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Comments about documentary
Mary Lynn Axtman
Alvina A. Ballinger
Ted J. Becker
Sister Mary Bernardine Bickler
Father Al Bitz
Ivy Miller Breen
Dorothy J. Brown
Kathy K. Longhurst Clark
Dr. R. Dale Copsey
Shona A. Dockter
Jolene K. Geist Ehret
Marilyn Opp Evers
Dr. Vern Freeh
Henry and Lisa Kremers Gerving
Sister Alverna Goldade
Eleanor and Larry Haas
Carol Just Halverson
Marvin C. Hoffer
Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
Dr. Thomas Isern
Edwin and Lynne Hoffman Janke
Sister Mary Louise Jundt
Sister Helen Kilzer
Edwin A. Kraft
Dr. Robert Kraft
Patti Kilwein Krupke
Mathias Anthony Kurtz
Eileen Knalson Lynch
Dr. Mavis Molto
Elaine Becker Morrison
Rosemarie C. Lohse Myrdal
Sister Denise Ressler
Sister Mary Magdalen Schaan
Father William Sherman
Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict
Pam Bieber Stephens
Cynthia Goetz Stone
Donna Barthule Tamm
Don Heinrich Tolzmann
Dr. Michael S. Walter
Comments from Mary Lynn Axtman, Fargo, native of Rugby, North Dakota. Her ancestral villages are the Kutschurgan villages.
Of course I thought that this video depicted the story of our Germans from Russia history so very well because I am of 100% German-Russian heritage and probably somewhat biased!. I think two aspects of the history that were done so well were these:
1. Connectedness -- Our ancestors did not loose their connections to their Russian homeland and the family they left behind once they settled in North America. They continued to write and tried to help those family members remaining in Russia. The letters from Russia asking for help from their American relatives segment was so touching and real for many of our families. The video also showed that this important searching and helping goes on even today with the tours and gatherings in Russia and Germany where people are being reunited again.
2. Universalitity -- The travel via the ocean going ships and passage through immigration centers such as Ellis Island relates not only to our German-Russian immigrant ancestors but to all European immigrants who settled in North America; be they Scandanavian, Reich German, French, Italian, etc. All descendants of those immigrants to this country could relate that part of the video to their own family history.
The excellent filming, narrative, music and research that is part of this video makes it such a meaningful learning tool for all who see it.
Comment from Kris Ball, Dodge City, Kansas, who grew up in western Kansas. Her ancestral German villages are Yagodnaya Polyana and Dietel, Volga region, Russia
The "Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie", is wonderful! Even though the emphasis is on the Black Sea villages and people, it was very relevant to my Volga people! I especially enjoyed the "Bonus" section which showed footage of the Black Sea villages. Something I learned was the fact that only one in four Germans from Russia people left and went to America. I had just assumed more had left and had thus been spared the sad fate of being sent to Siberia.
I hope you all get to see it, and cudos to Michael Miller, Tim Kloberdanz, and all those who were involved! Well done!.
Comments from Alvina A. Ballinger, Bremerton, Washington, born at Flasher, Morton County, North Dakota
Her mother Rosa's parents were Joseph Schuler/Scheeler from Karlsruhe and his wife, Elisabeth Roshau from Sulz, Beresan Enclave, South Russia. Her father, Gabriel's were: Lorenz Hammel of Kathariental and Elisabeth Braun of Karlsruhe.
I just wanted to give my comments about the Germans from Russia video. It is superb and belongs in every Germans from Russia descendant's library! I am taking my copy to give to my cousin, Klaus Rupp, in Rohrbach am Giesshubel in Baden-Wurttenberg, this June. Klaus is very interested in our German-Russian history, and after it is converted to the German mode, I know that he too will be fascinated by it.
Comments from Ted J. Becker, Williston, North Dakota
The film was superb, and I compliment you and Bob and Ron and all others who worked so hard within the limitations set by economic matters and were still able to turn out a product worthy of national attention.
The film told the story very well. People not familiar with the German Russian story will now have a knowledge based on fact, and with considerable emotion. The part of the film which showed the two ladies making strudel was especially moving, for in it we saw the passing of a very important part of the heritage. The scholarship was very evident and accurate. The scholars have impeccable credentials.
No doubt you have enough film and scholarship to do another film.
Comments from Gary Bergthold, Santa Cruz, California
I just watched the video for the firs time. It had an incredible effect on me. I wept copiously at times as it reminded me so much of my grandparents and also my visits to my ancestral villages in Ukraine. I am from one of the so-called Swiss Galician families. This May, I plan to trace the family travels from the Emmental Valley to the Pfalz to Rosenberg, a few miles south of Lviv. I appreciate your work immensely and have used the web page extensively. I also called Art Flegel to thank him.
Comments of Sister Mary Bernardine Bickler, OSF
St. Francis Convent, Hankinson, North Dakota
In viewing the documentary on the Germans from Russia, I couldn't help but feel proud of the staff that put this film together. It was a job very well done! It brought back many memories of my grandparents and parents who struggled to make a better life for their children in a new land. Thank you and God bless you.
Comments from Father Al Bitz, Casselton, North Dakota
Arthur and Family,
I saw the Prairie Public's production: Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie last night at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo.
It is a great production and tells the story of "Unser Leute" in a very visual, understandable, and pleasing way.
Thank you for all you have done to make our history known and for what you are doing by your courageous support financially and all other ways.
Comments from Edna Boardman, Minot, North Dakota, author of the book, All Things Decently and in Order and Other Writing on a Germans from Russia Heritage
"I hope most of you saw the Prairie Public video on the Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie. It dwelt long enough on the steppe to give a picture of what everyday life must have been like for our ancestors and makes us feel good about the way our heritage plays out in our and our children's lives today. The people who worked so hard to bring it to fruition -- writer Ron Vossler, Michael Miller, Tim Kloberdanz, Dona Reeves-Marquardt, Carol Just Halverson, Shona Dockter, and others -- put their heart and soul into it, and it shows. They worked with an eye on the present and on the future. They asked themselves, If all you ever saw about our ethnic group was this video, would you understand who we are? I think the answer is yes. If you can't get it on TV, be sure to send for a copy."
Comments from Ivy Miller Breen, Craigmont, Idaho
As soon as I got the video in the mail, I rushed home to view it. It was wonderful! I would highly recommend it to everyone. I am a descendent of Jacob and Dorothea (Krein) Heydt who were both born in Neudorf, Russia in 1872 and 1874. They came to America in 1898 aboard the ship Rodedam (Rottedam) and settled near Drake, North Dakota.
Towards the end of the video when Shona Dockter spoke the healing words that were used that involved cat's manure, I just about fell off my chair. Those were the very same "magic words" my father used on me which was passed down through his mother, (Christine Heydt Miller)! I used those same "magic words" on my own daughters to heal their scrapes and bruises as they were growing up. I have only recently become aware of the rich heritage of the German's from Russia so you can well imagine my shock of hearing this on the video.
My family records show that there was a Margaretha Krein born in 1862 who married a Jackob Dockter born in 1860. Both were from Neudorff. Would you happen to know how I could contact this Shona Dockter from the video to see if there is a family connection there?
Thank you so much for your part in the making of this wonderful and important video. I will cherish my copy.
Comments from Allyn Brosz, Washington, D.C., native of Hutchinson County, South Dakota.
Allyn grew up on a farm northeast of Tripp homesteaded by his great-grandfather Brosz. His ancestors came from the German villages of Alt-Posttal, Neu-Posttal, and Katzbach, Bessarabia (father's side) and from Bergdorf, Glueckstal, Kassel, and Neudorf (mother's side).
Highest compliments on the Germans from Russia video. I watched it as soon as it arrived and was impressed by the professional quality of the production and by the concise and integrated manner in which the video told the story of "Unser Leit" (our people). What a valuable addition to the resources on the Germans from Russia. It will undoubtedly be a standard reference work, both for education and public relations.
What an impressive production! I want to commend you for all your time and effort. This is truly a treasured resource for telling our story. I will be sending copies to my relatives to get them excited about the story. My cousin, Marvin Brosz, is already on board and has produced an excellent history of his branch of the Brosz and Bietz families from Bessarabia. I hope to have my manuscript of the Brosz/Dittus families completed by end of 1999. I have tentatively title it, "Across the Shining Sea: Adam and Regina Dittus Brosz and Their Descendants."
Comments from Dorothy J. Brown, Lodi, California
First let me say what a wonderful job was done on the video. I am ordering one now for my sister-in-law who doesn't do research but appreciates the information sent her way.
I am not a descendent of any Germans from Russia, but my husband's mother came from Glückstal at age six and his paternal grandparents came from Strassburg and Selz. Some 20 years ago I started gathering facts concerning these relatives and by the time my husband retired in 1987 and we traveled to the Dakotas, I had such love and deep respect for these wonderfully strong people. It was I who wept at the cemeteries and in the churches of my in-laws.
When we sat down to view the "Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie", it was I who smiled with tears in my eyes, as we watched strudel being made and German songs being sung. My memories were so vivid of my dear late mother-in-law, many years ago, teaching this young girl how to make kuchen and pfferneuse and my own daughters how to make strudels.
The German-Russian people seem to be my family even though my own family came from Ireland, England, Switzerland, Wales and Germany and is documented in the United States in 1625.
Thank you for all of the many hours of research and translating which have helped so much with my research.
Comments from Kathy K. Longhurst Clark
Her ancestral German villages include the Hildebrands from Friedentsfeld, Bessarabia, and the Landsiedels from Johannestal, Bessarabia. Other surnames are the Schocks of Alt Arcis; Bessarabia; Gubart from Paris, Bessarabia; and Widmarier of Grossliebental Liebental District).
Until recently, I never knew much about my grandparent's upbringing other than they grew up in North Dakota and they spoke German with their siblings. They never taught the language to my mom and her sisters. I do have a few relatives that can understand what was being said, but never spoke it themselves.
I've spent the last few months talking with relatives and researching. I remember some of the foods my grandma used to make us that other folks have never heard of or knew what I was talking about. As I learn why my ancestors moved from Germany to South Russia and then to the US, I become more aware of what they went through. I don't see my research as just names and dates. Each time I discover a new name or a new place I just imagine what their lives must have been like.
I think the main reason I am into genealogy is to learn about my family - they may not have discussed it or passed it on 100 years ago when they began arriving in the states, but what I learn now I have shared with my own cousins and aunts and uncles. I was surprised to see that many of them had no idea why my grandparents spoke German yet came from S. Russia. I think I've turned my whole family into a group of genealogists. I love it! I'm 34 years old and I'm just starting to see things I've never seen before - letters written in German, or old newspapers clippings that were printed in North Dakota and written in German. We look over the recipes on the net that have been accumulated. In the video, Children of the Steppe, one of my favorite parts is watching the mother and daughter make the strudel. I don't know if it's the memory of my own grandma making this and other kinds of food or just hearing the older lady speak - she sounds so much like my grandmother used to. I think my ancestors didn't pass down the memories of "hard times" they went through but they did pass down a lot more.
I have a 12 year old daughter that was born in Germany when my husband and I were stationed there while he was in the Army. She has been told that our ancestors have come from that area. She's been interested in reading stories such as "Little House on the Prairie" One day I received a copy of some pages from the Ashley 1888-1963 town history book. The article was about her great great great grandparents and it stated how they were some of the first pioneers. I watched her eyes fill with wonder when she read that as she never thought of her OWN ancestors being pioneers. This is why I keep learning more about my family, to pass on to my own ch3ildren.
Well I hope I didn't ramble on too much, but as I stated, these are my thoughts on what I have learned and what I want to share.
Comments from Dr. R. Dale Copsey, Mesa, Arizona
Native of Twin Falls, Idaho. His Ochsner/Griess ancestral village was Worms, Beresan District. There were two of five families from Edenkoben, Germany, who emigrated in 1809 to South Russia. His great-great Grandfather was age 8 when he left for Russia. His father died enroute, probably at Marbach, and the family was delayed and left behind. Great-great-grandmother Klara Walter Ochsner later went on with her four children and homesteaded the Steppe, obviously with the help of friends.
His grandmother, Elisabether Ochsner Fiscus, and her husband moved to idaho in 1925. All but two of her eight living siblings also moved to Idaho, and the Ochsners became well know in Twin Falls.
I have written my story, enttitled, "Remembrances, Rumors and Records," which contains much of that family's history as well as other family ancestors. Since I have been to Edenkoben many times, and know relatives there, the story includes those personal contacts.
I particularly enjoyed the video on March 6, 1999, in Scottsdale. I am a member of the local chapter as well as a member of the GRHS in Bismarck, despite the fact that the only time I lived in North Dakota was as an Air Force chaplain at Minot Air Force Base in the mid 1960s. My mother's family, Ochsners and Griesses were Black Sea Germans who settled at Sutton, Nebraska, in 1874. Several of us have written life stories, but my cousin, Colonel Theodore C. Wenslaff, (now deceased) wrote perhaps the best one, "Pioneers On Two Continents." I bought the video and look forward to more work produced by your department.
Comments from Shona A. Dockter, Roseville, Minnesota, formerly of Streeter, North Dakota
"The video was absolutely wonderful; I was enthralled every minute as I watched. The original music is especially touching and appropriate. What a wonderful acheivement for us all -- especially you. I cannot describe the pride I felt as I watched the story of our people unfold.
I will share with you the impact of the documentary on my parents: For my father, the most touching moment of the documentary was the chance to actually see the Russian steppe where his father had walked as a young boy.
My mother was struck by the isolation the immigrants must have felt when they homesteaded on the prairies. She had always known that the German-Russians lived together in villages in Russia and then went to homesteading individually on the prairie, but she had never given that aspect of the immigration story much thought until she saw it illustrated by the documentary.
I just spoke with my parents, Michael. Since the airing of the documentary earlier this evening on Prairie Public TV, my parents have gotten eight phone calls from family and friends (some of whom they haven't heard from in quite a long time!) commenting on the wonderful documentary.
Thanks so much for all your hard work Michael, Ron Vossler, and Prairie Public Television. Thank you too, for making our history come alive for hundreds of people."
Comment from Ronda Dolan, Vista, California
Thanks so much for making this video, "The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie", and the work in preserving the heritage of the Germans from Russia. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the video and I'm ordering copies for my mother and three brothers for Christmas.
This video gave me the background I never knew of my mother's family . I only knew her parents were Germans who had immigrated to the United States and settled near Racine, Wisconsin in 1913. I was aware that they had come from along the Volga River but that was most of what I knew. The video is wonderfully done and an important work. Thank you again!
Comments from Jolene K. Geist Ehret, Kileen, Texas, native of Jamestown, North Dakota. Her ancestral German villages are Neudorf, Glueckstal District, and Hoffnungstal, South Russia.
I was so impressed with the video. To realize what a journey it was for them from Germany to Russia, beginning a whole new way of life. What courageous people our ancestors were then and later when their descendants made the decision to come to the new world, sometimes leaving family behind. For the first time in my life, I am actually proud of my heritage. I am awed and humbled by their courage. I only wish that I could have learned more from my grandparents before they passed on. I can hardly wait for my children to watch the movie. I know they will be as proud as I am to be a German from Russia.
My heartfelt thanks to all those who were involved in the making of this very special movie. You did a magnificent labor of love for our people.
Comments from Marilyn Opp Evers, Singleton, California, native of Sacramento
Her ancestors were from the village of Glueckstal and Neudorf, Glueckstal District, South Russia, later settling near Eureka, South Dakota.
I received my long awaited copy of "The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Priairie" and it was most definitely worth the wait. After seeing a preview last year at our California GRHS chapter meeting, the completed version is a wonderful success and a fantastic insight into our heritage. The faces, the places, the narration, the food preparation and even the German language (for which I do not speak/understand) brought more emotions than I thought possible. I just wish I could share this production with my late father, he would have really enjoyed seeing this video. It is truly a treasure and I plan to share it with all my family.
Comments from Dr. Vern Freeh, Roseville, Minnnesota and Loma Linda, California, native of Harvey, North Dakota
The video about the Germans from Russia was the most outstanding video documentary of its kind I have ever seen.
Not only did it give me renewed and deeper appreciation for my heritage, it dramatically underlined my good fortune in their immigration to America and my responsibility to perpetuate the vision, work ethic, values and strong Christian beliefs they so aptly demonstrated.
Comments from Jay Gage, curator of exhibits and textiles, Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU Libraries, Fargo
Do you desire to view an epic film, a "cross-over" recognized both as documentary and visual art?
A shimmering carousel of lush visual images intermingle with stark cultural icons, swirling in perpetual succession through rhythms of both majestic and haunting music: this elegant, yet earthy, epic drama of "Unsera Leute" (our traditional folk) reveals a distinctive and enduring folk heritage as they tamed the savage-sweeping "steppe" as tract-village "colonists" and, later, as they pioneered the wind-whipped prairies and vast plains as isolated "homesteaders."
Iconic impressions and concise narrative compel the film viewer to capture the complexity of political chicanery, viral epidemics, demanding climate, and natural catastrophes which converged: (1) to forge a resilient endurance through spiritual discernment, and (2) to instill a pragmatic wanderlust into this tenacious folk character of "The Germans from Russia."
After the culturally devastating Thirty Years War of civil strife, their history began as "wanderer" emigrants within their own German homeland, thus fleeing religious persecution, inflation, famine, civic unrest, and political abuse. Seeking better opportunities, plus escaping the military nemesis of Napoleon, these folk artisans and agricultural "colonists" eagerly awaited Czarist imperial invitations with grandiose promises in both 1760 and 1804 to the rapidly expanding Russian Empire. Not all promises would be fulfilled.
When Pan-Slavic clamor rescinded German "colonist" privileges of perpetuity in 1871, one-fourth of these colonists desired to preserve unfettered freedoms of their ethnic traditions by courageously uprooting themselves again as global wanderers. Especially, more than 300,000 of these ethnic Germans were attracted to the vast wheat-farming expansion of North America's Great Plains, from 1872 through 1914.
This film addresses both their Ukrainian/Russian experience and their Great Plains experience, based on written and oral histories.
Comments from Henry and Lisa Kremers Gerving, Fort Irwin, California
Lisa is a native of Golva, North Dakota, and Henry is a native of Hazen, North Dakota. The family names are Opp, Wetzstein, Fischer, Ballensky, and Allmer from the for German villages of Worms, Beresan District, and Bergdorf and Glueckstal, Glueckstal District, South Russia.
We received our video in the mail and I could hardly wait to watch until my husband came to watch it. We both took time out of our busy schedules to watch it and found it to be wonderful. My husband is from the Hazen, ND area and I am from Golva, ND. We both agreed that if you closed your eyes and listened to the video, you could just imagine grandma and grandpa in the house and food being cooked. While watching the video my husband even admitted to feeling homesick. We felt that the video depicted very well the Germans from Russia living in North Dakota. My husband is in the military and at this time we are stationed in Ft Irwin, Caliornia. This video is a little piece of home that we can take with us everywhere that we go.
Comments from Sister Alverna Goldade, Convent of St. Francis, Hankinson, North Dakota
Congratulations and thank you! The documentary on the Germans from Russia was beautifully done. It made me even more proud of my German- Russian heritage.
Comments from Eleanor and Larry Haas, Sun City, Arizona
The video "Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie" was very touching. Our children have not gotten into "the heritage" mode of life -- they are busy raising families. One of our sons did attend two conventions with us. We had ordered a video tape for ourselves, but after viewing the tape at the Scottsdale Civic Center library we bought one for each of the boys and their families. The history in this will be a wonderful way for the grandchildren to learn about their heritage. The video was done very professionally, such clarity in the filming. We will be proud to show it to our friends and family.
Comments from Carol Just Halverson, St. Louis Park, Minnesota, native of rural Berlin, North Dakota
Attending The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie documentary preview showings with me were a dozen extended family from the ages of 13 through 79, each with different levels of understanding about their ethnicity. All were enriched after viewing the story of their people and everyone went home excited about and proud to be a German from Russia.
Over refreshments following the documentary viewing, the excitement was obvious, "I got hungry just watching them make and eat the strudels," said a cousin. " I recognized the tombstones at St Andrew's," said 14-yr-old Lacey. "The music was so touching and beautiful, especially the singing in harmony" said an aunt. "The red cows and ladies milking them in the pasture and the horses and carts in Ukraine made my grandparent's life in Russia come alive for me," said an uncle. Another aunt was very touched by reflections about leaving Russia for America. Fifteen year-old Annie, noted that "the story of ice cream at Ellis Island demonstrated the differences in world cultures."
The segment in the documentary, however, that created the greatest response was the explanation of folk healing traditions and the use of healing verses in the German language. Not just among my extended family, but in phone calls that I received from other German-Russian friends, that particular segment created a memory jog that some hadn't thought of in years. Others related to me that the custom continues today as they sooth their children's bruises with a kiss and "Heile, Heile Katze Dreck".......
Clearly, this documentary will be a bench mark in the future of the Germans from Russia.
Comments from Joan Hepperlen, Ocean Shores, Washington, native of Tacoma. Her ancestral German villages are Alt and Neu Donhof and Norka, Volga Region, Russia.
Received the video on Germans from Russia from Prairie TV. Thanks for your part in this. It brought tears to my eyes. It is beautifully done and a treasure to pass on down in our family.
Comments from Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado. He was born in Lichtenfeld, Ukrainian name was Ambrosyevo, located near Odessa, Ukraine. Alex's Germany ancestry came from Alsace-Lorraine immigration of his parents.
I found the documentary quite superb. Not only informative, but even entertaining. Finally got to meet you visually, as well as Kloberdanz, whom I have been following via the AHSGR publications for years. My brother taped the Spokane PBS broadcast while he was on a trip, and I am sending my second copy of the purchased version to my sister for her upcoming birthday.
The following comment is not intended to be a criticism. In fact, it reflects some of the statements in the documentary: today's descendants are seemingly finding it much more difficult, being rather assimilated as they (and some of the rest of us) are, to retain/maintain the German language, as witnessed by the young folks singing old German folk-songs in a rather obvious English/American accent. Even though the centrally located descendants of Germans from Russia had maintained their language perhaps the longest, that same language is quickly fading among the later generations. It makes me wonder at times, somewhat wistfully in fact, how long our associations such as yours and the AHSGR can in fact sustain themselves. The ever-growing interest in genealogy seems to be one sustaining force.
Thanks again for such a great documentary! I will treasure it.
Comments from Marvin C. Hoffer, Lewiston, Montana, native of Java, South Dakota. His ancestral German villages are Glueckstal and Neudorf, Glückstal District, South Russia
I received the video documentary "The Germans from Russia, Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie" and viewed it today.
Excellent, timely, and will become a classic among Unser Leute.
Across the centuries, across the ocean......I knew the smiles, the rugged faces, my heritage tongue. They are part of me, I am part of them. For me to observe, but unable to touch, unable to speak with them, dipped deep into the well of my emotions. This film awakened elements of my soul that have no title, and I shed tears of yearning to make that bond. It would be so satisfying to sit at a simple table with Unser Leute in South Russia and share laughter, a hug, cup of coffee, the smiles of their children, and touch the land upon which my heritage walked, lived and died. Yes, we Germans are an emotional people, and it is a good expression of character.
Thanks to the many able, and generous persons who engendered and completed this film of Unser Leute. It is of great service to those who come after us.
Comments from Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, New York City, authors of the The German American Family Album, Oxford University Press, 1996
The Hooblers have published more than 60 books and have been honored by the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the National Council for the Social Studies, and the Society of International Librarians.
Viewing "The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie" is a thrilling experience. This is the kind of program that makes one realize what a powerful force television should be.
The documentary's color photography is strikingly brilliant. It takes the viewer on a round-the-world journey from the steppes of Russia to the rolling plains of the United States -- the same trip made by the ethnic Germans from Russia. But the film is far more than a travelogue. A thoughtful and clear narration, combined with first-person interviews with the descendants of immigrants and commentary by experts on the topic gives the viewer a deeper understanding of the people who helped make "the great American desert" into the breadbasket of America.
The origins of the Germans from Russia, their unique culture, and their contributions to American life are vividly detailed. Stories of the human tragedy and triumph make this a film that anyone would enjoy and profit from. One gets a sense that there is much more the film-makers had to leave out, and we look forward to a sequel.
Comments from Patrick Hough, Honolulu, Hawaii (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Patrick's ancestral German villages is Freudental, South Russia. The family homesteaded near Drake, ND. Many of the children later moved to Washington and California, while some descendants still farm in the Drake area. Patrick is a Naval Officer stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
After recently receiving the video, "Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie," I had to write a quick note to tell you how great the video is.
My great, great grandparents (Peter Oster and Christina Pfaff) immigrated from Freudental, South Russia to the Dakotas (eventually homesteading near Drake, ND) in October 1901. Only recently (through my genealogy research) did I learn they were "Germans from Russia". Their children would eventually ask Peter and Christina of their Russian history but the story was never told (as if they were afraid to retell their stories of Russia). The video helped me fill in these missing stories and picture what life was like in South Russia...and why they had to eventually leave.
I grew up listening to my great-grandmother speaking German to my great-aunt (when they didn't want us to understand what they were saying) and enjoying her German cooking. My great-grandmother passed away in 1987....I wish I could go back and ask her another 1000 questions about our family and life in the Dakotas. The true tragedy of waiting to start a family tree research project. However, she did pass along that "everyone always helped everyone" (in the Dakotas) and their sod house was later used to house the chickens.
Big thanks to NDSU for your part in the video. I'll happily recommend it to my family members who share our newfound genealogy excitement.
Comments from Dr. Thomas Isern, Professor of History, North Dakota State University, Fargo
"The Germans from Russia" is a wonderful piece of work -- a great idea brought to fruition with masterly production. I'll use it for teaching, refer others to it, and just enjoy it myself repeatedly. This is the sort of project that does what Prairie Public Television and NDSU both are supposed to be doing -- giving the people of the plains a constructive and useful history. Congratulations to all involved.
Comments from Edwin and Lynne Hoffman Janke, Hinsdale, Illinois (near Chicago)
Edwin is a native of Lampman, Saskatchewan and Lynne is a native of Vancouver, British Columbia. Her great-grandfather was born in Wreschen, Posen, Germany and the family moved to Russia. Her grandfather was born in Rowno, Volhynia. The Hoffmans immigrated to Manitoba. Edwin's father was born in Novogrod Volynsk before immigrating to Manitoba.
My husband and I watched the documentary for the first time last Sunday afternoon at our AHSGR meeting and not only found it very informative, but so very interesting. Both our families were Germans from Russia, yet were told very little about our backgrounds, so the whole story was very new to us. Many thanks to the people responsible for this documentary.
Comments from Erna Johnson, Librarian, Chapel Hill Academy, Chanhassen, Minnesota
Recently I had the privilege of seeing the documentary, "The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie". It reminded me of several memories of my mother and her extended family.
I believe this video should be in school libraries for classes or individuals to view when they are studying world history on Russia, German, or their heritage. I am sure one teacher will add this to his currciulum.
Comments of Sister Mary Louise Jundt, OSF
St. Francis Convent, Hankinson, North Dakota
Thank you and congratulations for the wonderful documentary on the Germans from Russia. What a GIFT! It is a beautiful testimony of the faith, spirit, and determination of my people. I could personally relate to so many of the pictures and the accompanying text from my own childhood growing up in a Germans from Russia community near Rugby, ND. I could also identify with many of the traditions and practices as they unfolded during the documentary. I was deeply moved.
I commend everyone involved in producing this excellent documentary with such reverence, sensitivity and accuracy. I believe that this video will bring about a new surge of interest and appreciation for our Germans from Russia heritage among many who share this background, and will result in new and lasting friendships.
Comments from Stacy Koepplin
Thank you so much for such an informative program. My family learned that our an ancestors had moved from Germany to Odessa, Russia. We did not understand what caused them to make this move. This program was the answer and now we know what enticed our ancestors to make this move. Another family mystery solved, thanks again.
My dad will get a piece of the family history for a christmas present (the German Russian video package.)
Comments from Sister Helen Kilzer, a member of Annunciation Monastery, Bismarck, North Dakota
An authentic portrayal of the Germans from Russia experience, its joys and sorrows both light-hearted and profound. For descendants of these intrepid immigrants, this documentary will amplify the stories told by ancestors and elucidate those that remained untold.
Comments from Edwin A. Kraft, Sandia Park, New Mexico
My wife and I watched "The Germans From Russia" documentary video today. It is absolutely great. I am so thankful to have it. The quality is excellent and the passion behind it is to be commended.
Thank you for creating this video - it will be a prized part of my family collection of information. Many of the names and places in the video are familiar from oral stories I have been able to get. I will be in Ukraine again this summer and watching the video has made me even more eager to go. I can hardly wait.
Comments from Dr. Robert Kraft, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, native of Strasburg, North Dakota
There is no other way to bind a group of people together who have a common heritage and culture than to honor their past and their ancestry. We are now two and three generations beyond those first Germans from Russia who arrived on these shores. We -- these last two generations -- are the direct beneficiaries of the hardiness and raw courage of our German ancestors from Russia. We have realized their dreams.
This work of art, this documentary, is the highest honor we can pay. We imprint their lives and their courage into the memories of thousands of us who follow. Now that we know who we are and where we come from, we may understand better what we can become and where we might go.
Michael, thanks for your lifetime of effort to bring this heritage into the forefront and make it a living part of our national heritage.
Comments from Patti Kilwein Krupke
Her Kilwein family immigrated from the Catholic village of Rastadt, Beresan District, South Russia, to Dickinson, North Dakota, homesteading near Daglum. Then in the 1920s they went to Post Falls, Idaho. Patti's Reisenauer family immigrated from Baden, Kutschurgan District, to Dickinson.
I was so excited when my video came in the mail! It is a wonderful link between me and my ancestors. I really enjoyed every minute of it and I am sure I will watch it over and over as my search continues.
But I wonder if anyone knows why so many left the Dakotas around the 1920s to go to Idaho? Mine included. Any thoughts out there?
Keep up the good work.
Comments from Mathias Anthony Kurtz, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I recently viewed your program "Germans from Russia Documentary" on our channel 14, I was very impressed as this is the roots of our parents.
They came to Devils Lake, North Dakota around that same time, and my father, Mathias Peter Kurtz, was a blacksmith for the Great Northern Railroad. I wouldn't be surprised if he had a hand in producing the beautiful iron works that was shown in your film.
Comments from Michele LeBoldus, Ottawa, Canada, her ancestral German villages are Baden, Elsass, Mannheim and Selz (Kutschurgan District)
I would like to congratulate you and Prarie Public Television on a very good documentary. I received the videotape a week ago and have viewed it a couple of times. I was impressed with the production values and especially the extra footage. I had been gathering information for several years on our family and that Russia/Ukraine part was never discussed by my grandparents. My 93-year-old uncle just passed away and as he provided me with a lot of information, I had hoped to send him the videotape.....alas, not meant to be.
Comments from Eileen Knalson Lynch, Los Osos, California
Eileen Knalson Lynch of Los Osos, California was born in Barney, ND to Katherine (Katie) Graf Knalson and Edward (Eddie) H. Knalson. Her mother, Katherine Graf was born and raised in Streeter, ND and at the family farm near there. Eddie was born at Martin, ND where his parents were farmers. Eileen moved with her parents to Valley City, Anamoose, Powers Lake, Coleharbor, Granville, Minot, Rugby, and Hatton. Her dad was teacher, principal, and superintendent in these communities.
Grandmother Graf, Katherina Buck was born in Friedenstal. Grandfather, John Graf, Jr. emigrated with his parents from the village of Neudorf. Michael Baier, Eileen's great grandfather, her dad's maternal grandfather, emigrated from Bessarabia and settled at Pony Gulch near Harvey, ND.
After viewing the documentary, "The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie", my husband and I felt a little emotional. Filmmakers had affectionate feeling for their subjects and photography was beautiful. It brought to life my German from Russia great-grandparents' and grandparents' struggle and journey from Russian farming villages of Friedenstal and Neudorf to North Dakota prairie farms and the community of Streeter they helped establish. Have always wondered, "how did it happen -- how did they get here?"
Comments from Jackie Madden, Eugene, Oregon. Her ancestral German village is Bergdorf, Glueckstal District, South Russia.
I wanted to express my deepest appreciation for the tremendous amount of time and effort you put into this video. I watched it with my mother, Mildred Holweger Rose, who was born in Ellingson, South Dakota in 1920. Her father, Freidrich Wilwelm Holweger, was seven years old when he came to North Dakota from Bergdorf, Russia. My mother was very touched and told me that now I have to buy three more videos for her sisters. When the lady started making the strudels, I started to cry. She looked and sounded so much like my grandmother, expecially her hands. I have always felt that there was a very special story in a German woman's hands, they show many years hard work, great sacrifice and a very deep love of family, church, and community. I am very proud and deeply grateful for my German heritage and forever indebted to those of you who work so hard to preserve it for us. The video brought back my fondest memories of family get togethers when the women gathered in the kitchen to cook and afterwards, everyone looked through family picture albums. Again, thanks so very much.
Comments from Audrey McFaddin, El Centro, California
Greetings from El Centro California. I listed my e-mail address on the Germans from Russia website. I have already ordered the video "Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie." I had viewed my cousin's and I had to have one of my own. It is remarkably well done. My mother was really touched by it. She felt she had revisited her childhood. She is 89 and her family moved to Lodi, California, from McClusky, ND, when she was seven years old. Thank you for the wonderful research you have done.
Comments from Dr. Mavis Molto, Los Angeles, California, a descendant of the Diegel and Holzwarth families of Hoffnungstal, Kherson, South Russia
Thanks to all who were involved in producing this outstanding documentary! The Germans from Russia video is a polished, high quality piece of work that is captivating as well as informative. The filming is artfully done, and the music and native speakers add to the enjoyment. Especially meaningful are the insights provided by the narrators into the makeup and character of the Germans from Russia people.
Comments from Elaine Becker Morrison, Boulder, Colorado
My ancestral villages are: Kassel, Glueckstal colony, where my father lived until he was sixteen years old; Worms, where my maternal grandfather was born; and Teplitz where my maternal grandmother was born. I was fortunate to visit all three villages and also Sessenheim, Alsace, from where my paternal ancestors emigrated to Russia. I was born in Minnesota but spent my childhood years in North and South Dakota where I heard as much German language spoken as English, church services were conducted in German, etc. Unfortunately, my parents tried very hard to be "American" and in our home it was English only, and my mother's cooking did not include the Russian-German dishes. Fortunately, about twenty years ago, a cousin of my mother, introduced me to a history of our people and since then I have been trying to "make up for the lost time" by becoming a genealogical fanatic. Aside from acquiring a quite extensive Ger-Rus library, I have learned to read both German and Russian script and have greatly enjoyed reading copies of original manuscripts.
Because of my interest in genealogy, we recently were very surprised to discover that my husband's grandparents spent about five years in the Volhynia area of Russia. That has opened up another area for study.
Congratulations to everyone who was involved in the creation of "The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie". It is all done so very professionally. the quality of the filming, the chosen subject material and the sensitive writing of the text are all something of which we Germans from Russia people may be very proud. I look to viewing the video with my children and grandchildren.
Comments from Rosemarie C. Lohse Myrdal, Lieutenant Governor, State of North Dakota, Bismarck
"I was so impressed with the Prairie Public Televesion documentary that I viewed on Sunday at the Heritage Center in Bismarck. It was especially interesting to have an opportunity to talk with several of the people who had a part in creating this fascinating and beautiful story of the Germans from Russia. This TV program made sense of so many vague ideas that I had about the Germans from Russia heritage. I now have a much better understanding of the love of the prairie, the belief in hard work, and the devotion to home and family that I have witnessed in my meetings and friendship with North Dakotans who share this heritage. North Dakota history is in many ways a collection of settlement stories. Congratulations to everyone who had a part in telling the story of the Germans from Russia."
Comments from Clyde Oberlander, Burke, Virginia, is a native of Ashley, North Dakota
Clyde is a 1953 graduate of North Dakota State University, Fargo. His ancestral German villages are Neu Glueckstal, Glueckstal District, and Peterstal, Libental District, South Russia. His great-grandmother, Philip and Margaret Deagal Oberlander, lived in Peterstal in 1863. His great-grandfather, Georg and Barbara Buchler Opp, lived in Neu-Glueckstal in 1880.
I received the video yesterday and am very impressed with it! In fact, I am going to order another one and will have it sent to my brother Ralph, also an NDSU alumnus, who resides in Indianapolis.
It was interesting to see several scenes from Ashley, my former residence, and see several friends of mine, namely, Shirley Fischer and her parents, Christoph (who passed away) and Emma. Enjoyed seeing you, too.
Comments from Ruth Rasch, Mesa, Arizona
Prairie Public Television is owed a debt of gratitude from everyone for producing the excellent videotape "The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie" and we appreciate all that you did, Mike, to make it become a reality. It must have been very frustrating at times but well worth the effort. You can be very proud of it.
After I got home Sunday I called my sister-in-law in Casper and she said, "Oh, I was just going to call you. Yesterday, I got the most wonderful tape. I got the shivers when I watched it." Then she started to tell me more about it and I said, "You didn't read the list of donors did you? You'll find my name." Soon her husband came in, took the phone and started telling me about the tape. Then she showed him the list of names. I'm sure their enthusiasm will be matched by others over and over again.
She also mentioned how much she enjoyed the strudel segment. She makes beautiful strudel so I teased her that I would ask you to have her make it on the food tape.
Comments from Sister Denise Ressler, a member of Annunciation Monastery, Bismarck, North Dakota, a descendant of the Leingang and Ressler families and Director of Alumni at the University of Mary
The documentary, Germans From Russia: Children of the Steppes, Children of the Prairie, is a story well told. It is a real tribute to the Germans From Russia people and their descendants.
I appreciated hearing the historical progression of these people as they came from Germany into Russia and then to America, their personal stories, and the importance that faith and culture played in their lives.
In reflecting upon this documentary, I found I could relate to the history and information given because of the stories I remember hearing from my parents, my dad was seven years old when his parents came to America in 1892, and the German customs that were practiced in our home.
Being the youngest of 14 children and therefore having lots of relatives, I eagerly listened for familiar names and places, and I was proud to know that these are my roots and I felt like I was traveling right along with them.
I believe this documentary will always have a place in history, as future descendants will want to know "who they are" and "where they came from." I know that I look forward to sharing this authentic and beautiful documentary with my relatives in the years to come.
Comments of Sister Mary Magdalen Schaan, OSF
St. Francis Convent, Hankinson, North Dakota
The history of the Germans from Russia was excellent! The film brought back memories of my parents and the way we worked at home on the farm near Balta, ND.
It was very well presented!
Comments from Eva Schwan, Fairbanks, Alaska
I enjoyed watching the video. It really brought back memories of home. I grew up in Karlsruhe, ND. The elderly ladies at that time dressed like the ladies in the video. My parents & grandparents were from the Kutschurgan region. My mother's family (Jaeger) from Mannheim and the Schwan family from Strassburg. The video is a great reminder of where we came from. I can't wait to show it to my sisters' & they will probably want their own.
Comments Fred Schweitz, Raleigh, North Carolina, a native of Waterloo, New York
His grandfather, Heinrich Schweitz of Leipzig, Bessarabia, and his grandmother, Theresia Quast of Plotzk, Bessarabia, immigrated to Elgin, ND. His father was born in Elgin, ND, in 1922.
They moved to Waterloo, NY in the late 1920's and this is the area where I was born in 1943 (Seneca Falls, Seneca County, NY). We moved to a farm in a rural township of Seneca County called Tyre, NY, and that is where I was raised.
Tyre has very large areas of muck lands (drained swamplands) where they grew potatoes and onions. This was one of the surprises from the video that the German-Russians migrated to New York State to work in onion fields. I now can research to see if that, is in part, the reason why my grandparents moved to NY from ND. My dad and his siblings do not remember the reason for this relocation; only the difficulty of it all.
Comments from Father William Sherman, Grand Forks, North Dakota
I watched the documentary on Prairie Public Television and I can say it was magnificent. I had seen the commentary - Ron Vossler and I had a review session. Yet it was the production especially that impressed me. I knew it would be good, but this was far beyond my expectations: the choice of segments, the blending of it all, the photography, the continuity, and the scope. It's a classic. If you don't win a prize for it, someone is artistically blind.
And I can praise it for two reasons. As you know, I was twice in the same Ukrainian villages. You very capably captured the mood of the area, the people, the history and the times. But I can pass along also the unsolicitated comments of people who saw it, ordinary folks of German-Russian background, "It was wonderful." "It was just like I heard from old times." "I learned so much." Unless I'm dreadfully naive, you have on your hand a production that will continue as a "best seller." I've already sent a copy to German-Russians in Oregon. I'm sending one to a friend in Kansas, and I'm showing it around here in Grand Forks.
Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict
Saint Benedict's Monastery
104 Chapel Lane
St. Joseph, MN 56374-0220
Dear Mr. Miller:
Recently a valuable video was given to me to add to our monastery collection. Sister Katherine Kraft gave me her gift copy of "The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie", a one-hour documentary telling the story of the Germans from Russia. A word of gratitude is in order for you, to begin with, and all those who had a hand in the production. Thank you so very much.
There are a number of Sisters here who are "Germans from Russia" in background. They found the production delightful, so well done, and very touching, indeed. One admitted that tears often came to her eyes as the stories brought to mind those she had heard her own grandparents tell, or as she recalled the experiences she herself lived through in her own family in the "early" days. All are grateful that, since the '70s, this "history" can be talked about more openly, with justifiable pride.
Blessings on you and your family, on your co-workers, and on your work, especially on your efforts to keep alive the story of the Germans from Russia.
Sister Lorraine Klein, OSB
Monastic Media Librarian
Letter from Geneva Smith, Jackson, California
"Please send the documentary video, "The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie." This will make a wonderful Christmas gift for my husband. His Grandfather Miller was about 6 or 7 when they move to the U.S. He told stories about remembering being on the ship and seeing the Statue of Liberty. He was excited and flung his hat out into the ocean! Thank you again."
Letter from Frank Soare, Auburn, Washington
We are enclosing a check for $24.95 for the video "Germans from Russia." My wife and I thought it fascinating, and knowing that it was part of my heritage made it even more interesting and special. You sent the video to my mother, Dena Baisch Soare in Glendive, Montana, and after she viewed it, sent it to my wife and me.
My mother, Dena Marie Baisch Soare, is one of two sisters who remain from a very large family, offspring from Germans from Russia. My mother is 88 and her sister, Jean Peltzer, in Billings, Montana, is 86 years old. Their mother was Elizabeth Gutnecht Baisch, and their father was Jacob Baisch. They farmed in the Stanton area. My mother was born in Krem, ND, which no longer exists as I understand. My mother said that Elizabeth was born in the Odessa area, and came to North Dakota when she was 18 years old. My mother did not know whether her father Jacob came from Russia or directly from Germany.
My grandmother lived with us in Glendive several months a year for several years, when I was in elementary and junior high school. She was a wonderful woman, who was widowed very young, and had a very difficult time raising such a large family. Her husband Jacob was a widower, when he married Elizabeth, so my mother had step-brothers and step-sisters. There were 14 children from the marriages, eight from Elizabeth and six from Jacob.
For myself, as an uninterested schoolboy,I wasn't too interested in what happened in Russia or Germany, but many years ago, I'd wished I'd have asked my grandmother more about Russia, Germany, and her childhood. I feel badly about it, because now all that history is gone. She did tell me how mean the Russians were, and how rudely they were treated on the train ride back to Germany, and how pleasant the Germans were to them. I don't know if my mother can give you anymore information, but at 88, she is as sharp and active as one can get, still drives, cooks, cleans, and has the energy of a 50-60 year old, and has all faculties.
Comments from Pam Bieber Stephens, Cincinnati, Ohio
I was born in Montana (raised in California) and my German-Russian ancestor Jacob Bieber was in Glueckstal from Alsace by at least 1820 (his father Heinrich apparently got to Hungary around the same time or earlier, but it's not known if he ever joined his son in Russia). His descendants John (b.1883) and Katherine (Eisenbeisz) (b.1885) Bieber came to North Dakota after leaving Russia in the late 1800s. I am not sure if they were married there or in the US). This and more information is documented in the compilation by Rev. Martin Bieber.
I am also a descendant of the Gramm family, which I believe also hailed from Glueckstal and came to the Dakotas perhaps around the same time, but I have much less information on this.
Thank you for forwarding this information, I purchased. I received the documentary not long ago and found it fascinating and have forwarded the information below to my sister in Kansas City (not wanting to part with my beloved videotape).
It is very well done and very interesting - particularly to me because it was only recently I learned of the Russian connection in my German heritage, so I am learning a great deal about myself in addition to my ancestors. This videotape has really enhanced the learning experience for me.
Comments from Cynthia Goetz Stone, Ottawa, Kansas, a native of Park, Gove County, Kansas
Her father is from the Volga German villages settling in Ellis County, Kansas. Her mother's ancestry relates to the Kutschurgan Black Sea German villages of South Russia.
I have watched the video several time since I received it last week. The part I find especially touching is when they talk about Heimway (can't spell the German, homesickness) because I have this same homesickness for western Kansas having moved only as far as Eastern Kansas! It brings tears to my eyes everytime I watch and hear of the longing for the homeland.
Even though I am somewhat removed from my ancestors in time, (I didn't know any person who made the voyage) the places and people on the video feel like home to me for reasons I can't really explain. I wonder how many of us would leave our homeland and travel alone to a foreign land? It is truly a great blessing that our ancestors were willing to make that journey.
My husband about fell out of his chair when he heard them describe German-Russians arriving in U.S. with sunflower seeds in their pockets....he has never understood my love (obsession?) for sunflower seeds!! ha ha Actually seeing the places where my great grandparents lived in Russia means a great deal to our family and we will treasure this video as a heirloom. Thank you for all your hard work on this project -- it is wonderful!
P.S. In Park, Kansas we have many beautiful iron crosses in Sacred Heart Cemetery.
Message from Donna Barthule Tamm, Fullerton, CA (email@example.com)
I received this afternoon, and just finished viewing "The Germans From Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie." I am at a loss for words, rare for this wordsmith. My father is a descendent of the first mayor of Balzer, Russia, Balzer Barthuly, in about 1765. We did some geneology in the late 70s,...but until I began again with the advantage of the internet we did not have the broad picture on how our family fits into Katherine's manifesto and the settling of the Volga colonies.
I will be sending the film on to my father, who has only in the last 10 years met cousins living in the US. His father was perhaps more isolated than others,...homesteaded in Montana, and told his children that no other family came to the US. Seems he married a russian woman, and the colony ostracized them, ...one of their reasons for coming to the US in about 1910.
We have recently broadcasted to all our Barthule relatives, most still living in Montana and the west our intention to document the family tree and join it with the information we have acquired from the AHSGR. I'm sure Prairie Public's video will become an important part of our documentation. Thank you for the images of the blue, blue skies of the US prairie and the images of our ancestral "homelands."
Don Heinrich Tolzmann, Curator, German-Americana Collection and
Director of German-American Studies, University of Cincinnati
President, Society for German-American Studies
An outstanding film which conveys genuine understanding of the Germans from Russia in both the old and the new worlds, which includes the valuable commentary of Germans from Russia in America, including scholars such as Timothy Kloberdanz, Michael Miller, and Dona Reeves Marquardt. Highly recommended for general use, and especially for courses dealing with the German-American experience. An exemplary model of what needs to be done for all the various groups comprising the German-American element.
Comments from David Wahlberg, Director of University News, North Dakota State University, Fargo
The best television programming seizes the viewer's attention as it reveals its story. Such is "The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie." As a former television producer for Prairie Public Television, I appreciate the hundreds of hours of painstaking effort it takes to produce a one hour documentary of this quality. As a viewer, I watched and learned, coming away with a deeper understanding of my friends and neighbors of Germans from Russia heritage.
Comments from Dr. Michael S. Walter, Long Island, New York, native of Kansas City, Missouri. His primary ancestral village is Katharinenstadt, Volga Region
I just wanted to pass on that the tape, "Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie", was one of the finest tapes I have seen. My grandparents were from Catherine, Kansas, and I saw in this tape many of the traditions and foods that I enjoyed as a young boy. I also remember that my grandfather would become very angry whenever anyone called him Russian. I watch this list with great interest. I am currently reading a book about my family written by two of my cousins called, "Wir Wollen Deutshche Bleiben: The Story of the Volga Germans."