Merck Family - Random Notes

Joseph John Merck, with his wife, Katherine Cecilia Eberle, brought his family from the Ukraine to the United States in 1912. This site will contain some random notes and comments about the family background, their experiences, the places they lived, and other subjects related to that topic. No particular organization of comments or articles should be expected.

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Location: Jacksonville, Arkansas, United States

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Merks in Weidenberg Village, 1908-1944

Weidenberg, also known as Nowo-Nikolajewka for a time, was a daughter colony of Elsass, founded in 1908. The limited amount of land each of the Kutschurgan villages owned could not support the population as it grew, so land was purchased elsewhere for daughter colonies. Weidenberg was located about seventy kilometers east of Elsass in Beresan and about sixty kilometers northeast of Odessa. In March of 1944 the colony had about sixty-seven inhabitant families (after starting with sixteen) when all those of German descent fled with the retreat of the German Wehrmacht to Poland. At that time, two Merk families were among the once proud German farmers of Weidenberg. Joh. Merk (probably Johann or John) and Ch. Merk (probably Christian Merk) were the heads of those two families.

There was a Christian Merk, born 1883 in Elsass, who married Katherine Rissling in 1907 in Elsass. In documents prepared by Katherine, among German records captured by the U. S. Army concerning those who made that trek to Poland, I learned that her husband Christian died in 1941 in Weidenberg. They had a son also named Christian, born 1913 in Weidenberg, who married Helene Fischer in 1936 in Weidenberg. I also found similar documents prepared by Helene in Poland, but have not yet found similar documents prepared by her husband. I also have not yet found records of Joh. Merk from Weidenberg. Nor have I learned the fate of those Merks who reached Poland in 1944. However, most of those of German descent in those camps in Poland were forced by Stalin into slave labor in Siberia.

It is a curious coincidence that Katherine Rissling Merk's maiden name Rissling is an alternate spelling for Luisa Riesling (Rissling) who manages the museum at Selz. That lady resides in a home that had belonged to an ancestor in Selz, a home she graciously showed to our group during our visit there in June 2007. Unfortunately, it didn't occur to me that it is possible that there is a family connection.


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