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

21 November 2015
Fresno, California

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 seminar series in Fresno, California!
      The public is invited to attend.

Early Registration: $40 per person if you register before November 14.
Regular Registration: $50 per person for registration received after November 14 or at the door.

To register & pay by credit card, call Tanya at 503.493.6369.
If you prefer to pay by check, print the Registration Form, and mail it along with your check. To qualify for the Early Registration rate, payment must be received by November 14.


Piccadilly Inn Shaw - Fresno
Piccadilly Inn Shaw - Fresno
Registration and all sessions will be at the Piccadilly Inn Shaw.
      2305 W. Shaw Avenue
      Fresno, CA 93711

Parking: Plenty of parking in the hotel lot (free of charge).


      Dr. Brent Mai, Director of the Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, will be the 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.
Brent Mai
Brent Mai
Schedule for the Day
8:30 - 9:00 Registration & Visiting
9:00 - 10:00 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.
10:15 - 11:00 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.
11:15 - Noon Session 3: 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.
Noon - 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: Genealogy Resources for the Volga Germans
In this session, you'll get an overview of the basic genealogical resources for Volga German researchers and how they work together to build the skeleton of your family's history.
2:30 - 3:15 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.
3:30 - 4:30 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.
4:45 - 5:30 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
Piccadilly Inn Shaw
2305 W. Shaw Ave.
Telephone: 559.348.5520
To receive a 20% discount on your room rate at the Piccadilly Inn, call the hotel and ask for the "Function Rate".

Best Western Plus
4800 E. Shaw Ave.
Telephone: 559.229.5811

Marriott Courtyard
140 E. Shaw Ave.
Telephone: 559.221.6000

Garden Inn & Suites
4949 N. Forestiere Ave.
Telephone: 559.277.3888

Last updated 15 October 2015.