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A Tale of Two Migrations : the Dependence of the Volga German Refugees of 1917-1923 on the Earlier Volga German Migrations of 1871-1914

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Justmann, Lydia
Turner, Patricia R.; Sanislo, Teresa M.
Jul 20, 2009
Volga Relief Society; Russian Germans--United States--History; Russia--Emigration and immigration--History--19th century; Russia--Emigration and immigration--History--20th century; United States--Emigration and immigration--History--19th century; United States--Emigration and immigration--History--20th century
This paper focuses on the Volga German migrations to the United States, and the degree to which the migration of 1917 to 1923 was dependent upon earlier migrations beginning in 1871. The catalyst for the first major Volga German migration was the repeal of the German colonists' military exemption. This, combined with encouragement from the United States and the Volga Germans who had already relocated, brought a steady stream of immigrants to the U.S. until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. The Volga Germans who remained behind were drafted into brutal warfare, deprived of their livelihoods, and then threatened with starvation and exile. Hearing of their plight, the Volga Germans living in the U.S. formed relief societies which sent thousands of dollars to save their fellow countrymen and assisted them at every stage of their difficult migration during a time of war and civil strife. Transcripts of oral interviews, autobiographies, newspaper articles and Volga Relief Society records are used to support the claim that the migration of Volga Germans following WWI would not have been possible without the assistance of the Volga Germans already residing in the United States.
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