Journey To The Homeland

Bob Dambach, Co-Executive Producer, Prairie Public Television, Fargo, North Dakota


Michael M. Miller and Bob Dambach, standing in a wheat field near the former German village of Elsass, Kutschurgan District (today Cherbanka), June 2, 1999. Miller and Dambach are co-producers of the documentary, "The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie."
The Germans From Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie explores the history of Germans from Russia and their migration to the prairie region. It looks at the lives and experiences of North Dakota pioneer settlers, and the folk and religious traditions that have survived. And we will tell the stories of those who didn't migrate, the people who were left behind and later sent to Siberia.

I traveled the North Dakota State Univesity Library's Journey to the Homeland tour, an opportunity NDSU gererously extended to us. This is the third time Prairie Public has taken the tour of Ukraine and Germany, following Germans from Russia from the United States as they visit their ancestral homes.

In addition to telling their stories, we did some sightseeing for the documentary. We spent the first couple days of the trip in St. Petersburg, visiting the Hermitage and Catherine the Great's Palace.

In Ukraine, we visited the friends we made on our first trip and talked to them about the progress made in the last year as Ukraine struggles to become a capitalist society. We revisited the Ukrainian landscape, which in many ways reminds me of North Dakota. And once again, my visit to Ukraine proved just how friendly and generous the Ukrainian people are, as strangers opened their doors and invited us into their homes.

The Germans from Russia documentary offers us all a chance to discover the ancestry of our region and, for many of us, our personal ancestry.

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