The Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland
Die Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Rußland e.V.
Usselmann, Franz. "Die Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Rußland." Volk auf dem Weg, n.d.
Translation from German to English by Claudia Müller, Halle,
When the German troops retreated from the Soviet Union in 1943/44,
an estimated 350,000 German-Russians were resettled and naturalized
to the former Warthegau by an order of the German-occupying authority.
After the occupation of East Germany, approximately 250,000 persons
were seized by the Soviets and taken back to the Soviet Union. Approximately
100,000 people were seeking refuge in western occupied zones. However,
even in the western occupied zones German-Russians were at first
not safe from the swift action of Soviet repatriation commando units
because the Western Allies had committed themselves in an agreement
to extradite to the Soviets those Soviet citizens who were in their
In the first postwar years German-Russians were not permitted
to disclose their identity even in the western-occupied zones; they
had to disappear to avoid being seized by Soviet repatriation commando
This was relatively easy because German-Russians have, as a rule,
typical German standards and had been born in settlements with German
names that also exist in Germany as for example Karlsruhe, Kandel,
etc. Approximately 30,000 German-Russians emigrated from West Germany
primarily to the U.S., to Canada, to South America and to Australia
for fear of the Soviets and for economic reasons. After the breakdown
in 1945, the churches cared for the needs of displaced persons and
A few denominational relief agencies cared for the German-Russians
and their needs at that time. Only after the founding of the Federal
Republic of Germany did well-known representatives of German-Russians
and some relief agencies decide on 22 April 1950, to organize associations
for resettlers from the East. Dean J. Schleunig, pastor Heinrich
Roemmich, Dr. Karl Stumpp and Dr. Gottlieb Leibrandt were among
The "Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Ostumsiedler" was established as
Landsmannschaft at the assembly of federal delegates on October
15, 1950. In a big announcement in the Paulskirche in Frankfurt,
the Landsmannschaft der Deutschen aus Russland turned to the German
public for the first time and demanded of the Federal Government
to attempt the release of those ethnic Germans who were detained
in Soviet labor camps. In addition, they requested equal treatment
of displaced persons from the Soviet Union with all other ethnic
The appeal made to the Federal Government to support the release
of our fellow ethnic Germans did not go unnoticed. Back then, from
September 9 to 13, 1955, we could follow in the press and over the
radio how decisive and persistent Dr. Konrad Adenauer spoke up in
Moscow for the freedom of our of countrymen. Final equality with
other displaced persons could only get pushed through after lengthy
negotiations and decisions at the highest courts. The reason is
a different social order and the resulting different legal systems
in the Federal Republic of Germany and the Soviet Union.
The Landsmannschaft is a registered society located in Stuttgart;
its charitable status is recognized. It operates with many volunters
and only a few full-time employees.
It maintains chapters in all states and in some dozen local branches.
They attend to material, cultural and social integration by assisting
in establishing a social structure for Aussiedler but also by educating
persons concerned and by granting legal aid.
The Landsmannschaft pursues and promotes the research of history,
culture and the present situation of the ethnic German minority
in the [former]USSR and publishes the research results in the news
media. Discussions and contacts with politicians, scientists, organizations
likewise serve to spread knowledge of our work and our intention.
Also, our newspaper Volk auf dem Weg serves as a mouthpiece.
Recently, the "Arbeitskreis zur Erforschung des europäischen und
außereuropäischen Russlanddeutschtums" (Study group for the research
of European and non-European Russian-Germanism) was established
within the Landsmannschaft. The Landsmannschaft sees itself also
as representative for those Germans living in the [former] Soviet
Union who are denied self-representation. It supports the reunification
of families, the immigration beyond family reunification and attaining
national and individual rights of ethnic Germans in the [former]
Franz Usselmann is chairman of the board of the Landsmannschaft
der Deutschen aus Russland, Stuttgart, Germany
Reprinted with permission of the Verein für das Deutschtum im Ausland
Our appreciation is extended to Claudia Müller for translation of this article.