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Timeline for the History of the German Colonies in the Black Sea Region

1763 Manifesto of Empress Catherine II (1762-1796). Call to all foreigners to immigrate to Russia
1789-92 French Revolution
1774-92 In two wars against the Turks, Russia gains the entire coast land along the Black Sea between Dnjestr and Kuban, including the Crimea
1793 Prussians and Austrians occupy the lower part of Alsace in France to support the royalists, but they are forced to retreat again very soon by the revolutionary army. Together with them, the terrorized inhabitants also flee over the Rhine River. 40,000 Alsatians become homeless and are allowed to set foot on their homeland again only years later (1795-1798), but they never get their old possessions back. They are now dispossessed, uprooted and discouraged. Once proud farmers and landowners have to work as day laborer.
1794 Founding of the seaport Odessa
1803 Manifesto of Alexander I (1801-1825). Invitation for settling of Germans in the Black Sea region. Many disappointed Alsatians follow his call
1804 Napoleon I is crowned Emperor of the French
1804 Founding of the colony Kleinliebental and numerous other German colonies in the Black Sea region. The village of Kleinliebental is founded almost entirely by immigrants from Alsace
1815-20 The "golden years" of colonist prosperity
1823-24 Locust plague in the Odessa area; poor crops
1833 The "Black Year". No rain, no crops; famine and food relief
1838 Tsar Nikolaus I (1825-1855) confirms the privileges of the colonists
1846-48 Years of colonist prosperity
1847 Foundation of the catholic diocese Tiraspol based in Cherson
1855 Cholera epidemic
1863 Foundation of the "Odessaer Zeitung", a newspaper for the German colonists in the area around Odessa
1871 Cancellation of the right of self-determination for the German colonies in Russia. Privileges granted by Catherine and Alexander are repealed
1874 Introduction of the compulsory military service also for German colonists. Beginning of the emigration to America
1879 German-Austrian alliance leads to deterioration of the situation of the Germans in Russia
1881 Assassination of Alexander II; after that succession of the throne by Alexander III (1881-1894). Beginning of Russification
1885 The beginning of Catholic emigration to Canada and the USA
1892 Famine in Russia
1895 Renaming of the German colony Kleinliebental in "Ksenjewka"
1904-05 Russo-Japanese War. Defeat of Russia leads to partial liberalization and fresh impetus in the German colonies
1914 Outbreak of World War I. 300,000 Germans serve in the Russian army. However, the Germans living in Russia are also declared to be enemies of the Russian empire. Suppression of German language and cultural activities
1915 Pogrom against Germans in Moscow. Businesses plundered, 40 Germans are injured, three die
1917 February Revolution leads to resignation of Nikolaus II, last Tsar of Russia. German is allowed in schools again. October Revolution
1918 WW I ends. Autonomy of the area of the Volga Germans is approved
1918-20 Russian Civil War ("Reds" against "Whites")
1919 Suppression of the farmers' revolt. 13 men from Kleinliebental are shot next to the village and are also buried there. Enforced requisition of grain
1920-23 The Great Famine. 300,000 German colonists starve to death
1921-27 New Economic Policy by Lenin leads to temporary recovery in the German colonies
1924 Lenin dies; Stalin becomes successor
1928 Beginning of collectivization, closing of churches, etc. In Kleinliebental 16 prosperous farm families have all their land and possessions taken away and five of them are sent to slave labor camps in Siberia. Collectivization of all goods; the collective farm in Kleinliebental is called "Petrowsky"
1929 Nov/Dec - about 14,000 Germans from all parts of the Soviet Union travel to Moscow hoping to get permission to emigrate. After long negotiations 5,671 of them are allowed to go to Germany from where they are sent to America (since the German government had too much economic and political problems and did not want to keep the immigrants). The others are forced to go back to their villages in the Soviet Union
1932-33 The Ukrainian Famine - systematic confiscation of grain by the Soviet regime led to a famine which resulted in as many as 6 million deaths although in this year the Ukraine harvested enough grain to feed its people for two years. The Soviet Union refused to acknowledge the famine and refused to accept help from other countries. Open discussion of the famine was forbidden until 1986
1934 The church in Kleinliebental is closed by the Soviet government. It is the last one in the Grossliebental district that is closed. It is now used as a clubhouse, movie theatre, etc.
1937-38 According to verbal testimonies, 49 men and 10 women from Kleinliebental are arrested in this year and are sent to the Odessa prison where they are shot or sent to Siberia. All 10 women were so called "Betschwestern" who helped to look after the church
1938 Russian is the only language in all schools again
1938/39 Liquidation of all German Rayon (districts)
1939 Beginning of World War II
1941 Germany attacks the Soviet Union which leads to deportation of all the Germans from the western parts of the Soviet Union. At the same time, German troops occupy the city of Dnjepropetrowsk and therefore, all the German colonies west of the river Dnjepr (therefore also Kleinliebental) escape the banishment to a great extent.

Three days after the beginning of the war between Germany and the Soviet Union 19 innocent men from Kleinliebental are arrested.

During the German occupation the church in Kleinliebental is restored and opened again and German is the language in the schools again

1944 Soviet troops occupy Odessa leading to the flight of the German army and about 350,000 Germans from Russia into the Wartheland (today's Poland) to escape the Soviet troops. On March 30, the Kleinliebental inhabitants have to leave their village travelling in the direction of Germany. Kleinliebental is the last village of the Grossliebental district that is evacuated
1945 Unconditional surrender of the German army and end of WW2. All the Germans from Russia who escaped to Poland and all the other Russian occupation zones, are brought to Siberia and Middle Asia in cattle wagons due to Yalta agreement
1948 Decree by Stalin: Germans are banished forever and leaving the areas in Siberia and Asia without special permission will be punished with forced labor up to 20 years
1949 Foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany
1953 Death of Stalin
1955 Visit of the German chancellor Dr. Adenauer to Mocow. Relaxation of the German-Russian relationships, calling off some of the restrictions for the Germans in Russia, but no return of possessions that were confiscated during the banishment and prohibiting return to the former colonies of the Black Sea area
1964 Krushev grants amnesty, without reparations, to the deported German Russians in slave labor camps
from 1958 on Numerous agreements about bringing families together, etc., leads to an increase in the number of ethic Germans that are allowed to leave Russia for Germany
1991 Collapse of the Soviet Union

Sources:

  • dtv-Atlas zur Weltgeschichte, Band 2, Von der Französischen Revolution bis zur Gegenwart
  • Height, Joseph S., Die elsässische Auswanderung nach Russland, Heimatbuch der Deutschen aus Russland 1967/68, Seite 106-111
  • Height, Joseph S., Memories of the Black Sea Germans, Associated German-Russian Sponsors, USA-CAN., 1979, "Colonist Calendar fo Major Events", pp. 102-104
  • Mack, Eduard, Erinnerungen an die deutschen Kolonien des Großliebentaler Rayons bei Odessa, Ravensburg 1998
  • E. Alyn Mitchner & R. Joanne Tuffs, Global Forces of the Twentieth Century, Reidmore Books Inc., 1997
  • Volk auf dem Weg - Deutsche in Rußland und in der GUS 1763-1993, Kulturrat der Deutschen aus Rußland e.V., Stuttgart 1993

1999 by Peter Mock (pmulm@hotmail.com) and Doris Dickenson (dmdickenson@juno.com)

     
Comments and suggestions are always appreciated!
kleinliebental@hotmail.com
© 1998 Peter Mock
Version 3.0