Home > Exhibits & Events > Minneapolis 2015
Celebrating 250 Years of
Volga German Heritage

5 December 2015
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Concordia University Bell Tower on the Campus Green
      To celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the founding of the first German colonies along the Volga River in Russia, the Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University is hosting a day-long seminar series in Minneapolis, Minnesota!
      The public is invited to attend.

Early Registration: $40 per person if you register before November 28.
Regular Registration: $50 per person for registration received after November 28 or at the door.

To register & pay by credit/debit card, use the online form.

If you prefer to pay by check, print the Registration Form, and mail it along with your check (instructions are on the form). To qualify for the Early Registration rate, payment must be received by November 28.

If you have questions, please call Tanya at 503.493.6369.

[Note: There is no discount for partial attendance of this event. Notice of cancellation before 28 November 2015 will receive a full refund; after 28 November 2015 will receive no refund.]


Minneapolis Central Library
Minneapolis Central Library
Registration and all sessions will be in the Doty Board Room on the 2nd floor of the Minneapolis Central Library.
      300 Nicollet Mall
      Minneapolis, MN 55401

Parking: Parking at the Central Library is located underground. The entrance is on 4th Street. Cost is $5 for the entire day on Saturday. Additional information is available on the Central Library Parking Page.


      Dr. Brent Mai, Director of the Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, will be the primary speaker for the day. He has spoken world-wide on many topics related to Volga German history and culture. Dr. Mai, whose father's side is Volga German, grew up in Western Kansas, graduated from Bethany College in Lindsborg, and continued graduate studies at George Washington University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Vanderbilt University.

      Dr. Mai will be joined in Minneapolis by Sam Brungardt, renowned researcher of Volga German foodways. Sam will talk about how Volga German foodways differ from those of other German settlers in Russia. Sam's roots can be traced to Ellis County, Kansas, where one can still find Volga German food served in local restaurants.

Brent Mai
Brent Mai
Sam Brungardt
Sam Brungardt
Schedule for the Day
9:00 - 9:30 Registration & Visiting
9:30 - 10:30 Session 1: Introduction to the Volga Germans and their Heritage
Everyone starts on a different page when it comes to their knowledge of who the Volga Germans are and how their culture has developed. This session will bring all attendees to the same place in that understanding - and we'll carry on from there.
10:45 - 11:30 Session 2: The Geography of the Volga Germans
The treck of the Volga Germans around the world creates an interesting study in geographic adaptability. We'll study that journey as well as the changing topography of the Volga Region itself.
11:30 - 12:15 Session 3: Volga German Foodways
Keeping up food customs is one of the most powerful ways to maintain one's culture. We all have our favorite daily and holiday recipes our ancestors brought with them from Russia. Sam Brungardt, noted researcher of Volga German foodways, will discuss several Volga German traditional dishes and how they differ from those of other Germans who settled in Russia.
12:15 - 1:30 Lunch
Lunch will be on your own. There are dining opportunities at nearby restaurants where you can also meet fellow seminar attendees and share personal stories.
1:30 - 2:15 Session 4: The Volga Germans of South America
Volga German immigration to South American began in 1873. Today, it is estimated that there are 1.5 million Volga German descendants living in Argentina and another 400,000 in Brazil. During this session, we'll explore the settlements there and see how Volga German culture continues to flourish south of the equator.
2:15 - 3:00 Session 5: A Day-in-the-Life of the Volga Germans
What was it like to live in the Volga German colonies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries? How did daily life change over time? In this session, we'll explore what daily colony life was like for your ancestors.
3:15 - 4:00 Session 6: The Deportation of the Volga Germans in 1941
Shortly after Hitler invaded Russia in 1941, Stalin had all the Volga Germans deported to Siberia. We'll take a first hand look at how the 177-year-long geographic history of the Volga Germans came so abruptly to an end in September 1941.
4:00 - 4:30 Session 7: The Volga Germans Today
In the final session of the day, we'll take a look at today's descendants of the Volga Germans. How many are there? Where are they? How did they get there? Is there still evidence of Volga German culture out there today? These and other questions will be discussed as we bring the contemporary history of Volga Germans to life.
Hotels near the Event Site
Hotel Minneapolis
215 Fourth St. South
Telephone: 612.340.2000

Westin Minneapolis
88 South 6th St.
Telephone: 612.333.4006

Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot
225 South 3rd Ave.
Telephone: 612.375.1700

Loews Minneapolis
601 1st Ave. North
Telephone: 612.677.1100

Last updated 19 November 2015.