[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Nass and Krebs families

Dana Fossum dfossum at online.no
Sun Jun 27 14:26:34 PDT 2010

Many thanks to all. This gets better by the minute. Six months ago I had
never heard of Volhynia. My dad always talked about Zhitomir and the family
obituaries referred to "Wolingen", which I guess is an approximation of
Volhynia or Nowograd-Wolynsk. Last year, my Aunt Pauline, the last of the
Julius Nass family, died at age 94. After she passed away her daughter, my
first cousin, went through her papers about the Naas and Krebs families,
made copies and sent them to me. She also put me in contact with the
granddaughter of Adolf Nass, who turned out to be very interested in
genealogy and has provided valuable information about that family and
Adolf’s reasons for emigrating to America. In the late 80s I also
interviewed my father at length and wrote down everything he said. I am now
trying to piece all this information into a coherent and historically
correct family history. 
Here is the explanation of the close ties between the Nass and Krebs
Nass family
Gottlieb and Marie (von Wiesse) Nass, born? Married in 1872 in Gombin,
Poland. Migrated to Volhynia c. 1878. Gottlieb died around 1898 and Marie
was deported to Siberia and died en route (in 1915 I’m guessing).
1. Albertina “Bertha”, born 1873 in Gombin, Poland. Unmarried.
2. Adolf, born January 1, 1875 in Gombin, Poland, m. 1 to Rosalia Fritz (she
died before their daughter Emelia was 1 year old) in approximately 1893, m.
2 to Augusta Krebs in Iowa. Entered the Russian Army in 1892 when he was 17.
Was sent to Manchuria and served during the Boxer Rebellion in 1898-1901 and
possibly the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-05. He made wheels for canon and was
a drummer. Was camped by American soldiers (this would have had to be during
the Boxer Rebellion), one of whom told him about Iowa. After he came back
from the war he made plans to leave, leaving his daughter with his mother.
Left Volhynia under the last name of a friend (Dietrich) in 1906, boarding
the S.S. Pretoria in Hamburg, Germany under his real name, arriving at Ellis
Island. Left from there for Whittemore, Iowa, where he joined a friend,
August Dietrich from Volhynia and began working for area farmers. Sent money
to his brother Julius so they could leave too and bring Emelia over with
3. Julius, born June 15,1876, in Gombin, Poland, m. to Mathilda Krebs on
February 16, 1900 by the Rev. Johann Theodor Ernst Barth in his parsonage in
Segenstal. Made caskets in Volhynia. Feared being recalled into the Army and
left Volhynia with wife Mathilda (Krebs), son Gottlieb, sister-in-law
Augusta Krebs, and niece Emelia Nass in the spring of 1907. Hired an agent
from Zhitomir to guide them safely to the border, walking overland by night,
“hiding in haystacks and swamps by day to avoid detection”. Eventually made
their way to Belgium, where they boarded the “Mount Temple,” a passenger
ship operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway Co., in Antwerp on May 22,
1907 and arrived in Quebec, Canada on June 2, 1907. Ship manifest
incorrectly lists them as Mass instead of Nass. Traveled by train from there
to join Adolf in Whittemore. 
4. August, born August 17, 1878 in Segenstal
5.Daniel, born?
6. Henry, born?
7. Pauline, born 27 June 1885 in Schireschowka, Nowograd Wolynsk, m. to
Gottlieb Krebs. They are in the EWZ files.
8? Other possible sibling: Rosalie? Not sure if she exists or she got mixed
up with Adolf's first wife.
Krebs family
Wilhelm and Emilie (Schmidt) Krebs, born  in ? , married 30 May 1880 in
Zhitomir Parish. 
1. Gottlieb, born August 16, 1881 in Zhitomir Parish, m. to Pauline Nass.
They are in the EWZ files.
2. Mathilda (Matilda), born August 3, 1883 in Neu Schadkowsky in
Nowograd-Wolynsk parish. The entry has a question mark by the name of the
village (which is not listed on the Stumpp map), m. to Julius Nass
3. Augusta, born September 16, 1885, m. to Adolf Nass
4, 5 & 6?. Other possible siblings: Nathalia, Berthe and Regina
Our family has two versions of what happened to Wilhelm and Emilie. One is
that Emilie died and Wilhelm remarried and had another daughter, who died,
and the other is that Emilie and Wilhelm were deported to Siberia and died
en route.
After WWII Adolf and Julius Nass helped bring over a displaced relative
named Irma Laska and her (adopted?) son Valentin Laska. With everyone gone,
we do not know if she is a Nass or Krebs (or both). Her husband and two sons
had disappeared or died during the war. She worked in Iowa for a while and
then went to St. Catherine, Ontario, Canada to marry a German named Ossaf
Netz. The last communication from her to the family was a Christmas postcard
from St. Boniface many years ago. We are interested in finding her obituary
or other information. Irma Laska is in the EWZ files. 
Comments of a more general nature.
RE: Adolf Nass’s motivation for emigrating to Iowa according to his
“Grandpa's desire to go to America was because Adolph met an American
soldier in China.  They were camped next to the Americans, and this man
could speak German so they would get together over the campfire at night,
and he told him all about farming in America, and in particular Iowa.  He
always said someone told him about Whittemore, so maybe it was this soldier.
Grandpa saw that if a horse was shot out from under the Americans, they just
left the saddle and equipment on the horse.  The Russian soldiers had to
carry it back, no matter how many miles away they were.  He said that
America had to be the richest country on earth to be able to just leave all
of that on the horses, and he was determined to go there.  So I am sure when
he got out and was able to go home, he probably talked about it a lot.  He
went into the army at age 17, in 1892.  He was not allowed to leave Russia
and did not have a pass.  If you ever served in the Army, you could never
leave.  He left under Mrs. Adolph Dietrich's brother's name, but I don't
know what that name was.  They later also lived in Whittemore, and it was a
standing joke to call each other brother and sister whenever they would meet
 After he got out of Russia, he used his own name, and Aunt Emelia said he
earned part of his passage as an interpreter.  He could speak Russian,
German, Polish, Slav and probably some other dialects he learned in the army
after going to so many different places.  We feel that he was in the Boxer
Rebellion, because there were about 8 countries in that, and they were in
China, and so was America.  I thought of the Russo-Japanese War, but that
was in 1905 and 1906, and he left in 1906.  My aunts thought he served about
7 years, but if he was in China in 1900, that would have been 8 years. 

“I did find a couple of web sites that talked about how they had to serve in
the Russia army in approximately 1892.  It said that only one son of a
family would serve at the same time.  The only way that it  would be
possible for two sons is if they needed far more recruits than they had. 
Service was actually compulsory for all, but since they didn't need that
many soldiers they only drafted about 30% of the men.  The time in the
service changed over the years.  At one time it was required they serve 10
years.  Later it was 6 years, and 9 to 16 years of reserve.  So if he got
out in about 1900 or later, he wouldn't have been able to leave because he
was technically still in the service in the reserve. Other papers of grandpa
s said he was going to August Dietrich's in Whittemore to work for Reding
Bros.  Aunt Emelia said that he had a very hard time when he got out of the
Army and came home.  Mostly because all he had been exposed to for all those
years was corporal punishment and violence in the army, which they all had
to have in order to survive.  He didn't want to be like that when he got
home, so it took some work for him to change.  He hated the life he had in
the army, but still found all the different places and people exciting.  She
said he was a drummer in the army, and later used drums at church in Russia
RE: Life in Russia as remembered by Emelia Nass (age 12 when she left
Russia), daughter of Adolf Nass, and recorded by his granddaughter: 
“Emelia said their life was hard, and that they were discriminated against
by the Russian people.  She said the Russians got to live in the towns, and
the Germans had to live on the farms.  Their house was one long room, with
the animals in one end, and the people in the other.  She never said
anything about them renting land from their Church, or owning property.  She
did tell me that later, they were forced to go to the Russian Orthodox
church.  I wonder if she got that mixed up, but her mind was so clear on all
of that.  When I looked up other sites, it did say they were required to
speak Russian, and  could only use their native tongue for religious
instruction, but later even that was changed, and Russian was all they could
speak.  They were trying to eliminate anything Polish, and since they had
come from that area, it was hard on them.  She was sure their jobs were
picked for them.  She said her Uncle Julius made caskets, and if he got
behind, then her dad would help.  Adolph's job was that he had to go into
the Army.  Emelia also told me that they carried their shoes as they walked
to Church, to keep them clean and so that they wouldn't wear out so fast.”
RE: The exodus from Volhynia, recounted by Emelia Nass, age 12 at the time
they left in 1907, recorded by a granddaughter of Adolf Nass.
“Aunt Emelia remembered walking all night to the border, and that they had
to pay to leave. She said they walked through a forest, and then when they
got to the border they were moved in groups of three or so. There must have
been several people leaving. She said they then stayed in houses with
different people, she remembered taking a train ride, and going to a town in
Belgium, which must have been Antwerp where they sailed from. When they got
to Canada, they stayed in rooming houses. She said people were fascinated by
the feather bedding. Uncle Julius would go and buy hot water, but they had
their own tea. Some people made fun of them because they used their own tea.
She remembered people patting her on the head. She remembers that they ran
out of money.”
Dana Naas Fossum
Nass spelling was changed to Naas after the war.
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