Among the Volga Germans were prominent industrialists. The Schmidt, Reineke, and Borell families were among the most prominent, dominating the sarpinka industry in the Volga German region for decades.

The Volga Germans were strongly represented in industrial output, exceeding their percentage of the population. In terms of textiles, they held the monopoly, and the four largest flour-mills were owned by German colonists. In Samara, one German brewery produced over 90 percent of all the beer for the whole province. Germans also held near monopolies in cement-works, agricultural machinery, sausage and mustard factories.

This tremendous upswing in fortunes of German colonists came to the 3rd and 4th generation of Volga-Germans, while the 5th generation (children of the founding industrialists) had become urbanized, attended the best schools, technical institutes, commercial colleges and universities, thus passing into the professional or civil-service classes.  

Some were sent to Germany to technical training or apprenticeships, to bring back to the Volga the latest technologies.  Nevertheless, it can be seen, that they retained strong roots with their villages, although they no longer lived there.  

Written by Vera Beljakov-Miller (2003) whose ancestors lived in the colony of Warenburg.



Schmidt's: Flour-Kings of Russia

1909 Mill, Factory and Plant Directory

Terjochin, S., & Verein für das Deutschtum im Ausland. (1993). Deutsche Architektur an der Wolga. Berlin: Westkreuz Verlag.