fa-mous adj. 1. having fame, or celebrity; renowned 2. [Colloq.] excellent; first-rate
For the purpose of this list, Webster's definition is used as our guide.
In 1763 The Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great, introduced a manifesto opening her borders to foreign settlers. One result was an influx of emigrants from Germany. For more information on the history of this period please consult the following resources: The Emigration from Germany to Russia, Dr. Karl Stumpp; American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Germans from Russia Heritage Society, or Village Files. Click here for more links, acknowledgments, and a disclaimer. This web-list includes famous Germans born in Russia or famous descendants of Germans from Russia.
FAMOUS GERMANS FROM RUSSIA.............INFAMOUS, TOP, LINKS
Those in entertainment, the arts, sports, etc.....
John Denver, born John Duchendorf, was recently remembered at the AHSGR Convention in Wichita.
Angie Dickinson, born Angeline Brown, is a well known American actress. She has starred in films such as The Maddening, The Suicide's Wife, etc.... Angie has also served as a "Toys For Tots Honorary Chair". Her home town is Kulm, North Dakota.
Steven Dietz is a playwright and director. He grew up in Denver, CO, the son of John and Irene (Lind) Dietz. He has written and directed many plays including "Handing Down the Names" a play about the history of the German Russians and the Dietz Family. He has been awarded a number of playwriting fellowships and has directed numerous productions of his own work. Steven and his wife, Allison Gregory, who is also a playwright live, in Seattle, WA and Santa Monica, CA.
Les Dudek was born in Rhode Island, the son of Alma and Harold Dudek. He is a songwriter and guitarist. Les has performed with the Allman Brothers Band, Stevie Nicks, Boz Skaggs, Steve Miller - to name a few. Les' grandfather, Heinrich H. Rehn, from Kolb Russia, arrived in the United States in 1876 with Scout Franz Scheibel. Les' grandmother was from Frank Russia.
John Hessler was the 1997 starting quarterback for the University of Colorado football team. Hessler broke many CU passing records as a sophmore. John was born Aug. 21, 1974 in Sterling, Colorado. He grew up in Brighton Colorado, and his family lived in the ancestral village of Norka, Russia.
John Klein, Jr. born in Strasburg ND, was a musician, drummer, librarian, and educator. John was with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra for 25 years. He died in January, 1997. His family lived in the ancestral village of Strassburg [Kutschurgan Enlave, South Russia, today Ukraine].
Leroy Lehr is a recording artist and Metropolitan Opera bass-baritone.
Adolph Lesser was born in Loveland Colorado, in 1915. Adophs career as a musician and entertainer spans over 50 years. He recorded for Columbia in the early 50's and he is the first living member in the Colorado Polka Hall of Fame. Adolph and his polka band "The Adolph Lesser Band" have played Polka-Waltz's in many states. Adolph's parents, John and Anna Margaret Bath, came to America in 1913 from a Volga German Village.
David Miller (1924-1996) was a 1952 Oslo Olympiad, on the Canadian Hockey Team! David was born in Wilke Saskatchewan. His parents, Bert Miller and Katie Keller Miller, were from North Dakota. David's grandparents Engelbert Miller and Magdalena Moser Miller were originally from Mannheim Odessa, Russia.
Svyatoslav Richter the renown Soviet concert pianist, was born in Volhynia (Zhitomir, Russia) 7 March 1915. In 1961 he received the Lenin Prize (USSR) and then in 1975 was named the Hero of Socialist Labour.
George Henry Sauer is a member of the National Football Hall of Fame. He has coached for the following teams: University of New Hampshire, Kansas University, and the U.S. Naval Academy.
Nancy Jones Schaefer is a musician, and just happens to be married to the current Governor of North Dakota, Ed Schaefer.
Willard Schmidt, born in Ellis County, Kansas, is of Volga German descent. Willard pitched for the Cardinals, and later for the Reds (during the 1950 and 60's). He once shared a single game record in the major league for being hit the most times by a pitch!
Alfred Schnittke is a composer.
Ron Schueler is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Major League Operations with the Chicago White Sox. Ron was born April 18, 1948 in Hays, Kansas. His family is of Volga German heritage.
Armin Mueller-Stahl is a German actor who has appeared in films such as Avalon, The Music Box, Night on Earth, The Power of One, and most recently, Shine.
Lawrence Welk known for his famous Television Show, was an accordionist, businessman, entertainer, and bandleader . He was born in 1903 in Strasburg, ND, to Ludwig and Christina (Schwahn) Welk. His family is from the village of Selz [Kutschurgan Enclave, South Russia, today Ukraine].
Benjamin F. Brack (1892 - 1984) was the founder of the East Heights Methodist Church, discovered the Hugoton Gas field, and is known from the Kansas Oil and Gas Hall of Fame. He is the grandson of Phillip Brack (said to be the earliest know Brack in Pobotschnaya Russia). Benjamin was born in Otis, Kansas. As an adult he and his family lived in Kansas: Galatia, Hoisington, and Wichita. While in Colorado they lived in Denver and Fort Collins.
Oscar Brosz is the former State Superintendent of Banks and State Auditor in South Dakota. His family is from Alt-Posttal, Bessarabia.
Catherine the Great (Sophia Augusta Frederika of Anhalt-Zerbst) was born April 21, 1729, in Strettin Germany (now Poland). August 21, 1745 she married Grand Duke Peter Fedorovich, the future Tzar Peter III of Russia. In 1762 she became the Empress of Russia (1762-1796). It was due to Catherine's manifesto of 1763 that hundreds of thousands of Germans emigrated to Russia. Catherine died as a result of a stroke at the age of 67. Click here for a portrait of Catherine.
Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), Former U.S. Senate Minority Leader. His family is from Kleinliebental [Liebental Enclave], near Odessa.
Al Duerr is the mayor of Calgary, Alberta Canada. He is from Humbolt, Saskatchewan.
Empress Tzariza Elizaveta the former Princess of Hesse and wife of Nicholas II. She and her family were shot by Bolsheviks in a cellar prison in Yekaterinburg in July 1918. This event brought an end to the Romanov dynasty after 300 years in power.
Alice Riedlinger Essig was from Wells County, North Dakota. Her family haled from the German villages in the Glueckstal and Liebental districts of the Black Sea region. Allice was instrumental in founding the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia and the Germans from Russia Heritage Society.
Maria Federovna was born Princess Dorothea of Wuertemberg. In 1776 she married the son of Catherine the Great, Tzarivich Paul (who later became Tzar Paul I).
Merle Freitag was a 3-star Lieutenant General of the United States Army, who retired as Comptroller of the Army.
Charles Gemar is a former NASA astronaut. It is believed that Charles was the first German from Russia in space. Chuck hales from Scotland, South Dakota. His family is from the Black Sea District. Astronaut Gemar was an invited speaker at the Germans from Russia Historical Society Convention in 1991.
Jim Geringer is the Governor of Wyoming. He recently went to Russia to visit the colony of his father's birthplace.
Count Hans Moritz Haucke was a Russian Quartermaster General and Minister of defense in Poland in the 1800's.
Emma Schwabenland Haynes translator and director of the Defendants Visitors Center at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials. Emma's family was of Volga German origin. The AHSGR Library at Lincoln Nebraska is named in her honor because of her pioneering work on history and genealogy of the Germans from Russia.
Anastasia Vasiliyevna Hendrikova, born circa 1887, was the daughter of Count Vassili Alekandrovich Hendrikov, Grand Master Of Ceremonies of the Imperial Court. Anastasia was also a descendent of the sister of Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great. In 1910 Anastasia was appointed Maid of Honor to Empress Aleksandra. Anastasia stayed with the Imperial Family throughout their imprisonment. After the Romanovs were sent from Tolbosk to Yekaterinburg she was forcibly separated from the family at which time she was murdered by the Bolsheviks in a forest near Perm in 1918.
Richard Hieb is a former NASA astronaut. His family is from Neudorf in the Glueckstal District.
Robert W. Hirsch is the former majority leader of the South Dakota State Senate. He was also a candidate for the United States Senate on the Republican ticket in 1972.
Joseph Kessler became the 5th bishop of Tiraspol in 1904. Joseph was a Volga German.
Alfred Kokh was born in Kazakhstan (approx 1962). In March of 1997 he was elected as head of Russia's privatization agency and ally of Chubais. He is currently serving as Deputy Prime Minister. Kokh is an economist who trained and worked in St. Petersburg in an electronics factory. From 1991 to 1993 he worked in the St. Petersburg privatization committee. After which, he went to Moscow as Chubais's deputy in 1993.
Otto Krueger is the former Congressman of North Dakota. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1951-1955. Otto was born on a farm near Fessenden, ND. He is of Volhynian German ancestry.
Roland Kunfeld with People Magazine. Ronald is the son of Irma Kunfeldt, who was born in Russia.
Lenin (Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov) was the Premier of the USSR, 1917-1924. His Mother, Maria Alexandrovna Blank, was a Lutheran of Volga German heritage. Lenin (5/22/1870-1/21/1924) was born in the town of Simbirsk, later renamed Ulyanovsk, which is situated on the Volga River. Maria was the offspring of Alexander Dmitrievich Blank and Anna Ivanovna Groshopf (Groskopf?), both believed to be Volga Germans.
Count Petrovich Fydor Litke (1797-1882) was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. He was a Russian arctic explorer and naval officer. The Count was also one of the founders of the Russian Geographical Society. He was involved in arctic expeditions about which he wrote a couple of volumes and numerous scientific papers. There are a number of inlets, islands, fjords in northern Russia bearing his name. Also worth noting, he was a tutor to czar Nicholas I's second son Constantine.
Reuben Metter former CEO of TRW. His family is from Kassel in the Glueckstal District.
David J. Miller was the founder of The American Historical Society of Germans from Russia. He was also one of the attorneys at the War Crime Trials.
Allen Neuharth founder of USA TODAY. His family is from Kassel in the Glueckstal District.
Tzar Paul I was the son of Peter III, and Catherine the Great. He was born September 20, 1754, and served as the Russian Emporer from 1796 to 1801.
Roy Romer was a recent Governor of Colorado and Chair of the Democratic National Committee. Governor Romer was born October 31, 1928 in Garden City Kansas.
Toby Roth is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1978-1996). He was born at Strasburg, ND. His family came from the German villages of Strassburg and Selz [Kutschurgan Enclave, South Russia, today Ukraine].
Franz Wilhelm Scheibel was the schoolmaster in Kolb Russia in the early 1870's. He was presented the opportunity to go with other Protestant scouts to America to explore the possibilities and opportunities in this new land. He chose to act on that opportunity and in 1874 visited several areas in America. He later returned to Kolb and told of his trip to the people of the area. In 1876 he led a group of 75 persons, from the area in and around Kolb, to America and finally settled in the area of northeast Franklin county. The settlement was originally called Wilhelmsruhe which was later to become the town of Campbell, Nebraska. After arriving in America Mr. Scheibel was ordained in the Lutheran faith and performed pastoral duties in a wide area of southern and southwestern Nebraska.
Catherine Schneider was a Baltic German of Lutheran backround, who later became Orthodox. She was a Maid of Honor to Empress Aleksandra of Russia.Catherine stayed with the Imperial Family throughout their imprisonment. After the Romanovs were sent from Tolbosk to Yekaterinburg she was forcibly separated from the family and was brutally murdered by the Bolsheviks in a forest near Perm in 1918.
Baron von Ungern-Sternberg was a descendent of the Teutonic Knights from the Baltics. He was a self-proclaimed Emperor/Tzar of Russia, who lived in barbaric splendour as the despot of Mongolia, marrying a local princess. The Baron was shot by the Red in 1922.
Harvey Wollman was the Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota.
Peter Baron von Wrangel (1878-1928) was born in St. Petersburg Russia. His family was originally from the Baltic region. He was involved with the following: the Volunteer Army; Cossacks; Zemstvo reforms; Allied intervention; Krivoshein; The Russo-Polish War of 1920; the Bolshevik party; Lenin/Trotsky/Stalin; the Imperial Army; and Right Socialist Revolutionary thought.
Peter Brack is the author of the book "Trips - Home and Abroad". His family was from the area of Pobotschnaya Russia.
Dr. George P. Epp
Gary D. Kissler, Ph.D. is the author of the book "The Change Riders, Managing the Power of Change" and "Leading the Health Care Revolution, A Reengineering Mandate". He received his Ph.D in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Kissler is the grandson of Jacob and Annalis Kissler from Frank, Russia. He dedicated the "Change Riders" to his Grandfather.
Fred Koch is the author of the book "The Volga Germans". He was born in Kolb Russia. Fred is the former assistant to Governor Langley (State of Washington). During World War II he served as a U.S. military intelligence officer, and later played an important role at the Nuremburg War Crimes trials.
Rudy Wiebe is a Canadian author, who writes very moving fiction about growing up as a Mennonite.
UNCONFIRMED GERMANS FROM RUSSIA.. INFAMOUS, TOP, LINKS
Cary Grant ?
Tonya Harding ??
Cheryl Ladd (Cheryl Jean Stopplemoor) was born in Huron SD. It is believed that she is a descendant of Germans from Russia.?
Dick Assman had about 15 minutes of fame two years ago when he appeared on the David Letterman Show. It is believed that Dicks family hails from Grenfell, Saskatchewan, and that surname of his ancestors was Ossman. ?
Richard Simmons It has been said that Richard's grandmother, or great grandmother, was a German from Odessa, Russia. ?
General Schwartzkopf ?
Paula Zahn is the former CBS morning news anchor. ?
INFAMOUS GERMANS FROM RUSSIA Controversial individuals who's family history just happens to include a German from Russia lineage. Can you solve the puzzles?
DISCLAIMER: The information and stories presented here were reported to me by a variety of individuals, and exists in various states of "authentication". Its contents are intended as entertainment, and to provide thought-provoking insight into the legacy of Germans from Russia!
LINKS TO OTHER SITES:AHSGR
Ger-Rus Ancestral Village Websites:
Lower Volga Villages Project