Dakota Memories
June 2021

The Dakota Memories Oral History Project (DMOHP) contains 199 audio and video oral histories, historic photographs, and family documents. The project’s mission is to preserve the history and heritage of second and third generation Germans from Russia. Conducted in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Saskatchewan, the interviews focus on childhood memories and family relationships. In short, the DMOHP chronicles what it was like growing up German-Russian in Northern Plains. The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection directed the project from 2005 to 2009 and recently made the collection available online at Digital Horizons. View the collection here.

Topics covered by the interviews include: family, domestic life, funeral rites & ceremonies, religion, clothing & dress, farming, cooking, grandparents, healthcare, manners, customs, daily life, games, weddings, dating, chores, cemeteries, horses, the Great Depression, country school, Christmas, holidays, as well as other related topics.

Some the interviewees include:

  • John & Eleanor (Hutmacher) Urlacher, Dickinson, ND
  • Dr. Calvin Fercho, Fargo, ND
  • Alice (Woehl) Buerkley, Kulm, ND
  • Allan (Brickner) Senger, Allan, SK
  • Adam & Lorraine (Meidinger) Kaseman, Gackle, ND
  • Mary Ebach, Rugby, ND
  • Esther (Mertz) Opp, Napoleon, ND
  • Imogene (Schwahn) Schwab, Strasburg, ND

For questions about this collection or other topics related to the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, contact Michael Miller, Director and Bibliographer, GRHC, or Jeremy Kopp, Outreach & Operations Coordinator, GRHC.


DMOHP Narrators, (L-R) Calvin K. Fercho, Esther Christiana (Mertz) Opp, Alice (Woehl) Buerkley


"There we sit with our Easter Baskets. (L-R) Audrey Himmerich, Janice Naasz, Shirley Keller, Irene Keller, Velma Jane Sauer, Donald Sauer, Marilyn Jeanette Sauer, and Sallie Schlepp" – Marilyn Jeanette (Sauer) Bauman