Heaven Is Our Homeland:
The Glückstalers in New Russia and North America

Glückstal Colonies Research Association, Redondo Beach, California, 2005, 60 minutes, DVD



The four villages known as the Glückstal Colonies were established northwest of Odessa in 1809-1810. However, the earliest of these immigrants had already arrived in July, 1804. Eventually 106 families were settled in Glückstal in the spring of 1809. The first 100 families of Neudorf arrived in 1808-1809.

These families lived with other settlers at three different locations before establishing Neudorf in the spring of 1810. In the same spring, the 68 families of Bergdorf (who arrived in 1808-1809) and the 99 families of Kassel (who arrived in the fall of 1809) were also settled.

Glückstalers began the migration to North America in 1874, first settling in Hutchinson County, Dakota Territory. Later they moved north and west as the railroads were completed and land became available. Migration continued to Western Canada, the Pacific Northwest and California. Today, descendants of these Glückstal Colonies are found throughout the United States and Canada, parts of Europe, particularly Germany, in Australia, and in the former Soviet Union.

"The Glückstalers in New Russia and North America: A Bicentennial Collection of History, Genealogy & Folklore," a 790 page book that includes two CD-ROMS (searchable data discs), is also available.

For more information about the Germans from Russia,
consult the following websites:

Glueckstal Colonies Research Association

Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo, North Dakota at the Media section "Video Documentary and Other Projects"

Documentary Awards

The Heaven Is Our Homeland documentary has received in 2005 the Crystal Award of Excellence, the top prize in the 2004 "Communicator Awards." There were almost 3,000 entries from forty-eight states and seven foreign countries. Less than ten percent of all entries win any awards of these entries, less than one-half receive the Crystal Award of Excellence. The award is judged on story telling ability and technical excellence.

In 2006, this program won a Silver Telly Award, the top prize in the documentary category in the 27th Telly Award Competition.

2006 Aurora Award

"Heaven is Our Homeland: The Glueckstalers in New Russia and North America" produced by Roadshow productions in cooperation with Prairie Public Broadcasting, and funded by the Glueckstal Colonies Research Association has won a 2006 Gold Aurora Award in the Documentary-Historical category.

The program been distributed nationally to PBS stations by NETA.

The Aurora Awards recognizes individuals in the film and video industries who have achieved that same ability to captivate their audiences with the displays produced from their own creative forces. Competitors come from private and corporate production groups, advertising agencies and television stations throughout the country.

The Aurora Awards is also an international competition designed to recognize excellence in the film and video industries. Entries have come from across the US, and abroad, such as Canada, Hong Kong, Denmark, Mexico, etc.

The judging functions are performed by panels of working film and video professionals that are set up in major cities across the country. Most are writers, producers, or directors who are previous award winners. Judges with specific proficiencies are matched with specific categories; for example music composers sit on the original music panels. The basic premise of the judging structure for the Aurora Awards is receiving the endorsement of your peers that your work is outstanding. Programs are judged on a fixed scale in areas of creativity, message effectiveness and technical excellence. Added together this provides a score that is measured against an absolute scale to determine if the program is award worthy or not. Using this method there could be several winners in one category or none at all. Overall scores from each panel are also compared to a statistical model to see if there is a consistency and fairness in each panel. Less than 2 out of every 10 entries receive an award.

Bob Dambach
Director of Television
Prairie Public Broadcasting
Fargo, North Dakota
August, 2006

Heaven Is Our Homeland: The Glückstalers in New Russia and North America

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