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200th Anniversary Celebration

Former Catholic Black Sea German Villages of the Kutschurgan District today near Odessa, Ukraine

21 September 2008


SELZ, Seltsy, Limanskoye is the administrative center of the Kuchurgansk Colony District. The colony was founded in 1808 by 100 émigré families from Elass, Baden and Pfalz, who were Roman Catholics. Their primary activities were farming, animal husbandry (they bred cattle and horses), horticulture, viniculture and wine making, trade and cottage industries. It was one of the district’s centers for pottery, wagon making, and blacksmithing.

At the turn of the XIX-XX century, Zelz had a population of 2,522 (298 homesteads). They had built a church, two school buildings, and a hospital with a pharmacy, where a doctor and a medical assistant worked. A stable was built to breed pure bred horses, as was a nursery for growing fruit trees. L. Thomas founded wool weaving production, I. Fischer a steam powered saw mill, S. Killer tile factories and “Stebner and K,” and the village had three steam powered mills, 9 shops, 10 wine cellars, a tavern, 7 lumber warehouses and a public slaughterhouse. There were at least 26 market days in a year.

During the Soviet period, the economy was ruined, because land was nationalized, production stores were confiscated, grain trade was forbidden, collectivization was imposed, and many private businesses were liquidated.

In 1924-1925, the Zelzsky (Friedrich-Engels) German National Region was formed, but like all other national regions, was liquidated in 1938/39.

In the 1920’s and 1930’s the population was subjected to dispossession of the kulaks and repressions with accusations of espionage and anti-soviet behavior. In March of 1944, by order of the German command, the German population abandoned the village they had created, but about one half of the families did not make it across the Kuchurgan River in time. The remaining inhabitants of Zelz and the neighboring German villages were rounded up by the NKVD and placed into reservations, and over the course of one year were subject to total deportation.

This marked the end of the history of the Zelzsk villages as German villages. All of the villages were renamed and inhabited by people who moved in from other regions.

KANDEL, Rybalskoye, today part of the Limanskoye village, was founded in 1808 by émigrés from Elsass, Baden, Bayern, Prussia and Austria, who were Roman Catholic. Their primary activities were farming, animal husbandry (horse and cattle breeding), sheep raising and sericulture early on, horticulture (there was a public fruit garden), logging, viniculture and wine making, trade and cottage industries.

At the turn of the XIX-XX century Kandel had a population of 2,525 inhabitants (269 homesteads). It had a church built in Neo-Roman style, two school houses, and ferry boat transportation was organized across the Kuchurgan estuary. The village had a meteorological station, 3 creameries, 9 shops, 2 wine cellars, a tavern and a public slaughterhouse. A plot of land in the village was set aside as a model plot for people to learn about the best ways to work and enrich the soil.

In the Soviet years the population was subject to collectivization and repressions accusing them of espionage and anti-soviet activities. In March of 1944, at the order of German command, the German population abandoned the village it had created.

BADEN, Ocheretovka today, is part of the Kuchurgan village and was founded in 1808 by 74 émigré families from Baden, Elsass and Pfalz who were Roman Catholic.

Their primary activities were farming, animal husbandry (horse and cattle breeding), viniculture and winemaking, and trade.

By the end of the XIX century, Baden had a population of 1,445 inhabitants (242 homesteads). They had built a Roman Catholic Church and two school houses. The village had a Georg Frizen steam powered mill, 4 shops, a wholesale beer storehouse, 4 wine cellars, and a lumber storehouse.

In the Soviet years the population was subject to dispossession of the kulaks and repressions with accusations of espionage and anti-soviet activity.  In March of 1944, up order from the German command, the German population abandoned the village that they had created.

STRASSBURG, Kuchurgan, was founded in 1808 by 50 émigré families from Elsass and Wuerttemburg who were Roman Catholics.

Their primary activities were farming, animal husbandry (horse and cattle breeding), horticulture, viniculture and wine making, cottage industries and trade.

The people involved in cottage industries of the colony served the needs of the people and agriculture.

At the turn of the XIX-XX century, Strassburg had a population of about 2,000 inhabitants (293 homesteads). The village had church, two school houses, including a stone building that was a teachers college to train teachers who worked in village schools, and a meteorological station. The village also had 2 Mikhail Schumacher and Anton and Andrei Zenger steam powered flour grinding mills, a farm tool workshop, 9 shops, 3 wine cellars, a tavern and 2 bread granaries.

In Soviet times the population was subject to dispossession of the kulaks and repressions with accusation of espionage and anti-soviet activity. In March of 1944 upon order of the German command, the German population abandoned the village it had created.

MANNHEIM, Kamenka, was founded in 1809 by émigrés from Baden, Elsass, Pfalz and Prussian Poland who were Roman Catholic. Their primary activities were farming, animal husbandry (horse and cattle breeding), horticulture, forestry, viniculture and wine making, trade and cottage industries. The part of the population engaged in cottage industries took care of the needs of the local inhabitants and the farming community.

At the turn of the XIX-XX century, Mannheim had a population of 1,777 inhabitants (208 homesteads). New church buildings were built in Neo-Roman style with classical elements, as well as two school houses. The village had 6 shops, 2 wine cellars, and an inn.

In Soviet times the economy was destroyed, and the population subjected to collectivization and repressions with accusations of espionage and anti-soviet behavior. In March of 1944 upon order of the German command, the German population abandoned the village that it had created.

ELSASS, Scherbanka, was founded by 60 émigré families from Elsass, Baden, Prussian Poland and Austria who were Roman Catholics. Their primary activities were farming, animal husbandry (horse and cattle breeding), viniculture and wine making, horticulture, trade and cottage industries.

The part of the population involved in cottage industries served the needs of the local inhabitants and the farming community.

At the turn of the XIX-XX century, Elsass had a population of 1,952 inhabitants (304 homesteads). It built a church and two school houses. The village was also home to Joseph Folk and Fedor Gegel steam powered mills, 6 wine shops, a wine cellar, and a tavern.

In the Soviet years the population was subjected to collectivization and repressions with accusations of espionage and anti-soviet activity. In March of 1944 upon order from the German command, the German population abandoned the village that it had created.

[CAPTIONS]
Mrs. L. Risling, Mrs. M. Budaeva and great grandson of the first Zelz Burgemeister, M. Weiss

Zelz, Museum, Leader – Louisa Risling.

THE ORGANIZATION AND THE SPONSORS

200th Anniversary of the Founding of the German Colony of Selz

Management of Nationalities; Odessa Regional State Administration

Department Head: Jaroslawa Risnykowa
www.unr.odessa.gov.ua          e-mail: yar.dom@meta.ua

Rozdilnyanskaya Regional State Administration

Department Head: Sigal Pheliks Vladimirovich

The Association of Germans in Ukraine

Vice President: Alexander Kohler
www.ukrdeutsch.com.ua   e-mail: Koehler@eurocom.od.ua

The Welfare Fund and Odessa Society of Development

General Director: Tillmann Hess
www.gfe-odessa.org               e-mail: info@gfe-odessa.org

The Guardians of German Culture in Ukraine "The Pearl"

Organizational Head: Walentina Weisbeck
e-mail: weisbekgwardeisk@bk.ru

Limanskiy Rural Council

Department Head: Eugen Zharikov
e-mail: EvgenivZharikov@rambler.ru

The Odessa Historical Museum-Limanskiy Branch
Founder and Managing Director: Ludmila Rissling

Our appreciation is extended to Anton Schweitzer for the translation
from Russian to English of this article

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller
North Dakota State University Libraries
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
Libraries
NDSU Dept #2080
PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Tel: 701-231-8416
Fax: 701-231-6128
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Director: Michael M. Miller
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