History of Village of Grimm
The village of Grimm, also known as
Lesnoi Karamysch, Russia was founded on July 1, 1767 by 179 colonists and
by 1773 had grown to 769, consisting of 402 males and 367 females making
up 171 families. It lies on the Bergseite (mountainside)of the Volga River,
100 kilometers south of Saratov, 100 kilometers west of Kamyshin and 26
kilometers west of the Volga river. It grew rapidly and by 1912 had 11,788
According to the 1774 census, the
Vorsteher (Mayor) was Gottfried Grimm, after whom the village was no doubt
named, as was the custom then.
The village lies on a small river
with the Russian name of Karamysch and was therefore also known as Lesnoi-Karamysch
and today as Kamenskii. A small creek, the Medwediza, which the Germans
called"die Bach" flowed into the neighboring river Don. With its considerable
number of residents, the wide meadows and cultivated fields that spreadout
around 25,000 Hectares, with its four 3 1/2 kilometers streets and many
side streets, with its enterprises and business establishments, it was
not only a birth place, but also a distant and unforgettable past for the
residents. It is also a place that formed the moral and ethic codes that
descendants of these courageous colonists have inherited and live by.
Nature was sometimes kind to Grimm
and the moderate climate was a gift of strength for the colonists. It was
also sometimes cruel,with droughts and hordes of gophers and locusts which
devoured the crops so necessary to the colonist's survival. Broken promises
by the Russian government and raids by roaming hoards of bandits made life
no easier in the village.
The Karamysch river began outside
the village in the forest and was strengthened by Baren Creek, Zieglings
Creek, Dreipitz Creek, Groschen Creek and Bertel Creek. It transversed
the landscape from east to west and flowed through other neighboring villages
into the Medwediza. Five dams kept the water high in the creeks and provided
a scource of power for the five water mills: Hanfatnis mill, Jab mill,
Peter mill, Ernst mill and Robarts mill. The water provided the ability
to grow food crops such as cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelons
and other fruits and vegetables, as well as as a place for fishing, swimming,
bathing and laundering.
The citizens were Lutheran by faith and farmers by occupation but many
possesed other skills such as blacksmithing, tailoring, bootmaking and
others, which enabled them to survive the harsh climates. The farmlands
were located at some distances from the village and sometimes in separate
isolated locations requiring the males to often spend the weekdays away
from the village but they always returned on Sunday for Church services.
As was the custom in all the German villages along the Volga, per the
Russian "MIR" system, the farm lands were portioned out to the male "souls"
only, so those families with a lot of male offspring were land "wealthy"
and those with female offspring had a much harder life.
The village grew and prospered until
political unrest and revocation of the rights and privileges granted by
Catherine's second Manifesto caused the colonists to seek religous and
political freedom elsewhere.Many families emigrated to the USA, Canada
and South America in the late 1800s and early 1900s, as can be seen by
the population statistics decline.The seizure of power by the Bolsheviks
in 1917, which eventually led to the establishment of Communism and the
eventual death and/or relocation of the majority, if not all, of the German
colonists in 1941. The village, today named Kamenskii, still exists today,
unlike many along the Volga which were destroyed, but few, if any, descendants
of the original colonists live there.
to other German Russian sources
AHSGR American Historical Society
of Germans from Russia
from Russia Heritage Society
Family surname links
Ehrlick Grimm, Russia Achziger Kolb, Russia
Grimm, Volga, Russia Genealogy, Family Research & Heritage
Electronic Discussion Groups
Volga, Russia Genealogy & Family Research
GR-GENEALOGY Germans from Russia Genealogy & Family Research
Germans from Russia Culture & Folklore
e-mail: Ken Leffler Grimm village