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Journey to the Homeland Tour 2009 Photos

Journey to the Homeland Tour
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo

Village of Kulm and Alt Posttal, Bessarabia where Ginny Weisse's grandparents, Uncle Daniel, cousin Emil and other family members lived, 23-24 May 2009

Photographs by Leland Bruch and Ginny Weisse


KULM

Both Kulm and Alt Posttal seemed much larger a bit more prosperous than Kolatschowka and especially Kurudschika. Ginny’s uncle and cousin Daniel and Emil Wölfle had lived in Kulm until they were forced to evacuate in 1940. We found where they had lived, but their house had been replaced by another. We look forward to discussing our trip with Emil the next time we are back in Alberta.

Photo Set 15:

Main Street in Kulm:
It is a very long linear town along two parallel streets separated by an open space containing the derelict old German church.

Mayor of Kulm overlooking Kulm's farmland
We were invited into the house of Kulm’s Mayor and chairman of its limited company (formerly collective). In the distance you can see the fields that belong to Kulm. Most of the Kulm farmland was run by the limited company – he said there were also 2 independent farmers in Kulm. We had the obligatory shot glass of vodka (drunk in one gulp) upon arrival, another while we were talking and eating snacks , and a third when leaving.
Kulm School
It was Sunday when we were there, but local residents got the key and opened the school for us to see a classroom that had been converted to the town’s museum – principally of the German times.
In the school was a book of the history of Kulm’s residents – we found lots of mention and photos of Ginny’s family – and a picture of the now-derelict church.
Unfortunately, most of my pictures of family information and family photos didn’t turn out.
Next time there we’ll take a portable tripod to allows good photography of the books.
We found a number of pictures of Daniel and of Immanuel in uniform before being sent to war.
We found an article about a convention of people who had lived in Kulm held in 1999 in Bow Island Alberta showing Ginny’s cousins Emil and Gertrude.
Alt Posttal seemed about the size of Kulm and very similar. There we met the mayor – a very personable guy in his late 20’s. He had attended university in Odessa, but missed the land where he had grown up so had returned.

The old German cemetery – unfortunately most tombstones were so heavily weathered we couldn’t make out the inscriptions.

Like in Kulm, Alt Posttal had turned one of their school’s classrooms into a museum. Wherever we went people seemed proud of the German times and showed us the remaining original houses.

The interior shown here. Here is the mayor letting us in and then showing us the exhibits.

At the school was a monument erected in 2003 in celebration of Kulm’s German history.

Mayor's garden
Everyone there had extensive gardens. Kathy and Susan: you’d be in heaven tending them.

Horse Cart
Everywhere in Bessarabia we saw people driving lots of similar horsecarts to transport both people and produce and anything else that needed transport.

Geschichte der Gemeinde Alt-Posttal

We found a book containing the history of the various families that had lived in Alt Posttal, including Ginny’s mother’s Wölfle family – if it’s accurate it filled in a few dates we weren’t certain of. The mayor had a computer and scanner at home, so he scanned several pages for us. On page 3 of the scan I’ve highlighted in a red box a history of Ginny’s family.

Here is my poor translation:

“Wölfle, Gottlieb (Father: Johannes), his wife Katherina, born Esslinger (father Gottlieb), with their children Daniel (later teacher and /{community clerk?}/), Rudolf (died 10.11.1915), Ida, Gottlieb, and Martha /{moved ?}/ in 1907 or 1908 to Kurudschika, Bender District, where he had a steam mill. There the children Bertha and Johann were born. In about 1911 /he {moved ?}/ to Kolatschowka, where the children Elsa and Eduard were born. On June 1, 1927 Gottlieb junior, Ida, and Martha, and on March 27, 1928 their parents with the other children Bertha, Johann, Elsa, and Eduard (missing since 1937 in the USA) emigrated to Canada. Martha (who was married to Martin Zutter) died on April 4, 1940 in Calgary; Gottlied senior dies on August 21, 1950 in Richmond, Saskatchewan; his wife died on July 30, 1961 and Ida, unmarried, died October 18, 1963, both in Medicine Hat.”

(I was unsure about translating those words in italic followed with a ?)

 

Map - Alt Posttal with owner names

I had three pages that the mayor scanned but somehow misplaced one. I will contact our interpreter and see if she can translate a letter to him asking him to rescan the pages.

 

I think it’s likely we’ll go back and take more time exploring – especially in the museums. (And we’ll be sure to have an interpreter with us like on this trip). Most people we met speak several languages … all seem to use Russian as their principal language. And many speak Bulgarian (that’s where many are from) and Romanian. Some know Ukrainian. Only a very few know a bit of German. No one seems to know any English at all.

Lee Bruch and Ginny Weisse

 

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller
North Dakota State University Libraries
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