Home > Exhibits & Events > Hays 2016
A 250th Anniversary

Hays, Kansas
Saturday, 4 June 2016

Concordia University Bell Tower on the Campus Green
Herzog Church
Herzog Catholic Church

      In 1766, there were nine Roman Catholic colonies founded along the Volga River in Russia: Degott (July 18), Graf (June 10), Herzog (July 14), Katharinenstadt (June 27), Louis (June 14), Mariental (June 16), Rohleder (June 14), Schuck (July 18), and Volmer (July 18).

      To celebrate the 250th Anniversary of their founding, the Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University is hosting a seminar series and authentic Volga German lunch in Hays, Kansas, on Saturday, 4 June 2016.

      The public is invited to attend.


Because food is being served, please register by May 27.
      $30 per person (by May 27)
      $40 per person (after May 27)

Registration includes banquet luncheon and all sessions.

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 so that it arrives by May 27.

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 27 May 2016 will receive a full refund; after 27 May 2016 will receive no refund.]


Hays, Kansas
Hays, Kansas
      Registration, lunch, and all sessions will be at the Hays Senior Center.
            2350 E. 8th St.
            Hays, Kansas

Parking: Free onsite parking.


      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
8:30 - 9:00 Registration & Visiting
9:00 - 9:45 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 they came to be in Russia. This session will bring all attendees to the same place in that understanding - and we'll carry on from there.
10:00 - 10:45 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.
11:00 - Noon Session 3: A 250th Anniversary Celebration
We'll take a look at the history of the nine Roman Catholic colonies that were founded in 1766 along the Volga River, their inhabitants, and their descendants.
Noon - 1:30 Lunch
Anniversary Luncheon will feature Bierocks, Galushkies, beans and noodles, potatoes and dumplings, and green bean dumpling soup, coffee/tea/water, and dessert.
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.
2:30 - 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.
Hotel Accommodations

There are many hotels in Hays. Here is the contact information for several of them:

Baymont Inn & Suites
3801 N. Vine St.
Hays, Kansas

Best Western Butterfield Inn
1010 E. 41st St.
Hays, Kansas

Fairfield Inn
377 Mopar Dr.
Hays, Kansas

Hampton Inn
4002 General Hays Rd.
Hays, Kansas

Holiday Inn Express
4650 Roth Ave.
Hays, Kansas

Sponsorship Opportunities

There are several opportunities to have your family, company, or organization recognized during the conference. For details, contact Tanya Bushnell (email: tbushnell@cu-portland.edu; phone: 503.493.6369).
Last updated 19 November 2015.