Odessa, a city located 25 miles northeast of the mouth of the Dniester River on Odessa Bay and the shore of the Black Sea, Ukraine, USSR, had a population of 604,000 in 1948. Odessa was founded by a Tatar chief, was later held by the Poles and Turks, and became Russian in 1789, the year during which the first Mennonites moved to the Ukraine. The first German colonies in the region of Odessa were established in 1803 primarily by immigrants coming from South Germany, among whom were many Pietists. At the beginning of the 20th century Odessa had a German population of 12,000 and a number of German organizations, schools, and churches. In the immediate vicinity of Odessa were the German settlements of Bessarabia and Liebental. Odessa became a German cultural center far beyond the immediate German settlements. Here Louis Nietzsche founded the Odessaer Zeitung in 1863 and the Neuer Haus- und Landwirtschafts-Kalender in 1865, which were read all over the Ukraine and in other parts of Russia. There were a number of other publishing and printing enterprises in Odessa. The Mennonites had several books and publications printed here. Odessa was also a very significant export and import and trading center not only for the German population of Russia but also for Russia in general.
The "Fürsorge-Komitee" (Guardians' Committee) of the foreign colonists in southern regions of Russia was located in Odessa from 1821 to 1871, when it dissolved (see also Government of Mennonites in Russia). This was one of the chief attractions for Mennonites to visit Odessa, although their settlements were located some distance from the city. Starting around 1900 Mennonites frequently attended the University of Odessa. Under Communism the German cultural enterprises of Odessa suffered severely and were to a large extent discontinued. During World War II the German population of Odessa was evacuated.
Handhuch des Deutschtums im Auslande. Berlin, 1906: 183 ff.
Neuer Haus- und Landwirtschafts-Kalender (1913): 137.
Cite This Article
Krahn, Cornelius. "Odessa (Ukraine)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 26 May 2018. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Odessa_(Ukraine)&oldid=76548.
Krahn, Cornelius. (1959). Odessa (Ukraine). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 May 2018, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Odessa_(Ukraine)&oldid=76548.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 18. All rights reserved.
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