In May of 2001, Ed Hoak visited Saratov and the ancestral villages of his grandparents in the lower Volga region. Ed's comments on Holstein follow.
The village of Holstein sits in a valley of the Kalaninka Brook. The town goes up the hill from the main road until it reaches the cemetery and site of the old church, which has been torn down. From the cemetery you can see the village of Galka and the Volga River to the east.
The driver first stopped at the house of Ida Fritzler and found that she had moved to Volzhskiy, near Volgograd, about three years ago and is living with her daughter. Her maiden name was Maier. Her son is still living in Holstein in a house that is identified as Relke on the Holstein map but is a newer house. A photograph of Ida Fritzler and Allen Schneider taken in 1995 by the Schneider's was given to Ida's son. He said that she was coming for a visit in June and would give it to her.
Since Ida was no longer home, an attempt was made to find David Kelln across the street. His daughter, Natalie Erhart, was working in the yard and she got David. Ed had met David on a previous trip. David was given a map of Holstein. He was very appreciative to get the map, and spent a long time discussing it and the village. It was interesting to note that Natalie called her father "Pop". David had been deported to Siberia with his family in 1941 when he was seven years old. He later worked in the labor camp in the mines. He said the only original Holstein families still in the village are Mai, Kelln, Fritzler and Erhart. There is also a Schmidt family from Upper Dobrinka, Dreispitz.. David's father was Friedrich and his grandfather was Adam. His mother was Susanna Yauck. The maiden name of Natalia's mother-in-law was Wittmann.
The cemetery was destroyed after the deportation in 1941 and the only burials are after about 1960 when the Germans were allowed to return. The cemetery is laid out such as to have the German burials along the west side and the Orthodox graves along another fence line at right angles. Each of the graves has a metal fence surrounding it. The old graves are within the fenced cemetery enclosure, but not marked in any way. It looks more like an open field. David and Natalie visited the cemetery with Ed Hoak as he copied the German names on the tombstones. The names found were Maier, Steak, Peil, Kyle, Erhardt, Nuss, Fritzler, Krum, Mai, Gritzfeld, Shaf, Schwendich, Leber, Kailman, and Schulte: The inscriptions are written in Russian, and an English/German translation is listed.
Ed Hoak's description of neighboring villages is available from the Lower Volga Village home page.