Journey to the Homeland News

April, 1996 No. 5

Springtime and Easter Greetings to each of you. The Journey to the Homeland Tours to Germany and Ukraine in June will soon be here.

School Supplies for Ukrainian Children

We continue to experience an enthusiastic and heartwarming response to the call to bring needed school supplies to the children and teachers of southern Ukrainian schools in Odessa and in the former German villages. We need to identify any tour group members who can help us take along a second suitcase or box with school supplies in it. In some cases, I will need to ship items from Fargo to the tour group member so that they can prepare the items with their personal luggage. Each tour group member can take along two large pieces of luggage along with one "carry-on" bag. We hope that a number of tour members will volunteer to help us bring the school supplies to Odessa.

For Tour Group I leaving on 8 June, we will travel Minneapolis - Amsterdam - Vienna - Odessa, so all luggage and school supplies will go directly to Odessa. For Tour Group II leaving on 17 June, we will travel Minneapolis - Amsterdam - Stuttgart. On Monday, 24 June, we will travel Stuttgart - Frankfurt - Odessa. Persons will be able to leave some items in safe storage at the Holiday Inn Garden Court, Stuttgart, while they are gone to Odessa from 24 June - 1 July 1996. We did this procedure in June 1994, and it worked out well. Some school supplies will be shipped to the Martin family living in Germany who will deliver the boxes to our hotel in Stuttgart. We will process the school supplies, checked as second pieces of luggage on Lufthansa Airlines, when leaving for Odessa on 24 June from Stuttgart. Our luggage will be much lighter when we all return from Odessa.

Color photographs of my trip to Odessa in December 1995, including the school in Novosamarka (Sofiental), can be viewed on my personal home page: on the World Wide Web. A media release, photos, and my appeal letter to donate school supplies for Odessa has been mailed to North Dakota and South Dakota's daily and weekly newspapers.

Al Voeller of Tulsa, OK who joins the tours for the week in Stuttgart writes, "The stories you related concerning the conditions there touch all our hearts. Since we will not be going on to Odessa with the group, I am enclosing a check to buy or help get the supplies to Odessa."

Mary Ebach of Minot, ND, a longtime colleague writes, "I have gathered some items for you to take along for the school kids. I checked with some Minot and Rugby businesses and the response may be quite good. I've written letters to some major paper and Crayola companies and am awaiting a reply. Sounds like your requests are receiving some positive responses. Good for you, what a worthwhile cause."

Yvonne Babitzke Aasen of Severna Park, MD writes, "Enclosed is a check to help fill the suitcases for the Odessa village schools. Please use it to buy items so every child will get something. In your letter you said, 'Young children play with their precious pieces of broken toys.' That is a heart-wrenching sentence when I think of the over-abundance of toys my grandchildren have."

Children are interested in American and Canadian canceled postage stamps. Save the stamps on letter you received and tell others. Sort the stamps so that the Ukrainian schools will have an assortment of American, Canadian and foreign postage stamps.

Prairie Public Television Plans Video Documentary of Tours

Bob Dambach, Production Director, and Dave Geck, Cameraman, at PPTV will provide valuable documentary videotape preparation and interviewing throughout the tours. Bob will be in Odessa for both tours while Dave will be with Tour Group II only. Bob has been with PPTV since 1984 and has German heritage on his father's side. Dave is the youngest in a family of eight, born to German-Russian parents on a farm near Glen Ullin, ND. They also plan to interview tour members in North Dakota this spring before they leave for Odessa.

Journey to the Homeland Dinner in Scottsdale

Tour group members including Pius Gross, Gerald and Dr. Johanna G. Haan-Metz, and Margaret and Robert Freeman had dinner with us at Müller's German Cafe in Scottsdale, AZ, on 1 March. Also joining us were Mr. and Mrs. Tony Schwan of Phoenix who visited the former German villages in 1979. Many of Tony's relatives have immigrated from the former Soviet Union to Germany. I was pleased that I could help Tony locate some of his long-lost relatives. The Schwans will return to their hometown of Aberdeen, SD, later this year.

Journey to the Homeland Dinner in Redondo Beach

Our thanks to Bob and Margaret Freeman for hosting a wonderful evening and dinner at their oceanside home in Redondo Beach, CA. Tour group members joining us were Ron Metz, Ed Schulz, Penny Raile, Harold Ehrman, and the Freemans.

Journey to the Homeland Dinners in Bismarck and St. Paul

On Friday evening, 29 March, Jay Gage, Curator of Exhibitions, and I will be in Bismarck, where tour group members from the Bismarck area will join us for dinner, including Emilie Kessler and Raymond Link, Albert Hausauer, Herbert and Mildred Dockter Thurn, Robert and Lillian Becker Vossler, LaRose Ketterling, Michael Rempfer, and Melvin Maier.

Tour group members in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area will have dinner at the House of Wong, 1163 Larpenteur Ave. West, St. Paul, on Friday evening, 26 April. Joining us will be Connie Schaffer Knight, Karl Lacher, Kay Ries Gavin, Esther Hausauer, Sarah Hausauer, Emil E.J. Stadel, and Rose Doll Wood. Jay Gage and I will travel to the Twin Cities to attend the AHSGR North Star Chapter Spring Banquet in Richfield. We will be guests at the home of Carol Just Halverson, a native of LaMoure, ND.

Dr. Lew Marquardt and Dr. Dona Reeves-Marquardt Join the June Tours

While attending the American Library Association Mid-Winter Conference in San Antonio, TX, in January, I was a guest at the home of special colleagues in Buda near Austin. Dona recently retired from the German faculty at Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos. Dona is of Volga German heritage from Colorado. Lew is of Black Sea German heritage from Linton, ND.

The Marquardts join us for the June tours. They have extensive tour experience taking students to Germany during the summer months for German language studies. The Marquardts leave for European travel later in April and will join Tour Group I in Vienna on 9 June for the Austrian Airlines flight to Odessa. They are preparing for publication of biographical sketches of each tour group member to be ready before June.

Irena Klisz, Chicago Travel Agent, Joins Tours in Odessa

Irena Klisz, a professional agent with Northwestern Travel Bureau in Chicago, will leave at the end of May for Ukraine. She will arrive in Odessa to review tour plans with me when I arrive on June 5. We will be at the Odessa Airport for the arrival of Tour Group I on 9 June from Vienna. Irena who speaks Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, and English experienced her difficult childhood years in Tomsk, Siberia during WWII. Her parents were Polish-Ukrainian. Last fall she lost her mother and on 23 March her father died. She has provided valuable service for shipments of school supply packages to Odessa. Irena be available for consultation at the Chorne More Hotel in Odessa during both tour groups. We look forward to working with her for future Journey to the Homeland Tours. From March 26-27, I flew to Chicago to meet with Irena to deliver the passports and visas, review plans for the tours, and shipment of school supplies to Odessa. Irena Klisz has twenty-five years of experience taking tours to Russia and Ukraine.

Village Map of Lichtenfeld

Thomas Martin, a native of Harvey, ND, living in Germany, is seeking a village map of Lichtenfeld, one of the Black Sea German villages. Tom and Laurel Martin will join Tour Group II to Odessa. They will meet the group at the Alsatian cafe in Salmbach on 20 June. The Martins' address is Mannheim Elementary School, Unit 29938, APO AE 09086. Maps of ancestral villages should be included items for the tour.

Visiting the Glückstal Villages in the Republic of Moldova

Dr. Sergey Yelizarov, Associate Professor at the Odessa Institute of Agriculture and our Tour Facilitator, informed me that Pavel Pratchuk of Sofiental travels to the village of Glinnoje (Glückstal) to meet with Lidija Ivanova, Mayor, to review overnight lodging, meals, and other arrangements. If you are not already a member of the Glückstal Colonies Research Association, may I strongly encourage you to join at $15 a year. For further information contact Margaret Freeman, 611 Esplanade, Redondo Beach, CA 90277 (Tel: 310-540-1872; E-mail: During our visit to the former German villages near Odessa, the only overnight stay for both tours will be in the Glückstal Enclave.

Medical Needs for Journey to the Homeland

My appreciation to Dr. Harley Miller of Chehalis, Washington, who provided valuable advice regarding immunization and disease prevention for travel to Ukraine. Enclosed is a copy of his letter of 3 March 1996. May I suggest that all tour members carefully read and follow his suggestions. A copy of a document about food and water safety and traveler's diarrhea from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is also enclosed. Dr. Miller and his wife Sharon will join Tour Group II to visit their ancestral Glückstal villages.

Insurance Forms Due by 1 May 1996

Thank you to all those who have returned copies of your insurance forms. It is important that all tour group members sign the insurance form mailed in February and return it to me by 1 May.

Recommended Film for Tour

For color slides, Kodachrome 64 and Kodachrome 200 are recommended. For archival quality slides, Kodachrome is recommended but not Ektachrome, both manufactured by Kodak. For color prints, 100 ISO and 200 ISO are recommended for indoor and outdoor photography. I highly recommend the use of some black and white film (Kodak ISO 125). For future generations to share photos in family albums and for the best archival photos, black and while pictures remain the best. Investment in a good quality small second camera to use various types of film will ensure the full preservation of your historic visit to the homeland.

We hope that tour group members will offer their best photos for the archives of the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection at NDSU. Penny Raile of West Hollywood, CA, will develop a procedure to share the best photos taken by various cameras.

Suggested Clothing for Tour

There will be events in Stuttgart and in Odessa where men will want to wear a suit or sportcoat and tie, and women will want dresses. There could be rain both in Germany and in Ukraine in June. Temperatures will be in the 70s and 80s, cooling off in the evening. Take along one pair of dress shoes and one pair of comfortable walking shoes, especially for the German village visits. Washing personal clothes will be easier in your Holiday Inn Garden Court room in Stuttgart than at the Chorne More Hotel in Odessa. Be sure to take along your Journey to the Homeland t-shirts!

Reception and Program at GRHS Convention, Grand Forks, ND

On Thursday evening, 18 July, during the Germans from Russia Heritage Society Convention in Grand Forks, tour group members will be invited to present a panel discussion of their June experiences in Odessa and Stuttgart. GRHS convention dates are 17-21 July 1996. Jay Gage, Exhibits Curator, who joins Tour Group II, will have two workshops about German-Russian textiles and clothing at the GRHS convention. He will present an update about German-Russian textiles, after researching the Bessarabian textile archives in Stuttgart. His second workshop will reveal a new exhibit, featuring the mural painting heritage from the Herrmann family of Kulm, ND.

Radio Interview on KDSU-FM

KDSU-FM Radio at NDSU broadcast an interview with Rich Mattern, News Director, and myself about my visit to Odessa in December, 1995. Rich grew up on a farm near Strasburg, ND, with German-Russian roots. He continues to provide valuable assistance for us by reporting about the various Germans from Russia Heritage Collection projects.

Newsletter prepared by Michael M. Miller
Designed by Center for Writers, NDSU
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo

Visit to Odessa and the Former German Villages, December 1995

Students at Odessa State University in their dormitory room serving borscht soup and other Ukrainian food.
The farmstead of the Pratchuk family in Novosamarka.
Men cutting wood for fuel in the village of Novosamarka (formerly Sofiental).
Michael Miller and Ivanova, Mayor of Glinnoje (formerly Glückstal)standing in front of the cultural center (former church).

Germans from Russia Events in Arizona and California

Click on a photo to view a larger image!

Tony Schwan, Phoenix and Elvera Reuer, Mesa attend reception at the home of Leo and Delores Sitter in Scottsdale.
NDSU Libraries information tables at North Dakota Picnic in March Standing are Charlotte Cox, Development Director and John W. Beecher, Director of Libraries, NDSU
Journey to the Homeland Dinner at the Freeman Home, Redondo Beach, CA - (l-r) - Bob Freeman, John Beecher, Penny Raile, Margaret Freeman, Charlotte Cox, Harold Ehrman, and Mike Miller. Also attending were Ed Schulz and Ron Metz.
German-Russians born in the Beresan and Kutschurgan villages near Odessa attend the Sun City event in February.

Norman Rudel of Fessenden, ND signs guest book at NDSU Libraries tables, North Dakota Picnic, Mesa.

For further information, contact:
Michael M. Miller
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies
PO Box 5599
North Dakota State University Libraries
Fargo, ND 58105-5599
Fax: 701-231-7138
Tel.: 701-231-8416


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