Oral History of Topeka's Germans from Russia

View all events in: December 2017 | Northeast

December 9, 2017

From 1870s until 1914, thousands of settlers came to Kansas from the Russian Empire. They brought their unique low German language, their strong Catholic, Lutheran or Mennonite religious beliefs, and red Russian winter wheat to plant in Kansas. They traveled to Topeka and wintered over before moving to Western and South-East Kansas to build villages and to farm. Some of them, however, stayed in Topeka. Topeka Santa-Fe Railroad and sugar beet fields in surrounding areas provided job security for the settlers. Germans from Russia in Topeka settled in the Little Russia, the Bottoms, and, finally, the Oakland communities. There are close to 1800 Germans from Russia in Topeka's today.

While the stories of Western Kansas' Germans from Russia have been recorded in oral history projects, the oral history of Topeka Germans from Russia have never been documented. It is time these stories become available to the public. We are looking forward to adding these invaluable accounts to the history of Topeka and the state of Kansas.

The oral history project will include interviews with 15 first-generation members of the Topeka's Northeast Kansas Chapter #14 American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (AHSGR).

Northeast KS Topeka Chapter #14 AHSGR
714 NE Wabash Ave
Topeka, KS 66616-1442
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Sponsored by: Northeast KS Topeka Chapter #14 AHSGR

For more information about this event, please contact:
Vera Kononova Brown
(804) 955-9557