Teutonia Dorpat

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The Teutonia Dorpat was the only one student association in the Russian Empire consisting of German colonist-settlers. It existed at the University of Dorpat/Yuryev from 1908 to 1918. During the First World War, from June 1915 to March 1917, Teutonia was banned.


The University of Dorpat played a prominent role in the education of the first academics among the German colonist-settlers in the Russian Empire, the so-called Black Sea, Volga, Caucasus and Volhynia Germans. Since the end of the 19th century, the university has had a growing number of "colonist sons" studying at this institution, which eventually led to the formation of the only "classical" student fraternity from its ranks in all of Russia.[1] On February 17, 1908, six founding members formed the „Südländerverein Teutonia“ (Southerners' Association Teutonia). A few months later, on 4 December, the association was constituted as a corporation.[2]

Their motto was: "Firm and faithful", and the coat of arms bore the colours light green, white and pink.

Similar to student fraternity, compatriot teams and associations of other Russian nationalities, the prospective Black Sea or Volga German academics tried to awaken the national consciousness of their compatriots, cultivate language and culture and prepare for "service to the people and the homeland".

On April 9, 1912, the Minister of the Interior confirmed the statute of this student fraternity. The official admission to the already existing union of the university's corps, the Charge-Convent, took place on November 23rd this year.[3] A total of 67 members of the Teutonia could be identified.[4] The overwhelming majority belonged to the peasantry, which was created after 1871 especially for the descendants of the former colonists: settler-owners, often with the addition of „former colonists“.[5] Only seven of them were counted among the members of other estates. On a regional basis, 18 fraternity members came from Bessarabia, 23 from other Black Sea regions, 11 from the Transcaucasia, 10 from the Samara and Saratov Governorate, four from Volhynia and Podolia, and one from Livonia.[6] The most popular subject was medicine (chosen by 28 members), followed by theology (22) and law (9). Only very few students took chemistry (4), historical-philological sciences (2), agricultural science (1) or mathematics (1). At the beginning of 1915 the association had 29 active and 15 so-called associated (Russian: sorewnowateljnye) members.

The overwhelming majority of Teutonia members saw themselves as Russian patriots and loyal citizens. During the First World War, for example, medical doctors, including students of the older semesters, served as doctors in the Russian army; some were surprised or died in the battle against the German Reich and its allies. In early June 1915, in the middle of the war, this student fraternity was dissolved. After the bourgeois February Revolution of 1917, the few remaining Corp brothers at the university began to build up the fraternity; it was not until February 24, 1918 that they informed the United Convent that Teutonia officially existed again.[7] In view of the socio-political upheavals, especially the formation of an independent Estonian state and the separation from Russia, the revived association was only able to continue its work in Dorpat for a few months.

Some students who emigrated to Germany, but above all the students enrolled at Baltic grammar schools and their graduates, founded an " Verein Deutscher Studierender Kolonisten" (Association of German Studying Colonists) at the University of Tübingen on 13 June 1919, which was in a sense intended as a successor organisation. It had a loose landscape character. Only in November 1932 it was decided to include the addition "Teutonia" in the name but without the epithet Dorpat.[8] In the winter semester of 1933/34, the association merged into the Vereinigung Auslanddeutscher Studenten (Association of German Students Abroad) Tübingen.

Some important members

  • Dietrich Rempel (1887–after 1940), prominent physician and surgeon at Brownton. 1922 he emigrated to the United States,[9]
  • Prof. Dr. Eduard Steinwand (1890-1960), Lutheran pastor, taught theology at the University of Erlangen in the 1950s,[10]
  • Prof. Dr. Immanuel Koch (1887-1942), a well-known surgeon in Odessa, who was arrested in 1937 and later shot in a Gulag-camp in Kolyma,[11]
  • Alexander Henning (1892-1974), Soviet German literary critic,[12]
  • Gustav Birth (1887-1937), Lutheran pastor in the Ukraine, arrested in 1934 and shot in the notorious White Sea–Baltic Canal camp in Karelia.[13]


  1. Other student organizations of colonial origin existed at the University of Odessa („German Student Association“, founded in November 1909) and St. Petersburg (Association "Volga", first assembly took place on November 20, 1912), see for example: Paul Ssymank: Die deutsche Studentenschaft in Russland vor dem Ausbruch des Weltkrieges 1914. In: Die Grenzboten 1915, pp. 206‒213, quot. p. 212
  2. Eduard Steinwand, Arnulf Baumann: Die Kolonistenverbindung „Teutonia“ zu Dorpat. In: Jahrbuch der Deutschen aus Bessarabien. Heimatkalender 2013, pp. 50‒53, quot. p. 52.
  3. Die neue Kolonistenkorporation in Dorpat. In: Volkszeitung (Saratov) from January 31, 1913.
  4. Calculated according to the semester membership lists: National Archives of Estonia (Department in Tartu - Eesti Ajalooarhiiv, henceforth EAA), stock 402, ser. 7, item 728 or: EAA_402_7_728
  5. Rules for the arrangement of settlers-owners (former colonists), approved by Alexander II, 03.07.1871 (russian)
  6. Some photos of the Corps students
  7. Taken from the archive item: EAA_1846_1_12
  8. Harald Seewann: TEUTONIA Dorpat/Tübingen – eine Verbindung deutscher studierender Kolonistensöhne aus Rußland (1908–1933). In: Einst und Jetzt. Band 34, 1989, pp. 197–206.
  9. Theodore Christianson: Minnesota biography, by a special staff of writers. American historical society, Incorporated, 1935, pp. 428-429.
  10. Biography of E. Steinwand (German)
  11. Heinrich Roemmich: Professor Immanuel Koch. In: Heimatbuch der Deutschen aus Russland 1964 (Stuttgart), pp. 132‒139. List of Stalin victims from Memorial, Russian: Кох Эммануил Христианович
  12. Alexander Henning, in: Herold Belger: Russlanddeutsche Schriftsteller. Von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart. Biographien und Werkübersichten. Berlin 2010, pp. 79-80.
  13. Biography of G. Birth (Russian) List of Stalin victims from Memorial, Russian: Бирт Густав Яковлевич

External links

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