Krasna (Bessarabien)

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Village road in Krasna 1940 - approx. 3,000 meters long and 48 - 60 meters wide.
Catholic community home in Krasna - Opening 1939
Memorial stone to the German settlers in Krasna - 1814 to 1940



General information

Krasna, Bessarabien (Krasne, Kpacне, 68552, Tarutyns'kyi district, Odes´ka, Ukraine)

The Krasna village described herein lies 120 kilometers (as the crow flies) [ca. 72 miles] in a west-south-westerly direction from Odessa, situated on the small river Kunduk (Kogilnik), from where it is 70 kilometers [just over 40 miles] to the Black Sea.


The village was founded in 1814 by colonists from the Duchy of Warsaw. However, many of the settler families had originally emigrated from the Saar region, the South Palatinate of Germany and Lower Alsace of France.

The original [settler] ancestor of my Riehl line settled in Wilhelmsdorf in 1804, 50 kilometers [30 miles] northwest of Warsaw. This ancestor had emigrated from Kröttweiler (Croettwiller), his wife from Schleithal, both from the Weiẞenburg (Wissembourg) area in Lower Alsace.

The years prior to 1814 were anything but favorable for the people in the Warsaw Duchy.

  • The area around it in 1807 became part of the Duchy of Warsaw, a satellite state of the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte. It would exist until 1815. Power was wielded by the French Ambassador, not by the King of Prussia. Large estate owners received a great deal of power.
  • Between 1812 and 1813, Napoleon and his “Grand Army” marched across the area to Russia and back again. The policy of supplying the army through requisitions eventually brought complete ruin to the region.
  • Poverty and poor conditions caused many to heed the call of Alexander I (November, 1813) to move to Bessarabia.
  • By order of the Tsar, the village in 1818 was given the name Krasna, the origin of the name coming from the “Battle of Krasnoye” (near Smolensk), where Napoleon had suffered heavy losses in 1812.

118 Ancestors are my Connection to Krasna

  • In 1843, my materanl Schreiber ancestor moved to Krasna from Landau in the Beresan.
  • In 1904 and my great-grandmother (Schweizer) from Straßburg in the Kutschurgan, married into a Krasna family.

118 direct ancestors are buried in Krasna and the districts of Beresan and Kuchurgan

Community Life

Krasna was the oldest and only Catholic rural community of Bessarabia with its own parish. Until 1848 it was part of the Kamenez-Podolsk Diocese, then part of the Tiraspol Diocese, and between 1921 and 1940 part of the Iassi Diocese. By 1940 there were 446 farmsteads, 380 farm owners, 58 craftsmen, and three teachers in Krasna. By the same year, 7,532 hectares [just over 20,000 acres] of land plus 1,980 hectares [over 5,300 acres] of leased land were being farmed. Because the families all had many children, arable land was usually in short supply. This situation again and again caused residents to move away as follows:

  • 1876: 30 families to the neighboring Dobrudscha/Dobrogea. Romania area;
  • 1886: 25 families founded the daughter colony Emmanuel (Bender County);
  • 1897: several families moved to the Caucasus;
  • 1909 – 1914: 567 persons to the US and Canada;
  • 1925: 25 families to Brazil;
  • 1929: several families to Brazil and Canada.


Within three weeks during early September, 1940, some 2,852 Krasna residents plus children under the age of 14 left their home village. These Krasnaers were familiar with the fate of their compatriots on the other side of the Dniester who in 1917 came and remained part of the Soviet Union. That awareness proved to be the most significant reason for nearly unanimous agreement to leave. [By an agreement with Germany the Soviet Union would soon take over Bessarabia. – Tr.] As far as is known, between April and August of 1941, most former Krasna farming families were resettled in the area of Bromberg (Bydgoszsz) in Poland (Kuyavia-Pomerania), all on properties that had just been confiscated from Polish farmers.

Flight to the West

During the night of January 21/22,1945, the resettled Bessarabians received an order to evacuate. More accurately, it was permission to flee Poland.

New Beginning

Many Krasnaers came to live in Schleswig/Holstein and Lower Saxony, and some immigrated to the US, Canada or South America.

From about 1950 on, the overwhelming majority of surviving Krasnaers settled in Rhineland/Palatinate, Germany. They had followed a recommendation by the future Auxiliary Bishop Walther Kempe, who between 1935 and 1940 had been the pastor of Emmental, a Krasna daughter colony. Krasna togetherness, developed over 125 years, proved to have been maintained.


In 1990, my father visited Krasna for the first time after the resettlement. Since then he has been there seventeen times. I accompanied him twice. Many former Krasnaers maintain good contacts with today’s population of Krasna. But no one wishes to turn back history.

The largest part of the former German settlement area is now part of Moldova, and the eastern part, including today’s Krasna, is part of Ukraine.

Frieden, Peace, Shalom, Salām, покой, Pax vobiscum

Otto Riehl

Article in German

"Krasna in Bessarabia, Today Known as Krasne." Historischer Forschungsverein der Deutschen aus Russland, March 2016.

Time table

Some selected data on contemporary history
Date Text
28.05.1812* Peace with Turkey in Bucharest, Bessarabia falls to Russia
29.11.1813* Manifesto Alexander I: Invitation to the Germans in the Duchy of Warsaw to settle in Bessarabia
Herbst 1814 Arrival of the Krasna colonists. 133 families, estimated 730 persons.
02.02.1915* / 13.12.1915* Liquidation laws: The Germans are expropriated and are to be exiled to Siberia.
08.11.1916* The Germans in Bessarabia will be informed of the deportation to Siberia. The deportation was scheduled for 17.01.1917. Starting on 24.12.1916 very heavy snowfall started for several days. The railroad cars got stuck. In mid-January 1917, news came out that the deportation had been postponed indefinitely.
07.11.1917 Bolshevik Revolution (October Revolution 25.10. Julian calendar)
02.12.1917* The National Council declares Bessarabia an Autonomous Republic of Moldova
03.03.1918 Peace of Brest Litovsk (Repatriation clause for the benefit of Germans in Russia)
09.04.1918 State Council declares connection of Bessarabia to the Kingdom of Romania
13.03.1920 Romanian agricultural law, expropriation of land over 100 ha
23.08.1939 Hitler-Stalin Pact agrees to relocate the Germans from south-eastern Europe.
27.06.1940 Romania complies without a fight with the Soviet ultimatum and surrendered Bessarabia to the Soviet Union.
05.09.1940 Signing of the "Agreement on the Resettlement of the German Population from the Areas of Bessarabia and Northern Bukowina to the German Reich".
15.09.1940 Calls announce that the German population can leave Germany freely and without hindrance.
24.09.1940 The first transport with women, children and the elderly leaves Krasna.
29.09.1940 The church bells of St. Joseph ring their farewell greeting for 30 minutes. The second transport goes to the port of Kilia.
13.10.1940 The last transport with the men left Krasna on 09.10.1940 or 13.10.1940. Here are two contradictory statements.

The dates are listed according to the Gregorian calendar. In this table, data according to the Julian calendar valid in Krasna (Russia) until 14.02.1918 are marked with


Small selection of books about Krasna · Most of them in German
AuthorTitle Link to further information
Bisle-Fandrich, Elvire Sonnrosen und Piker Google-Books
Bisle-Fandrich, Elvire Sunflowers and Thistles: Bessarabian Germans Speak Out GRHC
Eckert, Albert Die Mundarten der deutschen Mutterkolonien Bessarabiens und ihre Stammheimat - Deutsche Dialektgeographie Heft XL, 1941 Google-Books
Hüttig, Friedrich-Karl Die pfälzische Auswanderung nach Ost-Mitteleuropa Google-Books
Karasek-Langer, Alfred Josefinische Privatansiedlungen im alten Zamośćer Kreise. In: Dt. Mon.-Hh. Polen, Jg. 2, S. 261-- 284
Keller, Conrad Die Deutschen Kolonien in Südrußland; Band 1 1905 und Band 2 1914 Google-Books
Kludt, Karl Wilhelm Die Deutschen Kolonisten in Bessarabien in ihrem sittlichen und religiösen Zustande bis zum Jahr 1861 DigiBib
Leinz, Alois Heimatbuch der Bessarabiendeutschen: 25 Jahre nach der Umsiedlung. Rheinland-Pfalz, 1965
Malinowsky, Josef Aloys Die deutschen katholischen Kolonien am Schwarzen Meere · Berichte d. Gemeindeämter über Entstehg u. Entwicklg dieser Kolonien in d. ersten Hälfte d. 19. Jh · 1927 Google-Books
Müller, Johannes Florian Ostdeutsches Schicksal am Schwarzen Meer, Eigenverlag, 1981 Google Books
Ruscheinsky, Eduard und Leinz, Alois Heimatbuch der Bessarabiendeutschen, Bessarabiendt. Landsmannschaft Rheinland-Pfalz e.V., Herbst 1960: Seelenliste von Krasna Google Books
Schmidt, Ute Bessarabien : deutsche Kolonisten am Schwarzen Meer – 2008 Google Books
Schmidt, Ute Die Deutschen aus Bessarabien : eine Minderheit aus Südosteuropa (1814 bis heute)-2004 Google Books
Schroeder-Negru, Olga Bibliographie zur Geschichte und Kultur der Bessarabiendeutschen : 1918 – 1940, Essen : Klartext Verlag Essen, 2001 Google Books
Stumpp, Karl Das Schrifttum über das Deutschtum in Rußland: eine Bibliographie, Stuttgart, Landsmannschaft d. Dt. aus Rußland 1980, Google Books
Traeger, Paul Die Deutschen in der Dobrudscha Google-Books
Volk, Eduard Krasna · Ein deutsches Dorf in Bessarabien Google-Books

Contribution by Eduard Volk

Eduard Volk is the author of "Krasna - The History of a German Village in Bessarabia".

Here's an abstract for you to read.

Krasna was a village founded by German colonists in Bessarabia (Black Sea) in 1814. Krasna was founded as one of the first three colonies. It was the only Catholic settlement and the only one with a Middle German dialect (Palatinate); the other villages were Protestant and spoke lower or upper German.

Krasna is situated on the river Kogälnik in the circle of 24 so-called "mother colonies".

After Russia had taken Bessarabia away from the Turks (Peace Treaty of Bucharest 1812), Tsar Alexander I began colonizing the new territory. On 29.11.1813 he issued an appeal to the Germans in the Duchy of Warsaw, in which he promised a series of privileges to those who wished to settle: Freedom of religion, exemption from military service, 10-year tax exemption, 60 desjatines (= 66 ha) of land for every family and money for house building).

This sounded very tempting in the desolate situation of the Germans in Poland. As for many others, the Czar's call to the future Krasna people will have seemed like a gift from God. And so Germans from the Duchy of Warsaw (hence the name "Warsaw colonists"), many of them later Krasnaers, moved to Bessarabia.

Many of their ancestors had emigrated from Germany between 1780 and 1806 to Polish regions that had fallen to Prussia and Austria (South Prussia, New East Prussia and Galicia) as a result of the division of Poland. Most of them came from Saarland, the Palatinate, Alsace and the Principality of Nassau. They had left their home country in Germany for economic reasons.

"' Not all Krasna settlers were Warsaw colonists. A group of more than 25 families moved there around 1840 from German colonies near Odessa.

The tsarist government assigned the German colonists land in southern Bessarabia, known as Bujak, to the German colonists. Krasna was built on a land parcel number 7; its name comes from the place of a victorious Russian battle against Napoleon.

The first years were very difficult. The colonists had to adapt to the climate and soil conditions and gain experience. After the difficult initial years, Krasna, like most other colonies, stabilized economically towards the end of the 1830s; orderly structures of community life began to emerge.

This has been favoured by the use of better material (ploughs, harrows, threshing equipment etc.) and better draught-cattle. The yields per hectare grew through improved cultivation methods.

The Germans were able to maintain their traditional life with German schools, churches, customs and habits in the colonies. From a social, cultural and economic point of view, they were far above the level of Russian farmers. Unlike the Russian compatriots, they were not serfs from the outset. (The serfdom for Russians was not abolished until 1861.

From 1870 onwards, the colonies experienced a marked deterioration: The abolition of privileges, conscription for military service, and tendencies towards Russification made it difficult to maintain one's own identity.

From around 1890, the Russian language replaced the German language. Nevertheless, the colonists have kept their own customs and traditions until the end.

In 1915, the expropriation laws made it worse. Then came the First World War. Only the defeat of Russia saved the Bessarabian Germans from the fate that Germans on the other side of the Dniester had already suffered (namely forced relocation and collectivization of agriculture).

In the turmoil of the communist October Revolution of 1917, Bessarabia finally fell to Romania. Under Romanian rule, the people of Krasna, like all Bessarabian Germans, had a constant struggle to maintain their own identity (school, language, self-government). The economic situation was also difficult.

In 1940, Bessarabia fell to the Soviet Union as a result of the demarcation of the spheres of interest between Hitler's Germany and the Soviet Union (Hitler-Stalin Pact).

After the Soviet occupation in 1940, the population of German origin joined the resettlement, which was carried out by the German government. The Krasnaers came to West Prussia (today Poland) after several times in the camp.

Towards the end of the Second World War - beginning in 1945 - with the collapse of the German Eastern Front, the Bessarabian Germans had to leave their farms again. They fled from the approaching Soviet troops.

Most of the Krasnaers reached West Germany, some of them remained in the territory of the later GDR. Now it was time to start over under completely different conditions. The people of Krasna and their descendants have created a livelihood outside of agriculture and integrated themselves into their new (old) homeland.

This concludes the history of the German colony Krasna.

Today's Krasna or Krasnoje, as it is called, is predominantly inhabited by Ukrainians.

Some of the former Krasnaers have good contacts there. They have built places of remembrance of the former German colony there.

The Book "Krasna · Die Geschichte eines deutschen Dorfes in Bessarabien" there is here: CARDAMINA VERLAG Shop

Official Websites

Genealogical websites

Historical Websites

Further websites

Data from the Genealogical Place Database

  • Steppe Nr. 7 (1814 - 1817-06) (deu)
  • Konstantinschutz (1817-07 - 1817-10) (deu)
  • Красное/Krasnoje (1817-11 -) (rus)
  • Krasna (1817-11 - 1940) Source #35 Source (deu)
  • Crasna (1918-04 -) (rum)
  • Красне/Krasne (1940 -) (ukr)
  • place
external id
  • wikidata:Q4238636
  • geonames:704291
web page
Number of households
Superordinate objects

Comuna Crasnoe (1918 - 1940-06-27) ( kommune ) Source #156

Красное/Krasnoje Wolost (1871 - 1917) ( Volost ) Source #156

Bezirksamt Alt Postal/Malojaroslawetz II (- 1871) ( Okrug ) Source #150

Bolhradskyi, Болградський, Bolhrad (2020-07-17 -) ( rayon ) Source

Tarutino, Tarutyne (1940-06-28 - 2020-07-16) ( rayon )

Krasna St. Josef (1938) ( parish ) Source #35

Budschak ( historical region )

Plasa Tarutyne, Plasa Tarutino (1871 - 1940) ( district )

Subordinate objects
name type GOV-Id Timespan
Tarutino Poststation building object_1166516 (1938)
Halta Ciuleni stop station HALENIKN46PC
Sources for this object
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