Join us in Sunny Arizona to celebrate our heritage and learn more about Germans from Russia history. All winter visitors are welcome to attend. Our next gathering will be in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for the convention August 7 to 9. We’ll gather for our chapter picture during that time. Stay tuned for more details. We’ll reconvene in Arizona next fall.

Celebrating 46 years of heritage!

  • President- Wayne Garman
  • Treasurer, Membership – Gwen Miller
  • Historian/Archivist – Anna Dalhaimer Bartkowski
  • Rodney Jerger

Previous Meetings:

April Meeting

We had a fantastic meeting on Sunday, April 7 at 2 p.m., at the Tempe Library, 3500 S Rural Rd, Tempe, AZ 85282.

Ludwig “Louis” Schaff, presented his life story as he told to his granddaughter Jillian Fortin. Jillian assembled his memories in the bookThe Story of Ludwig Schaaf.” Louis shared  the details of his life in Russia, and his subsequent move to Canada. Special thanks to Arizona Sun Chapter President Wayne Garman who hosted the conversation and created a PowerPoint to tell Louis’s story.

Ludwig Schaaf was born in 1931 to a German farming family in a small village in what is now southern Ukraine. When the Bolsheviks invaded, it was his responsibility as a young child to lead his family out of the war to safety. They fled from Ukraine to Poland, then to Germany, and finally to Canada. Hearing first hand of his survival through Stalin’s reign, his escape from the Russian army, his work ethic from age 7, and how he saved money from logging in Ontario to bring his family to Canada, demonstrated his motto, “You can have anything you want in life if you want it bad enough.” Here are links to his book and his talk at the University of Alberta.



February Meeting

On Sunday, February 4 at 2 p.m. we met at the main Glendale Library 5959 W. Brown Street, Glendale, Arizona.

Charles Weisser  presented “Gottlieb Weisser, German-Russian Pioneer Settler on the Prairie.”  Charles portrayed his great grandfather, Gottlieb Weisser, to share the story of the Germanic people who left their homeland and settled in the Volga and Black Sea areas. Charles vividly recalled a typical day in the life of a Black Sea colonist.  Over time, the settlers lose some of the rights they were granted, and so they emigrated to America.  Charles informed us how Gottlieb’s family and relatives homesteaded property in Dakota territory before the Dakotas became states.  He detailed the hardships and lifestyle of the early settlers.

Ron Erbes shared a narrative of his background including a family tree going back to his ancestors’ arrival in the Volga region of Russia.

December Meeting

We celebrated our Holiday Potluck Social at Apache Villa in Apache Junction. Many thanks to our hostess, Judy Gareis, who welcomed us and created a festive and joyful holiday setting. Guests included Bob Ahlbrandt, AHSGR President, and Gary Fuchs, board member, who were visiting Arizona that day. Lots of good food, good times and great conversations!


November Meeting

Our most recent meeting of the Arizona Sun Chapter of Germans from Russia was on Saturday, November 11, 2023, at 2:00 PM.

We met in the Quail Room at the Foothills Library, 19055 N 57th Avenue, Glendale AZ 85308 at 2:00 PM.

Our guest speakers were Carolyn Schott, Sandy Schilling Payne, David Kilwien, Gayla Ohlhauser Aspenleiter, and Rich Aspenleiter. They are among the volunteers who support the Black Sea German Research on the website Their bios can be found on the website which list their interests and where their ancestors lived in the Black Sea area. Thanks so much for joining us!


Rich Aspenleiter, Gayla Aspenleiters, David Kilwein, Carolyn Schott, and Sandy Schilling Payne


March Meeting

The Arizona Sun Chapter met at the Sunset Library where Sandy Schilling Payne shared her “Time Travel Using Historical Maps” presentation. Her website, Germans from Russia Settlement Locations, shows the German settlements in the Imperial Russian and Austria-Hungary empires that began in the 1700s and continued into the early 20th century just prior to WWII.

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