Mannheim: The Catholic German village of the Kutschurgan
District near Odessa, Ukraine
English translation of text in German prepared by Peter Detling,
Solikamsk, Russia. Mr. Detling's ancestors once lived in the Black
Sea German Kutschurgan villages including Mannheim.
The village of Mannheim, founded by 60 families, was located
on the western bank of the river Baraboi, 30 miles northeast of
Odessa. The narrow stream had enough water and in earlier decades
was rich on fish before numerous dams dried the river up in the
summer time. The road from Odessa to Tiraspol, and important route
for trade and commerce, ran through Mannheim and continued on
through the steppes of Kutschurgan on to Straßburg.
31 of the 60 founding families were from Alsace (district of
Lauterburg and Bischweiler), 16 from the Palatinate earldom and
15 from Baden. In 1811, the number of residents had grown to 294.
The settlers of Mannheim arrived in three transports and reached
Odessa in September and October of 1808. In 1808, ten of the settlers
were in Poland and arrived with the second party via Radzivilow.
The original name of the new settlement was actually Mariahilf,
given in memory or the church of pilgrimage near Lauterburg, Alsace.
However, in 1810, Governor de Richelieu voiced his opinion that
the pious implication would hurt the power of the Czar and he
proposed, therefore, to name the village Mannheim. The community
of Mannheim got a gift of 3,705 desjatines (9,005 acres) which
the crown had bought from the landowner Captain Petro. They founded
a settlement and built on a selected location six houses of stone
to live in. The founding families were poor, their only possessions
were 2,150 Rubles in cash. The crown gave them a loan of 162 Rubles
per family. However, in 1811, the village of Mannheim owned 190
draft animals (140 horses and 49 oxen), 114 cows, 54 calves and
During the first two years church service was held in private
homes with a priest from Josefstal. A house of unburnt bricks,
built in 1811, served as church until 1819 and was replaced by
a large spacious church of stone. In Mannheim the first living
priest was Father Oswald Rausch, a Jesuit, who held church service
until the general deportation of Jesuits from Russia in 1820.
After his departure on June 3, the community numbered 320 people
and the incorporated community of Elaß 328. Both had to accept
the help of the new priest of Selz.
The first mayor of Mannheim was Martin Derian, his assistants
were Anton Bischofsberger of Schellbrunn, Baden, and Jakob Giesinger,
of Kreidenburg, Elsaß. Joseph Ganje, a 36 year old farmer of Beinheim,
Elsaß, was not only secretary but he held also the influential
position of the secretary of the community.
Translation by Brigitte von Budde, Fargo, North Dakota.