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The Center for Volga German Studies (CVGS)


Image of book cover: Catherine“You look astonishingly pretty,” admits Johanna when Sophia steps out of her bedroom dressed in Ulrika’s magnificent gown. Sophia is stunned, halting in mid-step. This is rare praise from her cold mother, so she must, indeed, look very good. At Frederick’s side during the elaborate court dinner, Sophia shines and sparkles with youth and wit. The monarch is very pleased with his choice. Indeed, he is so enamored with the girl that he opens his purse to outfit mother and daughter, both woefully deficient in material matters appropriate for court life.

So begins the transformation of Princess Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst into Catherine the Great of Russia. The personal and professional triumphs and tribulations of this remarkable woman are retold by Sigrid Weidenweber, whose research into the life of Catherine reveals a new perspective on Catherine, from the inside out. Sigrid portrays with heartfelt understanding what it was like to have been such a major European political and military, social and cultural figure during the eighteenth century.

Catherine is the first volume in a trilogy entitled “The Volga Flows Forever.” The second volume, The Volga Germans, follows Vadim and Svetlana to the German colonies along the lower Volga and into the lives of the Meininger family and their friends, who have settled in Norka and later move to Schaffhausen. In the third volume, From Gulag to Freedom, Sigrid weaves her story though the hardships of collectivization and deportation during the Soviet years to finally bring young Katharina to join the Volga Germans who had earlier immigrated to the San Joaquin Valley of Central California.

Published by the Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University - Portland, Oregon
ISBN(10): 1-934961-00-0
ISBN(13): 978-1-934961-00-1

Price: $29.95, including shipping
Discount for ordering all three volumes now: $80.00, including shipping


To order by mail, download and print the order form PDF at the bottom of this section.

To order by credit card, call 503.493.6370.Photo of Sigrid Weidenweber


Sigrid Weidenweber
Born in Germany in 1941, Sigrid Weidenweber remembers firsthand the horrific aftermath of fascism. At the end of the war, she found herself living under communism. Both of these totalitarian regimes left indelible marks on her psyche. After the Berlin Wall was built, she finally escaped this repressive environment with the help of friends and a French passport. Sigrid holds degrees in medical technology and psychology. Her first book, Escaping the Twilight, deals with aspects of medical anthropology in an Islamic culture. Her wide range of interests led to the writing of the trilogy, The Volga Flows Forever. In this first volume, Catherine, she brings to life a fascinating historical character. Sigrid and Don, her husband of 44 years, recently moved from Portland to the Los Angeles area to be nearer a pair of adorable grandsons.

For information about the author and her other publications:

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