Heimat, An Epic Novel: Steppes of Russia, My Country, My Home

By Shirley Wegner Nitschke

Published and edited by HEIMAT, 4030 Highway 281 Southeast, Jamestown, North Dakota, 2001, 417 pages, softcover.

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection is pleased to announce this new book, Heimat, An Epic Novel: Steppes of Russia, My Country, My Home, by Shirley Wegner Nitschke.

The author was born and raised on a farm near Alfred, ND, graduating from Jamestown High School.

The back cover of the book includes the following: "Vladimir, a Russian, is in New York seeking the German woman, Helga, whose facial beauty and deep blue eyes have haunted him the past several years. The two of them had very few private moments during her sojourn in his country.

Life on the steppes of Russia was difficult for the Germans. Vladimir learned from his observations of these strong willed people, and as a young lad he desired to be one of them. However, it was not in the image of the Crown that any native was to become personally involved with the Germans. He does not know of another people who gave more to their life's work on the steppes than this group of people. He salutes them for their efforts."

Nitschke writes in the Foreword: "For years, I was a member of that group, until I decided to research the people known as the Germans from Russia.

My grandparents lived in Germany and migrated to Russia. In 1909, my grandparents left Alt Posttal, Bessarabia, Russia and migrated to America.

I decided to write of what I imagined their life was like, in Germany and Russia, and their final destination - America. Once I was finished, I realized what an amazing story I had. I desire to share it with you in the character of Helga and her family.

It is a story of the Germans in the nineteenth century. The Germans who chose to make the trip to Russia, and the Russian-Germans who came to America and settled in North Dakota. It is the story of hope, survival, conviction, determination, and innovation. It is the story of an individual, a family, of three groups, and three nations.

Nitschke continues to write: "My message to the readers is from the heart. It is a way for me to organize my thoughts, bring perspective into the life of a German from Russia, and leave a living document for posterity."

Related Articles:

Book review by Beverly H. Wigley

Book review by Edna Boardman

Mullally, Sonia. "Author to Speak on her Book About Germans From Russia: April 3 Event at Otter Tail is Free of Charge and Open to the Public." Pierce County Tribune, 29 March 2003, 3.


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