Catechism in German-Russian
Katechismus in Deustch-Russich
Schmidt, Barbara. "Catechism in German-Russian." Volk auf dem Weg, December 2004, 4.
Translation from German to American English by Alex Herzog,
Dr. Wolfgang Grocholl
Koenigstein. "Today there is hardly a community in which you
will not find a German from Russia," according to Father Reinhardt,
who speaks from experience. The Inspector of the German Conference
of Bishops has been active on behalf of the Late Aussiedler for
In 1988/1989, after the great changes in Russia, emigration to
Germany became much more feasible than ever before for Germans living
in Russia, so the bishops searched for a German-Russian priest who
could handle the assignment [of taking care of them spiritually].
"They found me in the Philippines," recounts the 69-year-old.
Ever since then his place of work has been the central office for
the "Spiritual Care of Germans from Russia" in Koenigstein.
Father Reinhardt himself was born in Strassburg near Odessa, at
a time when there were still German settlements in that area. While
he, along with his mother and siblings, was able to escape to South
Germany ("Nobody was allowed to stay. All had to head "home
to the Reich."), those who were overtaken during the escape
-- just because they were of German ancestry -- were destined to
suffer under severely repressive conditions. This fact, says Father
Reinhardt, is just as unfamiliar in Germany as the fact that increased
[Russian] nationalism caused great problems for the Germans in Russia.
Bishop Pieschl (center) at the celebration of his 25 years as
bishop, in the Cathedral of Limburg, pictured with Bishop Franz
Kamphaus (left) and Anxiliary Bishop Johannes Kapp of Fulda
This caretaker of souls therefore finds it a very important task to help
explain the history of the Germans in the Soviet Union. In various ways he has
spent much effort on that task during the past years. The exhibition
"Catholic Aussiedler among us" is as much part of that as his frequent publications
and participation in church conventions.
During the course of the 14 years of his activity, the problems to which his
care of souls are to react, have changed much. "The generation arriving
today is completely different from the one before it," explains Reinhardt. They
have obviously less knowledge of the German language, which makes it very
difficult for them to feel "at home" with the community and in church services.
One remedy the Koenigstein office for the care of souls effected was to
publish materials for catechesis and inserts to prayer books in both German and
in Russian. Form this office on Gerichtsstrasse 17, one can also obtain a
catechism and the New Testament in German/Russian form. According to Reinhardt
and his colleague, Dr. Wendelin Mangold, himself a Late Aussiedler, very
great. And Reinhardt is convinced that linguistic hurdles can also be overcome
with the help of those Aussiedler who have been in Germany for some time.
But this situation is problematic, due to lack of people approaching people,
and encouragement, and besides, these Germans are by nature "very reserved and
shy." Reinhardt recognizes the special challenge in the trend showing that
the younger generation of Late Aussiedler appears to be less connected to
faith and church. Another problem he sees is that "[other-faith] sects are very
Anxiliary Bishop Pieschl is responsible for the concerns of the
Late Aussiedler in the Limburg Diocese. All dioceses have appointed
a representative of this kind, and the Koenigstein office for "Care
of Souls of the Germans from Russia" maintains close contact
with them. Savings in costs is not the only reason Reinhardt sees
increased cooperation with these contacts as a "positive development."
He himself ended his service in Koenigstein in August, 2004 and
will return to his former place of activity, the Philippines. A
successor to his position, he says, has yet to be found.
(From: "Der Sonntag [Sunday]," Ecclesiastical newspaper for the Diocese of
Limburg, Limburg, Germany, August 29, 2004, Number 35.)
Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation
of this article.