A Digital History and Photo Archive for the Beresan District, Odessa, Russia


Village of Sulz.JPG (63017 bytes)

This picture of Sulz is taken out of a "Kalendarbuch" printed in 1909 celebrating the 100 yr. Jubilee of the Beresan Colonies in South Russia.  The book belonged to Karl Berger, grandfather of Vera Berger Hoff.  Since the village of Sulz no longer exists in today's world, it is only through the rare find of old pictures that we can get a glimpse into what the village of Sulz once was.


The colony of Sulz was settled in the years 1809 and 1810.   It was located on the left bank of the Beresan River. 

The settlers obtained their passports in Frankfurt, Germany and left their country behind for their new beginning in Russia.  One group came in the Fall of 1809 and dug their homes out of the earth and made roofs of reeds and wood to survive the terrible winter months.  They had arrived too late to begin building homes of wood, so square holes were dug into the ground and roofs were made out of the reeds and pieces of wood.   These first settlers weren't prepared for the harsh, bitter cold of the Russian winter...they arrived in cotton coats, not even remotely warm enough to survive the winter.  Many died of cold, illness and hunger.  The other group came in the Spring of 1810, and then the building of their Crown houses began under the direction of experienced people from the Liebental colonies.  Each household received an advance loan to build their house; a cow and horses if they didn't bring their own from Germany.   Every three households also received one plow, one harrow, and seed wheat...but since most of the settlers were tradesmen or day laborers, they had no knowledge of agriculture.  Peter Stöbner, a farmer, was placed in charge as an overseer and instructor in the art of farming.  The name "Sulz" was given to the community by by the colonist Matthias Kress who had come from the village Sulz, Alsace.


Families listed in the 1812 census of Sulz


In 1809 when the settlers arrived, the area was desolate and uninhabited.  There were traces of sheep, and a well used for watering the sheep.   Although the well water was abundant, it's surface was covered with a greenish color which affected the taste of the water.  Many people drank from this well and subsequently became ill and died.  24 families died before 1814 because of the tainted water and a few other diseases.


If you are researching any of the Beresan villages of South Russia and would like to join the BDO listserve (Beresan District of Odessa) which is a private listserve, please contact me for a special invitation or for more information.   On this listserve you'll meet many others that are researching the same family names as YOURS!!





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Last Update:05/02/10
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