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The German Question in the Black Sea Region and in Volhynia: Politics, Economics, and Everyday Life Amid the Tension Generated by Nationalism and Modernization (1856-1914)

By Dietmar Neutatz, translation by LaVern J. Rippley and Richard Benert, edited by Jerome Siebert, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2013, 481 pages, softcover.

Table of Contents


From the Editor’s Preface: “The book covers a key period in German-Russian history that involves the second half of the nineteenth century, as well as the first two decades of the twentieth century when Russian public discussion focused on German colonists in the south and southwestern Russian empire and explores examples of the problems faced by ethnic, religious, and social minorities, when nationalism and economic difficulties occur. The issue is of particular interest currently, given the context of today’s revival of nationalistic antagonisms in eastern and southeastern Europe.”

“While the setting of the book takes places in the Black Sea region and Volhynia, the example he also have relevance to other German settlements in the Russian empire such as the Volga region. The author has done an exceptional job in not only documenting and referencing his sources, but also in providing an extensive bibliography and source of research materials.”

The book contains a vast amount of information for the many descendants of those ethnic Germans whose minds are filled with questions about how their ancestors lived, how they got along with their non-German neighbors, and why the Russian government seemingly reneged on its "promises" and undertook policies seemingly designed to eraticate this "German threat." Dietmar Neutatz's answers to these questions are both enlightening and, in some cases, surprising. They present a challenge to a number of established beliefs, but also give a more well-rounded, comprehensive view of the subject than anything hitherto published. The reader of this book cannot help but come away with a deepr understnading of the German colonists' life in Russia and what of the "German Question" meant to both the colonists and the Russian government.


About the Author

Prof. Dr. Dietmar Neutatz, teaches at the Historisches Seminar, Albert-Ludwigs- Universitaet Freiburg, Germany since 2006 focusing on Eastern Europe history. In 1993, he authored. Die deutsche Frage im Schwarzmeergebiet und in Wolhynien: Politik, Wirtschaft, Mentalitaeten und Alltag im Spannungsfeld von Nationalismus und Modernisierung (1856-1914), which has been published in the English language in 2013 by the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia. He is a faculty member of the School of History and the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS).

He has recently finished a comprehensive history of Russia in the 20th century. Träume and Alpträume. Eine Geschichte Russlands im 20. Jahrhundert, (Munich, 2013). Besides these monographs he has published numerous articles and edited books on Russia and Soviet history in the 19th and 20th centuries, especially on the history of Germans from Russia and the Soviet Union, Stalinism, everyday life and mentalities.


The German Question in the Black Sea Region and in Volhynia

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