German Russians in Germany Either Rears or an
Ocean of Happiness
"German Russians in Germany Either Rears or an Ocean of Happiness." California Staats Zeitung, 23 February 1995.
Translation from German to English by Brigitte Von Budde
Unna-Massen. 80% of the 4,095 beds are taken up by women, men and
children from Kazakhstan, Kirgistan and Usbekistan at the Nordrhein-Westphalian
office for Aussiedler, immigrants and foreign refugees in Unna-Massen.
In the last few years increasingly more German Russians turn their
backs to their old homeland after a smaller wave of migration by Aussiedler
from the area of the former Sowjet Union.
In the past year 222,591 Aussiedler came to Germany, the country
of origin of their ancestors. They no longer want to be drift sand
in history but rather put an end to their 50 year long road of misery
from the Volga Republic to Siberia which ended in deportation to
the Central Asian Sowjet Republics. They want to live as Germans
68 year old widower, Robert Gleim of Akmola, complains in good
German, "Peoples lives in Kazakhstan is getting worse and worse.”
"Many are unemployed and those who do have work frequently
have to wait for their wages for weeks. We went through a lot and
endured much. Finally, we realized that there is no turn for the
better... Three -and a half years ago we applied for emigration.
Fatigue and bitterness shows in the faces of the siblings. Both
had a house and together they had a farm and some land. Two years
ago Robert and Elsa began the search for buyers of their property.
They experienced a great disappointment. "Only few Germans
are living in Kazakhstan. The others, supposedly, had no money",
whines Elsa. "In the end we had to be glad to be able to sell
the houses for DM 500 and DM 400. We had to give away the fields
and the land".
The first days after arriving in the promised land were disillusion:
the run through eleven offices within two weeks causes difficulties,
the dropping of the welcome money disappoints them and the search
for an apartment in Recklinghausen frightens them.
Valentina März and her three children: Tanja (20), Eugen (17)
and Stefanie (13) from the town of Karatau in Kazakhstan (50,000
people) are, however, delighted and content. "We applied for
emigration two years ago", says Tanja. "The relationship
to the Russians was bad, unemployment high, welfare is not known.
We decided for emigration also out of religious reasons.”
The mother and her children are not afraid of unemployment, homelessness
and language problems. Everybody knows that the integration is difficult
but they are convinced of mastering the difficulties. Valentina
and Tanja are thrilled with the stock and selection in the stores
and Stefanie briefly remarks, "Everything like in a fairy tale".
However, the office for Aussiedler, immigrants and foreign refugees
in Unna-Massen is no wonderland. It is crowded out by the old and
the sick, by people filled with despair and by people filled with
indignation, by the discouraged and the broken but also by courageous
and strong willed people, by people full of hope and faith. Whoever
cares for (these) people drowns in an ocean of tears and in the
next moment heaven of happiness.
Our appreciation is extended to Brigitte von Budde
for translation of this article.