Dakota Germans from Russia

This course, organized by the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries, treats the ethnic German settlers who emigrated from Russia to the northern plains and who eventually came to call themselves, in a self-conscious expression of cultural identity, the "Germans from Russia." The course deals with their origins and migrations; their ways of life and customs; and their cultural memory and ethnic identity.

Instructor's Essay

Enrollment Options

HIST/EDUC 600 (3 hours professional development graduate credit)

Discussions in the course take place via the Facebook group established for the course, Heimat.

Program of Study

1. Origins & Migrations

2. Life & Customs

3. Memory & Identity

4. Research & Teaching


Andrew & Magdalena (Lippert) Janke on their wedding day, circa 1919


St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, Zeeland

Students view documentary videos, read historical literature, engage in hands-on activities, participate in reflective discussions, and present their work to one another. At the conclusion of this broad-ranging experience, students should be able to respond competently to the following questions.

  1. Who were the Germans from Russia? Where did they come from?
  2. What customs and ways of life distinguish the Germans from Russia?
  3. How do Germans from Russia remember their history? And how does this remembered experience form their ethnic identity?
In addition, students will demonstrate their ability to contribute to knowledge of the Germans from Russia through research or instruction.

Developers of the course are Jessica Clark, Coordinator of the Dakota Memories Oral History Project, PhD candidate in History; and Tom Isern, Professor of History & University Distinguished Professor. The Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, organizing agency for the course, is directed by Michael Miller. Ms. Clark is the instructor of record for the course and is in charge of the administration and delivery of instruction for it.


Michael Miller / Jessica Clark / Tom Isern

Who will benefit from the course? In future "Dakota Germans from Russia" will serve a range of constituencies, from undergraduate to advanced graduate study. Currently the course operates as a teacher workshop carrying three hours of 600-level graduate credit.

Course Bibliography

Reserve Readings

Online Resources

Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, NDSU

Germans from Russia Heritage Society

More links to be added. . . .

Course Flyer (PDF)

Heimat Bundle Offer

Consent Form for Papers & Lesson Plans


German-Russian childhood: Genevieve (Kraft) Petry, Eyvonne (Kraft) Guillen, and Richard Kraft, circa 1937

Germans from Russia Heritage Collection / NDSU History Department