Kuhn Family Journey to the Homeland: Germany
Wald Glatt, Kathryn. "Kuhn Family Journey to the Homeland: Germany
and Ukraine." Emmons County Record, 12 June 2003, 8.
Eight Kuhn family members were privileged to join Michael M. Miller
on the Journey to the Homeland: Germany and Ukraine North Dakota
State University Libraries tour May 2002.
Theresa (Meier) Eissinger whose family roots lead back to Napoleon,
her parents John and Rose (Kuhn) Meier were born in Russia. The
father, John Meier, immigrated to the United States in 1907 from
Odessa at the age of 21. The maternal Kuhn family lived in Rosental,
(Crimea) South Russia; having immigrated from Germany to Russia
in 1809. Here they were farmers and also raised horses. The entire
Kuhn family, 16 members, left South Russia and came to the United
States in 1911; settling in the Napoleon area to begin a new life.
Many family members still reside there today.
Kuhn family members include: Ann (Meier) Bauer of Grand Forks,
Joyce Essinger of Bloomington, Minn.; Theresa (Meier) Eissinger
of Napoleon, Yvonne Eissinger of Edina, Minn., Dena (Marquart) Graham
of Belvidere, Ill., Alice (Meier) Lippert of Burke, Va., Janice
(Marquart) Spotts of Portland, Ore., and Bernadine (Lang) Kuhn of
Owatonna, Minn. Theresa is the mother of Joyce and Yvonne Eissinger.
This Kuhn family had the wonderful experience of visiting their
homeland in Rosenthal where their mother was born and Odessa the
birthplace of their father.
Theresa (Meier) Eissinger was born in Napoleon, attended a one-room
school house for the first eight years of school and graduated from
Napoleon High School. Her parents were farmers all their lives.
"I remember the hard times during the depression," says
Theresa,"so I am really looking forward to visiting my ancestral
villages of Rosental and Odessa. My mother often spoke of the hope
to return to Rosenthal but she was never able to do that."
Theresa was a special guest speaker at the Strasburg Chapter of
Germans from Russia Heritage Society meeting held on March 9, 2003.
Theresa related her experience and heart-warming feelings she had
when setting foot in the home villages from where her beloved ancestors
On May 27, the Journey to the Homeland Tour Group arrived in Odessa
from Vienna via Austrian Airlines. Some of the sights visited in
Odessa were: The Opera House where they saw the Children's Ballet,
the wedding hall, the Catholic Church of the Assumption, the market
place and the city hall. May 28 took them to the Crimea to visit
former German villages near Simperofol. Here in the Crimean Valley
the Kuhn family toured the Village of Rosental (meaning valley of
roses); commenting that they have never seen such an array of gorgeous
flowers in this life time. The group spent time in the former Catholic
Church, today an Orthodox Church, the present day school visiting
classes including the school Theresia's mother attended while growing
up in Rosenthal. They attended a school recital held in the former
parsonage where music classes are also held.
Of special interest was the present day cemetery. The Mayor of
Rosenthal guided us throughout the village and showed how work had
been done repairing some of the German gravestones in the last two
years. They could still identify some of the names with photos taken
and did not expect to see this many German marked gravestones. The
Kuhn family came upon an orchard of scrumptious fruits and the site
of their grandparents Gottlieb and Maria Kuhn's house.
This former German Catholic village of Rosenthal today located
near Simperofol, in the Ukraine, near the Black Sea is blessed with
a perfect climate year round with rich fertile land in the midst
of the Crimean Valley coming off the Crimean Mountains.
Families grow large gardens here. The dramatic sights and life
conditions today being basically the same as during the time Theresa's
mother and grandparents experienced so many years ago. Families
are very poor even to this day.
While in Yalta, the Kuhn family toured the Palace of Lavidia where
the Yalta Agreement was signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston
Churchill and Joseph Stalin after World War II. The group also toured
the Palace garden, Yalta Park and waded in the Black Sea.
The Journey to the Homeland Tour members who stayed in Odessa traveled
to the Bessarabian, Beresan and Glueckstal villages. The group traveled
to the Village of Landau, Beresan District to bring gifts to the
orphanage, and also visited Josephstal, a Kuhn family ancestral
Their continued journey took them from Odessa to Vienna and Stuttgart,
Germany for a 3-day stay in Stuttgart where the surrounding sights
were viewed from the top of the TV station. The evening of June
6 was spent with a visit to the Haus der Heimat Baden-Wuerttemberg
in Stuttgart with a concert and reception of the Homeland Choir
of Stuttgart. This choir visited North Dakota in July 1997 for a
concert tour. Oh yes, how well I remember their two-day visit to
Strasburg. What a wonderful people that I still communicate with
today after being the host couple during their stay with us.
A stop at Rothenburg, Germany, and a visit to St. Jacob Church,
the City Hall and the Criminal Museum were most interesting. The
city of Rothenburg exhibits its history of days' gone by; the preservation
of its origin more so than the modern fling of today's world.
In Alsace, France, their tour led the group to the Catholic Church
in Selz, St. Michaels Church in Souf-flenheim, the Catholic Church
and the Lutheran Church in Sassenheim, all in France.
Ann (Meier) Bauer writes, "I well remember the many stories
my parents told of the Old Country and now I am looking forward
to this tour so I can actually see what my parents spoke of".
Michael M. Miller, NDSU Libraries, made all the arrangements and
was the tour guide; along with Bob Dambach of Prairie Public Television.
Michael recorded all the heart warming events with photos while
Bob kept his television camera on hand to document the Kuhn family
ancestral villages including some interviews later back home in
the Napoleon area focusing on their lives in America.
Hats off! Theresa Eissinger for a most interesting talk and visit
with us, also her display of numerous photos and souvenir items
she had purchased.
These memories shall always linger in the minds of the Kuhn family,
the sad, the beauty and also the humorous occasions that are part
of an experience such as this will forever remain with you.
Thank you for sharing, Theresa.
Reprinted with permission of the Emmons County Record.
Catholic church in Rosental.
built house in Rosental.
fetching water from well for her large garden.
members presenting American flag to school children at Rosental.
members standing in cemetery.
Cemetery with gravestones restored by local Ukrainians.