Germans from the City of Odessa and
Sea Region Exhibit Catalog
An Exhibit of the Vocational Job Training Center,
Clay Building Trade Program in Collaboration with
The German Cultural and Meeting Center "Bayerisches Haus" Odessa,
To secure the complete exhibit catalog with many
photographs, Deutsche aus Odessa und dem Schwarzmeergebiet, (1996)
Pages from the Catalog Translated from German to
The director and the employees of the Bayerische
Haus in Odessa
Wladimir Köhn, Alexander Archipow, Elvira Plesskaja, Sergej Schip
The Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Rußland
The Kulturrat der Deutschen aus Rußland
The Südostdeutsches Kulturwerk
The Institut zur Erforschung der deutsch-ukrainischen Beziehungen
at the Freie Ukrainische Universität
The Evangelisch-Lutherische Landeskirche Bayern
North Dakota State University, Fargo, USA
Publisher: Berufsbildungszentrum Augsburg der Lehmbaugruppe Production,
composition and layout: Gruber und König, Augsburg Printing: Druckerei
Kessler, Bobingen Augsburg, November 1996
Comment on transcriptions:
Again and again questions on transcribing first and
last names, street and place names were raised during the development
of the exhibit and during the development of this publication.
The authors of the individual contributions each
decided on different kinds of methods which remain unchanged. Phonetic
transciption was chosen for the exhibit with the exception of few
naturalized deviations having found their way into the usage of
the German language. Street names were not translated into German
and the adjunct "street" i.e. "ulica" was omitted. Russian street
names are based on transcriptions because they are used primarily
in the city of Odessa and by Black Sea Germans.
The pictures shown in the exhibit were the result
of a close collaboration with institutes and private persons in
the city of and in the region of Odessa. Alexander Archipow took
Photographs relating to the Black Sea Germans in
North Dakota are compliments of the Germans from Russia Heritage
Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo.
The director and the employees of the Odessa State
W.M. Maltschenko and O.W. Konowalowa,
The director's office of and the employees of the Science Library
at the University of Odessa
The department head for rare books, E.W. Sawelewa,
The second director of the Archaeology Museum, Odessa, S. B. Ochotnikow
The librarian of the museum G.P. Ukrainskaja,
The director and the employees of the museum
"Priavate Collection of Bleschtschunow" in Odessa,
The employees of the rare books, and the department
"Odessika" at the Gorki-library, Odessa,
The employees of the museum for history in Odessa, G.O. Perlow,
The employees of the museum at the factory "Odessapotschwomasi"
and employees in the administration for the district of the city
of Odessa, I.W.
for their kind support in gathering materials;
The citizens of the town and of the region of Odessa,
who provided information and pieces for the exhibit:
Irma Stotz, Johann and Maria Isajko, Nadezhda Fetscher,
Ljudmilla Riesling, Rosa Rainer, Philipp and Maria Schmalz, Lydia
Schterbin, Vera Kryzhewskaja, Oxana Golubow
Julia Sörgel, Munich, took pictures for the Topics:
"Black Sea Germans in the Federal Republic of Germany" and "Ukrainians
Pictures were also made available by:
Anton Bosch, Nürnberg
Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, Stuttgart
Landsmannschft der Deutschen aus Rußland, Stuttgart
Prof. Michael M. Miller, North Dakota State University, USA
Alfred Eisfeld, Institut für Deutschland- und Osteuropaforschung,
Table of Contents
[Selected pages translated from German to English
|The development of the exhibit
|Black Sea Germans from the Ukraine
|German colonies in the Odessa region
|The colonies of Großliebental
|The Kutschurgan colonies
|The Beresan colonies
|The history of the Black Sea Germans since the middle of
the 19th century
A strong desire for political and cultural self determination
resulted in independence for the Ukraine in 1991. In the period
following, this led the people living there increasingly to remember
history and culture. When the city of Odessa was celebrating its
200th anniversary in October, 1994, the ethnic diversity of this
region was impressively presented in a cultural program. Only few
know about the history and work of the more than 450,000 Germans
who used to live in Southern Ukraine in the 19th century and who
have made a considerable contribution to the development of the
city of Odessa and to the Black Sea region. They had followed the
invitation by Czarina, Catherina II, to settle this area of Russia
with the promise of special rights.
On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Odessa
the exhibit "The History and Work of the Germans in the Black Sea
Region" developed in German-Ukrainian collaboration was opened to
the public at large as the peak of the "German week" and later on
in other Ukrainian states. I welcome the fact that this exhibit,
meanwhile revised and expanded around the subject area "integration
of ethnic German immigrants", gives the population now the opportunity
in various German cities beginning with Augsburg to inform itself
about the history, the culture and about the economic situation
of the German Russians in the Black Sea region. In this way the
understanding of the Germans living there and of the ethnic German
emmigrants having come to the Federal Republic can be strengthened.
I want to thank all who helped with this exhibit
and wish a good success for the presentation.
Bundesminister des Inneren
Preface: The development of the exhibit
Contacts existing for centuries between Germany and
the Ukraine have become closer in the last few years. Ukrainians
and Germans moved closer to each other in politics, culture and
economics but also in numerous personal contacts between individual
and various other organizations. The good relationship between both
countries brought more public interest to the Ukrainians living
in Germany and to the Black Sea Germans living in the Ukraine. The
State of Bavaria as a partner region takes on a special position
Accepting an invitation of the Russian Czar the first
German emigrants reached the Odessa region by land or via the Danube
at the beginning of the 19th century. They settled there and, enjoying
numerous privileges, founded thriving colonies. However, even before
WWI the first colonists were expelled from their chosen homeland
by Russian powers. Some emigrated from the Black Sea region to America
where they, as an ethnic group, maintain their roots to this day.
Numerous Germans fell victim to the collectivization of agriculture
and Stalin's "purging." However, from 1941 to 1945 many of them
were resettled in the German Reich by the German army and, after
the war ended, were deported to Siberia and Central Asia by Russian
occupational forces. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union a large
number of Black Sea Germans and their descendants left these areas
for the Federal Republic of Germany under pressure of ethnic tensions
and economic hardship.
Some 1,000 Black Sea Germans are living in the Ukraine
to this day or were able to return there. They have intensified
their efforts to remember their language and their culture which
they largely lost under the pressure of political and historical
events. Aside from the German society "Wiedergeburt", the German
Lutheran community as well as informal meetings and circles, the
German Cultural and Meeting Center `Bayerisches Haus' which aside
from German language courses offers a number of cultural events,
operates a kindergarten and regularly gives crash courses to participants
in practical job training in Germany since 1993. The house furthered
by the Bavarian Department of Labor and Social Order could be instituted
thanks to the involvement of the Department for Social Protection
and National Minorities in Kiev, and municipal and regional authorities
in Odessa as well as the German Lutheran Community in Odessa and
its partner, the Evangelical-Lutheran national church in Bavaria
and has become known beyond the Ukrainian border as a place to go
for Germans as well as for persons interested in the German language
In the spring of 1994 the employees of the cultural
center began with preparations for an exhibit of the history and
work of Germans in Odessa and the Black Sea region. On the occasion
of the 200th anniversary of the city the exhibit documented the
contribution of Germans to the emergence and development of the
city of Odessa. Thus, for the first time in this form it was reported
positively about the presence of Germans in this area of the Ukraine
who after 1945 were generally condemned as public enemies and therefore
suffered from discrimination until recently.
The material for the exhibit was collected from archives,
museums and libraries. There were trips to the former German colonies
in the Odessa region and Germans still living there were interviewed.
Private individuals in Odessa also provided detailed information
and exhibits so that an extensive exhibit with current and historic
material could emerge and give the visitor a vivid impression of
the works of the Germans in the south of present day Ukraine and
in the city of Odessa.
On October 2, 1994, the exhibit was ceremoniously
opened ending the "German week" in Odessa. Among those present were
representatives of municipal and regional authorities of the city
of Odessa, representatives of federal organizations and associations
working in Odessa, representatives of the Department of the Interior
and of the Bavarian Department of Labor and Social Order, family,
women and health as well as representatives of federal associations
of German Russians.
In the course of the next months the exhibit was
shown in various Ukrainian locations and was met with great interest
everywhere. In May, 1995, the acting Secretary for Nationalities
and Migration in Kiev, Oleksandr Haschyzkyi, emphasized in his opening
speech of the exhibit the necessity of rehabilitating Germans in
the Ukraine and thus left hope for an officially new interpretation
of the history of the Germans in the Ukraine. The exhibit had thus
achieved one of its main concerns.
Subject areas were added for the display in Germany.
In light of the background of the increasingly more difficult integration
of ethnic German emigrants the concern of this accompanying text
of the exhibit is to sensitize the vision for the history and presence
of ethnic German emigrants.
||Founding the port city of Odessa
||Suffering from the consequences of the Napoleonic Wars numerous
farmers, trade and crafts people decide to emigrate from South
Germany. The first settlers reach the Black Sea area in the
so-called `Ulmer Schachteln' (row boats) by going down the
Danube or by land.
||Rise of the Großliebental, Kutschurgan, Glückstal and Beresan
colonies near the city of Odessa. The status of the colonists
and the privileges connected with it made it possible for
the settlers to produce agriculturally, which resulted in
|The rising national identity lets hear initial
opinions in Russia demanding restrictive politics towards
foregin settlers. The privileges of the settlers are aborgated
step by step.
||Founding of the German Reich. Further deterioration of the
situation for the settlers. Numerous Black Sea Germans emigrate
||Beginning of WWI. Due to the "settlement laws" Austrians,
Hungarians and Germans in the border areas are expropriated
and deported to Siberia.
||Revolution and civil war, expropriation of farmers. Numerous
farmers lose their property. Further deportation to Siberia.
||The politics of ethnic minorities of the Soviets brings
temporary improvements in the situation for national minorities.
National village councils and German national districts emerge
even in the Ukraine.
||The political situation deteriorates drastically, disintegration
of national districts and bans against teaching the German
||Beginning of World War II
||Odessa is occupied by Romanian and German troops. All Germans
in these occupied areas are registered in "Volkslisten."
||Retreat of the German army. Resettlement of Germans in present
Polish areas by the army, deportation of German Russians from
Germany by the Soviet army to labor comps and special settlements
in Siberia and Central Asia.
||Official end of the state of war between the Soviet Union
and Germany, visit by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer to the USSR
and start of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
|End of 1955
||Easing of restrictions for Germans in the areas of deportation.
Numerous Black Sea Germans get the opportunity to resettle
from the special settlements to Central Asia and the Baltic
Republics. A return to the Black Sea region is not possible.
||Partial rehabilitation of German Russians.
||Lifting of sanctions for freedom of movement in the USSR.
||Revision of the Soviet regulation for emigration for the
purpose to unify families. The numbers of ethnic German emigrants
increase noticeably for the first time.
Black Sea Germans from the Ukraine
The history of the Black Sea Germans is more than
200 years old. At the end of the 18th century Russia conquered in
the war against the Turks vast areas of the steppe by the Black
Sea; the cultivation of which was to be implemented immediately.
As serfdom limited the Russian peasants in their freedom of movement
and thus made an immediate settlement of the new area impossible,
foreign settlers were recruited. Already in July 1763, Czarina Catherine
II issued in a manifesto the permit to all foreigners coming to
Russia to settle in gouvernements of their choice and granted them
special rights. The Czarina's manifesto guaranteed foreign settlers
also the right of free religion and self government aside from various
economic and political privileges. The call of Catherine II was
most welcome in the German small states where economic hardship,
denominational differences and wars wore down the population.
Alexander I. was determined to continue the colonization
politics in South Russia begun by Czarina Catherine II. Based on
the colonization program drawn up by Secretary of the Interior,
Count W. Kotschebej, the gouvernements of Cherson, Jekaterinoslav
and Taurien were settled and as of 1812 also Bessarabia. In 1803
the first settlers from the town of Ulm arrived via the Danube at
the quarantine ward of Dubossar. Thus the massive colonization of
the Black Sea region began.
The settlers having arrived at the mouth of the Danube
had a long and difficult journey behind them and in many cases had
lost relatives during their travel. After a two week stay at the
quarantine ward they could continue to travel to Odessa where they
spent the winter. In the spring of 1804 the distribution of land
got started. The decree for the colonization by foreigners provided
for the distribution of large connected tracts of land at good sites.
German Colonies in the Odessa Region
"The colonists founded well organized colonies in
the inhospitable areas settled by them; they turned barren steppes
into healthy fields, reforested, put in orchards and vegetable gardens
and introduced many useful innovations in the area of agriculture."
South Russian Department of State Property, 1854.
Many historians dealt with the works of the colonists
and acknowledged it. In the beginning the strange geographic and
climatic conditions created great difficulties for the German farmers.
They were forced to develop new methods of land cultivation. They
worked mainly raising cattle in the first phase of their adaptation
to these new circumstances. In 1805, sheep with fine wool were brought
to the cities of Odessa and Dnepropetrowsk and the breeding of these
animals began in New Russia. This wool was soon the most important
product of the colonists. The Germans also managed to adapt East
Frisian cattle to the adverse conditions of the steppes. The new
breed was soon known as 'German-Red Cattle' or 'Colonists'-Cattle'.
Later the colonists began to extensively grow grain, sunflowers,
wine, vegetables, fruits, tobacco and silk. They worked as beekeepers
and in forestry. There were brickyards, wineries, breweries, cheese
factories and oil mills in many colonies. Soon water-, wind- and
steampowered mills, stud farms and cloth factories emerged.
The German colonists soon obtained, for these conditions,
an unusual amount of wealth. It was not only the decree of land
distribution and the structure of the community that contributed
to it. The community which had received land for settlement functioned
as the landowner. Part of the land was made available for the common
use of pasture for cattle. Beyond that all families were left equally
with land for their yard, fields and meadows for their own use.
As a rule it was approximately 60 hectares. A "farm" or "family
piece" of that property formed together with other farm buildings
a "farm" or "farmstead" which was not allowed to be split, sold
or mortgaged; the inheritance laws took this into account. One of
the direct descendants of the owner took over the yard which could
not be divided but on the condition that the community proclaimed
him able to manage the "farm". Young people who could not remain
on the parental farmstead pursued a career in trade or industry,
founded new colonies on retained pieces of land or acquired or leased
Social life in the colonies was based on self government.
The highest organization of power was the city council which involved
one representative from each farmstead. The local council selected
a mayor and two representatives to appoint a secretary. She coordinated
the payment of taxes and other obligations, discussed questions
of general interest and complaints, employed clergy, decided the
exclusion of colonists from the colonist status. Every question
was settled with a so-called 'dictum.' The mayor was elected every
three years. His tasks were to look after the condition of the colony,
agricultural implements and cattle, to ensure the timely start of
working in the fields and to supervise the cleanliness of the farmsteads.
The administration of grain supply, of the school system, the responsibility
for public buildings and roads was the responsibility of the communities.
The local Russian administration was called on exclusively in questions
which were beyond the competence of the colonies. Observers were
sent to the colonies; they supervised on the spot the activity of
the German administration and gave reports to the office of social
services which was responsible for the colonies.
The Colonies of Großliebental
Overall, more than 500 colonies were founded in present
day region of Odessa east of the Dnjepr River and approximately
40 in the area of Nikolajew and approximately 150 in Bessarabia.
The colonists often named the villages after their home towns. Thus,
the villages of Baden, Rastadt, Kassel, München, Straßburg and others
originated in South Russia. As the growing colonies needed more
land, daughter colonies, which carried the name of the mother colony
with the prefix 'new', emerged. Later the colonies had to be partially
renamed. In 1819, under Alexander I, the German villages got names
in memory of Napoleon's victory such as Tarutino or Borodino.
The colonies of Großliebental were in close proximity
to the city of Odessa. Großliebental (today Welikodolinskoje) was
the center of the region densely populated by Germans; it included
the colonies of Lustdorf (Tschernomorka), Kleinliebental (Malodolinskoje),
Alexanderhilf (Dobroalexandrowka), Franzfeld, Neuburg (Nowogradowka),
Mariental (Marjanowka), Josefstal (Jossipowka) and Peterstal (Petrodolina).
The colonies maintained close ties to the city of Odessa. As of
1907, a street car line connected the town with Lustdorf, the charming
resort town by the Black Sea which attracted many people seeking
rest and relaxation. The former street car depot in Lustdorf now
serves -- as does the villa where the Russian poet, Anna Achmatowa,
was to have lived -- as an apartment building.
The residents of the colonies belonged, as a rule,
without exception to one and the same denomination. "Catholic,"
"Lutheran" or "Mennonite" meant far more than a tradition or customs,
a certain way of life and a specific German dialect. The churches
built by believers of various denominations were expropriated in
the '30s. During the Soviet regime they were unoccupied, destined
for ruin or were used for other not intended worldly purposes. Some
German church buildings survived in the area of the former Großliebental
colonies. The buildings serve as cultural centers and youths clubs
with exception of the church in Großliebental itself; it is being
remodeled to an orthodox church.
The Kutschurgan Colonies
The significant colonies of the Kutschurgan area
were Straßburg (today Kutschurgan), Baden, Selz, Kandel (today Limanskoje),
Mannheim (today Kamenka) and Elsaß (by Stepnoje). The Kutschurgan
River is a small tributary of the Dneister River. At the same latitude
as the colony of Baden it flows into the liman with the same name
which now forms the border between the Ukraine and Moldova. In 1808,
almost 400 families from southern Germany founded the Kutschurgan
colonies on its banks; supposedly they were backed by the governor
of the Odessa region, Duke Arman de Richelieu, himself. Grain and
vegetables, melons, sunflowers, flax and wine were grown in the
colonies. Cattle were bred and mills, blacksmith shops and other
trade shops were operated. The city of Odessa was vitally important
for the economic development of the colonies. The trading of grain
and wine was handled at the docks; furthermore, the colonists regularly
sold vegetables at the "Priwos" and the "New Bazaar" in Odessa.
They met in the tavern "Maibach" where they exchanged information,
discussed prices and did business.
The Beresan Colonies
The Beresan district was one of the largest districts
in the Black Sea region. Today it is located partially in the district
of Odessa, partially in the district of Nikolajew. The colonies
of Karlsruhe (Stepowoje), Rohrbach (Nowoswetlowka), Worms (Winogradnoje),
Rastadt (Poretschje), München (Gradowka) and others belonged to
this district. In the Beresan colonies were remarkable facilities
which, after all, shed light on the material wealth and cultural
prosperity of the German settlers. Alluded to is the school for
the deaf and dumb in Worms, which was founded due to the initiative
of the Evangelical pastor Daniel Steinwand (1857-1919). Besides
general and parochial schools, an agricultural technical college
was located in Landau, the center of the district. In addition,
a theater with orchestral accompaniment existed in Landau. It is
remarkable that theaters remained reserved for cities, even during
the heyday of the colonies. The colonies of Rastadt and München
were located northwest of the district of Landau. Many silent witnesses
of the past are preserved in these locations.
The History of the Black Sea Germans
Since the Middle of the 19th Century
The emergence of 'Panslavism,' the changed national
identity and because of the founding the German Reich the increased
need for polarization led increasingly to criticism of the concentration
of real estate in the hands of nonslavic immigrants. One warned
of a "peaceful conquest" and of the "Germanization" of Russia. In
1887, a law for foreigners was enacted which very much restricted
foreigners' rights to lease and acquire property especially in areas
near the borders. As of 1871, the privileges for colonists were
abolished and Russian i.e. Ukrainian as the official language was
introduced to the German colonies.
By the end of the 19th century, lack of land and
increasing political pressure had a great effect on the livelihood
of Germans. Many of them decided therefore to leave the Black Sea
region. As the German Empire was willing to take in only a small
number of Black Sea Germans, many settlers participated with Russian
and Ukrainian farmers in colonizing Siberia within the framework
of the agrarian reform and founded new colonies there. Thousands
emigrated to America at the beginning of the 20th century and settled
in the states of North and South Dakota among other places. A second
wave of emigration reached this area at the end of WWII. The colonists
evacuated from the Black Sea region to Germany by the German army
tried by escaping to the USA to avoid extradition to the Red Army
by the allies.
Whoever travels today from the Black Sea region to
North and South Dakota will be surprised of the huge number of parallels
which exist between the "Ukrainian" and the "American" Black Sea
Germans. The emigrants, like their ancestors in the Black Sea region
one century earlier, set up their lives on the prairies of North
America. Their new hometowns have the same names as the German settlements
by the Black Sea, the tough living conditions on the prairie resemble
the adverse conditions under which the steppe of Southern Russia
had to be cultivated. However, above all, the Black Sea Germans
brought with them to America their distinctive way of life. Today
in Europe and in the USA they attempt successfully to enter again
into relations with their scattered relatives and to weave torn
threads once again. The collapse of the Soviet Union has made it
possible that they meet by the Black Sea or elsewhere.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the political
and economic living conditions of the German settlers by the Black
Sea continued to deteriorate. As WWI was approaching, drastic measures
were adopted against German settlers in order to prevent from the
beginning any potential confrontation with the adversary. Even before
the armed struggle in which approximately 300,000 Black Sea Germans
participated at the Russian front lines, the so-called settlement
laws were enacted. They provided for dispossession and deportation
of all citizens with Austrian, Hungarian and German heritage living
within a 150 Km wide strip of land along the Western border.
The dispossession and deprivation of rights of the
Germans in the Black Sea region reached its first peak with the
settlement laws and then, until 1917, lasting measures were to implement
them. In 1917, a large part of the colonies fell to the just founded
Ukrainian Peoples' Republic. Even during WWI, the Peoples' Republic
was occupied by German and Austrian-Hungarian troops. The German
colonies were under their protection, and at first this brought
in a sense of ease to the situation for the German population.
Coercive sanctions by the state to get food and a
drastic drop in agricultural production followed the October Revolution.
Further dispossession and deportation were the consequences of collectivization
and robbed large parts of the rural population of their existence.
As the German population represented a large percentage of prosperous
farmers with relatively much real estate, it was affected more than
the average by the measures against the kulaks. There were famines
even though Lenin's "new economic politics" introduced in 1921 brought
temporarily ease to agriculture. The grain supplies stored by German
communities before the Revolutions were forcefully removed.
At the same time the ethnicity politics of the Soviet
Union brought about an expansion of cultural freedom for the Black
Sea Germans. In the `20s the Soviet government favored the formation
of national administrative districts where the particular mother
tongues of people could be used as the official language. Seven
German national districts, where Germans represented more than 70%
of the population, emerged in the `20s in the Ukraine. The break
up of national councils and districts as well as the deportation
of people began in the course of Stalin's "purge" increasingly operated
from 1936; the Germans were affected by this purge as much as the
rest of the population.
German national districts in the Ukraine (1936)
During WWII the fate of the Black Sea Germans was
determined by the swift occupation of the Black Sea region by Rumanian
and German troops. While the Germans living east of the Dnjepr river
were deported to Siberia, the Germans living west of the Dnjepr
were initially under the protection of the German Reich. They were
registered in the so-called "List of German people" which later
on served as the basis for handing out German certificates of naturalization.
By the end of 1943 the resettlement of Black Sea Germans from the
occupied areas to the so-called Warthegau began with the advance
of the Red Army.
As far as they survived the difficulties of the flight,
the Germans were settled on farmsteads of expelled Polish people
with the goal to "germanize" the region. The events of the war soon
forced the settlers to continue fleeing westward. After the war,
part of the Germans from the Black Sea region who stayed in the
western occupied zones of Germany managed to go into hiding in order
to escape the extradition to Soviet occupational forces and repatriation
into the Soviet Union. Others could travel to America. However,
a large number of Black Sea Germans were handed over to Soviet commando
units and with huge losses deported to Siberian special camps and
Translation from German to English by Brigitte
von Budde, German translator for the Germans from Russia Heritage
Collection, NDSU Libraries, Fargo.
Printed with permission of the Berufsbildungszentrum
Augsburg der Lehmbaugruppe, Augsburg, Germany, 1997.