We still know very little about the Filberts that remained in Russia after the August I and August II families left. Over the years, and in part because of this website, we have had several that left Russia in more recent times contact us, sharing some of their stories. Here we will talk some of stories from the following family members:
Some European Cousins
- Jana Filbert
- Igor Filbert and
- Rüdiger Swetlitschkin
I have been contacted some of our other distant Filbert relatives but have the most information from those above.
Jana Filbert's story is most intriguing. I started communicating with Jana while she was still a university student in Germany.What follows is a year 2004 communication from Jana:
"I do not know how well you are
informed about the other historical course the Volga-German, therefore, I
describe everything surely in general. From stories I know that the life the
Volga-German has developed rather well. Many had a house, work etc that is they
had a relatively nice life. Of course there were problems like famine over and
over again, which is why my great grandparents had left for the Volga region
for a while and returned only after some years. Then the time of the repression
came under Stalin. The well-to-do people were expropriated and in addition of
the belonged biggest part also Germans, because they were rather diligent and
were disciplined. This led to the fact that in 1941 whole villages were destroyed
and the inhabitants were deported to
Kazakhstan and Siberia. Reason for it was the danger that the Germans could cooperate with Hitler and therefore Russia in the war would be endangered. Nevertheless, this was rather a pretext than one true reason. At the time my grandpa was 8 years old and can describe still very well. From this time the history of the Germans also stops as a group and the culture and language will forget more and more. The deserted German villages were taken either by Russians and then were inhabited or were simply burned down. My great grandmother and her two children came to Kazakhstan. In this place there was almost nothing, because there was only steppe. They could also not take really many things with themselves. Another problem was the language, because it could up to this time no Russian. Furthermore my great grandpa and his father became in the "Trutarmee", i.e. in a labor camp drawn, where from they also never came again. A year later my great grandma also had to go in the Trutarmee where she had to work to 1956 hard. Two children remained only. A Russian woman worried about the children and created it also in such a way that they did not get lost in an orphanage. Since, otherwise, my great grandmother would never again have found them. Till 1956 the Germans from the places might not leave and weekly had to announce themselves to a central office, i.e. they were treated like prisoners. In 1966 my grandparents settled, for example, with her three children to Kirghizia, because the climatic relations were simply better where we also lived up to our departure. My sister and I are also born near the capital. Since to evacuate after the permission from Kazakhstan, many Germans left her home towns. Many wanted to Germany or to the Volga, but this was not possible as everybody knows. One also did the attempt to rebuild the autonomous Volga republic, however, this has not succeeded to this day. Even if in 1956, i.e. after the death of Stalin, the German had got many right-hand side, had to suffer, nevertheless, from the results. They forgot the German language and her culture, because it was not permitted them in the general public to speak German. There were also further discriminations. My parents still could from her parents German, the next generation has never learned it. One learned Russian as a mother tongue and therefore also her culture. However, that does not signify which one had forgotten the German or had forgotten. There are different people who stand in addition or also not. And after the breakdown of the Soviet Union many have emigrated to Germany and hope here to be recognized as Germans. Of course the time for the Germans in Russia was not the best. Now in spite of all one does not hate Russia and the people for it not, at least I. However, this lies possibly with the fact that I have differently experienced this, than my great grandparents, for example."
Jana has been able to trace her family back to Johann Georg Filbert, the second oldest of the five brothers who were among the original settlers of Schilling. Her great-great-grandfather was Johann Peter Filbert, born in 1878 or 79 and killed by the Russian army in 1938. Her Johann Peter Filbert had married Maria Catharina Foos of Rosenthal, Russia. Her great grandfather was Peter Filbert, born in 1902 in the Krazny-Kut, Samara Province of
Russia (probably our neu-Schilling) and died in a Russian labor camp on 29 August 1943. Her grandfather was Viktor Filbert, born 31 February 1933. He was placed in a camp in Kazakhstan as she mentions above.
It is evident that the August I and August II families that left the Volga for North America had it much, much better!
Igor Filbert's story is somewhat similar to Jana's, but we have yet to connect him to specific individuals within our family tree. Like Jana's ancesters, his were forcably removed from the Volga region and exiled into labor camps in Siberia. His grandfather was born 7 November 1926 so would have been almost 15 when exiled. When he was around 30, his grandfather was able to relocate from Siberia to Kazakhstan and later a part of the big family, like Jana's, moved to Kirgistan. The whole family group including grandfather Ernst and grandmother Ida Schledowitz; father Viktor and mother Nina (Wagaizewa) then immigrated to Germany. Grandfather Ernst's father was Friedrich Filbert (born in 1898) and Friedrich's brother was Karl Filbert (as on my father's birth certificate). Igor's wife (Chantelle Nana Alexandra) is also a descendant of Volga Germans.
We have tried to find Friedrich and Karl's connection to the family but have not been able to get a match...but we are still looking. Before Igor's grandfather died recently, he tried to remember but he was suffering from dementia and could only recall that he was from Schilling in the Volga region. unfortunately, there were more than one daughter colonies of the original Schilling and we don't have information from them all...but we gain information every year!
Like so many of the Volga Germans, Igor has worked hard to become educated and now works for the international consulting firm KPG which will probably give him considerable opportunity for travel as they have offices around the globe.
Igor Filbert with Daughter Chantelle
Of all our European cousins to contact me, the one to which we are most closely related is Rüdiger Swetlitschkin, a medical doctor that practices in the Nieder Olm, Germany area. His great-grandfather was Alexander Filbert, brother of our great-grandfather August I. Alexander was born 6 March 1852, some 8 years after August I. Instead of immigrating to North America, Alexander's family relocated to the Astrachan, Russia near the Caspian Sea. Rüdiger's grandmother, Elisabeth Filbert, born 7 October 1887, daughter of Alexander and
Catarina Margaretha Loas, was born in the Volga colony of Steelman but relocated with her family to Astrachan; probably after her father died in in Steelman sometime in 1900. His father's brother was killed by a land-mine at age 16.
Rüdiger's father, Gregor, was in the Russian army from 1938 and was captured by the German army in 1941. He was subsequently captured in Italy by the Allied Forces. He did not return to Russia...obvious reasons. Unfortunately, Gregor's mother Elisabeth (see photo at right) died in Astrachan, Russia on 6 January 1958 without knowing that her eldest son, Gregor had survived the war and indeed had married and had a family; Alexander born in 1949 and Rüdiger, born 19 May 1953. So, Rüdiger was born and grew up in Germany.
Elisabeth (Filbert) Swetlitschkin
Rüdiger mentioned that two of Elisabeth's sisters now have family in Germany. He mentions a Lydia (Filbert) Emig. Another sister married a man with the surname "Butter", probably in Astrachan. The Butters now live in Germany and Rüdiger maintains contact.
Rüdiger also has a sister, born in 1960 after Grandmother Elisabeth died, living in Greece.
I have also had contact with a Konrad Filbert, son of David Filbert born in Alt-Schilling i n 1919. David had a
brother, Alexander, who came to Germany about 10 years ago. Both, his father and uncle Alexander died, but the children of Alexander are living in Germany/Duisburg.
Finally, there is a large Filbert contingent still remaining in Denmark and an internet search will locate some. Also, visit the genealogy site giving information on the initial Filberts in Denmark. It looks like they include not only Johann Peter and his wife, Anna Maria, but six children as well who did not immigrate to the Russian Volga.