Home > Exhibits & Events > Boise 2016
Celebrating 250 Years of
Volga German Heritage

12 March 2016
Boise, Idaho

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 Boise, Idaho!
      The public is invited to attend.

Early Registration: $40 per person if you register before March 1.
Regular Registration: $50 per person for registration received after March 1 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 March 1.

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 1 March 2016 will receive a full refund; after 1 March 2016 will receive no refund.]


Concordia University School of Law
Concordia University School of Law
Registration and all sessions will be at the Concordia School of Law in Boise, Idaho.
      Room 114
      500 West Broad Street
      Boise, ID 83702

Parking: Street parking in the area is free on Saturdays. There is also a lot across the street from the Broad Street entrance.


      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 - 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 their culture has developed. This session will bring all attendees to the same place in that understanding - and we'll carry on from there.
10:00 - 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: 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 begin building your family tree.
Noon - 1:30 Lunch
For those who pre-register, a boxed lunch will be provided. If you have special dietary requirements, please contact Tanya at 503.493.6369. We will attempt to provide a boxed lunch for those registering at the door.
1:30 - 2:15 Session 4: The Deportation of the Volga Germans in 1941
Many Russian officials had long been suspicious about Volga Germans' loyalty to their adopted homeland. Soon after Hitler invaded Russia in 1941, Stalin began plans to have all 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.
2:30 - 3:15 Session 5: Faith Through Architecture
When they left Germany, the Volga Germans were escaping centuries of strife over religious practice. Shortly after arriving on the Russian steppe in 1764, the Volga Germans began a church building campaign that continued until the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917. They constructed some magnificent churches most of which were destroyed or left to decay during the Soviet era. Through photographs that remain of these structures, Dr. Mai will show the craftsmanship of those who built these edifices in an often bleak and hostile environment, craftsmanship that they brought to North America where they continued building churches with gusto.
3:30 - 4:15 Session 6: 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? How did they celebrate religious events and other festivals in the colonies? In this session, we'll explore what daily colony life was like for your ancestors.
4:30 - 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
Courtyard Downtown
222 S. Broadway Ave.
Telephone: 208.331.2700

Hampton Inn & Suites
495 S. Capitol Blvd.
Telephone: 208.311.1900

The Grove Hotel
245 S. Capitol Blvd.
Telephone: 208.333.8000

Cottonwood Suites
3031 W. Main St.
Telephone: 208.344.3521

Last updated 21 December 2015.