"Germans from Russia" Class Anthropology 461/661
North Dakota State University
Fargo, North Dakota


Dr. Timothy J. Kloberdanz, Class Instructor

The "Germans from Russia" course is held each spring semester at North Dakota State University and deals with all of the major German-speaking groups that settled in the former Russian Empire (Black Sea Germans, Baltic Germans, Volga Germans, Caucasus Germans, Hutterite Brethren, Mennonites, Volhynian Germans, Siberian Germans). Representatives of many of these groups later settled in the Great Plains region of North America and particularly in the Dakotas. The class also deals with the topics of colony life, life cycle and seasonal patterns, immigration, cultural retention, folklore, linguistics, material folk culture, and many other subjects.

Towards the end of each "Germans from Russia" course, a traditional dinner is prepared by the instructor and the students. Thirty to forty separate dishes usually make their appearance. Besides adding a celebratory atmosphere to the completion of the class, the various German-Russian foodways that are enjoyed serve as reminders of important anthropological concepts: acculturation, adaptation, diffusion, ethnic symbols, and expressive culture. The German-Russian dish "Fleischkiechla," for example, consists of deep-fried dough and meat pockets. "Fleischkiechla" may well be of Tatar origin and was one of many foodways brought to North America by German-Russian immigrants who traced their origins to the Crimean region. "Baska," a frosted and richly-decorated Easter bread, represents a Black Sea German borrowing from their Ukrainian neighbors. "Bratwurst" (fried pork sausage), "Knepfla" (dumplings), and "Kuchen" (custard cake) are examples of German-Russian foods that represent continuing "German" influences. The diverse foodways of the German-Russians reflect at least ten generations of family migration, cultural borrowing, regional adaptation, and ethnic maintenance.

All of the following photographs are from the April 21, 1999 "Germans from Russia" class, which focused on foodways and other folk traditions.

For more information about the "Germans from Russia" class that is held each spring semester at North Dakota State University, please contact the instructor:

    Prof. Timothy J. Kloberdanz, Ph.D.
    Department of Sociology-Anthropology
    Minard Hall
    North Dakota State University
    Fargo, North Dakota 58105-5075

    Telephone: 701-231-8922
    E-mail: tjklober@plains.nodak.edu

For the recipes and foodways of the Germans from Russia, review the following Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) website pages:

"Recipes and Foodways" (including many recipes)

"Ein bessarabisches Weihnachtsfest" (including Bessarabian recipes)

For cookbooks available from the GRHC website, review the following page:

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