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

12-13 July 2015
Bavarian Inn
Frankenmuth, Michigan

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 conference in Frankenmuth, Michigan! This conference will feature the anniversaries of the colonies of Fischer (on July 25) and Enders, Rosenheim, and Schwed (all on July 27).

The public is invited to attend.

Registration: Cost is $80 per person for the conference which includes all programs over the 2 days along with the banquet on Sunday evening (Monday lunch is on your own).

Pre-registration by 5:00 p.m. on July 1 is required.

Call Tanya Bushnell at 503.493.6369 to pre-register.

Hotel accommodations: Special $99 rate (plus tax) is available at the Bavarian Inn Lodge, 1 Covered Bridge Rd., Frankenmuth, MI 48734. To make a reservation, call 1-855-652-7200 and ask for the Volga German rate (Group Code 1244TP).

Sunday, 12 July 2015
Bavarian Inn & Lodge
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Registration & Welcome Reception
Renew acquaintances and make new friends over a drink of your choice and snacks.
2:00 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. - Introduction to the Volga Germans
Speaker: Dr. Brent Mai, Beaverton, Oregon
Who are the Volga Germans? Where did they come from? Why did they go to Russia? Dr. Mai will lead an investigation of these topics and answer questions about all things Volga German!
Brent Mai
Brent Mai
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. - 250th Anniversary Celebrations
Speaker: Dr. Brent Mai, Beaverton, Oregon
There were 106 German colonies founded along the Volga River on Russia's barren steppe from 1764 to 1772. During this session, we will examine four of these colonies that are celebrating a 250th Anniversary in 2015: Fischer (on July 25) and Enders, Rosenheim, and Schwed (all on July 27).
Brent Mai
Brent Mai
4:15 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. - Influence of the Moravians among the Volga Germans
Speaker: Fabian Zubia-Schultheis, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Volga Germans often speak of their Lutheran, Reformed, or Catholic heritage, but there was another group, the Moravians, that was very influential in the faith life of the Volga German colonists. Mr. Zubia-Schultheis will speak about the influence of the Moravian Brotherhood on the Volga German colonies, particularly during the early years.
Fabian Zubia-Schultheis
Fabian Zubia
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - Banquet: Volga Germans of Michigan's Thumb
Speaker: Dr. Brent Mai, Beaverton, Oregon
Following a delicious German dinner, Dr. Mai will take a look at the thousands of Volga Germans who settled in Eastern Michigan. Who are they? Where did they come from? Why did they settle in this area?
Brent Mai
Brent Mai
Monday, 13 July 2015

9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Volga Germans of South America
Presenter: Fabian Zubia-Schultheis.
The passage of the Universal Conscription Law in 1874 revolked the military service exemption that the Volga Germans had enjoyed since they arrived in Russia, and many Volga Germans immediately began looking abroad for another place to live. They sent scouts to both North and South America and suitable locations were found in both. Those who went to Brazil and Argentina have been enjoying life there for more than 135 years. Where did they settle? How has the Volga German culture developed in Latin America? What are they doing today? These are questions that Fabian will explore during this presentation.
Fabian Zubia-Schultheis
Fabian Zubia
10:45 a.m. - Noon - Genealogical Resources for Volga Germans
Presenter: Dr. Brent Mai, Beaverton, Oregon.
Volga German genealogical research used to be an endeavor fraught with stone walls. With the opening of Russian archives to Western researchers following the collapse of the Soviet Union, there are now many more opportunities to discover one's ancestral history. Dr. Mai will explain the current status of research among the archives that house records of interest to Volga German researchers and explore the resources that are currently available.
Brent Mai
Brent Mai
Noon - 2:00 p.m. - Lunch
Lunch is on your own (not included with registration fee). There are two restaurants on the Bavarian Inn property and dozens more accessible via the covered bridge to Main Street.
Frankenmuth Covered Bridge
Frankenmuth Covered Bridge
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - A Volga German Side Trip to Denmark
Presenter: Dr. Brent Mai, Beaverton, Oregon
From 1759-1762, several hundred families from Hessen and the Palatinate accepted an invitation by Danish King Fredrick V to immigrate to an area of Schleswig-Holstein that was then part of Denmark. Many of them became quickly disenchanted with their new location with its poor soil and swamp-like conditions and joined the immigration to Russia beginning in 1764.
Brent Mai
Brent Mai
3:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. - Volga Germans: The Famous & the Infamous
Presenter: Dr. Brent Mai, Beaverton, Oregon
There are a number of notable Volga German descendants around the world. We'll take a look at a few of them as a testimony to the sphere of Volga German influence generated in contemporary society around the world.
Brent Mai
Brent Mai
4:15 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. - The 1941 Deportation of the Volga Germans
Presenter: Dr. Brent Mai, Beaverton, Oregon
On 28 August 1941, a government decree abolished the Autonomous Republic of the Volga Germans and banished the German population of the area to Siberia. Many of our relatives remained in Russia when our ancestors came to North and South America and they were subject to this deportation decree.
Brent Mai
Brent Mai
Last updated 25 June 2015.