By John (Johannes) Philipps
Published in German language only by the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo, ND, 1994, softcover, 122 pages, German Langauge
The author writes: "My life does not differ from that of thousands of my countrymen who lived in this era. My experiences are closely tied to the village and to the farmers" ... "I have attempted to give a good representation to the culture of German farmers in the steppes of Southern Ukraine..." He succeeded in this. German farming practices and German life on such a farm estate (chutor) in South Russia, especially the areas of Odessa and Nikolajev with his memories are the topics for this book.
First, the author gives an historical overview and then describes the beginning of the Speyer colony (1917-1941); with unique emphasis, he does not omit aspects of economic and the political development. He covers the good and the bad times. Later he describes in great detail: agriculture and its methods, machinery and equipment, customs, climate and soil conditions, etc., as well as the agricultural development in an historical context.
Philipps points to interesting aspects in the lives of these people and makes them come alive through personal experiences and Russian terminology so that the reader participates vicariously in an earlier century and in the heritage of this prosperous South Russia. Life in a family home with dumplings, marchorka (Tobacco), Kvas (a drink), and homemade bread add tangible recognition through a strong work ethic of the German Russian cuisine in this paradise region. Such a heritage is to be share with the descendants of Speyer families.
About the author
As German Russian, John (Johannes) Philipps has experienced all the sorrows of his countrymen. His youth was overshadowed by poverty and hunger even though he came from a well-to-do farming family. He experienced the deprivation of citizen rights and wrenching deportation of his family, was captured by British troops and, finally, uprooted and without a country, petitioned for emigration to the United States of America. After he had conquered initial difficulties, he arrived finally in New York, in 1952. He moved to California in 1955, where he accepted U.S. citizenship and grateful to establish a new life in North America. This book is based on his own personal knowledge of history and on the authority of his own experiences which he witnessed while earlier living in the former Soviet Union.
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