|German Dialect Stories
Germans from Russia Heritage Society Convention
9 July 1977
Presentation by LeRoy Oberlander
Transcription by Joy Hass Stefan
Edited and Proofread by Linda M. Haag
… in Atlanta, Georgia, he said [? 002] is a
thing of the past. It’s no longer a time [?
003] individual. But for individuality, we’d
lose everything, because Jesus said 2000 years ago
there’s none righteous; they’ve all gone
their own ways. And they’ve altogether become
filthy and I’m afraid that some are [? 007]
today. Now all on grace, those are good, but we can’t
live by law alone. America began as a country of grace,
where we live from the heart. But now, everything
has to be contested by the law.
The Bible says [? 011]. And anything run by law only
will soon die. So let us all stand in prayer. Our
Lord we thank you for this day, and we thank you for
all of these people who have come together here; friends
from Russia, from Germany, and from various parts
of the United States. You’ve been with us all
through these years and kept us as human beings, and
looked over us, and cared for us. You supplied our
physical needs and our spiritual needs. Now as we
assemble to gather here, help us to realize that we
cannot get on in this world without that spiritual
and higher power which we receive directly from God
in our own lives. Now this moment, we thank you for
the management and for the leadership of this great
gathering together. And as we’re assembled together
let us remember in our hardships, when there was no
way out, we could always look up. We received assistance,
strength and courage. As we’ve read in your
word that you are the lifter up of our heads when
they have fallen down, and now in Jesus’ name,
we ask that Jesus bless this gathering and see to
our needs. We will praise you for it all. Amen. God
bless you and God keep you.
Thank you very much, Reverend [? 037]. We want to
continue our opening ceremonies by recognizing that
we come from a particular ethnic group, but that we
are also Americans and Canadians and members of other
governments. Won’t you join with me at this
time in the pledge of allegiance to our flag of the
United States? Would you stand?
[group]: I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the
United States of America, and to the republic for
which it stands., one nation under God, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you. We shall now call on Ray Thomas and ask
him to lead us in the Star Spangled Banner and O Canada,
and [? 050] to help out. If any of you don’t
have music, it’s available at the back of the
room, and if you don’t have any, raise your
hand and we’ll get you some music.
Please all rise and join in singing the National
Anthem, followed by the national anthem of Canada.
[058 - 098 group singing the Star Spangled Banner
and O Canada]
Thank you very much. You may now be seated. I thank
the panel, the McDonalds and the Meleskis. I’d
like to share with you some communications we have
1. My congratulations to all of my friends here today
for the outstanding contributions you have made to
the state of North Dakota. Your great heritage has
had an important influence on our state, and the accomplishments
are ones for which you can be very proud. My sincere
best wishes for a wonderful meeting. My regards, Bill
[? 109], State Senator.
2. Heard that you are meeting for your annual event
and want to add my sincere good wishes for a successful
gathering. Regards, [? 111], United States Senator.
3. Please extend my personal greetings and very best
wishes to all my friends attending your annual convention.
Your heritage is one to be extremely proud of, and
we in North Dakota and the United States can be thankful
that you or your ancestors chose this country. Your
contributions as hard working, honest, and dedicated
citizens in your communities have helped make this
a better place to live. I am confident that you will
have a most successful and enjoyable convention. Mark
Andrews, North Dakota Congressman.
At this time we will call on our secretary, Mary Wald,
from Minot to read the minutes of the meeting held
in Dickinson a year ago. Mary…
The minutes of the sixth annual convention at Dickinson
are as follows:
The meeting was called to order by President LeRoy
Oberlander. He made opening remarks about the [? 128]
city and the facilities of the German-Hungarian club.
He welcomed the group and made announcements pertinent
to the convention. The secretary read the minutes
of the fifth annual convention held in Minot. The
motion to accept the minutes as read was made by Jerry
[? 131], and seconded by Pius Ries Napoleon. Motion
was carried. The treasurer’s report was given
by the secretary since the treasurer [? 133] had just
assumed the office and did not have the opportunity
to prepare an extensive report. She reported that
the balance brought forward as of June 28, 1975 was
$10,527.85. The total income as of July 7, 1976 was
$12,295.55. Full expenses were $12,144. The balance
on hand as of July 7, 1976 was $1,678.41.
There are various funds. One year signed certificate
of deposit in the amount of $1,500. That put savings
in the amount of $4,466. There is Life Membership
Fund in the amount of $1,900, [? 143] Assistantship
Fund $625, and the Memorial Fund in the amount of
$20. [? 145] of Fargo moved to accept and file this
report, citing [? 146]. Motion carried. The secretary
also read the resolutions committee report. Tom [?
147] of Minot was chairman of the committee and resolved
to thank the manager of the Hungarian club [? 148]
and the personnel, Mrs. Mertz from Bismarck and her
committee for a job well done on the food and cookbook.
Also resolved to thank the convention chairmen, [?
151], LeRoy Oberlander, the chapter president, Mrs.
[? 152] for preparing for the convention and for making
it an outstanding success. Mrs. [? 153] moved to accept
the resolutions and second was by [? 154], Bismarck.
The nominating committee report was given by John
[? 155], Rugby. He reported the following names for
nomination: LeRoy Oberlander of Dickinson, and Karen
[? 157]. John Kramer moved to accept the report [?
159]. Motion carried. Nominations from the floor were
[? 160 – 162]. On the committee were Gary Metz,
Minot, and Craig [? 167]. The president reserved one
call for nominations until the second half of the
meeting, July 10, on Saturday. Nominated on Saturday
were Donna [? 167] and [? 167]. Al [? 168] presented
the membership committee report. Members of the committee
were [? 169]. [? 170] reported that membership for
this year was 1207. 142 members have not renewed their
1976 membership. We have 202 members.
He mentioned that Dickinson had started a chapter
since the 1975 convention. The charter was presented
to Dickinson at the banquet held on Saturday evening.
Joseph Schneider of Bismarck moved to accept the membership
report, seconded by Jerry Metz, Minot. Motion carried.
Dr. Armand Bauer, chairman of the publications committee
reported that other members of his committee were
Mrs. Essick [? 177], [?], [?], and August Schultz.
He reported that the Heritage Review and Der Stammbaum
have become the vehicles by which articles about families,
colonies, and history reach members of the Society.
Der Stammbaum includes family histories as well as
other genealogical material. Mrs. Essick, chairman
of the Genealogical Committee, reported that family
data sheets are still being used and found. She also
asked for volunteers to assist with the genealogy
files and obituary files which need to be copied.
[? 186]. A representative gave the total sales for
June 1st, 1975 to June 1st, 1976, as $2288 dollars.
He gave expenses for the office as $1326 for the same
period. He reported the increase of office space and
insurance rates in the past year.
The Repository Committee report was made by LeRoy
Oberlander. He mentioned various people who are on
the committee. He also requested input from [? 193]
as to what consideration should be made for [? 194]
location for the repository. [? 194] of Nebraska asked
whether or not the North Dakota State Historical Society
had been designated in the past, and why we were looking
for a repository. Mr. [? 197] addressed himself to
the [? 198] by stating that access to the materials
placed in the Historical Society was limited. The
feeling was that the material is not used for research;
it is merely on display. The materials in the Society
archives are not returned to those who have given
it to them. A change in the state laws may have to
be made to make the materials more available. R. J.
[? 203] of Bismarck reported that he had spoken to
Dr. Kessler, who was an interpreter for a German group
which appeared in Hettinger in 1975. Dr. Kessler had
sent him a copy of a magazine which had been put out
by a German group which had given coverage to the
Germans from Russia. It featured several pictures
of Hettinger and a picture of the North Dakota Historical
Society Germans from Russia Medal, and the American
Revolution Bicentennial Medal in the publication.
It was a good item for publicity for the North Dakota
Historical Society of Germans from Russia. Oberlander
recessed the meeting until July 10th at 11:00 a.m.
July 10th, 11:00 a.m. The meeting was reconvened
by President Oberlander. He asked for further nominations
from the floor. He called for a motion to cease nominations.
[? 215] moved that nominations cease, seconded by
Jerry Metz, Minot. Motion carried. Members of the
challenge committee were Herman Wildermuth, Vaca Valley,
California; Jerry Metz, Minot; [? 219 – speaking
too fast for me to catch the names], and Leonard [?],
West Fargo. Recommendations for advisory associate
members for the board were called for at this time.
Suggestions were made that recommendations be given
to our members as soon as possible. Dr. Armand Bauer
reported for the Bibliography and Translation Committee.
He reported that the earliest English language book
about the Germans from Russia was written by [? 225]
in 1937. Books which have appeared recently are The
Czar’s [? 226]; The White Lamb, [? 228]; St.
Joseph’s Colony, Lambert Schneider; and The
Volga Germans by Fred Volk; and Translation of [?
230] by Herbert [?] is in process now. Announcements
of publications and translations will be made in Heritage
Review as they appear. A call for old business was
made by Oberlander. The formation of chapters was
brought up. New business was called for at this time.
The formation of Dickinson Chapter [? 234] was announced
and invitations for the 1977 convention was left open.
The board’s directors will accept the invitation
by any chapter which wishes to extend it. The 1978
convention will be held in Fargo with the Red River
Chapter as host.
The Audit Team Committee report was made at this
time by Marvin Ecklund, who had reported that the
books were in order. Mrs. [? 240] moved to accept
the report, seconded by Chris [? 241]. Motion carried.
Mrs. [? 242] reported that many requests for German
songs with songbook have been received during this
convention. It would be an official song for the convention.
It would also make the people hear songs of our people.
Mrs. [? 244] suggested these books could also be used
in German classes throughout our state. Fred [? 247]
of Fargo moved that a committee be formed to look
into the possibility of preparing a songbook at this
time. It was seconded by Ann [? 249]. Motion carried.
Fred [? 249] of Fargo announced that the banner of
the Dickinson Chapter was the only one, or whether
all the chapters have one. Oberlander reported that
Minot was the only other chapter with a banner. Al
[? 252] suggested that each chapter, as well as the
state organization, should attempt to prepare a banner.
[? 254] moved that a memorial service be published
in the Heritage Review, seconded by Jerry Falk. Motion
carried. Election results were reported by Herman
[? 256] and were as follows: 105 votes were cast with
one discounted because it had 5 selections on it.
[? 259] Mrs. Alma [? 260] suggested that the local
group be named for our fine convention. The people
moved that this be done, seconded by Anthony Becker,
Saskatoon. Motion carried. Alma [? 263] moved to adjourn,
seconded by John [? 264]. Motion carried.
Respectfully submitted, Karen [? 266].
Are there any corrections or additions to the minutes?
If there are not, I’ll approve the minutes as
read. Now I call Ed [Dahl ? 270] for the treasurer’s
Thank you Don. This is the hardest report to give.
Everybody wonders how much money we have. Nobody wonders
how much money we spent. If I could have kept all
the money I’ve been given, we’d have had
quite a sum in the bank. The trouble is, there are
always bills to pay, and when they come along and
have an okay on it to pay this bill, then I’ll
pay it. I had intended to make a nice report and have
it in this book so that you all could take it home
and digest it. My wife agreed to do it, but she’s
been in the hospital since Easter. So I didn’t
have time to do it. So I’ll give the amount
that we’ve got in the bank at this time, with
more money coming and some more business coming. So
this is where we shoot at as of the first of July,
$4,060.20 even money. I’d just like to say this.
If I would give you a definite, itemized statement
at this time, it wouldn’t work anyway because
I have a stiff board of directors that I have to look
up to. And they see to it that everything is done
in order. And I don’t write any checks unless
I have the bill. But there is just one thing that
you’ll have to take home with you. Expenses
are going up. We just discussed it at the board meeting.
As you all know, postage is going up. That’s
going to hit us hard. Printing is going up, and postage
for the printing is going up, and if it wasn’t
for the good cookbook that we had, we probably wouldn’t
be in the black. We’d probably be in the red.
That’s one thing about it. I know we wouldn’t
stop functioning, because I know that we have some
supporters that would probably help us out in case
of a pinch. But remember this, you’ll have to
take some other names to bring up the income because
we can’t stop the outgo, because the prices
are just there and everything is going up. I’ll
leave it at that. Thank you.
Thank you, Ed. We’re only going to have a brief
meeting this morning. The regular business meeting
at which we will conduct the business that is to be
completed by this convention will be held Saturday
afternoon. I want to, at this time, give you an idea
of the items of business that will be contemplated
and brought before this conclave for your decision.
The bylaws presently provide for twelve directors
and the thought has been that as our society expands,
we are going to welcome two new chapters Saturday
evening, the Jamestown chapter and the Beulah chapter.
There is increasing reason to have representation
from each area that there is a chapter. This would
be precluded if we came here with the size board that
we have. So your board of directors will recommend
to this body that the board be expanded to fifteen
members and that we elect seven members at Saturday’s
session. So bear that in mind. I’d like to announce
that at the conclusion of this morning’s session,
we’ll meet in the Mandan room as a nominating
committee. I’d like a representative of each
chapter to be there, with Ruth Dickenson as chairman.
And if any of you have suggestions for persons you’d
like the nominating committee to consider, would you
please give them to your chapter representative so
they’ll be considered.
Nominations from the floor Saturday afternoon will
also be accepted. As Ed indicated to you, costs continue
to escalate in our society, among these, increased
costs of postage and printing. We will be recommending
to this group that the dues be increased one dollar
per category. Family memberships would be $10 and
individual memberships would be $8. That would be
for your decision. The present bylaws provide that
10% of the dues collected will be refunded to the
chapter, the local chapter, to which that member belongs.
We have found that many of the established chapters
no longer have a need for these funds, and it is cumbersome
at our headquarters to segregate our large membership
into local memberships. That is to tell whether a
person belongs to Minot, Rugby, or somewhere in California,
which has to do with the chapter each person belongs
to. So we will be proposing a year from now that that
provision is modified in some respect, and we’ll
also be asking those chapters who are willing to forego
the rebate to do so. [? 383]
I’d also like to announce the songbook has
been completed in the national minutes, and is for
sale. We hope that you will advertise it as well as
all of the other books that are on display in the
purchase room. One of the things our chapter can be
most proud of is the publications of the annual sponsoring
and selling. However if you all support us, we’ve
had a wonderful experience with the cookbook. It’s
been a problem maker as well as a great boost for
our society. We are hoping the songbook will be equally
successful; so if you will look that over and purchase
what is of interest to you.
So on to spell out the locations of the meetings…
[? 399] through lunch. This afternoon we will reconvene
here at this room to hear Timothy Oberlander speak
to us. The coffee kuchen will be at the same place
as it was this morning. Then the workshops this afternoon
will be at the far west part of the building, the
far west rooms, and in the Ehrling and State Room
which is on the lower level in the western part of
the building. So if you get yourself into that part,
you’ll find the workshops. Saturday we’ll
reconvene with the memorial service. That will be
here in this room. We’ll adjourn the business
meeting at this time until Saturday afternoon. We
are fortunate to have with us today the [? 416 –
Schulmeleski? ] brothers who are helping us with our
local ceremony. They’re going to favor us with
some songs and also are going to show us a movie depicting
a travel opportunity that they’ve offered to,
which will naturally be for sale. [? 423].
Good morning everybody. Now we’re waiting around
and waiting around for days and days and wondering
how come you didn’t call us, and I guess yesterday
we finally got a call and said, well the Germans from
Russia are having their convention today, and would
you come down? I said how come you didn’t call
us earlier, and they said nobody could spell our name.
[laughter] Anyway, we’re the [? 436 –
Schulmeleski?] The Funtime Orchestra from Sturgeon
Lake, MN, and you know that we have a television show
that is syndicated in about 35 or 40 different markets
throughout the United States and Canada. And so we
wanted to stop by and just say hello. We found out
you are in town, and wanted to be part of the program
and provide a little fun and entertainment for you.
So right now, I’ll tell you what we’d
like to have you do.
Just clap your hands and sing right along with the
band as we open up our program here for you…
this is Florian, Jr. here on the trumpet, and we have
Jeff, another son of mine on the saxophone, and Jerry
is the crazy guy here on the drums who tells all those
jokes, and then Patty will sing a song for you too.
So let’s everybody sing together. One, two,
three… [453-485 musical entertainment.]
Now we just happen to know one German song, and it’s
probably got a little bit of a Polish accent to it,
you see, but anyway, just sing along with us, alright?
[491-524 musical entertainment].
[end of Side A; begin Side B]
[001-011 musical entertainment]
Thank you very much. Indeed, that’s really
not the best dance floor in the whole world, but it
does the job alright. Okay, well you know when you
have a convention, you’ve got to have a horn
and do a little celebrating, you know. And I suppose
this one will fit in right with the celebration. You’ve
got to have a little schnapps to go with it, so we’re
going to do that one called “Heaven, There is
no Beer.” Okay? [017-054 musical entertainment].
All right, you know, ladies and gentlemen, at most
conventions you have a lot of advertising and so forth,
but you know the Friends of Promotion are here, right
from this area and a lot of people say, “Well
I’d like to see what a real live radio announcer
looks like.” And you have that opportunity right
there because that fellow sitting at the back of the
room there is Steve [? 059 – Verdine?] from
KVMR radio right there. Steve, stand up. Let’s
give them a nice big round of applause. There you
go. And another smiling face right next to him, of
course, that’s Marv [? 061 – Vickelson?].
He runs the Moose Lodge here, and they are inviting
all of you as their guests there tonight. So how about
a nice round of applause for our guests there too…
All right now. This little [? 064] in Germany, we
had to fly all the way to Munich to get this concertina
here for Patty. I’ll tell you, we had to rush
it to get this just in time for this little convention.
But right now we’re going to bring Patty up
here to the microphone. She plays that concertina.
I’ve just started out, just about a couple of
months ago, really. So we’re going to have her
do a couple of little songs for you. She plays it
not only this way, but she plays it on top of her
head and front wards and backwards and the whole thing,
and so here is little Patty. Let’s give her
a nice round of applause. [072-094 accordion music].
All right, okay. And while Patty is up here, we’ll
have her do a little song for you… this one
is about a little Polish guy, is that alright? Here’s
Patty. [098-130 musical entertainment].
There’s Patty for you. Well folks, thank you
so very much. You know actually, we were just playing
down the road here, about 23 miles north tonight and
tomorrow at Wilton, at the Weary Supper Club. It was
really wonderful that you offered us the opportunity
to come and say hello to all of you for this wonderful
convention sponsored by the North Dakota Historical
Society. See, we didn’t have our sound group
in here, so we have only one microphone and Jeffrey
said there is no way am I going to be left out. That’s
why, see, he hasn’t been amplified; so he’s
been walking out there. He wants to make sure he’s
heard over there. He’s quite a little kid, huh?
[applause] I’ll tell you what. We’ll play
this little number here before we turn this over to
Jerry for his presentation, but anyway, Jeff, I want
you to come right up here. We want to feature him
because you know it was just about six weeks ago,
he was recognized nationally by the National Jazz
Educators as an outstanding jazz musician nationally.
So I want to present that little guy to you. Here
he is, 18 years old, Jeff. [?146 – Shebeleski?]
[applause]. [148-186 saxophone music] [applause].
See, Jeffrey, they like you, they like you. We didn’t
leave him out, did we? Okay, thank you very much.
Ladies and gentlemen at this time I want to present
Jerry here, to make a presentation. Now listen, all
we’re saying is that if you haven’t planned
your vacation yet for this fall, we have a trip that
is sponsored here by Prestige Vacations, KVMR radio
and the whole gang from this area, and we have planeloads
leaving from Montana and Milwaukee, and there’s
a polka festival with 40 bands in Kitsfield, Austria.
We’ll land in Germany for the first phase of
that on September 9th. Jerry has a little film here,
and I guess I’ve told them everything already,
Oh, you’re going to be there for the Octoberfest
too. Alright. Listen, there’s going to be 40
polka bands from across the whole United States and
if you haven’t, we have a brochure here to pass
out, and it’s going to tell you all about it.
So, to get that thing going over there and in the
meantime, if any of you are interested in long play
record albums of the band, here they are on sale right
now during the presentation. They are $4. They’re
over here. They have all kinds of tapes and whatever
for $4 and $5. So, walk around and make yourself comfortable.
This thing is only about seven or eight minutes long,
that’s all. We hope you’ll just watch
that. Jerry, are you all set? Jerry, listen, he’s
a crazy guy, and I’ll tell you. He tells little
jokes over there. One time he got put in jail for
30 days over there for telling bad jokes on television.
He was locked up in Warsaw, ND. So, how about a nice
round of applause for Jerry? [applause]
[217-392 soundtrack of promotional film to vacation
Well, how does that sound? Okay, thank you folks.
At this time there are a couple more deals I want
to mention. You know, this is kind of funny, because
I’m standing out there in the hall and Mr. Loeb
hands me this card and he says, “Thank you for
passing that law.” He said actually what happened…
I’m a senator in Minnesota, and what happened
is that a couple of years ago, a law was passed prohibiting
studded tires in Minnesota. So Mr. Loeb said, “This
is ridiculous. We came in from North Dakota and we
don’t want to be arrested and pay fines in Minnesota
for that.” He says they’re legal in North
Dakota. I said, “Don’t worry Mr. Loeb.
I’ll get back there in the Minnesota senate
and I’ll take care of that for you.” So,
I quickly drafted the law, and did this just because
of this conversation with Mr. Loeb, and now from North
Dakota and Canada, came on to Minnesota. You’re
in good company. They’ll not fine you for studded
tires. Isn’t that nice? That’s the way
things happen. Anyway, on this trip here, Jerry…
you know we were in town yesterday and they had ten
people sign up, including several right here in the
audience. Jerry will tell you just a few more words
about it before we…
Okay, rather than to bore you with a
lot of questions and answers on the trip, anybody
that’s interested, if they just want to come
up here after we’re through. To tell you the
complete cost of the trip, including round trip fare,
hotel accommodations and continental breakfast, is
$628 leaving right here from Bismarck, North Dakota,
on September 9th and returning on the 17th. Mr. and
Mrs. Albert DeWald and Mr. and Mrs. Joe Schneider
from your organization signed up last night. We’ll
be more than happy to talk to anybody who would be
interested in going. I guess that kind of concludes
things for us, other than records and tapes. If you
want to take a look at polka music over here, so thank
you very much.
Jerry is a pretty good guy, right, Don?
We’d like to take this opportunity to say thank
you very much. It’s been a pleasure to be in
your company today and as you’re leaving now,
getting ready for your noontime meal, we have the
records and the tapes. Tonight we’re at Wilton,
ND, 23 miles north from here. Thank you. God bless
you. Goodbye. [applause].
Thank you. It’s been our pleasure to have you.
We appreciate your being here, and particular congratulations
to Jeff on his award. That is excellent. Now we show
our appreciation for taking time from your schedule
and joining with us at our convention. [applause].
We’ll reconvene here at 2:00 and the nominating
committee will meet down in the Mandan Room. So we’ll
see you at 2:00.
[456-470 gospel music] [end of taped proceedings]