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Ten Islands of Hope for Russian-Germans in Russia

Zehn Inseln der Hoffnung für Rußlanddeutsche in Rußland

"Ten Islands of Hope for Russian-Germans in Russia." Volk auf dem Weg, February 1994, 2.

Translation from German to English by Ingeborg Wallner Smith, Western Springs, Illinois


Dr. Horst Waffenschmidt
At the end of 1993, the government representative for resettlement, permanent secretary Dr. Horst Waffenschmidt, designated ten regions, centers and representations as islands of hope for the Germans from Russia. They are as follows:

1. The National District Asowo and the “Regional Association Omsk”
According to the Census of 1989, 134,199 Germans lived in the region, Omsk. The region is also considered to be one of the main areas of influx for Germans from central Asia and Kasachstan. The head of the newly formed national district, Landrat Prof. Bruno Reiter, is connecting his sector into a worker’s community consisting of, in round numbers, 100 other villages and settlements in the region.

2. Ecclesiastical and Cultural Center, Omsk
Many Evangelical-Lutheran Germans live in the region, Omsk. Therefore the Germans government, in connection with the state Evangelical Church in Hannover, has supported the ecclesiastical and cultural center, Omsk, to be a center for social and cultural work.

3. National District, Halbstadt
Today, about 150,000 Germans live in the Altai-Region (1989 Census: 127,731 in the Altaiskij kraj). Halbstadt (formerly Nekrassowo) is the first national German district; it was founded about two years ago. There are supposedly numerous application from central Asia. There are many parallels with the National District, Asowo.

4. Economic Center Nowosibirsk
Nowosibirsk is an economic technological center with a lot of attraction. The Catholic Church has made Nowosibirsk into a bishopric. Bishop Josef Werth is doing a great deal for the Russian-Germans. The government wished to support a number of cultural and social arrangements for the Russian-Germans and their Russian neighbors.

5. Centers of settlement in the Volga-Region
In the traditional settlement areas of the Germans on the Volga, a number of regions in the areas Saratow and Wolgograd are being supported by the German government. In both cities, Saratow and Wolgograd, there are numerous educational establishments. The University of Wolgograd has a partnership with the University of Cologne. Saratow is an important industrial center and numerous Germans firms have reported interest in join ventures.

6. Ecclesiastical and Cultural Center Marx/Wolga
In cooperation with the Catholic Church the German government has also supported the ecclesiastical and cultural center in Marx. Here, under the leadership of the Catholic Priest, Clemens Pickel, a lively church life has developed. As in the region Omsk, also on the Volga, the cooperation of Russian-Germans and Russians as well as the ecumenical cooperation of the churches is being intensively promoted.

7. Cultural Center, St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg has become the seat of the leadership of the Evangelical-Lutheran church for the whole Russian Federation with more than 500 parishes. The world-famous Petri Church was returned to the Evangelical parish, St. Petersburg. In cooperation with the Lutheran Church of Russia, the German government supported in the Petri Church a cultural meeting center for Germans from Russia, a social center for youth work among the Russian-Germans and a welfare and social work station for the entire region. In St. Petersburg there are important cultural and educational establishments that increasingly are gaining importance for Russian-Germans. The interest in Russian-Germans shown by the mayor of St. Petersburg, Anatolij Sobtschak, also has been repeatedly reported in Volk auf dem Weg.

8. Development Region, St. Petersburg
Before World War II, more than 100,000 Germans lived in the Region St. Petersburg. There are many connections between Germans and this area. In the new settlement center, Nasia, with the support of the Russian and the German governments, as well of the state of Baden-Württemberg and of the city of St. Petersburg, plans are afoot, to set up above all else, economical and medium-sized concerns for Russian-Germans from central Asia. There is a lively interest in this, particularly as the metropolis, St. Petersburg, is also culturally and socially attractive.

9. National Council of Russian-Germans in Moscow
The German government is supporting the establishment of the National Council, so that a central place is available for all Russian-Germans to go to. The National Council is also working together with the representatives of the Germans in Kasachstan, Kirgiesien and Ukraine. The leadership of the National Council is a member of German-Russia governmental commission for The Russian-Germans. At the moment it is headed by Jakob Maurer.

10. The German Embassy in Moscow as well as the German General Consulates in St. Petersburg, Saratow, Nowosibirsk, and Kliningrad
The German diplomatic and consular corps is naturally of service to both countries in all of their collaborations; in addition it has an important meaning for the Russian-Germans in Russia. That is true in the case of complicated spheres of economic and cultural life as well as for social activities.

(This article is in large part take from “Redaktion – Mediendienst zum Thema deutsche Assiedler” [like the Associated Press?] on the theme of German resettlers.)

Our appreciation is extended to Ingeborg Smith for translation of this article.

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