AHSGR invites you to search German Russian Villages by Region, Province, Colony Group, Village Coordinator, Village, or Keyword.
German Russian Villages History
On December 4, 1762, Catherine the Great issued a Manifesto inviting Western Europeans to settle in Russia. However, it was her second Manifesto of July 22, 1763, which offered transportation to Russia, religious and political autonomy, and land that incited many Western Europeans, mostly Germans, to migrate to Russia.
The first wave of migration occurred in the Volga River region beginning in 1764. By the late 1760s, some isolated settlements were already founded in South Russia. Hutterites first settled in Russia in 1770 and Mennonites began to settle in Russia by 1789. Settlements in the Bessarabian and Black Sea regions were being established in the early nineteenth century.
German Settlements & Resettlements
In the mid-nineteenth century, the areas of Volhynia, Crimea, and the Caucasus were being settled by Germans. Beginning in the late nineteenth century and continuing into the first decade of the 1900s, settlements were being founded by Germans in Siberia. Russia had a population of approximately 1.8 million Germans at the end of the nineteenth century.
There were about 3,500 German villages in Russia before 1941 when the Soviet authorities issued a decree resulting in a forced evacuation of the villages and resettlement of villagers to Siberia and the Asiatic Republics (Kazakhstan).
Search German Russian Villages
Some villages and regions have more focused research than others – the result of the interest and activity of people working to learn about “their” village or region. AHSGR volunteers serve as Village Coordinators (VCs) to coordinate research for individual villages. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to find and contact a Village Coordinator for help. Look for more available Villages information or items in our Online Store!
Keller (Volga enclave)
- Other Names & Spellings
- Earliest known year of German habitation
- Year founded
- Settlement Type
- Current Place Name
- Defunct. Colony no longer exists.
- Current Country
- Founded on 12 May 1767 as private colony of Le Roy & Pictet. In 1774, the village was destroyed by marauding Kirghizens. When the Volga Mother colonies were founded between 1764 and 1767, they were part of the Astrakhan Governorate. On 25 December 1769, the Saratov Province was created from the Astrakhan Governorate. After that date they were a part of the Saratov Governorate.
— Google Maps, Google, accessed 2 June 2021,
— "German-Russian Handbook," Ulrich Mertens (2010), Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) Publications, https://hdl.handle.net/10365/32028, p. 429