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
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Messer (Volga enclave)
- Other Names & Spellings
- Earliest known year of German habitation
- Year founded
- Settlement Type
- Mennonite, Protestant*
- Current Place Name
- Ust’-Zolikha, Saratov Oblast, Russia
- Current Country
- The Mennonite religion for this colony reported in a crowdsourced survey of descendants of Germans from Russia in 2019. Undocumented elsewhere. 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 April 5, 2017, https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ust'-Zolikha,+Saratov+Oblast,+Russia,+email@example.com,45.5411923,1893m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x0:0x0!2zNTDCsDU4JzMyLjIiTiA0NcKwMzMnMDAuNCJF!3b1!8m2!3d50.9756!4d45.5501!3m4!1s0x41147a1985af40c9:0x107698c9d57990ea!8m2!3d50.9747071!4d45.5500621?hl=en
— Global Gazetteer, Falling Rain Genomics, Inc., accessed April 5, 2017, http://www.fallingrain.com/world/RS/67/UstZolikha.html
— "German-Russian Handbook," Ulrich Mertens (2010), Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC) Publications, https://hdl.handle.net/10365/32028, p. 524
— Survey: Germans from Russia in America, Germans from Russia Settlement Locations, 2019, accessed February 3, 2020, https://america.germansfromrussiasettlementlocations.org/the-survey