Arthur E. & Cleora Reuscher Flegel
Menlo Park, California

Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo, copyright 2001, produced by ROAD Show Productions, Fargo, ND, 81 minutes, DVD

The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection is pleased to present the first videotape of the Oral History Interview Series: "Arthur E. & Cleora Reuscher Flegel."

As acknowledgment for his raising the funds and overseeing the printing of the famous book, The Emigration from Germany to Russia in the Years 1763-1862, by Dr. Karl Stumpp in 1971, his creation and development of the obituary and genealogy card files used by the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, and serving the organization in various capacities since its inception in 1968, as well as the president of AHSGR from 1981 to 1984, Arthur E. Flegel received the International Distinguished Service Award in 1992.

His father was born in Kulm, Bessarabia, and his mother at Lilienfeld, North Caucaus. Arthur's parents came from the North Caucasus to North Dakota in 1899 where he was born at Bentley near New Leipzig in 1917. In 1920, the family left North Dakota and Arthur grew up in Colorado and Kansas, joined the J.C. Penny Company at Loveland, CO in 1934, and was transferred by the company to Stockton, CA in 1937.

During World War II, Arthur served in the Coastal Artillery Corps at Ft. Bliss, TX. Following military service, he began the furniture business and in 1954 he opened his own furniture store in Menlo Park, CA.

Cleora's ancestor, Philipp Reuscher, was one of the initial settlers Norka on the Volga River in 1766. Her great grandfather immigrated to the USA in 1875, settled for a time in Ohio, then Nebraska, and finally Kansas in 1884 as wheat farmers. In 1920, when Cleora was age two, the family moved to Lodi, CA, to become vineyardists.

Cleora Reuscher met Arthur Flegel at Stockton in 1938, and they were married in 1940. Their union was blessed with three sons, Robert, an insurance executive; Mark, president of Flegel's Home Furnishings; and John, an attorney.

Since early youth, Arthur has been absorbed with the question of why and under what conditions his ancestors migrated from Germany to Russia. While at times researching his unique history was frustrating, it was, nevertheless, rewarding and resulted in his amassing a substantial library on Germans from Russia and East European Germans.

He is a certified genealogist. The obituary and genealogy files he established have helped countless people tracing their roots. With his wife, Cleora, he published the Reuscher-Schnell Kinship book in 1975, and his own Flegel-Pflugrath Kinship book in 1978. The publication of his compilation of 25,000 names in a book entitled, "5,000 Families of Kulm, Leipzig, and Tarutino in Bessarabia: 1814-1940," is in process for completion.

Arthur E. and Cleora Reuscher Flegel were major donors for the 1999 award-winning documentary, The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie.

(left to right): Michael M. Miller, Cleora Reuscher Flegel & Arthur E. Flegel presented Prairie Public Broadcasting "Donor's Edition" Germans from Russia videotape & plaque for their major financial contribution, Menlo Park, California, 25 February 1999.

Arthur E. & Cleora Reuscher Flegel Interview

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