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Notes



The Germans from Russia have a compelling history.   

 Catherine the Great of Russia, lured thousands of German people with her Manifesto of 1763, a document that granted freedom of religion, release from all taxes for 30 years, and assurance that they would not have to serve in the Russian military for 100 years.  An estimated 26,000 German people made their way to the steppes of Russia between the years 1764-1767.  They held to their traditions and beliefs.

 In 1876, Czar Alexander II revoked the exemption from military duty, prompting immigration to the United States, Canada, Argentina, and Brazil.  Those who remained in Russia suffered.  Severe famines struck in the years 1891-92, 1921-22, and in 1931-32.     

 When Hitler invaded Russia in 1941, there were 605,500 ethnic Germans living in the Volga area of Russia.  Stalin proclaimed these people to be enemies of the state; loaded them into cattle cars and shipped them to Siberia and Kazakhstan.  They were sent to the Gulag, work camps.  The Volga colonies disappeared. 

 The Germans from Russia have been subjected to harassment on two fronts since their immigration to the United States.  First, during World War II for being German, the FBI was looking for fascist sympathizers.  Second, during the McCarthy era, for being Russian, anyone suspected of being a member of any socialist type of group was arrested and charged with being a communist.

Since 1990, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, over four million emigrants have been allowed to leave and resettle in Germany.  They are called Aussiedler.  It has been estimated that there are six million descendants in the United States and Canada.