Village Report for Osterwick,
Chortitza Colony, Russia, 1942

| Village Name and Location | Population Count |
| Count of Mixed Marriages | Germans in Mixed Marriages |
| Origins | Education | Cultural Life |
| Health and Welfare | Church Records |
| Economy | Economic and Political Hardships in the Bolshevik Era |


German: Osterwick, earlier Neu-Osterwick Russian: Pavlovka During Bolshevik era: Pavlovka
Region: Chortitza (12 km)
District: Zaporozhye (28 km)
Military region: Dnjepropetrovsk (90 km)
Postal Station: Chortitza (12 km)
Train Station: Kanzerovka (7.5 km)
Founded: 1812


Germans Ukrainians Russians Jews Others Total
pre Jun '41 now pre Jun '41 now pre Jun '41 now pre Jun '41 now pre Jun '41 now pre Jun '41 now
Persons 1328 1191 313 264 - - 22 - - - 1663 1455
Families 307 300 67 54 - - 6 - - - 380 354

Number of households with no household [male] head? 93

Census of Germans in the following years:
1912 - 1,500 Germans
1918 - 1,550 Germans
1922 - 1,475 Germans
1926 - 1,365 Germans
1930 - 1,310 Germans
1941 - 1,328 Germans
1942 - 1,191 Germans


24 couples
Non-German males in mixed marriages:
Non-German females in mixed marriages:
Jews in mixed marriages:
Number of children from mixed marriages1:
21 boys
22 girls
43 total


German men:2 217
German women:2 339
German children:3592 (310 boys and 282 girls)


In 1789, emigrants from the Danzig lowlands settled the Chortitza Colony (a parcel of 42.235 dessiatines). The first eight villages were settled by 228 families. This choice [establishing new villages] was partly due to the continuing arrival of new immigrants from Prussia and partly due to movement from existing overpopulated villages which developed one right after another.

A group of 118 families immigrated from Germany in 1797. Because they did not have enough crown land, the government bought a parcel of land from Noble Miklaschevsky. In 1803 they first built Burwalde and Nieder-Chortitza on this parcel. In 1809 they founded Kronsthal and in 1812, Neu-Osterwick (today known as Osterwick).


Language in recent years:

Until 1937 the language of instruction was German in all villages, for all subjects. After that, it became Russian, and German was only taught as a foreign language for two hours a week, and only from grade 5 and up. Before grade 5, no German is taught.

School Grades, Records of Attendance, instructional materials, classrooms, subjects taught, etc.

Before World War II, there was a village and a Zentralschule, but in the Soviet era, there was only a 10-grade school [equivalent to entrance to university]. At that time, the requirement was to complete grade 8, but as of the new school year, only the completion of grade 7 was required.

The Zentralschule was founded in 1912 with four advanced grades, to extend the basic education of six grades in the village schools. The school year was September 1 to June 31. Everyone had to go to school from the ages of 7 to 14 years. In the harsh weather, some children had to stay at home because they did not have shoes or warm clothes. In spring, many of the older children were not at school because they had to help at home. Teaching equipment and textbooks were not available in the winter. The first five grades were taught in two shifts. Subjects ...

Enrolled children:

129 boys and 155 girls (284 children in total).


8 German and 0 non-German - 8 (6 males and 2 females)

In spring all teachers had to go to Chortitza to take a teacher's course that was taught by a German instructor. Four of them currently are in Germany, taking teaching sources.

Number of Illiterate Germans:

An old man of 73 and one old woman of 80 years.

Language at Home:

German, especially low German


Cultural Institutions:

Sunday School and church


In Soviet times, there was a library in the Club filled with Bolshevik books (mostly written in Russian), however, only the books of fiction were eagerly read. All these books were destroyed. Currently we have 18 issues of German-Ukrainian newspapers that are being read. It is important to establish a good library for the coming winter.

Projectors and Associated Equipment:

A projector was on hand, but at the end [of the Soviet era], it was taken by force to Chortitza and destroyed.

Existence and Nature of Electrical Power: 220 volts - although interrupted now


Until the closing of the churches in 1935, there were always church choirs. The Bolsheviks tried to establish many choirs, but since they were required to sing Bolshevik songs, they had trouble getting the villagers interested. At this time, only church music is given any dedicated attention.


At this time, there is a brass choir with 18 different instruments. They usually practice in winter and perform at festive occasions.

Physical Education and Social Life:

Besides that available at school, there is no physical education. Earlier there were youth groups, but the youth have stopped meeting. The teacher, Mr. Friesen, intended to revive these groups this winter. The social life between old people suffers under the collective Russian system.


Poverty and lack of warm clothing is the reason for poor turnout for gatherings such as weddings, funerals, etc. Before, there was a transmitting station by which the houses were serviced.


Number of Doctors, Nurses and Midwives:

There is no hospital in the village, but the nearest one is 12 kilometres away in Chortitza. There used to be a maternity hospital clinic here, but since August of last year, it has been closed. All hospital furnishings were appropriated. A Ukrainian is working as a nurse practitioner and there is one midwife working as well.

Health Status:

Right now there are some malaria cases. There is an outbreak of cases every summer and then there are also cases of trachoma among the children.


Osterwick is in the fortunate position of having all the church books from 1812 when it was founded. Until 1931 they were recording all the church events. Besides the church books, there are also some Registrar's books (known as diaries in the Soviet era).


Land in hectares:

3,504.35 hectares in 1918
Today, 3,005 hectares are in the Collective
100 hectares [taken to suggest the average parcel or farm size]

Number of farms in 1918:

30 complete farms of 65 dessiatines each. Of these, some were divided. In addition, there are those without land (so-called "Ahnwohner") and for these people 1,200 dessiatines were bought from Miklaschevsky.

Average farmer's amount of land:

Their parcels are .3 hectares each for garden and home.

Food Supply for People and Livestock:

At this time, people are not really very hungry, but bread is scarce. Those who do not have bread, can obtain a monthly ration of 9.5 kg of flour. Once we even had 200 gr. of butter per person. 400 gr. of oil per person has been promised, but so far it has not been provided. Out of 300 families, only 119 families have a cow. Even now, 50% of Germans don't have a pig.

The cows are now out at pasture where there is good feed due to plentiful rains, but the cows didn't fare so well in the winter.

Water Supply:

Nearly every homestead has a well, but in the whole village only two have good drinking water. For the animals, most are adequate. In addition, there are two ponds from which the animals can drink.

Livestock Inventory

In the Collective Privately Owned Animals abducted in the war
a. horses 198 - -
b. cows 38 118 80
c. sheep 118 68 300
d. pigs 30 150 60
e. goats - 83 -
f. beehives - 10 -

Inventory of Fowl:

There are about 2,600 hens, geese and ducks

Fruit Orchards, Vegetable Gardens, Vineyards, and other land under cultivation:

Nature of Homes in the Village:

Three quarters of the homes are made out of mud/clay, the others are made out of wood and brick. They are roofed with clay tiles or shingles, but nearly 20% have thatched roofs. The houses and farms are in very bad condition; the fences are missing in most cases, and even the beautiful trees were felled during the Bolshevik era. Still, one wooden house was constructed by the Bolshevik Regime and given to the settlers.

In 1863, 61 farms were destroyed by fire.

The majority of homes only have two rooms.

Public Buildings and Furnishings:

Two school houses - one of which is still a school; the other is a teacher's residence. They have been renovated every year, but still are in bad condition. The Zentralschule [a secondary school mostly for boys] was built in 1911 and another in 1904. A third was built in 1863 and is now in use a church. The Collective central administration building previously was Mr. Schultz's farm machinery factory.

Industry and Production:

Road Conditions:

Osterwick is like most of the villages in Chortitza Colony in that it is located in a valley. This is because the founding settlers were from the lowlands where they had been accustomed to growing vegetables. Because of the lowlands, however, the streets are flooded in the spring and fall, resulting in difficult passage during those seasons.

Farm Machinery Inventory:

Average daily agricultural production in 200 pound unites/hectare:

< '18 '31 '32 '33 '34 '35 '36 '37 '38 '39 '40 '41
Wheat 14 24 11 13 5 8 18 9 10 18 12 14
Barley 16 18 7 10 6 9 15 10 11 15 12 13
Oats 18 19 9 9 5 6 12 8 9 16 11 12
Rye 10 20 8 7 4 5 12 7 8 14 8 8
Corn 25 22 16 18 12 13 20 18 19 25 25 25

Rations and Cash Paid per Workday:

'31 '32 '33 '34 '35 '36 '37 '38 '39 '40 '41
Grain (kg) 3,000 200 4,000 800 3,000 5,500 2,600 1,200 3,150 1,200 1,500
Potatoes (kg) 0 0 0 0 0 1,000 300 0 0 0 1,000
Cash: Rubels .00 .00 .30 .24 .39 2.50 1.87 2.15 1.52 2.19 1.02



Youths (< 18)000

Banished and not seen again:

'29 '30 '31 '32 '33 '34 '35 '36 '37 '38 '39 '40 '41 Total
Men 1 15 - - - 1 - - 21 17 1 5 5 66
Women - 6 - - - - - - - - - - - 6
Youths (<18) - 9 - - - - - - - - - - - 9
Total 1 30 - - - 1 - - 21 17 1 5 5 81

Murdered or Abducted:

Murdered by Machno Army (1918-June 1941) 3 0 0 3
Murdered in World War II 0 0 0 0
Abducted since June 1941 57 68 88 203
Abducted and Returned 28 24 25 77


  1. The arrests were conducted in accordance with an overall scheme, usually followed by imprisonment. It started with a search of the house, usually at night. The people who consisted of xxx were from the NKVD and accompanied by the head of the City Council and village activitists as witnesses. They were not afraid to put things that they liked in their own pockets. My brother, Johan Friesen, lost his silver watch through such a house search. The children were not awakened without having a chance to say good bye to their victims were taken away. You can get more information from my very old uncle, Johan Epp, Chortitza; teacher Johann Rempel, Einlage; Emil Forrer; and Otto Fischer, Osterwick. They all fell into the hands of the NKVD.

  2. John Nikolai Harder was a glazier and accused by Party organizer Skatchko of throwing flour on the windows while he was repairing the steam mill windows. He was not guilty. After the usual house search, on 18 February 1938 he was jailed. Later on, people who witnessed the arrest said he was so mistreated that he died 26 October 1938. The family heard the news of this death only on 20 December 1938 when they asked the police his whereabouts in order to bring him some food. Because of their request, his clothing was returned, but stiff with blood and pus. On 8 July 1938, his son, Nicholai Harder, also was abducted and never heard from again.

  3. The Brigade leader, Johann Jakob Berg, was arrested for the first time in 1928, in 1930 for the second time and in 1933 for the third time. He came before the judge on 7 June 1937 and was arrested a fourth time, never to be seen again. he was 59 years old. Most people (30 ) were abducted in 1930 when the Collective started. Then, In 1937 and 1938 as the Kommisar (high ranking official) Jeschov terrorized and another 38 persons were abducted. Another 11 were abducted in the war. Of the displaced persons, the oldest was Johan Isaak Klassen (b. 1866) while the youngest was Johan Johan Rempel (b. 1923), just 18 at the time. Overall, there were 81 persons abducted between 1928 and 18 August 1941. Among them were six women and nine minors.

Additional description of the events directly before and during the war until freed by the German troops:

On 16 August the news came that we had to leave the village of Osterwick the next day, although the plan to eradicate the villagers had been made two weeks earlier. On 16 August the courtyard of the Village Council building was full of militia and Red Army Commissars. On Dnieper Island there were only the sky, minors, Red Army soldiers, combines and livestock. We were lucky the Jews took control of the Dnieper Bridge until 1:00pm on 18 August. Then, the Jews turned it over to the Germans. The panic was so great, that many Germans had an opportunity to disappear. When the battle of the Bridge occurred, I was slightly wounded, but my 16 year old son was seriously wounded and my 15 year old pupil was fatally shot in the head. I and my son were taken to the German field hospital to recuperate. I got well quickly, but my son got well slowly. He had shrapnel in his lungs as well as many other wounds. Apart from that, we suffered a lot because of the terrible noise of the bridge exploding. At 9:30pm on 18 August the Dnieper Bridge was blown up. After 10 minutes, the Reds blew up the dam at close range as well.

On the islands, we were completely robbed by the Ukrainian residents. The same happened in Osterwick. Some German families dared to go to neighbouring Ukrainian estates where they hid in the corn and sunflower fields. Some were found and mistreated, e.g. Franz Rempel and Heinrich Wiens.

Minister for the Occupied Territory, Dr. Stumpp
Teacher Heinrich Friesen
Mayor P. Giesbrecht
District Commissioner, Gerhard Fast

1. These children are included in the current population counts above.

2. In mixed marriages, only the German partner is counted; the children are included above.

3. All persons 18+ are counted among the men and women, even if unmarried.

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Translation by Dora Epp and Anna G. Rempel
Transcription, editing and html by Judith Rempel
01 April 1997