Kamenka

Names: 
Bähr
Kamenka
Каменка
Бер
Беер
History: 

Kamenka was a Roman Catholic colony founded on 6 July 1765 by the Government along the banks of the Ilovlya River.

Peter Simon Pallas in his travels through the Volga region in 1793 and 1794 for Catherine the Great writes, "Kamenka is one of the most flourishing and opulent among the Catholic colonies; it possesses upwards of sixty fire-places; and has, besides the brook, excellent water in wells, sunk through loam and other strata, about nine feet deep. We reposed here during the night, having suffered much inconvenience the preceding day, from the intensity of the heat, occasioned by the reflection of the sun-beams from the snow, accompanied with a keen northwest, wind, which continued during the whole of our journey from Saratov. The Volga is no more than fifteen versts distant, in a straight line from this place."

Today the former colony of Kamenka is still known as Kamenka.

Church: 

St. Mary's Catholic Church was built in 1906-1907. Reflecting the influence of neogothic architecture, the red brick house of worship included a choir loft and an organ. Murals painted on the walls were said to have been the work of Italian craftsmen. The church was gutted during the Stalinist era. The carved oak door and ornate railings were removed and it was converted into a warehouse and tractor garage. Until just a few years ago, the steeple was still standing.

Pastors & Priests: 

The following priests have served the St. Mary's parish in Kamenka:

  • Johannes Müller 1765-1774
  • Melchior Trenker 1774-1778
  • Johannes Dedukla 1778-1785
  • Thomas Majewski 1785-1788
  • Sebastiani 1788-1792
  • Thaddaeus 1792-1795
  • Valerianus 1795-1797
  • Thaddaeus 1797-1802
  • Anton Postoll 1803-1807
  • Franziskus Cornet 1807-1810
  • Peter Jacobs 1810-1819
  • Franz Xavier Asum 1819-1820
  • Kyrillus Mieluzki 1820-1823
  • Vincent Szrednizki 1823-1826
  • Thomas Konzewitsch 1826-1827
  • Romuald Woitkewitsch 1827-1828
  • Georg Nakutowitsch 1828-1868
  • Kasper Batschewski 1868-1872
  • Joseph Baranowski 1872
  • Andreas Brungardt 1872-1873
  • Nikolaus Mitzig 1876-1881
  • Johannes Beilmann 1885
  • August Gabel 1885-1894
  • Johannes Schönfeld 1894-1898
  • Alexander Staub 1898-1906
  • Peter Glassmann 1906-1912
  • Leonhard Eberle 1912-1928
Population: 
Year
Households
Population
Total
Male
Female
1767
 
329
 
 
1769
69
378
187
191
1773*
103
453
229
224
1788
97
535
268
267
1798
99
615
301
314
1816
170
897
448
449
1834
222
1,406
717
689
1850
258
2,219
1,104
1,115
1857
321
2,456
1,234
1,222
1859
205
2,508
1,274
1,234
1886
445
3,155
1,659
1,496
1891
399
4,454
2,237
2,217
1894
391
4,318
2,268
2,050
1897
 
3,036**
1,498
1,538
1904
 
 
 
 
1911
399
3,098
 
 
1912
 
3,342
 
 
1920
525***
3,197
 
 
1922
 
2,454
 
 
1923
 
2,662
 
 
1926****
560
2,940
1,447
1,493
1931
 
3,312*****
 
 

*Beratz reports the following numbers for 1773: 42 families; 148 total colonists (73 male & 75 female).
**Of whom 2,964 were German.
***Of which 509 households were German.
****Of whom 2,917 were German (548 households: 1,437 male & 1,480 female).
*****Of whom 3,289 were German.

Sources: 

- 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): 350.
- Diesendorf, V.F. Die Deutschen Russlands : Siedlungen und Siedlungsgebiete : Lexicon. Moscow, 2006.
- List of Settlements in the Russian Empire in 1859, vol. 38: Saratov Province (St. Petersburg, 1862): p.59.
- 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): 623.
- Pleve, Igor R. The German Colonies on the Volga: The Second Half of the Eighteenth Century (Lincoln, NE: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 2001): 313.
- Preliminary Results of the Soviet Census of 1926 on the Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Pokrovsk, 1927): 28-83.
- Schnurr, Joseph. Die Kirchen und das Religiöse Leben der Russlanddeutschen, Katholischer Teil (Stuttgart, 1980), p. 248.
- "Settlements in the 1897 Census." Journal of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (Winter, 1990): 18.

Map showing Kamenka (1935).

Architectural rendering of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Kamenka.
Source: "Немцы Поволжья" website.

St. Mary's Catholic Church in Kamenka (1955).
Source: Ignacio Schwerdt.

Interior of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Kamenka (1994).
Source: North Dakota State University.

St. Mary's Catholic Church in Kamenka (1979).
Source: Heimatbuch der Deutschen aus Russland, 1996.

St. Mary's Catholic Church in Kamenka.

Kamenka Catholic Church.
Source: Ted Gerk.

Religious fresco in the ruins of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Kamenka.

St. Mary's Catholic Church in Kamenka.

St. Mary's Catholic Church in Kamenka.

Drone video of church in Kamenka.

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