Friday, September 29, 2006

The Current Book Project

I started writing on Catherine's Grandchildren again. I got two pages done this morning. I am now up to 142 pages. I should be able to finish the first draft in the next couple of weeks. I do not anticipate it being much longer than 150 pages. Most of what I need to write will go into the 1917-1920 chapter. After I complete that section I will finally have written a narrative history of the Russian-Germans under Soviet rule from 1917 to 1987 without any large gaps in it. Then I need to send the manuscript out to readers for some feedback. I am still looking for readers by the way. If any of my half dozen blog readers are interested in reading the manuscript and willing to critique it for me please send me an e-mail.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Slow Blogging Ahead

I probably will not be doing a lot of serious blogging in the next couple of weeks. I have other things I would like to do instead. I am going to concentrate on finishing Catherine's Grandchildren. The manuscript has stalled for the last few months. But, I think I can get it restarted this week. I keep finding new things to add.

Other than finishing the book manuscript I would also like to get my Ph.D. dissertation published. I stalled on this project over a year ago when I decided to concentrate on sending in applications for university teaching positions instead. I am greatly limiting these applications this year and hence have more free time.

I am not sure about other writing in the near future. I have a few shorter pieces scheduled for publication this fall. I am not sure if it is worth writing anything other than book manuscripts right now. Books seem to have much larger and more importantly longer lasting audiences than journal articles.

After I finish Catherine's Grandchildren I am not sure what my next major writing project will be about. If the book does better than my last two books then I think I will continue writing in a popular rather than an academic vein. I am open to suggestions on this matter.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Why there is no deportation post today

I had another post on Russian-German deportations written, but I could not get the disk I put it on to open. I think there is something wrong with the disk. So nobody will get to read it today. I might try another day with another disk. The post was on the 65th anniversary of the deportation order regarding the Russian-Germans from the Kuban and North Caucasus. I am not sure if I am going to write any more historical posts for a while. I spent two hours writing this last piece only to have a technical problem prevent me from posting it. I could have used that time better working on my book manuscript.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Don Flowed Quietly Past German Villages Until 65 Years Ago

On 15 September 1941, the NKVD began the forced round up and deportation of the Russian-Germans living in Rostov Oblast in accordance with GKO order 636ss signed by Joseph Stalin nine days previously. In a mere three days the Soviet security forces packed over 38,000 men, women and children into cattle cars bound for Kazakhstan and Siberia. The Russian-Germans living along the Don River joined their ethnic kin from the Volga as special settlers living in Soviet Asia. Like the Volga Germans they suffered from a lack of proper shelter, food, clothing and medicine in their new areas of settlement. Many of them died from the resulting exposure, malnutrition and disease. Their traditional homeland along the Don had been lost forever.

Lutheran settlers from the Black Sea colonies established most of the German villages along the Don in the 1880s and 1890s. A few Catholic and Separatist communities also existed among the Don Germans. These settlements maintained their existence as German cultural islands until 1941.

The Russian-German settlements in Rostov Oblast represented just one of the many German diasporas deliberately annihilated during World War II because its inhabitants were of the wrong blood. The Stalin regime persecuted the innocent Russian-Germans because they shared a distant ethnic relationship with the leadership of the Third Reich. Stalin’s destruction of the Russian-German communities and the mass mortality they suffered due to their persecution deserves no less recognition than the Nazi crimes against the Jews.


N.F. Bugai, ed., Iosif Stalin – Lavrentiiu Berii. “ Ikh nado deportirovat’,” Dokumenty, fakty, kommentarii (Moscow, Druzhba narodov, 1992).

Alfred Eisfeld and Victor Herdt, eds. Deportation, Sondersiedlung, Arbeitsarmee: Deutsche in der Sowjetunion 1941 bis 1956 (Koln: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, 1996).

A.A. German and A.N. Kurochkin, Nemtsy SSSR v trudovoi armii (1941-1955) (Moscow: Gotika, 1998).

O.L. Milova, ed., Deportatsii narodov SSSR (1930-1950-e gody). Chast’ 2. Deportatsiia nemtsev (Sentiabr’ 1941-Fevral’ 1942 gg.) (Moscow: RAN, 1995).

Richard Sallet, Russian-German Settlement in the United States (Fargo, ND: North Dakota Institue for Regional Studies, 1974).

V.N. Zemskov, Spetsposelentsy v SSSR, 1930 –1960 (Moscow: Nauk, 2003).

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Guess who came to dinner?

Chris and Sara have moved back to Arivaca. They came over to Serenity Ranch the other day for dinner. They brought chicken drumsticks marinated in garlic and lime with them to throw on the grill. We ate the chicken with rice and salad. It was really good. Before dinner they got to try out my new hookah and we smoked the last of my high quality mint tobacco. Chris agreed that it was a superior blend to the normal stuff. This Friday we will all be going to see the weekly live music at the Gadsden Coffee Shop. I have never been before because it takes place too late to walk back home.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

This Week

I am very glad to find out that this blog actually has some readers other than my family. I realize that I write about subjects with a pretty narrow audience. I do not imagine there are that many people interested in either life in Arivaca or Stalin's ethnic cleansing of various stigmatized nationalities. Right now, however, I am going to take a short break from writing about Stalinist deportations. The break will probably last at least a couple of days. It might even go a whole week. The subject was starting to depress me.

I finished editing the conference paper and sent it off for consideration as a book chapter. Now the only deadline I have is for the one postdoctoral application I am currently working on. It is not due for another seven weeks, so I have some time. I really do not think I have any chance at getting it. But, I feel I should be sending in at least some applications. When I figure out a viable use for my Ph.D. other than working at a university I can cease using the post office as an OTB. I doubt that I will apply to more than a half dozen positions this fall anyways.

I have been doing a lot of reading of Ottoman history recently. Currently I am reading three books that relate to the subject. I have only been to Turkey once and I had to spend most of my time there in Ankara. Istanbul is a city I have only seen at night and then mostly from the windows of moving buses. I would really like to go back to Turkey and spend at least a week in Istanbul. For westerners it is probably the city that most represents the urban side of the Islamic Orient.

The wild flowers are in full bloom here now. We have lots of pretty yellow, purple and orange ones. It is like some sort of fantasy jungle at Serenity Ranch. I feel like I am in a painting when I walk through it. It certainly contrasts greatly with my recent writings on the deportation of the Russian-Germans to Kazakhstan.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Who reads this blog?

In college I was taught to write for your intended audience. Of course it helps to have an idea who comprises that audience. In regards to this blog I am not real sure. I know the audience is small and includes my parents and one of my uncles. Beyond that I do not have much information to go on. In fact I think they may be my only regular readers. A few other people have e-mailed to tell me that they read it every so often. Others have e-mailed me to note they have read certain posts after I have informed them that I have written on particular subjects of their interest. I suspect that the number of people who find posts on my blog on their own, however, is almost nil. Unlike most blogs I have almost no readers that are themselves bloggers. This means I get almost no feed back via comments or links to other blogs.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

What I Will Be Doing This Fall

In the next few weeks I am going to try and figure out some sort of plan for my future. I have to revise one conference paper for consideration as a chapter in a book in the next two weeks. But other than that I have no looming deadlines. So I have time to devote to this project. I hope to have figured something out before the end of the year. I also hope to finish writing Catherine's Grandchildren: A Short History of the Russian-Germans under Soviet Rule soon. I would also like to find a publisher for my Ph.D. thesis, but that may take a bit longer. Unlike the last two years I will not be wasting a lot of time applying to university positions. I will apply to a few postdoctoral positions, but I have absolutely zero optimism that any of them will even consider me. I should never have listened to the people who urged me to spend another year applying to university posts. All it did was set my life back by another year. The time I wasted filling out those applications would have been far better spent doing just about anything else. Just thinking about the dozens of books I could have read during that time makes me sad.