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Dr. Ginny Lewis Presentation at the 49th Annual Germans from Russia Heritage Society International Convention

Posted By: Robert Russell, 06/03/19

Starting July 31st is the 49th Annual Germans from Russia Heritage Society International Convention in Fargo, ND.  Northern State University’s own Dr. Ginny Lewis, professor of German, will be presenting at the conference in Fargo, ND. Her presentation, titled “Letters from Bessarabian Refugees to the Pfitzer Family in Java, South Dakota: Desperation Meets Generosity in Post WWII Germany”, will discuss her work translating 20th century Bessarabian refugee letters. See Dr. Lewis’ statement about her presentation below: “I had the honor of translating some hundred or so letters addressed to members of the Pfitzer family in Java, South Dakota, primarily from the years shortly after World War II. The letters, penned predominantly by Bessarabian refugees who’d lost everything as a result of the political forces that wrenched them from their homeland, paint a vivid picture of the traumas and hardships they experienced as pawns in the devastating rivalry between Nazi Germany and the Soviet empire before and during WWII. My presentation will share historical details of the lives of these Bessarabians whose world was turned upside down by Hitler and Stalin’s politics, and the generous response to their plight as German refugees by relatives, whom they often did not even know, in rural South Dakota. My presentation will include challenges posed by the translation process due to the circumstances surrounding the writers’ difficult lives.”

New Addition: German Mutual Insurance Company Records

Posted By: Robert Russell, 05/20/19

German Mutual Farmers Insurance Company of Bon Homme County was originally founded in 1883 in Dakota Territory, in what is now Scotland, South Dakota. The company’s existence predates the birth of South Dakota by six years. The company is also the oldest business in Scotland and one of the oldest farm mutuals in South Dakota. German Mutual was originally founded by a group of locals of German-Russian descent. All of the policies and minutes were written in German until 1918 when they started to be written in English. Originally, it was mandated that persons must be of German-Russian descent or know someone of German-Russian descent in order to obtain coverage through German Mutual. German Mutual’s primary office is located at 420 Main Street in Scotland. The policies and claims originate from this location. This collection includes meeting minutes, an account ledger, and a short history of the German Mutual Insurance Company. You can view this collection here:

Book Read by Local Author Rebecca Bender

Posted By: Robert Russell, 03/12/19

Please join us Tuesday, March 12th at 7pm for a book read by local author Rebecca Bender, as she gives a reading of her new book, Still, a non-fiction memoir/biography about Russian and Romanian  Jewish homesteaders who settled in the Dakotas in the early 1900s. This event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase and refreshments will be served.

New Addition: Ladies Rose Hill Cemetery Burial Records

Posted By: Robert Russell, 02/27/19

Our archives department has been busy digitizing and uploading more Germans from Russia content to our digital library! One such addition to our collection is the ledger of burial records at Rose Hill Cemetery in Scotland, South Dakota. These records were taken by the Ladies Rose Hill Cemetery Association from 1894 to 1936. The book is organized by first letter of the deceased’s last name, and includes date buried, location of plot, cost of plot, and date of payment. Click here to view the ledger in its entirety.

Grand Opening Thursday, 10/25

Posted By: Robert Russell, 09/29/18

Please join us Thursday, October 25th at 6pm for our opening reception. There will be German-Russian hors d’oeuvres as well as music provided by Dr. Williams Wieland, professor of music at NSU, on the pump organ. This event is free and open to the public.

Audio Exhibit Created for Display

Posted By: Robert Russell, 09/13/18

Submerge yourself in the rich history of South Dakota Germans from Russia with our expansive collection of audio recordings. With iPad stations for convenient listening, you can listen to songs, stories and oral interviews of the past.

New Collections Being Added

Posted By: Robert Russell, 07/19/18

Thanks to the generous donations of our sponsors, our staff has been hard at work unpacking new items. Explore collections from South Dakota and other states such as Minnesota, Colorado, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Montana, Virginia and California. There’s always something new to see.