Balzer

Names: 
Baltser
Baltzer
Balzer
Goloi Karamysh
Goly Karamysch
Golyi Karamysh
Golyj Karamysch
Krasnoarmeysk
Panzir
Бальцер
Голый Карамыш
Красноарме́йск
Панцырь
Daughter Colonies: 
History: 

The colony of Balzer was founded by the Government as a Reformed colony 85 kilometers southwest of Saratov. The first group of settlers arrived on 28 August 1765, and they were followed by two additional families that arrived on 26 November 1765. During the first winter, these forty-nine pioneers lived in dugouts along the banks of the Hüttenteich Creek which runs along the south side of where Balzer eventually was plotted. Along the east side runs the Steinteich Creek.

The original settlers were joined on 28 March 1766 by another twenty-two families with others following on April 26th, June 18th, July 1st, and August 18th. These families came from the Palatinate, Isenburg, Hessen-Darmstadt, and Baden. The colony was named after Balthazer "Balzer" Barthuly who served as its first Vorsteher (mayor).

In 1769, the colony received its official Russian name of Goly Karamysh in reference to the lack of trees in the area and its proximity to the Karamysh River.

The first school house stood on main street in the "Unterdorf" section of the colony. A second school was built in 1846 near the church. A new two-story school building was constructed in 1898. A Russian school was built in the colony in 1882.      

Today the former colony of Balzer is called Krasnoarmeysk.

Church: 

The congregation in Balzer was originally part of the Reformed parish headquartered in Messer where the pastor resided. In 1856, Balzer became an independent parish serving the colonies of Balzer and Anton, with the pastor living in Balzer.       

The first church structure was built of logs in 1777. A new building, also made of logs, was contructed in 1821. The final church, constructed of brick covered with plaster, was built in Balzer from 1848-1851. The bell tower housed three bells, typical of other bell towers among the Volga German colonies.       

On Christmas Day, 1935, the last service was held in this church. It was conducted by Elder Köhler. In March of 1936, the bell tower was torn down and the alter and pulpit removed from the building.

Pastors & Priests: 

The congregation in Balzer was served by the following pastors:

1767-1777 Aloysius Jauch
1778-1799 Johannes S. Janet
1802-1818 Josua Graff
1821-1823 Johann Samuel Huber
1823-1850 Emmanuel Grünauer
1852-1887 Gottlieb Friedrich Jordan
1887-1892 Johannes Kosciol
1893-1903 Ernst Theophil David
1904-1922 Paul Reichert
1929-1930 Max Maier
David Kaufmann
Population: 
Year
Households
Population
Total
Male
Female
1767
90
377
198
179
1769
103
410
210
200
1773
98
479
257
222
1788
99
682
331
351
1798
101
726
369
357
1816
145
1,295
620
675
1834
239
2,268
1,158
1,110
1850
263
3,641
1,868
1,773
1857
373
4,472
2,223
2,249
1859
 
4,640
 
 
1886
695
5,760
2,898
2,862
1891
622
8,818
4,408
4,410
1894
765
9,108
4,579
4,529
1897
 
7,266*
3,668
3,598
1905
 
9,600
 
 
1911
 
11,326
 
 
1920
 
10,339
 
 
1922
 
9,539
 
 
1923
 
9,725**
 
 
1926
 
12,244***
 
 
1932
 
14,860
 
 
1933
 
15,800****
 
 
1935
 
15,655
 
 
1939
 
15,769
 
 

*Of whom 7,147 were German.
**Of whom 9,414 were German.
***Of whom 11,556 were German.
****Of whom 14,926 were German.

Sources: 

- Amburger, Erik. Die Pastoren der evangelischen Kirchen Rußlands (Lüneburg, Germany: Institut Nordostdeutsches Kulturwerk, 1998): 138.
- Beratz, Gottieb. The German colonies on the Lower Volga, their origin and early development: a memorial for the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first German settlers on the Volga, 29 June 1764. Translated by Adam Giesinger (Lincoln, NE: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1991): 348.
- Diesendorf, V.F. Die Deutschen Russlands : Siedlungen und Siedlungsgebiete : Lexicon. Moscow, 2006.Mink, A.N. Historical and Geographical Dictionary of the Saratov Province [in Russian] (Saratov, Russia, 1898): 164-166.
- Orlov, Gregorii. Report of Conditions of Settlements on the Volga to Catherine II, 14 February 1769.
- Pallas, P.S. Reise durch verschiedene Provinzen des Russischen Reichs. Theil 3,2, Reise aus Sibirien zurueck an die Wolga im 1773sten Jahr (St. Petersburg: Kaiserl. Academie der Wissenschaften, 1776): 622.
- Pleve, Igor. Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet, 1764-1767 Band 1 (Göttingen: Göttinger Arbeitskreis, 1999): 71-105.
- Pleve, Igor R. The German Colonies on the Volga: The Second Half of the Eighteenth Century, translated by Richard Rye (Lincoln, NE: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 2001): 319.
- Schnurr, Joseph, Die Kirchen und das Religiöse Leben der Russlanddeutschen - Evangelischer Teil (Stuttgart: Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland, 1972): 346.
- "Settlements in the 1897 Census." Journal of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (Winter, 1990): 18.
- Stumpp, Karl, The Emigration from Germany to Russia in the Years 1763 to 1862. Lincoln, NE: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1973.
- Volz, Jacob. Historical Review of the Balzerer. Lincoln, NE: Jubilee Committee, 1938.

Map showing Balzer (1935).

Church in Balzer.
Source: Roman Kirillov

Balzer Lutheran Church
Built 1848-1851.
Source: Heimatbuch der Deutschen aus Rußland, 1972.

Colony of Balzer.

Balzer street scene (1911).
Lutheran Church is on the right;
parochial school is on the left.
Source: Volksfreund Kalender, 1911.

Central School in Balzer.

Balzer in 1927.
Source: Jorge Bohn.

German building in Balzer.

Medical Boarding School
in Balzer (1935/36).
Source: Rudolf Bender (Wolgadeutsche.net)

This 1898 building in Balzer shows typical German brick work techniques.

Tombstone in the Balzer Cemetery.
Anna Maria Rockel (1899-1918)
Source: Alexandra Bashkatova (Wolgadeutsche.net)

Map of Balzer.
Source: Roman Kirillov

Notice of eviction of the Alexander (son of Johann) Kisselman (b. 1898) family from Balzer, pursuant to the deportation edict dated 28 August 1941 and executed on 31 August 1941. A note is added about the family's arrival on 15 September 1941 in Novosibirsk as part of group no. 779.
[Document provided posted by Andreas Root to the Facebook photo collections of the Russian German's International.]

Listing of the rest of the Kisselman family being evicted:
wife: Natalie (Friedrich's dau.) - b.1899
mother: Maria - b.1866
dau.: Natalie - b.1924
son: Alexander - b.1926
son: Heinrich - b.1928
dau.: Minna - b.1931
dau.: Emilie - b.1933
dau.: Maria - b.1936
dau.: Bertha - b.1939
[Document provided posted by Andreas Root to the Facebook photo collections of the Russian German's International.]

Interior of the church in Balzer, decorated for Pentecost.

Balzer (1937).
Source: Jorge Bohn.

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