War Cards (Kriegs- Karten)
Germans from Ukraine - Exhibit 3 (Part 3 of 3)
Franz Joseph in 1915
Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary,
Croatia, and King of Bohemia
Exhibit created by Lani Day
Curated by Sebastian Carreras & Minerva Bloom
Original Photos by F.J. Marik, Smichow, 1916.
The migration of Germans into Volhynia (as of 2013 covering northwestern Ukraine from a short distance west of Kiev to the border with Poland) occurred under significantly different conditions than those going to other parts of Russia. By the end of the 19th century Volhynia had over 200,000 German settlers. Their migration began at the encouragement of local noblemen, often Polish landlords, who wanted to develop their significant land-holdings in the area. The Germans in Volhynia were scattered about in over 1400 villages. Though the population peaked in 1900, many Germans had already begun leaving Volhynia in the late 1880s for North and South America.
World War I was the first time Russia went to war against Germany since the Napoleonic era, and Russian Germans were quickly suspected of having enemy sympathies. The Germans living in the Volhynia area were deported to the German colonies in the lower Volga river in 1915 when Russia started losing the war. Many Russian Germans were exiled to Siberia by the Tsar's government as enemies of the state - generally without trial or evidence. In 1916, an order was issued to deport the Volga Germans to the east as well, but the Russian Revolution prevented this from being carried out.