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An Obituary for Dr. Ernst Christianson

Nachruf auf Dr. Ernst Christianson

Bosch, Anton. "An Obituary for Dr. Ernst Christianson." Volk auf dem Weg, February 2005, 43.

Translation from German to American English by Alex Herzog, Boulder, Colorado


A View of the Grave

Dr. Ernst Christian, a longtime and loyal friend and patron of the Germans from Russia, former chairman of the Aussiedlerbeirat [Advisory Council for Immigrants] for the City of Nuremberg, founder and builder of the Haus der Heimat, is dead.

He was born in 1920 in Ulmbach in the Banat region [Romania]. At 19 years of age, he had to go to war and to serve, among other places, in the infamous battle of destruction at the Seelow Heights on the Oder River. Following a brief time as a prisoner of war of the Americans, he exited wartime uninjured, studied at the University of Graz, there completed his doctorate in physics and then moved to Nuremberg, where he had a successful career in research and development for the Grundig company until his retirement.

During this timespan he produced more than twenty inventions in applied physics and technical installations. For them he was awarded the Diesel Prize.

After entering well-deserved retirement, Ernst Christian dedicated himself completely to receiving and assimilating his countrymen who in the 1990s were streaming in great numbers from Romania to central Franconia. As if predestined by fate, he increasingly involved himself in trying to bring solutions to the problems of acceptance and assimilation of his countrymen. He regularly arbitrated in these problem areas, provided consultation and individual advice to Germans from Russia. Even after practically all Germans from Romania had arrived here, Dr. Christian continued his full efforts, on behalf of Germans from Russia.

In 1995, he established the Haus der Heimat in Nuremberg. He wanted to build a real home, and this goal was realized in 1999. Situated in Langwasser, the German immigrant sector of Nuremberg, the House continues to be full of life. Under its roof, returning German immigrants have finally found a spiritual and moral home.

Dr. Christian participated untiringly there in study groups on topics of history, literature and social concerns. His experiences and knowledge have greatly enriched this work. On November, 2004, he last sat in on a plenary meeting of the House. During 2004 he also gave his final major talks, "Stalingrad an der Donau [Stalingrad on the Danube]" and "Die Stunde Null und Neuanfang in Nuernberg von 1945 [Zero Hour and New Beginnings in Nuremberg in 1945]."

Ever a person of curiosity and hunger for knowledge, Dr. Christian worked untiringly on his research up to his unexpected death on December 24, 2004. He did not see his last manuscript published becasue it did not leave the printer until after Christmas. For his achievement, Dr. Ernst Christian had been awarded the Major Federal Order of Merit, a cross on a ribbon, just before he died, so he could no longer receive it in person.

Representatives of the "Historical Research Association of Germans from Russia" and the Nuremberg branch of the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland expressed their condolences to the family and presented two flower arrangements during the day of the blessing of the grave site. One of them carried the inscription "With Love and Loyalty to the Home Country."

At the request of the Christian family, I, among others, had the privilege of expressing a few words of mourning, in which I thanked and honored the deceased in the name of our countrymen. More than 300 people attended the funeral, among them numerous Germans from Russia mourning for the deceased because a great helper and friend had passed from us.

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.

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