Engels branch of State archive of Saratovskaya oblast
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About the branch of state archive of Saratov region in Engels, former central archive of Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of the Germans of Volga Region (ASSR NP), neither in the official documents nor in the press was permitted to mention prior to the beginning of perestroika. Changes came little by little. The changed policy of state with respect to the punished peoples helped subsequently.

In 1989 in Alma Ata was conducted the first conference of the Germans of USSR, to which the Saratov regional committee of party sent the director of the archive. Knowing that on the forum there will be the dignitaries from the government of the country and Germany, where the director in the speech tried to attract attention of both countries to the archive, where the large part of the documents on history and culture of Volga Germans is stored. The first connections with the foreign partners were here established with: Dr. A. Aysfel'd, the executive director of the institute of German and Eastern European studies in Gettingene, descendant from Volga Region and writer Gerol'd Bel'ger, the publisher of bilingual social and political almanac "Phoenix", that extends its publications to all German- saying countries. In this almanac was published works on the history of German state theater, Marksshtadt musical school and library, central museum of ASSR NP, how Pokrovsk fought for its independence (Pokrovsk became the capital of region in 1922) and others.

After Alma Atinsk forum the director was invited to the All-Union practical-scientific conference, which carried out during November 1989 in Moscow by the institute of Marxism-Leninism at Central committee of the CPSU. In the collection of reports was for the first time published the brief survey "to the history of the formation of archive funds on the history of the Germans of Volga Region". After which the attention to the archive grew.

They began to invite colleagues of archive to all forums, dedicated to the Russian Germans, whose platform archivists used for the popularization of archive funds, for drawing of attention to the problems of archive, to the need for the building of new building or addition to that existing (1 congress of the Germans of the USSR – March,1991, the congress of the Germans of the union of sovereign republics – October,1991, the 1st congress of the union of the Germans of CIS – May, 1992, 3rd congress of the Germans of CIS - 1993 and of 4th congresses of the Germans of the Volga Region: February, 1993, March ,1995, April, 1997, August, 1999.

Besides the appearances, in which also was done the support to the uniqueness of the archive funds and records stored in them, to the lack of study of documents, and to the various priceless manuscripts, which by decades await publication, in halls of forums they were turned the documentary exhibitions, because of which they grew foreign connections of the archive. Directivity to the establishment of connections with the foreign partners for the wide use of documents made it necessary, first of all, to create acceptable conditions for the work of foreign users. The reading hall in all in two work sites estimated Prof. D. Long, Prof. I. Aykhorn, D. Kur (USA), V. Kherdt, L. Gribel', K. Shmeyer, V. Denninkhauz (Germany), B. Martin (France), T. Sutszuky (Japan) and many others.

In the turnings to foreign partners, laying emphasis on the need of the publications of the manuscripts of scientists, who are stored in the funds for archive, archivists themselves popularized archive documents on the German problems.

In November- December, 1995 the director of the archive E. Erina participated in the work of international conference in Gettingene which came out with the survey of the funds for archive of 1767-1941, where was again made accent to the need of the publications of the works of Ya. Ditts, A. Lonzinger, regional-study materials so forth. Here and was created the joint project, within the framework of which in 1997 was published the unique manuscript of Ya. Ditts "history of Volga German- colonists" edited by I. Pleve.

For many years archivists turned to their foreign associates into Essen, Mannheim, to all researchers, who worked in archive’s reading hall, to render assistance in working with the unique documents, which entered to the arcive in the composition of the documents of the former central museum of ASSR NP. In majority those records were described as the manuscripts of Erbes, Zorn, Fritsler, etc., they was in chaotic state, in many of them actually not was determined the authorship. Work was complicated by the unintelligibility of handwriting, the large part of the documents was written on the manuscript gothic German, which read the contemporary scientists neither in Russia nor in Germany. Knowing that scientific V. Kherdt knows Gothic, the colleagues of archive turned themselves also to Dr. A. Aysfel'd. Together with archivists at these documents worked different specialists (for example, O. Litsenberger based on materials of churches).

As a result of joint activity was created unique inventory R –1831 the "Collection of documents on history and culture of the Volga Germans of 1764-1941", which at present is very popular among researchers. The publisher of inventory appeared Goettingen department of Nordost -institute in Lyuneburge.

This is the second published inventory of the archive, the first - People's commissariat of the education of ASSR NP - was published with preface, M., Gothics, 1997 within the framework of the joint project of Goettingen research center and branch. During the work on the inventory of Collection were systematized all people German songs, assembled in their time by scientists of Nemrespublik by Emma and Georg Dinges, A.Dul'zon, G. Shmider, etc.

In 1989 on the initiative of professor D. Long from Colorado university (U.S.A.) began the collaboration of the archive with the American historical society of Germans from Russia (Lincoln, Nebraska). Because of it in the historical periodical of society was published the history of the archive in Engels (with the forms of city - the former capital of ASSR NP of Engel's, building of archive, archive’s storages), in № 1,1994, translator R. Ray. In 1998 the director of the archive at the invitation of society participated in 29th Conferences , dedicated to the 30- anniversary of the society, where it came out with two reports: the "archives of the former ASSR NP in Engels - gold information source on genealogy and history of the German colonists of 1767-1941" (it is published in the magazine of society № 1 in 1999). Second report: the "rites of the Germans of Volga Region".

The archive participates in the international project of Russia and Germany on the creation of the encyclopedia "Russian Germans". In the first volume are published 2 articles. Archive popularizes its materials through the scientific information bulletin, published by the international association of the researchers of history and culture of Russian Germans, by the institute of German and Eastern European studies in Gettingene, by the scientific commission for the problems of Germans in Russia and CIS (Gettingen), by the international union of German culture with the support of the government of Germany.

The archive constantly searches for foreign and Russian partners, proposing to them newer and newer materials to the publication. For example, the diary of deputy of 1st State Duma of Russia Ya. Ditts, which he conducted, departing the three-month period of the conclusion in the Saratov prison for the signing of "Vyborg appeal". With the publication of diary records it is proposed to tell before hand by the biography of scientist, which also is stored in the archive. Archivist can propose for the publication statistical materials about the work of church schools,colledges, information about the ministers (pastors) for the 19 –20th centuries, songs, assembled by G.Shtaub in 1875 and Sabel'fel'd in 1898 -1890, and also whole series of the unpublished works on the history of Volga Germans and materials on theme "our canton" and others. In 2000 in the Internet on the initiative of Belyakovoi- Miller (Republic of South Africa), Mr. Lang (Germany) and Mr. Shtugart (U.S.A) was is created the society of “friends of Engel's archive".

It is desirable to hope that further collaboration with the foreign partners will make it possible to publish the most interesting manuscripts and the collections of documents on the history of the Volga Germans.