It's All Earth and Sky - Citizenship and Language

Brian Schweitzer and Al Neuharth talk about their ancestors’ citizenship status, and all five descendants talk of their family’s experiences with the German language.

“It’s all earth and sky!” was the reaction of one German-Russian immigrant when she arrived on the plains of the Upper Midwest. Like many others who came to the region seeking a land of promise and opportunity, she and her family endured – and prevailed – on this rich, expansive landscape. Immigration implies departure, as well as arrival. Transport from one country to another may mean deportation; it inescapably includes exile whether voluntary or forced, and brings disruption to families in the old country and in the new. Immigrants require courage and fortitude, even when they are weak and poor. Like many others who have come here, Germans from Russia have suffered, and they have overcome. Since their background and history is as rich in texture as it is in diversity, they serve here as a model of assimilation of other ethnic groups into American society. Five representative Germans from Russia, Arthur Flegel, Debra Marquart, Al Neuharth, Henry Schmick and Brian Schweitzer, who have all attained success in their lives, share their insights on the process of becoming American.

Download Video Right Click for Download Options


Bob Dambach (Producer), Dona Reeves Marquardt and Lewis R. Marquardt (Writers), Dan Michaels (Narrator), Ryan Sailer (Editor), Heidi Nelson (Audio Editor), David Geck, Frode Tilden, Ryan Sailer, Ben Stommes (Videographers), Barb Gravel (Production Manager), Bob Dambach and Michael M. Miller (Executive Producers)


“It’s All Earth and Sky” Prairie Public and North Dakota State University Libraries, Germans from Russia Heritage Collection 2010

Related Media

  1. It's All Earth and Sky - Love of the Land and Growing Things
    Video: The need to plant and nurture growing things is common among Germans from Russia, even off the farm. Each of the speakers share examples from their life experiences common to many Germans from Russia.
  2. It's All Earth and Sky - Introduction to Germans from Russia
    Video: Germans from Russia actually immigrated twice, once from Germany to Russia, then from Russia to the United States, brought to both places by the lure of free land and the freedom to live as they wanted.
  3. It's All Earth and Sky - Frugality and Ties to the Old World
    Video: Debra Marquart illustrates frugality by reading a poem from her book, Everything's a Verb, about the burning of an oil lamp. Also discussed are marriages of the second generation and correspondence with relatives in Russia.
  4. It's All Earth and Sky - Agriculture and Traditions
    Video: Arthur Flegel tells of turkey red wheat, which created the Bread Basket of the World in the upper Plains, even with dry land farming. The homestead living arrangement versus the European village with outlying fields system was a difficult adjustment.