Forward in Faith

By Ervin Schumacher

Illustrations by grandson Reeve Schumacher
Published by Black Hat Press, Goodhue, Minnesota, copyright 1998, 187 pages, softcover.

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection is pleased to announce Ervin Schumacher's new book, Forward in Faith.

While Ervin's previous book, Dreams Can Come True: An Autobiography, (1997) recounts, in vivid autobiography, the successful assimilation of ethnic Germans on the prairies, coteau, and plains of Dakota Territory -- his complimentary sequel, Forward in Faith targets the spiritual stamina and cultural soul of these globe-wandering Germans, their achievements and contributions, with insightful observations of a world history educator.

What legacy of world history is impacting our ethnic heritage today? He distills three hundred years of religious, economic, and political upheavals from "homeland" western Europe; to the promise, mystery, and treachery of the Russian Empire; to attractive opportunity and dreams of America; to holocaust tragedies and bizarre uncertainty of post-Tsarist Soviet greed.

Launching from his poem "Our Ancestors," the world view of this historian outlines in nine chapters: 1) German Colonization in Russia; 2) Immigration to America; 3) History of Two Families - the Klotz and Lehr families from Kassel, Glückstal Colonies; 4) Germans Who Remained in Russia (with devastation of Bolshevik power grab with the drought of 1921); Changes in Russia (1991-1992); 5) Russia; 6) Changes in Russia (1921-1992); 7) Republics of Russia and Ukraine; 8) Republic of Moldova; 9) and Politics and Religion (1993). Black and white illustrations and photographs as well as a bibliography are included.

Fortified with the historical knowledge of governmental quirks, this astute traveler provides observations which project into the future cultural policies and economic adjustments, which will provide a distinctive hybrid of Russian "democracy," limited by their cultural introspection within their comfort zone; thus, no western democratic clones will survive there.

His personable, easy-read book is a recommended introduction for the unseasoned traveler, to unique expectations and distinctive changes within post-Soviet culture. His moderate world-view of history provides to us an important contribution of understanding Eastern Europe.

Review by Jay Gage, Exhibits Curator, Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU Libraries, Fargo

About the author:

Ervin Schumacher grew up on a farm near Eureka, South Dakota, where he farmed until he and his wife, Gertrude, bought a farm of their own one year after they were married. They farmed eleven years. Ervin received his General Equivalency Diploma and his college degree at the university branch Ellendale, North Dakota. He taught high school three years and then worked as a Child Welfare Worker for the State of South Dakota. From 1964 until his retirement in 1990 he was the South Dakota State Medicaid Director. He and his wife have two children and four grandchildren.

Steam engine, thresher and crew: from left Philip Weiz, Ludwig Schumacher, Christian Schaible, Jacob and Christian Schumacher
The school and old Lutheran church in the former German village of Kassel, Glückstal District (today located in Ukraine)
Side view of the Graff's home in the former village of Glückstal (today located in Moldova)

Forward in Faith

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