Baltzer, Balzer, Goloi Karamysh, Goly Karamysch, Golyi Karamysh, Golyj Karamysch, Krasnoarmeysk
51º02' N 45º42' E
The colony of Balzer was founded by the Government as a Reformed colony 85 kilometers southwest of Saratov. The first group of settlers arrived on 28 August 1765, and they were followed by two additional families that arrived on 26 November 1765. During the first winter, these forty-nine pioneers lived in dugouts along the banks of the Hüttenteich Creek which runs along the south side of where Balzer eventually was plotted. Along the east side runs the Steinteich Creek.
The original settlers were joined on 28 March 1766 by another twenty-two families with others following on April 26th, June 18th, July 1st, and Auguts 18th. These families came from the Palatinate, Isenburg, Hessen-Darmstadt, and Baden-Baden. The colony was named after Balzer Barthuly who served as its first Vorsteher (mayor).
The first school house stood on main street in the "Unterdorf" section of the colony. A second school was built in 1846 near the church. A new two-story school building was constructed in 1898. A Russian school was built in the colony in 1882.
Today the former colony of Balzer is called Krasnoarmeysk.
The congregation in Balzer was originally part of the Reformed parish headquartered in Messer where the pastor resided. In 1856, Balzer became an independent parish serving the colonies of Balzer and Anton, with the pastor living in Balzer.
The first church structure was built of logs in 1777. A new building, also made of logs, was contructed in 1821. The final church, constructed of brick covered with plaster, was built in Balzer from 1848-1851. The bell tower housed three bells, typical of other bell towers among the Volga German colonies.
On Christmas Day, 1935, the last service was held in this church. It was conducted by Elder Köhler. In March of 1936, the bell tower was torn down and the alter and pulpit removed from the building.
The congregation in Balzer was served by the following pastors:
**Of whom 9,414 were German.
***Of whom 11,556 were German.
****Of whom 14,926 were German.
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- Pleve, Igor R. The German Colonies on the Volga: The Second Half of the Eighteenth Century, translated by Richard Rye (Lincoln, NE: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 2001): 319.
- Schnurr, Joseph, Die Kirchen und das Religiöse Leben der Russlanddeutschen - Evangelischer Teil (Stuttgart: Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland, 1972): 346.
- "Settlements in the 1897 Census." Journal of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (Winter, 1990): 18.
- Stumpp, Karl, The Emigration from Germany to Russia in the Years 1763 to 1862. Lincoln, NE: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1973.
- Volz, Jacob. Historical Review of the Balzerer. Lincoln, NE: Jubilee Committee, 1938.
Last updated 6 April 2013.