
MM: So at 15 your dad thought it was time for you to go
out and work, and so he hired you out.
RK: Dad was dead, Dad was dead by then. Dad died in January
and in March I was working out already.
MM: Um hum.
RK: And then from there when the month - he just got me
for a month until she got out of bed, and then he hired me out to
a priest, Father Jakob Wilhelm.
MM: Um hum.
RK: And he came over in 1912 too.
MM: From Russia too?
RK: Yes, and our parish was the first parish he had. And
he always, he was ah always going and he was sick and he had a big
house. I think it was 12 rooms and I was there alone.
MM: You were only 16 then.
RK: I never knew housework. All I done was help out in the
yard, you know horses and stuff. Well, he helped me; he said he
was going to help me but he was never home.
MM: What was the name of the church?
MM: What was the name of it?
RK: Calakundus Church, I can give you the -
MM: Calakundus, ah huh interesting, and then you worked
for the priest, the house, for how long?
RK: Well, that was in March until April and then I got blood
poison in my hand.
MM: This was in 1912?
RK: No, that was in 1915.
MM: Oh, 1915.
RK: And then I got sick, I couldn't work anymore for a while.
Then I had few jobs here and there babysitting. And then in 1916,
I got a job from a party come up from Crosby and hired me.
MM: Crosby, North Dakota?
RK: Yes, and then I worked there a whole year.
MM: At their home.
RK: Family home.
MM: But could you speak English by then?
RK: Well, I could speak some but we got along.
MM: It was limited.
RK: He was, he was German, Holder was their name.
MM: Oh I see.
RK: He had a butcher shop there in Crosby. And then in August
I got so sick I couldn't go to town work, I never went out or anything.
So I went out to Uncle Adam, I wanted to go to the German confession.
Then I got a job right away.
MM: So you went back home to Canada again from Crosby.
RK: No, that was out to the farm Mariental.
MM: Oh, up in Saskatchewan again.
RK: Yes, I was still in Saskatchewan then. And then I worked
for Frank, John Frank. Then my sister, she was 16, she come down.
I have an uncle here, had an uncle in Solen, North Dakota.
MM: What was his name?
RK: Schwartz, Jacob Schwartz.
MM: Jacob Schwartz. So you came down to North Dakota then
RK: No, I didn't came down, later I come.
MM: But your sister came.
RK: My sister came down; she was my mother's sister, Mrs.
MM: What was your sister's name?
RK: My sister? Katie, Katie.
MM: Katie, um hum.
RK: She was the second one from the family. And he married
her off right away. In two weeks he married the Cristwich from Solen.
MM: Oh, your sister got married? Well, how long did she
know this man?
RK: She didn't know him at all; they was just brought together.
MM: Oh! what do they call that again?
RK: Well, I don't know, they brought them.
MM: They arranged the marriage.
RK: Yes, they arranged it and she was married three months
and then he died of double pneumonia.
RK: And she was pregnant when he died and then there was
a Geiger down here. He was married to a Kuntz from Solen. And his
wife, they lived out in Montana that Geiger. And he had one child
and she died in Solen and the baby died there. She had such a heart.
MM: Who's that now?
RK: Geiger, Mrs. Geiger.
MM: She died.
RK: She died and then they brought them two together again.
MM: Your sister Katie.
RK: My sister Kate and Geiger, they got married.
MM: Oh, another arrangement.
MM: Oh, that was interesting.
RK: Yes, that was that arrangement.
MM: Those days they had a lot of marriage arrangements.
RK: Yes, and then that Geiger had one child then. It was
about two years old, a little girl. That was the fourth child; they
all died at childbirth.
MM: Um hum.
RK: And then two years after that they come up to Canada;
and I come along with my brother?in?law and sister to Glendive.
MM: How old were you then?
RK: Going on 17.
MM: Uh huh.
RK: And from there I worked for the Geiger from the 4th
of July until November. And there they got a sister, Mrs. Geiger
was a Kuntz. And they came down, they came down to Richardton for
the wedding and they brought Jake, my husband. They live south of
Richardton. He was born there and raised there south of Richardton.
My husband's name was Jake. And they brought him up; I didn't know
him. That's the way we got married.
MM: Oh! So you also had a marriage arrangement.
MM: So I mean it was just decided; and they thought that
man was good for you, so then it was all arranged, huh?
RK: It was all arranged.
MM: So you never knew - how long did you court your husband?
RK: I only knew him a week.
MM: Oh, really!
RK: I didn't want to get married but I wanted a home.
MM: I see and you wanted to find a home so you could start
RK: Well, not, I just want - you know we had no home, just
an orphan from one place to another. There was no home to go to.
MM: Oh yah, and you were tired of that; you wanted a stable
RK: Yes, I wanted -
MM: You were how old then when you got married?
RK: I was 19.
MM: You were 19, uh huh.
RK: Not quite, I was two months late.
MM: Did you feel, Rosa, when you were living, of course,
in Canada when you came to North Dakota, did you feel like it was
a different country or going to a different place?
RK: I liked north Montana and I still like Montana.
MM: No, but I mean what about Saskatchewan?
RK: Well, Saskatchewan was all right too, but I like this
country; Montana is my favorite.
MM: I see ah huh, but when you were back at home on the
farm, did you have to do a lot of farm work?
RK: We done everything. When I worked for that Frank; he
moved down to Raleigh now too. I still got some wages coming from
MM: Um hum, he never paid you?
RK: He paid half of it what I had coming, that's the way
MM: Oh I see, interesting. But, of course, you were only
eight years old when your mother died, by then you didn't learn
much cooking yet.
RK: No, I do any of the housework because we was always
MM: There were no boys in the family.
RK: No, my little, the boy died. That's why Dad wanted to
come to America to get land, you know, for the boy; and he died
that night when they wanted to go on the ship.
RK: And then we had another sister in Estevan she died.
And then when he got to the farm there was a little boy born, Jake;
and he died six months so we had no boys.
MM: So you learned to cook when, later on when you were
RK: Well, the priest helped to cook me the grumbeere, schnitz
und glump. You know what that is?
MM: Yes, what were those?
RK:Grumbeere, schnitz und glump.
RK: Yah, I did know that!
MM: Did you make a lot of cheese buttons and things like
RK: Oh yes.
MM: Ah huh, a lot of noodles.
RK: And then he wouldn't stay alone the priest, he had a
little boy with him about four, about six years old. He wouldn't
stay alone. And then he showed me how to make - and I knew how to
strain them and stuff like that. And he put bacon in and I hate
fat. Up to this day I can't tolerate fat.
MM: Ah huh.
RK: And he bawled us out; I bawled right away the first
time I was there.
MM: You were still a young girl then too yet.
RK: Well, I didn't know anything and he said he was goin
learn teach me. When he said, "You came to America, all you
want to eat is pie and cake."
MM: So you grew up in a quite a religious home, I suspect?
Religion was very important in your home, singing and a lot. Did
you do a lot of singing?
RK: Oh yes.
MM: Did they have an organ or any instrument in the home?
RK: My sister took lessons from Felix, my stepbrother, and
I was signed up after Christmas. I was going to take lessons but
I never got to. Dad died January. It's a hard life all the way through.
MM: What about your life up there in Saskatchewan and then
you came down to North Dakota and you lived here ever since, so
you lived on a farm in North Dakota?
RK: We lived in Hettinger County, Madison Township; Hettinger
County, 25 miles to Mott, that was the county seat and Regent was
the closest that was 14 miles.
MM: And how big a family did you raise, Rosa?
RK: I had 13 children.
MM: Oh, you had 13 children, um hum. So your first child
was born when you were how old, about 19?
RK: 20, she's a nun.
MM: What is her name?
RK: Sister Noel, Mary Noel.
MM: And where does she live?
RK: She is down in [New] Mexico, Albuquerque. Their mother
house is in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
MM: Oh she's in Albuquerque, New Mexico, um hum.
MM: Right, so you lived a full life and your children, of
course you had 13 children and then you lived on the farm.
RK: We had a small farm.
MM: Now I forgot to ask you, up in Saskatchewan what kind
of farm, was it a wood house you had?
RK: Yes, we had a wood house but a sod barn.
MM: You had a sod barn, ah huh. Do you remember that yet?
RK: Oh yes, I remember that.
MM: How was that built?
RK: That was built with sod and we had a roof on with straw
and stuff. And the winters was so severe we couldn't see the barn
from the house. We had steps going over the snow bank over this
and down the barn; the cattle just slid down. When we moved to the
farm, we moved out with two oxen; that's all we had and a wagon.
MM: And there was, of course, no electricity.
RK: Oh no! There was no - we didn't have electricity on
our farm until late 50's.
MM: What about for heat, what did you use for heat out on
the farm when you were growing up?
MM: You had coal already then?
RK: Oh yes, we had to get it from Estevan but we had coal;
there was no wood available or anything.
MM: So you used coal already then, you didn't use manure
RK: Yes, we used - summertime we used manure. That was precious,
the manure you know; later we had more stock. They was put in the
fence overnight and that was spaded out with blocks just like -
then it was first was spaded then we put them up this way and when
was just like sharps, you know, then it was dry.
MM: Did you have a summer kitchen?
MM: No summer outside kitchen, no outside oven or anything
RK: But my grandpa had a outside oven with rocks built,
I remember that.
MM: You mean back in Russia?
RK: No, in Mariental.
MM: Oh in Mariental. Oh he did, oh yes.
RK: I remember that.
MM: So your grandpa came over on your father's side, your
RK: He was the stepfather to my dad.
MM: I see.
RK: The grandfather we know.
MM: Did he come over with the ship, the same ship - came
RK: Yes, the same ship.
MM: Now did anybody, Rosa, stay over there? Did they all
RK: No, one of them stayed back. His clothes came was in
the ship too; the last minute he backed out.
MM: Now you mean your father's brother?
RK: Yes, Joseph was his name.
MM: Joseph, what was his last name?
MM: Joseph Hochstein, he decided not to come.
RK: Yah, he backed out, his clothes came across.
MM: Why did he back out?
RK: I don't know. He just got tired. He was scared or something,
backed out the last minute.
MM: Uh huh, do you remember, you were only two years old,
but do you kinda remember a little bit leaving the village?
RK: No I don't.
MM: Don't remember that, how they went.
RK: The only thing I remember is when they took my brother,
that's the only thing I remember from Russia. And I don't remember
anything from the trip until we got to Estevan.
MM: Did your mother get homesick you think?
RK: Oh, I suppose they were homesick, but they had no way
of getting back.
MM: Uh huh and, of course, as we
talked earlier, they talked about the old country.
RK: Oh yes, they talked a lot about the old country.
they ever sing any songs like they used to sing in the old country?
MM: What were some of those songs,
do you remember?
RK:Soldat hab ich's liebe [O Strassburg,
du wunderschöne Stadt]
MM: Why don't you sing that one, that
would be interesting. Say that again.
RK: I have to think first. I know
so many German songs you'd be surprised!
MM: Oh, is that right? Do you know
them by heart or do you have to have notes?
RK: No, we sing by heart. Well, we
sang by notes too but we sang a lot.
MM: What was that one that you just
Dar innen liegt begraben
ein manicher Soldat.
Therein lies buried a brave
Ein manicher, ein schöner,
ein liebste Soldat.
A brave, a handsome, a dear
Der ist ein Vater und
lieb Mutter so jung verlassen hat.
So young has he forsaken
a father and dear mother.
daß kann nicht anders sein.
Forsaken, forsaken, that's
how it must be.
Zu Strassburg, zu Strassburg,
Soldaten müssen sein.
To Strassburg, to Strassburg,
soldiers must go.
MM: Oh that's beautiful. I
have heard that song. There was lots of singing, huh.
Yes, and the ones I remember, I sing it yet, is when my oldest sister
went to communion - we had no church in Mariental there yet. We
had mass in Wanner's house.
MM: In whose house?
RK: Wanner, Stephen Wanner. And had the river was so high
we couldn't cross. Then we went across with the boat and on the
other side there was, we went up the west end. We was on the west
and the south side and the river and we had to cross over to the
west side. We was on the east side and then they had ranged before
the river was so high. Then Zimmerman picked us up and the other
and then I just remember I was only about
five, I guess when that happened or six. And they had a little boat,
a row boat there, and we was over with the row boat, you know, and
I had my hands down in the river. I thought that was fun.
MM: Ah yes, ah huh, and off you went.
Off we went and they sing ah -
Jesu, meine Frei[heit] und Trost
Jesus, my freedom and consolation
Jesu, meine Speis und Kost
Jesus, my nourishment and food
Jesu, meine Sichtigkeit
Jesus, my vision
Jesu, trost in alle leid
Jesus, comfort in all sorrow
Komm mein Jesu komm, mein Jesu
Come, my Jesus come, my Jesus
Komm mein Jesu tröste mich
Come, my Jesus, comfort me
Weil ich herzlich liebe dich.
Because I dearly love you.
MM: Beautiful! Of course when
we talk about singing, we always have to remember weddings, right?
MM: I bet you remember some of those wedding days too huh?
When you got married did you have a big wedding?
RK: We had a, well; we had a double wedding.
RK: His sister got married the same time and was out on
the farm south of Richardton, nine miles south of Richardton.
MM: Was the wedding right on the farm?
RK: Yes, but we had, that was November the 4th, 1919; and
it was the biggest storm you wanted to see.
MM: But usually how many days did they have a celebration
of the wedding?
RK: Well, we just had a one day wedding.
MM: Not the three day celebration.
RK: No, no.
MM: What about the time of the holidays; of course, we just
RK: That was celebrated Christmas.
MM: How did you celebrate Christmas, do you remember?
RK: Well, we had the Christkindl and the das Belzenickel.
MM: That was even up in Canada you had that.
RK: Oh yes, and even when, on the farm when I was married,
we didn't had a Santa Claus the first years. Later years we had
about, we made - I was Christkindl about two or three times myself.
MM: You remember that, of course, when you were a child.
RK: Oh yes, yes.
MM: And there was a lot of Christmas singing too?
RK: Yes, they had beautiful songs.
MM: In German, too, of course.
RK: In German.
MM: And then, of course, at that time you had no little
church yet, so you had church right in the home?
RK: No, well, they build - I guess my mother was living
yet when they build the church. But we couldn't take her in the
church because the blood poison was running already. I remember.
I was right beside - I took - I was out beside her bed all the time,
but the two older ones helped Dad in September. We didn't had the
threshers yet, we had some shocks yet.
MM: Everything was done with the horses yet, wasn't it?
RK: First we had oxen; for two years we had oxen.
MM: How many did you have?
RK: Two oxen; two big oxen and a horse.
MM: One horse?
RK: Bill and Frank and Pete.
MM: That's what you called them? Bill, Frank and Pete, huh?
What was the horse's name?
MM: And the two oxen were Bill and Frank?
RK: Bill and Frank. I never seen such huge oxen and steer
since they sold them. They were huge.
MM: Um hum. So you, of course, then later on you had some
RK: Oh yes, and we threshed; I know the cutting - I don't
know how they cut the first crop, but when we put the first crop
out with the two oxen and the walking plow, dad sowed by hand.
MM: Sowed by hand.
MM: Of course this land was never been used before.
RK: No, it was just prairie.
MM: A lot of rocks too then.
RK: We had a lot of rocks and prairie.
MM: Do you remember that when that was cut the first time?
RK: Oh yes, I remember that!
MM: The grass and then sod had to be cut, that was tough
RK: And when we put the first walking plow, us kids took
the shoes off and followed the furrow, you know, that was nice.
MM: How old were you then?
RK: Oh well, I was five going on eight when we moved to
the farm. I remember that; but with threshing they went to grandpa's
house for threshing. They had a great big place and they had just
(cleared) the ground and that was slick. And then they put the crop,
the grain there you know, and uncle had horses and one was in the
middle and the horses went around and they would lift the grain,
you know, turn it. Then we kids run around with it on there and
that all helped to thresh out!
MM: Oh, you'd be stamping it down, right, to make it even.
RK: And then they had to remove it. And then afterwards
they put it up, you know, and the wind would push (winnow) the grain
out; and the straw they put in the shares and that's the way they
clean it. Then they had sifts - I remember all this.
MM: Oh yes, how they used to do that, huh.
RK: Yah, I remember that.
MM: You had to help with that, too, then huh?
RK: Well, we was always with them. Family was always with
them when they worked; only when ?
MM: What about butchering? You must remember butchering
was pretty big too, wasn't it?
RK: It was pretty big.
MM: Had to get all that meat ready for the winter months
RK: That was all cut by hand. I got sick every time we butchered,
I couldn't take that smell!
MM: Did they make a lot of sausage too?
RK: Oh yes.
MM: What kind of sausage did they make?
RK:Blutwurst, bratwurst, liverwurst and schwartenmagen.
And my Dad in the fall, he was the main butcher there. All he done
was stab the pigs and then clean the casings and mix the sausage.
They would get him from one place to another.
MM: He was that good, huh?
RK: He was excellent.
MM: Did he learn that at home in Russia?
RK: He was a good bread baker. He took care of us; he helped
to bake and helped us. He cooked after mother was dead and everything;
sewed, helped us, learned us to patch clothes and stuff.
MM: Your dad had to do everything huh? You learned all that;
that was interesting. So, of course, when you'd have a wedding was
very important but also was sad I am sure when there was a funeral
in the home.
RK: That was sad, there was always home. I seen my dad die
at home; my mother died at home and my grandmother and my brother
died at home. I was playing with him all day long, my little brother,
on the floor and ma and dad put some paper on the ceiling. It was
in the summer time and ma had some pillows under the table where
they were working; and I was playing with the child all day long.
In the morning when we got up, he was dead.
MM: Interesting, and when there was a funeral was there
some singing then to?o.
RK: Oh yah. Das Schicksal wird keinen verschonen.
MM: Can you sing that a little bit? Try that once, Rosa.
RK:Das Schicksal wird keinen verschonen* - I would
have to see the words.
MM: Do you have the words handy?
RK: I have - when I was sick, I was laid up in Montana when
I broke my hip. And they come in and cleaned house and they removed
everything where I had it; I don't know where everything is.
MM: Uh huh. Some things got mixed up for you. Uh huh. We'll
have to do that sometime and sing that.
RK: That was sad always when they sang that song and then
they buried them, you know, and when they start covering up then
they - that was so sad. It hit you just like that.
MM: And there was a lot of prayers, of course, everything
was German then yet, wasn't it?
RK: Yes, we had German church. Our church was German until
late - in the 30's we still had German in St. Michael's Church.
MM: In North Dakota, now did you receive any German newspapers
MM: That was in North Dakota, but not in Canada, of course.
RK: In Canada they got it too.
MM:The North Dakota Herald?
RK: Oh yes, they had and the Staats Anzieger
they had. And they had another one it started with, Kurier,
I don't know.
MM:Kurier, Deutsch Kurier,
maybe? And that was from Canada.
MM: And that paper, people would wait for that paper, I
bet, every week.
RK: Oh yes, and then they had those, they called them Romans,
they was stories. They would hand stories from one end - farmer
to the other, you know, when they was always exchanging.
MM: Written stories.
MM: Now where did those stories come from?
RK: Well, somebody got em and then, when they had read them,
yhen you know, when they got together.
MM: And then they would pass those stories on, huh?
RK: Yah, uh hum.
MM: What about for entertainment, what did you do as a child?
RK: Well, we played a lot. When the wintertime when they
were together, the sunflowers was the main thing, sunflower seeds.
MM: Oh, you ate a lot of sunflower seeds? Oh yes, uh huh.
RK: Every evening when they come, they know those big pans
there was roasted; then we sat and played with those shells and
the bigger ones was playing cards and stuff. And sometimes they
made tricks. There was a lot of tricks made years ago.
MM: And then, of course, later on as you became a teenager
you had different kinds of fun. And you'd go to dances I'm sure,
too, wouldn't you?
RK: Just in the houses.
MM: Not too much outside. Did they have an accordion?
RK: My dad played the accordion.
MM: Oh, he did? Oh yes.
RK: My sister could play pretty good too.
MM: The accordion too; so you had music in the house then?
RK: We sang a lot and played a lot.
MM: Do you remember the first time when you had the radio?
RK: I remember the first radio we had. It was in '37.
MM: Here in North Dakota already then. You were married,
raising a family.
RK: Yes, I was married. I was in the hospital; I lost a
baby. And it was just a home where they had the Richardton hospita;
it was just a small -. And they played and I missed that music so
much and that helped me to come back to my senses again. I was so
sick and run down and when I had about 80 turkeys -
MM: You had 80 turkeys? On the farm; oh, you raised turkeys
RK: We raised turkeys and geese and everything. And then
when I come home I said, "I go and get a radio with our turkey
money". He said, "No, we have to get shoes". I said,
"I don't care". I said, "If we get shoes, we get
shoes some place else". And then we got a radio, and that was
such - The children, they enjoyed it, I tell you! They had such
a ball. They run around; we had a bigger house later. I was so sick
laying on the chest of drawers. They were singing going around the
dining room table, holding hands, and singing, and dancing! I remember.
MM: They all wanted that radio, was so glad to hear that
RK: Oh yes, that was something nice!
MM: What were some of those early programs, do you remember
some of those?
RK: "Ma Perkins". I don't know any more, so long
you forget when you get older.
MM: Do you remember, Rosa, ah ever getting WNAX so you could
hear Lawrence Welk?
MM: You remember that?
RK: Yes. You know we played for Lawrence Welk in Dickinson.
We had a "Happy Time Band"; I and my husband was the leader.
MM: Oh, you played in it too?
MM: What did you play?
RK: Kazoo, and my husband played the accordion.
MM: And then what? Tell me a little about that, about Lawrence
and how that all happened.
RK: Well, we was out in the parade and then pretty soon
they had to stop; and Lawrence Welk come and gave us a trophy.
MM: This was what year?
RK: I don't know, it was in the 60's.
MM: Oh in the 60's; it was later on then.
RK: That was, see, we was on the farm 35 miles south of
Dickinson. In 1962 we moved to Dickinson; and we lived in Dickinson
18 years. From then on we had more recreation than when on the farm.
We always have to work and the milking and cows and stuff; we couldn't
leave. And then when the first one was through grade school, we
had four schools in the district. My sister, that Katie Geiger,
she came down and she said there is all kinds of work in Montana,
in Glendive. And Dickinson was always poor and the wages was always
lower than Montana. Babysitting was 25 cents an hour and the same
way in the hotels and stuff. They just didn't pay anything. And
then she took my daughter along to Glendive; and she started to
work in the NP hospital and she wanted to be a nurse. And from there
she went in nurses training in Miles City. We didn't know Miles
City existed, but through Glendive she got - Then when my other
children, we couldn't afford to send them to boarding school, and
I wanted them to go to the Catholic School; and the Holy Rosary
Hospital in Miles City they had sometimes 20 school kids going to
school. They had to work four hours a day and then they got the
work and go to school. That's where most of my family lives now
MM: Oh, I see. So you lived out in Glendive then for a while?
RK: No, we didn't live in Glendive, we lived on the farm
MM: Oh, you stayed but the children went out there to the
MM: Oh, I see. Then you moved to Dickinson; and how old
were you then when you moved to Dickinson?
RK: I was 62.
MM: So you lived in Dickinson. You got to know Dickinson
quite a while and that's where you got to know Monsignor Aberlee?
MM: He was a wonderful man. He did a lot of work for our
RK: Yah, he done; he always had German school, churches
and stuff. And then in '80 we moved down here because most of the
children were up in Montana. And we figured it out from - we could
take the plane here and between the time schedule, you know, the
time change; an hour time we was up in Bozeman, Montana. Now if
I want to go to Bozeman I have to go to Minneapolis.
MM: Yes, now it's different of course.
RK: Minneapolis to Salt Lake City for an hour layover and
then I get up there at six.
MM: When you think back, Rosa, to your time when you were
a child, of course; a person never forgets about those early years.
What do you think when you look back and think of those early years,
what do you think of, mainly, when you look back on the farm and
RK: I think that people were more cooperate, worked together.
If one had something to do, they was always work. The neighbors--they
called them; they built homes and stuff and barns and they helped
each other, more than now.
MM: I know it was tough for your dad, you know, and it wasn't
easy. You all had to go out and work at such a early age and then
you had to go out and work for other families and so forth. But
still, you always had - there was always a little - some good memories
RK: Oh yes, I enjoyed my youth. It was sad; after my folks
was dead, after you're orphaned and have no home. I tell you it's
MM: How old were you when you were an orphan?
RK: Well, my dad died when I was 15 going on 16.
MM: So then you, of course, had to go and live with someone
RK: And work.
MM: And, of course, your dad was a farmer.
RK: And he died of a heart attack; and another thing my
older sister was getting married in January was the wedding supposed
to be. Everything was done; they were called off, you know, three
times, announcement and they had the (food) bought. They didn't
have it at home but they had it ordered. Dad bought some lumber
to make a shed beside the house for the wedding. And the wedding
was supposed to be the 16th of January and my dad died the 7th of
January. So that marriage was cancelled.
MM: Uh huh, did they get married later on then?
RK: No, she got married to another guy.
MM: Oh, she didn't get married to him then.
RK: Well, he backed out; he said he was scared that he would
have to carry the family, you know.
MM: Really, that's interesting. How old was your sister
RK: She was 19.
MM: She was gonna get married at 19. In your family, who
is still living now today, Rosa?
RK: Only my youngest sister and I. She was 80 on her last
birthday. She lives in Glendive, they moved down from Canada in
1942, that's all I got left.
MM: So you became an American citizen.
MM: You lived most of your life here in North Dakota.
RK: In Crosby, North Dakota.
MM: You had mentioned that. Of course,
when you think about back home you were pretty young yet, but did
they have a lot of crafts? Did they do a lot of crocheting and things
RK: Oh yes, they does a lot.
MM: You learned some of that from
RK: No, I learned when I worked for
Mrs. Halter in Crosby. She showed me how to crochet and stuff. Because
we was always out; Dad had never hired a man because we was always
out. I bindered, and I cut hay and I mowed hay.
MM: And do all those kind of things,
milk the cows and everything.
RK: Milk the cows and I love cows;
even when we got married, I was out in the field a lot. I used to
like farm work, but after I got played out I got enough.
MM: And now you are here in the Marillac
Center in Bismarck, North Dakota and, of course, there is a lot
of other German people here.
RK: Oh yes, there is quite a few.
MM: Do you talk German once in a while
RK: Talk German a lot, only they got
a different dialogue (dialect) here.
MM: They have a different dialect,
huh; you notice that, huh?
RK: Oh yes, well we had some the same
in our parish. We had from Romania and the same where they come,
they got to speak the same.
MM: They speak that - some of them
are these Bessarabian Germans, uh huh, and they speak a little bit
of different German.
Do you listen once in a while to any German music?
RK: Oh yes, I pray all in German mostly.
MM: You still pray in German, what prayer do you say in
RK: The Our Father, the Hail Mary, Faith, Hope and Charity,
all those prayers.
MM: Ah huh, all in German; the Rosary too in German?
RK: Oh yes.
MM: Oh yes, wonderful.
RK: And I lead the Rosary out here at two o'clock, the scripture
Rosary every day.
MM: In English though. Do your children speak German?
RK: They all spoke German every one of them. None of the
grandchildren speak German.
MM: But your children can still speak German.
RK: Oh yes.
MM: That's very important that we pass some of those traditions
down to the next generations.
RK: Now they are sorry.
MM: The grandchildren.
RK: The grandchildren and even the parents - we know - my
children; now their kids are sorry because they didn't taught them
German. My kids all spoke German.
MM: How many times are you a grandmother? You can tell me.
RK: 45 grandchildren and 60 great-grandchildren.
MM: 60? 45 grandchildren and how many great-grandchildren
do you have?
RK: 60, I think it's now. I just become - there are some
more coming. They're just getting married now, the grand- children.
MM: But you're not a great-great-grandmother yet?
RK: Yes, twice.
MM: Twice; so it's 45 grandchildren 60 great-grandchildren
and 2 great-great-grandchildren. Oh my, wonderful. I bet they've
taken a few pictures with you on all of those.
RK: Oh yes.
MM: Uh huh. Did you keep any pictures way back? After we're
finished with our conversation, do you have pictures, Rosa, from
back in Saskatchewan or your folks or anything like?
RK: Yes, I got pictures from my father and mother.
MM: Ah huh, we'll have to take a look at those. Anything
else you would like to say? We are going to close our conversation
today on the 27th of December 1993. Anything else you'd like to
leave a little message for us, Rosa, for these next generations
when they hear our conversation today?
RK: Well, I hope they keep up the mother's language, that's
my advice, for them. Learn their children their mother's language.
MM: Which is German.
MM: Ah huh.
RK: And they never regret it and I wish them all luck. And
don't forget our God. He is our creator and redeemer. Without God
you can't make it.
MM: Um hum, live a good Christian life.
RK: Yes, I got a lot of healing. They don't believe it,
but I got a lot of healing, that's what keep me going.
MM: Um hum, and we're so glad that you're in such good shape
at 92 years old and had such a wonderful visit today.
RK: I done all my work yet up to this day, no medicine nothing.
MM: You don't take any medicine?
RK: Except Mylanta.
MM: Oh, that's not too bad if that's all you take. Wonderful,
do you watch a lot of TV?
RK: Oh, I got the "Mother Angelica" program on.
MM: Do you watch the Lawrence Welk show on Sunday nights?
MM: Well, let's close our conversation once again and I
want to thank Rosa Hochstein Kuntz, who grew up near Estevan, Saskatchewan.
Then, of course, settled down here in North Dakota in Hettinger
County near Mott and Regent.
RK: In 1962 we moved to Stark County in Dickinson.
MM: So you know a lot of our Dickinson people too, then,
a lot of our German?Russian people out at Dickinson.
RK: Then in '80 we moved down in July; in '8l in January,
he died the last day in January.
MM: Ah huh, thanks so much for our visit during this beautiful
RK: Thank you.
1.Das Schicksal wird keinen verschonen,
1.Destiny will spare nobody.
der Tod verfolgt Zepter und Kronen.
Death pursues scepters and crowns.
Eitel, eitel ist zeitliches Glück,
Temporary bliss is vane, vane.
alles, alles fällt wieder zurück.
Everything, everything returns.
2.Der Leib, von der Erde genommen,
2.The body taken from the earth
kehrt dorthin, woher er gekommen,
Returns from where it came.
Reichtum, Schönheit, Witz, glänzende
Riches, beauty, wit, brilliant power-
alles decket die ewige Nacht.
Eternal night covers everything.
3.Auch dich wird der Tod noch abfordern,
3.Death will also come for you;
auch du wirst im Grabe vermodern.
You will decay in your grave, too.
Heute war nun die Reihe an mir,
Today it was my turn;
morgen ist sie vielleicht auch an dir.
Tomorrow it may be you.
4.Jetzt wird mich die Erde bedecken,
4.Now earth will cover me
bis mich die Posaunen aufwecken.
Until trumpets will awaken me.
Ich erwarte das letzte Gericht,
I am awaiting the Last Judgement;
ich erhoffe das ewige Licht.
I am hoping for the eternal light.
5.Was weinet ihr, Freunde und Brüder?
5.Why do you weep, friends and brother?
Wir sehen einander bald wieder
We will soon see each other
an dem Tage des letzten Gerichts.
On the day of the Last Judgement.
Fürchtet Gott nur und fürchtet
Fear only God and fear nothing else!
6.Die Tränen sind Zeichen der Liebe,
6.Tears are signs of love,
doch sind sie nur irdische Triebe.
But they are only earthly urges.
Nur um eines, um eines bitt ich:
I ask only one thing, only one:
Betet täglich, ach betet für mich!
Pray daily, pray for me!
7.Herr, schenke den ewigen Frieden
7.Lord, give eternal peace to the souls
Den Seelen, die von uns geschieden.
Who have departed from us;
Herr, leit uns nach deinem Gebot
Lord, guide us according to your command
Und sei uns einst gnädig im Tod.
And some day, be merciful to us in death.
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