Saturday, February 15, 2014

How do Origins in Russia define us? Colonia Baron and San Jose, La Pampa, Argentina

San Jose Church
As many of you know, I visited Argentina last November.  When we traveled to the German from Russia villages in La Pampa, Dr. Elio Krank and his lovely wife, Roxana Appelhanz, were our hosts and guides.  They shared their heritage and opened their home in Colonia Baron to us. Dr. Krank spoke German and Spanish, and Roxana spoke both of those languages plus English. Needless to say, if you have heard my sporadic German or Spanish, despite all of my pre-planning with Pimsleur language program, I was grateful for their patience and understanding of my poor attempts at Spanish. 

La Pampa was settled by many Black Sea and Volga Germans from Russia. Part of every research trip includes a visit to the local cemetery.  One of my favorites was the cemetery at San Jose.
San Jose Cemetery
As a life member of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia and the German Russian Heritage society, I understand the differences between Black Sea and Volga. Depending on perspective,  there can be some major gulfs and some true bonding between these groups who immigrated to Russia. The Volga Germans responded to Catherine the Great’s Manifesto II over 250 years ago.  The Black Sea Germans responded to Alexander II re-issue of the manifesto in 1803. That is the first difference but not the last.

When I entered the cemetery, Dr. Krank explained that the Volga Germans were buried on the left and the Black Sea settlers were buried on the right.  I am familiar with Catholics and  Lutherans being buried in separate cemeteries.  It was a first for me to see one cemetery with a walkway down the center, and family lots split by origin in Russia.

Volga Germans buried on the left, Black sea Germans on the right.

Head stone for Cristina Hollmann geb. Sauer   Gebohren in Jahr 1879 bei vollmer, Russland

While I learned much during my time with the Kranks, I look forward to reading Dr. Krank's book Colonia San José, El Atrio del Paraíso. Written in Spanish, it is my next step to working toward fluency in the language. Estudio mucho, pero apendir un poco. Maybe I can change that.

1 comment:

Frank said...

It's interesting how the Catholic and Protestant divisions in Argentina were only split by the walkway in between the two sides while still maintaining the common Russian origin. In France they were separated by different cemeteries, and still are in certain areas.