From the mid-nineteenth century onward, innovations such as steam navigation and the advent of the railroad led to a sharp increase in global migration movements. The German-speaking Volhynians were part of this development, which moved between the ideal-typical poles of voluntary and forced migration and was significantly influenced by the enforcement of the ethnonational principle. This article focuses on the emigration movements of this group from the Russian governorate of Volhynia in the period between the 1860s and the First World War. The subsequent forced migrations of the German-speaking Volhynians are also briefly discussed.
In 1993 the Canadian genealogical journal “Wandering Volhynians” featured an article on the life story of Rosalie Scheming Hein.1  Rosalie was born in 1893 in
deu. Glückstal, ukr. Bubni, ukr. Бубни

Bubny is a village in today's Ukraine and is located about 80 km west of Zhytomyr.

(now Ukrainian Bubni, then Russian Bubno) in eastern
deu. Wolhynien, pol. Wolyń, ukr. Воли́нь, ukr. Wolyn, deu. Wolynien, lit. Voluinė, rus. Волы́нь, rus. Wolyn

The historical landscape of Volhynia is located in northwestern Ukraine on the border with Poland and Belarus. Already in the late Middle Ages the region fell to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and from 1569 on belonged to the united Polish-Lithuanian noble republic for more than two centuries. After the partitions of Poland-Lithuania at the end of the 18th century, the region came under the Russian Empire and became the name of the Volhynia Governorate, which lasted until the early 20th century. The Russian period also saw the immigration of German-speaking population (the so-called Volhyniendeutsche), which peaked in the second half of the 19th century. After the First World War Volhynia was divided between Poland and the Ukrainian Soviet Republic, from 1939, as a result of the Hitler-Stalin Pact, completely Soviet and already in 1941 occupied by the Wehrmacht. Under German occupation there was systematic persecution and murder of the Jewish population as well as other parts of the population.
After World War II, Volhynia again belonged to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and since 1992 to Ukraine. The landscape gives its name to the present-day Ukrainian oblast with its capital Luzk (ukr. Луцьк), which is not exactly congruent.

, which is today part of
ukr. Ukrajina, deu. Ukraine

Ukraine is a country in eastern Europe inhabited by about 42 million people. Kiev is the capital and also the greatest city of Ukraine. The country has been independent since 1991. The Dnieper River is the longest river in Ukraine.

. Her parents had immigrated from
Central Poland
eng. Middle Poland, deu. Mittelpolen, deu. Zentralpolen

The terms Central Poland or Central Poland (Polish: Polska Centralna/Polska Środkowa) do not designate a historical landscape in the narrower sense and in Polish usage mostly refer to the geographical center of Poland. In German usage, on the other hand, since the 1930s the term Central Poland refers predominantly to the territory of the former Kingdom of Poland (the so-called Congress Poland), which existed under Russian suzerainty from 1815 to 1918.

. In the early 20th century, her family settled for a few years in
deu. Kurland, lav. Kurzeme

Courland is a historical landscape in the west of Latvia. Courland is situated on the Baltic Sea and borders two other Latvian regions - Livonia and Semgalia - and Lithuania to the south. The major cities of Courland include Jelgava, Ventspils and Liepaja.

in present-day
deu. Lettland, eng. Latvian Republic, lav. Latvija

Latvia is a Baltic state in the north-east of Europe and is home to about 1.9 million inhabitants. The capital of the country is Riga. The state borders in the west on the Baltic Sea and on the states of Lithuania, Estonia, Russia and Belarus. Latvia has been a member of the EU since 01.05.2004 and only became independent in the 19th century.

, but returned to Volhynia before the First World War. Due to the
Russian Empire
rus. Росси́йская импе́рия, rus. Rossijskaja imperija, deu. Russisches Kaiserreich, deu. Russländisches Reich, deu. Russländisches Kaiserreich

The Russian Empire (also Russian Empire or Empire of Russia) was a state that existed from 1721 to 1917 in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and North America. The country was the largest contiguous empire in modern history in the mid-19th century. It was dissolved after the February Revolution in 1917. The state was regarded as autocratically ruled and was inhabited by about 181 million people.

anti-German policies at the time of World War I, Rosalie was deported to
rus. Саратов

The city of Saratov dates back to a fortress founded in 1590. It flourished as a trading city in the 19th century. From the 18th century and until the deportations during the World War II period, Volga Germans made up a large segment of Saratov's population. In 1915, moreover, numerous Germans, Jews, Hungarians, Austrians, and other groups from areas near the front were deported to Saratov because they were considered a potential threat to the war effort in their original places of residence.

on the
rus. Во́лга, deu. Wolga

The Volga River originates about 300 km northeast of Moscow in the Waldai Heights, a plateau in the European part of Russia. It is 3530 km long. At Astrakhan, the Volga fans out into the various arms of the Volga Delta and finally flows into the Caspian Sea.

in 1915. She moved back to Glückstal after the war, but was deported again in 1935 as part of Stalinist dekulakization, this time to
rus. Казахстан, deu. Kasachstan

Kazakhstan today is a landlocked Central Asian country located between Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. In the past, the region was ruled by various steppe peoples until the Kazakhs subordinated themselves to the Russian Tsarist Empire in several steps between 1731 and 1742. From 1936, Kazakhstan was part of the Soviet Union as the Kazakh SSR; since its disintegration in 1991, Kazakhstan has been independent.

, from where she was able to return home after four years. At the end of 1942, the occupying Nazi forces settled her in the German model colony of
deu. Hegewald

Hegewald was a German settlement area at the time of National Socialism, about 2 km south of Zhytomyr. After the expulsion of 15,000 Ukrainians, 27 settlements on the territory were settled with so-called "Volksdeutsche" (National Germans) in 1942.

south of 
ukr. Žytomyr, ukr. Житомир, rus. Житомир, rus. Žitomir, pol. Żytomierz

The city of Zhytomyr is located on the Teteriv River, a tributary of the Dnieper River, in present-day Ukraine. It was probably founded in the 7th century and elevated to a city in the 9th century. Over the centuries, Zhytomyr belonged to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the united Kingdom of Poland-Lithuania, and the Russian Empire. During the World War II, from 1941 to 1944, Zhytomyr was part of the German "Reichskommissariat Ukraine".
Today, Zhytomyr is a large city in Ukraine which had about 270,000 inhabitants in 2018. During the Russian-Ukrainian war, Zhytomyr has been bombed.

Due to the war in Ukraine, it is possible that this information is no longer up to date.

 in Volhynia. Model colonies were intended to serve the construction of settlement cores within the framework of a German colonization of Eastern Europe. The inhabitants of the villages in this colony had been deported shortly before. In 1944/45, Rosalie and her children first arrived in Perleberg in Brandenburg on refugee trains. The Soviet occupation authorities deported them from here once again, this time to a camp near
rus. Томск

The city of Tomsk is located in Siberia on the right bank of the Tom River. It was founded in 1604 as a fortress, although its military importance declined after about a hundred years, while the economic importance of the city increased visibly. In addition, Tomsk became an educational center of Siberia with several institutions of higher learning, most notably the first Siberian university founded in 1880. However, with the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway further south, Tomsk gradually lost its importance around 1900.

in Siberia, where Rosalie died in 1952. Most of her family now lives in North America or Germany.
At the center of this exemplary personal migration story is the Russian governorate of Volhynia. It was formed after the second and third partition of Poland and bordered the
Congress Poland
eng. Kingdom of Poland, deu. Königreich Polen, deu. Kongresspolen, pol. Królestwo Polskie

Congress Poland is the name given to the Kingdom of Poland, which was under Russian suzerainty from 1815 to 1916. After the three partitions and the final dissolution of the old noble Republic of Poland-Lithuania (1772, 1793, 1795), no Polish state had existed until the Napoleonic satellite state of the Duchy of Warsaw was established in 1807-1815. During the Congress of Vienna (1815) a Polish kingdom was reestablished. However, the Polish king was the Russian tsar and emperor in personal union.

Subsequently, there were several unsuccessful uprisings of the Polish population and elite against the Russian overlordship (e.g. November Uprising 1830/1831, January Uprising 1863/1864), which, however, only led to increasing repression, massive waves of emigration and flight (Great Emigration/Wielka Emigracja) and finally to the also administrative incorporation into the Russian state.

The picture shows a map from a school atlas published in Brunswick in 1871. Highlighted are the Prussian province of Prussia and (pale red) Congress Poland (CC 1.0).

to the west, the
Kiev Governorate
deu. Gouvernement Kiew, rus. Киевская губерния, rus. Kiewskaja gubernija

The Kiev Governorate was an administrative unit in the Russian Empire, on the territory of present-day Ukraine. It was dissolved in 1925 in the course of territorial reforms following the establishment of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic.

to the east, and the
Minsk Governorate
deu. Gouvernement Minsk, bel. Minskaja hubjernja, bel. Мінская губерня, rus. Минская губерния, rus. Minskaja gubernija

The Minsk Governorate was an administrative unit in the west of the Russian Empire. The governorate existed - with minor territorial changes - until 1921, lastly as part of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic founded in 1919.

to the north. Many of the German-speaking inhabitants of Volhynia moved from settlement areas in the Kingdom of Poland between the 1860s and the early 1880s, including Rosalie Scheming Hein's parents.2 In 1889, official statistics showed a population of just under 150,000 German speakers out of a total population of just under three million; by 1908, official statistics show that this number had risen to 210,000 people living in 800 colonies due to a natural population increase and despite a considerable emigration movement away from Volhynia. In the governorate, this group constituted the fourth largest after Ukrainian, Jewish and Polish populations, accounting for just under six percent of the population. However, their share of the population in Luzk, Zhytomyr, Volodymyr Volynskyi and Rivne counties stood at nine to twelve percent.3 The proper name "Wolhyniendeutsche" (Volhynia Germans), which is widespread today among the descendants of this group, but also in literature, was originally a foreign name. It is not used in this article because its genesis in the 1930s and 1940s is closely interwoven with “völkisch” ideas and, in particular, with the violent National Socialist population policies in Eastern Europe.4
German-speaking Volhynians in the Field of Tension of Anti-German and Racist Migration Policies
The complex ethnic mix in Volhynia could be easily upset by domestic and foreign political events. In fact, shortly after the settlement, tensions rose between the German speakers of Volhynia and the Russian state, where pan-Slavic thinking was gaining ground in the form of ethnic Russian nationalism. On this basis, a restriction of the rights of linguistic and religious minorities had already begun after the Polish uprising of 1863/64, culminating in the 1880s and affecting in particular the Polish-speaking, Jewish, but also German-speaking populations in the western governorates.5 In the debates of this period, security considerations increased in the face of increasing "alien land ownership" in the border regions, so that in the 1880s a series of laws were enacted that slowed down the influx and restricted the rights of settlers. This situation led to migration movements, which saw German-speaking Volhynians settle in Canada, Brazil, the
lat. Balticum, deu. Baltikum, deu. Baltische Staaten, deu. Baltische Provinzen

The Baltic States is a region in the north-east of Europe and is composed of the three states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Baltic States are inhabited by almost 6 million people.

, and
rus. Sibir, rus. Сиби́рь, deu. Sibirien

Siberia covers an area of 12.8 million square kilometers between the Urals, the Pacific Ocean, the North Polar Sea, China and Mongolia.The Russian conquest of Siberia began in 1581/82. At the time of the Enlightenment mainly a source of raw materials and space for trade with Asia, Siberia gained importance from the 19th century as a place for penal colonies and exiles. With the development of the Trans-Siberian Railway and steam navigation at the end of the 19th century, industrialization and thus new settlers came to Siberia. Further industrialization under Stalin was implemented primarily with the labor of Gulag prisoners and prisoners of war.

The map shows North Asia, centrally located Siberia. CIA World Factbook, edited by Veliath (2006) and Ulamm (2008). CC0 1.0.

, among other places. Rosalie Scheming Hein's life story is only one example of these voluntary and involuntary migrations.
The deterioration of living conditions in Volhynia occurred at a time when the Canadian government was opening up new areas in western Canada for immigration. At the same time, it deprived the indigenous population (First Nations) of their livelihood and restricted their settlement areas to reservations. In 1886, the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railroad was completed, encouraging settlement along the rail line. However, the Canadian government pursued a racist immigration policy. It largely excluded immigration from Asia with the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885, similarly to the United States, and favored immigration from northern and eastern Europe instead. Between 1896 and 1914 alone, about half a million people left the Russian and
deu. Österreich-Ungarn, deu. Donaumonarchie, deu. Doppelmonarchie, deu. Habsburgerreich, deu. Habsburgisches Reich, deu. Habsburgermonarchie, hun. Osztrák-Magyar Birodalom, eng. Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, eng. Austrian-Hungarian Empire

Austria-Hungary (Hungarian: Osztrák-Magyar Monarchia), also known as Imperial and Royal Hungary Monarchy, was a historical state in Central and Southeastern Europe that existed from 1867 to 1918.

deu. Rumänien, ron. România

Romania is a country in southeastern Europe with a population of almost 20 million people. The capital of the country is Bucharest. The state is situated directly on the Black Sea, the Carpathian Mountains and borders Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Ukraine and Moldova. Romania was established in 1859 from the merger of Moldova and Wallachia. Romania is home to Transylvania, the central region for the German minority there.

to settle in Canada. Around 44,000 German-speaking Eastern Europeans arrived during this period, which accounted for just under ten percent of the total number of immigrants. About half of these probably came from Volhynia.6 They founded settlements primarily in the newly opened prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.7
A good example of this is the emigration of Lutherans and Moravian brothers and sisters from Volhynia to two new settlements near Edmonton in Alberta, organized by Andreas Lilge. Lilge was born in 1851 in the German-speaking settlement of
Augustówek (Warszawa)
deu. Augustowok

Today Augustówek is located in the Warsaw city area.

deu. Warschau, eng. Warsaw

Warsaw is the capital of Poland and also the largest city in the country (population in 2022: 1,861,975). It is located in the Mazovian Voivodeship on Poland's longest river, the Vistula. Warsaw first became the capital of the Polish-Lithuanian noble republic at the end of the 16th century, replacing Krakow, which had previously been the Polish capital. During the partitions of Poland-Lithuania, Warsaw was occupied several times and finally became part of the Prussian province of South Prussia for eleven years. From 1807 to 1815 the city was the capital of the Duchy of Warsaw, a short-lived Napoleonic satellite state; in the annexation of the Kingdom of Poland under Russian suzerainty (the so-called Congress Poland). It was not until the establishment of the Second Polish Republic after the end of World War I that Warsaw was again the capital of an independent Polish state.

At the beginning of World War II, Warsaw was conquered and occupied by the Wehrmacht only after intense fighting and a siege lasting several weeks. Even then, a five-digit number of inhabitants were killed and parts of the city, known not least for its numerous baroque palaces and parks, were already severely damaged. In the course of the subsequent oppression, persecution and murder of the Polish and Jewish population, by far the largest Jewish ghetto under German occupation was established in the form of the Warsaw Ghetto, which served as a collection camp for several hundred thousand people from the city, the surrounding area and even occupied foreign countries, and was also the starting point for deportation to labor and extermination camps.

As a result of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising from April 18, 1943 and its suppression in early May 1943, the ghetto area was systematically destroyed and its last inhabitants deported and murdered. This was followed in the summer of 1944 by the Warsaw Uprising against the German occupation, which lasted two months and resulted in the deaths of almost two hundred thousand Poles, and after its suppression the rest of Warsaw was also systematically destroyed by German units.

In the post-war period, many historic buildings and downtown areas, including the Warsaw Royal Castle and the Old Town, were rebuilt - a process that continues to this day.

, where his family had lived for several generations. He was a skilled carpenter and additionally trained as a Lutheran preacher and teacher. With his wife Wilhelmine, he followed his brother Ludwig to Volhynia in 1878, where he became pastor at the parish of
deu. Heimthal, ukr. Yasenivka, ukr. Jaseniwka, ukr. Ясенівка, ukr. Stara Budy, ukr. Стара Буда
(Yasenivka), about 50 kilometers northwest of Zhytomyr.8  Although Lilge worked for the Lutheran Church, he followed closely the ideas of the Moravian Brethren and sought training as a pastor with them. After his application for training with the Moravian Brethren in Herrnhut/Germany was rejected, he went to the United States in 1881 and began studies at the German-language Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield, Illinois. However, due to theological disagreements, he discontinued his studies just one year later and returned to Volhynia.9  Here, he and numerous other Lutherans of the Heimthal parish transferred their allegiance to the Moravian Brethren. Within the Russian Empire, this religious group had to struggle against a number of repressive measures and was not recognized as an independent denomination even under pressure from the Lutheran Church.10  For this reason, Lilge and his family traveled to North America in 1892 to find a suitable place to relocate. He succeeded in gaining the support of the Canadian government for his plan, and in 1894, about 100 German-speaking Volhynian families emigrated from Heimthal to the two newly founded towns of Brüderheim (Bruederheim) and Brüderfeld (Bruederfeld) near Edmonton in Alberta.11  As a consequence of the establishment of other colonies in the region, Edmonton developed into a center of German-speaking Volhynians in Canada. This was the basis for a chain migration that was to last until after the Second World War and brought relatives and acquaintances of all generations from Volhynia to Canada. According to the former editor of the "Wandering Volhynians" Ewald Wuschke, the region around Edmonton currently has "the highest concentration of Germans from Poland and Volhynia worldwide".12  Today, Edmonton is home to the Historical Society of Germans from Poland and Volhynia.
After the abolition of slavery in 1888 and the founding of the first Brazilian Republic the following year, a racist "white immigration policy" (branqueamento/whitening) dominated, aimed at increasing the proportion of the population of European – preferably of Protestant – origin.13 Immigrants from Eastern Europe also accepted the invitation and increasingly moved to South America in the 1890s as part of what became known as "Brazil fever." Although some Volhynians subsequently returned to Europe because of the Brazilian government’s broken promises regarding land acquisition, several colonies of so-called "Teuto-Russos" were established in the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul.14 Here, a significant German-speaking population already existed, for example from the Hunsrück, but also from the Volga region. An example of a settlement of German-speaking Volhynians is the Guarani colony on the border with Argentina.15 It was established in the 1890s and still exists today. In the early 20th century, the colony attracted the attention of Lutheran authorities in Germany, as its pastors repeatedly approached German church authorities for financial and material support.16
Courland (Baltic)
As shown, the Russian government was interested in reducing the German-speaking population of Volhynia. At the same time, some Baltic German landowners worked to bolster the German-speaking population on their estates. By the end of the nineteenth century, the political and economic position of the landowners had visibly deteriorated. This development was intensified by the 1905 revolution. There was a shortage of farm workers caused by a rural exodus of the local, mostly Latvian-speaking population. The latter hoped for higher wages in the city than those offered by the large landowners, as well as for social advancement. As a possible solution to this plight, some Courland landowners considered the settlement of a loyal German-speaking population. The initiative for the settlement of German-speaking Volhynians came from three landowners who had been militant opponents of the 1905 revolution and were already thinking in terms of German nationalist categories.17 After plans to rebuild the areas devastated by the revolution with the help of money and settlers from the German Reich failed, the landowners fell for the idea of settling German speakers from Volhynia here. This had the advantage that no resistance from the government was to be feared, since the German speakers of Russia had proven themselves to be largely loyal to the state during the revolution. Personal connections also played a role, as many Lutheran pastors of Volhynia had previously studied together with Baltic Germans or even originated from there. We know about one group of German-speaking Volhynians who migrated from
pol. Malowana, rus. Malevana, ukr. Мальоване

Mal'ovane is a village in present-day Ukraine, located about 30 km southeast of Lutsk.

Due to the war in Ukraine, it is possible that this information is no longer up to date.

(30 kilometers south of Luzk) to Courland (Russian: Малевана; Polish: Malowana; present-day Ukrainian: Mal'ovane or Мальоване). The migrants succeeded in "winning over a group of rich Czech peasants to buy the farms of the migrants (...). The Russian governor-general did nothing to prevent the Czechs from buying the places, seeing them as Slavic brothers, so they paid... and the settlers were able to leave."18 Additional incentives, such as payment of travel costs, the promise of greater land ownership and social advancement, ultimately persuaded about 10,000 Volhynians to migrate internally to Courland, some 900 kilometers away – among them Rosalie Scheming Hein's family.19
From the 1860s onward, Siberia gradually became a popular destination for Russian internal migration and was both a notorious destination for deportation and banishment, but also a promising, freer country to which many peasants were drawn. The Russian government, like the politicians in Canada and the USA, was also interested in limiting immigration from the Chinese Empire. The number of European resettlers to Siberia increased, especially from the mid-1880s, and reached 409,000 annually in the last eight years before the World War, partly due to the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway.20 With Stolypin's reforms, the colonization of Siberia also achieved new significance because new settlers were offered 50 desjatines of land – about 55 hectares – by the government at affordable prices, and were also granted tax privileges, favorable loans, and relief from military service.21 As a result, from the 1890s onwards, smaller and larger groups of German-speaking Volhynians made their way there and founded colonies on the Amur and around Tomsk, for example.22 Some of their descendants still live in Siberia or emigrated to Germany in the 1990s as ethnic Germans – among them descendants of Rosalie Scheming Hein. Thousands of German-speaking Volhynians who were willing to migrate thus made a conscious decision before the First World War against a possible emigration to North America or Prussia. Here, the Royal Settlement Commission for Posen and West Prussia endeavored to increase the proportion of German speakers as part of its anti-Polish policies at the time. It also courted German speakers in the Russian Empire, largely unsuccessfully.23
Thirty Years of Forced Migration: 1915-1945
While Volhynians were still able to make migration decisions relatively independently in the period before World War I, a thirty-year era of forced migrations began with the First World War.
The beginning of World War I ushered in a period of extreme nationalist, anti-German sentiment in the Russian Empire. In February 1915, the tsar enacted the so-called liquidation laws, by which large sections of the population of "German, Austrian and Hungarian descent" who were living in the border governorates were forced to sell their property far below its value. About 70,000 Volhynians were subsequently deported to Siberia and southeastern Russia, including Rosalie's family.24 Alfred Krüger, for example, reported how in early July 1915, as the front approached, his family set off on a six-month odyssey in horse-drawn wagons, first to
deu. Kiew, eng. Kiev, eng. Kyiv, pol. Kijów

Kiev is located on the Dnieper River and has been the capital of Ukraine since 1991. According to the oldest Russian chronicle, the Nestor Chronicle, Kiev was first mentioned in 862. It was the main settlement of Kievan Rus' until 1362, when it fell to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, becoming part of the Polish-Lithuanian noble republic in 1569. In 1667, after the uprising under Cossack leader Bogdan Chmel'nyc'kyj and the ensuing Polish-Russian War, Kiev became part of Russia. In 1917 Kiev became the capital of the Ukrainian People's Republic, in 1918 of the Ukrainian National Republic, and in 1934 of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Kiev was also called the "Mother of all Russian Cities", "Jerusalem of the East", "Capital of the Golden Domes" and "Heart of Ukraine".
Kiev is heavily contested in the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Due to the war in Ukraine, it is possible that this information is no longer up to date.

and from there by train to a village near
rus. Оренбу́рг, kaz. Orynbor, kaz. Орынбор

The city of Orenburg is located 1230 km southeast of Moscow on the border between Europe and Asia and is the capital of the oblast Orenburg. From 1920 to 1925, its territory belonged to the Kyrgyz/ Kazakh Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, a predecessor state of today's Kazakhstan.

at the edge of the
Ural Mountains
rus. Ура́льские го́ры, deu. Uralgebirge, rus. Урал, deu. Ural

The Ural Mountains extend more than 2,500 kilometers in a north-south direction between the East European and Siberian land plains. It has been defined as the border between Europe and Asia since the 18th century.

The map shows North Asia, the Ural Mountains are highlighted. CIA World Factbook, edited by Veliath (2006), Ulamm (2008) and Copernico (2022). CC0 1.0.

, a "Bashkir village, on the border of Siberia."25 One consequence of this collective deportation experience was a growing sense of togetherness among the German-speaking Volhynians. This was expressed, among other things, in the "Wolhynierlied" (Volhynian Song), which was written during the time of the deportations.
Those of the German-speaking population who had remained in Volhynia until the advance of the Austro-Hungarian army and who had to flee from the combat zone that existed here for an extended period of time or from the destroyed villages were able to take advantage of the help of the "Fürsorgeverein für deutsche Rückwanderer" (Welfare Association for German Repatriates) in Berlin, which was supported by the German Reich and temporarily evacuated 60,000 people mostly from Poland and Volhynia to Germany.26  The Brest-Litovsk peace dictate of March 1918 provided in an additional treaty for the right of deported Germans to return to Germany, but had no significant impact before the end of the war.27
The end of the First World War and the following fighting between Poland and the Red Army initially made it possible for the Volhynians to return. However, quite a few found their former homes destroyed or had to fight for their expropriated farms to be returned to them. Moreover, Volhynia was now divided between Poland and the
Soviet Union
deu. Sowjetunion, rus. Sovetskiy Soyuz, rus. Советский Союз

The Soviet Union (SU or USSR, Russian: Союз Советских Социалистических Республик (СССР) was a state in Eastern Europe, Central and Northern Asia existing from 1922 to 1991. The USSR was inhabited by about 290 million people and formed the largest territorial state in the world, with about 22.5 million square km. The Soviet Union was a socialist soviet republic with a one-party system.

, so many preferred to emigrate either to the German Reich or to America. The “Verein Deutscher Wolhynier” (Association of German Volhynians) and the “Zentralkomitee der Deutschen aus Russland“ (Central Committee of Germans from Russia) provided financial and logistical assistance for emigration.28 This period saw an increased interest in the German speakers of Eastern Europe in general and from Volhynia in particular. Within the framework of a German nationalist “völkisch” movement, politicians used the German-speaking population of Eastern Europe as a basis for a revisionist foreign policy that assumed a German civilizing mission in Eastern Europe. The German-speaking Volhynians were at the center of a propaganda campaign that reached its peak during the Third Reich. As a result, the term "Wolhyniendeutsche" (Volhynian Germans) came to be used for this group.29
Following this logic, the Second World War ushered in the end of the German-speaking settlements in Volhynia. Shortly after the beginning of the war, Hitler appointed Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler as "Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood." In a programmatic document of 1940 under the title "Menscheneinsatz," the "repatriation of ethnic Germans and Reich Germans from abroad" was proclaimed for the "shaping of new settlement areas" and the "elimination of harmful influences of non-native population segments in the Empire."30 These "repatriations" led to the forced migration of about 67,000 Volhynians between 1940 and 1944, the majority of whom were settled in the annexed Polish
Reichsgau Wartheland
pol. Okręg Warcki, pol. Okręg Rzeszy Kraj Warty, deu. Warthegau, deu. Wartheland, deu. Reichsgau Posen

The Reichsgau Wartheland, also known as Warthegau, was a Nazi administrative district in occupied Poland that existed from 1939 to 1945. The Reichsgau was in large parts congruent with the historical landscape of Wielkopolska and had 4.5 million inhabitants. The capital was today's Poznań.

The almost six-year occupation period was characterized by the brutal persecution and murder of the Polish and Jewish population on the one hand and the targeted resettlement of German-speaking parts of the population on the other.

Image: „Map of the administrative division of the German Eastern Territories and the General Government of the occupied Polish territories as of March 1940“. Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe – Institute of the Leibniz Association, map collection, inventory no. K 32 II L 43, edited by Copernico (2022). CC0 1.0.

after the deportation of the original inhabitants, but some of whom remained until the end of the war in transitional camps.31 Thus, the Volhynians had become an important instrument of the forcible transformation of East Central Europe envisaged in the "General Plan East" and a plaything of National Socialist nationality policy. The glorified propaganda trek of the covered wagons on their "Heimkehr" (“return home” – the title of a propaganda film) to the "Greater German Reich" became the harbinger and symbol of the great flight movements, deportations and expulsions of the East and East-Central European population in the 1940s.
The Germans who settled in Eastern Volhynia, like Rosalie, were initially resettled in "German settlement centers" after the German attack on the Soviet Union. These centers were to become nuclei of a future large-scale German development of the western Soviet Union.32 Between October 1943 and May 1944, they too embarked on large journeys on foot to Wartheland. Around 44,600 people were affected.33
Volhynians were again affected by forced migration only a few years after their settlement in Wartheland. When the front approached in 1944/1945, they were mostly evacuated to the west or fled on their own. Their forced migration came to an end only after 1945, when they were finally able to settle in one of the two German states or again overseas – after they had been forced to stay for long periods of time in transitional camps or on farms. Those who were not able to flee in time or who were identified as "Wolhyniendeutsche" (Volhynian Germans) by official authorities in the Soviet occupation zone had to reckon with being deported to Kazakhstan or Siberia, just like Rosalie.34
Today, the descendants of the German-speaking Volhynians form a global diaspora which, despite different migration paths, is often still aware of its origins in Volhynia. These groups have organized themselves in associations, as part of a transnational community, especially in North America and Germany. In addition, the Volhynian Resettlement Museum in Linstow/Mecklenburg hosts exhibitions and other events and thereby keeps the memory of the history of the German-speaking Volhynians alive.35
English translation: William Connor