In Touch with Prairie Living
By Michael M. Miller
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo
The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) at the NDSU
Libraries in Fargo reaches out to prairie families and former Dakotans.
In various ways, it affirms the heritage of the Germans from Russia
as an important part of the northern plains culture.
The NDSU History Department and GRHC are pleased to announce the
Theresa Mack Germans from Russia History Assistantship. The recipient
will be enrolled in NDSU graduate doctorate program in History beginning
with the 2004-2005 academic year.
Theresa Mack Wald, Grand Forks, ND, writes: “My gift for
the assistantship is to preserve the heritage and culture about
the positive aspects of the Germans from Russia. I want to provide
a living legacy for the scholarly study of my heritage of which
I am very proud. My parents, John G. Mack born in 1888 and Katherina
Deringer born in 1890, lived in the Catholic Black Sea German villages
of Elsass and Neu Schloessel, Kutschurgan District, South Russia
(today near Odessa, Ukraine). My father was 14 years and my mother
was 24 years when they came to America.”
GRHC has published an important new cookbook, “Cookbook for
the Germans from Russia”, by Nelly Daes, translated from German
to English by Alex Herzog, and edited by Janice Huber Stangl. Daes
was born in Friedental, Ukraine. Her family decided to flee toward
the West in 1935. Their wanderings and flight was to last as long
as ten years. Nelly finally ended up living near her family’s
origins in West Germany. Colonist women in their various settlement
areas would “peek into the pots” of their Ukrainian
and Russian neighbors. In the course of time, they adopted certain
dishes from them. Nelly Daes comments: “All of the recipes
have been tested by various cooks and should be applied under the
following motto: `In cooking, you make use of...whatever you have
Janice Huber Stangl writes: “This book contains not only
recipes, but also humorous and heart- wrenching anecdotes from the
German Russian diaspora. It is essential addition to every household.”
Alex Herzog writes: “What I like about Nelly’s cookbook
is her inclusion of, at times amusing, and at other times very sad
and tragic anecdotes, as well as the descriptions of the Black Sea
Germans customs and folkways - all woven between and around the
recipes. Also, the recipes she presents are more inclusive than
the book title indicates, because they stem not only from the Black
Sea area, but also from Asia and Germany.” The new cookbook
is available at: library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/cookbooks/das.html,
or contact GRHC.
We have prepared a listing of items of highly recommended books,
maps, videotapes, and cookbooks on the subject of Germans from Russia.
The list provides valuable items suggested for families, schools,
and libraries for research and reading.
“German Food & Folkways: Heirloom Memories from Europe,
South Russia, & the Great Plains” by Rose Marie Gueldner
continues to be one of GRHC’s most popular books available
and is now in its seventh printing since publication in February,
Prairie Public’s award-winning “Prairie Crosses, Prairie
Voices: Iron Crosses of the Great Plains” is receiving a terrific
response from viewers. Be watching for this third documentary of
PPTV’s Germans from Russia series on other PBS stations in
2003. Iron Crosses stand as sentinels on the prairie landscape,
framed by vast expanses of grass and sky. Although they stand silent,
behind each cross is a story.
The award-winning documentary videotapes, “The Germans from
Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie” (1999)
and “Schmeckfest: Food Traditions of the Germans from Russia”
(2000) continue to draw much viewer interest and have been shown
on many PBS stations. Each videotape includes bonus video footage
not shown in the one-hour documentary.
Plans have begun for Prairie Public Television’s 2005 documentary
on the music of the Germans from Russia. This program will be the
fourth documentary in the Germans from Russia Series. The concert
choirs of Jamestown College, Jamestown, ND, and the University of
Mary, Bismarck, ND, will perform historic music for the documentary.
More information will appear in future columns.
For further information about Germans from Russia heritage, donations
to GRHC including books, videotapes, cookbooks, tours, and the new
Recipe Index Search, contact Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries,
PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599 (Tel: 701-231-8416; E-mail: email@example.com;
GRHC website: library.ndsu.edu/grhc).
January, 2004 column for North Dakota and South Dakota