German colonists on the Black Sea
Translated from German by James T. Gessele

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The book about the full 125-year history (1814–1940) of German colonies on the Black Sea’s northwestern coast describes the origin of Bessarabian Germans, their rural culture shaped by local autonomy, a Protestant ethic as well as the coexistence with other nationalities such as Romanians, Ukrainians, Russians, Jews and Bulgarians. The corrected and extended English edition was published in summer 2011 by the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection and the Deutsches Kulturforum östliches Europa.


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Colonists – Resettlers – Refugees

  • Historic Breaks and Disruptions
  • Mindset and »Cultural Capital«
    • The Immigrant »Dowry«: Experience, Mobility, Pioneer Spirit
    • Privileges and Local Autonomy: The Colonies as a Model Experiment
    • Protestant Ethic, Social Climate, Education System
    • Conservatism and Innovation
  • Coexistence with other Nationalities

Land of Two Streams on the Black Sea

  • Regional History
    • Pontos Euxeinos – »Hospitable Sea«
    • Kurgans
    • »Terra Basarabum«
    • Tyras – »White City« on the Dniester
    • Russo-Turkish Wars in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
    • Bessarabia under Russian Rule
    • Breadbasket of the Steppe
    • Exile on the Black Sea: Publius Ovidius Naso
    • Exile in Bessarabia: Alexander Pushkin

Russian Colonization Policy in the Black Sea Region at the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century

  • Russia and Württemberg: Dynastic Connections

Immigration of German Colonists to Bessarabia

  • »Warsaw Colonists«
    • Appeal by Alexander I to the Germans in the Duchy of Warsaw, November 29, 1813
  • Emigration from Württemberg
    • Political Conditions in Württemberg: Absolutism and War
    • Religious Motives: »Chiliasts« and »Separatists«
    • »Chiliasts« and «Zionites«
    • Economic Reasons for Emigration
    • The Great Chiliast Migration of 1817
  • Ignaz Lindl’s Apostolic Settlement Project
    • Refuge in Czardom: Ignaz Lindl
  • Catholics and the Reformed
  • German Settlements in North Bessarabia

Conditions Affecting Colonization and the Establishment of Settlements in Bessarabia

  • The Mother Colonies
    • Founding and Development of Mother Colonies
    • Settlement Conditions of the Warsaw Colonists (1814–1816)
    • The »Chiliast« Community of Teplitz (1817–1818)
    • Ignaz Lindl’s Religious Community in Sarata (1822–23)
  • German Settlement Names

Special Administration and Local Autonomy

  • The Welfare Committee for the Foreign Colonists of South Russia
  • Oversight and Support by Colonial Authorities
  • The Colonies: A Model Experiment
  • Agrarian Statutes, Communal Self-Government and Community Ordinances
    • Local Autonomy and its Structure

Religion and Church Life

  • Churchly Improprieties around the Year 1818
  • Sarata – Focal Point for the »Revival Movement«
    • Pietism in Württemberg
  • Struggle over the Church Hymnal
    • »Separatismus«
  • Religious Separatism in Bessarabia
  • Pastors in the Community Life of Bessarabian Germans
  • Church Construction
  • Reformed and Baptists
  • Roman Catholic Communities
  • lexander Asylum – Social Work, Care of the Sick
  • Protestant Ethic

The German School System in Bessarabia

  • Church-Community Schools
  • The »Werner School«—the Protestant Teachers College
  • The Gymnasien of Tarutino

Farming, Animal Husbandry, Viniculture

    • Black Earth
  • Steppe Climate
  • Modernizing Agriculture
  • Production Focal Points
    • Grain
    • Animal Husbandry and Stock Breeding
    • The »Colonist Horse«
    • Cattle Breeding
    • Viniculture
    • Bessarabian-grown Wine Varieties

Trades, Industry, Commerce, Infrastructure

  • Trades, Business, Industry
  • Trade and Markets
    • Salt Extraction on the Black Sea near Tuzla
  • Energy, Infrastructure, Transportation

Life in the Village

  • Village Layout and Types
  • Home and Farmyard
    • Types of Villages
  • Everyday Life and Work in the Course of a Year
  • Family Structure
  • Health
  • Living Conditions in a German Village in 1938
    • Illnesses, Causes of Death, Accidents
    • Nutrition and Cuisine
    • Living Conditions, Clothing, Hygiene

Customs and Culture

  • Clothing and Costumes
  • Church Festivals and Celebrations
  • »Swabians« and »Kashubians«
  • Folk Traditions
  • Neighborly Help and Collective Mindset
  • Clubs and Societies, the Press, Adult Education and Culture
    • Wolf Hunting
  • Leisure Time and Relaxation on the Black Sea

Population Growth and the German Occupational–Social Structure in Bessarabia

  • The Founding of Daughter Colonies
  • Emigration and Transilient Migration from Bessarabia
  • Occupational Structure
    • Emigration from Lichtental
  • Types of Community, Land Ownership, Way of Settlement
    • Mother Colonies
    • Daughter Colonies
    • Hectare Communities
  • Distribution of Germans in 1930 Bessarabia

The Germans in Multi-ethnic Bessarabia

  • The Bessarabian Population during the Early Nineteenth Century
  • Life among other Nationalities
    • Moldovans
    • Ukrainians
    • Russians
    • Lipovans
    • Jews
    • Bulgarians
    • Gagauz
    • Gypsies
    • Armenians
    • Germans
  • Interethnic Communication

From Abolishing the Special Administration in 1871 to the February Revolution of 1917

  • Revocation of Colonist Privileges
  • Russian Modernization Policy
  • Russification and Repression in Bessarabia from 1880 on
  • Under Damocles’ Sword of Expropriation and Deportation

Bessarabia under Romanian Rule, 1918–1940

  • Bessarabia: Autonomy or Annexation to Romania?
  • The Bessarabian Germans in »Greater Romania«
    • Economy and Transport
    • Agrarian Reform
    • Jeopardizing Cultural Autonomy
    • The Tatar Bunar Uprising of 1924
  • Minority Rights and Romanianization
  • Representation of Cultural Interests and the Political Organization of Germans in Bessarabia
  • The »Renewal Movement« in Bessarabia

The Renewal Movement in Bessarabia

  • The Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939 and the Annexation of Bessarabia in June 1940
  • Interim Soviet Occupation
  • The Resettlement
  • Camp Life
  • »Home to the Reich?« Resettlement and National Socialist Ostpolitik
  • Flight, January 1945
  • Post 1945: Integration without Revanchism

Bessarabia after 1940 until Today: Impressions of a Divided Country


  • Word Borrowings in the Colloquial German in Bessarabia
  • Chronological Table
  • Bibliography
  • Name Index
  • Gazetteer and Concordance
  • Place Names
  • Supplemental Gazetteer
  • Photo Glossary
  • Table Index
  • About the Author
  • About the Deutsches Kulturforum östliches Europa
  • About the Translator
  • About the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection

Color Plates

  • Views of today’s Bessarabia, Part I
  • Maps of Bessarabia’s historical-political affiliation (1814–1940)
  • Historic photographs of the resettlement autumn 1940
  • Views of today’s Bessarabia Part II
  • Maps of Bessarabia’s German Settlements and its ethnographic composition (Endpaper pocket)

Translated from the German by James T. Gessele


Flagge Deutschland Ute Schmidt: Bessarabien. Deutsche Kolonisten am Schwarzen Meer

Flagge Republik MoldauUte Schmidt: Basarabia. Coloniştii germani de la Marea Neagră

Flagge RusslandУте Шмидт: Бессарабия. Немецкие колонисты Причерноморья