You are cordially welcome to my web site!
Grüss Gott! Good day! Dobri den! Hello!
I would like to cordially welcome you to my web site.
For a long time, I have considered whether I should make this web site or not. But, with the encouragement from my friends to pursue this project, I have decided not only to offer what is published in my book, but rather, unpublished material that could have been published in my book.
In addition to that, I would also like to bring more light concerning our ancestors' settlement in Russia to the public because there is still so much to discover. Therefore, I have specialized my research on this early period in history of the German colonists in Russia . The reason for my decision to focus on this topic is because I was born in Germany , and thus, I do not have the experience in the daily life in Russia and the unfortunate events that occurred within the former Soviet Union . Therefore, I cannot additionally to my book, my main aim is to bring about information in order to enlighten more thought to the older generations of German-Russians about their ancestors in the 19 th century. Moreover, I would also like to inform the younger generation as to what their ancestors created. In doing so, I hope that not only will they not forget where their roots are from, but, also to pass on this knowledge to their descendants. In addition, my native friends and acquaintances who read this web site and who have no or a wrong conception about the fact why the Russian-Germans come to us as true-born Germans. This enlightenment is necessary because only by this way can their reputation in the public eye be lifted. In the press coverage there is more negative than positive aspects about them always being spread.
I see this web site as a supplement to the work of the “Homeland Association” www.lmdr.de and “the Historical Research Association of the Germans from Russia registered association www.hfdr.de
The latter has itself the study of the total history of the Russian-Germans, which is under the slogan,:
“ Homeland is History and History our Order”.
My plan is to develop this web site continuously. From September 2006 there will be 2 articles inserted every month under
“The history of German from Russia” .
I will be very thankful to people who can send me their own stories or additionall information. Please contact me or use “Contacts” and “Guestbook” area to exchange your experiences.
Why we are Russian-Germans and after 200 years still Germans.
This article remained up to now unpublished:
Even after 200 years, the German-Russians are still considered to be Germans in Russia. The question is why. In comparison to America, it was pressured on them to integrate as soon as possible.
But German colonists in Russia started to resettle to Russia in the middle of eighteen century and found completely different circumstances. American emigree have had to find their place under the sun more chaotic and independently. German colonists participated in the planned action with support of the Russian government.
In 1862, The Russian Czar Katharine the Great, officially gave an invitation in order to try to get foreign colonists into her country. The idea was to get colonists to cultivate new Russian land around the Volga river and had to serve as a “protective wall” against nomads.
27,000 colonists came and built around 100 villages. They got money for transportation, 30 hectares of land, and official privileges, exemption from taxes for 10 years , exemption by the army service, etc. These promises were kept and the region developed with prosperity.
The grandson of Katharine, Czar Alexander I, repeated the act of his grandmother and invited foreign settlers to the Ukraine . Over 50,000 colonists traveled the distance of 2,000 km and were settled in isolated villages. The stress is on „closed villages “, because they had been called into the country for cultivation, construction and education in agriculture for the native population.
The last was not a large success. Only few villages in the closer environment of the German colonies, profited from their new neighbours. The German colonies however prospered also here and brought it in the course of the decades to considerable prosperity. It was not only the proverbial German diligence but in first line it was the autonomy of the German immigrants permitted by the Russian government. German colonists set up its own administrative office led by a so-called upper judge and supervised by the Russian government in form of a supervisor.
Colonists had strict laws and behavioural standards. Each colony had its own school, German was the language of instruction and impressive churches were built.
The first twenty years after the immigration were extremely hard for the colonists. The habituation to the new climate, harvest failures, locust invasions, cattle epidemics etc delayed progress.
But the third generation was already so wealthy that the German farmers in whole Russia could buy up agrarian lands and create daughter colonies, because 10 children in a family were no rarity. But these agrarian lands could not be sold, divided or inherited as in Germany, the old homeland...
With the establishment of the German Reich in the 1871, German-hostile resentment arose, in the press were rushed against the German colonists and all privileges were taken. Russian language was introduced at the schools as instruction. This was already the beginning of the end. Thereby the co-operation in the families and in the colonies were not fundamentally disturbed.
The German language and the German habits were maintained further. It must be stressed that these German colonies did not receive any support from the German Reich, as the Russian press stated. They were simply „forgotten “.
And the fact that in the course of this development, which was a pure envy campaign so some ten thousands Russian-Germans emigrated to the USA and Canada .
At the beginning of the First World War, there existed in Russia more than 2,000 daughter colonies with over 2 million inhabitants; their homestead with 7.5 million hectare was as large as the entire agriculturally used land in old German Reich.
The revolution in Russia extinguished this idyll completely.
German troops had been called 1918 by the Ukrainian government and were astonished, when they met across in the flat Ukrainian steppe, well arranged, clean villages with German speaking inhabitants, reminding them of their homeland. A lot of books and letters express it.
An example: Our grandfather was Schulz (mayor) in such a village. All village inhabitants were met to welcome a battalion of a German army, which had marched through the Crimea and the Caucasus. One of nieces had to read a poem and to give flowers to the officer. The officer asked grandfather: „What language does the child speak? “Grandfather answered: „That is Swabian, Mr. major! “
After the departure of the German troops, gangs of robbers attacked the German villages because there they found good prey.
The life among the communists were stabilized in a new way. The famine came.
For a few years the Germans were left in peace, but 1929 began the „ raskulachiwaniye “. Each farmer who had employed one or several helpers and who possessed more than one cow was classified as a big farmer, says Kulak, his property was confiscated. Many of these farmers were arrested; their families were driven out and abandoned to their fate.
With the arising of the Nazis in Germany the reprisals against the German inhabitants in the Soviet Union were strengthened. The mass arrests started 1937. Hundred thousands were arrested and deported into the Gulag camps, among them many Germans.
After the German invasion into the Soviet Union, the reprisals against the Germans culminated in the total dispatch of all Germans away to Siberia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The men were separated from the families and were pressed into the so-called “Trudarmy”.
They came in labour camps, comparably with the Nazis concentration camps. It was dangerous to speak German outside, but Grandmothers and mothers, later also, in the sixties, when the fathers returned from the “Trudarmy”, they all concerned for the keeping of the German language within the family.
To the recent time there was still reservation against everything that is German. People, even children at school, were insulted as fascists.
Such degrading and bad economical conditions forced up to 2 million persons increased population of the Germans in Russia took the opportunity to left Russia and returned to the old homeland.
Many Russian marriage partners came and are coming, one can expect that they will integrate themselves better in their new homeland with acquisition of the German language .
During the years 1846-1862 newspaper in German-language “An entertainment page for German colonists in south Russian” print a poem (1848), whose last verses are actual for the today integration:
The national language must be.
Don't consider the national language
For a secondary matter.
You must learn it diligently
You must speak it purely and correctly,
Speak correctly and do not smatter
Otherwise one never can understand you.
Historical research association of the Germans from Russia.