Peter Karlovich Haller was a member of the German Russian Society. He was in theVolga area because his grand father was a member of Napoleon's army when they invadedRussia. He was captured by the Russians and sent to the Volga area in 1812. He married aGerman colonist. After his death, her two sons married colonists who stayed in the region. Theoldest son died young. The other one was Karl, father of Peter Haller.
Karl Haller went to school in the village of Lesny Karamish.(Grimm) Later he tookadditional schooling, and became the Village Scribe in Eckheim. He was therefore in that smallgroup of educated Volga Germans who spent their life in the Volga and was not a teacher. Hebelonged to the bureaucratic intelligentsia profession. This stratum of the Volga Germanpopulation was a very thin stratum in the 1860's. His job was terminated when the governmentRussified the court apparatus Then the intelligentsia beacame even more sparse. Therefore,almost all Germans who got a higher education left the colonies. Because of this, the coloniesneglected higher education.
Peter K. Haller was born in 1858 when his father was serving in Schilling. Later hisfather was the Village Registrar in Eckheim until 1870 when he went to Saratov to serve in theBoys High School. He had six sons, including Peter, and three daughters. One of Peter's oldersisters was a clerk, and she was responsible for getting the information on Peter's grand father.
At age 13, Peter went to work to earn his own bread. This had a strong effect on hischaracter. In 1880, he entered the German speaking University in the Baltic area. (Dorpat?) In1886 he defended his Doctorate in Narva, Estonia. In 1887, he was a private physician inWarenburg for one year. He left to beacome a rural Doctor in Rudnya in 1891. This is aRussian village which is a suburb of Saratov. He devoted his attention and strength to this cityto the end of his life. Because of his many years of service to Saratov University, he waspromoted to professor in 1918 when a decree was issued making all people with three yearsservice professors. He was the first of the Volga German colonists to become a professor. He published anumber of articles in the medical field, including a 43 page one on "Protection Against Cholera"in German in 1893, in six editions An eight page pamphlet on "Diphtheria" was published inRussian.
In 1918, Peter Haller published "Memoirs of the German Colony." In this ethnographicwork, he devotes brief attention to work of the Saratov Archives Commission. He was chairmanof the S. A. C. from 1911 to 1913 when this Commission included ethnographic work. (This isusually under anthropology in the United States.) Haller's work centers mainly on Eckheim inthe 1860's where he was living at the time. He admits that he did not always confine himself tothis village, but sometimes generalizes beyond this village. However, life in Eckheim was closeto that of other Volga villages as we know them. Therefore, his work is valuable.for thosebeyond this one village.
His memoirs also speak to the material customs of the Volga Germans relative to theirbuildings which have disappeared without a trace for the most part. His work shows devotionand love of his subjeact, the Volga Germans. This is notable when he relates information closeto him.
The Revolution of 1917 somewhat altered his point of view. In the late 1850's, theSaratov Government had decided to send colonists into the unoccupied steppe beyond theVolga. It was a virtual desert inhabited by Kirghiz nomads.Near the end of his life, Peter Hallerwas serving a tour of duty at a military post. On 20 Jan 1920 he died of typhus. Most of his lifehad been spent in and around the city of Saratov, an important area to Volga Germans to thisday.