The Lower Volga Villages

Recollections of Shcherbakovka,
by Wassenmueller

"Before WW I, Muehlberg consisted of three level large streets, the lower lying "Kutter", "Jaik" and the "Kling." A total of about 500 homes, almost half of them having two stories. The"Grossgass" (Main Street) was a model for the "Ackerdorgass"/ Ackertorgasse (FieldgateStreet,) and the "Brunnagass" / Brunnengasse, (Well Street.) It was broad and straight, withhouses of many colors and high wooden gates, one nicer than the other. The village wasencircled with a wall of stone and loam, and with two rows of poplar trees. a large nice archwayof stone in the middle of the Fieldgate Street led to the village green, to the community field, andto the road through Holstein to Dobrinka. From the Well Street, three roads ran to the largevillage fountain in the deep valley. There was a marvelously abundant well situated at the footof the mountain, closed in with a little fairy tale hut and surrounded by fluffy bushes. From there,well water was brought up for man and beast.

"The village stood on a high level plain where the water level in the ground was verylow. this is the reason that no wells were dug. The homes, always whitewashed, presented a cleanand gleaming panorama when set in the blossoming orchards. Everything was very orderly, tidy,and straightened up. The description suggested for this village is a genuine German village.

" In the center of the village, where there was a large open square, there stood thechurch, white as cherry blossoms. It had two pointed towers. Close by was the bell tower withthree bells which were set in motion for significant events only. On one side of the square stoodthe big white school house with high arched windows. Next to it stood a smaller building with fivesizable windows. That is the schoolmaster's, the teacher's house. At the corner stood a roomyhouse with many windows. That was the parsonage where the pastor lived. On the oppositeside of the square, stood the colony office, the seat ot the village burgomaster (magistrate), laterthe village Soviet (council.)" (page 9-10)

Note: Muehlberg by V. Durov Wasenmueller, Daugavpils, Latvia, 25 June 1993. in German. English translation by Ella Wasemiller and Rev. Werner K. Wadewitz, 1994.

In his preface, Wasenmueller says: " Please consider this narrative a contribution madeaccording as effort permitted to the remembrance of the many Muehlbergers who fell victim tothe dictatorship.Based on generally accepted facts (according to G. Beratz, G. Bauer, G. Dinges, A.Lonsinger) the author endeavors to concretize the history and life-style of the Muehlbergers.

"The soul of the Muehlbergers is reflected in their dialect. In this presentation it becomesnecessary to expand the abstract description by means of their folklore. The phraseologicallexicon illustrates the Muehlberg Dialect in its development throughout the conditions ofthe forced Russification and assimilation. The serious reader will most certainly find manydisadvantages and deficiencies that are inexcusable. For all critical hints, my gratitude inadvance."

The author, Vladimir (Wolodja) Durov Wasenmueller, was born in Muehlberg (Shcherbakovka) in1928. He is the oldest of three sons born to Reinhold Wasenmuller (23 Sep 1902- Nov 1995) &Katharina (Katja) Bach (b. 30 May 1902.) His parents were early members of the CommunistParty who were married on 9 Jul 1925 .Katja was imprisoned in Engels in Oct 1936, andReinhold in Feb 1937 in Engels. After that, the children were raised by their maternalgrandmother for a time, and later by their father's sister Emilie.

In 1940, Durov graduated with honors from the Muehlberg seven-year school and went toMariental to his Aunt Gretchen to continue his studies in the ten-year school there. (p.38) On 17Aug 1941, he left Muehlberg for 50 long years. (p. 39) He was sent to Urbach

"For 25 years, I knew nothing about my parents and brothers. After a quarter-century search,the emotional reunion meeting took place on 8 August 1965. The blows of fate they hadsurvived branded each one with a peculiar stamp. Even today all living relatives are still spreadout in the wide world." (p. 39-40)

"In Aug of 1991, Durov and his grandson, Sasha, visited the village of Stephan where thesecond story of his grandfather's house had been hauled by tractor from Muehlberg. "Sashasat on the wide window sill and said: 'In the courtyard the heat is great, but here it's good andcool, and it smells like apple.' He probably felt like I felt at grandma's 62 years ago."

In a letter of 31 Aug 1993 to Ella and Werner Wadewitz, Durov Wasenmueller writes that he is aprofessor teaching German at the University of Daugavpils in Latvia. He had received hisDoctorate Degree based on his book published in East Germany in the 1980's titled: "CombatEffectiveness and Response of High Speed Military Aircraft." He writes: "As a Russian!, I haveto be replaced. As a German, I have applied to be resettled in Germany."

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