A Short History of Nova-Nikolaewka/Neu-Nikolajewka/Weidenberg

Weidenberg was a daughter colony of Elsass, located about seventy kilometers east of it in Beresan and about sixty kilometers northeast of Odessa.

1908 The land was purchased from landowner Nikolaj Jakuni and settled. The acreage comprised 1752 dessiatines (1 dessiatine=1.09 hectares or 2.7 acres). The price was 282 Russian Rubles per dessiatine and was to be paid out over a ten-year period. The first settlers were sixteen farming families: fourteen from the Elsass Colony, one from the Selz Colony and one from the Colony of Baden.

1912 Theodor Hoegele sold his property in Elsass and purchased in the Weidenberg area, where three of his brothers, Peter, Anton and Jakob, already lived.

1918 Following the Russian collapse in World War I, the area was garrisoned by German and Austrian forces. At the end of the conflict, the farmers completed the last payment to Nikolaj Jakuni. Theodor Hoegele was in possession of 164 hectares, finally free of obligation.

1920 In the wake of the triumph of Communist forces in Moscow and Petrograd, farmers throughout Russia were dispossessed of their lands. The entire country was equally divided. Each person had to make ends meet with only the so-called "Nareska", a plot of 3.25 hectares.

1929 Even these small parcels were seized and collectivized and the farmers made to jointly cultivate it. In addition, the livestock and all the agricultural inventory were put into community property under Stalin's policy. The farmers became workers on the state-owned operation.

1941 In the Second World War, German forces occupied the region and the farmers received some land back. The name Weidenberg was restored.

1944 At this time, the colony had about sixty-seven inhabitant families, about 300 souls. In March, all those of German descent fled with the retreat of the German Wehrmacht to Poland. This was the end to the tale of the once proud farmers of Weidenberg. A sad fate awaited them and today they have blown to the four winds.

from the recollections of Theodor Hoegele, Jr. (b. 1903)
This page last updated Friday, August 1, 1997.