Biography and Book Reviews

Erinnerungen an die deutschen Kolonien des Großliebental Rayons bei Odessa: 1803 - 1844

Biography of Eduard Mack

Eduard Mack was born on 6 September 1918 in the community of Alexanderhilf, Rayon Grossliebental by Odessa. After finishing the elementary school in Alexanderhilf, he attended the middle school in Grossliebental from 1930 - 1934. From 1935 on, he studied at the German Pedagogic Institute of Odessa which he finished successfully in 1937 and then, beside his work as a teacher, graduated from the correspondence school at the Ukrainian Pedagogic Institute in Odessa. From 1937 until 1941, Eduard Mack worked as a teacher at a school in Freudental, Rayon Grossliebental, and during the occupation until 1944 at a school in Alexanderhilf. In 1939, he married his colleague, teacher Ottilie Lutz. Two daughters, Elvira (born in 1940) and Nelly (born in 1961), are from this marriage.

After immigrating to the Warthegau (1944) he was drafted into the German army. In May, 1945, he came into Russian captivity and was sentenced to 10 years in a labor camp; he spent this time in the Iwdel camp of the gulag in the North Ural Mountains. After his release in December, 1954, he returned to his family who was resettled in Dusti, Tadzhikistan. He worked there until 1984 as chief accountant for the postal service after finishing accounting courses and further training. Then the Mack family moved to Krasnaja Poljana by Sotshi at the Black Sea (Russia). In 1990, Eduard Mack went with his family to Germany and settled in Ravensburg (Baden-Württemberg).

Book review by Johann Kampen, former editor of Volk auf dem Weg, March, 1999, page 21.

"Grossliebental with Text and Photos"

The number of books about the former German colonies in Russia, i.e., the Soviet Union continues to grow. The Hussenbach book Deutsche in Russland by Viktor Volz, Das Dorf Zentral, by Susanne Isaak, etc., were followed by the book about Kandel Entstehung, Entwicklung, und Auflösung der deutschen Kolonien am Schwarzen Meer, by Anton Bosch and Josef Lingor.

The latest are the books about Chortitza Wir vom Dnjepr by Hans Nickel and Erinnerungen an die deutschen Kolonien des Grossliebentaler Rayons bei Odessa by Eduard Mack.

All books of our authors have one thing in common: They were published with a great amount of time and financial sacrifices of the authors. They themselves are from the colonies they described and of course turn first (but not only) to their countrymen of Kandel, Zentral, Chortitza, etc., scattered throughout the whole world.

The same applies with limitations to the 273 pages, large format, plus 195 pictures in the book about Grossliebental by Eduard Mack. The 80-year-old author living today in Ravensburg (Baden-Württemberg) is faced with the delightful situation that especially many people from Grossliebental live in a more or less small area in Germany and are very well organized in the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland. It can even be said that the former colonists and their sons and daughters from Grossliebental, Kleinliebental, Alexanderhilf, Neuburg, Mariental, Josephstal, Peterstal, Freudental, Franzfeld, Lustdorf and other villages by the Black Sea were the nucleus of our Landsmannschaft. Eduard Mack dedicated his book to them, has given up important commentaries and instead had names, numbers, village maps and pictures speak for themselves. The most important events in the existence of the German villages between 1803 and 1945 are recorded in tabular form as are the lists of the first settlers and the repressed, those shot to death and saved men and women of Mack's homeland in a closer sense of the word.

Book review by Rudolf Bischof, "Danke, Eduard Mack!", Volk auf dem Weg, March, 1999, page 21, translation from German to English.

Thank you, Eduard Mack!

Many countrymen were grateful when in 1990 the book, Entstehung, Entwicklung und Auflösung der deutschen Kolonien am Schwarzen Meer, by Anton Bosch and Josef Lingor appeared in the offer of the Landsmannschaft. It was about the Kutschurgan valley with the colony of Kandel founded in 1818. An important mosaic piece was added to the history of our ethnic group with this valuable book.

Our people from the Kutschurgan valley and beyond were delighted and grateful. Today, they keep this book as a precious relic and think above all of their grandchildren.

Equally valuable is the latest book with the title, Erinnerung an die deutschen Kolonien des Grossliebentaler Rayons bei Odessa, which was now published by our 80-year-old countryman, Eduard Mack in Ravensburg. This book is dedicated to the German colonies of another important settlement region of the Germans from Russia.

Eduard Mack comes from the same village of Alexanderhilf where Dr. Karl Stumpp, one of the founding fathers of our Landsmannschaft and significant journalist of German Russian history, was born. As of 1937, Eduard Mack worked after schooling and continuing education as a teacher at the middle school of Freudental and later also in his hometown, Alexanderhilf. In spring 1944, like all the Black Sea Germans left behind in their homeland the same fate confronted him and his young family. He had to leave house and yard and arrived in that Germany where he was once naturalized and drafted into the army, came into Soviet captivity and was sentenced to 10 years forced labor in Iwellag followed by constant supervision of the commander's office. Under these circumstances Eduard Mack was no longer allowed to be a teacher but after retraining at least an accountant.

The initially futile efforts to emigrate to Germany were successful only in 1990 after many rejections and humiliation in faraway Dusti in Tadzhikistan. However, with his thoughts he liked to stay in the places of his childhood and youth: Alexanderhilf, Odessa, Grossliebental...

The thought to describe life and aspiration in his former homeland, in a narrower sense of the word, lay always dormant. It was his firm wish, a concrete task, a goal. He gathered ceaselessly line by line, picture by picture, statement by statement, village map by village map. He did not shy away from expenses, time and effort. He visited the old homeland several times, took notes, photos, talked with old acquaintances and new residents, revived memories. Exact data about founding, layout, church, school, health, culture, occupations, customs and way of life for every former neighboring village beginning with the rayon center, Grossliebental, on to Kleinliebental, Neuburg, Mariental, Josephstal, Peterstal, Freudental, Franzfeld, Karlstal and Lenintal to the place of birth, Alexanderhilf, were collected.

The author wrote the book in a clear chronological sequence: Immigration, settlement, life in the colonies until WWI and after the October Revolution with the years of terror in the '30s, WWII and its consequences for the Germans in the Soviet Union, the return to the land of their ancestors. Eduard Mack completes his work with the title "50 Jahre danach" (50 years afterwards).

I was fascinated with this book and our countryman, Ernst Lehn, must have been also because he wrote: "We see how ambitious and laborious Mr. Eduard Mack gathered for us in his book all kinds of things about the lives of the German colonists in the Black Sea region after more than 140 years. The writer wants that joy and sorrow, problems and concerns as well as success and failures won't be forgotten and drown in the past but rather continue to live in the hearts of future generations." It is my primary wish that this book will be read by our countrymen.

Echo to the new book by Eduard Mack by Ernst Lehr

O, dass ich tausend Zungen hätte
Und einen tasuendfachen Mund!
So stimmt ich damit in die Wette
Aus allertiefsten Herzensgrund
Ein Loblied anch dem anderen an...

Eduard Mack did not include this verse from the familiar hymn in his book but we, his countrymen, see how ambitious and laboriously he gathered for us all kinds of things for his book about the lives of the German colonists in the Black Sea region after more than 140 years.

And he wants, as he emphasizes in the preface of his book, "that the joy and suffering, sorrow and success won't be forgotten and drown in the past but rather continue to live in the hearts of people."

It's urgent; time is running short - how true are these reminding words of Mr. Mack! He wants to shout: Don't forget our dear village! Don't forget our past in good times and in bad times, pass on the memories and stories of the village!

When the book has been carefully read, keeping in mind the data of people, if expropriated, died of hunger, shot to death or killed in action during the war, when all the pictures in the chapters have been looked at as well as the village maps, then the entire valley, from Ovidiopol to the south to Vygoda to the north, can be seen; a series of German villages with talented and friendly people who held in high esteem the joy over their fields and order in house and yard.

Too bad, it's a shame that they were not left in peace working and living, that they were repeatedly forced to destruction and to ruin because of malevolence and envy due to their hard work and ambition.

It was known to everybody that the city of Odessa and surrounding area were supplied with agricultural products like wheat, oil, milk, fruit and vegetables but especially with grapes and melons.

All this did not matter to the Soviet regime. Only one thing was seen: closed villages and entire rayons with which "the others" could not compete because "they" did not want to. That's the reason for the cleansing, taking away land and cattle, driving farmers from their farms and yards, separating them from their families and showing the people still left behind: do not move! THERE is a lot, a lot of space for the likes like you. Thus in this period of terror these industrious Germans from Russia lived their dull life deprived of their rights and quietly knuckled under even crowed together...

Our countryman has done his share for posterity for the people still living today, for those who were all born in their villages, who were awakened by the book and whose memories were refreshed by our friend Eduard Mack. It is a great honor for him and we owe him gratitude and tribute for his effort and ambitious work.

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