[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Nass and Krebs families

Jerry Frank FranklySpeaking at shaw.ca
Fri Jun 25 19:14:10 PDT 2010

Responding to some of your questions.

1.  The leases were similar to what we know as a 99 year lease but I cannot say if there was a 99 year time frame on it.  And certainly the conditions would have been different.

2.  As a new member you haven't yet seen our 10+ years of Journals which contain articles and stories that will help you understand the conditions in which the Volhynian Germans lived.

3.  One son may have applied pre1900 but I think by this time there was probably general conscription.  Certainly there could have been fear of a recall to service regardless of the reason.  The Russian war with Japan was going on at this time and many Volhynian Germans served there.  Manchuria would be on the route there so it is certainly plausible.  Whether or not he met Americans there - well???  I must say that Iowa is a particularly unusual choice for Volhynian Germans, the majority of whom seem to have settled in the Canadian prairies, SW Michigan, and parts of Wisconsin.

4.  There are numerous stories about leaving and/or escaping from Volhynia.  For many, it was a normal migration experience - by horse and wagon to the nearest rail link, rail to Libau on the Baltic coast, ship to Bremen, Hamburg or other port, ship to England, across England by rail to Liverpool, and then to either Canadian or US ports.  Seems yours may have been a little different, departing from Antwerp.  Others made there way overland to Warsaw and then rail to Hamburg.  Note that even a normal migration might have been handled by an agent.

For others, it was an "escape" but the general routes would have been similar.  It is difficult to determine the veracity of the escape stories.  Some were certainly at least embellished.  Others may have exaggerated the danger they were in.  

Jerry Frank

----- Original Message -----
From: Dana Fossum <dfossum at online.no>
Date: Friday, June 25, 2010 4:08 pm
Subject: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Nass and Krebs families
To: ger-poland-volhynia at eclipse.sggee.org

> Hello everyone,
> I have just joined SGGEE and want to say hello and express my 
> thanks for
> this group. I am the granddaughter of Germans from Volhynia and 
> have many
> questions I hope the members of this group can help me with for 
> I am not
> sure of the facts of the oral history of my family that I grew 
> up with. The
> object of my research is Nass and Krebs families, which are closely
> intertwined by the marriages of three siblings from each family 
> to each
> other. My grandfather Julius Nass and his older brother Adolf were
> supposedly born near Warsaw in 1876 and 1875 although through 
> some detective
> work I have reason to believe it was closer to Gombin (Gumbien?) 
> in Prussia
> as the county clerk in Iowa who took their naturalization application
> recorded their birthplace as "Jomben". In around 1878 they moved 
> to Volhynia
>  where a third son was born in Segental. According to my 
> father who passed
> away 20 years ago the Nasses and Krebs were member of the same 
> (EvangelicalLutheran) "colony that took up a 99-year lease in 
> the brushlands and had to
> built their own roads, churches, schools etc." My first question 
> is whether
> this fits with the facts. If not, how were the settlements 
> organized? Are
> there any books or articles describing the economy and 
> activities of these
> settlements?
> Adolf served in six years in the military, including in 
> Manchuria, where he
> met German-speaking American soldiers who told him he should 
> come to Iowa.
> When he returned from the war, he did just that, emigrating to 
> Whittemore,Iowa in 1906 to a German settlement there. He was 31 
> years old by then. With
> his brother gone, my grandfather Julius Nass "feared being 
> recalled into the
> service. He had an honorable discharge but had not served long 
> enough to get
> a pass to get out of Russia." Another relative has questioned 
> whether my
> grandfather actually did military service as she claims only one 
> son in each
> family had to serve. So my second question is is this true, did 
> only one son
> have to serve? 
> Whatever happened, my grandparents were not free to leave so in 
> the spring
> of 1907 they and a group of other people hired an agent from 
> Zhitomir to
> smuggle them out of the country. According to family legend, 
> they walked
> overland, hiding in haystacks along the way to avoid detection. 
> Eventually,they reached Antwerp, where they boarded a ship bound 
> for Canada and then
> traveled by train to Iowa, joining Adolf in June of that year. 
> On the
> practical side, however, I wonder how such a group which 
> included very small
> children and my very pregnant grandmother could have hauled a 
> rather large
> steamer trunk with them filled with their feather ticks and 
> provisions and
> still avoid detection. (A cousin still has the trunk and a 
> tick.) Do any
> other members of the group have similar escape stories? What 
> would have been
> the most likely route out of that part of Volhynia near Nowograd-
> Wolynsk? 
> I have found other members of these families who are listed in 
> the EWZ files
> and hope to mine these files for further information. Are there 
> any SGGEE
> members in the D.C. area who do this type of work and what do 
> they typically
> charge?
> Thank you,
> Dana Naas Fossum

More information about the Ger-Poland-Volhynia mailing list