Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tweiback

One of the books I got while at the conference was Nettie's Journey (by Adele Dueck, Coteau Books). This book is set about a decade earlier than mine and tells the story of the chaos after the Russian Revolution. The story centers around a Mennonite family in an area south of Kiev who later immigrates to Saskatchewan in the 1920s. (My own book focuses on a Lutheran/Baptist family in an area known as Volhynia west of Kiev.)

Anyway, while reading this very interesting book last week, something surreal happened. The character, Nettie, is eating tweiback (a Mennonite food described in the book's handy-dandy glossary as two buns baked on top of each other) when my daughter's friend shows up and offers me a gift from her Mennonite grandmother ... tweiback. I couldn't believe the coincidence. Hers were wrapped in the middle with beet leaves. They tasted totally delicious and I shared some at the nursing home.

I wonder if Adele offered tweiback at her book launch? I'm re-reading my book now trying to decide what to offer at my own. Linden blossom tea, perhaps?

Sandra Birdsell's book Der Russlaender also talks about the violent chaos in the Russian countryside after the October Revolution. When I first read that book I thought that was my mom's story, I mean ... really... how many Germans were there in Russia? Turns out there were many. Different groups came at different times and settled in different areas. They also immigrated to North America at different times. My mother's group stayed behind and got caught in the Stalin terrors.

More recent groups left in the nineties after the USSR collapsed. I don't suppose there's too many left now. But I should check on that.

4 comments:

Barrie said...

That is an incredible coincidence.

J. Otto Pohl said...

The 1999 Russian Federation census counted about 600,000 ethnic Germans. Most of them still live in Siberia where Stalin deported them in 1941.

gabe said...

Thanks for that info. I've so much still to learn. This topic is still very much a hot potato.

gabe said...

p.s. My mom and her people were sent in 1930.