In Touch with Prairie Living
By Michael M. Miller
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo
The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) at the NDSU Libraries
in Fargo reaches out to prairie families and former Dakotans. In various
ways, it affirms the heritage of the Germans from Russia as an important
part of the northern plains culture. Special holiday regards to readers
of this column! I want to extend my best wishes in the new year. The
year 2005 begins the ninth year of this monthly column to appear in
North Dakota and South Dakota weekly newspapers. I am most grateful
to the editors of these newspapers and to the many readers for their
positive comments about this column.
The new "Music of the Germans from Russia" CD of the
Jamestown College (ND) Concert Choir is available. The choir performs:
Grosser Gott, Wir Loben Dich (Holy God We Praise Thy Name); Schoenster
Here Jesu (Beautiful Savior), In Dem Garten, and other songs.
The music, which defined the faith and culture of the German-Russian
population, traveled with them when they left Russia to settle the
North American prairies and plains. This unique collection from
the Jamestown College Concert Choir honors those ethnic Germans
Music, especially singing, was central to village life in South
Russia. Their hymns traveled with them from their native Germany
as did the hymnals. Church elders and teacher-deacons lead services
when a pastor was unavailable. Choirs were formed, and pipe organs
became common at the end of the 19th Century. Folk music also flourished,
which were brought with them from Germany, while variations and
new songs developed in their new Russian homeland. For many, their
history does not end in Russia but continues on the plains and prairies
of Canada and the United States. The colonist freedoms, which originally
brought them to Russia, were being revoked during a period of Russian
nationalization. Spurred on by the Homestead Act and other promises
of free land, many German Russians sailed for America with few possessions,
enormous hope, and their enduring "Hymns of Faith" in
a faithful God.
For further information, go to library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/tapes/JCChoir.html.
The Jamestown College Concert Choir will be part of the forthcoming
Germans from Russia music documentary (now in production at Prairie
Public Television) to premiere in April, 2005 on PPTV, while later
on other PBS stations throughout the USA. Information about this
music documentary is available at: library.ndsu.edu/grhc/outreach/documentaries/index.html.
The documentary will be the fourth in the "Germans from Russia
Series" of Prairie Public Television: 1) "The
Germans from Russia" (1999); 2) "Schmeckfest:
Food Traditions of the Germans from Russia" (2000); 3)
The videotape, "Germans from Russia on the Canadian Prairies:
Then and Now" provides an excellent visual story: covering
medicinal remedies (Brauche), cookery, games, religion, immigration,
folkways, and music. The documentary is available at: library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/tapes/canadianprairies.html.
Prairie Public Broadcasting has produced a new DVD which includes
these two award-winning documentaries: "The Germans from Russia:
Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie" and "Prairie
Crosses, Prairie Voices: Iron Crosses of the Great Plains. For further
information, go to library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/tapes/dualdvd.html.
A new book is available: "Danzig: North Dakota: 1906-2000:
Gone But Not Forgotten" by Geneva Roth Olstad. Danzig is located
in McIntosh County, ND near to Wishek and Ashley. Families include
Baumann, Brinkman, Dockter, Donner, Eszlinger, George, Gohl, Groszhans,
Helmer, Hetzler, Joachim, Kemmet, Mertz, Pudwill, Roth, Salzer,
Stroh, Walz, Weber and Wolf. For further information, go to: library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/nd_sd/danzig.html.
The 11th Journey to the Homeland Tour, sponsored by the NDSU Libraries
is scheduled for May 26 - June 6, 2005. The tour includes Budapest,
Hungary; Odessa, Ukraine and the former German villages; Stuttgart,
Germany; and Alsace, France.
For further information about Germans from Russia heritage, donations
to GRHC including books, documentaries, CDs, DVDs, cookbooks and
tours, contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo,
ND 58105-5599 (Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail: email@example.com;
GRHC website: library.ndsu.edu/grhc).
January, 2005 column for North Dakota and South Dakota