AHSGR Book Club is a perfect place for readers who enjoy learning about and sharing our German Russian history, culture, and heritage. We meet quarterly via Zoom to talk about the book we’ve read and to share our insights.
For Members: To rewatch and enjoy the educational materials, Click Here.
Our current selection to be discussed on September 18th at 2:00 PM CDT
From the Steppes to the Prairie
by Kara Louise Hefner
This book contains stories of her Germans from Russia great-grandparents, told in their own words from diaries, interviews, photos, scrapbooks, historical records and family accounts. This book is a companion to Gumma’s Recipe Book: Celebrating Germans from Russia food and memories from the Zahl family.
Our previous book club meetings are posted below. Please join us next time!
The Last Green Valley
The Last Green Valley is a work of historical fiction, inspired by a true story. The Martels are one of many families of German heritage whose ancestors have farmed in Ukraine for more than a century. But after already living under Stalin’s horrifying regime, Emil and Adeline decide they must run in retreat from their land with the wolves they despise to escape the Soviets and go in search of freedom. Caught between two warring forces and overcoming horrific trials to pursue their hope of emigrating to the West, the Martels’ story is a brutal, complex, and ultimately triumphant tale that illuminates the extraordinary power of love, faith, and one family’s incredible will to survive and see their dreams realized.
Timothy J. Kloberdanz’s introduction to the reprint of this once-controversial book enables us to understand better the problems and stress faced by the German-Russian beet workers early in this century. Includes commentary on the social customs, religious faith, work ethics, and harsh life of the German-Russian sugar beet worker.
Then The Rules Changed
Whenever he thought he understood things, they turned completely upside down.
Isaac knows who he is and what he wants. Then the czar changes the rules. Now he must leave everything to emigrate to a country that is nothing like he imagined, face fears of being snatched away, and learn a new way of living and being himself.
In this story that begins in South Russia (Ukraine), author Carolyn Zeisset has crafted a moving tale of one young boy’s journey as a German-from-Russia Mennonite immigrant to the American frontier in the late 1800s.
Cry Out of Russia
The beginning of my story starts with my Great-Great Grandparents from Germany during the 1800’s, and immigrating on foot and by wagon to Russia. The hard working settlers were determined to make this their home. Before long small villages were formed. The unsettled times arrived during Stalin’s reign in WW I, leaving thousand of families hungry and starving.
My childhood memories of fear and poverty in my hometown of Johannestal. Living under the Communist Regime, struggling with the day to day brutality which was bestowed on the German people. Men, women and children being sent off to Siberia to hard labor camps, often never to be seen or heard of ever again. Going through the times of food rations for a whole day of work. During Hitler’s rule, times were starting to look better but before long Germany was in trouble.
We were ordered to pack up our belongings and leave our homes. The villagers traveled the country side on foot, one by one, on the long wagon trail to West Germany. We landed in the small town of Creglingen where we made our new home. World War II was in full swing, where my brother was drafted. In 1945, Germany lost the war. With the war over, we located missing family members, and now I was off to a fresh new beginning on Canadian soil.
In the Far Country
The author is a great grandson of Jacob Schwartz, one of the Swiss Mennonite immigrants to the United States in 1874. Warren’s grandfather, his father and their relatives and friends are the characters in his stories. This book is an episodic history of three generations of Swiss Mennonites who came to America from Volhynia and settled first near Freeman, South Dakota, then later in Montana.
The White Lamb
A fictionalized account of the life of the author’s mother during the troubled early 1900s in Russia and the trying times of pioneer life on the Kansas prairies. In addition to its story, the book provides a wealth of detail about daily life and folk customs among the Germans from Russia in the old country and the New World.