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Monday, 23 May 2011

From Wuerttemberg Germany to Annette Russia

A true account of our mother's life's experience would, to say the least, give her the credit she deserves for having faced successfully a long list o physical, economic, political, emotional and social problems.  Of course, she knew anxieties and fears, but she possessed and used the most effective weapons with which to defeat them:  faith.  She was a Lutheran.

Actually this story should being with the invitation that the Russian government had extended to the farmers and tradesmen of the various German states to come to that vast country and develop it.  In exchange the migrants would be guaranteed a life of political and religious freedom.

Similar promises or guarantees had been offered earlier by the Prussian king, Frederick the Great, but when in the middle of the 18th century he required more troops to satisfy his political ambitions, his religious minded subjects, especially the Lutherans, Baptists, Mennonites and Catholics saw their political and religious freedom jeopardized.

The Russian invitation promised greater opportunities. (By the manifesto of the Russian Empress Catherina II) After careful investigations by various agents on behalf of the prospective immigrants, the conditional contracts between the parties concerned were drawn up, and a mass migration got under way.

There were three distance mass immigrations from Wuerttemberg, the homeland of the Rothe family, to the Volhynia region in the Ukraine, 1816, 1831 and 1861. 

Migration to the Ukraine

It would be erroneous to assume that this report would interest only the Rothe and Drude Families.  We are visiting two village, two settlements:  Annette and Josephine.  These are more than just human habitations.  These colonies were the birth places of individuals whose lives were tied together by a common bond:  Faith.  Helping one another and relying upon the guidance of One God created spiritual families that no political, economic or social demon could destroy, even bruise.  Scattered over many lands, even today those who years ago were neighbours in peaceful little villages with wooden houses and thatched roofs, people who later rode in unheated cattle cars for a period of twelve days as political prisoners to Siberia, all of these are, in a sense, the sons and daughters of Mother Rothe.  Her faith is our heritage.  - From Mother's Faith - Our Heritage as recorded, in part, by Mrs. Agathe Rothe and her sons, Fred and Richard Rothe