[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] germans from russia from ukraine and so on

Celtic Mythos celticmythos at yahoo.com
Fri Feb 11 01:29:42 PST 2011

My father's parents were both German and spoke German as a first language, and I 
never heard a word about Russia, until after they died.  I was getting a 
security clearance and it was being held up because my grandfather was Russian. 
Excuse me??? Russian??? I t was only when I started asking my dad and aunts 
about this that I found that my grandfather had been born in Russia. It was only 
in the last 2 years when I started doing genealogy that I found that my 
grandfather was from Volhynia and my grandmother's parents were from Neu 
Freundental. I wasn't close to them growing up, and in hindsight I wish I had 
known more about them. My grandfather and his mother and 4 siblings left Russia 
in 1906 (found them on ship's records). I would love to know how they got across 
Russia, and on a boat in Germany, and how my greatgrandmother  got the $1000 she 
is shown having with her when she came to the US.


From: Dave Obee <daveobee at shaw.ca>
To: ger-poland-volhynia at eclipse.sggee.org
Sent: Thu, February 10, 2011 11:48:50 PM
Subject: [Ger-Poland-Volhynia] germans from russia from ukraine and so on

Interesting discussion on how to refer to Volhynians, although I think it is 
important that we don't get too bogged down in too much detail on the basic 

The ethnic Germans living in Volhynia can be called Germans from Russia, or 
Russian Germans, or German Russians, and so on. I also agree with Jerry Frank 
when he says that context is important. To that end, when we talk about 
Volhynian ancestry, we should note that about 98 per cent of the old Volhynia 
gubernia is in present-day Ukraine. The German families in Volhynia were German 
Russians, living in what is now Ukraine. Simple. 

Beyond that, I think there are some other generalizations that should be 
avoided. It cannot be said that Poland or Ukraine did not exist in the 19th 
century; they did. They came under the Russian Empire, and were not independent 
countries as they are today, but there can be no doubt that they existed.

In the same way, when I visited the Soviet Union in 1985, well before Ukraine 
became independent, Kiev (now Kyiv) was the capital of Ukraine, as it is now -- 
although now, Ukraine is a country on its own. I have been to Volhynia a 
half-dozen times since independence, and every time, it's been in Ukraine. It 
would be wrong to talk about Volhynia without telling people where it is. 
Context matters.

Also, the statement that Volhynians were Polish citizens between the wars is not 
correct. Western Volhynia came under Poland, eastern Volhynia came under the 
Soviet Union.

Dave Obee

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