The Germans from Russia

Expand/Collapse The Germans from Russia


Prairie Public's award winning documentaries on Germans from Russia focuses on rich history of Germans from Russia and their migration to America.

  • The Germans from Russia | Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie

    Learn why the Germans from Russia are one of the most misunderstood ethnic groups in America; German in culture but Russian in dress they were often misunderstood in America. This clip tells of their shift from Germany to Russia during the 1700's under the rule of Catherine the Great. When she offered German families Russian land nearly 7000 took her up on her offer and moved into Russia. It is said that although the Germans from Russia have always had a love of homeland, they have also always been able to embrace mobility.

    Grades: 4-12
  • The Germans from Russia | Traditional Food

    Watch as a German woman from Russia prepares sauerkraut streudel with her daughter and serves her family. The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie is the story of the Germans from Russia -- agricultural pioneers on several continents whose quest for land and peace shaped them into a distinctive and enduring ethnic group.

    Grades: 4-12
  • The Germans from Russia | Those Left Behind and Remembering

    Learn about the Germans left behind in Russia, who saw much strife during the years of 1915-1945. Over one million of them died. They were struck by two World Wars, imprisonment in Siberia, and enslavement. Many wrote touching and pleading letters to their families in America and many lost touch with their relatives during this time. Today many Germans from Russia visit the United States, and descendants of Germans from Russia visit the Steppe, trying to connect with relatives and places from long ago. Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie is the story of the Germans from Russia -- agricultural pioneers on several continents whose quest for land and peace shaped them into a distinctive and enduring ethnic group.

    Grades: 4-12
  • The Germans from Russia | Story of Carl and Catherina

    Hear the story of Carl and Caterina: a Prairie love story. They grew up together side-by-side on the plains and were married in 1907. By 1923 they had nine children, that winter was a difficult one. Carl came down with diptheria and four of the nine children were sick. When they ran out of coal, Carl insisted he retrieve some from a neighboring town. Upon his return he took to bed, and died the next morning. Catherina died the next day with two of her children. They could not be parted. Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie is the story of the Germans from Russia -- agricultural pioneers on several continents whose quest for land and peace shaped them into a distinctive and enduring ethnic group.

    Grades: 4-12
  • The Germans from Russia | Lifestyle in Russia and the Northern Prairies

    See how the Germans from Russia tried to establish the same kind of villages and lives they had back in Russia. Many of the villages were named after the first community leaders. Homes were built from sandstone, mud, and other materials indigenous to the area. Cellars were used everywhere to store vegetables until the next harvest. They tried to create "home" in America. It is said that American men do not cry, but men from the Germans from Russia background did, they cried for home. Their home-sickness caused a hole in their hearts.

    Grades: 4-12
  • The Germans from Russia | Germans from Russia a Look Back

    Learn how the Germans from Russia's life in America has spanned two decades. They have lived through two World Wars where they have felt ashamed due to their accent and their heritage because they were thought of as the enemy. Today there are over 1,000,000 descendents of the Germans from Russia and over 30 percent of North Dakota is of German ancestery. For more information on the Germans from Russia and their families, you may contact the Germans from Russia Heritage collection in Bismarck, ND.

    Grades: 4-12
  • The Germans from Russia | Living and Working

    Learn how the Germans from Russia settled across America, but many found home in what came to be known as the German triangle which spanned across Manitoba and the Dakotas. The Germans were given land under the homestead act which led them away from living in villages, which they had grown accustomed to in the "old" country. Having to live so far from their neighbors caused isolation and many looked forward to visiting day. They were strong people who had inhabited land much like the land they had left, full of fierce winters, a place where "wind was always in the grass" and the fields were filled with stones.

    Grades: 4-12
  • The Germans from Russia | Folk Traditions and Artwork

    Learn how the Germans from Russia are known for their Folk Healing Traditions, which are based on the practices of the Catholic Church. The German-Russians are also known for their weaving, which changed according to town and their intricate ironwork which can still be seen today on the prairie in many cemetaries. Intricate crosses brimming with lillies and roses in tribute to the dead will stand on the land for years to come.

    Grades: 4-12
  • The Germans from Russia | Changes in Russia and Immigration to North America

    In this clip, Germans from Russia hear of the opportunity in America, and begin to realize that if they stay in Europe they may lose their German autonomy and be blended into the Russian culture. Although leaving is difficult, some say as hard as a death, they begin their journey from the land-locked country they have known and board ships towards the Americas for a difficult journey. The Germans from Russia: Children of the Steppe, Children of the Prairie is the story of the Germans from Russia -- agricultural pioneers on several continents whose quest for land and peace shaped them into a distinctive and enduring ethnic group.

    Grades: 4-12
  • It's All Earth and Sky | Introduction to Germans from Russia

    Hear five representative Germans from Russia, Arthur Flegel, Debra Marquart, Al Neuharth, Henry Schmick and Brian Schweitzer, who have all attained success in their lives, share their insights on the process of becoming American. Like many others who have come here, Germans from Russia have suffered, and they have overcome. Since their background and history is as rich in texture as it is in diversity, they serve here as a model of assimilation of other ethnic groups into American society.

    Grades: 4-12
  • It's All Earth and Sky | The Tigers of Their World

    As the generations pass, changes and assimilation of Germans from Russia and many other ethnic groups result in finding a balance between their traditional ethnicity and being American, bringing the best of both worlds to their successful endeavors. 

     

     

    Grades: 4-12
  • It's All Earth and Sky | The Horizontal World

    Debra Marquart talks of the role of Germans from Russia women in agriculture and the many labors involved in their lives.

    “It’s all earth and sky!” was the reaction of one German-Russian immigrant when she arrived on the plains of the Upper Midwest. Like many others who came to the region seeking a land of promise and opportunity, she and her family endured – and prevailed – on this rich, expansive landscape. Immigration implies departure, as well as arrival. Transport from one country to another may mean deportation; it inescapably includes exile whether voluntary or forced, and brings disruption to families in the old country and in the new. Immigrants require courage and fortitude, even when they are weak and poor. Like many others who have come here, Germans from Russia have suffered, and they have overcome. Since their background and history is as rich in texture as it is in diversity, they serve here as a model of assimilation of other ethnic groups into Amer

    Grades: 4-12
  • It's All Earth and Sky | Sugar Beet Farming

    Watch how Henry Schmick, Cheyenne, WY, describes the traditional methods of raising and harvesting sugar beets.

    Grades: 4-12
  • It's All Earth and Sky | Religious Traditions

    The preservation of religious traditions is discussed, including a unique hail avoidance measure. Arthur Flegel believes that religion is the mainstay of society.

    Grades: 4-12
  • It's All Earth and Sky | The Traits of Germans from Russia

    Frugal, yet generous, hard working, stubborn, family oriented, and entrepreneurial are some of the characteristics given to describe Germans from Russia. 

    “It’s all earth and sky!” was the reaction of one German-Russian immigrant when she arrived on the plains of the Upper Midwest. Like many others who came to the region seeking a land of promise and opportunity, she and her family endured – and prevailed – on this rich, expansive landscape. Immigration implies departure, as well as arrival. Transport from one country to another may mean deportation; it inescapably includes exile whether voluntary or forced, and brings disruption to families in the old country and in the new. Immigrants require courage and fortitude, even when they are weak and poor. Like many others who have come here, Germans from Russia have suffered, and they have overcome. Since their background and history is as rich in texture as it is in diversity, they serve here as a model of assimil

    Grades: 4-12
  • It's All Earth and Sky | Success of the Second and Third Generations

    The culmination of assimilation has led to careers outside of agriculture and hometowns for these successful descendants of Germans from Russia immigrants. 

     

    Grades: 4-12
  • It's All Earth and Sky | Frugality and Ties to the Old World

    Debra Marquart illustrates frugality by reading a poem from her book, Everything's a Verb, about the burning of an oil lamp. Also discussed are marriages of the second generation and correspondence with relatives in Russia. 

     

    Grades: 4-12
  • It's All Earth and Sky | Love of the Land and Growing Things

    The need to plant and nurture growing things is common among Germans from Russia, even off the farm. Each of the speakers share examples from their life experiences common to many Germans from Russia. 

     

    Grades: 4-12
  • It's All Earth and Sky | Citizenship and Language

    Brian Schweitzer and Al Neuharth talk about their ancestors’ citizenship status, and all five descendants talk of their family’s experiences with the German language. As they adjusted to a new life, the first generation found that learning a new language often proved difficult.

     

    Grades: 4-12
  • It's All Earth and Sky | Agriculture and Traditions

    Arthur Flegel tells of turkey red wheat, which created the Bread Basket of the World in the upper Plains, even with dry land farming. The homestead living arrangement versus the European village with outlying fields system was a difficult adjustment.

     

    Grades: 4-12

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