|History Demands the
Zur Geschichte Gehoert die Ganze Wahrheit
Paulsen, Nina. "History Demands the Whole Truth." Volk auf dem Weg, January 2008, 12-13.
This translation from the original German-language
text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog,
Wanner, The new chair of the HFDR
Annual Meeting of the HFDR
During the most recent annual meeting in early December
of the Historischen Forschungsverein der Deutschen
aus Russland [Historical Research Association of Germans
from Russia] in the Haus der Heimat in Nuremberg the
[then] chair, Anton Bosch, took critical stock of
the association's eight years worth of activities.
Under the motto "Heimat is History and History
if Heimat," the HFDR was founded in 1999 by
people of similar views, as the "historical
of the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland.
Its chair, Anton Bosch, has acted as its driving
throughout. Meanwhile, several publications on the
history of the Germans from Russia have appeared,
and other projects have been realized. Due to health
reasons, Anton Bosch has withdrawn [from his leadership
position]. Elected as the new chair of the research
association was Michael Wanner, who has been doing
intensive research work for years and was among the
initiators for founding the association eight years
As ever, at the forefront of the association's activities
has been the search into and analysis of the dark
and unknown aspects of German-Russian history, while
placing high value on researching the archives in
the regions of origin. The association and individual
members maintain good relationships with other research
groups in Moscow, Odessa, Kiev, Dnyepropetrovsk and
Given the many common aspects of the history of
both great peoples, which continue as before to
changeable effects, the history of the Germans in
and from Russia must, according to Bosch, be viewed
critically, from a Russian as well as a German viewpoint.
It is harmful and even dangerous [he adds] to interpret
this history one-sidedly or to fail to mention uncomfortable
A Remarkable Balance Sheet
All these years the members of the association seriously
attempted to orient their work according to this
In the meantime, eleven books have appeared which
deal with different time periods of German-Russian
history, among them the "Handbuch Russland-Deutsche"
by Ulrich Mertens, six volumes of "Russlanddeutsche
Zeitgeschichte" [G-R Contemporary History]
with articles and archival documents, "Die
Deutschen Kolonien in Suedrussland" [German
Colonies in South Russia] by Konrad Keller, "Die
an der Wolga" [German Colonies in the Volga
Region] by Johannes Kufeld, as well as "Die
Deutschen in Sibirien" [The Germans in Siberia]
by Dr. Viktor Bruhl. For the series "Russlanddeutsche
Zeitgeschichte," Anton Bosch and Michael Wanner
did major research work for several years, by request
of the research association, for the "Trauerbuch
Odessa" (2006) and for "Trauerbuch Odessa
(second, expanded edition) [Mourning Book Odessa
- v. 2], which appeared toward the end of 2007.
since 2000, the association also has been issuing
a calendar that covers events and personalities
German-Russian history and builds cultural bridges.
During the past years, the HFDR also was able to
realize other plans. Among these is the portrait
of prominent German-Russians, painted by the German-Russian
artist Johannes Niederhaus (of Paderborn). With
project "Traditional Folk Garb of German-Russians,"
members Lilli and Reinhardt Uhlmann, using stories
passed on orally, plus very detailed research, defined
a traditional garb with which all German-Russians
can identify. Under the theme "200 Years of
Immigration of Germans to the Black Sea," exhibitions
of German-Russian personalities were organized
and Herzogenaurach (2003), and numerous presentations
were given on immigration of German-Russians to
the Black Sea
area, the history of Germans in Russia, in the USSR
and in Ukraine, as well as their displacement during
World War II.
A highlight of these years was the ground-breaking
project "Gedenkstaette Friedhof Archangelsk"
[Memorial Cemetery of Archangelsk] (2004) on the former
Lutheran cemetery in Archangelsk, which is dedicated
to the contributions of Germans in the region between
the 16th and 19th Centuries, and the victims of the
20th Century. As an extension of the project, Anton
Bosch and Erna Malygin traveled to the Archangelsk
region during the summer of 2007 and did further research
in the local archives. From a cooperative effort of
the Pomorian Lomonosssov University at Archangelsk
(the Teaching Chair for History) and the German Red
Cross, a "Trauerbuch Archangelsk" [Mourning
Book] is to become reality. Additionally, the HDFR
(Erna Malygin) and the Lomonossow University at Archangelsk
(Prof. Dr. Michael Suprun) are to take care of a school
museum in Novodvisnk.
In the Archangelsk region, on the infamous Solovski
Islands, and in other GUlag camps, tens of thousands
of banished and otherwise mobilized German-Russians,
plus German POW's, lost their lives. This theme is
to be the central point of the research work in the
next three years.
Anton Bosch - the Driving Force
Remaining grounded on the facts and
doing conscientious research, in this way "it
is indeed the German-Russian researchers who can shed
the proper light on several matters." It is with
this motto that Anton Bosch, the driving force of
the association, motivated other association members.
All of his life Bosch was interested in historyand
for that reason once again sat through formal education
classes, and in 2001 he concluded his studies at the
Erlangen-Nuremberg University on the subjects of history,
Slavic studies, recent and most recent history, the
title of his thesis being "Magister Artium."
His research concentrated on cultural and church history
during the Stalinist times of the 1930's.
Anton Bosch personally experienced the suffering
and misery of his ethnic group. In 1944, the then
ten-year-old had to leave his home village of Kandel
by horse and wagon. Then came Wartheland, another
escape toward the West, the journey back to Siberia,
childhood years in a work camp in Udmurtia (Western
Urals), life as an electrical mechanic, director of
an electric power plant and later chief engineer for
supplying power to Karaganda, and, finally, the resettlement
in Germany. During the 1960s Bosch spent a lot of
effort on behalf of reuniting families and supported
German-Russians eager to go to Germany.
From 1974 on, he and his family have been living
in Nuremberg, where he spent 23 years in an electric
company. Here, too, the integration of his fellow
countrymen became one of his main concerns. At first
he worked as a volunteer in social affairs for the
Landsmannschaft, and for many years he chaired the
local and county chapter Nuremberg-Fuerth. With some
interruption, between 1977 and 1991 Bosch was a member
of the national board of the Landsmannschaft, chair
of the cultural council of the Landsmannschaft (1987
- 1991) and vice-chair of the Association of Displaced
Persons in the Nuremberg-Fuerth region.
For his extraordinary achievements in the area of
researching the history of his ethnic group as well
as his great care for the culture and traditions of
German-Russians, Anton Bosch in 2004 was awarded the
Golden Pin of Merit of the Landsmannschaft.
To the question, "Why are you still digging
around in the archives?" Bosch has a clear reply:
"These archives tell us much that is unfamiliar
and surprising. The things that are hidden in Russian
and Ukrainian archives are our responsibility for
the future. History demands the whole truth."
In this way the research association, now with its
new chairman, desires to take up topics in the future,
too, especially those topics that have been committed
to silence or have been worked on only in gaps.
Our appreciation is extended
to Alex Herzog for translation of this article.