Hart Postlethwaite visited Dubovka, May 1999. Hart shares the following pictures and observations of the Volga area, including Dubovka. Click on the pictures to see an enlargement.

Entering Dubovka
Dubovka, birthplace of our Graubergers
Entering Dubovka
Wider view of Dubovka, our rented car and our driver
Entering Dubovka
Entering Dubovka going towards the Volga.
Village of Dubovka
Village of Dubovka

Home of an elderly German woman

Typical of the older homes in Dubovka

Old home, with newer style on the left

Old grinding wheel

Volga River at Dubovka

Road from Dubovka to Galka

We had a bus ride to a German resettlement camp. It is a fairly new tract of 2 story homes. Most houses have a coat room as you enter the house which they use in the winter to take off boots and wet clothes from outside. Everyone has a large garden where they grow their own food. This one was irrigated with water from a barrel that had a pipe to the garden.We met the hostess' mother (in her 70's) who was a teacher as a young woman, and has just started living with her daughter. We were served chunks of raw fish with lettuce (ugh). The rest of the lunch was nicely served and delicious. Roast meat on a tray - Pancakes with cream - salad -and several other Russian dishes.

Paval (the host) had homemade Vodka and served beer. He kept insisting that we all drink Vodka from shot glasses all at once, like "down the hatch" or "Cheers". The women quit after about 3 shots and went outside - the men kept it up. By that time everyone was quite happy.

We visited ancestral villages on May 29th, Saturday. Most of us had different villages to visit. Like us, another couple had a separate car driver & interpreter. The lady they were visiting was Russian and could only speak German and Russian. They went to see some German ladies who could only speak German. So--the Germans talked to the Russian, who then talked to the interpreter, who then talked to the Americans. The man said it was like a lot of hens talking. The people in Russia were surprised that Americans of German descent do not necessarily speak German.

We were furnished an interpreter (Aileen), and a driver, (Galeen), with her own car. It is very unusual for women in Russia to drive. Galeen's husband is retired after 20 years in the Navy. We took off down the highway - very rough road, although because of the direction we were going, John said we had the best road-Ha! On the way to Rosenberg we noticed graves along the side of the road. Aileen said those were people who were killed at that place on the road. Where the counties divided they have a large monument instead of small signs. There are no rest stops on the way so if you have to go, there are the bushes by the road. No restaurants, although you might see someone selling water by the road. We only saw one gas station and it was on our way back near Saratov. The scenery was low rolling hills (like foothills) but no mountains.

We went on to Kamyshin which was a very large town which starts on a bluff above the Volga river, and goes all the way down to the river. This was where Hart's grandmother, (Emily Schwab) was born in 1878. From there we headed up a country road up toward Dubovka, where Hart's mother, brothers, and her father were born.

Dubovka is a small village, where a smaller area called Papert existed nearby in 1906. [The Grauberger's immigration records indicate the entire family was born in Papert, Dubovka, Russia - yet no one has been able to find any record of Papert. It is possible that it was just a German section of Dubovka.] There were no local stores we could find, and everyone had a garden. An elderly lady on the street directed us to another elderly lady (German), who has lived there a long time. She had one of the nicer houses there. She came outside to talk to us. Most older people have a lot of gold in their teeth if they can afford it, otherwise they have very little teeth at all. She told us what she knew about the town.

We then went through the town towards the Volga river. Wild Sage (smells strong), was growing all around about a foot high. There was an inlet where the river was totally calm. To our surprise, there were rocky beaches where one could go swimming. We had been told that Hart's mother had gone swimming in the Volga river at age 6 (before they left for America), and Hart's older uncle's children said he had ice-skated on the Volga as a child. The Interpreter said in Saratov as elsewhere on the Volga river, it does freeze, but because of its size and distance across at Dubovka, it is not always a solid hard freeze. The interpreter said that in Saratov, people sometimes walk across it but don't normally skate, as far as she knew. This inlet was protected and seemed an ideal place to allow ice skating in the winter, or to swim in the summer (although it was very windy that day). Aleena said it is usually windy in Russia all the time.

We continued north, intending to go to Galka. The road was part new asphalt but mostly dirt road. We traveled quite a ways after the asphalt quit, but when the dirt road became extremely bumpy, it was too hard on Hart's back so we decided to turn around. The road was so bad that only one side of the road was being used. Along the road there were kids on horses, with their dogs, herding a large herd of cows heading towards a dairy. At the dairy we asked directions and they showed us a shortcut to the main Saratov highway. Guess what! It was also dirt and bumpy. We did see Rye in bloom and many plowed fields, but no one working in them. Finally reached the paved highway. It was good that it didn't rain while we were on dirt roads - we would never have gotten out of there.

Along the side of the highway every once in awhile there would be posts with wire cable stretched as a fence to keep cars from going in the gully on the side of the road. We saw Rye growing beside the road but no wheat. Rye will grow anywhere they say. On the way home we stopped at the only gas station we saw. We used the outhouse, which was only a small dirty smelly shed with a hole in the floor. Russians do not say bathroom, they say toilet or water closet (W.C). All toilets in Russia (that we found), have been very dirty except the ones where a little lady sits at the door (she keeps it clean for tip money). Most toilets flush (if they flush), by pulling up a knob in the middle of the tank. Russian toilet paper is very very rough, (if they even have it at all, most public ones have no paper), so luckily we brought our own from the U.S.

The train ride from Moscow to St. Petersburg was very different than any I have had in the past. If it wasn't so hot it would have been more enjoyable. We all had our own rooms with two beds & table in it, a packed lunch and a woman prison guard to look after us. It is against the law to take Russian money out of Russia so while our fellow travelers were sightseeing in the museum as we were leaving St. Petersburg, I found a little beggar woman and gave her all the money I had left.

By Hart Postwaite, Dubovka volunteer

Lower Volga Project
Of Interest
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