About the Germans

German WomanThe Germans first made their way to Volhynia in 1771 when 30 individual families settled in the Zhitomir region. They then came in three waves. The first was in 1816, the second in 1834 and the third in 1861/62. The latter sparked by the Tsar’s (Alexander II) liberation of the serfs in Russia, marks the beginning of the mass settlements of Germans in Volhynia, eventually numbering nearly 200,000. The third wave of Germans settled primarily in a triangular area, roughly from Zhitomir, north to Koreston, southwest to Nowograd-Volhynsk and back to Zhitomir. The greatest concentration was in the Pulin and Heimtal districts. Most of settlers were farmers from Poland, particularly from the area around Warsaw, Kalisch and Lodz, and East Prussia.

The mass settlements continued until about 1875 when anti-German feelings of theTsar and the government began to surface. This made it more difficult to acquire land and required the men to serve in the Russian army. The result was that the settlement process was slowed down and many Germans left for the Baltic States, Canada, the United States, South America and Australia. Today there are Germans from Volhynia scattered all over the world, with the greatest concentration being in western Canada.