United States

Over the years, the promises made by Catherine the Great began to erode. A significant blow was the Universal Conscription Act of 1874, which mandated military service by all Russians, including the Volga Germans.

In the spring of 1874, representatives from the Wiesenseite colonies met in Herzog to discuss the possibility of emigration and five delegates were elected to investigate possible sites for relocation:

Peter Stöcklein, Jacob Ritter,
Nicholas Schamme, Peter Leiker,
and Anton Wasinger (1874).
Posted with permission.
Kansas State Historical Society.
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Nikolaus Schamne from Graf
Peter Leiker from Ober-Monjou
Peter Stöcklein from Zug
Jakob Ritter from Luzern
Anton Wasinger from Schönchen

At the same time, representatives from the Bergseite met in Balzer and nine delegates were elected:

Anton Käberlein from Pfeifer
Christoph Meisinger from Messer
Georg Stieben from Dietel
Johannes Krieger from Norka
Johann Nolde from Norka
Georg Kähm from Balzer
Heinrich Schwabauer from Balzer
Franz Scheibel from Kolb
Johann Benzel from Kolb

These fourteen men boarded the S.S. Schiller in Hamburg and arrived in New York City on 15 July 1874. They investigated properties in several states, primarily in Nebraska and Kansas. They returned to Russia and reported their findings to their local communities.  Within a few months, hundreds of Volga German families began to arrive in the United States.

By Richard Sallet's count, there were 118,493 Volga Germans of the first and second generation living in the United States according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census.


- AHSGR Journal 1:3 (Winter, 1978).
- Koch, Fred C. The Volga Germans: In Russia and the Americas, from 1763 to the Present (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1977): 3.