Journey to the Homeland: Germany and Ukraine
North Dakota State University Libraries Tours
27 May 2002
Just a note to let you know all is well here in Odessa, Ukraine. From 22-26 May, we visited the former Glueckstal villages in Moldova and Ukraine.
Members of the Glueckstal Memorial Monument Dedication Tour Group of 22-26 May included these Americans: Bob and Margaret (Aman) Freeman, Redondo Beach, California; Dr. Harley Roth, San Jose, California; Dr. Kenneth and Catherine (Kempf) Vogele, Rapid City, South Dakota; Tom Stangl and Janice Huber-Stangl, Sterling, Virginia; Bernadine (Lang) Kuhn, Owatonna, Minnesota; Tim and Judy Klusman, Dubuque, Iowa; Roger and Elaine (Job) Klusman, New Salem, North Dakota; Michael M. Miller, Fargo, North Dakota; and Bob Dambach, Prairie Public Television, Fargo, North Dakota. Also attending were Oskar and Helma (Seefried) Eberle, Germany. Monument preparations were made by Pavel Pratchuk, Novosmarka, Ukraine (formerly Sofiental, Glueckstal daughter colony). Dr. Sergey Yelizarov, Odessa, was the English translator.
Helma Eberle was born in Marienberg, Glueckstal daughter colony, and Oskar Eberle was born in Eigenheim, also Glueckstal daughter colony. We visited both of these villages which Oskar and Helma left as children in 1944.
The Monument Dedication was on Friday, 24 May 2002, in the village of Glinnoje, Trans-Dnjestr Republic, Moldova. This was an important event for the Glinnoje and the Trans-Dnjestr region with television and radio coverage.
Persons who attended this event and visited the Glueckstal villages will share their experiences with e-mail messages when they return to the USA.
On 27 May, arrives the Journey to the Homeland Tour Group to Odessa from Vienna via Austrian Airlines. Some of the tour members will travel from 28-31 May from Odessa to the former German villages in the Crimea near Simferopol. This includes seven members of the Kuhn family with roots to Napoleon, North Dakota.
The days of 22-26 May staying four nights in the Glueckstal villages was a challenging, rewarding and memorable experience. All is well with the tour members.
We will share our experiences when we return from the Crimea, Ukraine, on 1 June 2002.
With best regards from Odessa,
Michael M. Miller
29 May 2002
Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine
Special regards from the Crimea where we arrived on 28 May. Today we visited former German villages near Simferopol, and from 30-31 May we travel to Yalta and then return to Odessa on 31 May. The Kuhn family members spent 29 May visiting their ancestral German village of Rosental. This included spending time in the former Catholic church, today an Orthodox church; the present-day school visiting classes; walking the streets locating the possible Kuhn family home; and attending the school recital in the building near the school. The music classes and recital were in the former parsonage in Rosental. Of special interest was the present-day cemetery. The mayor of Rosental guided us throughout the village and showed how work had been done repairing some of the German gravestones in the last two years. We could still identify some of the names with photos taken. We did not expect to see this many German marked gravestones.
The Kuhn family with Napoleon, North Dakota, roots also visited Neusatz. There are seven members of the Kuhn family visiting Crimea. Prairie Public Television (PPTV), Fargo, North Dakota, plans to produce a segment for their "Plains Talk" program of the Kuhn family's visit to Rosental. Bob Dambach of PPTV is filming and interviewing family members. We may also explore the idea of a Crimean-German videotape documentary.
Kuhn family members include: Ann (Meier) Bauer, Grand Forks, North Dakota; Joyce Eissinger, Bloomington, Minnesota; Theresa (Meier) Eissinger, Napoleon, North Dakota; Yvonne Eissinger, Edina, Minnesota; Dena (Marquart) Graham, Belvidere, Illinois; Alice (Meier) Lippert, Burke, Virginia; Janice (Marquart) Spotts, Portland, Oregon; and Bernadine (Lang) Kuhn, Owatonna, Minnesota. Theresa is mother to Joyce and Yvonne Eissinger. The Sailer family with Hazen, North Dakota, roots visited Kronental, Neusatz and Friedenstal. This included Rev. Delbert and Shari Sailer, Thiensville, Wisconsin, near Milwaukee and his sister, Leila (Sailer) Simpson, Kirtland, Ohio.
Journey to the Homeland Tour members who stayed in Odessa traveled to the Bessarabian, Beresan and Glueckstal villages between 28 and 31 May. On Sunday, 2 June, the tour group travels to the village of Landau, Beresan District, to bring gifts to the orphanage. We will also visit Josephstal, a Kuhn family ancestral village. On 3 June, we fly Odessa - Vienna - Stuttgart, Germany. We will stay in Stuttgart from 3-7 June, which will include a day trip to Alsace, France. On Thursday evening, 6 June, we will visit the Haus der Heimat Baden-Wuerttemberg in Stuttgart with a concert and reception of the Heimat Klaenge Russlanddeutschen Chor of Stuttgart. This choir visited North Dakota in July, 1997 for a concert tour.
All is well with the tour members and they are in good health. Today was an unforgettable experience for the Kuhn and Sailer families to visit their homeland villages for the first time. The grandparents and parents of the Sailers and the Kuhns were born in these Crimean-German villages.
With special regards from the Crimea,
Michael M. Miller
2 June 2002
On Monday, 2 June, Journey to the Homeland Tour members traveled to the village of Landau, Beresan District, to visit the Landau Orphanage. We had a wonderful program and tour by staff members of the orphanage with 151 children.
Tour members brought many items as gifts for the orphanage. The financial donations presented to the Germans from Russia Cultural Preservation Foundation (www.grculture.org) by individuals were given to the orphanage administration. For more information about the Orphanage Project, go to the Foundation website.
On our way to Landau, we stopped at the former Reformed Lutheran Church in Worms, which is now a Ukrainian Orthodox Church. There were Sunday morning services. Tour member, Dr. Harley Roth, San Jose, California, visited Worms for a second time in recent days. His grandparents were married at the Worms church.
Returning from the Beresan villages, we stopped at Gueldendorf located very close to Odessa where we photographed the former church. Tour member, Bernadine (Lang) Kuhn, Owatonna, Minnesota, visited Gueldendorf where her Gums ancestors once lived before immigrating to the Napoleon area of Logan, County, North Dakota.
On Tuesday, 3 June, the tour leaves Odessa for Vienna, Austria,
and Stuttgart, Germany. On Wednesday,
4 June, the tour group will take a day trip to Alsace, France.
This will be the last message to be sent from Odessa, Ukraine, and our final message of the Journey to the Homeland Tour.
All is well with the tour members.
With Odessa regards,
Michael M. Miller