Thursday, May 19, 2016

Reminder: Next chapter meeting will be on June 4, 2016.

47th International Convention of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia

“Before the Storm”

The evolution and life of Germanic colonies from 1763 to 1916

in the Volga, Black Sea and Ukraine areas of the Russian Empire

July 11-16, 2016

Hilton Concord Hotel

1970 Diamond Blvd. • Concord, California

To reserve a room, call (925) 827-2000 or toll-free at 1-800-826-2644. Reserve a

room online at Use the code AHG. The AHSGR group

rate is $119. Register for the convention online at

Explore topics of historical, folkloric and genealogical interest. Listen to speakers from Russia,

Germany and South America for more insight into the history of Germans from Russia. Learn

about AHSGR online resources and records in Germany and Russia. View the premiere of the

Norka village film, entertainment by folksinger Jim Stevens, storyteller Bil Lepp and the Grand

Island Polka Band. A research room will provide Internet access and key documents from the

AHSGR Library. Librarian Diane Wilson and Village Coordinators will assist in research.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

More German Proverbs

Do right and shun no one.

Speaking comes by nature, silence by understanding.

No one betrays himself by silence.

Nothing dries sooner than tears.

A poor person isn't he who has little, but he who needs a lot.

What three know will soon be known to thirty.

He who thinks of death begins to live.

The morning hour has gold in its mouth.

Bad times make good men.

Forgiven is not forgotten.

FEEFHS Conference

Registration is now open for the 2016 Eastern European Family History Conference to be held August 8-12, 2016.  The program will be at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, convenient to the nearby Family History Library for research.

This year’s program is country-research-focused, with a full track on German research carrying over all three days, and extended Polish, Russian, and Austro-Hungarian research tracks. The FEEFHS board has been heavily involved in selecting just the right classes to provide both an introduction to researching in Eastern European countries as well as in-depth topics for more advanced researchers. Optional consultations are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Visit the conference website for full details and registration information.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Note from Dee Hert

Anton, Russia

Research continues for the village of Anton.  Also known as Antonow, Antonowka, Sadovoye, Sebastinovka, Sebastjanowka, Sebastyanovka, Sewastjanowka, Sevastinovka, Sevastjanovka, Sevastyanovka (after 1941, Sadovoye)

Located at:  51º2' N 45º51' E.  Map #6 at AHSGR

Anton was found in 1764 by 270 Evangelical Lutherans- parish headquartered in the village of Messer.

Movement was recorded between Anton and the following villages: Alexanderdorf, near Tiflis in the Caucasus, Balzer, Franzosen, Kraft, Kukkus, Lauwe, Merkel, and Neu-Straub. As research continues I am sure there will be additional villages with connections to Anton.

My personal interest in Anton are the following surnames: Hert/Herdt, Hart/Hardt/Hard, Stark/Stork.  I am in the process of updating the surname database, which will be available at the AHSGR conventions.

Anton was industrious as it had a sugar beet factory owned and operated by Mr. Sigrist. Researchers have reported that the Anton villagers were originally from Thuringia, Germany. 
  • I am searching for the photo and additional history of the sugar beet factory.

The AHSGR village files index noted an article “History of Anton, by Emilie von Liphart, which is missing. 
  • I hope to locate a copy.

According to an article in “Die Lauwe Lampe”, Spring 2001 a surprising number of arranged marriages were from villages on the west side (bergseite) of the Volga. The colonies of Anton and Balzer were predominant sources for brides.

Die Welt-Post, Thursday, 8 December 1921, reported of hunger and starvation in Russia including the villages of Kukus, Dinkel, New Anton, and New Moor.

I accepted the position as Village Coordinator recently due to the fact that the position was vacant, and I wanted to further the history of my family.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or information to share; together we can answer some questions.

I plan to explore the availability of records in Russia.

Thanks to Sharon White for agreeing to assist!

Dee Hert
President and Membership Chair

February Meeting

This Saturday, February 27, at 10:00 am will be our chapter meeting:
Sandy Library 
10100 Petunia Way 1300 South 
Sandy, Utah

Please bring empty ink cartridges.  The subject is maps, so bring your favorites. 

Any ideas for a summer community project to enhance our awareness and locate other Germans from Russia??

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Center for Volga German Studies is sponsoring a seminar series in Fort Collins, Colorado on 23 July, 2016.  These seminars will feature the 250th Anniversary of the founding of the colonies of Dönhof and Messer.  The event will also include a Deines family reunion, evening banquet and Dutch Hop Dance with The River Boys! Please join us and invite others who might be interested! 

When: 23 July 2016
Where: Colorado State University, 599 South Drive, Fort Collins, CO 80521
What:  Sessions -
·         The History Dönhof
·         The History of Messer
·         A Day-in-the-Life of the Volga Germans
·         The Volga Germans of South America
·         The Volga German Deportation of 1941
·         The Geography of the Volga Germans
·         The Musical Heritage of the Volga Germans
·         The Sugar Beet Industry and Its Connection to the Volga Germans
·         The Volga German DNA Project
·         The Volga Germans Today
·         Genealogical Resources for Volga Germans
·         Famous & Infamous Volga Germans
·         Volga German Resources in the CSU Archives

Registration: $50 per person before July 1st; $65 per person after July 1st  

Additional information and online registration at the CVGS Fort Collins Website:

Friday, February 19, 2016

German Mush
Makes 4 Servings
Try something different this weekend with a hot, comforting breakfast. This recipe takes a delicious twist on traditional Cream of Wheat.
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup Cream of Wheat
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)
  • Butter 
  • Optional add-ins:
  • Raisins
  • Peanuts
  • Sliced bananas 

Whisk eggs into milk until froth forms on top and no more egg bits can be seen. Whisk in Cream of Wheat, sugar, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon. Cook on stove over medium heat, stirring constantly with flat-tipped wooden spoon to avoid clumping. Cook until mixture begins to boil.

Spoon into bowls and add 1 tablespoon of butter to each. Stir in raisins, peanuts, sliced bananas, or other additions, if desired. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016


Many thanks go out to Sharon White and Dee Hert who worked so hard on our chapter booth at the Christkindlmarkt in December.  Their devotion to this project was amazing and helped spread information about AHSGR and the local chapter.  We appreciate their effort in raising funds for our chapter and working toward increasing our membership.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Book Review

Why Are You Still Alive? A German in the Gulag 
by Georg Hildebrandt
I purchased this book recently, and it's one of those publications you cannot put down until complete.  The experience cannot be briefly explained; when you read this book you will be deeply moved.  Everyone should take the time to read this incredible experience to further appreciate how fortunate we are today.
Georg Hildebrandt was of German from Russia heritage who endured and surprisingly survived the terrors of life as a Soviet prisoner.  Georg was a descendant of immigrants who accepted Catherine’s invitation to relocate to Russia. Little could they foresee that the third and fourth generations would experience terrible suffering. Georg was Mennonite, being raised to love peace, without hatred and rancor.
Germans were labeled as criminals by the Soviet government, 800,000 – 900,000 were exterminated. Liquidation of Germans began after the October Revolution. Germans were gathered into groups and forcefully scattered throughout the entire Soviet Union. The intention of these acts was to force them to lose their language and ethnicity.

Georg grew up in the village of Kondrajevka, near Kramatorsky and Konstantinovka.  March 1929 the village was occupied by party workers, militia and secret agents of the OGPU.  Families were separated, and all men and boys 15 years and older from 12 families out of the 33 farms in the village were arrested and jailed. This was to be Georg’s first arrest.
Georg managed to survive several relocations and much physical abuse.  He was fortunate to have received early education and draftsman training.  These skills were valued at the various prisons and saved his life numerous times.  Food was scarce for all prisoners; illness was common and man’s inhumanity to man was staggering.  Traitors were everywhere and would commit hideous crimes to promote their own welfare and profit.
1942: Georg and other prisoners were forced into the Trud Army. The workers army was kept behind barbed wire like criminals.  Germans who had not died as a result of the Soviet bloody wave of destruction from 1937-38, were confined in horrific conditions; many deaths occurred each day.
1949: Georg and others were transported to East Siberia.  Fifteen men were put in each train compartment, which was designed for six to eight at most. The train stopped at Sverdlovsk, where the prisoners were loaded onto trucks referred to as the Black Raven.  Eventually after much discomfort the surviving prisoners were taken to a camp in Kolyma.  Georg was assigned to work in the carpentry shop.
One day, criminals gambled for the “head of any resident” from the barracks in which technical and office workers lived.  Later in the evening one of the prisoners was sitting at a table near the door with his fur lined cap on his head. A criminal rushed into the barracks and smashed his head with an ax. The criminal then ran to the guard tower and yelled, “I have chopped off someone’s head.” These were common everyday events.
1953: Georg completed his prison time.  He requested permission to relocate to the Urals where his family was living- denied.  He was appointed honorary head of the Bureau for Rationalization and Inventions (BRIS), devising a system to reward productive workers with increased pay.
In February, he was diagnosed with cavernous lung tuberculosis, seriously ill. He was transported to the Urals to join his family, the first odyssey of his life found a happy ending. The second odyssey had a different nature, the time from 1953 until emigration to Germany in 1974. The goal of a second book was not to be fulfilled.
Georg was asked by the wife of a deceased fellow prisoner why her husband had not been willing to share details of life as a prisoner.  George explained that the situation had been bad, very bad. Perhaps her husband kept silent in order not to expose himself to suspicions, and the cruel memories could not be comprehended by someone who had not gone through this hell. Rumors in Germany and other countries promoted the idea that conditions were not bad for political prisoners. It was false information.

(Submitted by Dee Hert)

Future Meeting

The December party will be held on Saturday, December 12th at 11:00 am at the Springville Presbyterian Church.We'll have German food and an ornament exchange. A $10 limit is suggested. Their new pastor is a German from Russia.

2016 AHSGR Convention

Plans are underway for the 2016 AHSGR convention which will be held at the Concord Hilton Hotel, in Concord, California, July 14-16, 2016. The hotel is conveniently located in the San Francisco Bay Area’s East Bay and is adjacent to Interstate 680.  It is accessible via the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) from the Oakland and San Francisco International airports.  The hotel offers complimentary round trip shuttle service to and from the Concord BART station thus making it easily accessible to the entire Bay Area including San Francisco.  Conveniently located across the street from the hotel is a shopping center with a second larger one within a one mile distance.  The world famous Napa and Sonoma wine country is a short 30 minute drive from the Hilton.  The venue offers an opportunity to visit and enjoy a world class tourist destination.

The program’s theme is “Before the Storm” which will focus on the evolution and life of the colonies in the Volga, Black Sea, and Volhynia areas of the Russian Empire.  Speakers have been invited from Russia, Germany, and South America.  In addition, topics will focus on:
  • Village Area Discussions
  • Using AHSGR and on-line resources for genealogical searches
  • Use of DNA in genealogical research
  • Education and welfare systems in the villages
  • Contributions by the colonists to agriculture, manufacturing, and the economy
  • Village governance systems
  • Churches
  • Architecture
  • Differences between the Black Sea and Volga villages
  • German Russians in the army
  • German Russians in Siberia and Kazakhstan
  • German Russian emigration
  • German Russians in California
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Developing  memory books
  • Story Telling Contest
  • Youth Program
  • Research room with access to the internet and AHSGR books and archival materials
  • Two all-day tours to the wine country and  San Francisco.

Room rates are $119.00 per night for a single or double room and $134.00 for a room at the Hilton Executive Level.  Executive Level rooms are on a private key controlled floor with enhanced amenities, access to a private lounge, complimentary breakfast, and an evening manager reception. Parking is $7.50 per day with in and out privileges.  Handicapped parking is free.  Reservations may be made by phone (925-827-2000, use the code AGR) or on line (

Address:  Hilton Concord, 1970 Diamond Blvd., Concord, CA  94520 (Phone: 925-827-2000)

Plan on joining other AHSGR members in Concord  July 14-16, 2016.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Center for Volga German Studies

The Center for Volga German Studies announces the following locations for the CVGS 250th Anniversary seminar series. 
Note the two events coming up next month in California and Colorado. Please join us for one or more of these events:

Fort Collins, Colorado (14 November 2015)
Fresno, California (21 November 2015)
Minneapolis, Minnesota (5 December 2015)
Austin, Texas (6-7 February 2016)
Scottsdale, Arizona (27-28 February 2016)
Leavenworth, Washington (27-29 April 2016)
Hays, Kansas (4 June 2016)
Fort Collins, Colorado (23 July 2016)
Sheboygan, Wisconsin (24-25 September 2016)
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (27-30 October 2016)

The 2-day events in Austin and Scottsdale are designed specifically for those interested in genealogy.             
For additional information about each event, please check the website:

Thursday, October 22, 2015

German American Society of Utah


Join us on the German National Day of Mourning (Memorial Day) as we pay tribute to the German

prisoners of war who died in Utah. The German Chorus Harmonie provides the music for this annual


Sunday, November 15, 2015 at 10:00 am

Ft. Douglas Cemetery – 32 Potter Street (corner of Wakara & Chipeta, U of U Campus)


Come and enjoy lunch and some entertainment that’s sure to help bring in the spirit of the season!

There is no cost, but we welcome your donations to help cover our expenses.

Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 2:00 pm

LDS Douglas Ward Building (German Speaking Ward) – 721 South 1200 East, SLC

RSVP to Baerbel Johnson at 801-520-7012

Weihnachtsmarkt Fundraiser

Imported goods from Germany arrive just in time for Christmas gatherings with family and friends.

Come early for lunch and help support our organization in raising operating funds for the year.

Saturday, December 5, 2015 from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

All Saints Episcopal Church – 1710 South Foothill Blvd., SLC

Christmas Concert

Holiday memories will come alive at the annual Christmas Concert performed by the German Chorus.

Harmonie, the Kinderchor, and special musical guests.  This event is free, and is a fun family tradition.

Friday, December 11, 2015 at 7:00 pm

All Saints Episcopal Church - 1710 South Foothill Blvd., SLC