Talk:History of Germans in Russia, Ukraine and the Soviet Union

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Old talk[edit]

I removed They are a dull people, of peasant stock; the only celebrity of note rising from them being Lawrence Welk for obvious reasons. BTW, in Russia they actually rose to great prominence, playing important roles in government and the arts. Danny

Wrong to remove true well established information from an article user:Fredbauder

Sorry Fred, but referring to an entire group of people as "dull" is questionable at best and certainly not well-established. Danny
I agree. Blanket statements, especially ethnically charged ones, have no place in an encyclopedia. --maveric149

Depends what the definition of dull is. If its law abiding, successful, wealthy farmers and ranchers then yes, they are very dull. Unfortunately Tom Daschle is an exception to this. He is a creepy lefty type politician. Actually there are more extensive lists of notable Germans from Russia than what's in this article. One of them is here —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:46, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

More old talk[edit]

I've expanded the text quite a lot, but it has too much focus on the Russian German subculture I happen to know the best, and ought to cover more ground. There are probably some mistakes here, since I've said basically what I know from memory, supplimented by Google as a fact checker.

Also, pace Fred, there should maybe be a section on the importance of Russian Germans to Russian industrialisation and intellectual culture. Frederic Frommhold de Martens is a name that comes to mind, as does Vladimir Aleksandrovich Fock in the sciences. The guy who designed Russia's first combine was one Peter Dyck, and the manufacturer of most of Tsarist Russia's farm machinery was the A. J. Koop company. There were a lot of German names in pre-revolutionary Russian industry. Unfortunately, I only know that names of the ones who were basically blood relatives, so I can't offer a more comprehensive picture.

--Diderot 14:30, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Even more old talk[edit]

A very impressive article. Now that the article went way beyond a mere ethnic scope, I would suggest to rename the article into someting like History of Germans in Russia and Soviet Union. Mikkalai 16:41, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Also, does it make sense to have the category:Russian Germans? Mikkalai 16:52, 13 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Considering how spread out the pages on Russian Germans are, I think you may be onto something. Lemme see if I can set one up. --Diderot 18:33, 29 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Volhynia Germans[edit]

An otherwise good brief description of the Germans in Russia fails to provide much information about the 200,000 Germans of Volhynia (c.1900) except for a passing reference in the Volga section. The link to the SGGEE website is appreciated. I have added a paragraph or two to make up for this.

Jerry Frank, Webmaster - 21:48, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Volhynians in eastern Russia[edit]

On 27 Feb 2007, Vmenkov added some info about Volhynian Germans that migrated to eastern Russia. I find the info very interesting. The addition refers to the source material but I believe there may be some misunderstanding in that source which leads to some skewed information. The original Bug Hollender were indeed Germans who originally settled on the east side of the Bug River (in Volhynia) in the 1600s when the territory was still under Polish rule. They held to their German traditions, customs, and language.

In the 1850s to 1870s time period, a significant number of Mazovian Lutherans migrated to the Pripyat Marshes region of Volhynia, some distance east of the Bug River settlements (around Niwir and Gross Gluscha). Mazovian is a term applied to Polish ethnics but among these Lutherans were some Germans who had adopted the Polish language for their culture in their homelands of southeastern East Prussia and the Suwalki district of Russian Poland. These Mazovian and German Lutherans became associated with the Bug Hollender because the Lutheran pastor from that region served them as well. It would be these Lutherans with origins in Suwalki who carried with them the Polish texts and language in their church services, not the Bug Hollender. It is easy to understand how they became identified with the Bug Hollender in their migration to the east but ethnically there were differences.

Some of these Mazovian / German Lutherans from the Pripyat Marshes settlements also migrated to the region of Roblin, Manitoba, Canada prior to WW I where they held their church services in the Polish language until the early 1950s. Other Mazovian Lutherans, primarily with origins in East Prussia rather than Suwalki, also settled in the eastern States, Wisconsin, and near Minneapolis, MN.

This is probably more detail than is intended for this particular page so I am not sure how to handle the correction. Perhaps I will just leave it as this comment on the talk page.

Jerry Frank - Webmaster 17:50, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

The above sounds like an entirely plausible explanation for the existence of a (formerly-) Polish-speaking Lutheran community with German-like names (e.g. Карл Григорьевич Людвиг, "Karl Grigoriewich Ludwig"). The aritcle ( ) that I summarized in that one sentence was from Otechestvennye Zapiski - a fairly decent Russian magazine, at least aspiring to be on the level of Atlantic Monthly or Utne Reader, if I am to come up with American comparison - but actually written by a high school student, with some guidance of, presumably, teachers or college instructors (one of the winners of a national competition of students' history papers). It is mostly based on the interviews with the Siberian "Lutherans" (or whatever you can call them), and does not have that much info about the life of their ancestors in what is now Belorus. They do claim that even before leaving the Bug lands in the 1910s, "no one in the community spoke German", and Polish was the language of prayer, which again is quite consistent with Jerry's theory.
I will be only glad if Jerry tries to re-word "my" paragraph and put it into a wider context. Vmenkov 20:24, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I have initiated contact with someone in Germany who has connections to descendants of Bug Hollender there. We will see how they remember the culture of their origins. This will help to prove my theory. I have been researching Germans from Volhynia for over 20 years and have only seen, to this time, the Polish influence on culture with the Germans in the Pripyat Marshes region. The other Germans always retained their German culture, especially with respect to their religion. I can also see the Belorus connection. The Germans of the Pripyat Marshes lived in Volhynia but very close to the Belorus border. In fact, their nearest large main town was probably Pinsk. I will consider what to write after I have done more research.

Jerry 21:12, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

P.S. When I said "Belarus" I actually meant "Pripyat marshes" (whcih are these days mostly north of the Uk-Bel border). I have no idea if the specific villages of origin for the folks in the O.Z. paper would be north of south of this border. I am too lazy to look at an appropriate map, but I suspect that what was understood as "Volhyania" in the 19th century could have spread a bit north of today's Uk-Bel border as well. Vmenkov 21:51, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

27 April 2007 I have not been able to verify a Polish language connection between the Bug Hollender and Mazovian Lutherans of the Pripyat Marshes region around Niwer and Gross Gluscha. It is known for certain that the Lutheran Pastor served both areas c.1900 but how the Polish influence in the texts came about is still in question. I propose for now to leave the text as it is.

16 September 2008 I have now been able to verify from that Vmenkov's statements are accurate except for the reference to Ukrainian being their common language. Since the church services were clearly conducted in Polish, I suspect that their common language may also have been Polish. I will modify that sentence slightly to reflect this. Jerry 21:12, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Current Population (confusion)[edit]

The current article states that:

"There were some 2 million ethnic Germans in the Soviet Union in 1989" ... "By 1999 about 1.7 million former Soviet citizens of German origin had immigrated to Germany."

If this was true, then the current population of ethnic Germans in the former USSR should be around 300,000. However, one of the above numbers is wrong, because in Russia currently there are 597,212 (0.41% of the population) ethnic Germans according to the 2002 census. In Kazakhstan there are 214,200 (1.4% of the population) ethnic Germans according to the 2006 census. That is at least 811,412 ethnic Germans currently living in the former USSR. Cmrdm 05:11, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

I am removing the unreferenced population/emigration claims and replacing that with a statement of 2002 Russian census data. Cmrdm 23:37, 3 October 2007 (UTC)


It would be really nice if we could put a single map together that shows all the areas of German groups in this region. For example if someone was trying to figure out which group a German village next to Kirovograd belongs to, they have to follow every link that references an area and look for a map (volga, black sea, Bessarabian, etc). Some have a map and some don't. I don't see any group that the Kirovograd area might belongs to.

Not only would it be useful for someone trying to locate information on their village of interest, but it could help in the organization of the rest of this page. For example someone mentioned that their area of interest was lumped into Volga even though it was not near the Volga I think. Dneiper is listed under Volga also. Maybe these people didn't know what category to put information in.

I have experience with making maps with ESRI, so I would be willing to try to do it. but I don't have enough reference maps for all these different areas.

Maybe anyone who knows where a map is could post the address here, and after some time I (or someone) could try to put them together into a single map. Broecher (talk) 23:27, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Here is some basedata I have found so far for the map. Does anyone know if the German settlement group names are derived from these admin districts? This will likely be deleted unless I figure out the copyright.

German settlement area maps to be used: —Preceding unsigned comment added by Broecher (talkcontribs) 02:32, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Here is another map that might prove useful. I hold the copyright but I am willing to share for republication under certain circumstances.

Jerry Frank - 14 Sep 2009 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:46, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Baltic Germans[edit]

I had relatives Baltic Germans,some of them emmigrated after WWI ,and some of whom got work in Moscow in 1904. They were from high classes nobles and intelligents. Before Russian Bolsheviks left Baltic states in 1918 they stole all money in the Baltic banks . My relative von Zehrwald has lost half-million in gold roubles,which were placed in Riga's bank .

Russian Poland vs. Congress Poland[edit]

Someone went to the trouble of changing all "Russian Poland" references to "Congress Poland". It is important to understand that both terms are equally correct and there was therefore no real need to make this change. In doing so, this reviser created a sentence that stated that Congress Poland was also commonly known as Congress Poland. This person obviously never read the context of what had previously been written. I corrected that phrase to show that Russian Poland was also commonly knows as Congress Poland. I did not undo the rest of the changes. Jerry Frank - 25 Feb 2010 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:39, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

More sources[edit]

Volga Germans / Black Sea Germans[edit]

The Volga Germans and Black Sea Germans sections should be modified. 1) The first section of Volga Germans sounds correct. 2) It would be better to place the section about Catherine II’s grandson, Tsar Alexander I, under the Black Sea Germans. This is the area settled by Germans in the early 1800's. 3) It would be good to clarify the term "Black Sea Germans" ... they were also called "Odessa Germans". Cte67 (talk) 12:09, 12 January 2011 (UTC)cte67

Genocide of ethnic Germans in the Soviet Union.[edit]

There are many books that compile the many letters written by Germans in the Soviet Union to their relatives that emigrated to the great plains of the US. Most letters detailing the genocide were written in the 1920s and 30s. "The Open Wound: The Genocide of German Ethnic Minorities in Russia and the Soviet Union, 1915-1949 and Beyond" by Samuel Sinner is probably the best single book on the subject. Perhaps a scholar could read some of these books and add a section on the genocide.

Actually, there have been a lot of books written by Germans from Russia/Soviet Union detailing their lives in Russia/Soviet Union for sale on the North Dakota State University web site It would cost a lot of money to buy all of those books, but perhaps a scholar working for a university would be interested in reading all those books and greatly expand this wiki article, in addition to adding the proposed new section on the genocide. And no, I'm not connected to the NDSU pushing book sales. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not descended from Germans from Russia either, though I do live in ND and know a lot of people who are. I know what some of you are thinking. Why don't I do it? I guess I'm too busy with other things, too lazy, tight wad, and am not interested enough in the subject to do it, an engineer, not a historian, and so on excuse after excuse. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:26, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

I agree that the genocide aspect needs to be much clearer in the article. Stalin killed or deliberately starved millions of minorities in the USSR, and the Germans were high on that list. Those that lived were forcibly scattered in Siberia and Uzbekistan, often splitting apart families and children over the age of 3 from their mothers (the fathers usually sent to hard labor). As a result, the Germans left today know little of their heritage and many lost their language and family religion. Nerfer (talk) 15:48, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
I don't agree with describing the late 1930s and early 1940s deportations to Siberia as "genocide." Half of my ancestors were Germans-from-Russia and I had distant relatives that were sent to Siberia during that time period. However, none of my distant relatives were actually executed. While there were many ethnic Germans that were executed for being accused of being 'Nazi sympathizers' or spies (usually unfairly accused, I might add), it's important to keep in mind that the entire period and war was a very bloody affair. Over 10% of the entire country's population died as a result of the Nazi invasion. That mass killing in itself could be called genocide against Russia. But "genocide" these days is a very politically charged term that is often thrown around whenever convenient to do so. That is why I'm in favor of leaving it out of this article. GfR-2016 (talk) 07:57, 5 June 2016 (UTC)

I agree with the above, that the deportation and forced labor of German Russians to Siberia and Central Asia during World War II was not genocide, in the sense that Stalin wanted to eliminate a people as the Nazis did to the Jews.Nevertheless, the treatment of the German Russians in the Gulag, in the forced labor camps had almost the same result. Over 1,000,000 Germans from Russia died or were killed under the Soviet communist regime, mostly under Stalin. Voices from the Gulag; The Oppression of the German Minority in the Soviet Union, page 6. For this reason, the section under Decline of the Russian Germans should be expanded to include some of this vital history.Zweisimmen (talk) 15:46, 2 September 2016 (UTC)

Ethnic and Ethnicity[edit]

While we appreciate that ethnicity is the way in which these are interpreted and understood in eastern europe. Most of this racist dialogue is singularly ill-founded and largely irrelevant to the matter in hand. Certain references to ethnic Germans may conceivably be appropriate, but in the majority of cases the people in question are not ethnic Germans, but Germans i.e. typically people who see themselves as German and choose where appropriate German as their language. Participation in a German church might also be evidence of their German cultural leanings. In the vast majority of cases we have no idea of their ethnicity. They may be of slav decent or from some other combination of ethnic groups or races depending on how those are defined. To illustrate the point, there has been much talk recently in the English press and media about ethnic Russians and ethnic Ukrainians. Irrespective of usage in eastern europe that is nonsense. There is no basis for distinguishing Ukrainians and Russians on the basis of ethnicity. That doesn't mean that there aren't people who regard themselves as Russians and people who regard themselves as Ukrainians and people for whom the distinction is otiose. Those are cultural choices and inheritances with no physiological basis.

Why does this matter? It matters because similar nonsense in the Balkans in the late twentieth century gave us the infamous 'ethnic cleansing' under which certain cultural groups particularly Bosnians were persecuted and murdered on the basis of a wholly spurious ethnicity. There is no Bosnain ethnicity or Serbian or Croation. These people are simply slavs who don't like each other. Optymystic (talk) 08:25, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

It is not "racist" to say someone who speaks German, descended from German parents, went to a German-language school, attended a Catholic or Protestant church, lived in a segregated town, is ethnically different than the Russians or Cossacks or whoever that lived around them. Nowadays, many of these people have lost their language and traditions because of the large-scale killing and dispersion that Stalin invoked. Churches were razed or turned into barns, graveyard stones used for sidewalks, etc. So today many of them are no longer ethnically or culturally German, only German by DNA and perhaps family story. Nerfer (talk) 15:55, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
In addition to my post above, I will also add that I do not believe that the 'Russified' nature of ethnic Germans living in Russia today is purely a result of the Stalin-era deportations. In fact, as far back as the 1880s, the Russian Empire began requiring the Russian language to be taught in schools and for ethnic Germans to serve time in the military. And I do not see anything unreasonable about that. Here in the US, we also expect minorities to speak English and to participate in the military (by registering for the draft). I've never seen anything unfair about the Russian Empire having expected the same of my people. GfR-2016 (talk) 08:12, 5 June 2016 (UTC)

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