Norka

Names: 
Nekrasovo
Norka
Weigand
Вейганд
Норка
Старая Норка
Alt-Norka
Некрасово
History: 

The colonists who founded the Volga German colony of Norka were primarily of the Reformed faith along with a handful of Lutherans from what is today the German State of Hessen. They had been recruited by a government agent making Norka a Crown colony.  The official founding date is 15 August 1767.  Its name was derived from the Norka River along whose banks it was located.

At the time of the deportation in 1941, Norka was one of the largest colonies on the Bergseite. There was a cholera epidemic in Norka in 1848 and 1849. There was a fire in the colony in 1872.

Today, what remains of the former colony of Norka is called Nekrasovo.

Church: 

A majority of the 218 families who founded Norka were of the Reformed faith. There were 16 who followed the Lutheran faith practice.  The first church building was constructed near the center of the colony, and separate church services were held during the early years. The colony's first organ was purchased in 1791 from a Moravian congregation in Germany. A new church building was constructed in 1822 on the site of the original facility.      

Construction of the third church building began in 1880 on 9th street. The cornerstone of the Kontor style building was laid on 24 June 1880 during the pastorate of the Rev. Wilhelm Stärkel.  The cross was placed atop the steeple on 6 October 1880. In 1891, a new pipe organ manufactured by E.F. Walcker of Ludwigsburg, Germany, was installed in the balcony of the new church.

The church in Norka was officially closed in 1935 and torn down in 1939.

Pastors & Priests: 

The Norka congregation was served by the following pastors:

  • 1769-1782 Johann Georg Herwig
  • 1784-1831 Johann Baptista Cattaneo
  • 1831-1840 Friedrich Börner
  • 1845-1876 Christoph Heinrich Bonwetsch
  • 1876-1877 Gottlieb Nathanael Bonwetsch
  • 1878-1908 Wilhelm Stärkel
  • 1910-1913 David Weigum
  • 1913-1926 Friedrich Alexander Wacker
  • 1914-? Emil Wegener
  • 1929-1934 Emil Pfeiffer

      The following served as an Assistant Pastor in Norka:

  • 1897-1901 Woldemar Emil Arthur Sibbul
Population: 
Year
Households
Population
Total
Male
Female
1767
218
753
 
 
1769
212
772
400
372
1773
219
957
501
456
1788
206
1,358
690
668
1798
225
1,660
845
815
1816
300
2,509
1,274
1,235
1834
445
4,113
2,095
2,018
1850
465
5,951
3,081
2,870
1857
628
6,300
3,251
3,049
1860
483
6,894
3,289
3,065
1886
877
7,641
3,898
3,743
1891
727
10,200
5,202
4,998
1894
 
10,518
5,302
5,216
1897
 
6,843*
3,381
3,462
1905
 
13,500
 
 
1910
 
13,623
 
 
1911
 
14,174
 
 
1912
 
14,236
 
 
1920
954**
7,325
 
 
1922
 
7,292
 
 
1923
 
6,913
 
 
1926***
1,062
7,466
3,648
3,818
1931
 
7,707****
 
 

*Of whom 6,815 were German.
**Of which 902 households were German.
***Of whom 7,454 were German (1,057 households: 3,640 male & 3,814 female).
****Of whom 7,693 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): 351.
- Diesendorf, V.F. Die Deutschen Russlands : Siedlungen und Siedlungsgebiete : Lexicon. Moscow, 2006.
- Klaus, A.A. Our Colonies. Saint Petersburg, Russia, 1869.
- List of Populated Places of the Russian Empire, vol. 36 (Samara Province). St. Petersburg, 1864.
- Minkh, A.N. Historical and Georgraphical Dictionary of the Saratov Province (Saratov, 1898): 688-691. Online.
- 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 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.
- Preisendorf, J. Personal manuscript entitled "Out of the Volga Region - Chronicle of the Colony of Norka."
- 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, Evangelischer Teil (Stuttgart: Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland): 344-345.
- "Settlements in the 1897 Census." Journal of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia (Winter, 1990): 18.

Map showing Norka (1935).

Norka Church built in 1880.

Norka, Russia.
Looking from the north toward the south.

Norka Church in winter.
Source: Heimatbuch der Deutschen aus Rußland, 1972.

Norka bell tower located next to the church.

Norka Church interior showing the altar and communion rail. The pulpit is visible on the right.

Norka Church interior showing the organ in the balcony at the back of the sanctuary (1912).
Source: AHSGR Journal (Summer, 1985).

Norka parsonage.

Norka Church choir. Pastor Stärkel is seated in middle of the front row.

Norka parishoners with Pastor Stärkel.

Norka parishners gathered in front of the church.

Reformed Church in Norka (1912).
Source: A. Baumung.

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