Paris in Bessarabien: Chronik der Gemeinden Paris und Neu-Paris in Bessarabien (Paris in Bessarabia: Chronicles of the Colonies Paris and New Paris, Bessarabia)

Review by Arnold H. Marzolf, Professor Emeritus, NDSU, Fargo, ND

Suckut, Arthus. Paris in Bessarabien: Chronik der Gemeinden Paris und Neu-Paris in Bessarabien (Paris in Bessarabia: Chronicles of the Colonies Paris and New Paris, Bessarabia). Eigenverlag des Verfassers, Germany: Waiblingen-Hegnach, 1986.

German language only

This book is a fascinating history of Paris (and New Paris) in Bessarabia, situated about 150 km north and a little west of Odessa on the Black Sea in Russia.

Paris was one of the oldest and largest German settlements in Bessarabia, founded in 1816. This prairie land (Bessarabia) first became a part of Russia in 1812, was annexed to Romania from 1918-1940 when it became a part of Russia again. During the years from 1941 to 1944 it was annexed to Romain again. Since 1944 it has been part of Russia known as the Moldavian Republic of the Ukraine.

Paris in Bessarabia tells about the very early inhabitants of this area, why so many Germans left Germany (wars, poverty, persecutions, etc.), and why they went to Russia (new opportunities, exemption from military service, free land, religious freedom, etc.).

The people who founded Paris came from several parts of German, Poland and Prussia. Originally some of them may have been Huguenots from France (thus the name, Paris). They spoke various mixed languages and dialects, among them Kaschbian, Schwabian and mostly Plattdeutsch.

This book described Paris, types of governments, village organizations, businesses, trades, customs, social life, transportation, factories, farming, plants, animals, trees, etc. Great emphasis is given to the building of the Paris “Cathedral,” to personalities (pastors, priest, teachers, political leaders and other professionals) who made a worthy contribution to the development of this settlement, to the founding and creation of New Paris, to the great contributions made women, to educational practices, to church organization, and to life in general in this area of Russia.

About one half of the book deals with the problems, sorrows and opportunities involved in the Repatriation of 1940, the long trek to freedom, the great “flight” out of the East in 1945 to Stuttgart, a return trip to Paris in 1983 by a few people who once fled, memories of citizens who lived in Paris, a list (15 pages) of repatriated citizens, and the names of 181 soldiers of Paris who died in the Two Great Wars.

Paris in Bessarabia is well written, has beautiful pictures and is an interesting book. It contains a wealth of information that can be of use especially to those whose ancestors once lived in the Paris of Russia.

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