The German Canadians 1750 - 1937: Immigration, Settlement & Culture

By Heinz Lehmann

Translated, edited and introduced by Gerhard P. Bassler, Jesperson Press, St. John's, Newfoundland, 1986, 541 pages, hardcover.

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection is pleased to present this well documented and researched book on the Germans who immigrated to western Canada.

In the Foreward, Heinz Lehmann writes from Tübingen, Germany in 1985: "I shall be very happy indeed when this English version of my early studies, that took me long years of research in libraries and archives, and several months of field studies in Canada, can now appear around my golden wedding anniversary. I take it as a later, but not too later, recognition of my work for the benefit of Canada and the German Canadians."

Of much interest to the Germans from Russia community, includes these chapters: "From the Russian Steppes to the Prairie Frontier," "Settlement Patterns in Western Canada," "Religious, Secular and Cultural Life in Western Canada," and "Language Loyalty and Ethnic Retention."

Lehmann describes in detail the German exodus from the Black Sea area, Volhynia and central Poland, and the Volga region to western Canada between 1874 to 1914. Lehmann covers settlement patterns of the Mennonites in southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan. For the Black Sea Germans, he describes settlement of Catholic Germans from Russia from the Kutschurgan District, South Russia to St. Peter's Colony and St. Joseph's Colony in Saskatchewan. He shares importance of church congregations as the mainstay of ethnicity.

The Appendix includes valuable census data, maps and ethnic composition charts. There are historic black and white photographs including a sod house of St. Joseph's Colony, breaking of virgin prairie sod, a hausfrau with spinning wheel, and many other photos. The Notes, Bibliography, and Index sections are most impressive in detail.

Sod house, with German settlers, St. Joseph's Colony, Saskatchewan, around 1900.
A German settler breaking virgin prairie sod in the Saskatchewan bush, spring, 1934.
A German from Russia "hausfrau" photographed in Saskatchewan in 1934 with her spinning wheel from her homeland.
A pioneer German homesteader in the Saskatchewan bush improving his first dwelling, 1934.

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Review of book by Edna Boardman

The German Canadians 1750 - 1937

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