“Alive ancestorsThe history of the Russian-Germans, retold by the example of the family Walther ”
The family history is not only told here, but also the history of the Russian-Germans, which from the beginning of their emigration to Russia up to the present time. Also, German and Russian history had to be incorporated, but always regarding the history of the Russian-Germans. Special attention of the author is focused on the first settlement in the black sea area and especially the settlement area at the Molotschna River in the years from 1804 to 1818. Here, the first settler of the Walter family, Jakob Walther, was elected to the first Gebietsoberschulz (district chief) and about his activities, which could be found in the archives of the Ukraine and in St. Petersburg very interesting documents, which bear more light to the daily life and the difficulties of the colonists in the fight with the harshness of nature and the basic survival in the beginnings. About this first time of the settlement, little was to be found in the Russian-German literature. On nearly 400 pages, with nearly 100 maps and photos, the historically interested Russian-German reader and interested in history will not only find well-known historical facts, but also find plenty of historical information, which were falsely taught or even kept back in former times by the Soviet regime.
Additionally, the reader experiences on the basis of the adventurous escape (1920) of the authors father Jakob Walter and his progress in Germany concerning new matters about the German history of the pre and post period of the Second World War, which are woven into the text. The book is written not only for the current generation of the evacuees, but also in particular for their descendants, who should experience that at least once from where their ancestors came home and about their pioneer work.
Epilogue of my book.
I want to put more importance to the hopes that it will be read and also be followed!
Today, 13 August 2004, exactly 240 years after the first immigration of German colonists in Russia, invited by Katharina II, exactly 200 years after the large immigration in South Russia, invited by Alexander I, 130 years after the abolition of the privileges of the German colonists, 90 years after the beginning of the First World War 1914, 65 years after beginning of World War 2 in 1939, 60 years after the feedback of the German population in the Ukraine into the realm, 60 years after the total loss of our house by allied bombs 1944, 55 years after the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany 1949, at the anniversary of the building of the wall on 13, August 1963, 15 years after the fall of Soviet power and the wall and the reunification of the two parts of Germany 1989 I could finish the work on this book and give it to the press.
The work on this book took eight years (much of the time was just waiting to be published: access to documents and information about our ancestors). Unfortunately, this took two times because the first Jakob Walter from Groetzingen was the wrong ancestor. Eventually, I found and the correct Michael Walter from Essingen, which took nearly three years to get. But I did this work with joy and enthusiasm. Today, when I think about each and every document that arrived from the Ukraine , it is like music to my ears.
But while writing this text, I was sometimes close to tears because of the unfairness, which occurred in history. With the study of the many historical books, I met nearly only wars with its many battles and the bitter hardships they brought everywhere to the population where they occurred.
Sorry that I have to report only bad things with the topic I selected. The worst apart from the wars is the cruelty of humans among themselves and which found its absolute high point in Russia being under the rule of bolshevism with many millions senselessly murdered as well as in Germany with millions of murdered people, predominantly Jews.
One should think mankind would have learned from this horrific time in history and change, but actually, on the contrary. I remind. myself at recent times in history like Serbia , Rwanda , Chechnya , the powder barrel in the Near East and in the present day Sudan and elsewhere on this earth where humans are driven out and killed.
For this reason, I understand this book as a reminder, particularly, to the coming generations, not only in the family, but to all, who read this book and give them the advice: Do not follow the whispers of people and demagogues like Lenin or Hitler, also not of other ringleaders- neither from the right nor from the left and from equal other couleur.
Learn the lesson from today's Europe , in which all former enemies and arch enemies have found themselves together to a community, which is singular in the world and in history.
Following up the historical process of the development from Czardom to the Soviet system and its barbarity, I did not want to produce any new resentment against today's Russia ; on the contrary, it is agreeable and historically important how Russia and Germany face each other today in friendship.
If I could visit the earth in one hundred years again, then I hope to find a better world than today.
A small selection of approving letters as references:
… “Your book leads me back into the past, into the emigration of our ancestors to Russia . Thick praise is entitled to you for it. Connected with much projecting ability, you worked through diligence and patience. You inform your readers how real it was at that time. Why did our ancestors leave their homeland? Sometimes I condemn my ancestors and therefore had the opinion that they left their descendants misery and forced emergency only. By your book, I won the necessary realization. They wanted to survive looking for a better life. I hope that your book finds its way and above all, that it may reach the youth.
Nelly Daes, the well-known Russian-German authoress and honour culture winner 1996 of the homeland association of the Germans from Russia *
“I find it very good that you show the historical events parallel to the chronological description of the family tree of the Walther family (emigration from Germany, their further fate in Russia, return to the historical homeland) also still both in Germany as well as in Russia. This forms evenly the background for the content of your book. Although a large amount was written about this emmigration, I am not at all sure that the average citizen is so well knowledgeable about it. Thus , the book should come as fast as possible to the reader. Moreover, it is written by a non-Russian-German author, who is actively devoted to researching the past of the Russian – Germans. In addition, this book has still a large historical value based on the detailed information uncovering it as the “long passeè” (A lost „paradise.)
Dr. Viktor Heinz, Goettingen, honour culture winner of the homeland association of the Germans from Russia 2002.*
Gerhard Walter took eight years to investigate the archives in the Ukraine and in Germany. With the book, he would like to also clear up many issues and facts because a great many of the evacuees know little of the past of their families or not at all. So, the example of the family Walter is to represent the fste of many hundreds of thousands of German families, which in something similar, if not in identical courses . “
Nina Paulsen , „WaV“ booklet 3/05.*
„In any case, your book pleased me very much. I read in it some things about the life in the colonies, which I did not know about before. One observance is that you put a lot of effort and time into your research and the linguistics is also a success as well. Again, thank you very much for it. “
Dr. Irene Troester, SWR southwest broadcast Stuttgart*
… This book is an absolute success and I would like to congratulate you on that. This book is not only a family chronicle but it is a historical paper and representation of the political, economic, and social surrounding, which covers over two centuries. The main points in this book are certainly the high-interesting reports which bring descriptive accounts of the struggle of the colonists after the immigration, which brings the reader more near to these events.One can still read over the time of the communist rule and the human suffering from it. The events were so inhuman and cruel, that one really has an awareness and an emotional experience after reading the book .
After reading your book, not only did I gain knowledge regarding the history of Russia, but also enriched.myslf a large piece of history. This book, in my opinion, should be standard information about the Russian-Germans on the shelves of the public libraries.
Werner Hinderer, history teacher, Stuttgart*
“Reading your book was a pleasurable experience. One gets a complete overview of the history of the Russian-Germans. It is also written with much feeling. My mother read it before me and was also very inspired by the book.“
Julia Ihly, Karlsruhe*
„Cordial thanks for your beautiful and valuable book which I read within one week with tension and interest. You write very beautifully and well, one understands everything very clearly. About the emigration of our ancestors to Russia there is so much to read. It is interesting for me, since I knew nothing about it. “
Maria Kahlis, Kanada*
„I read your book with enthusiasm on Mallorca. I had it on the airplane as a carry-on item. It was not easy from the weight of the book. The topic was absolutely superb!! I congratulate you and say: further on! “
Harald Singer, Ludwigsburg*
* With friendly permission of the sender
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