North Dakotan German-Russian's impact on WWI

Dr. Gordon Iseminger has studied the German-Russians of North Dakota for more than 20 years.

"I've never really gotten away from being interested in German-Russians. I'm not a German-Russian. But I became one." said Dr. Iseminger, UND History Professor

It all started when he was looking through a 1930's WPA Project.

"I began seeing all of these references to people from German-Russia. And I didn't know who German-Russians were at that time. So I started looking at them and I started gathering this information." said Dr. Iseminger.

His focus has been on the German-Russians of McIntosh County.

"They're one of the two largest ethnic groups in North Dakota and there are -McIntosh County is the one that I'm interested in- had the highest concentration of German-Russians of any county in the state." said Dr. Iseminger.

With a war against Germany, many of the German-Russians were torn between sides.

"We were overly sensitive about loyalty in the first World War, and especially bad for people who were German." said Dr. Iseminger.

He hopes to help people learn about their heritage.

"I wish to find out how they made a living over there. You got to do something, but when I was younger you didn't know any of this stuff what really was going on over there in Russia." said Bert Kuntz, Descendant of Russians.

Dr. Iseminger is passionate about keeping the rich heritage alive.

"Stephanie asked me if I could come out and speak on the German-Russians in World War I, I was more than glad to say I could. So I asked her, how long she wanted me to speak. I said I could talk two days about the German-Russians and you really wouldn't get -wouldn't even get warmed up." said Dr. Iseminger.

At least, with the new World War I exhibit, the memories will stay alive a while longer.

The next World War One talk is scheduled for November twelfth on the changing roles of pilots.


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